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Dentistry is "the profession or science dealing with the prevention and treatment of diseases and malformations of the teeth, gums, and oral cavity, and the removal, correction, and replacement of decayed, damaged, or lost parts, including such operations as the filling and crowning of teeth, the straightening of teeth, and the construction of artificial dentures."

What does a dentist do?

Primarily a dentist aims to prevent and treat oral disorders by:

  • Providing preventive treatment such as scaling, cleaning and fluoride therapy.
  • Repairing teeth damaged by decay or trauma, rebuilding tooth structures for functional or aesthetic reasons and providing crowns and bridges.
  • Treating diseases of the roots, gums and soft tissues of the mouth and carries out various surgical procedures, from routine extractions to far more complex operations on the jaws and soft tissues.
  • Using X-rays to detect abnormalities and plan treatment.
  • Managing malformation and misalignment of teeth and jaws by providing appropriate treatment.
  • Designing dentures and oral appliances by taking impressions, recording jaw relations, selecting teeth and correctly fitting dental appliances manufactured by dental technicians to the dentists' prescriptions.
  • Extraction of teeth.

What are the recognised dental specialities?  

The recognised dental specialities are Dental-maxillofacial Radiologists, Endodontists, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, Oral Surgeons, Oral Physicians, Oral Pathologists, Orthodontists, Paediatric Dentists, Periodontists, Prosthodontists, Public Health Dentists, Special Needs Dentists.

  • A Dental-maxillofacial Radiologist deals with diagnostic imaging procedures applicable to the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region and to other structures which are relevant for the proper assessment of oral conditions.
  • An Endodontist deals with the morphology, physiology, and pathology of the human tooth and, in particular, the dental pulp, root and peri-radicular tissues.
  • An Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon deals with the diagnosis, surgical and adjunctive treatment of diseases, injuries and defects of the human jaws and associated structures.
  • An Oral Surgeon deals with the diagnosis, surgical and adjunctive treatment of diseases and injuries limited to the dento-alveolar complex.
  • An Oral Physician deals with the clinical diagnosis, assessment and principally non-surgical, pharmacological management of anatomical variants, pathological conditions, diseases and pain of the dental, oral and adjacent anatomical structures and the dental/oral manifestations and complications of systemic diseases, pathology and conditions and their treatment.
  • An Oral Pathologist deals with diseases of the teeth, jaws, oral soft tissues and associated structures, studies their causes, pathogenesis and effects, and by use of clinical, radiographic, microscopic and other laboratory procedures establishes differential diagnoses and provides forensic evaluations.
  • An Orthodontist deals with the study and supervision of the growth and development of the dentition and its related anatomical structures, including preventive and corrective procedures of dentofacial irregularities requiring the re-positioning of teeth, jaws, and/or soft tissues by functional or mechanical means.
  • A Paediatric Dentist deals with the prevention and the treatment of dental diseases and abnormalities in children and their associated developmental and behavioural problems..
  • A Periodontist deals with the prevention, recognition, diagnosis and treatment of the diseases and disorders of the investing and supporting tissues of natural teeth or their substitutes..
  • A Prosthodontist deals with the restoration and maintenance of oral health, function and appearance by coronal alteration or reconstruction of natural teeth, or the replacement of missing teeth and contiguous oral and maxillofacial tissues with substitutes.
  • A Public Health Dentist deals with the community as the patient rather than the individual, being concerned with oral health education of the public, applied dental research and administration of dental care programmes including prevention and control of oral diseases on a community basis.
  • A Special Needs Dentist deals with patients where intellectual disability, medical, physical or psychiatric conditions require special methods or techniques to prevent or treat oral health problems, or where such conditions necessitate special dental treatment plans..

General dental practitioners provide a range of dental services. They may consult and refer to specialist dental colleagues.

( Courtesy: )

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