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General dentistry is the branch of medicine involving the care and prevention of oral health conditions, diseases, and disorders. Our dentists at Lifetime Dental Care use preventative care and patient education to preclude the need for dental treatments and, instead, promote a healthy smile for life. In addition, our dentists at Lifetime Dental Care are responsible for diagnosing conditions that affect the mouth, teeth, gums, and jaws, as well as develop the most effective treatment plant with the patient’s best interests in mind.

 

Did You Know?

Approximately 65% of all dental procedures are classified as being diagnostic or preventative. Only a small percentage of dental procedures are actually considered restorative, and the majority of general dentistry focuses on prevention.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What qualifications does a general dentist have?

General dentists must complete an undergraduate degree, graduate from dental school, and take national and state certificate exams to practice dentistry as a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). Dentists with a DDS or a DMD both have identical training and education, the only difference is in the title. Most general dentists do not have an area of speciality, rather they opt to focus on providing patients with generalized dental care. Because of this, some cases that extend past the scope of general dentistry may be referred to a dental specialist.

 

Dental tools on blue background

What services can a general dentist provide?

General dentists can provide a wide range of dental services including: oral examinations, teeth cleanings, root canals, restorative procedures, extractions, and placing tooth prosthesis. However, the majority of general dental care is aimed at preventing the need for restorative treatments.

In addition to preventative and restorative services, general dentists can also perform cosmetic services to give you that flawless, bright smile you’ve always dreamed of. Any service dealing with the modification of your teeth’s color, shape, or alignment for the purpose of visual enhancement, could be considered a cosmetic service. Some possible examples of cosmetic services include porcelain veneers, composite fillings, teeth whitening, composite bonding, and dental crowns.  

One final service that your general dentist provides is to address overall health concerns. Many people don’t realize this, but your oral health is deeply related to your overall health and some symptoms of overall health issues are exhibited through dental issues. For example, diabetes and gum disease are closely related and sometimes the presence of one could increase the chances of developing the other. There are other overall health conditions that are related to dental concerns. Our dentists at Lifetime Dental Care have been trained to identify these issues, and provide you with the treatment and referrals necessary to manage them.

Why should I visit a general dentist?

You should visit a general dentists at Lifetime Dental Care to elevate or maintain your oral health. Regular visits to our general dentists can prevent tooth decay and identify potential oral health conditions before they have a chance to escalate. As such, it is recommended that you visit Lifetime Dental Care at least twice a year for an oral examination and teeth cleaning. How long has it been since your last appointment? Schedule a consultation with Lifetime Dental Care today!

 

Woman smiling in dental chair with a dental hygienist

What happens when I visit a general dentist?

When you visit a general dentist, you will have a dental exam, dental x-rays, and a teeth cleaning. During your dental exam, our dentists will ask you about your medical history, medications, and allergies to obtain information that can be useful for diagnostics and future treatments. Then, they will check your teeth and gums for any signs of disease or decay, as well as for early signs of oral cancer. They will also check the alignment of your bite and the motion of your jaw when biting.

Next, they will perform dental x-rays to view the underlying bone structures. Possible cavities or other skeletal issues can be identified through these x-rays. Dental x-rays are quick and use limited radiation, so they are completely safe. During a dental x-ray, you may be asked to bite down on a plastic disc or hold your lips open with a special plastic tool.

Finally, you will have your teeth professionally cleaned by one of our dental hygienists. Our dental hygienist will begin by using a scaler to carefully scrape off the excess plaque and tartar that has accumulated on your teeth. Tartar can only be removed with a scaler and cannot be removed by simply brushing or flossing. Then, our hygienist will use a gritty toothpaste to brush your teeth, removing any additional residue. After that, your teeth will be flossed and rinsed with a fluoride rinse. Finally, your teeth will be treated with a fluoride foam and coated with a fluoride polish.

How can I prepare for my general dental appointment at Lifetime Dental Care?

If you are a new patient, you will want to prepare for your appointment by looking up the location of our office and prepare ahead of time to arrive approximately 10-15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time to fill out paperwork.

In order to make the most of your semi-annual dental appointment, you may also want to prepare some questions for our dentists. Before coming to your dental appointment, carefully consider your oral health and if you want to discuss anything during your appointment. Write any questions or concerns down and bring them to your appointment. Some possible questions you could ask during your appointment are:

  • How can I improve my dental health?
  • Am I using the correct brushing and flossing technique?
  • Should I be using mouthwash?
  • What type of toothpaste should I be using?

To maintain your general dental routine, schedule a consultation with one of our dentists at  Lifetime Dental Care today! Lifetime Dental Care serves residents of Woodbridge, VA and the surrounding areas.


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