When you or a family member needs dental work of some kind, most likely a general dentist can do it for you. Because most dentists are general dentists, it means that your local dentist is probably a general dentist. This description indicates that they can do a wide variety of basic dentistry – the kind of treatments that most people are apt to need.
General dentistry involves all of the basic dental needs that everyone has in the way of taking care of the teeth and mouth. The primary goal is to prevent dental problems, detect them early, and to restore to a usable condition when problems do appear.
The general dentist is able to treat many problems. They include:
When a dentist graduates from dental school, they will be given a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree, or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree. These two degrees are the same. After graduating, they can obtain a license to practice general dentistry. Dental specialists must continue their education for at least another three years, but some may require five or six more years.
A general dentist will serve as your primary care dentist. They will provide all of the basic dental services you need which will include dental cleanings, dental exams, oral exams, fillings, root canals, dental crowns, bridges, veneers, and the education you need to maintain a healthy mouth and teeth.
The focus of a general dentist is going to be preventive dentistry. This means working to prevent dental problems from occurring in the first place, and to detect any problems early that do develop and treat them while they are still small – which will help to keep your dental bills low. If you wait until you have a problem where you must see the dentist right away, chances are good that it will cost plenty to treat it.
A general dentist also practices restorative dentistry. When problems are detected, steps will be taken to address them and restore your teeth to their normal state. Their ability to do this is limited – unless they have received additional training for it. They cannot, for instance, conduct wisdom tooth extractions, or install dental implants.
Because they must continually train to retain their dental license, most dentists continue to learn new dental techniques and expand their ability to perform an increasing amount of specialties. Some of them will also learn how to use high-tech equipment such as lasers and obtain it for their office.
A dentist’s training is focused on being able to evaluate and diagnose various problems and diseases that occur in the mouth, throat, and associated structures. They are also trained to understand how complications in the mouth will affect the rest of your body.
Being able to recognize various symptoms is very important. It has often enabled dentists to be able to identify several major diseases even before there are any symptoms of the disease elsewhere. This enables a disease or medical problem to be treated early, possibly catching it before it begins to become serious or life-threatening.
A dentist will use several tools to diagnose a problem. The most common tool is the x-ray machine, which enables the dentist to be able to spot hidden problems with the teeth, jawbone, and more. The office may also include the ability to conduct CT scans, but this may depend on what additional services the general dentist will offer.
One of the most important things that a dentist can look for and treat in the mouth is gum disease. This disease starts out small with minor symptoms but as it develops and becomes periodontal disease, it becomes a major problem. It will not only eventually cause loose teeth, but researchers have discovered that it is also a major cause of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, diabetes, stroke, cancer, dementia, and many more diseases.
A general dentist can also conduct oral cancer screening and a do a biopsy if needed. This exam can save lives because it may enable cancer, as well as pre-cancerous lesions, to be spotted and treated early.
Preventing dental problems is one way to save a lot of money in the long run. Dental insurance companies know this and they are glad to include preventive dental care on their policies. When prevention is the goal, it helps prevent small problems from becoming big ones.
It is much cheaper to pay for dental problems when they are small, such as cavities. If not treated at that time, a cavity can ultimately lead to needing a dental crown, a root canal with a dental crown, or even an extraction, which would need either a bridge or dental implant to replace it. Fixing the cavity would have been much cheaper when it was small.
Preventive dentistry usually includes making regularly scheduled office visits about every six months. These visits will usually include:
Preventive care also involves the dentist or technician providing some health tips. They may discuss:
When children’s teeth need to be protected from cavities, the dentist at Champion Dental can apply a dental sealant to them. This thin coating is a plastic material that is applied to healthy teeth, primarily the back teeth of children.
Dental sealants are very useful when applied to children’s back teeth because that is where they will get most of their cavities. Part of the reason this occurs is because children do not brush their teeth carefully enough or long enough to ensure they get the food debris and sugar out of the deeper crevices in those teeth. About 80 percent of cavities will develop in a child’s back teeth.
When a general dentist applies a dental sealant to the teeth, it is only on the top portion, where the crevices are. The teeth need to be healthy before applying it. The sealant will seal out the bacteria that cause cavities, as well as all food particles. It is not applied on other surfaces of teeth, including none in between the teeth.
Sealants can be expected to last for several years. Each time your child makes a regular dental appointment, the dentist will look at the sealant to ensure that it is still intact.
Other people can also take advantage of dental sealants. They are also excellent for people who cannot take good care of their own teeth, such as the disabled or seniors. Their teeth will need to be in good condition before it can be applied. Some dental plans will cover the application of dental sealants.
Many people may not recognize that when a dentist conducts a dental cleaning that they may also be performing an oral cancer screening. This is simply a visual inspection of all the oral cavities and tissue, and the dentist will also feel the neck and under the chin to try and detect the presence of any swollen lymph glands. The test will generally not take much more than a minute or two.
Oral cancer has become a growing problem for which there may not be an end in sight. Every year the numbers of diagnoses increase, with an expected 53,000 people to be diagnosed this year. This mouth cancer also has a higher fatality rate than some other cancers, mostly because it is often only detected when the more advanced stages have been reached. It is estimated that about only 57 percent of the people who get oral cancer this year will still be alive in five years.
The general dentist at Champion Dental is trained to spot oral cancer in the early stages and sometimes even before it becomes cancerous. The dentist can also provide a brush biopsy and send it to a lab for official diagnosis. If you have a sore in your mouth that lasts more than two weeks, you are advised to make an appointment to see a dentist right away.
This type of cancer is fast-spreading. It also has little, if any, pain associated with it in the early stages. This means that it can spread quickly without the patient having any idea that it is even there. Oropharyngeal cancer (cancer of the throat) can also be detected by a dentist, but it will likely require specialized tests with a lighted scope.
People who may be at risk for oral cancer should make regular dental appointments for a dental cleaning and oral cancer screening. Smokers, heavy drinkers, people with HPV, and those with prolonged sun exposure have the highest risk.
Family dentistry provides you and your family with the care that each family member needs. They not only have dentists that specialize in treating children, but they also have dentists that can treat most any problem that can arise when it comes to dental needs.
Because a family dentistry office will have more than one dentist, this may also enable them to provide treatments on more than one family member at the same time. The practice may also have some specialists onboard, enabling them to do root canals, dental implants, treat periodontal disease, laser dentistry, orthodontics, and more.
A dental office that offers family dentistry will often have the latest in dental equipment. When you want high-tech treatments or the latest in dental materials, a family dentist office will usually keep up with technology and be able to provide the latest and best practices in dentistry.
A family dentist will often stress the fact that, in addition to their dental treatments, that they are a caring and gentle practice. Other dental offices are often focused on treatments, but you want a dentist that will not rush through the treatment to quickly move on to the next patient.
A family dentist will also take time with patients to explain the various treatments needed, as well as any available options. Dentists now have many new tools and treatments available to them that will shorten the time spent in the chair and can provide treatments that involve less pain and enable faster healing.
Bringing the whole family to a single place for treatment and dental care will also enable the dentist and staff to provide more personalized care. It will also enable each family member to become more comfortable at the office which can make for faster and better treatments.
Special options may also be available for various family members. Options such as sleep dentistry are more likely to be available where there are multiple dentists, and emergency dentistry can be handled swiftly due to more dentists and staff members in the office.
Champion Dental provides a wide variety of services due to the training, expertise and years of dental practice. You and your family members can be treated for nearly any dental service you need at our office. Our friendly dentists can help you and your loved ones maintain healthy and beautiful teeth, as well as treat problems that may arise. You can set up a consultation or get more information about our general dentistry services by contacting our office today.