General dentistry comprises the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of various diseases and disorders of the teeth, gingiva tissue, and maxillofacial region. It would help if you visited a general dentist for dental services related to general oral hygiene maintenance and tooth health. Ideally, general dentistry is as much about prevention as it is about treatment. It is the reason you are encouraged to see a dental professional twice annually for cleaning and examination. At Valencia Advanced Dentistry at Copperhill Smiles, we offer various dental services to meet your expectations in Santa Clarita.

General Dentistry Definition

General dentistry entails several procedures that aim to protect your overall dental health. Moreover, a dental expert offering prevention services for dental problems also diagnoses and treats existing oral conditions. Some general dentists even offer cosmetic dentistry services to enhance teeth, gums, and facial appearance.

Not all general dentists can help with your oral issues. You must find a trained and experienced dentist. The qualifications you should look for in these professionals include:

  • Forty-eight months of undergraduate program.
  • At least four years of dental graduate school are required to obtain the relevant license.

Once the prospective general dentist completes dental school, they must sit for a written test from the national examination board. Additionally, the student must complete another written and practical test from the state examination board. Once the potential dentist passes these exams, the board issues them with practicing licenses.

After the dentist has obtained the relevant training and certification, they offer various dental services, including:

Preventative Services

If you want to protect the general well-being of your teeth and gums, your general dentist is the most suitable person to give these instructions. They know all dental conditions and the measures you can adopt to prevent them.

When you visit your dentist, they will first perform an oral exam, which sometimes entails diagnostic imaging like X-rays. If your teeth are healthy, the dental expert will offer preventative services like deep cleaning and instructions on caring for your teeth at home. Many dental patients visit general dentists for preventive services. Therefore, you should visit your general dentist twice a year to protect your teeth.

Restorative Services

When you visit us, our general dentists will thoroughly examine your mouth for oral issues. Once we spot the problem, the dentist will commence treatment immediately to restore your oral well-being. The treatment the dental professional will recommend depends on your condition and its severity.

Our restorative services focus on arresting oral issues before they become worse. The prevalent restorative services you will find in our clinics are:

  • Tooth extraction.
  • Filling of decayed teeth.
  • Periodontal disease diagnosis.
  • Replacing missing teeth.
  • Dental implants.
  • Root canal treatment.

Cosmetic Services

General dentists do not only offer preventative and restorative services. If you have concerns about your smile, they can perform cosmetic procedures to give you a sparkly and flawless smile. The cosmetic procedures in our clinic include teeth whitening, smile makeovers, and porcelain veneers.

General Health Concerns

Your dental health can disturb your overall well-being in many ways. For example, not resolving an oral infection on time could lead to poor diabetes control and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Luckily, if you seek our general dentistry amenities, we can identify these infections early, administer the appropriate treatment, or send you to a periodontist for specialized care. Additionally, we can offer information on quitting tobacco, wellness, and nutritional therapy.

Apart from oral infections, we offer general dentistry services for various oral conditions, including:

  • Tooth decay.
  • Teeth grinding.
  • Bad breath.
  • Tooth Sensitivity.

Therefore, if you are experiencing any of these issues, you should contact us immediately to arrange a meeting.

Elements of General Dentistry

When you visit Valencia Advanced Dentistry at Copperhill Smiles, the general dentist we will assign to your case will provide specific services. Discussed below are the services or treatments you will receive in our clinic.

X-Ray Services

One of our crucial preventative services is the x-ray. The service plays a critical role in oral condition diagnosis as it captures pictures of teeth and jawbone, which are then used for evaluation. Usually, we use low-level radiation on our patients to ensure their safety. With detailed X-ray images, we can quickly identify problems in your oral cavity, like decay, cavities, and damaged teeth. When you visit us with an oral problem, you should expect several dental X-ray options, including intraoral and extraoral X-rays.

One of our standard intraoral techniques is bitewing, where you bite on a distinctive piece of paper to see the crown match up. With this technique, we can tell if you have any cavities. Another method is the occlusal, an x-ray performed with your jaws closed for your general dentist to identify abnormalities likely to affect the roof and lower sections of your mouth.

Similarly, we have the panoramic technique, an x-ray machine that revolves around your head to help the general dentist plan your implantation treatment, look for jaw problems, and inspect wisdom teeth.

Finally, the periapical technique concentrates on the whole tooth, from the root to the crown.

For extraoral X-rays, your dentist looks for dental complications outside the soft tissue or teeth, like the jaw.

Before offering our x-ray services, the general dentist on your case walks you through all phases. The dentist then leaves you in the x-ray room with the device capturing images. They will train you to stay still until all the images needed are captured. 

Dentures Services

Dentures are artificial or false teeth used to replace missing or extracted teeth. Your dentist will design the prosthetics depending on the number of teeth that require replacement. The prosthetics are two metal or plastic plates fixed in the open sockets.

The common cause of tooth loss is gum disease. Losing a single tooth can seem like a minor issue, but it can cause tooth realignment when the teeth adjacent to the open socket shift. Also, if you go a long time without replacing missing teeth, your jawbone loses its mass, causing atrophy. Therefore, you should ask Valencia Advanced Dentistry at Copperhill Smiles for appropriate dental procedures and to replace missing teeth.

Dentures take various forms, including:

  1. Complete Dentures

You will need a full or complete denture if you have lost all your teeth in the upper and lower arches. You use these dentures when you have undergone complete tooth removal.

  1. Removable Partial Dentures

You will need removable partial dentures if you have lost a few teeth in a particular arch. An oral issue like this requires fixed partial dentures, or crowns and bridge dentures, that sit on the rest of the healthy teeth. The pontics and abutments in these dentures look like natural teeth. In terms of cost, fixed partial dentures are more expensive than removable ones.

  1. Copy Dentures

You qualify for copy dentures if you are a candidate for partial or complete dentures. The devices are favorable if you are an older person who feels uncomfortable changing to the new dentures and dislikes making regular trips to your dentist.

These dentures are made of acrylic material, which is quick to use due to its gum resemblance. The synthetic fiber used in the dentures has a color resembling the soft tissues. Also, they look like capillaries and oral mucosa, giving you a look similar to natural teeth. Nevertheless, because the acrylic material in these dentures is fragile, cobalt-chromium reinforces them to ensure they are thin and robust.

Crown and Bridge Services

Unlike dentures, crowns and bridges are fixed prosthetics you can easily remove and clean. Your general dentist cements them on current implants or teeth. If you wish to remove the prosthetics for cleaning, you must visit your dentist because they are the only ones who can do so.

Understanding Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are the best option if you have a repairable damaged tooth because they cover or cap the affected teeth to enhance aesthetics. Also, your dentist can use the crown as an artificial tooth by attaching it to a dental implant. Your general dentist will likely recommend crowns made of ceramic or porcelain because they resemble the original teeth' color. Other dental materials your dentist will recommend are gold, acrylic, ceramic, and metal alloys. Even though some of these materials do not resemble the color of the original teeth, they are stronger and, therefore, suitable for the posterior teeth. 

At Valencia Advanced Dentistry, we will recommend crowns if:

  • You wish to shield a tooth that is on the verge of fracturing.
  • If you lack sufficient tooth enamel for an extensive dental filling,
  • You want to fasten a bridge.
  • You want to cover an improperly shaped or discolored tooth.
  • You wish to cap a tooth with a root canal.

Understanding Dental Bridges

We will suggest a bridge if you have a gap in the arch due to at least one missing tooth. Spaces in the arch, upper or lower, can be problematic because the adjacent teeth shift to the socket, causing temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) conditions and bad bites.

Periodontal Therapy

Gum or periodontal disease eats away your gums, and the best way to restore the dead soft tissue is through periodontal therapy. When performed by a dentist, the treatment is highly effective and comprises several procedures, like:

  1. Crown Lengthening Surgical treatment

In a crown lengthening operation, your dentist covers the affected tooth structure with gingiva and bone tissues. Also, the surgery exposes the teeth for aesthetic reasons and holds the new crown in place.

  1. Periodontal Plastic Surgery

The procedure sounds like surgery. However, it involves reshaping the gingiva tissue to make the gums more appealing.

  1. Root Planing and Scaling

When you fail to brush and floss your teeth regularly, plaque accumulates. If the buildup continues unchecked, it can result in tartar, which is difficult to remove with standard cleaning. You can remove the calculus and plaque by visiting a dentist for a deep cleaning incorporating root planing and scaling techniques. Your dentist removes the buildup below the gum line with a hand scale or an ultrasonic device.

  1. Soft Tissue Grafting

Gum grafting involves the surgical removal of healthy soft tissue from the palate and stitching it to the receded section of the gums to protect the tooth root and improve appearance. The procedure can be long and painful. Therefore, if you do not want the tissue harvested from your palate, you should talk to your dentist about having donor tissue processed in a dental lab.

Tooth Cleaning Services

Brushing and flossing your teeth twice daily is an excellent way to maintain good oral health, enhance your smile, and prevent tooth loss. You can perform this routine at home without the help of a professional. Nevertheless, tooth or dental cleaning services should be considered when removing all food particles, plaque, and bacteria. A dentist performs the procedure, which involves tartar extraction using ultrasonic equipment and the use of scalars to scale the cleaned areas.

Once your dentist finishes scaling, they smooth the tooth surface with a gritty paste and use fluoride to strengthen the teeth. The benefits of dental cleaning in a professional's hands are that you enhance your smile and prevent tartar accumulation, which leads to cavities, decay, and tooth loss.

If you visit us at Valencia Advanced Dentistry, for a tooth cleaning service, the general dentist assigned to your case will conduct a thorough oral examination to check for oral problems or signs of dental disease, if any exist.

The next step involves the removal of the plaque using special equipment. Once the enamel is free of bacteria and particles, your dentist polishes the teeth's surfaces and rinses the mouth with fluoride.

Besides regular dental cleaning, other tooth cleaning treatments are:

Deep Cleaning

Also called scaling, deep cleaning is recommended when your dentist observes signs of periodontal disease like bleeding gingiva and x-ray images showing significant calculus and plaque accumulation beneath the gum line.

Regular Cleaning

Also known as prophylaxis, regular cleaning is a preventative service that should happen at least twice annually to remove calculus, plaque, and stains from the teeth that cannot be removed through routine brushing.

Debridement of the Entire Mouth

Plaque and calculus can significantly accumulate in the mouth, forcing your general dentist to recommend full mouth debridement for complete plaque removal. However, very few people undergo this procedure because these cases are rare.

Teeth Maintenance

Once you have undergone a deep cleaning procedure, the general dentist determines how frequently you need maintenance, depending on your oral health. It would help if you visited the dentist after an agreed-upon period for tooth care after dental treatment.

Dental implant Services

Implants are artificial tooth roots surgically inserted in the jawbone to anchor a restoration for an extracted or missing tooth, helping prevent loss of bone mass. The implantation procedure is both prosthetic and cosmetic dentistry.

If you have lost teeth, you will be less confident about your smile and talk. You could also experience bite irregularities that could adversely impact your eating habits, leading to malnutrition. At Valencia Advanced Dentistry at Copperhill Smiles, we will recommend our implantation services to give you artificial teeth that offer the stability and strength you need for a flawless smile and to maintain your eating habits.

During the implant procedure, your dentist drills a hole in the site where a tooth has been lost. The general dentist then widens the area for titanium screw placement. Once the titanium post is in place, the surrounding soft tissue is used to secure it and cover the top to allow for osseointegration. It takes six months for the surgical site to heal and for the implant to integrate with the jawbone.

After healing, you will come for the second visit, where we will uncover the implant and attach an abutment that holds the crown or artificial teeth in place. Once the abutment is placed, you will be ready for a temporary or permanent crown. After the final restoration, it will be challenging to differentiate between the implant and the original teeth, as they look and function the same way.

Sealant and Fluoride Services

If you are at risk of fits and fissures, your general dentist will recommend dental sealants to reduce the risk of cavities. Sealants are plastic materials the general dentist applies to the chewing surface of your posterior tooth to act as a barrier to prevent bacteria from entering the fissures, causing cavities.

Consequently, fluoride services help make your teeth resistant to demineralization and remineralization stemming from acid attacks. The bacteria and sugars in the mouth are what cause these acids. When you expose your teeth to minerals like fluoride or calcium, they demineralize. If the demineralization is greater than the remineralization, your teeth will decay.

We will recommend fluoride treatment if you are at an elevated risk of decay or in any of these situations:

  • You have a long history of cavities.
  • You have an implant restoration.
  • You are on high blood pressure medication.
  • You have a gum or soft tissue disease like gingivitis or periodontitis.
  • You suffer from dry mouth conditions like diabetes.

Dental Fillings

Dental fillings can remedy the situation if you suffer from cavities or have broken teeth. Your general dentist can use porcelain, amalgam, or composite material for the filling. Therefore, if you discover that you are developing cavities, you should talk to a dentist to clean the holes and fill them to prevent further damage.

Orthodontic Services

Orthodontics focuses on diagnosing, deterring, and treating conditions that affect the alignment of your teeth and jaws. When you seek this treatment, you should expect the dentist to expand the roof of your mouth or jawbone to create room for tooth alignment. After that, the dentist will correct the misaligned teeth using a correction instrument. The final step involves retaining the teeth to deter them from shifting from their intended position.

Tooth Extraction Services

Dental removal, or extraction, is another service in our general dentistry practice at Valencia Advanced Dentistry at Copperhill Smiles. Your permanent teeth are intended to serve you for a lifetime, but this is not always true. Trauma and oral conditions like tooth decay can force tooth removal. A root canal treatment can correct the situation if your teeth are moderately decayed. Nevertheless, removal is the only remedy if the tooth is damaged beyond repair. Your dentist can also recommend extraction because of crowding to make room for tooth realignment.

Before a tooth removal procedure, your dentist must ensure you do not have an oral infection that could be transferred to the bloodstream. Therefore, if you have an oral condition that predisposes you to illness or complications, it must be addressed first before the extraction.

Homecare Instruction Services

After any dental procedure, your general dentist will give post-procedure instructions for quicker healing and easy follow-up.

The first instruction the dentist will give you is on healthy oral hygiene habits. Proper oral hygiene does not only apply to individuals who have undergone dental procedures but to everyone. Our general dentist encourages you to use dental hygiene products that are approved by the American Dental Association. Again, we encourage brushing your teeth after breakfast and before bed. Besides, it would help to floss your teeth when going to bed to keep them clean throughout the night.

Also, we recommend that you adopt healthy eating habits and avoid hard foods that can crack or chip your natural or artificial teeth. If you are in sports, always have a mouthguard to shield the teeth from impact or trauma. A night guard is also advisable if you grind your teeth at night.

If you have undergone a tooth extraction procedure, you should stop the bleeding by biting on a gauze pad for half an hour. Besides, it would help if you steered away from smoking, alcohol, rigorous rinsing, or brushing around the extraction site for three days. However, you can resume your oral hygiene routine after two or three days.

When your procedure was for crowns and bridges, we will advise you to avoid sticky or hard foods and chew from the other side with the bridges. Brushing is encouraged twice daily, but be careful with flossing to avoid dislodging the temporary restoration.

After a dental filling, your general dentist will encourage you to avoid hot drinks or chewing because your tongue and lips are still numb from the local anesthesia. Again, the injection area will feel sore and tender, so you should consider taking painkillers.

Find a Skilled General Dentist Near Me

You have several general dentistry services if you are concerned about preventing, diagnosing, and treating various oral health issues. However, picking the right general dentist can be challenging. Luckily, Valencia Advanced Dentistry at Copperhill Smiles offers tailored and quality dentistry services. Call us today at 661-775-7717 to schedule a meeting in Santa Clarita.