Most people overlook the importance of undergoing regular dental checkups. However, your dental health affects your overall health and well-being. Your dentist maintains your oral health, identifies dental issues, and commences treatment before the problems progress. General dental care involves diagnosing, treating, and preventing dental disorders affecting soft and hard oral tissues. Visiting your dental provider helps you ensure long-term tooth functionality and hygiene. Frequent checkups prevent the development of serious dental issues, enable early treatment, and prevent you from undergoing future extensive procedures. If you need reliable dental services in Carson, contact Washington Dental for affordable dental services.
Understanding General Dentistry
Typically, general dentistry provides detailed coverage of dental procedures. General dentistry usually includes consultation, diagnostic processes, and various treatment approaches. A general dentist performs diagnostic tests to determine the underlying oral problems before developing the right treatment plan for you. Your dentist could rely on CT scans and X-rays to check your dental status and create customized teeth impressions if any replacement is required.
You can rely on a general dentist to treat your whole family and adequately care for your overall health. General dentists are experienced in providing pediatric and adult dental services, making them a one-stop shop for the whole family. In addition, if you require specialized dental treatment, your general dentist will refer you to another dental expert to ensure you receive specialized treatment.
The Services General Dentists Provide
General dental care involves creating a customized dental hygiene program covering a dental evaluation, scaling, digital X-ray scans, and cleaning. It also involves using specialized equipment to diagnose, treat, and prevent oral conditions. A general dentist can employ several therapeutic procedures to prevent oral infections or tooth decay. Most dentists use restorative options to deal with issues related to trauma, cavities, and defects. Your dentist can use dental implants, veneers, and crowns to replace missing teeth. A dentist can reverse the progression of decay using fluoride treatment. Some of the services that general dentists provide include the following:
Preventive Dental Services
Preventive dentistry involves using modern methods to maintain your oral hygiene. It assists you in maintaining healthy teeth, eliminating the need for dental treatment. Tooth decay and gum disease are the two leading causes of tooth loss. The better you deal with or prevent these two issues, the longer your teeth will remain healthy. In addition, by cooperating with your general dentist, you can avoid the need for treatment, particularly tooth extractions and fillings.
Preventive dentistry is necessary for anyone with teeth. That is why children should start seeing a dentist immediately after they acquire their first tooth, usually at six months. Regular dental checkups are also beneficial to patients who do not have teeth because conditions like denture stomatitis and cancer of the mouth can be diagnosed during routine dental checkups.
Preventive services that general dentists offer include:
Oral Hygiene and Cleaning
Professional dental cleaning is more effective than regular brushing. A dentist will use unique products to clean even the hard-to-reach areas of your mouth. A dental cleaning includes the following:
- Teeth polishing — When a general dentist polishes your teeth, it helps remove plaque and stains to give your teeth a cleaner look.
- Elimination of tartar (calculus) — Also known as calculus, tartar is a calcified plaque that forms on the tooth. Usually, calculus builds up above or below the gum line and can only be removed with specialized tools.
- Plaque — A pale, sticky film formed from the combination of saliva, food remains, and bacteria. The bacteria are often toxic and cause cavities and gum inflammation. During a dental cleaning, your dentist will remove the plaque to save your teeth from cavities.
Fluoride treatment is essential, especially if you are at a high risk of developing dental cavities. Dentists use a concentrated rinse, gel, foam, or varnish to perform fluoride treatments. The dentist can apply the fluoride treatment using a swab, brush, tray, or mouthwash. The minerals in the fluoride fuse to deteriorating areas of the teeth' enamel.
A fluoride treatment contains a higher concentration than you would find in your regular toothpaste, preventing tooth decay. Most general dentists advise their patients to undergo fluoride treatment as an economical way of maintaining oral hygiene and avoiding costly dental procedures in the future. Only one dental appointment is required for fluoride treatment.
Home Dental Care Education
Home dental care is always essential since it prevents oral health issues from occurring in the first place. Your general dentist will walk you through the required home care measures during your appointments. Some measures could include regular flossing, brushing the teeth after every meal, and using mouthwash. These measures enhance optimal oral hygiene.
Placement Of Dental Sealants
A dental sealant is generally a thin sheet of plastic that is placed in the tooth grooves. It is placed on premolars and molars because they are often used for chewing. The sealant cushions the teeth from bacteria and food debris that cause tooth cavities. Dental sealants can protect teeth from decay, provided they are applied appropriately.
Your general dentist will only use 30 minutes to an hour to apply the dental sealant to your teeth. First, your dentist could use air abrasion to remove stains from your teeth. The dentist will then rub the surface of your teeth to ensure the sealant bonds properly with the teeth.
The next step involves applying the sealant to the teeth grooves once the teeth' surface is dry. The dentist will harden the sealant using ultraviolet light or a laser to fuse it solidly to your teeth for maximum protection. Finally, the dentist will complete the procedure by inspecting the sealant and confirming it was appropriately applied.
Restorative Dental Services
Restorative dentistry is a part of general dentistry that replaces missing or damaged teeth. General dentists perform restorative procedures to restore chewing function and improve dental health.
Typically, restorative dental procedures can save your teeth and restore their natural feel, shape, and appearance by:
- Replacing all the missing teeth with artificial restorations like dentures, bridges, and implants.
- Restoring missing portions of the tooth using direct or indirect restorations like fillings, crowns, onlays, or inlays.
- Repairing damage caused by bonding treatment or inadequate dental fillings.
Restorative services incorporate treatments from other dental fields like periodontics, prosthodontics, and endodontics. Most patients require multifaceted care, which could require treatment from multiple dentists.
If you require restorative dentistry, your general dentist will offer you several options, including:
Inlays Or Onlays
These are restorative dental appliances used when the tooth is too decayed or badly damaged for filing. They are also used when the tooth structure is not significantly damaged to warrant a dental crown. General dentists use inlays and onlays to assist in preserving as much of the patient's natural tooth as possible. Unlike direct fillings, inlays and onlays are durable, but they need several visits to your dentist to be installed.
A dental crown can restore your tooth's strength, shape, and size. It is an ideal treatment for a cracked, decayed, or damaged tooth. Typically, crowns are hollow caps created in the shape of the patient's tooth and cemented in place. Crowns are made from various materials, including gold or ceramic. However, most patients prefer porcelain crowns fused with metal for durability and a natural look that blends well with their natural teeth.
A general dentist could recommend a dental bridge if several teeth require replacement. This process involves putting in a false tooth made of ceramic or other long-lasting materials to fill the gap left by your natural tooth. Dental bridges are essential since they preserve your speech and restore a functional bite. They also prevent other teeth from shifting into the open space and remove gaps in your smile. Bridges can last many years if you visit your dentist for regular checkups and maintain maximum oral hygiene.
Dental fillings are the most common restorative dental treatments. If you have decayed parts of the teeth that resulted from dental caries, your general dentist can use dental fillings to fill the affected teeth. Fillings can be made of silver, gold, porcelain, amalgam, or other materials. They also improve biting and chewing on the outer tooth surfaces. Once your dentist puts the dental fillings in, you will experience a significant improvement or the complete eradication of the discomfort you were experiencing before the procedure.
Root Canal Treatment
Dentists recommend a root canal procedure if your tooth is badly decayed, whereby a filling is insufficient to correct the damage. Your general dentist will perform a root canal treatment to clean out decay from the root of your affected tooth. This procedure usually aims at eliminating painful toothaches and restoring a patient's dental health.
Once your general dentist completes the process, he/she will use dental fillings like composite fillings to fill the empty root canal. Your dentist will then add inlays or onlays to the tooth and place a dental crown to restore the tooth's strength and appearance.
General dentists consider extractions an absolute last option. Before a dentist recommends a tooth extraction, he/she will try to save your damaged tooth with other procedures like crowns, fillings, and root canal treatment. Your general dentist will advise you to consider an extraction if your tooth is damaged beyond saving. The dentist will then resort to other restorative dentistry options like implants and bridges to fill the gap in your smile so you do not feel self-conscious.
Cosmetic dentistry is also part of general dentistry. It involves improving the appearance of a patient's smile. The typical cosmetic dentistry services that your dentist could use to enhance your smile include:
Composite resin is used to produce composite fillings. Composite resin is a material that can be color matched to the color of a patient's natural teeth. This makes the filling look like your natural teeth. A composite filling is a procedure that involves eliminating the decayed tissues and reshaping the remaining tooth structure. First, your general dentist will skillfully use composite resin to fill the cavity. Then, the dentist will polish and shape the filling to blend with your tooth. Composite fillings can last for five to seven years if properly handled.
Dental implants are an effective way to replace lost teeth. The leading causes of tooth loss include infection, fracture, bone loss, tooth decay, and periodontal disease. Implants are a better option than dental bridges, especially if the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth are not substantially strong enough to support a dental bridge. Your general dentist can install dental implants directly into the jawbone, making them last longer than dentures or bridges. Once your dentist installs the implant, it feels, looks, and acts like a normal tooth. You can floss and brush it like your other teeth.
Dental implants are more beneficial when replacing missing teeth in appearance and functionality. Your general dentist can use dental implants as a base for the dental plate. He/she does so by putting a small titanium post into the bone sockets of the missing teeth. After inserting the titanium post, the osseointegration process will begin, usually taking several months. Your dentist will attach a crown to the abutment once osseointegration is complete.
Dentists can also use dental implants with dentures to provide more substantial bite power, similar to natural teeth. Conventional dentures have less bite strength, which increases the danger of jawbone loss. Dental implants prevent jawbone loss.
Invisalign braces are the best compared to traditional metal braces. Most general dentists use this cosmetic dental treatment because it is a less invasive solution to straighten a patient's teeth. In addition, 3D imaging software is often used to provide patients with multiple sets of customized clear aligners. You need to put on each set of clear aligners for one to two weeks before changing to another set until you achieve the desired teeth appearance.
Unlike traditional metal braces, you can remove the clear aligners whenever you need to drink, eat, or brush your teeth. However, you must wear Invisalign for at least 22 hours a day for the best results.
Dental bonding is handy for patients with discolored, cracked, or chipped teeth. Dental bonding fixes these aesthetic issues to enhance your smile. Bonding is a painless process that involves shaping and bonding a composite resin consisting of a durable, rigid plastic to the tooth. This restorative procedure restores damaged teeth to a more natural color and shape. It does not require you to make multiple visits to the dentist and does not call for a lengthy recovery period.
Unlike dental veneers, dental bonding is a cheaper cosmetic dental treatment. A laser or UV light is used in this treatment to bond a tooth-colored composite plastic resin to a tooth, producing an instant outcome. This cosmetic dental enhancement works just like veneers in treating the following dental issues:
- Gaps between the teeth.
- Cracked or chipped teeth.
- Discolored teeth.
Additionally, your general dentist can use tooth bonding to repair a decayed tooth by applying resin to the cavity.
Unlike custom-made veneers, you only need one dental visit for dental bonding. However, tooth bonding is among the cheapest and simplest cosmetic dental procedures, so you need regular replacements rather than veneers.
Veneers come in handy for covering discolored or stained teeth. However, general dentists also use them as a restorative remedy for crooked, chipped, or broken teeth.
Sometimes, tooth whitening is not a remedy, especially for stubborn intrinsic tooth staining and other functional issues. In this case, porcelain veneers are the best smile makeover alternative. Porcelain veneers are a popular general dentistry treatment that involves placing a fabricated porcelain shell on the tooth to fix the following issues:
- Uneven alignment.
- Cracks or chips.
- Worn enamel.
Porcelain veneers are customized for every patient. A porcelain veneer can last longer if given proper care. Modern veneers are thinner because of the new materials used in their production, so your dentist does not need to trim them. Veneers cover discolored or chipped teeth, giving them a healthy and natural appearance.
Teeth bleaching or whitening is a popular cosmetic dental treatment that general dentists use to improve a patient's smile. Tooth whitening is attractive because it is cost-effective and relatively less invasive.
While patients can purchase at-home whitening kits or whitening toothpaste, a general dentist can use safe products and reliable dental tools to deliver the outcome. In addition, your dental expert can offer personalized treatment to ensure you experience quicker results with less discomfort.
Once your dentist removes the stains, your teeth appear healthier, stronger, and cleaner. In addition, professional teeth whitening results could last longer if combined with a regular at-home oral healthcare routine.
Benefits of Visiting a General Dentist Regularly
Some of the benefits of visiting a general dentist include the following:
Improves Your Smile
Frequent visits to your general dentist can improve your smile. Your general dentist can accomplish this by removing tartar and plaque that develop along the gum line and on teeth. Your teeth could stain due to worn-out or weakened enamel or natural discoloration. Most patients report improved confidence and self-esteem after a smile makeover.
Prevents Bad Breath
Having fresh breath is one of the benefits of regular visits to a general dentist. Most patients assume that regular dental checkups and cleanings are unnecessary because they do not influence their daily lives. Most people only visit dentists when they experience problems with their oral health or the appearance of their smile. Halitosis, or bad breath, develops when tartar and plaque develop on the surface of the teeth. Regular dental cleanings can remove tartar and plaque that produce bad-smelling bacteria and improve your breath.
Prevent Periodontal Disease
When you visit your general dentist regularly, the dentist will clean your gum line to remove bacteria and plaque. This can reduce the risk of suffering periodontal disease. It will also keep your underlying jawbone and gums healthy.
During each visit, general dentists often check for signs of periodontal disease. This allows the dentist to administer prompt medication to ensure no symptoms progress into a severe gum disease called periodontitis.
You can reduce the overall risk of oral health problems by visiting your general dentist regularly. The most common reason why you would require restorative dental care is dental cavities. Dental cavities always develop because of the accumulation of tartar and plaque. When you allow your general dentist to administer regular cleanings, he/she will eliminate tartar and plaque that develop along the gum line and on the teeth. This will reduce the risk of cavities and other related problems.
Gives You Peace Of Mind
Experiencing dental pain or issues with oral health could keep you awake at night. Some oral health problems could have severe repercussions if not treated, like staying with a decayed tooth for a long time. Regular visits to your general dentist will enable them to keep up with what is happening in your mouth, aid with pain and discomfort, and give guidelines for follow-up dental treatments.
Education On The Right Dental Hygiene
Most people do not understand the proper ways to handle their oral hygiene. For example, many people do not floss and only brush their teeth once a day. This could seem minor, but it could lead to more significant dental problems in the long run. Small habits like flossing at least once a day and brushing your teeth after every meal can help you fight bacteria in your mouth and promote healthy teeth. If you require a personalized oral hygiene routine, you need to step up with your regular dental checkups. In this case, you give your general dentist ample time to monitor your dental hygiene.
Find a General Dentist Near Me
Your dental health affects your overall well-being. Therefore, it is advisable to have a dentist check your teeth every six months. Regular dental checkups help your dentist identify dental issues early and treat them before they progress. If you need reliable general dental services in Carson, Washington Dental can help. We have a team of experienced dentists who provide a wide range of dental services, including teeth cleaning, dental fillings, root canal treatment, and orthodontic and cosmetic dental services. We invite you to contact us at 310-217-1507 to speak to one of our dentists.