General Dentistry: Overview

General dentistry is the course that every dentist has to take and pass to be able to practice. The entire course spans several years. If the individual wishes to have a subspecialty, then more years may be added to his studies. There are other aspects involved with it other than the treatment and prevention of diseases and disorders of the mouth.

Other parts of the jaw may be treated by the dental professional, including, the maxillofacial areas and other related parts. In some cases, the general health of the body may be connected to the health of the oral cavity of the person. There are two kinds of dentists, namely the Doctor of Dental Surgery and the Doctor of Dental Medicine.


There are certain requirements that an individual must possess to be able to proceed to general dentistry. The individual must pass a related four year course before he is able to apply for admittance to a dental college. This four year course, often called premed, should have certain subjects which are relevant to the primary course.

These subjects are microbiology, biology and chemistry. The individual who wishes to be a dentist should initially take an exam which will evaluate his candidacy. This exam is called the Dental Admission Test, which should be submitted to the dental college of choice along with the premed college course that the person has already taken. There are some cases where only a few subjects are needed for the individual to be accepted to the dental college.

General dentistry takes about four years to complete. Within this span of time, the students work on oral pathology, dental diagnosis and treatment as well as hone their clinical skills. There is an externship to be completed by the aspiring dentist on his fourth year. This externship is a rotation by nature, which means he will tackle the various aspects of his soon to be practice and not just focus on a subspecialty. The dental college has to be accredited by the American Dental Association.

After he graduates, the dentist has the option of taking up post graduate studies to hone his subspecialty skills. Most of the dental colleges in the United States of America offer programs for the post graduate which focus on orthodontics, pediatric dentistry as well as oral and maxillofacial surgery. These courses span two to six years, depending on what the program is.

Dental Board Exam

Those who have graduated from dental college can then take the National Board Dental Examination. This exam assesses and evaluates the knowledge that the aspiring dentist has gained while in the dental college. Some individuals take this during the latter part of their externship or prior to this. Others prefer to take the board exam after the have graduated from general dentistry.

Each region or state also has a different licensure exam which has to be taken by the individual to be able to practice in that particular region or state. This is important because without this, the dentist cannot see patients. In addition current dentists may be required by some regions or states to take up continuing education courses prior to the renewal of their licenses.

Why General Dentistry Is Necessary

Taking care of your teeth is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Regular brushing, flossing, and gargling with mouthwash should be included in every oral hygiene routine. You must also schedule regular checkups with your dentist to prevent permanent damage to your teeth.

What Is General Dentistry?

Now that many of them offer cosmetic and restorative dentistry procedures, such as tooth whitening and dental implants, it is easy to lose sight of what all dentists are truly trained to do. Also known as preventative dentistry, general dentistry focuses on stopping minor issues from becoming major dental problems. Filling cavities, performing root canals, and completing regular cleanings are just a few of the things ordinary dentists do to protect our smiles.

Why We Need Them

Even if you brush and floss and gargle and take excellent care of your teeth, plaque and tartar can form around and below your gum line. Only a licensed dentist or dental hygienist has the experience and tools needed to remove these potentially harmful deposits before they cause serious damage. During a checkup, your dental professional may also floss and polish your teeth to remove food deposits that can combine with bacteria to form plaque.

What Should You Expect?

Most dental checkups are routine examinations of your pearly whites, designed to detect possible problems that could lead to more serious issues if left untreated. If you take good care of your teeth and have not had oral issues in the past, odds are your dentist won’t find anything. Of course, he or she will still perform a thorough cleaning. Why is this?

A preventable condition, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss the world over. When it is caught early enough, it can be successfully treated with common general dentistry procedures. But in order to diagnose the problem, your dentist will most likely take X-rays of your pearly whites to determine if any bone loss has occurred.

Gingivitis & Periodontitis

A relatively minor form of gum disease, gingivitis can often be treated with a simple cleaning and a more rigorous oral hygiene routine. By comparison, periodontitis is a far more serious disease that destroys the bone and tissue that keeps our teeth in place. General dentistry procedures such as scaling and root planning may be used to try to save infected teeth.

Keeping Appointments

As effective as they may be, the aforementioned services and procedures only work if you make it to the dental office on time. According to a recent survey, more than one-third of adults don’t keep their scheduled appointments. It is no wonder tooth loss is at epidemic levels in the U.S. At last count, nearly 180 million Americans were missing at least one tooth, and almost 40 million of them did not have any teeth.

An Ounce Of Prevention

As unpleasant as it may be, your dentist needs to poke around in your mouth to look for possible problems from time to time. Only then can he or she prevent them and save your smile for years, even decades to come.

Four General Dentistry Tips Dentists Want Everyone to Know

One of the most important things people can do to protect their health is to practice good oral hygiene. Many people don’t know that tooth decay can lead to a variety of other health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and even some cancers. These are the general dentistry tips that everyone in the dentist’s office wishes their patients knew.

1. Don’t Brush Right After Eating

Most people think they’re supposed to rush to the bathroom to brush their teeth immediately after a meal. However, the excess saliva produced while chewing, as well as the acids that are found in many foods, can cause tooth enamel to soften for a short time after eating. Brushing right away can damage the enamel while it is in this softened state. Many dentists recommend that their patients wait about an hour after a meal before brushing to allow the enamel to return to normal. Rinsing with water or chewing sugar-free gum can help to remove food particles in the meantime.

2. Drink Through a Straw

Many drinks, including sodas, juices, and sports drinks, have high acidity and sugar levels. When people drink these beverages directly from a glass, can, or bottle, the liquid washes over the teeth, exposing the enamel repeatedly to the acids and sugars. Over time, this can weaken the enamel, leaving it susceptible to decay and cavities. By using a straw, less of the liquid comes into contact with the teeth. In addition, a straw can help prevent discoloration from dark-colored liquids like coffee and wine.

3. Yes, Flossing Really Is Important

Even though it’s common knowledge that it is important to brush and floss daily, many people skip flossing or don’t do it as often as they should. However, if food becomes trapped in the teeth and is not removed, it can begin to decay and can lead to cavities. In some cases, the food may even travel below the gum line and cause an infection or abscess. These infections can be very serious and may require emergency medical intervention beyond the scope of general dentistry. Floss picks can help make flossing more convenient, even on the go.

4. Stop Procrastinating

Even though some people may find it intimidating to make an appointment at their local dental clinic, it’s important not to put it off until there is a problem. Regular check-ups can help catch problems in their early stages, allowing them to be treated before they get worse. By putting off a dentist appointment until there’s a severe cavity or abscess, a person runs the risk of developing more severe problems, including gum disease. Many dentists today offer sedation dentistry, which can help calm anxious patients.

When it comes to general dentistry, a little prevention can go a long way towards avoiding serious issues in the future. By following these four simple tips, everyone in the family is sure to have improved oral health and a whiter, brighter smile.

What Are The Benefits Of General Dentistry?

General dentistry includes all types of oral care. It begins with dental examination which then leads to dental cleanings and any other treatment that may be necessary to keep up with your oral health. So it follows that general dentistry means preventive care. As we all know, prevention is better than cure. Several benefits of dentistry are apparent.

But what does general dentistry involve? General dentistry is a comprehensive term that includes all kinds of basic oral care. Dental exams including x-rays, dental cleaning, fillings and tooth decay prevention, root canals, crowns and bridges, tooth extractions, implants and bonding are all part of dentistry. As we mentioned, general starts with a dental exam. Usually the first thing that the dentist orders after the examination is dental cleanings. Cleaning the teeth of plaque and tartar ensures that your teeth and gums remain healthy.

General dentistry allows your doctor to identify any oral health issues that may cause problems in the future. Treatment, if necessary can be started early so that the problem doesn’t get out of hand. This is the most important benefit of dentistry.

Dentists recommend an oral exam every six months to catch problems early. During a dental examination, your doctor will look for signs of tooth decay and other gum related issues that may pose a threat. Cleaning of teeth is also recommended every six months. This too is like an exam where the doctor checks your teeth and clears the plaque build up which, if left unattended can be a source of swelling of the gums and discomfort.

During the oral examination, x-rays may reveal the onset of tooth decay. To save the tooth from further damage, the doctor may recommend fillings and sealants. This is a benefit of dentistry that comes from preventive care. The tooth is saved and the patient is saved from the trauma of a tooth extraction that might have become necessary in the future.

Apart from maintaining your oral health, Professional General Dentistry offers other indirect benefits as well. Regular oral check-ups ensure that your dental expenses are under control. By taking care of potential problems early, you are saving money on future expensive dental treatments. Also, you retain your original set of teeth with a simple flossing and brushing routine for a longer time.

Dental clean ups leave your teeth looking clean and bright, another cosmetic benefit of general. A good set of teeth leads to a brilliant smile which in turn boosts your confidence. And, of course, you have no fear of major oral disease like oral cancer or gum disease because the symptoms are caught on early and treated effectively.

Beeswax, Blacksmiths, and Baby Teeth: A History of General Dentistry

As children, most of us are taught that we should treat our teeth like our best friends. Regularly brushing and flossing ensure that your teeth remain clean and healthy. From the fluoridation of drinking water to advancements in toothbrushes and toothpaste, modern dentistry is a far cry from the oral care of our ancestors. Here is a brief look back at the history of general dentistry.

Ancient Teeth

Instances of oral care are about as old as humanity itself. One of the earliest recorded examples comes from a tooth found in Italy, which had been cleaned with flint and was more than 13,000 years old. The teeth of Egyptian mummies often feature fancy dental work, including early forms of fillings using resin, as well as gold thread used to bind loose teeth in place. However, the distinction of the earliest known dental filling goes to a tooth found in Slovenia filled with beeswax, which was over 6,000 years old.

Colonial Conundrums

Remember the story of George Washington’s wooden teeth that you heard as a child? Well, while George never actually owned a pair of wooden teeth, he did have a number of dentures made from hippo and human teeth-which was surprisingly common in his day. Many poor early Americans would sell their own teeth to a craftsman for the construction of dentures for more the more affluent. The scariest part? In an age before antiseptic, anesthesia, or medical review boards, many American dentists were just moonlighting blacksmiths or barbers called upon to perform general dentistry chores.

The Tooth Fairy Has Deep Pockets

Many children today receive a cash reward from the Tooth Fairy when they lose their baby teeth, but did you know that the history of the Tooth Fairy could be traced back to ancient Norse tradition? During the Medieval Period, Norse oral legends, recorded in written form for the first time, mentioned a tradition in which children received money for their first lost tooth. Today, according to a 2013 poll conducted by Visa, American children earn, on average, $3.70 for each lost tooth!

Mouth Full of Metal

The Bond henchman, Jaws, famously had a mouth full of steel that could bend and crush objects at will. One beer brewer in Argentina, noting the correlation between poor decision-making and beer consumption, created an implantable dental bottle-opener to be housed where a tooth once stood. A few rugby players have had them installed, but astonishingly, these bottle openers haven’t caught on with the general public

Modern Care

Fortunately, modern oral care has come a long way since the days when proto-dental hygienists were filling cavities with beeswax, or barbers were giving you a shave and a molar extraction. Since the 1800s, general dentistry has fortunately evolved from a trade to a profession, meaning that professionals now focus exclusively on their craft. Modern dental work can now be performed with little to no discomfort, and is viewed by many as a requirement instead of the annoyance that it once was.