Some dental specialists show up in marketing a lot more than others. Cosmetic dentists, for example, are popular and prominent for their promises of whiter and straighter teeth. Other specialists are well-known for focusing on implants, dentures, root canals, bridges and crowns, and on and on. If the late great comedian Rodney Dangerfield were a dentist, he wouldn’t be one of those. He’d be a General Dentist and maybe proclaim his famous catchphrase “I don’t get no respect!” Just what is a general dentist, anyway.
If your general dentist were a medical doctor, she’d be a GP — a general practitioner or, in some places, a family doctor. Neither a GP nor a general dentist is a specialist except in the routine, primary dental care required by people of all ages on an ongoing basis. General dentistry includes preventative dental care, but also the diagnosing and treatment of dental health issues and the management of all the services required to keep your mouth healthy. In a perfect world, you’ll see the team at your general dentist’s office three times a year — twice at checkups every six months and once when you have your teeth professionally cleaned.
Here’s an introduction to three areas of focus at clinics that provide general dentistry near you.
At twice-annual checkups, a dentist in Grande Prairie will conduct a complete dental examination to identify any signs of tooth decay or gum disease, and to intervene before those conditions progress. The dentist near you will also provide fluoride treatment, take diagnostic x-rays, provide routine teeth cleanings, and screen you for oral cancer.
The practice of general dentistry near you includes taking regular images of your teeth, gums and jaw using x-rays, often digital x-rays that use little to no radiation and that can be magnified, transferred and duplicated easily. Imaging is used to track the progress of teeth (including yet-to-emerge adult teeth and wisdom teeth), to identify emerging alignment issues and to identify damaged teeth or infection in the interior of a tooth.
As easy as it is to prevent tooth decay, the development of cavities in teeth is very common. Cavities are the holes or gaps left behind by the destruction of tooth material by bacteria and acids. Your dentist will fill those cavities to protect the tooth from further infection and to maintain its structural integrity and strength.
General dentistry in Grande Prairie is important to much more than your dental health. General dentists screen patients for conditions as diverse as sleep apnea, sleep bruxism, temporomandibular joint dysfunction and oral cancer. A general dentist in Grande Prairie can protect you from a wide variety of far-flung medical conditions by maintaining your oral health, including heart disease and heart attacks, rheumatoid arthritis, strokes, diabetes, dementia and even premature births.
A clinic that practices general dentistry may also provide specialist services or a cluster of other services to deal with issues that might arise. Common services that may be provided hand in hand with the practice of general dentistry include pediatric dentistry, restorative dentistry (dentures, crowns, bridges, onlays and inlays, and implants), sealants and fluoride, sedation dentistry and laser dentistry. Many general dentists see patients of all ages, though some do not see children. While general dentists may see children, a “family” dentist always does (although sometimes only children aged three and up). A pediatric dentist sees children of all ages from birth to roughly age 18 and often does not accept people over the age of 18 as patients. If you have children in your family and are looking for a general dentist, you should confirm the age groups your potential clinic sees.
As interesting and exciting as the exceptions and specializations can be, don’t forget about the routine! If you or your family are in need of general dentistry, reach out to a dentist in Grande Prairie to arrange an initial consultation.