Different Dentist Designations

Published: 10th February 2007
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You might think all dentists provide the same basic services. There are, however, many different designations of dentists and many specialties.

Each individual is largely responsible for caring for their own teeth. There are times, however, when you will need to rely on a professional. Dentists are highly trained medical experts. They specialize in the care of teeth and gums. Dentists fall into two broad categories. General dentists are typically known as family dentists. Most individuals will only need the care of a general dentist. Specialty dentists focus on one particular area of dentistry. They will receive an extra two to six years of training in order to become specialized.

The most common thing a general dentist does is routine checkups. General dentists usually see patients twice a year. At these visits they will evaluate the health of the patient's teeth and gums. They will often do x-rays to make sure there is no tooth decay. After evaluating the patient, they will clean the teeth thoroughly. General dentists also work to prevent dental disease by teaching patients how to properly care for their teeth. They also might help patients eliminate risk factors such as smoking.

If there is a problem with a patient's teeth, a general dentist can sometimes correct it themselves. Many general dentists can do fillings, tooth extractions, root canals, bridges, crowns, sealants, and dentures. Many also see pediatric patients. If a general dentist does not perform a service, they will refer the patient to a specialty dentist.

There are more than a few specialties in dentistry. Pediatric dentists are those whose practice is focused on patients under the age of 18. They sometimes might care for those who have mental illness or a diminished mental capacity. Orthodontists see a lot of young patients as well as they are the ones who apply braces to teeth. Adults can also see orthodontists if they have crooked or misaligned teeth. If a patient has an injury to their mouth or jaw, they would see a oral and maxillofacial surgeon. These dental surgeons also work on defects of the mouth and jaw. They perform extractions of teeth that are difficult to remove as well.

Endodontists work on the inner portion of teeth. They do root canals and treat the pulp and nerves of the tooth once it becomes diseased. They might work with an oral pathologist, who treats diseases in the mouth. A periodontist is responsible for treating gum disease. They also work on the bones in the mouth. If teeth need to be replaced, a prosthodontist will make a plan for dentures, bridges or implants.

Obviously, there are other specialties as well. You don't really need to know them as you dentist will refer you to the appropriate person.

Thomas Ajava is with DentistStop.com - a dentist clinic and office directory.

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