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. 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!” 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, diagnosing and treating dental health issues, and managing 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.
There are three focus areas that clinics provide for 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 worsen. The dentist near you will also provide a 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 use little to no radiation and 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 find damaged teeth or infections 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 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 various conditions like sleep apnea, sleep bruxism, temporomandibular joint dysfunction and oral cancer. A general dentist in Grande Prairie can protect you from many 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. General dentistry services include pediatric dentistry, restorative dentistry (dentures, crowns, bridges, onlays and inlays, and implants), sealants and fluoride, and sedation and laser dentistry. Many general dentists see patients of all ages, though some do not see children. A “family” dentist always allows children for patients (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 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 need general dentistry, reach out to a dentist in Grande Prairie to arrange an initial consultation.