When the term dentistry comes to mind, people may recall their family dental clinic, where they go to have their teeth cleaned and checked. However, the dental profession is much bigger than they think, and general dentists are only one of the specialties in the study of dentistry. For those who want to know more about the other dentist types, they can continue reading.
Everyone’s family dentist is a general dentist who regularly looks after the oral health of his/her patients. Majority of the work of these professionals involves preventive oral care, which covers regular dental cleaning, x-rays and teaching patients about oral care at home. General dentists are in charge of restorative oral care – like treating tooth decay by substituting it using artificial fillings, preparing chipped, cracked or missing teeth, as well as whitening services. They treat oral problems brought about by gum disease plus root problems below the gumline. They can guide patients in getting braces, mouth guards and false teeth, among other treatments. Since a general dentist is the health care practitioner that people most often see, they also monitor the health of the patient’s mouth, head and neck to make sure there are no problems.
General dentists can treat a lot of conditions, and may be experienced in providing specialty care elements. So, they can provide patients with a recommendation of certain types of dental specialists like those that follow.
Orthodontists are known to install braces, but their care goes beyond that. In general, orthodontists fix misaligned teeth, jaw bones, plus other supporting facial structures for cosmetic and functional purposes. This means to say that they improve the bite of people by designing custom oral hardware – like braces, retainers, clear dental alignment trays, mouthguard, face masks and headgear to address developmental issues. Such devices work over a period of time to improve deformed bone structure and teeth with spacing problems.
Periodontistry focuses on gums, and periodontists help in diagnosing, treating and preventing different gum problems. This includes the treatment of extreme gum pain and inflammation, diagnose and treatment of extreme gum or periodontal disease, installation of dental implants and cosmetic skin grafting on gums. In general, a periodontist is involved in anything that has got to do with extensive work to be performed on gums. Gum disease treatment occupies a huge part of periodontistry. Therefore, periodontists usually give advice to general dentists on the prevention and treatment plans that will fit the patient’s lifestyle.
The tooth’s inner part, also known as the “pulp”, is covered by the tooth’s hard enamel plus inner layer of dentin and is located below the gumline. It is soft, consists of sensitive living tissue and is part of the tooth which endodontists focus on. The tooth pulp can get damaged, rotten or inflamed because of trauma, injury or decay, so this needs to be either removed or treated. When treated and preserved, the tooth can be kept alive inside the patient’s mouth. However, when it can no longer be preserved, it usually requires a treatment called root canal, which is the most commonly performed procedure by endodontists.