What Does General Dentistry Involve?

what does general dentistry involve

General dentistry is the dental specialty that provides continuing and comprehensive health care to patients of all ages, focusing on maintenance and prevention. General dentists complete undergraduate study and a four-year (minimum) professional graduate degree in dentistry and receive extensive training and clinical experience in treating common oral problems such as cavities, gum disease, injuries, and tooth replacement. 

Although a general dentist like Louis B. Conte, DDS, may perform various procedures, they generally do not engage in the more complex activities performed by specialists such as oral surgery or endodontics (root canal work), which require additional dental education and lower patient loads. 

The following are some of the 5 main services you will find at a general dentist: 

1. Diagnosis And Treatment Of Oral Diseases 

A general dentist will diagnose oral diseases such as gum disease and perform necessary treatment such as tooth-root canal therapy, tooth extraction, or oral surgery. Diagnosis will typically involve a thorough examination of your teeth, gums, and related structures. X-rays may be taken to identify diseased areas that cannot be seen during an inspection. Treatment for gum disease may include a deep cleaning of affected teeth and surrounding structures. Treatment for cavities usually involves a filling if it is a small cavity. 

2. Teeth Cleaning 

During teeth cleaning, the dentist uses specialized instruments to remove plaque (hardened bacteria) and tartar (mineralized plaque) from teeth in an effort to prevent future cavities and gum diseases like gingivitis. Teeth cleaning also helps to restore teeth that have been damaged by previous dental procedures, such as fillings and root canal therapy. 

3. Check-Ups And Preventive Care 

One of the goals of general dentistry is to help your mouth stay healthy and free from disease. For example, your dentist will check for signs of trouble in areas you can't see under the gum line. They may also look for signs of oral cancer during exams and will perform an oral cancer screening as part of your check-up. A general dentist may also recommend preventive measures such as fluoride treatments and the application of dental sealants. 

4. Restorative Treatments 

A general dentist also performs restorative treatments such as fillings, crowns, and bridges to repair teeth that have been damaged due to injury or decay. After removing the decayed portion, fillings provide a strong, stable foundation for a restored tooth. After being prepared, crowns are placed over a tooth (usually requiring a root canal treatment) to restore its shape and protect it. Bridges replace missing teeth with artificial substitutes that look natural and can function as the original tooth. 

5. Treatment Of Dental Emergencies 

Dentists are trained to handle various problems in the mouth, many of which require immediate attention. These include, but are not limited to, broken teeth or tooth fragments, injured gums, and loose or lost dental restorations like crowns, caps, and fillings. Your dentist can provide pain relief for injuries to the mouth by prescribing medications that act as local anesthetics. 

Conclusion

General dentistry is a broad field and includes more than just teeth cleanings and cavity fillings. Dentists provide treatment for oral diseases such as gum disease, and they restore decayed, damaged, or missing teeth with dental fillings, crowns, and bridges. General dentists also offer oral cancer screenings and check-ups to help maintain or improve your oral health.

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