Dentistry is a specialized branch of medicine that deals with the study, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases and conditions of the oral cavity (mouth with all structures within including teeth, gums, tongue, etc.). As per World Health Organization (WHO), it is appropriately defined as the ‘art and science’ of preventing, diagnosing and treating diseases, injuries and malformations of the teeth, jaws and mouth. It is really an art as well as science which makes smiles better while also treating many diseases.
A dentist is a medical professional who aims to improve the quality of lives by preventing and treating oral diseases and conditions. The dentist's supporting team is also very important, and it aids in providing oral health services and also handling many procedures apart from assisting the dentist. It includes dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental technicians, and in some states, dental therapists.
The dentists achieve the above by:
- Promoting good oral health practices and educating people about them
- Patient education
- Diagnosing dental diseases and conditions including dental decay, gum diseases, etc.
- They may also diagnose some general conditions by just looking at oral cavity, because some diseases and conditions have oral manifestations
- Providing preventive dental and oral care, like restoring slightly decayed teeth, covering them with thin layer of restorative materials, providing treatments to prevent further problems by cleaning, scaling, root planning, application of fluoride, etc.
- Prescribing appropriate medicines to treat some oral diseases, to prevent or allay infections, and for all three prophylactic, preventive and promotive purposes
- Treating and restoring decayed teeth by appropriate materials
- Replacing lost teeth by implants, dentures, partial dentures, etc.
- Treating other conditions of mouth, related structures and even jaw
- Also undertaking some surgical procedures, most common of them being tooth extraction
- Providing orthodontic treatment to adjust and correct mal-aligned teeth
- And many other functions as per further specialization.
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Sealants are plastic coatings that are placed on the chewing surfaces of teeth and protect against cavities in the deep pits and grooves.
- A sealant prevents decay because the plastic coating keeps bacteria and food debris from getting into the pits and grooves of the teeth.
- 80% to 90% of cavities in children occur in the pits and grooves. Sealants can prevent these cavities!
- Sealants can last for many years. If a sealant becomes worn, more sealant material can be applied on top of it.
- Sealants are most effective when they are put on as soon as possible after the eruption of the tooth.
- The teeth which benefit the most from sealants are the permanent molars and premolars.
- Costs may vary, but sealing a healthy tooth is less expensive than filling a decayed tooth. It costs roughly INR 200 to INR 500 per tooth.
- Sealants and fluorides offer the best combination for maximum protection against cavities.
- After 25 years of research, the National Institute of Dental Research has found sealants to be safe and highly effective.
- Easy to apply.
- Low cost.