General Dentistry

Last updated date: 05-Apr-2023

Originally Written in English

General Dentistry

General Dentistry


Dentistry, often known as dental medicine and oral medicine, is the medical specialty concerned with teeth, gums, and the mouth. It is the study, diagnosis, prevention, management, and treatment of illnesses, disorders, and conditions of the mouth, with a particular emphasis on dentition (the development and placement of teeth) and the oral mucosa. Dentistry may also include treatment of other elements of the craniofacial complex, such as the temporomandibular joint. A dentist is the name given to the practitioner.


What is General dentistry?

General Dentistry definition

The term dentistry is derived from the French word dentist, which is derived from the French and Latin terms for tooth. The scientific study of teeth is known as odontology, which is the study of the structure, development, and anomalies of teeth. Dentistry is often defined as practices relating to the oral cavity. According to the World Health Organization, oral illnesses are important public health issues due to their global prevalence and high incidence, with the poor being more impacted than other socioeconomic groups.

The bulk of dental treatments are performed to prevent or cure dental caries (tooth decay) and periodontal disease, the two most prevalent oral disorders (gum disease or pyorrhea). Common treatments include tooth restoration, Teeth extraction or surgical removal, scaling and root planing, endodontic root canal therapy, and aesthetic dentistry are all options. Dentists, by virtue of their general training, can perform the majority of dental treatments such as restorative (fillings, crowns, bridges), prosthetic (dentures), endodontic (root canal) therapy, periodontal (gum) therapy, and tooth extraction, as well as examinations, radiographs (x-rays), and diagnosis. Dentists can also prescribe medicines such as antibiotics, sedatives, and other medications for patient management. General dentists may be needed to undergo additional training to conduct sedation and dental implants, depending on their licensing boards. Dentists also promote oral disease prevention through appropriate hygiene and twice or more yearly exams for expert cleaning and assessment. Mouth infections and inflammations can have a negative impact on general health, and problems in the oral cavity can be a sign of systemic illnesses including osteoporosis, diabetes, celiac disease, or cancer. Many studies have also linked gum disease to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and premature delivery. The idea that mouth health might influence systemic health and illness is known as "oral-systemic health."


What instruments does the dentist use to care for?

Dentistry instruments

The dentist has a variety of tools to assist them in caring for you and making your encounter as comfortable as possible. Here's a look at some of your dentist's equipment and what it can accomplish.

  • Mirror for the mouth - This is almost probably going to come in handy throughout your vacation. Your dentist will need to see within your mouth, including the back of your teeth. The mirror allows them to observe from all angles and more readily discover any possible concerns. 
  • Dental explorer - There are several distinct sorts of probes. Although they may appear frightening, they are used to examine the mouth and ensure that everything is in order. A sickle probe is used to detect cavities and other oral abnormalities, whereas a periodontal probe is intended to assess periodontal pockets and identify any difficulties, such as gum recession. 
  • Anesthetic - Teeth may be hard on the outside, but they are extremely sensitive behind the enamel. In order to operate without causing you discomfort, the dentist will numb your mouth with a local anesthetic. Some Portman clinics now provide painless sedation, so you won't even notice your tooth has been numbed. Inquire with your Portman dentist about this possibility.
  • Syringe for dentistry - The dental syringe is used to inject local anesthetic into your teeth and gums, numbing them so your dentist may do operations that would be uncomfortable for you otherwise. Syringes are also used to rinse or dry your mouth with water or air, as required for specific operations. When syringes are used, they might be unpleasant, although this normally goes away within a few seconds.
  • Drill the teeth - The drill's loudness and vibrations on your teeth may give an odd sensation, but this is nothing to be concerned about. The drill is used to remove any decay linked to the tooth before filling up the cavity, however it is also used to polish and smooth the teeth once the operation is over.
  • Excavator with a spoon - Because the material in a dental cavity is sometimes soft, no drill is required. This type of deterioration is removed with spoon excavators. 
  • Burnisher - Burnishers are often employed at the conclusion of a process to smooth and polish your teeth or to erase scratches. They are frequently utilized during dental restorations to clean up the teeth after the initial surgery.
  • Scaler - Calculus is removed from above the gum line using a scaler. Plaque can harden to the point that brushing cannot remove it, thus it must be gently scraped off with these devices.
  • Curette - Curettes, like scalers, are used to remove calculus, but they are precisely formed to remove it from below the gum line without inflicting more harm to the gingiva.
  • Suction apparatusDuring several operations, saliva and debris can accumulate in the mouth, making things difficult for your doctor. Small hoses are used to clear anything from the mouth.
  • X-ray - Sometimes a problem is not immediately apparent, thus an x-ray is required to provide a more thorough look of the teeth and bones. Early deterioration, for example, is impossible to detect without an x-ray.
  • Mould - Filling a mould with a liquid substance and biting down on it is one of the most accurate techniques to create an imprint of the inside of your mouth. The imprint is then filled with plaster and solidified to make a model of your teeth, including any cavities. These can be used to diagnose issues and to fabricate appropriate crowns, caps, mouth guards, and other dental appliances


General dentistry procedures

General dentistry procedures

  • Bridges - A bridge is a fixed substitute for one or more missing teeth. It is created by taking an impression of the teeth that will eventually support the bridge. A bridge is often made of precious metal and porcelain and is installed in your mouth (unlike dentures, which can be removed).
  • Crowns - Crowns are a form of cap that completely encloses a natural tooth. It is commonly constructed of metal, porcelain bonded to metal, or ceramic and is permanently attached to your teeth. Crowns can be used to restore a tooth that has been cracked, decaying, or damaged, or just to improve the appearance of a tooth. To fit a crown, the old tooth must be drilled down to the size of a little peg onto which the crown will be screwed. Because it might take time for the lab to produce a new crown, you will most likely not have the crown installed on the same day.
  • Fillings - Fillings are used to fix a decayed hole in a tooth. The most common form of filling is an amalgam, which is composed of a combination of metals such as mercury, silver, tin, and copper. Your dentist will recommend the best type of filling for your clinical needs. This includes white fillings, if necessary.
  • Root canal therapy - Root canal therapy (also known as endodontics) treats infection at the root of a tooth. If the tooth's blood or nerve supply becomes infected, the infection will spread and the tooth may need to be extracted if root canal therapy is not performed. During therapy, the infection is completely eliminated from the root canal system. To prevent reinfection, the root canal is completed and the tooth is sealed with a filling or crown. Root canal therapy normally necessitates two or more visits to your dentist.
  • Scale and polish - The hygienist cleans your teeth professionally during scale and polish. It entails gently eliminating the deposits that accumulate on the teeth (tartar).
  • Braces - Braces (orthodontic therapy) straighten or reposition teeth to enhance their look and function. Braces can be detachable, which means you can take them out and clean them, or fixed, which means they are permanently attached to your teeth and cannot be removed. They are available in metal, plastic, or ceramic. Clear acrylic is used to make invisible braces. Braces are provided on the NHS for both children and adults, depending on clinical necessity.
  • Wisdom tooth extraction - Wisdom teeth emerge from the rear of your gums as the last teeth to emerge, generally in your late teens or early twenties. The majority of people have four wisdom teeth, one in each corner. Wisdom teeth can occasionally erupt at an angle or become trapped and just partially emerge. Impacted wisdom teeth are those that grow through in this manner. If your wisdom teeth are impacted but not causing any problems, they usually do not need to be extracted. However, they can occasionally cause problems and must be removed by the NHS. Your dentist may do the treatment, or they may send you to a specialist dentist or the oral and maxillofacial section of a hospital. You should expect to pay a fee for wisdom teeth extraction. You will not be charged if you are referred to a hospital for NHS care. Private wisdom teeth treatment might also be referred to by your dentist.
  • Implants for the teeth - Implants provide a permanent alternative to removable dentures. Implants can be used to replace a single tooth or many teeth. Titanium screws are drilled into the jaw bone to support a crown, bridge, or denture when an implant is installed. It takes time to create replacement pieces since they must fit your mouth and other teeth correctly. As a result, they may not be available on your initial visit to the dentist. Implants are typically only provided on a private basis and are prohibitively pricey. They are occasionally accessible on the NHS for patients who are unable to wear dentures or whose face and teeth have been injured, such as those who have had oral cancer or an accident that has resulted in a tooth extraction.
  • False teeth or dentures - Dentures, often known as fake teeth, are put in place of natural teeth. A complete set replaces all of your teeth. A partial set replaces one or more missing teeth. Dentures are created to order by taking impressions (moldings) of your gums. They are often constructed of metal or plastic. They are detachable and may be cleaned by immersing them in a cleaning solution. If you lose your natural teeth, you will need dentures since it will be difficult to chew your food, which will alter your nutrition and may cause your face muscles to droop.
  • A tooth that has been broken or knocked out - A tooth can be broken, chipped, or knocked out. If the tooth is only chipped, schedule a non-emergency dental appointment to have it smoothed down, filled, or crowned. If the tooth is an adult (permanent) tooth, try to replace it in the hole in the gum. Make sure the tooth is clean and that the root is not touched. Put it in milk or saliva if it won't go in smoothly. If it's a baby tooth, don't replace it. It may cause harm to the tooth that is developing beneath.
  • Whitening of the teeth - Teeth whitening is the process of bleaching your teeth to make them lighter in color. Teeth whitening will not make your teeth sparkling white, but it will lighten the color of your teeth by many shades. Standard teeth whitening entails two to three visits to the dentist, as well as at-home treatments using a mouthguard containing bleaching gel. Typically, you must wear the mouthguard and bleaching gel for a set amount of time over a few weeks. Another process, laser whitening or power whitening, is performed at the dentist's office and lasts approximately an hour. Teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure that is often only offered privately.
  • Veneers for the teeth - Veneers are new dental coverings that conceal a discolored or damaged tooth. To install a veneer, the front of the tooth is slightly drilled away. After taking an imprint, a thin coating of porcelain is put to the front of the tooth (similar to how a false fingernail is applied). To install a veneer, the front of the tooth is slightly drilled away. After taking an imprint, a thin coating of porcelain is put to the front of the tooth (similar to how a false fingernail is applied). Unless you can demonstrate a clinical necessity for them, veneers are usually only accessible privately.

What is conservative dentistry treatment planning?

Conservative dentistry

The goal of dental treatment is to meet the demands of the patient. Each patient, on the other hand, is as distinct as a fingerprint. As a result, treatment should be carefully personalized for both the patient and the condition.

A patient's treatment plan is developed in four steps:

  • Examining and identifying problems
  • Intervention recommendation decision
  • Alternative therapeutic options must be identified.
  • Treatment is chosen with the patient's input.

After gathering the database (information), three steps must be established:

  • Creating the problem list (ranking the order of problems)
  • A rough treatment approach for each of the problem
  • Synthesis of a preliminary treatment plan into a comprehensive detailed treatment plan.


Treatment plan sequencing

Treatment plan sequencing

The practice of arranging the necessary operations within a time period is known as treatment plan sequencing. A good treatment approach must include proper sequencing. Complex treatment regimens are frequently divided into phases, which include an urgent phase, a control phase, a re-evaluation phase, a definitive phase, and a maintenance phase.

  • Urgent phase

The emergency phase of care begins with an in-depth examination of the patient's medical condition and history. So, if a patient presents with swelling, discomfort, bleeding, or infection, these issues should be addressed as quickly as possible, preferably before proceeding to the next phase.

  • Phase of control

It is intended to remove active disease, such as cavities and inflammation; remove circumstances that hinder maintenance; remove possible sources of disease; and initiate preventive dental measures.

  • Phase of Re-Evaluation

The holding phase is the period of time between the control and definitive phases that allows for inflammation resolution and healing. Before beginning definitive care, home care behaviors are reinforced, motivation for continued treatment is examined, and first therapy and pulpal responses are re-evaluated.

  • Definitive phase

The patient enters the corrective or final phase of therapy when the dentist reassesses initial treatment and evaluates the necessity for additional care. It is critical to sequence operational care with endodontic, periodontal, orthodontic, oral surgical, and prosthodontic treatment.

  • Phase of maintenance

This includes routine recall exams that may highlight the need for changes to prevent future breakdowns and give a chance to enhance home care.

The frequency of re-evaluation examinations during the maintenance phase is mostly determined by the patient's risk for dental disease:

  • A patient with stable periodontal health and a recent history of no cavities should have longer intervals between recall visits (e.g., 9-12 months or more).
  • Those who are predisposed to dental caries and/or periodontal disease should be evaluated substantially more regularly (e.g., 3–4 months).

Actual caries risk is the degree to which a person is at risk of acquiring a carious lesion at any one moment.

Dentistry specialties

Dentistry specialties

Following their initial degree, some dentists pursue additional study to specialize. Which disciplines are recognized by dental registration organizations differs by area? Here are several examples:

  • Cosmetic dentistry is concerned with enhancing the aesthetics of the mouth, teeth, and smile.
  • Anesthesiology: A dental specialty concerned with the enhanced use of general anesthetic, sedation, and pain management to aid dental treatments.
  • Dental public health entails the study of epidemiology as well as social health policy pertaining to oral health.
  • Endodontics (also known as endodontology) is the study of disorders of the tooth pulp and periapical tissues.
  • Forensic odontology: The collection and utilization of dental evidence in legal proceedings. Any dentist with knowledge or training in this discipline can conduct this procedure. The forensic dentist's primary role is paperwork and identification verification.
  • Geriatric dentistry, also known as geriodontics, is the practice of providing dental care to older people that includes the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of problems associated with normal aging and age-related diseases as part of an interdisciplinary team with other healthcare professionals.
  • Oral and maxillofacial pathology is the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders of the mouth and jaw. Oral and maxillofacial radiology involves the study and interpretation of radiologic images of oral and maxillofacial disorders.
  • Oral surgery: Extractions, implants, and surgery of the jaws, mouth, and face are all part of oral and maxillofacial surgery.
  • Oral Implantology is the art and science of using dental implants to replace removed teeth.
  • Oral medicine is the clinical assessment and diagnosis of illnesses of the oral mucosa.
  • Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics are the practices of straightening teeth and modifying midface and mandibular development.
  • Pediatric dentistry (also known as pedodontics) is the practice of dentistry for children.
  • Periodontology (also known as periodontics) is the study and treatment of periodontal disorders (both non-surgical and surgical), as well as the insertion and care of dental implants.
  • Prosthetic dentistry: Dentures, bridges, and implant repair are all examples of prosthodontics. Most maxillofacial prosthodontists now restore function and esthetics to patients who have acquired abnormalities as a result of surgical excision of head and neck tumors or trauma from war or motor vehicle accidents.

Some prosthodontists specialize in maxillofacial prosthetics, which was originally focused with the rehabilitation of individuals born with congenital facial and oral deformities such as cleft lip and palate or with an undeveloped ear (microtia). 



Dentistry is the profession dealing with the prevention and treatment of oral illness, which includes disorders of the teeth and supporting structures, as well as diseases of the oral soft tissues. Dentistry also includes the treatment and repair of jaw malformations, tooth misalignment, and congenital defects of the oral cavity such as cleft palate. Dental specialties and subspecialties include orthodontics and dental orthopedics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, prosthodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, oral and maxillofacial pathology, endodontics, public health dentistry, and oral and maxillofacial radiology, in addition to general practice.