A licensed dentist can perform most dental treatments:
- Restorative (fillings, inlays/onlays, crowns, bridges)
- Prosthetics (dentures, partials)
- Endodontic (root canal) therapy
- Periodontal (gum) therapy
- Surgical extraction of teeth
Additionally, general dentists perform examinations, interpret radiographs (x-rays) and make diagnoses. Dentists can also prescribe medications such as antibiotics.
General dentists educate patients to perform proper oral hygiene and to have checkups twice a year for professional cleaning and evaluation. Such systemic diseases as osteoporosis, diabetes, or cancer may have manifestations in the mouth, and regular exams can alert the dentist to an underlying health issue elsewhere in the body. Many studies have also shown that gum disease is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and preterm birth.