General dentistry, in its most basic and direct definition, is a number of dental services that are designed to provide care for patients of all ages. It doesn’t necessarily focus on any particular procedure, but is instead intended to focus on overall dental health.
If you really have to, you can simplify this even more and describe general dentistry as a combination of diagnostic or preventative services.
General dentistry puts an extremely high value on prevention – prevention of gum disease, prevention of cavities, and prevention of all the other problems that could lead to oral diseases and destroy your beautiful smile.
In order to do that, of course, a dentist needs to know exactly what’s going on inside your mouth and teeth, which is why they put so much importance on your regular checkups. This is the only way to determine if there is a problem on the horizon and stop it in its tracks before it can go any further.
Let’s take a closer look at these elements of general dentistry.
Diagnosing the Problem
At your regular exam, the dentist will look closely at your teeth and gums for any signs of decay or gingivitis. This is also when the dentist should look for the signs of oral cancer. X-rays are used to detect cavities, but they can also be used at this point to spot any bone loss or infections, or any other abnormalities that may be problematic.
Preventing Further Problems
Once your dentist has all the data they need on the condition of your mouth, they can begin to prescribe some preventative solutions and help you keep your teeth nice and healthy.
Preventative services usually start with a professional teeth cleaning. This is an extremely important part of the process because, no matter how dedicated you are to your personal dental hygiene routine at home, plaque and bacteria are sneaky stuff, and it’s almost impossible to get it all cleaned out at home.
(That’s not a reason to slack on your personal routines, just a reminder that there are areas around your teeth that require some help to get clean.)
A dentist may also recommend and apply dental sealants if necessary, though this is more common with younger patients. This will help ensure that food particles and bacteria don’t get stuck in the rough surfaces there.
An Ongoing Solution
Your dental health is, obviously, something that requires continual attention. You can’t let up on it and expect to have the same bright, white smile. You can’t skip appointments and expect your gums to stay consistently healthy.
This is even more important when you understand that the body is a connected organism and that problems in one place could lead to problems in another.
This means that by focusing on the health of your teeth and gums, you may actually be contributing to the overall health of your body.
Restoring Your Teeth
Of course, some patients may wait too long to get checked, and then it’s too late for the preventative services to be much help.
In these cases, a number of restorative services still fall under the general dentistry category.
These procedures could include dental crowns, fillings, bridges, dentures, and more.
You could, in fact, include a number of cosmetic procedures under this category, too, but mostly because restorative procedures naturally also have a cosmetic effect.
A skilled general dentist can provide a lot of help so you can keep your healthy smile and feel like you can share it with others.