Is Your Dentist a Tooth Mechanic or Physician Of The Oral Cavity?

Your Dentist Can Do Much More than Drill and Fill

When you have a cavity, especially when you have one that hurts, you will likely go to a dentist for treatment. It only makes sense to do this because you want to get rid of the pain. When that task has been completed, most people will not see a dentist again for years – or until they have another urgent need to have a tooth fixed. 

Making a dentist visit only when you have a dental problem is grossly underutilizing one of the best sources of health you have. When most people think of health, they think of medical doctors, not dentists. 


The Reality

It is easy and natural to think of dentists as only dealing with teeth and gums. This very limited view of dentists as “tooth mechanics” does not at all do them justice – causing you to miss out on better health.

The truth is that their “realm” of expertise goes way beyond just those two things. Once you understand just how extensive and important their training and experience is to your overall health, the more reasons you will have to want to see your dentist more often than you do. 


The Training

When an individual decides to become a dentist, they spend their first two years studying the same courses as any medical doctor. After that, they study general dentistry courses, and when completed, they are tested and can get their license. They have completed their doctorate degree.

After completing their degree, many dentists choose to continue to take courses and will specialize in some particular area of dentistry. They might study Pediatric Dentistry, Orthodontics, Dental Public Health, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Endodontics, Periodontics, and more. This training can take an additional 1 to 8 years after they receive their doctor’s degree. Some dentists will even get a medical doctor’s degree after they have become a dentist.


What Other Services Dentists Provide

Dentists are very important to your overall health and not just for the health of your teeth. More and more researchers are proving that there is a very strong connection between what occurs in your mouth and your overall health.

There are many ways that your dentist can provide for your overall health. Not only do they work on your teeth, but it also affects the health of your whole body. They include:

  • Gum disease – Gingivitis is the early form of gum disease. As it gets worse, it becomes periodontal disease. In more advanced forms, it destroys your gums, the support structures for your teeth, and even your jawbone. 
  • Overall Health – Once you have gum disease, the same bacteria that cause it and the inflammation will circulate through your bloodstream. Researchers now know that the inflammation and bacteria will build up in your arteries and organs and can cause serious health problems, which include cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, COPD, ED, dementia, several forms of cancer, and many more. 
  • Early Detection – Many types of disease can be detected early by a dentist because many diseases produce symptoms that can be seen in your oral cavity. Your dentist is trained to recognize these symptoms. 
  • Detect Oral Cancers – In most cases, the first person to discover oral cancer is usually the dentist. This is because there often is no pain associated with it until it reaches the advanced stages. A dentist can perform an oral cancer screening.  Because oral cancers tend to spread fast, getting early detection could save your life. The dentist can also provide early biopsies. 
  • A Surgeon of the Mouth – Some dentists who have advanced training can treat many problems associated with the neck, throat, mouth cavity, and jaw. Many health problems that may seem to be unrelated are actually caused by problems in your mouth.


Dental Visits Should Be Part of Good Health Program

By understanding the many ways that a dentist can help ensure your overall health, the more you should be able to see the need for regular dental visits. The dentist is much more than just a tooth mechanic but can prove to be a great assistance to your overall health and your family’s health. 


Oral Care Part of Maintaining Good Health

Dentists and oral surgeons are learning more and more how the mouth and the body interact. Medical doctors are also learning it as well, and the World Health Organization has recently added oral health as being necessary to maintain good health and avoid chronic diseases. The condition of your teeth and gums most likely indicates your risk level for cardiovascular disease.