Dentists are medical professionals responsible for the care and cleaning of the teeth and gums. Dentists treat problems related to teeth and mouth tissue, as well as advise patients on proper dental care. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, while many dentists are general practitioners, others work as specialists in areas such as orthodontia and pediatrics.
One of the foremost jobs of dentists is to clean teeth. This involves removing plaque and tartar using a number of specialized tools and then polishing the teeth to a healthier color.
Dentists are responsible for conducting routine examinations of their patients' teeth. This can include visual inspections, as well as the use of more sophisticated methods, including X-rays. Dentists should then diagnose prominent diseases or injuries, judge the quality of the patient's personal dental care, and offer suggestions for improvement.
When a tooth sustains an injury, such as a chip or a cavity, it is the responsibility of the dentist to repair the damage. This can be done through a number of techniques, such as filling in the hole or reattaching the broken section to the tooth.
When teeth are broken or diseased beyond repair, dentists must often remove them. Dentists usually extract teeth by applying local anesthetic and then removing the tooth with dental forceps. In certain cases, however, the doctor will use a scalpel or a drill.
If people lose teeth, dentists can sometimes replace them. This is usually done by taking measurements within the person's mouth and constructing a new tooth out of a mold.
Orthodontists are a specialized type of dentist responsible for the straightening of teeth and the correction of irregular bites. This correction is often accomplished through the use of metal wires, called braces, affixed to the teeth.
Treat Gum Disease
In addition to teeth, dentists are responsible for the care and treatment of a patient's gums. While general practitioners provide some care, if the patients are in need of specialized attention, they will usually be referred to periodontists, who specialize in gum treatment.
In addition to treating damaged teeth, dentists are also expected to educate their patients on proper methods of tooth care, including proper brushing and flossing procedures.
Maintain Dental Records
Dentists are also expected to maintain accurate patient records. Often, law enforcement officials will use images of people's teeth to identify anonymous corpses.
Most dentists have a staff working under them, including receptionists, assistants and hygienists. In addition to caring for patients, the dentists' duties include hiring and managing this staff.
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