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Dentists - Working With a Team

Proper healthcare should include regular visits to dentists. Two annual visits, which include a thorough teeth cleaning and checking for oral disease, are the best preventative care.

Similar to general practitioners, dentists have a staff of other medical professionals who work together to provide proper oral care. The medical field of dentistry involves evaluating, diagnosing, and treating the oral cavity. A semi-annual checkup with the dentist includes a thorough teeth cleaning and examination to determine if there are any cavities or other disease.

While brushing and flossing daily can help keep the mouth clean and free of bacteria, there are some places that are hard to reach with a toothbrush. Additionally, a filmy build-up called plaque can make the teeth appear yellow, and cause damage if left unattended for too long. The dentist has a number of tools that can successfully remove this surface build-up and restore the teeth to the proper color. This two-step evaluation usually takes less than an hour, and if there are any cavities, another visit is necessary to have them filled.

In a dental office, there is a dental hygienist and a dental assistant working with the doctor. They are qualified to perform different tasks, which gives dentists more time to tend to patients that may need more than just a routine teeth cleaning. The assistant in a dentistry office is similar to a secretary; they keep patient records and schedules. However, they also sterilize the equipment and work alongside the hygienist or the dentists during a procedure to keep track of the necessary equipment. Sometimes, there is also a dental technician. The technician usually stays behind-the-scenes to make appliances such as dentures, crowns, or retainers. The technician will make these dental prosthetics based on the dentistís prescriptions, or a mold of the patientís mouth.

The teeth cleaning procedure is often performed by a dental hygienist. They are trained and licensed specifically to perform this task, including scraping plaque off of the surface of the teeth. A dental assistant is responsible for sterilizing the necessary instruments, and assisting the hygienist during the procedure. When the hygienist has completed the teeth cleaning, the doctor will check their work, and determine if there are any cavities; the dental surgeon is the only person licensed to address these other issues. The doctor may also choose to take an x-ray of the mouth to check for decay, bone loss, or gum disease. This is all a part of the preventative care that only a dentist can provide. If it is determined that the patient my need additional procedural work, the dental assistant will help maintain the patientís record, and refer them to another specialist if necessary.

Visiting dentists every six monthsPsychology Articles, combined with an annual checkup with a general practitioner is good preventative care. Sometimes there are medical issues that cannot be detected by a general practice doctor. The dentistry team will work together to provide good oral care that will keep the patient healthy.

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Washington DC dentists provide more services than just regular teeth cleanings. Learn more at

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