General dentistry is the study, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of a wide variety of conditions that concern the teeth, mouth and gums. Most doctors in this field are referred to as dentists, even though they may hold more specialized training in other areas of dental health. General dentistry concerns itself with the general maintenance of oral hygiene and the prevention of oral disease. In this capacity the general dentist follows a universal representation as the gatekeeper of oral health care.
A general dentist can work in hospital emergency rooms, conduct lab research, teach other dentists, and work with relief organizations or in universities. More commonly the general dentist is known for their work in private practice. To become a nationally accredited dentist, the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) has established standards that ensure the quality of dentists and the evolving practice of dentistry. CODA is nationally recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE) to accredit dentists and dental education programs.
Currently there are over 50 accredited dental schools in the United States that prepare dentists for careers in dentistry and the National Board Dental Examination. Dentists are required to first complete their undergraduate studies and then attend four more yours at an accredited dental school. Upon completion dentists are awarded a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree.
The dentists must pass a two-part written national board examination and a written practical state or regional board exam. Successful completion of the National Board Dental Examination gives dentists a National Board Dental Certificate as an official designation of their achievement. Dentists are licensed only to practice within their state of license completion, although there are exceptions to this rule.
Most dentists who complete their licensure move straight into a general dentistry practice or start their own. Dentists who choose to undergo more specialized training such as orthodontics, prosthodontics or periodontics require additional training and education to earn more specialized accreditations. You will find that ACE dentists have all made the decision to seek out advancements in their education and training and offer general dentistry services as well as more specialized treatments all under one roof.
A general dentist visit is most commonly a preventative visit instituted to help maintain good oral health care and to foresee problems before they worsen. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends seeing your dentist at least twice a year to help maintain proper oral hygiene. Your scheduled oral health exam will consist of a full-mouth evaluation, x-rays, removal of plaque, identifying changes in the bite, and an overview of your at-home treatments.
If restorative treatments are necessary, you can expect most general dentists to provide common procedures as dental fillings, bonding, root canals, dental crowns, oral cancer screenings, and gum disease treatment.