In addition to proper brushing and flossing, routine professional dental services are an important part of maintaining oral health. A general dentist performs regular cleanings and checkups and can also provide numerous services for prevention and treatment. While some offerings may vary by location, general dentists can address the most common dental issues.
Every six months, patients should schedule a dental cleaning and checkup. This applies to people of all ages, including infants, as the American Dental Association recommends seeing a dentist as soon as baby teeth appear.
During a professional cleaning, a hygienist, assistant or dentist often begins by scaling to remove plaque that has built up between teeth and along the gum line. Teeth are then polished using a high-grit paste or spray. After a thorough flossing, patients may receive a fluoride treatment, which is painted on teeth and brushed off later at home.
Dentists rely on X-rays to reveal decay, deterioration and bone loss below the gum line. The frequency of dental X-rays varies based on age, medical history and the current state of oral health. In general, patients with healthy teeth and gums should expect X-rays once every two to three years.
After the teeth are thoroughly cleaned, a dentist makes an inspection for signs of decay or gum disease. Measurements may be taken to check for signs of gum recession.
Repair and Restoration
In addition to cleaning and examining teeth, other dental services are available when a patient is in need of specific treatment. A general dentist is trained and qualified to perform numerous procedures to help restore a healthy smile.
Decay and disease
When tooth decay is present, general dentists can administer fillings to prevent further damage. In the event of severe decay or injury, a crown may be required to repair the tooth. In case of infection, root canals may be performed. Laser treatment is sometimes used in patients with periodontal disease.
When an individual loses a permanent tooth, several restoration options are available. Often, patients may opt for a bridge to replace the lost tooth. Some general dentists are also qualified to place implants, which are more natural-looking and durable than other tooth loss treatments. In the event of multiple tooth loss, patients can be fitted for full or partial dentures.
Those who are looking for aesthetic improvements to their smile can enjoy treatments such as:
- Teeth whitening
- Dental bonding
These procedures can be performed by a qualified general dentist to remove surface stains, reduce the appearance of a gummy smile and help teeth appear more even.
Many dentists now offer clear aligner tray systems, allowing patients to receive treatment for misaligned teeth. This method is becoming a popular choice for teeth straightening, as it can be more discreet, less painful and even faster than traditional braces.
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In addition to necessary preventative care, general dentists offer numerous valuable dental services to patients of all ages. From repairing decay to restoring a beautiful smile, many helpful procedures are available in a single, convenient location.
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