A general dentist evaluates the patient's oral health status and develops a treatment plan suited to the patient's needs. The general dentist is responsible for treating diseases such as gingivitis, healing dental injuries, and perfecting malformations of the teeth and gums. They will examine patients by conducting interviews, taking X-rays, and performing other dental diagnostic procedures. They clean teeth using modern dental tools. General dentists also identify and fill cavities. They extract rotted teeth, as well as those that may be pushed out due to overcrowding. They replace teeth with false teeth implants. They educate patients as to how to best take care of their teeth to prevent cavities and plaque. Dentists must make patients fully aware of the necessity of excellent dental hygiene. They also typically help to supervise office staff, including hygienists, dental assistants, and receptionists. They may be required to make referrals to dental specialists to deal with issues such as braces or oral surgery. Some general dentists also take care of supplies for the dental office and coordinate required lab services. General dentists should work to develop relationships with their patients and encourage patients to come in for regular check ups and cleaning twice a year. They should be aware of the connection between tooth-related conditions and other diseases. Problems in the oral cavity may indicate diabetes, osteoporosis, or cancer. Gum disease may also be indicative of diabetes or heart disease. General dentists can prescribe medications, including anything from prescription-strength toothpastes and mouthwashes to more serious drugs such as antibiotics, sedatives, and other pain relief medications.
General Dentist Tasks
- Advise and instruct patients regarding preventive dental care, the causes and treatment of dental problems, and oral health care services.
- Examine teeth, gums, and related tissues, using dental instruments, x-rays, and other diagnostic equipment.
- Administer anesthetics to limit the amount of pain experienced by patients during procedures.
- Diagnose and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth, gums and related oral structures, and provide preventive and corrective services.