General dentistry is the branch of dentistry that is involved with your overall dental health. When you need a procedure, such as getting a filling or pulling a tooth, you go to a general dentist.
The emphasis of general dentistry is on preventive care, as well as restorative procedures. Preventive procedures include bi-yearly dental checkups and teeth cleanings. Regular appointments with your general dentist for preventive procedures will help to safeguard against oral health complications.
Restorative procedures under general dentistry
Though the focus of general dentistry is primarily on preventive care, the thorough ongoing training of general dentists makes them capable of performing a wide array of restorative and cosmetic procedures. When a general dentist cannot perform a certain specialized treatment, he will give you a referral to a specialist.
The following are common restorative procedures that can be performed under general dentistry:
The purpose of dental fillings is to repair damage caused to the structure of one or more of your teeth. Damage to your teeth can happen because of tooth decay, wear and tear and damage resulting from a traumatic accident.
Dental fillings can be made of any of the following materials: gold, white filling (also known as composite resin), amalgam (or silver filling), and porcelain.
When you have a chipped or cracked tooth, your dentist will repair it using a process called bonding. The procedure requires ‘gluing’ composite resin into place to repair the damage.
When the composite is applied to the damaged surface, it’s sculpted, contoured into place and polished to give a seamless appearance.
This is a restorative procedure meant to correct misaligned teeth or malocclusion (poor bite). The procedure involves the use of braces and/or retainers. This procedure can be done both for functional and cosmetic purposes. Because it permanently restores a beautiful smile, this procedure is increasing in popularity.
If the pulp tissue of your tooth is infected, your dentist will remove the infected tissue and treat the area with an antibacterial filling. He will then cap the tooth with a crown to protect it. Though root canal therapy is a specialty area of endodontics, general dentists also perform the procedure.
Crowns are used to repair teeth that have suffered from extensive damage such that a filling cannot hold in place. Crowns are made of different material, including metals such as gold, or other tooth-like material like porcelain. Some crowns are also a combination of porcelain and metal.
This procedure is used to replace missing teeth with artificial ones called pontics. The bridge is usually anchored in place by the surrounding teeth. Bridge procedures can be performed by different types of dentists, but the material and technology used will vary among dentists.
When you have a large number of teeth missing, they can be replaced using dentures. The technology and material used for making dentures has improved and the experience and quality of dentures you get will vary based on the general dentist you visit.
Oral and maxillofacial procedures
These include procedures for treating jaw and mouth abnormalities, or other procedures such as dental implants.
Tooth scaling and cleaning, as well as using medicated mouthwash and dental flossing, are some of the periodontal procedures used to treat gum disease in early and late stages.