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General dentistry is the field of dentistry focused preventing, evaluating, diagnosing, and treating diseases of the mouth cavity (mouth, teeth and gums), as well as maintaining the functionality and esthetics of the teeth and associated tissues, structures, and jaw. A general dentist is a dentist who prevents, evaluates, diagnoses, and treats diseases of the oral cavity and related structures. A general dentist can prescribe drugs, x-rays and devices. Because some oral diseases and abnormalities can indicate other health issues, a general dentist my refer patients to their physician or a specialist for further evaluation or treatment. Most general dentists perform restorative, prosthetic, routine endodontic therapy, routine periodontal therapy, and simple dental extractions (exodontia). Many general dentists can treat more complex cases, place implants, and surgically extract third molars (wisdom teeth). General dentistry is a recognized American Dental Association specialty of dentistry. General dentists must complete at least four years of postgraduate study and generally two years of clinical experience. Physicians in this specialty treat patients suffering from numerous diseases and illnesses, but some of the most common are TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders, gingivitis, tooth decay, and cavities. Once properly diagnosed, practitioners can perform numerous procedures on patients including dental extractions, dental implants, fillings, root canals, dental restoration, inlays, onlays, crowns, bridges, veneers, plaque removal, calculus removal (debridement), preventative home care education, and fluoride treatment. To diagnose patients with possible illnesses and diseases, specialists will often perform one of many tests including dental imaging and x-rays of the teeth and jaw.
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