General dentists are the most frequent providers of restorative and preventative dental care. All general dentists must complete four years of undergraduate college education followed by four years at an accredited dental school. Your dentist will possess licensing as either a DMD (doctor of dental medicine) or a DDS (doctor of dental surgery), which both require the same proficiency in dentistry.
In addition to a dental degree, your general dentist may have also obtained certification in a specialty field, a few of which include:
- Oral Surgeries
- Cosmetic Surgeries
General dentists can offer a wide range of services and procedures, including cosmetic dentistry, minor oral surgeries, braces, preventative services (exams and checkups), x-rays, and restorative services like implants, veneers, bridges and crowns, and extractions. The American Dental Association recommends seeing your dentist twice yearly, and on an as-needed basis for any oral problems that arise in between checkups.
Types of Services
General dentists provide care in three main areas: prevention, restoration, and cosmetic dentistry.
- Prevention: regular visits to the dentist help prevent oral health problems and keep your mouth functioning at its best. Your dentist may offer x-rays in addition to twice-annual teeth cleaning checkups. Between your scheduled visits, you can also see your general dentist about issues that arise suddenly, like a toothache or a chipped tooth.
- Restoration: if your dentist spots a problem with your mouth, he or she will offer some form of dental restoration. This can include services like fillings for chipped teeth, extracting an infected tooth, or a root canal for a cavity. Depending on the severity of the problem, your dentist can also refer you to an oral surgeon or another specialist.
- Cosmetic Dentistry: your dentist can provide services like teeth whitening, which can improve the appearance of your mouth. Many cosmetic procedures are also considered restorative, as they improve both the look and function of your mouth, and may help prevent future complications. Examples of these types of procedures are dental implants, veneers, bonding and bridges, and dentures.
Choosing a General Dentist
If you have a specific dental problem or a preexisting condition, you may want to look for a general dentist with certifications related to your needs. For example, if you know you’ll require wisdom teeth removal, you might narrow your search to dentists with oral surgery certification. Some general dentists also undergo additional training for pediatric dentistry, which teaches dentists to work specifically with children. If you have little ones, finding a dentist with pediatric training can ensure that your children are comfortable at the dental office and that their developing needs continue to be met as they grow up.
Choosing a general dentist is all about personal preference. Make sure you meet with your prospective dentist for an interview to ensure that you feel comfortable trusting him or her with your oral health. In addition to preventing and fixing problems with a single tooth, your dentist can make recommendations that will improve your overall health for your entire life. If you’re searching for a general dentist, call our office today.