The fact is that many of us don’t feel good about the way our teeth look or feel. There is a paradoxical effect in which most Americans are worried about the appearance of their teeth, and put great stock in an attractive smile — but at the same time, they don’t go to the dentist regularly. According to a survey by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 74% of adults believe that unattractive smiles can hurt them professionally, and 99.7% of adults believe that an attractive smile is socially important. This doesn’t even mention the fact that tooth pain can be a severe distraction in life, even if your overall health remains unaffected. People often cite tooth pain as some of the worst they’ve ever experienced, even when it’s coming from issues as “relatively minor” as cavities (which can of course can become more severe over time). Yet still, 32% of people reporting being concerned by the look of their teeth, suggesting that we aren’t doing enough to take care of our teeth. This may be in part because we assume that there’s only so much that a general dentist can do for us; and it may be because there’s a misconception that good-looking teeth cost an exorbitant amount of money. In fact, there are many different options that can be offered by a general dentist — also sometimes called a family dentist — that will help you feel confident about the look and health of your teeth. Let’s look into some of the dental services that a general dentist can offer — that may be of help to you.
What Is General Dentistry?
So, what sets a general dentist apart from a cosmetic dentist? On a very basic level, you could say that the comparison between a general dentist and a cosmetic dentist is similar to that between a general surgeon and a plastic surgeon. Both have the same basic education and qualifications, both can treat your teeth, but each one has pursued a different specialty. Your general dentist is essentially going to be the primary care provider for your teeth, whereas a cosmetic dentist you would have to seek out, often through a referral given by your general dentist. In the same sense, if you had a severe dental problem that required complex surgery, your general dentist would likely have to give you a referral. But most of the typical issues that we have with our teeth can be treated by a general dentist, and a general dentist can probably help fix the basic cosmetic problems you have with your teeth.
What Are Some Common Health Problems General Dentists Can Treat?
You should see your dentist at least once a year — ideally twice — beginning as a baby with your first teeth. But that doesn’t mean that a dentist can’t help you if “slacking off” has caused some problems. One of the most common issues a general dentist can treat is cavities. If you have cavities, don’t be embarrassed — in fact, one in five Americans have untreated cavities. Treated promptly, a cavity can usually be mended through a typical filling. But if left untreated, cavities can cause a lot of severe pain, as well as more significant health problems. In fact, an untreated cavity can even eventually lead to an abscess. Of course, a general dentist can treat much more than just cavities. With an estimated 47% of American adults being affected by periodontal disease, a dentist will often see this problem in patients. You should see your dentist regularly even if a problem doesn’t seem apparent — because they can prevent it from happening in the first place.
How Can A General Dentist Treat Cosmetic Issues?
Major cosmetic dental problems need to be treated by a cosmetic dentist, but minor ones can be treated by your general dentist. General dentists can help you with crowns and bridge replacements, as well as teeth whitenings, while also providing “maintenance tips”. Listen to your dentist — this could save you a lot self-consciousness, and restore your confidence.
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