General dentists can provide a wide array of services, including preventive care, minor restorative therapy, and family dental care. They are largely concerned with helping patients maintain good oral hygiene and dental health to prevent problems from occurring in the first place. However, if dental problems are discovered, general dentists have the skills to use restorative procedures to repair tooth decay, disease, and trauma. If you're nervous about setting up an appointment with a general dentist, continue reading to learn more about general dentistry and which procedures they use for improving dental health.
How a General Dentist Checks a Patient's Dental Health?
A general dentist uses clinical expertise, tests, radiographs, and instruments to analyse a patient's oral health and diagnose any potential dental health problems. The oral cavity, neck, and head are the primary focus areas at a general dentistry office. Many general dentists will create an individualized preventative plan for each patient to help them maintain healthy teeth. If a problem is discovered, a treatment plan will be developed for the patient.
What Happens During a Regular Dental Check-up?
General dentists inspect each tooth with small instruments in your mouth. They are checking for signs of gum disease, tooth decay, and other conditions. If an alleged dental problem is difficult to see with the small instruments, then the dentist will take an x-ray to see exactly what's going on. Assuming you have a dental problem, the dentist will explain to you what it is, what your options are in treatment, and the associated costs with those treatment options.
What to Expect If You're Seeking Cosmetic Dental Services
If you're seeking a dentist for aesthetic changes, keep in mind that the dentist will have to check for any current dental problems. You may have to receive treatment for current dental health problems before the dentist can conduct cosmetic procedures. After the standard check-up, your dentist will have a discussion with you about what your aesthetic goals are. From there, the general dentist will create a cosmetic procedure plan that's ideal for you based on your needs and preferences.
General Dentists Check for Structural Damage
Structural damage to the tooth can be caused by tooth decay, trauma, and wear. If the structure of your tooth has been damaged, the general dentist may give you a dental filling to repair the damage and prevent further destruction of the tooth. Before filling the tooth, your general dentist will consult with you about which material you want to be used. Your options include porcelain, composite resin, amalgam, and gold.
Why You Shouldn't Wait If You Have a Chipped or Cracked Tooth
If you have a chipped or cracked tooth, that problem can usually be easily solved with a procedure called bonding. Bonding is the process of gluing materials to the surface of the tooth with composite resins. The tooth is contoured and polished with an enamel-like substance after it has been glued. It's important to have a chipped or cracked tooth looked at by a dentist because it could break down farther, resulting in the need of a dental filling instead of bonding.
When Are Dental Crowns Used?
Dental crowns may be used for repairing extensively damaged or decayed teeth. A dental crown can be made of gold, porcelain, silver, and a combination of porcelain and metal. Some dentists can use CAD/CAM technology to create dental crowns. Many different types of dentists can conduct dental crown procedures, but expertise varies among them.
When Is a Root Canal Necessary?
A root canal is sometimes needed when the pulp tissue inside the root chamber of the tooth is infected. The root canal procedure involves removing the infected pulp tissue, filling the hollowed tooth with antibacterial filling, and capping it with a crown. The crown will protect the tooth from damage and infection.
What Are Dental Fissure Sealants?
Dental fissure sealants can protect your teeth from decay. Teeth that have deep grooves or fissures can be treated with dental fissure sealants. The sealant is painted onto the biting surface of the tooth. As it dries, it sets into a plastic material that blocks food and bacteria from collecting in the fissures of the tooth.
Dental Bridges May Be Used for Missing Teeth
General dentists can also give dental bridges to patients, which is a procedure used to solve the problem of missing teeth. A dental bridge replaces the missing tooth with pontic (artificial replacements) that is held in place via composite materials. The composite materials are anchored to the surrounding teeth. Similar to dental crowns, expertise differs among the types of dentists who are qualified to conduct the procedure. Technology used and availability of the newest materials also varies.
Dentures Are Often a Last Resort
If damaged or missing teeth cannot be repaired via other methods, your dentist may recommend dentures. The materials and technology used for dentures has improved over the years, so it's not as stressful a procedure as it used to be.
Dentists Can Catch Gum Disease in Its Early Stages
Gum disease that is caught early on can usually be treated through proper flossing, using medicated mouthwash, and tooth scaling and cleaning at six-month intervals. Procedures for later-stage gum disease are more intensive, involving deep-plane scaling, laser surgery, or periodontal surgery.
Why Sports Players Should Use Custom Mouthguards
Another service offered by general dentists is the creation of custom-fit mouthguards. Mouthguards are used to protect the teeth, lips, gums, and jaw while playing sports. A custom-fit mouthguard is the most comfortable and best form of protection for your mouth during sports. It can prevent your tooth from being knocked out in the game.
What Are Oral and Maxillofacial Procedures?
Oral and maxillofacial procedures treat abnormalities of the jaw, mouth, and face. Examples of operations that fall under oral and maxillofacial procedures are reconstructive surgery, TMJ procedures, dental implants, and cleft lip and palate procedures. TMJ is a jaw disorder that can alter the appearance of your face. Fortunately, oral and maxillofacial procedures can restore your facial structure in many cases.
Why You Should See a Dentist Twice a Year
In general dentistry, there is an emphasis on long-term dental health. Unfortunately, many people only visit a dentist when they're in a lot of pain. In order to prevent similar tooth and oral pains from occurring again, we recommend that you see a general dentist two times per year to take preventative measures and catch problems in their early stages.
General dentistry covers a wide range of areas in preventative care, minor restorative care, and cosmetic procedures. Whether you want to check on your dental health, are suffering from a dental problem, or want to fix some aspect of your teeth, a general dentist can help.