What is Dentistry?
Dentistry is a healing arts and sciences devoted to maintaining oral health. Dentists diagnose and treat problems with a patient’s teeth, gums, and other parts of the mouth. They provide advice and instruction on taking care of teeth and gums and on diet choices that affect oral health. The realization that oral care can have a serious impact on systemic health drives the expansion of new professional opportunities each year. Additional training in dentistry beyond a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) allows specialization in fields such as Endodontics, Periodontics, Orthodontics, and many more.
Dentists typically do the following:
- Use the latest techniques and equipment to examine the head and neck and oral cavity to identify and diagnose oral conditions that may manifest into systemic disease and determine the oral health of the patient.
- Use the latest radiographic, computer-generated imaging, and other specialized diagnostic techniques to identify diseases of the teeth, supporting bone and gingival tissues, and other tissues in the oral cavity and head and neck.
- Restore and replace teeth damaged by decay, lost from trauma or disease, with newly developed dental materials, implants, and crown and bridge techniques.
- Perform corrective surgery on gums and supporting bones to treat gum disease. Correct mal-positioned teeth to improve chewing, speech, digestion of food and appearance.
- Extract teeth when necessary using the most up-to-date anesthetic techniques.
- Eliminate pain arising from oral diseases, conditions and trauma, making use of prescriptive medicines to reduce pain and discomfort.
- Evaluate the overall health of their patients including taking and evaluating comprehensive medical histories.
- Provide instruction and advice on oral health care and preventive measures to maintain healthy oral tissues and prevent oral disease.
- Oversee the administration and business of private practice and frequently employ and supervise a large number of staff and allied dental personnel to help treat their family of patients.
Explore these resources and organizations about dentistry:
Source: ADEA: ExploreHealthCareers. 7 May 2013. American Dental Education Association. 17 May 2013 < http://explorehealthcareers.org/en/Career/1/Dentist>
Source: United States Department of Labor: Occupational Outlook Handbook. 29 March 2012. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 17 May 2013 < http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dentists.htm#tab-1>.
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