What Is General Dentistry?
General dentistry as defined by The 1997 ADA House of Delegates is the evaluation, diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of diseases, disorders, and/or conditions of the
- oral cavity
- maxillofacial area
- adjacent and associated structures
The treatment is provided by a dentist, within the scope of his/her education, training, and experience, per the ethics of the profession and applicable law.
Who Is A General Dentist?
General dentists are usually your primary dental care provider. They diagnose, treat, and manage your overall dental health needs.
To become a general dentist, a person has to study 3 or more years of undergraduate education along with 4 years of dental school. They will usually be awarded a DDS or a DMD degree. There isn’t a difference between the two.
What Does General Dentistry Include?
There are an estimated 143,000 dentists in North America, out of which almost 80% are general dentists. While specialists focus on a particular aspect of dentistry, general dentists offer a wide variety of services that are imperative to continue oral health.
By definition, these help by preventing disease before it takes hold in your oral cavity. Regular checkups, including digital imaging such as X-rays, and professional teeth cleanings are important for prevention.
General dentists also provide detailed instructions on how to improve and take care of your oral hygiene at home. Additionally, they might also perform preventive treatments like fluoride application and sealants.
People with a super active lifestyle can also opt to get a custom mouthguard made at their general dentist’s office.
When a dental issue arises, your dentist ensures that you get timely and relevant treatment. One of the most common restorative services is a filling. The dentist removes tooth decay and restores the space with an amalgam or composite filling.
Along with fillings, general dentists can also diagnose and treat the various causes of toothache and gum disease. They also offer tooth replacement options, do dental crown and bridgework, and provide dentures.
Some general dentists might also more advanced therapies such as orthodontics, root canal therapy, and dental implants, etc.
General dentists upgrade their skill set to provide their patients with cosmetic dentistry options. These include teeth whitening, dental veneers, cosmetic bonding, etc. If a smile makeover is something you’re looking for, ask your dentist what cosmetic procedures they provide.
Most dentists offer emergency services. They see patients outside of business hours should they encounter a dental emergency.
In cases where one would require prompt treatment – such as broken, knocked-out, or loose teeth – a general dentist comes in handy.
General Health Concerns
Certain dental issues reflect in your general health and vice versa. For example, untreated and chronic oral infections lead to
- poor control of diabetes
- increased chances of cardiovascular disease
- pregnancy complications
General dentists are experts at identifying these issues and many more. Additionally, they will offer apt treatment when required.
One specific concern is obstructive sleep apnea. It is a potentially deadly condition that may be treated with an oral appliance.
Furthermore, they offer nutritional counseling, general health and wellness information, and advice on tobacco termination.
What Are The Unwritten Rules Of Dentistry?
When it comes to the science part of dentistry, nothing is unwritten. Students learn everything they need to know about dentistry during their stint at dental school.
What is unwritten, are the rules that apply to human relationships. Every dentist follows a code of ethics – which involves helping people, no matter the background or profession.
Building Trustworthy Relationships
Dentists treat their patients just like they would family. They also take the time to get to know their patients to build trustworthy relationships that last.
Listening To Patient Concerns
Dentists work in partnership with their patients to help them achieve the smile they want. The treatment plans are charted out by keeping the patient’s budget, schedule, and lifestyle in mind.
Treat Them Well
Dentists, like most other professionals, believe in treating people like how they would want to be treated. For them, the patient’s needs come first.
Preventive Over Corrective
As mentioned earlier, general dentists focus on prevention. They will schedule regular appointments with their patients to help them maintain their oral health. General dentists will try their best to avoid any damage to the patient’s oral cavity.
Continuing Dental Education
To best serve their patients, dentists stay updated with all the innovations and developments in dentistry. Almost all dentists you meet place a lot of importance on continuing dental education.
How To Tell Which Dentist Is The Best?
Start your dentist research by asking family, friends, and anyone else you know for referrals. Aside from people you know, ask other healthcare professionals for a recommendation. Your general doctor and the local pharmacist are great options.
Narrow down your list to the dental offices that people recommend the most.
Find Out The Dentist’s Qualifications
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a dentist is whether or not they’re board certified. This tells you that the dentist in question has the necessary training, experience, and skills required.
You can also confirm that the dentist has no history of disciplinary actions or malpractice claims on state websites.
Schedule An Appointment
The only way to figure out if a dental office is for you is by physically visiting the establishment. Call the office and schedule a consultation with their dentist. This will give you an idea of the status of the office – the hygiene and how it functions – and what the dentist is like.
This will also provide an insight into the dentist’s communication style. Unless they’re making you feel comfortable and not rushed, they’re probably not the office you want to settle on.
At Minneapolis Dental, we ensure that our patients are leaving our offices satisfied with not just the treatment but their overall experience. Dr. Lorrie Hodd is a general and cosmetic dentist committed to the highest standards of patient care. Along with our dentist, the staff at MPLS Dental is well-versed with excellence in the dental office. To schedule an appointment with us, call (612) 332-1255.