What Does a Dentist Do?

Dentists are healthcare professionals who specialize in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of oral diseases and conditions. They work in a range of settings including private practice (primary care), dental hospitals and public institutions (such as prisons and armed forces bases). The profession requires a high level of scientific knowledge and specialized training, both of which are constantly evolving.

Dentistry is a scientific discipline that includes research and development, clinical treatment, and education. It is an important and growing part of the medical profession, and Dentist are advancing the use of evidence-based medicine to provide their patients with the best possible care.

The primary goal of a dentist is to prevent oral disease and to restore teeth and associated structures to good health. This is achieved through regular examinations, cleanings and preventative treatments like fluoride applications and sealants. Dentists also diagnose and treat more serious disorders of the mouth, jaw and associated structures, and may conduct cosmetic treatments to improve the appearance of teeth and gums.

A dentist’s job can be demanding and stressful, especially when they are working with challenging cases or dealing with difficult patients. They may also be exposed to hazards such as infectious diseases, radiation from x-ray machines and musculoskeletal injuries from repetitive tasks or awkward postures.

Becoming a dentist necessitates a significant financial investment in education and training. As a result, many dentists accrue substantial student debt early in their careers. This can limit their career choices and financial flexibility.

There are several sub-specialties within the field of dentistry, most notably endodontics, periodontics and prosthodontics. Each specialty focuses on different aspects of dental care.

For example, a specialist in endodontics will focus on the root canal therapy of the tooth and its surrounding tissues. In contrast, a periodontist will focus on the management of gum diseases and prosthodontists deal with missing teeth.

Some dentists choose to further specialize in areas such as oral and maxillofacial surgery, forensic dentistry, or special needs dentistry for the elderly or mentally challenged. These sub-specialists work closely with other members of the dental team to ensure the delivery of efficient oral healthcare. They also participate in research and development to develop innovative solutions for effective treatment of complex problems. This approach is referred to as Evidence-Based Dentistry (EBD).