What is a General Dentist?
A General Dentist takes care of most dental needs. They perform routine exams, restorations, implants, extractions, and a variety of other procedures (check out our other ‘specialties’ pages for more details). To become a general dentist, you must complete four years of dental school, usually after a bachelor’s degree.
Who needs a General Dentist?
Everyone should have a general dentist! Professional exams and cleanings are a crucial part of maintaining a healthy mouth. By the time a tooth hurts, the damage is usually quite extensive, so it is best to visit your dentist often and regularly, so that any dental problems can be caught and treated early. A general dentist may refer you to a specialist, like a periodontist, endodontist, or oral surgeon, but the first step in dental care is with your general dentist.
How often should you see your Dentist?
You should see your dentist at least twice a year. A minimum of two cleanings per year are required to maintain optimal oral health, and for patients who are particularly susceptible to plaque buildup, more visits may be necessary. X-rays are recommended once per year, because not all decay can be seen with the naked eye. An x-ray will show if there is a loss in tooth density due to decay.
Additionally, most insurance plans will cover the entire cost of two cleanings and exams per year, which do not roll over. If you have an insurance plan and are not getting your full allowance of cleanings, you are losing free dental care, in addition to increasing your risk for cavities and periodontal disease. Although it may feel like a hassle to visit your dentist twice per year, the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience, and the cost may be nothing at all.
If you have any questions about general dentistry, exams, x-rays, or insurance coverage, feel free to give us a call or email- we're happy to clarify any questions you might have!