Did you know that 80 percent of the estimated 143,000 dentists currently practicing in North America are classified as general dentists?
You may be wondering what difference it makes – and what a general dentist does. It’s quite simple. Unlike those specialists who focus on a specific type of dental practice – periodontist, prosthodontist, endodontist, etc. – general dentists are primary care providers who offer a wide range of services. These include:
Preventive Care – A general dentist helps stop disease in your teeth and gums before it starts. This is done through regular dental exams and professional teeth cleanings. Besides checking your teeth and gums, your general dentist may use x-rays for diagnostic purposes. He or she will provide you with detailed instructions on how to improve your oral hygiene, and may recommend preventive treatments such as custom-made mouthguards or sealants.
Restorative Care – If your general dentist finds a problem with your teeth, he or she can provide timely and appropriate treatment. Most often, this involves addressing tooth decay by filling a cavity in the tooth. However, general dentists are also qualified to repair broken, loose, or missing teeth with a crown, bridgework, or dentures. Some general dentists also provide advanced treatments, such as root canal therapy, orthodontics, and dental implants.
Cosmetic Procedures – Oftentimes,general dentists offer and perform cosmetic procedures that can help improve your smile such as teeth whitening, bonding, and porcelain veneers.
Overall Health Concerns – Your oral health is more closely related to your general health than you probably realize. Some dental problems are due to other conditions within your body, while some can lead to more serious health issues. Untreated oral infections, for instance, can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease or make it harder for you to control diabetes. General dentists are trained to recognize such issues and provide either the appropriate treatment or referral to a specialist. They can provide nutritional counseling, advice on how to quit smoking, information on oral appliances to treat obstructive sleep apnea, or simply provide general health and wellness guidance.
As for their qualifications, general dentists have earned a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM) degree. To become a general dentist, three or more years of undergraduate education plus four years of dental school is required. Some general dentists have received additional postgraduate training in a specialty such as restorative dentistry, fixed and removable prosthodontics, orofacial pain, and dental implants.
It’s recommended that you see your primary care dentist at least twice a year to maintain good oral health. For all your teeth cleaning and dental needs, contact the office of Dr. Ernie Soto. Dr. Soto serves patients of all ages in Broward County, Florida, for comprehensive dental care and he specializes in cosmetic and implant dentistry.
Call (954) 368-6264or fill out our online consultation request form today to schedule an appointment. We provide a full range of dental services to help you maintain your best possible smile.