What is General Dentistry? - DentalChat

We get asked online dental questions by many of our users, such as - what is the difference between an endodontist and a dentist?  Or what is the difference between a dentist or an oral surgeon? In this dental blog - we will discuss general dentistry and the various dental specialties recognized by national dental organizations.  There are always new dental specialties being recognized, as dental medicine just like general medicine is becoming more specialized.

General Dentistry

Dental Specialties About General Dentistry

The majority of dentists in the USA and throughout the world are General Dentists.  One dental question we get, is what areas of dentistry can my dentist or general dentist do?  The simple answer is the licensed dentist can perform all areas of dentistry or provide all dental care services for their patients.  That does not mean that your dentist will do every type of dental procedure.  Dentists continually progress and get extra education through various seminars and dental courses. General Dentists will choose to perform the dental procedures that they feel comfortable in doing.

What is General Dentistry?  

Dentistry is the field of medicine that focuses on the mouth and face.  Dentistry is also known as the study of Dental and Oral Medicine - a branch of medicine that consists of the study, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of oral diseases - which includes the dentition or teeth of people.  Dentistry also covers the maxillofacial structures of the face and jaw.  The teeth and the whole body are interconnected - that is, if have bad teeth > it can cause bad health in all your body.  The teeth sit in the jaw and the corresponding nerves travel throughout the face and body.  Hence, a licensed dentist needs to have a good understanding of the teeth, jaw, face and the whole body.

Dental Specialties or Dental Specialists are categorized by the National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards.  They do regular meetings to specifiy the requirement - with the Requirements for Recognition of Dental Specialties and National Certifying Boards meetings.

Here are the different specialties of dentists recognized by dental boards

  • General Dentist

A general dentist is one who has completed Dental School and has not received any specialized post-graduate education. General dentist not only provides the basic dental care treatments but also can aid the policy makers or relevant bodies to govern the regulations related to the dental field. General Dentists are licensed to do any type of dentistry.  Though, many general dentists choose to limit their dental practice to areas of dentistry they feel comfortable in providing to patients.  Hence, some general dentists may provide wisdom tooth (third molar) extraction treatment.  Where other general dentists, may rather refer those patients to a oral surgeon or periodontist.

  • Pediatric Dentist

Pediatric Dentists are specialists who take care for the oral hygiene of kids from infancy to teenage. The reason why a dentist must have a specialty in treating the kids, lies in the sedation requirements. Providing dental treatment to kids may require something more than just anesthesia through a needle injection. A Pedodontist may need to use other ways of numbing or using other products to comfort the patient.  For instance, the pediatric dentist may want to use nitrous oxide, which is also called as laughing gas is used. 

If this is not sufficient, then the pediatric Pedodontist may choose for some intravenous injection to sedate the young patient. Usually, handling kids in this situation is difficult as they are more inclined to sleep. Hence, the services of nurses are also called for.

  • Periodontist

Periodontists provide gum care and more. Complications related to oral hygiene and gum disease come under the Periodontist. Periodontists provide a very wide range of dental care treatment,  in treating the inflammation in gums and surrounding tissues. They can offer root planning and scaling treatment, to complicated bone grafting procedures in the mouth. In the case of root planning, they clean the teeth root by clearing the debris. 

Local Periodontists use special techniques to help people with gingivitis and periodontitis. He also uses instruments to measure spaces between gum and teeth. To perform the complex surgeries on gums, he must be familiar with patient’s medical history.

  • Prosthodontist

When it comes to providing the tooth replacement appliances, then Prosthodontists play their role. They provide dentures, crowns, and bridges for special surgeries. In fact, their role is more complex. They also provide appliances for patients who suffer from cleft palate; which is a sensitive issue to tackle.  

  • Oral Surgeon - Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery:

Oral surgeons carry out most complicated wisdom teeth extractions and facial surgical procedures. They can help in finding and treating oral cancer. . Oral surgeons can place dental implants and help in treating people that have severe facial trauma to their lips and mouth.  Oral surgeons get extensive medical training after graduating from dental school, to be able to perform dental emergency surgeries that patients may require in bad accidents.

  • Orthodontist

Orthodontists provide dental treatment to straighten teeth.  Orthodontists help in providing treatment for misaligned teeth, modification of mandibular growth and midface alignment.  Having straight teeth now is very important for most people.  Orthodontists provide valuable dental treatment to align the bit and straighten teeth for children and adults.  Most orthdontic treatment starts around the age of  9 to 14, though this can vary depending on the person.

  • Endodontist

An Endodontist is basically a specialist in root canal therapy. A general dentist can also treat the ailments of the root canal, but at times, complications are likely to grow worse. In severe cases, patients are referred to Endodontist.

Patients who have suffered any issue related to root canal are very well aware of the severity of pain. The reason is that root canal is a very much sensitive part. Teeth roots have pointed edges. In case any injury occurs, or a cavity is formed in the root, the victim suffers severe pain. In many cases, he is not even able to speak or eat properly. 

Let's discuss one dental procedure that is done on millions of people every year.  When there is a tooth abscess, your dentist will most likely recommend having a root canal treatment done.  This is where general dentists and endodontists can be working hand in hand.  On easier front teeth with one root, many times the general dentist will go ahead and do the root canal.  On more complicated and larger back teeth molars, the endondontist may be referred the patient to do the root canal.  The patient will return to the General Dentist to get the filling and/or crown done. Let's discuss root canal therapy more.

 Treating The Root Canal

A general dentist or endodontist can provide root canal treatment (RCT).  In a complicated multi-root tooth, the endodontist will many time be doing these type of root canals. When the pulp canal area gets infected or the caries spread into the area, the dentist or endodontist will need to clean out the root canal area with drilling or hand instruments. Then,  the root canal treatment will involve the filling of the root canal with various materials. 

One of the most common root canal materials is known as gutta-percha.  This root canal filling fills the canal and hopefully will protect the tooth from any infection and contamination. After filling, a crown that resembles one of the real teeth is placed on the tooth. To provide extra support, dentists may place a post. It takes few days for a root canal to return to its normal condition.

 Teeth Sensitivity 

Teeth sensitivity is a very common dental complication. Decaying tooth is more likely to become sensitive to hot and cold food.  Consuming beverages, like carbonated drinks, and not brushing properly after eating, is the main reason of decaying teeth. Further, too much hard brushing can destroy enamel (upper-layer) making the tooth surface more vulnerable. Tooth sensitivity is also caused by leakage, from the recently filled root canal. This condition, if prevails makes the teeth sensitive to too cold and too hot food, like ice-cream and coffee.

Briefly, a worn out decaying tooth doesn’t remain capable of tolerating effects of temperature. Hence, intake of even a slightly cold water or hot drink becomes difficult. Teeth sensitivity is treated by analyzing the root cause. Mostly, surgical gum graft, bonding, a desensitized Toothpaste and Fluoride Gel, are the cure for a sensitive tooth. The dentist can also opt for a root canal to close the cavities in certain cases. Usually, through brushing after eating can prevent teeth sensitivity.

Local  General Dentistry And Online Dental Specialists

There are many dental specialties to help people with their dental care.  Denta lChat was founded by a dentist to help people understand dentistry better - to help better inform people of dental care.  More people are going online to better understand the dental treatment plan that is being provided to them by their local dentist.  Local General Dentist Chat, Online Oral Surgery Blog, Local Periodontists Chat, Online Endodontists Chat and Online General Dentistry Chatting with us at DentalChat.

More Dental Info at DentalChat - One area where physicians and dentists come together - is the treatment of TMD / TMJ Treatment.  Here at Dentalchat we have an interesting Dentist Blog on TMJ - here is the Dentalchat link  https://dentalchat.com/tmd-info-blog-tmj-chat-information-online   We welcome our users feedback and dental suggestions.