The profession of a dentist is referred to by two different names: Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) and Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD). Both titles are equivalent and denote that the dentist has graduated from an accredited dental school. All practicing general dentists have earned either a DDS or DMD degree. General dentists, also known as family dentists, are responsible for providing preventive oral care such as regular dental cleanings, dental x-rays, and educating patients about proper oral care at home.
They also provide restorative oral care, such as treating tooth decay with artificial fillings, repairing cracked, chipped or missing teeth, and whitening services. Additionally, they can guide patients through the process of placing braces, dentures, mouth guards, and other treatments. General dentists are also responsible for monitoring the health of the mouth, neck and head for any potential problems. As the healthcare professional that patients are likely to see most often, they play an important role in maintaining overall oral health.
Endodontists and periodontists are two other types of dentists who specialize in specific areas of dentistry. Endodontists diagnose tooth pain and perform root canals on diseased teeth. Periodontists specialize in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease, and the placement of dental implants. Prosthodontists specialize in dental procedures such as porcelain veneers, crowns, dental implants, bridge repair, dentures, and reconstructive dentistry.
It is important to visit your general dentist at least once a year for a checkup and cleaning. In the United States, dentists must pass a medical board examination in order to practice in each state. The Stony Plain Dental Center is one example of a dentist-owned office network that has been serving the Stony Plain community in Alberta, Canada since 1999. Becoming a general dentist requires three or more years of undergraduate education plus four years of dental school. Dental specialists have completed an additional two to four years of training that focuses on a specific aspect of dentistry.
To find a dentist near you who specializes in your specific needs, you can consult 123Dentist's list of dental offices in the lower mainland.