General dentistry is defined as the evaluation, diagnosis, prevention and/or treatment (nonsurgical, surgical or related procedures) of diseases, disorders and/or conditions of the oral cavity, maxillofacial area and/or the adjacent and associated structures and their impact on the human body. It includes preventative services such as regular exams and cleanings. It also includes restorative services such as treatment of gum disease, tooth pain, fillings, and missing teeth.
cleanings & regular checkups
A cleaning involves removal of plaque and calculus (tartar) from teeth, generally above the gum line. It also includes polishing teeth, including fillings and crowns. A professional dental cleaning at least twice a year can improve your oral health, reports the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing dental education.
Dental fluoride combines with the minerals in your teeth to form a stronger, more acid resistant enamel. When the acids produced by plaque on your teeth start to break down the minerals in your tooth enamel, a process called demineralization begins. Demineralization starts by weakening the enamel and leads to small cavities at first, but can progress into large areas of decay and eventual tooth loss. The very early stage of demineralization can be reversed by remineralizing the enamel. This can occur by introducing dental fluoride into the enamel. Besides remineralizing teeth systemically and topically, fluoride also helps prevent cavities by affecting the bacteria in plaque, making it less able to produce the acids that cause decay.
gum disease treatment
Gum disease, or periodontisis, is a periodontal disease that starts with bacterial growth within the mouth and can end up destroying the tissue, leading to loose teeth and eventually tooth loss if not correctly treated. To begin, the bacteria contained within plaque build-up causes the gums to become inflamed and sensitive. It’s at this point where it’s common that the gums will bleed during tooth brushing. This is one of the earliest signs of gum disease. At this point there is no permanent damage done but if left untreated, it can advance to periodontisis. Some of the symptoms of gum disease include: Bleeding gums, Tender, red or swollen gums, Ongoing bad breath or foul taste in the mouth, Deep pockets between the teeth, & Loose teeth.
The treatment of gum disease is focused on encouraging the teeth to reattach to the gums, to reduce the size of the gaps between teeth, the swelling, the risk of infection and to prevent the condition from spreading. Specific treatments for gum disease can range from cleaning by a hygienist to scaling and root planing to remove plaque and tartar from both above and below the gum line. This removes all the bacteria and provides a clean surface for the gums to reattach to.
Fillings are the restoring of lost tooth structure by using materials such as metal, alloy, plastic or porcelain. Existing fillings sometimes need to be replaced due to wear, chipping, or cracking. Many people use this opportunity to replace their silver amalgam fillings with natural, tooth-colored composites. Their reasons may be aesthetic, or concern over the safety of amalgam fillings, which contain mercury. Composite fillings tend to wear out sooner than silver fillings in larger cavities, although they hold up as well in small cavities.
oral cancer screening exams
An oral cancer screening exam is a basic exam that takes less than five minutes. Your dentist will look at your lips both outside and inside, gums, tongue from all sides and underneath, insides of your cheeks, roof of your mouth, and the back of your throat. The goal is to look for lumps and spots and see if anything looks unusual about the spit that covers all the pink parts inside your mouth.
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