Dental science, also called dentistry and oral surgery, is a field of dentistry that involves the study, diagnosis, treatment, prevention of oral disorders, diseases, and other problems of the teeth and jaws. Oral problems, which include such problems as cavities, gum disease, periodontal disease, dental caries, and periodontitis, are the most common dental problems and are responsible for about 90% of all dental care cases in the United States. Oral problems are not just inconvenient or unsightly; they can have serious consequences. They may cause pain, bleeding, infection, or complications such as tooth loss, jaw pain, speech problems, tooth loss, or tooth loss due to cavities or disease. In some severe cases, the patient may even require immediate dental surgery to repair or replace a tooth.
The field of dentistry has developed greatly during the last century, with the development of new technology and medical research. Dentistry grew out of its early roots as an osteopathic profession and moved its focus from disease of the bones to the mouth and teeth. Modern dentistry incorporates the study of human anatomy and dental science, while also incorporating a wide range of other disciplines such as pediatrics, biomedicine, radiology, oral surgery, speech pathology, nutrition, and behavioral sciences. A dentist can specialize in almost any aspect of dentistry, although most dentists tend to treat all aspects of oral health. Specialization is a very personal decision and one that often depend on a person’s personal needs and desires. If you’re looking for a dentist to treat your oral health problems, it’s important to understand what your options are and how those choices will affect your dentist’s practice.
The major components of dental care are dental x-rays, comprehensive oral exams, specialized in-office dental procedures, and dental prosthetics. Every aspect of oral health and well-being is addressed through these disciplines. These services help to maintain or restore healthy teeth, gums, and bite. Proper oral hygiene is essential to the prevention of tooth decay and gum disease. Dentistry can help prevent tooth decay and other diseases by providing fluoride treatments, preventing tooth loss, cleaning damaged teeth, and providing advice regarding oral health and oral care products.
Dentistry is also responsible for the prevention and treatment of other diseases and conditions that affect the mouth, teeth, and overall health. Oral cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation. Preventive dental care and screenings can help to identify changes in the mouth that may be signs of more serious illnesses or disease, such as cancer. Screening for oral cancer helps to reduce the number of people who are diagnosed with this disease, thus reducing the chances of it spreading to other parts of their bodies.
Students can pursue a career in the field of dentistry by completing an undergraduate degree. Most dental schools require students to first complete a four-year bachelor’s degree. Courses in dental assisting include microbiology, human biology, chemistry, anatomy, radiology, pharmacology, radiology technology, physiology, psychology, pediatrics, and accounting. An advanced degree in dental hygiene may be necessary for some dentists.
Dentists complete an additional two years of postbaccalaureate study and training in their specific areas of expertise. An additional year and a half of residency in an oncology or hospital setting is required for dental practitioners who want to be board certified. Students must complete at least three years of undergraduate degree courses and two years of dental school to be eligible to apply for these positions.