A general dentist is licensed to practice all areas of dentistry. The General Dentist is the “Captain” of the dental team, he is the creator and manager of the dental treatment plan. By performing a Complete Dental Examination, the dentist can determine the patients oral health. A dental examination is complete, if it allows identification of all active factors, that are capable of causing or contributing to the deterioration of oral health or function. It is incomplete, if it does not provide enough information to develop a total treatment plan aimed at the optimum maintainability of the teeth and their supporting structures. The ultimate goal of all dental treatments is Optimum Oral Health.
All treatment should have the goal of providing and maintaining the highest degree of oral health possible for that patient. Treatment planning has two objectives:
- Finding all of the factors that contribute in any way to deterioration of Oral Health
- Determining the best method of eliminating each factor causing deterioration
Total elimination of all the causative factors to the point of complete reversal is not always possible. The problems found in some patients are too severe, and have gone too long, to expect a complete return to ideal health. The degree to which we can eliminate the causes of their problems will directly relate to our success in changing unhealthy mouths into healthy ones.
Records taken during a complete dental examination often include some, or all of the following, depending on what is indicated for that individual person:
- A Thorough Dental/Medical Health History
- Soft Tissue Examination
- Periodontal Examination
- A set of individual x-rays (Radiographs)
- A panoramic x-ray
- X-ray of the TM joints
- Mounted Diagnostic models
The general dentist is able to gather all the information about a patient and their mouth, and chart a treatment plan for the patient, to obtain optimum oral health. The General Dentist refers patients to specialists, when their individual expertise is required to obtain the best possible result. The General dentist provides a variety of restorative services and may choose to refer patients to an appropriate dental specialist for those services for which he does not feel qualified to perform.
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