What Is General Dentistry?

Family picnic with grandparents, parents, and children

One of our more familiar medical care providers is our dentist.

Presuming a normal healthy lifestyle, we are more likely to visit our dentist than any other medical provider.

As of 2021, there are 201,927 professionally active dentists…Click to learn more in a new window… in the U.S., and 79% are providing General Dentistry.

For some, there is a mystery surrounding dentists’ qualifications and general dentistry.

To shed some light on the issue, we will take a closer look at general dentistry and what it entails.

What is the DDS or DMD we see after a doctor’s name?

  • Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)
  • Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD)

The only difference between the two is the title used on their dental school degrees; their education and training in oral medicine are exactly the same.

In addition to their formal training in diagnosis, prevention, management, and treatment of diseases pertaining to the mouth, gum, and teeth, some general dentists receive special training in particular areas. For example, implant placement, cosmetic procedures, or other therapies.

This additional training further enhances the work of general dentistry.

You can check our doctors’ qualifications and meet them here.

How many different types of dental specialists are there?

Taking care of your teeth is an essential part of staying healthy.

Dentists are most often categorized into the following specialties:

  • General Dentist
  • Pedodontist or Pediatric Dentist
  • Orthodontist
  • Periodontist or Gum Specialist
  • Endodontist or Root Canal Specialist
  • Oral Pathologist or Oral Surgeon
  • Prosthodontist

General dentistry procedures

Since many wonder what general dentists do daily, it may surprise some that they learn over a hundred different procedures.

Here are some of the many procedures a general dentist would perform.

  • Examinations (initial, emergency, periodic, periodontal, oral cancer)
  • Digital X-rays
  • Dental photos
  • Digital scans
  • Charting of existing and needed treatment
  • White dental fillings or bonding
  • One-day porcelain crowns
  • Porcelain bridges and dental veneers
  • Gum surgery
  • Implants and implant porcelain crowns and bridges
  • Extractions and bone grafts
  • TMD (Temporomandibular joint dysfunction) or TMJ (temporomandibular joint) treatment and nightguards
  • Invisalign treatment to straighten teeth
  • Zoom Whitening for teeth whitening
  • Sealants to prevent decay
  • Botox treatment for migraines, TMJ, and cosmetic Botox
  • Partial and full dentures for missing teeth
  • Root canal treatment
  • Crown recementation
  • Temporary dental fillings

Do dentists have additional training?

A large part of a dentist’s career is taken up with additional education.

Although general dentistry involves many procedures, it is essential to specialize in a specific field of interest.

This specialization ensures each patient receives the quality of care and attention they deserve.

Does general dentistry cover extractions?

General dentists learn how to perform extractions and gum or oral surgery.

Some dentists love it and perform frequent surgeries, while others focus only on cosmetics and refer the surgeries to other dental providers.

It’s all a matter of preference.

Are implants included in general dentistry?

Any general dentist can perform the placement of dental implants, although it is advised to have additional implant surgery training from an accredited advanced learning center. Once again, it’s a matter of preference.

Can general dentists perform root canals?

General dentists train to perform root canals, although it’s a matter of preference.

Can a general dentist fit braces?

Any general dentist can do braces or Invisalign services, and it’s best practice that the dentist receives additional orthodontic training.

Main points

General dentists and general dentistry account for the majority of treatments required for optimal oral health.

Many are trained and qualified to perform different procedures to suit the varying needs of patients.

And a vast majority choose to specialize in a specific field of interest to offer improved quality, care, and service levels.

Call us today to learn more about McNeely & Mallette Family Dental Group!


McNeely and Mallette Family Dental Group is located in North Carolina…Click to open a new window to Google Maps…, including Charlotte, Harrisburg, and Concord. We happily welcome patients from all over.

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