According to the American Dental Association, there are over 201,000 dentists in America. What sort of procedures do all of these dentists do? Becky Gerber, founder of the Academy of Dental Practice Careers, takes a closer look.
The most common dental procedure is the oral exam or check-up. This assesses the overall health of a person’s mouth. Another exam is called the limited exam, which is focused on looking at a specific problem, such as the cause of a toothache.
It diagnoses the cause and sets out a course of dental treatment to fix the problem.
The next more common procedure is oral x-rays or radiographs. These help the dentist look at the health below the gumline. It can help spot problems before they become painful.
Another common procedure is technically called prophylaxis but is usually just called cleaning. After the cleaning, there is a fluoride varnish.
Dentists also commonly do restorative procedures like fillings, restorations, inlays, and onlays. Filings can be white or silver. Inlays and onlays are done in porcelain or gold.
General dentists also perform fixed prosthetics in their patient’s mouths. These are more commonly called crowns, bridges, or veneers. They’re called fixed prosthetics since they are attached to the patient’s teeth and usually do not go into the jawbone, like dental implants.