There are many different types of dentists available today however the most common dentist is the general dentist. A general dentist is a professional who is licensed to provide care to the teeth and the gums. There has been and still is a high demand for a general dentist in many places.
The main duty for a general dentist is to help prevent cavities, treat the cavities if detected, control tooth sensitivity, and control the loss of tooth enamel as well as gum disease that occurs over time. A general dentist is also responsible for educating the patients on how to better take care of their teeth.
A dentist can provide services such as removing decay, repairing teeth that have broken, fill cavities, certain teeth removals, perform examinations, provide fluoride treatments, and other dentist duties.
When a patient needs braces and other aligning procedures performed on their teeth, a dentist will usually refer their patients to someone that specializes in cosmetic procedures. Sometimes a tooth extraction may be more complicated depending on the way that the roots are turned or if there was other problems that will prevent a dentist from removing a tooth using a simple procedure.
What a General Dentist DoesOf more than 155,000 dentists in the US, at least 90,000 practice general dentistry. They are simply dentists who do not specialize in one area of dentistry, and you may know them to be your basic family dentist. They are referred to as such because they can treat basic dental problems of patients of all ages, as opposed to pediatric dentists who specialize in treating younger patients. A general dentist can offer a wide range of dental care services, learned through 7 years or more of formal education. They can perform oral x-rays and CAT scans to learn more about a patient's dental problem. They give the diagnosis and may provide the treatment if they can. Most general dentists are capable of providing the following services: Fillings Dental cavities may not be the most serious dental problem out there, but it is one of the most common. The affected tooth will have to be filled with a material such as porcelain, amalgam, gold, silver or composite resin. Crowns and Bridges Crowns are simply fake teeth that can fit real teeth inside of them. Besides protecting the teeth from any further damage, crowns are also used when making bridges. A bridge consists of a false tooth fitted in between two very natural-looking crowns. Cleaning Dental cleaning can also serve as a general check-up. Dentists who work in a private office usually have dental hygienists to perform the cleaning. These dental hygienists can also help spot basic dental problems. Most dentists suggest having this cleaning done once or twice a year. Root Canal This treatment is done by surgically removing bacteria-infected pulp and nerve inside a tooth. This infection is usually painful and, if left untreated, may result to even bigger problems such as abscesses and the further spread of infection. Sometimes, the therapy only involves thoroughly cleaning of the pulp, followed by a filling procedure. Extractions An extraction of a permanent tooth is actually done as a last resort, but it is considered one of the most common procedures a dentist performs. If nothing can be done to save a damaged or infected tooth, extraction will be performed under local anesthesia. Among the many services offered by general dentists is their job to promote oral health. A good dentist will give instructions as to how a patient can take better care of their teeth, mouth and gums. If the problem requires more specialized knowledge, a general dentist could refer the patient to a more specialized practitioner.
Simple extraction versus complex, surgical extraction
So you're at the dentist, you just had some x-rays done and your dentist is evaluating them and you hear him mumble the words "simple extraction" and "surgical extraction" to his assistant. You wonder what exactly he is talking about. After he is done, he gets up and talks to you about that old root canal that has fallen apart over the years and that it should be removed to prevent infection. He further explains that it may not be a simple extraction, and therefore, you may need to have it surgically extracted. He tells you that you'll likely need to have it done by an oral surgeon and that he will give you a referral for the best in town.
So you leave the office with the referral paper, but before going to the surgeon you want to conduct some research so to know what to expect. So here you are, wondering the differences between a simple extraction and a surgical extraction. The world would be so much easier to live in, if only medical professionals could use simple terms instead of medical lingo! Luckily though, Mr. Google could help sort things out. So what's the difference between a simple extraction and a surgical extraction? Well, for sure they are both extractions, in both cases, the teeth most likely need to be removed by rocking the tooth side to side so to enlarge the socket and rupture the periodontal ligament that keeps the tooth securely in the socket.
The term simple in this case may sound quite reassuring. Simple things sound easy. In the case of simple extractions, it refers to extraction of teeth that are visible in the mouth. Any general dentist can extract this type of tooth.The procedure is generally done fairly quick. The dentist uses an elevator to dislodge the tooth from the gum and then forceps are used to grasp and remove the tooth. In most cases, local anesthesia will suffix.
Also known as complex extraction, a surgical extraction, as the name implies, may be a tad bit more complicated. The term refers to extraction of teeth that may have broken at the gum line, have failed to erupt or are impacted (as in wisdom teeth). These extractions are usually done by oral surgeons, but sometimes general dentists are comfortable performing them. To remove the tooth, the surgeon may need to make small incisions in the gums, remove bone around the tooth or cut the tooth in pieces if a tooth is firmly anchored in its socket so to remove these pieces one by one. Stitches are often used. Local anesthesia may be offered, but patients may have other options such as intravenous sedation or general anesthesia.
Who should perform a surgical extraction?
Ideally, the oral surgeon is the most qualified person to perform a surgical extraction--but, there are many great dentists who are comfortable performing simple and some complex extractions and can do a pretty decent job. However, there are several factors to consider. Oral surgeons are best equipped to handle medical emergencies that may be encountered during extractions. On top of that, consider that oral surgeons complete anywhere from 4 to 8 years of additional training after graduating from dental school. So if you are looking for experience, an oral surgeon is the way to go, but expect to pay more!
The truth about simple and surgical tooth extractions
We may be intimidated by the term "surgical" as we imagine blood, cuts and stitches, but in reality, according to Beautiful Smiles, even the act of removing decay and some tooth structure while simply performing a filling can be regarded as a form of surgery! As scary as they may sound, surgical extractions are routine for oral surgeons which do them on a daily basis. No black and white generalizations can be really made as to which form of extraction is more complicated as there can be many variables.
Generally, a surgical extraction takes about the same time it takes to do a simple extraction. However, extra time may be needed in surgical extractions because of preparation and suturing. While sitting in the dentist's chair may feel like a very long time, in most cases after being numbed up, you should be done within 15-20 minutes if all goes well. At times, a simple extraction may turn out being more lengthy than an actual surgical extraction since in a simple extraction it may take some time to loosen the tooth out; whereas in a surgical one, such as in the case of a small root fragment, all that may be needed is a bit of leverage to pop the tooth right out!
When it comes to pain, you may expect surgical to be more painful, but in reality both simple and surgical dental extractions should be pain-free as you're fully numbed up. You will feel some pressure though in both types of extractions. Recovery may be a bit more lengthy in surgical extractions as they are generally more involved; however, recovery is ultimately also something personal that may vary from one person and another and may depend on several factors such as how carefully one follows post-op instructions, which tooth was affected, how healthy the immune system is, the age and overall health condition of the patient etc. Generally, in both simple and surgical extractions, the healing pain is felt mostly for the first couple of days, and then the area feels much better after a week or two.