Why The Cosmetic Dentist Needs A Good Understanding Of General Dentistry

Many of us are conditioned to believe that all the actors in the ‘beauty industry’ are people are modest education. Their work is, after all, just to make people look good and feel good about themselves – and that doesn’t require much education; or does it?

It therefore usually comes as a great surprise to the uninitiated to learn that for one to become a cosmetic dentist, they need strong grounding in general dentistry. Yet the attachment of the term ‘cosmetic’ to the professionals’ name will have created the impression, in the minds of the people who hold this persuasion, that the said dentists must be people of modest education/training.

Now in order to understand why the dentist needs a good knowledge of general dentistry, it is important to take into consideration the types of things that the said dentists do on a day to day basis. That is where we see the cosmetic dentist, among other things, having to apply high-powered dental bleaches (in a situation where the low-powered dental bleaches, which are also typically less effective, are applied by the patients themselves on a DIY basis). To do this, the dentist needs very specialized training, especially keeping in mind that laser technology is used in some of these applications.

On a day to day basis, the dentist will also find herself having to install dental veneers on people’s teeth. That would have been an easy task, were it not for the fact that the said veneers can usually not just be plastered atop a person’s teeth: a foundation has to be engraved, so that when they are eventually fitted, they look ‘natural.’ And engraving such a foundation on a person’s teeth can surely not be done by just any ‘beautician.’ It is one of the most challenging tasks in dentistry: hence the need for the cosmetic dentist to be very highly trained.

We also see the typical dentist, on a day to day basis, having to do a lot of teeth realignments. The cosmetic dentist may also be called upon to do some teeth replacement jobs (as lost teeth usually have considerable impact on the looks of the person who happens to be bereft of them). All those are things that require a lot of training in general dentistry.

In fact, it can be asserted that the dentist needs knowledge in virtually every area of dentistry. He needs some understanding of orthodontics, to deal with the teeth alignment issues explained. He needs some understanding of prosthdontics, to deal with the teeth replacement issues explained. He needs a good understanding of other branches of dentistry, to identify other cropping dental problems, and deal with those, before embarking on the cosmetic treatments (which is what professionalism in this field demands).

In the final analysis, it is easy to say that cosmetic dentistry, which seems simple to most people (perhaps on account of semantics alone), is in fact one of the most challenging areas in dentistry; hence the need for the cosmetic dentist to be well grounded in general dentistry.

The Role of General Dentistry and The Professionals Involved

There is a reason general dentistry is separate from, say, the duties of a physician. The teeth are a very unique part of the body. They are in fact the only exposed bones we have, and that makes their care something that takes a great deal of skill and knowledge. Dentists go to school for a long time to learn that knowledge and develop that skill. Without a dentist’s care, it is all too easy for a set of teeth to fall into disrepair, rot, and cause health problems that can extend throughout the body. Here are some of the duties involved in the field.

Diagnosis
One of the major roles of general dentistry and the professionals in the field is to perform maintenance and diagnosis on their patients. Because regular cleaning benefits the teeth so well and because problems can arise very quickly, the ADA recommends going in for a checkup and cleaning every six months. This gives a dentist the chance to give your teeth a good inspection, making sure that nothing is developing in the way of cavities, incoming wisdom teeth, or other issues that need to be resolved sooner than later.

Procedures
Upon diagnosing a problem, the next duty of someone involved in general dentistry is to address it with a procedure of some kind. For a cavity, that procedure could be anything from a filling to a root canal to extracting the tooth altogether. For a cracked tooth, the procedure could be implementing a crown. For missing teeth, the answer could be dentures or dental implants. The list is endless when it comes to the variety of procedures a dentist working in this field must be ready to tackle, often several times a day.

Administration
For the most part, general dentistry takes place not in a hospital but in a private clinic devoted to the practice. Because this turns many dentists into small businessmen as much as they are health care providers, they must wear an administrative and promotional hat as well as their surgical cap. Though there is always the option of hiring help to handle those tasks, a dentist just starting out may find himself doing much of it himself while waiting to see profit enough to justify hiring a full staff.

Education
Especially when it comes to children, the role of those involved in general dentistry must include education. Patients often have no other outlets from which to learn the proper care of their teeth. Therefore, a dentist must make it his business to teach them when they come in for their appointments.

Career in General Dentistry

The field of general dentistry is one of the fastest growing career fields in today’s economy as people have a lot of needs when it comes to their teeth. However, for those interested in this career option there are some things to keep in mind-one being that there is quite a bit of schooling involved, even if you aren’t going into a specialty field. Anyone setting out to specialize in general dentistry should expect at least eight years of university level education maybe more if an internship is involved. This means four years of undergraduate studies and four years of dentistry school. Once completed though, you will have a doctorate in dental medicine or a doctorate in dental surgery and will be one hundred percent qualified for the job you want to do. In regards to this, what exactly does a general dentist cover you may ask?

General dentistry focuses on the basic care and dental hygiene of a persons’ mouth. This involves both restorative and preventative measures and can include but is not limited to root canals, teeth whitening, crowns, caps, veneers, extraction, and bridge work. Advance training is necessary to qualify for sedation, oral and maxillofacial surgery, as well as implants. These qualifications aren’t mandatory for general dentists, however they can help you build a more well-rounded practice as well as expand your client list-you can offer more to your patients. One of the main focuses of dentistry though is that of oral care and dental hygiene. They are all about preventing the worse. Proper at home care such as regular brushing and flossing is recommended by all dentists. If everyone followed this advice and barring any unforeseen accidents, a person could expect to visit the dentist maybe once or twice a year for a checkup and cleaning.

As said before, general dentistry is an ever growing career field-unfortunately in today’s society people have quite a bit of dental problems, especially in poverty level situations. There are some families and single persons who cannot afford to go to the dentist and with today’s unstable economic margins, they don’t qualify for the insurance needed to cover their medical bills. Because of this they can only rely on the dental care they give themselves and sometimes that is simply not enough. If the demand for general dentists were met, then perhaps it would be possible to offer such services to everyone at a much lower cost than now. At least then there would be more help to go around. Dentistry is a detailed profession to go into and not everyone is built for such specifications.

However, if you are interested in pursuing such a career path, then by all means seek more information on the subject matter. It is always best to learn as much as you can about a subject before making a decision on whether or not to dedicate so much of your time and monies to the project. If in the end you do decide to pursue dentistry it will however, be time and money well spent.