A dentist, also known as a ‘dental surgeon’, is a health care practitioner that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and conditions of the oral cavity. The dentist’s supporting team aids in providing oral health services. The dental team includes dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental technicians, and in some states, dental therapists.
By nature of their general training, a licensed dentist can carry out most dental treatments such as restorative (dental restorations, crowns, bridges), orthodontics (braces), prosthetic (dentures), endodontic (root canal) therapy, periodontal (gum) therapy, and exodontia (extraction of teeth), as well as performing examinations, taking radiographs (x-rays) and diagnosis. Additionally, dentists are allowed to engage in oral surgery when performing invasive procedures such as dental implant placement. Dentists can also prescribe medications such as antibiotics, fluorides, pain killers, local anesthetics, sedativeshypnotics and any other medication that serve in the treatment of the various conditions that arise in the head and neck.
Dentists need to take additional qualifications or training to carry out more complex procedures such as General anesthesia, oral and maxillofacial surgery, and implants. While many oral diseases are unique and self-limiting, poor conditions in the oral cavity can lead to poor general health and vice versa. Conditions in the oral cavity may be indicative of systemic diseases such as osteoporosis, diabetes, AIDS, different blood diseases(including malignancies) etc.