General dentistry practices have changed a lot over the years. There was a time when the general dentist was also the local barber, the town doctor and maybe even the veterinarian for a town. The general dentist dealt with all of the problems that people had with their teeth and gums.
A dentist is no longer the town barber. The dentist will have gone to school for many years and will have worked in a residency to learn the craft. It takes time to learn everything that is needed to help people maintain good oral health. A dentist is no longer able to handle all of the care for a person’s gums and teeth. Dentists now specialize in different areas. They get extra training to provide their patients with the best care possible.
While there are plenty of dentist that specialize in various areas, there is still a need for the dentist that practices general dentistry. It is important for people to understand what a general dentist does for them so they know when to see this individual and when to see a dental specialist.
First Line of Defense
The general dentist is the dentist that a person will see most often. They are the ones that will help an individual with the overall care of their teeth and gums. It is always a good idea to see your general dentist twice a year or every six months. This will allow them to monitor your teeth and gums and discover any problems that may need to be taken care of.
When you see the general dentist you can expect them to do several things.
Evaluate the health of your teeth and gums – This can be done through visual inspection and through other tests
X-ray the teeth – These can spot any abnormalities that may develop on the teeth and gums
Perform minor procedures – If a cavity is detected a general dentist is qualified to correct it. The earlier that a cavity is discovered, the easier it is to fix.
Perform more complex procedures – When cavity has developed too far, it may be necessary for more extensive procedures to repair it. General dentists can perform root canals and place crowns to help with more serious issues.
Cleaning – One of the most important things that a general dentist does is cleaning of the teeth and gums. The general dentist can remove the bacteria and other buildup that can occur despite regular brushing and flossing. They will also provide a fluoride treatment that protects the teeth further.
Referring Patients to Specialists
A good general dentist will know their limitations. They will be able to evaluate a patient’s condition and will know when that patient requires more care than they can provide. When a general dentist sees a patient that needs extra care, they should refer them to a dental specialist. The general dentist may or may not recommend a specific doctor to go to, but they should be able to tell a person what type of specialist is needed for the patient. There is nothing wrong with going to a general dentist that understand their limitations. In fact, they may be the ones that help keep your teeth in the best possible health.