You may think of dentistry as one general occupation dealing with the health of your teeth and gums. But there are different specialties that exist within the field, two of which are general dentistry and restorative dentistry. While there is some overlap between these two areas, there are also some distinct differences. The best way to compare them is by providing a good description of each area.

GENERAL DENTISTRY

When you think of general dentistry, think of the services provided by your primary dental care provider. A general dentist is one who not only focuses on your overall oral health, but on prevention and education as well. A general dentist would be one who provides preventive care, such as oral exams and professional cleanings, as well as services such as fillings, crowns, extractions, root canals and periodontal care. A general dentistry practice might also offer patients some cosmetic procedures, such as teeth whitening and dental veneers. In addition to those services, a general dentist is one who educates patients of all age about how to properly care for teeth and gums. The majority of dentists in the U.S. can be considered general dentists.

RESTORATIVE DENTISTRY

Remembering what is involved in restorative dentistry is easy – simply think of procedures that restore your teeth and gums to their normal, healthy functioning state. Restorative dentistry focuses not only on restoration, but also on replacing missing teeth. Restorative dentists provide services to rebuild gum and bone tissue, as well as some procedures that may be considered as cosmetic – such as teeth whitening and veneers, for example. A restorative dentist performs procedures such as root canals, crowns, bridges, dental implants, braces, dentures, dental prosthetics, and bone and gum grafting, to name a few.

These two areas of dentistry usually overlap. In fact, many dentists provide services that fall under both categories. In addition to procedures that repair teeth and gums, along with those that restore damaged teeth and replace missing teeth, many of these dentists offer treatments that are related to the jaw and airways within the mouth – such as services that address snoring issues, sleep apnea, and TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder. If you are looking for a dentist who can do it all, look for a practice that provides both general and restorative dental procedures, as well as some cosmetic services. The best way to ensure high quality dental care for your entire family – from the youngest to the most elderly – is by finding a reputable, trusted, multi-faceted dental professional.

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