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General Dentistry


General dentistry is a non-specialized field of dentistry in which dentists focus more on basic oral care. General dentists are, however, able to focus on more areas such as performing surgery should they receive the proper training.

General dentists can choose what treatments they wish to offer and will then refer their clients to specialists should they need more focus.

Most general dentists perform prosthetic, restorative, and periodontal and endodontic therapy.


Your General Dentist


Your general dentist—in the U.S. will have either a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) degree of a Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.) degree. After dental school, dentists must pass a licensing test.


The Nine Fields of Dentistry


Each field of dentistry requires more education and training after dentists have achieved their D.D.S. or D.M.D. degrees.


1)      Endodontics: This field of dentistry concentrates on root canal therapy.

2)      Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: This field of dentistry focuses on surgeries performed in the mouth, face and jaw. This includes reconstructive surgery and dental implants.

3)      Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology: This field of dentistry concentrates on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases associated with the jaw, face and mouth.

4)      Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology: In this field of dentistry, imaging devices and techniques are used to determine the diseases in relation to the jaw, face and mouth.

5)      Prosthodontics: This field of dentistry concentrates on the generation of prostheses that help treat anatomical dysfunctions. This includes dental crowns, dental implants, bridges and dentures.

6)      Orthodontics: In this field of dentistry, professionals focus on straightening their clients’ teeth using dental braces and/or retainers.

7)      Periodontics: This field of dentistry concentrates on achieving and sustaining the health of a client’s tooth structure, which has decayed due to bacterial infections of the gum tissue.

8)      Pedodontics: This field of dentistry concentrates on the dental health and treatment of children.

9)      Dental Public Health: In this field of dentistry, professionals focus on the causes and treatments of diseases in the oral cavity.


Pediatric Dentistry


Pediatric dentistry is a field of dentistry that focuses on the oral health care of children.

Pediatric dentistry aims to sustain a healthy oral cavity in children by promoting proper dental hygiene. This includes a healthy, balanced diet rich in nutrients and low in sugar, as well as efficient tooth brushing techniques.


What to Consider


1)      When children are between six months and 24 months old, they begin teething as you will notice them drooling, biting on objects and projecting an irritated state.

2)      When your child is teething, give him/her a teething ring, massage his/her gums or ask your dentist for a teething solution.

3)      When your child is about three years old, he/she should have all their baby teeth.

4)      When your child is between six and 12 years old, you will notice both baby teeth and adult teeth in his/her mouth.



Preventing Poor Oral Health in Your Children


Consider the following common problems and/or challenges in the development of your child’s oral health.

Consult your dentist if you notice any of the listed items in your child’s growth.


1)      Thumb-sucking: Thumb-sucking is a very common activity children take part in as it comforts the child. Babies may also suck their thumbs during teething periods in order to be provided with added comfort and security. If your child continues to suck his/her thumb after the baby teeth have emerged, your child may then face further problems. Such dental problems include realignment in the bone structure, jaw and mouth, and a shifting in the teeth which may result in crooked teeth or an overbite.

2)      Poor Nutrition: For a healthy, balanced diet, give your children an ample amount of fresh fruits and vegetables such as pears, apples, carrots and celery. Avoid sugary snacks. If you do give your child something sweet, do so after a meal as the increased saliva flow will make it easier to wash away sugary residue. Make sure to clean your child’s teeth after every meal.

3)      Baby Bottle Syndrome: This condition is also known as the Nursing Bottle Syndrome and it occurs when a baby constantly consumes milk or juice. If your child sleeps with a baby bottle of liquid such as juice—anything that contains sugar—then the residual sugar on the teeth may result in the growth of bacteria. This can lead to tooth decay. Instead, give your child a baby bottle of water at bedtime.

4)      Decayed Teeth: Decayed baby teeth may lead to crooked adult teeth which then results in even further problems such as difficulty chewing, tooth decay and even Temoromandibular joint (TMJ) pain, targeting the jaw, head and neck areas.


Oral Health Care Checklist for Children


1)      The First Dental Visit: When your child reaches the age of one, consult with your family dentist to arrange the first dental visit.

2)      Flossing: Teach your child the proper way to floss teeth. Your child should then be able to floss his/her teeth at around six or seven years old.

3)      Dental Sealants: Dental sealants are used to shield the teeth from decay.

4)      Cleaning Baby Teeth: As soon as your baby’s teeth emerge, you should adopt a cleaning routine using a soft washcloth after every baby bottle or meal. When your child grows more than one tooth, you can then graduate to a child-sized toothbrush. Dunk the brush in warm water before brushing your baby’s teeth.