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General dentistry is defined by the American Dental Association (ADA) as the evaluation, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases, disorders, and health of the mouth and related structures like the jaw, cheeks and chin. General dentistry is provided by a trained medical professional, either a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). Although their titles are different, the DDS and DMD have undergone the same level and amount of schooling and professional experience.

In many cases, a DDS or DMD may possess a specialist certification in a specific area of dentistry, such as pediatric dentistry or cosmetic dentistry; however, any dentist possessing a DDS or DMD degree can perform the services offered by a general dentist.

What Does a General Dentist Do?

A general dentist is your main dental care provider whose job is to protect your natural teeth and treat any oral diseases or conditions. General dentists can provide a wide array of preventive, diagnostic, and treatment procedures, including but not limited to:

  • Dental cleanings and checkups: all adults should see their general dentist twice yearly for an oral exam and routine cleaning, during which your dentist will also check for new or existing dental conditions.
  • Crowns, bridges, and implants: if you’ve chipped, broken, or lost a tooth, your dentist can install a replacement to maintain your oral structure and keep your mouth healthy.
  • Tooth extractions and root canals: from wisdom teeth to cavities, your general dentist can remove and treat infected, misaligned, or impacted teeth.
  • Fillings and sealants
  • Cancer screenings and X-rays: often performed during your routine oral exams, your dentist will check your mouth and face for signs of oral cancer, and will offer x-rays to ensure the maintenance of your oral structures.
  • Orthodontics, including braces
  • Cosmetic dentistry: even if your teeth are perfectly healthy, your dentist can offer procedures like teeth whitenings to keep you feeling confident in your smile.

When Should I see a General Dentist?

It’s a common misconception that you should only visit the dentist when something is wrong. Just like visiting your primary healthcare provider, it’s important to see your general dentist for a health exam and routine teeth cleaning. Even if you aren’t experiencing pain, your dentist will be able to screen your mouth for signs of tooth decay, structure erosion, or oral cancer. A dental exam will also include a deep cleaning of your mouth, which helps remove tough stains and clean those hard-to-reach places. It’s recommended by the ADA that you visit your general dentist every six months for a checkup, or more often if you’ve developed a problem with your oral health.

If you need to see a dentist or are experiencing a dental issue, call Countryside Dental Group today!