Since we’ve already alerted you to some of the most common mistakes people make that can damage their teeth, we’d like to take a moment to tell you one of the best ways that you can protect your teeth: seeing a dentist. For years, modern dentistry has been at the forefront of helping individuals maintain good oral hygiene, and although there is a long history of advances in dental science, we’d like to take the time to focus on contemporary dentistry. In specific, some of the common ways in which a dentist aids their patients. We’ll start with a general overview that explains what dentistry is. The ADA (American Dental Association) defines dentistry as such:
“The evaluation, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases, disorders, and conditions of the oral cavity, maxillofacial area and the adjacent and associated structures and their impact on the human body.”
In other words, dentists fix what’s wrong with your mouth and the surrounding areas. These dedicated medical professionals specialize in oral health and use their knowledge to diagnose and treat oral diseases, encourage patients to take care of their teeth, and perform surgical (and other) procedures on the teeth and nearby facial structures.
Why is this important? In addition to the increase in confidence that comes from having great looking teeth, oral health is associated with your body’s overall health. Dentists can spot signals in the mouth that may be indicative of a problem elsewhere in the body (such as diabetes and heart disease). Going for regular checkups and keeping your mouth and great shape can prevent some conditions from progressing.
So what kind of procedures do dentists perform? It depends on the situation. Sometimes, in cases where individuals are missing teeth, a dentist may need to set you up with custom dentures to compensate. It’s common for people to believe that missing teeth aren’t a big deal, but in actuality, that toothless grin will cost you more than just your appearance. The lack of teeth inhibits the ability to chew food properly and thoroughly. Your jaw becomes strained; your teeth may become misaligned, and the incompletely masticated food with upset your stomach.
Dentures aren’t the only type of solution a dentist might suggest, mind you. Dentists may also replace individual missing teeth with implants that are designed to mimic the look and feel of your natural teeth. They can be color matched to your original teeth, and maintained in just the same way (brushing, flossing, etc.). The process is relatively straightforward as well, making it a very direct option for handling missing teeth.
Dentists are also skilled at treating the healthy teeth in your mouth. Many choose to see the dentist for cosmetic reasons. Dental cosmetics covers many procedures designed to enhance the look of your teeth and includes veneers, lumineers, restorations, bonding, inlays, recontouring, and the ever popular whitening options. For those embarrassed by discolored teeth, this is the preferred method for reducing the look of discoloration and restoring the smile to a bright, beautiful white. Treatments such as these can be performed in-office or by way of take-home kits.
A dentist’s trade covers more than just teeth. The gums are also a point of focus for many dental activities. Periodontal disease, a common malady, might be reasonably preventable, but can quickly develop when oral hygiene is poor. There are roughly 64 million individuals in the United States living with periodontal disease, so dentists see their fair share of patients suffering from the typical symptoms of swollen, red, tender gums. Thankfully, many cases are treatable without surgery, but in cases that do require it, most dentists are more than equipped to handle the task.
As you can see, the importance of keeping your mouth and teeth healthy is paramount, and the role a dentist plays is invaluable. We hope this quick overview provided you with insight into the need for continued support of dental science, and helped you garner some newfound respect for these vital members of the larger health community. Make sure you thank your dentist for their dedicated work next time you see them, and remember to do your part in making sure those teeth and gums stay in great shape!