Dentistry is the area of universal medicine that covers the study, diagnosis, prevention & treatment of all diseases, disorders & conditions relating to the oral cavity(mouth) surrounding areas & structures including their impact on other parts of the human body.
Dentistry is recognized as an integral part of overall good health and the specialists in dentistry are known as dentists. The dentist’s supporting team – which includes dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental technicians, and dental therapists – all providing overall oral health services.
Getting your teeth checked
It is vital that, whatever your age, you regularly have your teeth checked by a dentist. During your dental check-ups, your dentist will perform a full examination of your teeth and gums, enquire into your health in general and any problems you are experiencing with your mouth including halitosis or bad breath as it is more commonly known, advise you about your diet, alcohol and tobacco use and how to clean your teeth properly and finally make a decision on a date for your next check-up. Depending on the results of your check-up, this could be anything from a few months to a few years.
In the UK, there are subsidies from the National Health Service (NHS) applied to the cost of dental work but it is not free. Private dental care is available but compared to the subsidized costs of an NHS dentist, it’s quite expensive to have a private dentist. Occasionally, employers will offer dental cover as part of their employee benefits package.
Certain people may qualify for free dental care including those under 18, those who are receiving certain benefits and those who are pregnant or have had a baby in the last 12 months. Dentistry is also not free in the USA, and a lot of people have insurance (either personal or offered by their employer) to cover the costs of all dental work.
Choosing a Dentist
Like a lot of people, you may have allowed your dentists visits to fall by the wayside. This means you’re on the hunt for a new dentist. When it comes to choosing a dentist, quite often your choices are limited by local dentists who have availability on their systems. However, if you are willing to pay for your dental care, you may find you have more choice. Check out the websites of your local practices (if they offer a quality service, they will have a web presence) and see what you think. Ask around to see if any of your friends or family has a preferred dentist.
There are various treatments and services available at your local dentist. The most common treatments involve the restoration of teeth that have been damaged by age, mistreatment or oral diseases. The two most common diseases are tooth decay and gum disease. In order to treat these diseases, your dentist may use fillings, extraction or surgical removal of teeth that are damaged beyond repair. Another common treatment is the root canal which treats teeth that have abscesses.
Specialities within Dentistry
There are various areas in which a dentist can specialize. Periodontics is the study and treatment of the periodontium (the tissues that surround and support the teeth) and it also expands to dental implants. Orthodontics is the treatment of misaligned teeth – in the practice, a dentist can straighten teeth, often using braces on the patient.
Endodontics refers to the study of root canal and diseases that affect the dental pulp. Pediatric dentistry is a specialism in which a dentist can become proficient in the treatment of dental concerns of children. These are just a few of the specialisms available and once the dentist has completed training, they are designated ‘registrable’ (or in the US, ‘board eligible’) and can be assigned specific job titles.