There are many services that are offered by general dentists. Most of them fall under one of three categories: Preventive, restorative, and cosmetic.
Preventive services help to reduce the risk of dental problems, such as cavities and gum disease. Restorative services are designed to repair damage that has already been done to the teeth. Cosmetic services are intended to improve the appearance of the teeth.
By offering a wide range of services, general dentists can meet the needs of patients of all ages and help them maintain a healthy and attractive smile.
Preventive Dental Care Services offered by General Dentists
Preventive dentistry focuses on preventing common problems before they need extensive (and often more expensive) treatment.
General dentists provide the following dental care as a preventive measure:
This can help to prevent cavities by making the teeth more resistant to acid attacks. Fluoride can be applied in the form of a gel, foam, or varnish. It can also be added to water and toothpaste.
Sealants are thin, plastic coatings that are applied to the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. They protect the teeth from bacteria and food particles that can cause cavities.
Dental cleanings remove plaque and tartar from the teeth. They are usually done every six months, but may be more often if you have a history of cavities or gum disease.
The dental cleaning can be performed by a dentist or a dental hygienist.
X-Rays and Exam
An x-ray and exam are often done at the first dental visit. They help the dentist to develop a treatment plan and track the progress of your oral health.
Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer screenings are done to look for signs of cancer in the mouth. This sort of cancer is usually treated easily if it is caught early enough.
Restorative Dental Care Services offered by General Dentists
General dentists provide the following services to restore teeth that have been damaged by decay, injury, or disease:
A filling is used to repair a tooth that has been damaged by decay. The dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and then fill the resulting hole with a material, such as amalgam (silver filling) or composite resin (tooth-colored filling).
A crown is a type of dental restoration that covers the entire tooth. It is used to strengthen a tooth that has been damaged by decay or injury. Crowns can be made from many different types of material including: gold, porcelain, zirconia or ceramic.
A dental bridge is used to replace one or more missing teeth. The bridge consists of two crowns that are placed on the teeth adjacent to the empty space and a false tooth (or pontic) that fills the space.
Dentures and Partial Dentures
Dentures are removable appliances that are used to replace all of the teeth in the upper or lower jaw. They are made from a plastic base that supports a set of false teeth. Partial dentures are used to replace one or more missing teeth when there are still some natural teeth remaining.
Inlays and onlays are used to repair teeth that have been damaged by decay or injury. They are made from a variety of materials, including: gold, porcelain, or composite resin.
Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy is a treatment that is used to save a tooth that has been damaged by decay or injury. The dentist will remove the damaged portion of the tooth and seal off the root canal. Root canals are often capped with a dental crown.
In some instances, a general dentist may refer you out to an endodontist for root canal treatment.
Tooth Extraction or Emergency Dental Care
A tooth may need to be extracted (removed) for many reasons, including: decay, infection, or injury. While tooth extractions are not preferred, in some cases, you may not have much of a choice.
Emergency dental care is often needed when a tooth has been knocked out or there is severe pain in the mouth. General dentists can help you get emergency dental care if you lose or crack a tooth, or are in extreme pain from a toothache.
Wisdom Teeth Removal
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that usually come in around the age of 18. Sometimes, wisdom teeth can become impacted (stuck) and may need to be removed by a dentist.
If the case is too complex or if the dentist doesn’t do them often, they may refer you to an oral surgeon for the wisdom teeth removal procedure.
Cosmetic Dental Care Services offered by General Dentists
Cosmetic services are intended to improve the appearance of the teeth. Some of the most common procedures include:
Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic procedure that is used to lighten the color of the teeth. There are many different methods that can be used, including bleaching and non-bleaching products.
Veneers are thin, porcelain shells that are bonded to the front of the teeth. They are used to improve the appearance of the teeth and can be used to correct a variety of problems, such as: gaps, chips, and stains.
Bonding is a cosmetic procedure that is used to improve the appearance of the teeth. It involves the application of a tooth-colored resin to the surface of the teeth. Bonding can be used to repair: gaps, chips, and stains.
This is an alternative to traditional braces that uses clear, plastic aligners to straighten the teeth. Invisalign is virtually invisible and can be removed for eating, brushing, and flossing. There are many other clear aligner options as well that dentists are utilizing.
If you have a complex case, the dentist may refer you to an orthodontist or recommend braces instead.
Dental implants are often considered a cosmetic procedure. This is because they are used to improve the appearance of the teeth, as well as the function. Dental implants are titanium posts that are placed in the jawbone to support a dental prosthesis, such as a crown, bridge or denture.
In some instances, you may be referred to an oral surgeon for dental implants.
Implant Supported, or Snap-on Dentures
An implant-supported denture is a type of denture that is supported by dental implants. The implants are placed in the jawbone and act as anchors for the denture. This type of denture is more stable than a traditional denture and can be removed for cleaning.
Conclusion – Common services offered by general dentists
General dentists can offer a wide-range of services. They can determine if they want to do more or less of various services.
It is not uncommon for a dentist to refer a patient to another office if they are seeking a service he doesn’t provide. In some instances, the dentist may provide that service, but they will refer out the more complex or difficult cases.
If you have questions about the services a dentist provides, you should contact the office. The staff should be able to help you understand if they provide that service or not. You can also ask about payment options and if the service is covered by your insurance at that time.