Dentistry is a medical practice that serves to prevent, diagnose and treat all manner of conditions affecting the gums, teeth and jaws. Advancements in this medical practice mean that you not only have the option of getting general dental care, but also receiving specialized preventive care. This guide will give you further insight on the difference between general dental and preventive dentistry.
1. General Dentistry
The Dental Board of Australia records that Australia had 18,324 general dentists by June 2014. This represents a significant proportion of all the practitioners offering dental care, mainly because such professionals provide primary dental care to all patients.
A general dentist will diagnose, treat and coordinate a variety of services in catering to your oral health needs. The dentist will also coordinate with other professionals, in case you need further specialized care.
What Does A General Dentist Do?
Being the primary care-givers catering to your oral health doesn’t mean that general dentists aren’t highly trained. On the contrary, these are highly trained and well-educated medical personnel who can competently provide a wide range of services, including:
• Crowns and bridges
• Cosmetic procedures
• Dental implants
• Gum disease treatment
• Home care instruction
• Nutrition counseling
• Oral surgery
• Partial dentures
• Root canal therapy
• Restorative care
• Tobacco cessation
• Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD/TMJ) therapy
• Teeth cleaning
2. Preventive Dentistry
Preventive dentistry is a more specialized form of dental care. Such care is essentially meant to prevent a patient’s need for extensive procedures, whether restorative or cosmetic. Preventive dentistry utilizes regular maintenance procedures to avert poor oral health caused by decay and disease.
Which Procedures Are Applied In Preventive Dentistry?
In pursuit of preventive care, a special set of procedures are applied, including:
(I) Professional Cleaning:
Professional cleaning simply involves polishing and scaling. The main purpose is to curb build-up of plaque. Due to the simplicity of such a procedure, it may be done by either a dentist or dental hygienist. However, you must ensure to comply with regular routine treatment every six months, with each session lasting approximately 30 minutes.
(ii) Comprehensive examinations:
A comprehensive exam must be carried out using such advanced technology as digital; x-rays. This procedure is an effective method of monitoring the condition of your teeth, as well as early identification of decay. Using this method, periodontal disease would be detected early and treated.
(iii) Treatment Of Gum Disease:
An unhealthy periodontium (collective term for ligaments, gums and bones surrounding the teeth) can easily jeopardize your teeth. In fact, neglecting early treatment of gum disease may even necessitate extraction or surgery. Hence, treatment of gum disease plays a critical role in preventive dentistry.
(iv) Dental Fillings:
Dental filings are instrumental in closing up cracks and spaces in your teeth. Such cracks and spaces are likely to harbor harmful bacteria that can damage your teeth.
Sealants serve the purpose of filling up narrow grooves in teeth, which normal brushing cannot clean up properly.
(vi) Screening For Oral Cancer:
Using advanced technology, abnormalities can be detected within the mucosal tissue of your mouth, lips and upper throat.