Dentists In Las Vegas are doctors specializing in oral health who have earned either a Doctor of Dental Medicine or a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. They work with a team of allied dental professionals to diagnose and treat oral problems.
Patients report that they value dentists who respect their time and encourage them to keep up with preventive dental care at home. They also like that they can schedule visits that fit into their busy lives.
Dental health problems can have serious consequences for your overall well-being. For example, gum disease has been linked to heart disease and can even increase the risk of preterm birth in pregnant women. Regular dental exams allow dentists to identify these problems before they develop, giving you the chance to take action to prevent them from worsening.
Dentists diagnose oral health problems by conducting dental exams and reviewing medical history and dental X-rays. They then develop treatment plans based on their findings and perform procedures to address them. This may involve recommending medication, performing surgical procedures, or referring patients to specialists for more advanced care.
Some common dental health problems that dentists treat include tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. However, they can also spot early signs of other diseases and conditions, such as cancer, that may appear in the mouth first. This is often referred to as the oral-systemic connection and is one of the reasons it’s important to see your dentist regularly.
Depending on the complexity of your oral health needs, you may choose to visit either a general or specialty dentist. A general dentist can provide the full range of routine and complex oral care services. At the same time, a specialist is typically trained in more advanced or specialized procedures, such as periodontics (gum disease) or endodontics (root canal therapy).
When developing your treatment plan, your dentist needs to know what other medications you are taking. This is especially true for drugs that can cause a rare condition known as osteonecrosis of the jaw, which can damage your teeth and bones. Examples of these medications include bisphosphonates, which are used to treat osteoporosis, and the steroid denosumab, which is used to reduce bone loss after chemotherapy.
While most dentists work in private practices, some work for public health organizations, schools, and universities as part of their primary responsibilities. Others work for hospitals or the armed forces, providing oral health care to patients. Dentists have a unique opportunity to improve the lives of their patients by promoting and supporting healthy lifestyle choices. They emphasize the importance of practicing good oral hygiene and scheduling regular, twice-yearly appointments for professional cleanings and evaluations.
Once the dentist has gathered sufficient records to understand the nature of the patient’s oral health problems, they can formulate a treatment plan. This is a process of creating and revising objectives that the practitioner and patient agree upon to achieve the desired outcome. The resulting plan can be short-term or long-term and may involve multiple procedures or just one. The short-term goals may include resolving symptoms or repairing broken teeth. Long-term goals often aim to establish and maintain good oral health for a lifetime.
Several factors can influence the treatment plan, including each option’s technical feasibility and cost, the dentist’s preference based on experience, and the patient’s age, means, wishes, compliance with dental care, and other lifestyle issues. The treatment plan aims to eliminate disease and restore efficient, comfortable, esthetic, and functional function to the patient.
Dentists who have been in practice for a significant period have acquired considerable knowledge and experience. This helps them to make sound decisions. However, this knowledge only ensures complete accuracy. Consequently, the most effective dentists are those who take the receipt of their practicing license as not the end of formal learning but only the beginning. They continue to seek knowledge, formally called continuing professional development (CPD).
Developing a treatment plan involves setting patient expectations. Achieving these is a delicate balancing act. Patients must be reassured that the proposed treatment will achieve the desired results, but they also must be aware of potential problems and their consequences. This is particularly important for older people and those who fear dentistry, as their risk tolerance can be reduced.
The dentist needs to explain what can be achieved with each treatment option. For example, a tooth with a large apical radiolucency not responsive to sensibility testing may need root canal therapy. This can be explained with a diagram showing the current state of the tooth and the expected result of not proceeding with the recommended treatment.
The modern dentist uses many therapeutic procedures to treat dental problems and maintain oral health. They may also offer cosmetic services, such as teeth whitening and veneer bonding, to help patients achieve more beautiful smiles. Regardless of the type of treatment, dentists always use state-of-the-art technology and techniques to ensure that patients experience minimal discomfort during and after procedures.
After graduating from four-year dental school programs, dentists must take and pass both national written and clinical exams to become licensed to practice. They must continue to hone their skills throughout their careers, learning new techniques and taking continuing education courses to stay abreast of the latest advances in dentistry.
Aside from treating patients with common dental issues, some dentists specialize in specific areas of the profession. These specialties include:
Oral and maxillofacial surgery: This area of dentistry focuses on diseases, defects, and injuries of the jaws and other oral or facial structures. A dentist specializing in this field might perform extractions, dental implants, or other complex procedures.
Public health dentistry: This area of dentistry focuses on improving oral health in communities by designing programs that focus on disease prevention. It includes educating patients and providing care for children in need.
Many people fear going to the dentist, but it is important to visit one every six months to keep teeth healthy and to spot any potential problems, such as mouth cancer or gum disease, that may require immediate treatment. Aside from cleanings and examinations, a dentist can check for signs of oral infections, recommend preventive treatments such as fluoride applications or sealants, and provide dietary advice.
When a patient is comfortable during a dental appointment, it can lead to more positive experiences and recommendations. This is why dentists should work to create a welcoming environment in their practices. This begins in the waiting room, where a clean and bright space can make patients feel welcome even before they are called into a treatment room. Having staff members who can speak the patient’s native language is another way to enhance comfort during visits.
Good oral hygiene habits like brushing and limiting sugar intake can help avoid dental problems. Other preventive measures include:
- Eating a balanced diet with plenty of vitamins and minerals.
- Drinking tap water (which contains fluoride) rather than soft drinks.
- Avoiding tobacco.
Regular dental visits are also important for maintaining a healthy mouth and body, including catching dental problems early when they’re easier to treat.
Dentists are often called on to treat patients with special needs, including those who have developmental disabilities and other medical conditions that can affect their oral health. They must be able to assess a patient’s mental capabilities and understand how their disability may impact their ability to follow directions during treatment.
A dentist can also recommend certain medications to reduce the risk of developing complications in the mouth from other treatments or medication, such as the rare but serious condition osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). ONJ occurs when a bone breaks down, usually near a tooth extraction or dental implant site, and can lead to severe pain and infection. A doctor who prescribes ONJ-related medications, such as bisphosphonates (Fosamax, Actonel, and Boniva) or Denosumab (or Prolia), must monitor patients closely for signs of ONJ.
Oral infections can sometimes be a warning sign of other systemic illnesses and diseases that affect the whole body, such as diabetes or heart disease. Many dentists are familiar with these connections, known as “oral-systemic health.”
In addition to promoting preventive care in the oral cavity, dentists are responsible for encouraging their patients to maintain a good level of overall wellness through healthy lifestyle choices. This is particularly important for groups at high risk for dental problems, such as children and pregnant women. Dentists can help these patients by providing information and advice on nutrition, exercise, smoking cessation, and stress reduction. They can also encourage patients to visit the dentist regularly for cleanings and exams at least twice a year. This helps them catch problems before they become worse and can improve the quality of a person’s life by assisting them to smile with confidence.