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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To begin to understand, one must look at the function of the body and mind. Are they optimal? Most of the time the answer is No. When looking at the bodies of the children, one can ask whether they are they well aligned, signifying that the muscle and nerve tone is proper? Most of the time the answer is again no. Is the head in the right position and is the patient breathing properly? Is the face developing to its optimal beauty? One can see that even in the caries–free state there is more than enough to do.
Tips for Children learning to brush
Hello…I’m Flossy and I’m so glad you stopped by to find out some things you can do to keep your teeth nice and healthy. Foods containing a lot of sugar, such as candy, cake and soda produce acids that cause cavities and plaque to form. Plaque loves sugary things, so it’s best to try and limit these types of foods. To make sure that you are getting enough nutrients for good general and oral health, you should choose foods from the four basic food groups: fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products, and meat, fish, and eggs.
Proper brushing is also very important! You should brush your teeth at least twice a day…just after breakfast and before you go to bed is the best time. Take your time making sure you brush all your teeth in the front and back. The brush should be placed against the teeth at an angle. A careful brushing should take about 3 minutes. This gets rid of old food which can cause holes. Remember, plaque begins forming on the teeth in as quickly 4 hours after brushing. This is why it is so important to brush your teeth at least twice a day.
You should visit your dentist regularly. Your dentist will check all of your teeth to look for little holes (cavities). If he or she finds any, they will drill away the bad bit of the tooth and fill the hole with a filling mixture. The dentist, or his dental assistant, will show you the proper way to brush your teeth to keep them clean and healthy.
When a tooth is knocked out, appropriate emergency medical and dental care is necessary. A permanent tooth can often be saved if prompt action is taken, and the tooth is handled carefully. The delicate tissue covering the root must be protected to ensure successful re-implantation. Baby teeth may become injured after a fall and turn gray in color. Treatment is not always necessary, but it is best to have the dentist examine the child as soon as possible.
Treatment of Tooth Injuries
When a baby or toddler injures gums or teeth:
- If there is bleeding, put cold water on a piece of gauze and apply pressure to the site.
- Offer the casualty an icy–pole or ice cube to suck, to reduce swelling.
- Call your dentist. He or she will probably want to see the child to assess the need for realignment, or removal of a very loose tooth.
- Hold the tooth by the crown (the top), not the root.
- Rinse the tooth immediately with saline solution or milk.
- Do not rub or scrub the tooth to remove dirt.
- If the casualty will co–operate, replace the tooth gently in its socket.
- Have the casualty bite down gently on a gauze pad to keep the tooth in place.
- If the tooth cannot be re–inserted, put it in milk – A good preservative because its chemical make-up is compatible with teeth.
- If milk is not available, the tooth can be placed in the casualty’s mouth between the teeth and cheek, if old enough not to swallow the tooth.
- Give the casualty a gauze pad or handkerchief to gently bite down on, which will help control bleeding and ease the pain.
- See a dentist right away, within 20 minutes if possible.
- Do not replace the tooth or place anything in the mouth of a drowsy or unconscious casualty.