Dentistry is the evaluation, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases, disorders and conditions of the oral cavity, maxillofacial area and the adjacent and associated structures and their impact on the human body. Dentistry is widely considered necessary for complete oral health. Those in the practice of dentistry are known as dentists. Other people aiding in oral health service include dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental technicians, and dental therapists.
Dentistry usually encompasses a number of very important practices related to the oral cavity. The most common treatments involve the dental surgery on the teeth as a treatment for dental caries. Decayed teeth can be filled with dental amalgam, dental composite, dental porcelain and precious or non-precious metals. Oral and maxillofacial surgery is a more specialized form of dental surgery. Dentists can prescribe medication, x-rays, and devices for home or in-office use. Many oral diseases (such as bilateral odontogenic keratocysts) and abnormalities (such as several unerupted teeth) can indicate systemic, neural, or other diseases. Most general practitioners of dentistry perform restorative, prosthetic, endodontic therapy, periodontal therapy, and exodontia, as well as performing examinations. Many general practitioners are comfortable treating complex cases, as well as placing implants and surgically extracting third molars (wisdom teeth). All dentists must achieve a certain degree of skill in various disciplines in order to graduate from dental school and become an accredited dentist.
Dentists also encourage prevention of dental cavities through proper hygiene (tooth brushing and flossing), fluoride, and tooth polishing. Recognized but less conventional preventive agents include xylitol, which is bacteriostatic, casein derivatives,and proprietary products such as Cavistat BasicMints
Education and licensing
The Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, the first dental school in the world, opened in Baltimore, Maryland in 1840, and in 1867, Harvard Dental School became the second dental school affiliated with a university.
Studies showed that dentists graduated from different countries, or even from different dental schools in one country, may have different clinical decisions for the same clinical condition. For example, dentists graduated from Israeli dental schools may recommend more often for the removal of asymptomatic impacted third molar (wisdom teeth) than dentists graduated from Latin-American or Eastern European dental schools.
In England, the 1878 British Dentists Act and 1879 Dentists Register limited the title of "dentist" and "dental surgeon" to qualified and registered practitioners. The practice of dentistry in the United Kingdom became fully regulated with the 1921 Dentists Act, which required the registration of anyone practicing dentistry. The British Dental Association, formed in 1880 with Sir John Tomes as president, played a major role in prosecuting dentists practicing illegally. A dentist is a healthcare professional qualified to practice dentistry after graduating with a degree of either Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD), Bachelor of Dentistry (BDent), Bachelor of Dental Science (BDSc), or Bachelor of Dental Surgery/Chirurgiae (BDS) or (BChD) or equivalent. In most western countries, to become a qualified dentist one must usually complete at least 4 years of postgraduate study; within the European Union the education has to be at least 5 years. Dentists usually complete between 5–8 years of post secondary education before practicing. Though not mandatory, many dentists choose to complete an internship or residency focusing on specific aspects of dental care after they have received their dental degree.
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