It's important to make sure you take care of your teeth. One of the best ways to take of your teeth is to have a knowledgeable, skilled family dentist. Not every family dentist is the same, so it's important to take the time to make sure you select one who will meet the needs of you and your family. Most practicing dentists have the qualifications required by law to operate. But it's always a good idea to check.
A skilled family dentist is a practitioner who went to many years of university before opening a practice. This individual will hold a doctor of dentistry degree or a doctor of dental medicine degree. The majority of students entering dental school already have a baccalaureate degree, even though this isn't always a requirement. What is a requirement is that a family dentist takes at least two years of predental college and four years of dental school.
During the education of a family dentist, he or she will spend the first two years learning about preclinical and basic sciences. The final two years are spent completing hands-on work under the supervision of a senior dentist. A family dentist is required to pass national and state board examinations before beginning to practice. Specialized dentists, like those specializing exclusively in dental care for children, often require two or more years of specialized training.
A dentist can be just that, but that person could also specialize in another area. Usually a dentist will provide basic dental care and then refer an individual to another dentist for specialized care. Dental specialties a family dentist may or may not be involved in include dental public health, endodontics, oral and maxillofacial pathology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics and pediatric dentistry.
Dental public health is community dental health focused on the prevention and control of dental disease. Endodontics is the treatment and prevention of related structure to the root pulp like root canal therapy. Oral and maxillofacial pathology involves injures to the neck, head, and the diagnosis of tumors and other diseases related to this area. Surgical treatment of these diseases including tooth extractions is considered to be oral and maxillofacial surgery. It also involves surgeries to fix defects of the face, jaw or mouth.
Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics is a specialty focused on correcting tooth irregularities and deformities of the face. Pediatric dentistry is dentistry for children and infants. Many family dentists will also provide care for children and infants, but those in pediatric dentistry are more specialized in this.
Two other types of dentistry specialties that family dentists may know well include periodontics and prosthodontics. The first one is the treatment of gum disease and related structures. The last is prosthodontics which is the use of prosthetic devices such as bridges, crowns and dentures. Family dentists will likely recommend an individual to a denturist if they require dentures.