Dentistry is a specialized branch of medicine that deals with prevention and treatment of conditions for the oral cavity. Within general dentistry, there are specialties such as orthodontics, pediatric dentistry for kids and families, oral surgery, and oral and maxillofacial dentistry.
For everyday needs, you will most likely be seeing a general medical dentist. You will typically need to go in every 6 months or so for professional deep cleanings by a dental hygienist. The dentist will then see you and examine your teeth to make sure no alignment issues are occurring. You will also be advised on how to maintain good oral hygiene habits to prevent bacteria colonization and infections such as gingivitis and periodontitis from occurring. Besides cleanings, different dental treatments include dental fillings for cavities and root canals. In the event that you have a dental emergency such as pain or injury to your mouth, contact your dentist immediately for treatment.
If you have children, you will need to see a kid dentist who specializes in pediatric dentistry. These dentists operate family dental practices and can treat the whole family. The advantage of this is that discounts are often offered when multiple family members come in for cleanings or treatment at the same time. Pediatricians are gentle dentists who understand that coming to the dentist’s office can be traumatic for children. They try to make the visit to the dentist painless for your child. As children (and their teeth) are constantly growing up until age 17-25, they require different attention than adults do. Family dentists specialize in the development of children and will help you form good oral habits for your child so that they won’t have any issues later on. If your child does require any dental procedure, the children’s dentist will choose an option that still allows teeth to grow normally when they do appear.
In the event that you do require surgery or other uncomfortable procedures, IV sedation and other pain relieving anesthetics will be given to make the dental visit painless. This is typically given in procedures such as root canals, wisdom teeth extraction, and types of surgery. Advances in dental technology have seen dental lasers being used in treatment. Laser dental treatment is effective and causes less pain for the patient, however it is more expensive. Make sure you consult with your dentist for costs of dental treatment. They will have payment plans available and your insurance may even cover the cost of treatment.