About Dentists – Oral Health Doctors
Many Americans these days are able to keep their original teeth all of their lives and enjoy great oral health. However, that is not true for everyone. The most common childhood chronic disease are cavities.
There are many people that mistakenly think that they only need to visit a dentist when they believe something is wrong or are having mouth pain. However, they are missing the larger picture. When you visit the dentist you are given an examination an oral health doctor who is cable of providing you with an accurate diagnosis and can treat conditions ranging from routine up to extremely complicated cases.
The Team Approach to Dentistry
When dentistry takes a team approach it results in efficient, cost-effective, convenient, and comprehensive oral health care. Members of a dental team may include dental hygienists, lab specialists, and dental assistants. The dentist leads the team. This is a doctor who specializes in oral healthcare and either earned a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree or DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree.
The Role of the Dentist
A dentist is a doctor specializing in oral healthcare. The responsibilities of a dentist include the following:
- Diagnoses oral diseases.
- Promotes disease prevention and oral health.
- Creates treatment plans for patients to restore or maintain their oral health.
- Interprets diagnostic tests and x-rays.
- Ensures that anesthetics are safely administered.
- Monitors development and growth of the jaws and teeth.
- Performs surgeries on the oral cavity’s soft tissues, bones, and teeth.
Effective oversight by the dentist over their team is crucial to ensure effective and safe oral healthcare. Even procedures that appear to be routine like administering anesthetics, creating fillings or tooth extractions still carry possible risks of such complications as pain, hematomas, prolonged bleeding, permanent or temporary nerve damage, and infection.
Complete Dental Care Focuses Beyond Just Gums and Teeth
Dentists not only care for their patients’ gums and teeth but also their nervous system of the neck and head as well as other areas, such as the salivary glands, tongue, as well as the muscles of the jaw, neck, and head.
When a complete exam is conducted, the dentist examines the patient’s gums and teeth, but they are also looking for abnormalities such as ulcerations, discolorations, swellings, and lumps. When appropriate and necessary they perform diagnostic tests and biopsies for infectious or chronic diseases, oral cancer screening tests, and function of the salivary gland.
Dentists may also detect early warnings within the mouth that might be an indication of diseases in other parts of the body. The training that dentists undergo can also help them recognize situations where they need to refer patients to physicians or dental specialists for further care.
Clinical Training and Education
The degree of clinical training and education that is required for earning a degree in dentistry, along with the high academic criteria imposed by dental institutions, are very much equal to those held by traditional schools of medicine and are critical in developing dentists for practicing oral healthcare in an effective and safe manner.
A majority of dental students earn a Bachelors of Science degree or its equivalent and pass rigorous admissions examinations before dental school.
The curricula for the first two initial years of medical and dental school are very similar – students are required to complete biomedical courses such as pathology, immunology, microbiology, physiology, biochemistry, and anatomy. The coursework of dental students during the third and fourth years focus on clinical application – the diagnosis and treatment of oral and mouth diseases. After they have earned an undergraduate as well as a dental degree (eight years in total for most people) many dentists will continue their training and education. Some will go on and obtain further training in one of the nine dental specialties that are recognized.
After their training is complete, dentists are required to pass a national written exam along with a regional or state licensing exam to be eligible to practice. One condition of a dentist’s license is that they are required to meet certain C.E. requirements for their entire careers, in order to stay current on all of the latest clinical and scientific developments.
The Overall Importance Of Oral Health
There are many recent studies that show associations between various common health conditions – like heart disease and diabetes – and oral health. The WHO has responded by incorporating oral health into their chronic disease prevention campaigns that it is making since health risks appear to be linked.
It is recommended by the ADA that the first dental appointments not be delayed past the first birthday of a child so that a child’s “dental home” can be established. Dentists can equip parents and children with guidance, provide preventive oral wellness procedures, as well as the diagnosis and treatment of any dental disease during their earliest stages. Ongoing oral care helps both adults and children maintain optimum oral health over the course of their lives.
Improving the Oral Health of the Nation
Despite everything we currently know about how important oral health is to a person’s overall health, as well as to the employability and self-esteem of people, federal and state policies continue to sell short dental care.
Dental services account for 2% or even less of most states’ Medicaid budgets.
It is estimated that 164 millions hours of work are lost every year due to oral disease.
Farnham Dentistry is fully committed to the improvement of Jacksonville Florida’s oral health through both public education, community service and excellent dental services. Learn more about our practice at www.FarnhamDentistry.com/