General Dentists – Anything But “General”

According to DentalPlans.com, of the nearly 150,000 dentists practicing in North America, approximately 80% are general dentists. Though routine visits to family dentists often consist of exams and X-rays, a general dentist offers so much more than general services.

General dentists focus on prevention and maintenance

Unlike orthodontists and other types of dental professionals, who generally focus on specific aspects of dentistry, general dentists provide a wide array of oral health services. However, it is estimated that approximately 65% of those services have to do with the diagnosis and prevention of disease. By performing routine examinations, conducting thorough cleanings and emphasizing at-home oral hygiene, family dentists help to prevent the progression of oral disease, which, if left untreated, can result in missed work, missed school and extensive medical bills.

Though a large part of what a general dentist does is perform exams and cleanings, these procedures are hardly the only treatment a dentist provides. Below are a few of the more common services one can expect a general dentist to offer.

Preventative services

Because general dentists emphasize maintaining good oral health above all else, the number one type of service most provide is of the preventative variety. Preventative dental services include X-rays, exams and cleanings. Dentists perform X-rays and exams to diagnose existing oral health issues, while they provide cleanings to prevent the buildup of plaque, which can lead to more extensive issues such as tooth decay and gum disease. In addition to exams and cleanings, family dentists may recommend more inclusive preventative solutions, such as sealants and mouthguards.

Cosmetic procedures

Though general dentists do not offer the comprehensive cosmetic dental solutions cosmetic dentists are trained to provide, many can help patients achieve whiter, brighter smiles of which to be proud. For instance, most family dentists are qualified to whiten patients' teeth, bond the teeth or even coat the teeth in porcelain veneers. If a patient's cosmetic needs are minimal, a general dentist may be able to oblige.

Restorative services

It is not uncommon for dental exams to reveal mild, moderate and extensive oral health issues. If an exam or X-ray reveals a problem, the dentist will deliver appropriate and timely treatment. Some types of restoration services general dentists provide include fillings, crowns, bridgework and even dentures. Family dentists can prevent cavities from turning into full-blown decay and tooth loss; stave off or reverse the progression of gum disease; restore a broken, chipped or lost tooth; and alleviate the pain and discomfort caused by oral health issues.

Preserve overall health

General dentists may focus solely on the preservation of oral health, but in reality, the work they do goes a long way toward maintaining patients' overall health. Several bodies of research show that one's oral health often reflects issues in other parts of the body and vice versa. For instance, hard-to-treat gum disease is often a sign of diabetes. Untreated gum disease can lead to more severe health complications, such as heart disease, stroke and preterm labor. General dentists not only identify and control oral health issues associated with other health problems but also provide referrals where appropriate.

Conclusion

General dentists do much more than provide X-rays, exams and cleanings. They better patients' overall health, happiness and lifestyles.

Request an appointment here: https://planodentist.net or call James M. Adkins, DDS at (469) 393-0479 for an appointment in our Plano office.

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