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Dentistry is a branch of medicine that is concerned with the diagnosis, study, prevention and treatment of diseases and conditions affecting the oral cavity and associated structures. The practitioners of dentistry are known as dentists and they usually work with a support team that includes assistants, and technicians.

One of the main aspects of dentistry concerns dental surgery and treatments to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. As these diseases affect a rapidly growing number of individuals in the Western world, thorough oral hygiene is considered very important for overall health. Additional widespread dental treatments include tooth restorations, extractions (the surgical removal of teeth that cannot be restored otherwise), root canal treatment and the management of abscessed teeth.

To become a licensed dentist in the United States, individuals must undergo four years of undergraduate studies, followed by another four years of dental school to qualify as Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). To be able to perform other tasks, such as sedation, cosmetic dental surgery, dental implants and maxillofacial surgery, dentists must earn additional qualifications. Alongside general oral cavity treatments, dentists can also perform x-rays (usually to determine the condition of teeth and roots), as well as prescribe medication and make diagnoses.

Whilst cosmetic dentistry is not a recognized specialty in the United States, the services of practitioners with experience in this field have become much sought after. This type of dentistry refers to dental work that improves the appearance of a person’s teeth and gums, and it generally includes such practices as tooth whitening, tooth reshaping, dental bridges, false teeth, and gum lifts.

Practitioners of cosmetic dentistry can usually be found in all major cities and many will offer numerous types of beautifying services. For example, a DC cosmetic dentist may offer porcelain or gold tooth inlays and onlays, dental crowns, dental bonding, porcelain veneers and more.

While gold and and other metals were the preferred materials for fillings in the past, dental work can now be done completely out of porcelain or other composite materials that mimic the natural appearance of teeth. Unfortunately, metal and silver fillings may contain traces of mercury and are no longer considered safe, due to the high risk of mercury poisoning. Instead, resin adhesives are now used to attach safer fillings to the tooth structure.

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