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What It Means to be a General Dentist

November 23, 2018
Posted By: Mary O. Flynn, DDS
Picture of dental tools and equipment

Just as you have a primary care doctor, you also need a primary dentist who diagnoses, treats, and manages all your oral health care needs. It may surprise you, however, that you may see your Edina, MN, general dentist even more often than your primary doctor.

That is because most dental visits are for preventative or diagnostic care, such as cleanings and x-rays. (How many times have you seen your primary care doctor for preventative care? Probably not many!) Another reason most people see their general dentist more often is because a dentist performs tests in-house, while primary doctors usually send you elsewhere for tests.

As you can see, your general dentist is a critical part of your healthcare team!

What Does a General Dentist Do?

Your Edina, MN, general dentist will thoroughly examine your gums, teeth, and other structures each time you come in for routine care. If you have evidence of tooth decay or gum disease, your dentist will give you the appropriate treatment, along with any at-home instructions.

However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what a general dentist does. General dentists help you with cosmetic procedures, such as teeth whitening, veneers, and bonding. They can also fix issues related by dental trauma, such as broken, chipped, or loose teeth. General dentists also perform advanced treatments, such as dental implants, root canals, and bridges. Your general dentist will refer you to a dental specialist if your treatment or condition falls outside their area of expertise.

General dentists can earn either a DDS or DMD (doctor of dental surgery or doctor of dental medicine.) There is no difference between the two degrees, but undergraduate school plus four years of dental school are required to become a dentist.

How to Choose a General Dentist in Edina

When choosing a general dentist, it is important to feel comfortable with the office staff, dentist, and environment. Meet with the dentist and ask how they handle emergencies outside of business hours and other concerns. If you feel anxious about dental visits, be sure the dentist and staff are compassionate and patient.   

Given what a big part a general dentist may play in your healthcare, take time to ask questions and feel comfortable with the practice. You'll be rewarded with a long-term, professional relationship based on trust and confidence.

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