When you meet someone new, what is the first thing you notice about them? Chances are that it has something to do with the other person’s face. Even more likely, you may find that you notice their mouth first–especially if they are talking or smiling. Decayed, disfigured or otherwise unhealthy teeth can be terribly unattractive, and can draw negative attention from others. Perhaps it is for this reason that so many individuals think dentistry is important–it helps to ensure healthy, attractive teeth which in turn can contribute to positive first impressions. But while this is definitely incredibly important, there is actually so much more to dentistry.
Understanding General Dentistry
It is not uncommon for individuals to believe that the main purpose of dentistry is to take care of teeth. In fact, dentistry is much more complex and important, as it has to do with protecting and maintaining the health of the patient’s entire oral cavity and indeed, their entire body. Not only are oral diseases highly prevalent around the world, but they are often responsible for a wide range of undesirable, and normally preventable, health issues.
Most dental treatments are designed to prevent and treat tooth decay, gum disease and pyorrhea through tooth restoration, tooth extraction, scaling, root planing and root canal treatments. Dentists encourage their patients to be proactive in preventing oral diseases by ensuring proper daily oral hygiene as well as receiving twice yearly dental examinations and professional tooth cleaning. Regular dental examinations are especially critical since conditions in the oral cavity can indicate whether an individual is suffering from undesirable systemic diseases like osteoporosis, diabetes or cancer. Gum disease has been proven to increase an individual’s risk of diabetes, heart disease and preterm birth. It is for this reason that dentistry is so critically important to individuals of all ages.
Dentistry can restore and replace teeth that have been either damaged by decay or lost through oral trauma or disease, perform necessary corrective surgery on the gums and supporting bones in order to treat gum disease, extract teeth, eradicate the pain originating from oral diseases and trauma, correct poor tooth positioning so as to improve appearance, digestion, speech and chewing abilities, advise patients on how to establish and maintain healthy oral tissues, and much more. Dentists are also able to prescribe antibiotics, sedatives and other medications that may be necessary as part of a patient’s dental treatment. More complex dental treatments, such as sedation, oral and maxillofacial surgery and dental implants require additional education and qualifications.
In order to become a licensed dentist, an individual must participate in at least three years of undergraduate studies as well as four years of dental school. Upon graduation, the individual will qualify as either of Doctor of Dental Surgery or a Doctor of Dental Medicine. They can perform restorative treatments like fillings, crowns and bridges, prosthetic treatments like dentures, endodontic treatments like root canals, periodontal treatments, tooth extractions, routine examinations, radiographs and diagnoses. They use the most up-to-date and effective techniques and equipment in order to examine the head, neck and oral cavity in order to determine the patient’s oral health and identify and diagnose any undesirable conditions.
Radiographic imaging, as well as other diagnostic techniques, can identify diseases of the teeth, supporting bone, gingival tissues and others area in the head and neck. All together, the practice of dentistry contributes greatly to an individual’s oral and overall physical health.