Most people have a good, general concept of what dentists do. They take care of teeth, fill cavities, and perform root canals, right? This is not incorrect, but if you dig a little deeper, you might discover that some of your thoughts and assumptions about dentists are not as true or accurate as they could be. For instance, here are some common beliefs about the dental profession that aren't entirely true.
Misconception: Dentists just treat teeth.
Treating and caring for teeth is a huge part of a dentist's job; and it's what they spend most of their time doing. However, at the same time, it is untrue to say that dentists only care for teeth. It is more accurate to describe them as oral care experts. They provide treatment and preventative care for gums, cheek tissues, tongues, and jaws. If you are having trouble with any of these oral tissues, then the dentist should be the first person you see. They'll refer you on to another expert if needed, but in most cases, they'll be capable of dealing with the problem — whether it's a canker sore or bleeding gums.
Misconception: Dentists will always recommend the same course of treatment
It is common for patients to go to one dentist who recommends they get three fillings. Then, they go to another dentist who recommends one filling and some fluoride treatments. Many people feel the first dentist was trying to over-sell them or that the second dentist is less experienced and doesn't know how to treat their issue. However, his is not always the case. What has really happened is that one dentist recommended a more conservative approach, whereas the other recommended a more progressive approach. Some dentists prefer to "wait and see" while others just treat what they find. Neither approach is right or wrong, it's more a matter of preference. Either way, you should find a dentist with an approach you agree with so you feel comfortable having them treat you.
Misconception: You don't need to see the dentist if you don't have symptoms.
If your teeth feel fine and don't have spots, then you may assume you don't need to see a dentist. However, this is not correct. Dentists provide preventative care services too. Regular cleanings, fluoride treatments, and polishing sessions help keep the teeth strong and healthy so you don't develop pain and other symptoms. You should see the dentist every 6 - 12 months for preventative care even if your teeth feel fine.
Hopefully, you have learned a bit more about the reality of dental care. To learn more about dentistry, visit a dental clinic near you.