What services does a general dentist offer? If you're on the hunt for a new practice, take a look at the most common types of services dental practitioners provide.
You brush twice a day for two minutes each time. But is that enough to keep your teeth and gums healthy? While at-home care is essential for your dental health, it isn't the only step to take. Along with brushing and flossing, you also need to see the dentist for routine cleanings.
The dental hygienist uses specialized tools to remove sticky plaque and tartar from teeth and around the gumline. Not only does this give you a brighter smile, but it also reduces the risks of dental decay. Left unchecked, plaque can lead to enamel erosion and decay (cavities). Plaque can also harden and form hard-to-remove tartar buildup.
Even though professional dental cleaning is a crucial part of your overall oral care, it isn't the only reason to visit your local dental practice. After the cleaning, the dentist will examine your mouth. An in-office exam can help the dentist to spot cavities and damage before they grow from minor issues to major problems. If the dentist does find an area of concern, they'll create a treatment plan to care for your teeth.
Dental X-rays provide information about the inner or hard-to-see parts of your teeth. This type of in-office imaging test allows the dentist to find decay, damage, or other issues between your teeth or below the gumline. X-rays can also help to detect structural abnormalities, cysts, infections/abscesses, and impacted teeth.
The four primary types of dental X-rays include bitewings, occlusal, panoramic, and periapical. Bitewings can help the dentist to find decay in between your teeth. Occlusal X-rays can show anatomical abnormalities in the mouth. As the name implies, panoramic X-rays are panoramic (or full) pictures of the mouth. Periapical X-rays provide a full picture of the teeth—from the top of the crown to the root below the gumline.
Some dental practices also offer orthodonture services. These include orthodontic evaluations, traditional metal wire, and bracket braces, or Invisalign clear aligners. Even though children and teens are common orthodontic patients, these services are also available for people of all ages—including adults. If you're not happy with your smile or your teeth have shifted over the years, talk to your dentist about the orthodontic options.