A dentist is a type of doctor who is specially trained in dealing with care, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, malformations, and injuries to the teeth, mouth, and jaws. The typical dentist has chosen not to specialize in any given practice, and offers services in many different areas. Common procedures that a dentist will perform include cleanings twice a year, root canals, gum disease treatment, and cavity filling. Dentists are accredited medical professionals and will have attended several years of post secondary education and practical training.
It is important for everyone to visit the dentist at least twice a year for a cleaning. At this appointment, the dentist will inspect your teeth and gums for infections, imperfections with jaw alignment, healthy tooth growth, and possible cavity formation. A dental hygienist will likely be the one to actually clean your teeth. Dental hygienists are experts in keeping gums and teeth healthy. To clean your teeth the hygienist or dentist will use tools such as a scraper (to scrape off plaque), mirror (too see the mouth clearly) and special toothbrush. Your teeth will also be brushed and polished with special gritty toothpaste, and flossed. An x-ray of your mouth may be taken as well, but will only take a few seconds. At the appointment you will also be taught how to maintain healthy oral care at your home. If at any point in the appointment, your dentist notices problems with jaw or tooth alignment, they may refer you to an orthodontist who specializes in fixing such problems with braces or other dental gear. There is no need to see the dentist more than twice a year unless advised by your dentist. Children should start visiting the dentist as soon as they begin to form teeth. This will typically happen around the age of one year.
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