There are numerous specialties in dentistry, but great dental care always comes back to your general dentist. Because they undergo education in training in numerous areas of oral health care, general dentists can do a lot more than filling teeth!
General Dentist Training and Education
Becoming a general dentist requires eight years of schooling—four to obtain an undergraduate degree and another four in dental school.
The first two years of dental school involve studying human anatomy, functions of the body, and the diseases that affect it. Studies include biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology alongside dental-oriented sciences like oral anatomy and pathology.
The last two years of dental school focus on clinical study or direct patient care, where aspiring dentists work under the supervision of a clinical instructor. They also learn to work with other oral health professionals to help them appreciate the team dynamic involved with delivering oral health care.
What does all of this mean to you as a patient? It means that your dentist not only understands your oral health but is also well-versed in the link between oral health and overall health and wellness.
The Role Your General Dentist Plays in Oral Health Care
Like your primary care physician, your general dentist provides essential oral health care services and oversees your dental needs.
While they may occasionally refer you to a specialist for advanced or complex treatment, a general dentist learns over 100 procedures to handle most of your routine dental needs. The services they provide cover the following areas:
- Promote oral health and prevention of diseases
- Interpret x-rays and diagnostic test
- Diagnose oral diseases
- Create treatment plans to maintain or restore oral health
- Monitor growth and development of the teeth and jaws
- Perform surgical procedures like tooth extractions and dental implant placement
- Ensure that anesthetics are delivered safely
Listing of Procedures a General Dentist Performs
During their training, general dentists study whole-body health and the impact that dental disease has on other systems in the body. Numerous scientific studies have confirmed the oral-systemic link, where conditions like gum disease contribute to heart and lung disease, diabetes, dementia, arthritis, and a host of others.
For this reason, dentists place such heavy emphasis on prevention; oral health encompasses a lot more than your teeth, and improving your overall health can contribute to a healthier body.
The old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” could have been created just for dentistry because prevention is always easier than the cure. When you visit your dentist every six months for exams and cleanings, they can find and treat problems before they damage your oral health and require more complex and costly treatment to correct.
Preventive dental services your general dentist provides are:
- X-rays and diagnostics, including digital x-rays and intraoral cameras
- Comprehensive dental exams to look for cavities, broken teeth, and gum disease
- Teeth cleanings with a skilled hygienist to maintain healthy gums and look for signs of gum disease
- Patient education to help you understand and be proactive with your unique oral health needs
- Fluoride treatment for children and older adults to strengthen teeth and help prevent cavities
- Dental sealants to prevent bacteria from collecting on teeth and causing cavities
- Custom mouthguards for protection during sports activities
Nearly everyone will need restorative dentistry at some point in their lives. Even expert brushers and flossers can develop a cavity, teeth can break or become worn down, and tooth loss can and does occur.
Restorative dentistry involves taking a damaged, broken, or missing tooth and returning it to full health, function, and aesthetics using the following services:
- Tooth fillings to remove decay and strengthen and protect a tooth
- Dental bonding, a non-invasive technique to fill in chipped or broken teeth
- Dental crowns and bridges to restore and replace missing teeth
- Root canal therapy to treat tooth infections and dental abscesses
- Dentures to replace a few missing teeth or an entire arch of missing teeth
- Periodontal treatment to control or eliminate gum disease
- Tooth extractions, a last-resort procedure for unsalvageable teeth
- TMJ treatment, including bite adjustment, nightguards, and occlusal splints
Another critical area is emergency dentistry, and when searching for a general dentist, it’s a good idea to find a professional who offers this service. In a dental emergency, their priority is first to relieve your pain and then find and treat the source of the problem.
The services of an emergency dentist range from performing root canals and extracting teeth to replacing lost dental crowns and repairing dentures.
A Dental Office in Aurora, CO That Does It All
At Uptown Comprehensive Dentistry and Prosthodontics, you’ll find expert general dentistry alongside prosthodontics, one of nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. A prosthodontist specializes in diagnosing and treating missing or compromised teeth and restoring aesthetics and healthy function.
Dr. John Chen is a prosthodontist in Aurora who’s been offering world-class dentistry since 2012. Because he also provides general dentistry, he can perform a wide range of dental procedures, from fillings to full mouth restoration.
The benefit of choosing a dental home with Dr. Chen is that you can receive most of your dental care in one location with a highly skilled prosthodontist who rarely needs to refer treatment to specialists.
Schedule an Appointment with Dr. Chen
Dr. Chen and his professional team are always happy to welcome new patients, and we would love to tell you more about what we offer. Please call our Aurora dental office at (303) 627-5755 to schedule an appointment.
We look forward to meeting you!