They’re one of those things we don’t miss until we don’t have them: teeth.

Visiting the dentist is something we all need to do on a regular basis. But how to find the best dentist from the manyoral health specialists out there? To help you decide, let’s look at the questions you may have about general dental care and what it means for you. This will help inform your choice, and help you find a dentist who will cater to your unique needs.

Dentists or dental care professionals work to preserve the health of your teeth. They are experts in conditions that affect the teeth and mouth, and assess and diagnose their patients on an individual basis, providing personalised treatment plans.

They will be expertly qualified in their field, and their training includes instruction on anatomy, radiology and anaesthesia to ensure that they not only understand the conditions affecting the teeth and mouth, but also know how to treat them.

The first thing to recognise is that there are many types of dentists, and many specialities within the field.

As part of their day-to-day work, a general dental practitioner will offer preventive treatment to keep your teeth and mouth healthy. This may include scaling and fluoride treatment, repairing damage such as filling cavities, performing minor surgery like tooth extractions and designing appliances such as dentures and mouthguards.

Specialised dental roles including orthodontists who straighten teeth and treat issues with jaw alignment, periodontists who treat gum disease, and oral and maxillofacial surgeons who treat injures to the face, problems with wisdom teeth, and even oral cancer, to name a few examples.

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Routine healthcare, and dental care, in particular, are important if you are to keep your mouth and teeth healthy and prevent problems in the future.

A lifetime of healthy teeth starts early on, so getting your child used to routinely visiting the dentist and taking care of their oral hygiene is essential.

For adults, regular checks are also necessary to identify problems and prevent tooth loss. In fact, the risk of problems with your teeth, gums, and mouths increases with age so it’s just as important for adults to visit the dentist regularly too.

Your dentist will treat a wide range of conditions relating to the teeth and mouth. These include:

  • Tooth decay, which can be treated by providing fillings or extractions
  • Tooth loss, where teeth are replaced by a removable or permanent appliance
  • Gum disease
  • Crowded or crooked teeth, and aligning the bite and jaw (this work is undertaken by an orthodontist)
  • Unsightly teeth which can be improved with cosmetic work
  • Damage or irregularities caused by injury or disease such as cancer (oral and maxillofacial surgeons specialise in this kind of work)

Because you won’t necessarily be referred to a dentist by another healthcare professional, it’s important to know how to find a registered dentist with a good track record who can cater to your needs.

When you go to see the dentist, you need to know that they are qualified to deliver the best general dental care. Checking their accredited training is a good place to start. A dentist will have a degree in dentistry or another field followed by a post-graduate qualification in dentistry. Check this out with the Dental Board of Australia.

They will also be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

You can also use the trusted reviews on Whitecoat to check out healthcare professionals including dentists. Search for a dentist near you to read reviews of real patient experiences and book an appointment with a recommended dentist near you.

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