Boca Dental and Braces provide health care services for the oral cavity and related head and neck areas. They evaluate and treat oral diseases, illnesses, injuries, and abnormalities.
Learn about dentists’ job duties, education, and salary in this career profile from O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.
The American Dental Association recommends you visit your dentist for a professional cleaning and exam every six months. During these visits, your dentist can spot potential problems in their early stages. A simple cavity, for instance, can be easily fixed if caught and treated in time. More serious issues like oral cancer, which has a high mortality rate, can also be prevented by regular visits to the dentist.
In addition to performing routine examinations and cleanings, dentists can provide other services to help maintain good oral health. These services include dental X-rays, which can detect hidden abnormalities such as bone loss or cysts. They can also examine your soft tissues (gums, tongue, and cheek) for signs of inflammation or infection. Dentists can also check the condition of existing fillings, crowns, and other restorations.
A healthy mouth is important for good communication, nutrition, and overall health—the Healthy People 2020 initiative lists oral health as one of the ten leading health indicators.
Regular brushing and flossing are the best ways to prevent dental problems, including tooth decay. But sometimes, a cavity or gum disease will develop despite your best efforts. Dental fillings can repair damage to the enamel of your teeth and prevent future cavities. Infections of the gums can be treated with antibiotics. And gum surgery can treat more severe cases of periodontal disease or even replace missing teeth.
Oral and maxillofacial surgery: Oral surgeons specialize in treating diseases, defects, and injuries of the jaw and face. They can remove wisdom teeth, perform other surgical procedures, and offer advanced pain management services for patients undergoing dental or oral surgery.
Public health dentistry: Public health dentists focus on improving the oral health of entire communities by developing and implementing programs aimed at disease prevention. They often work with local governments and nonprofit organizations to provide low-cost or free dental care for the neediest citizens.
When shopping for a dental insurance plan, look for one with a large network of providers and competitive rates. The larger a dental provider network is, the lower your deductible and copayment.
Preventive dentistry is a combination of actions taken to stop oral health problems from occurring and maintain healthy teeth for life. It starts with daily brushing and flossing and includes regular oral exams and dentist cleanings.
The mouth is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, which, if left unattended, can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues. But the good news is that you can control your oral health with simple and affordable preventive dental care routines like daily brushing and flossing, eating a well-balanced diet, and scheduling regular visits to the dentist for professional cleanings and oral exams.
Dental exams and cleanings are important for all ages because they can identify the early signs of tooth decay, infection, or other problems before they become more severe. During these appointments, your dental team will thoroughly remove the bacterial film called plaque from your teeth and gums. This film consumes sugar and produces acid, which damages your enamel and gums over time, causing tooth decay and hardening into tartar. Preventive care also includes fluoride treatments, which help prevent cavities and strengthen your existing teeth.
Many dental insurance plans prioritize preventive services, meaning they typically cover these visits at a lower rate or no cost. These preventive appointments can include regular oral exams, cleanings, and X-rays.
While it’s impossible to prevent all dental problems fully, routine dental appointments can make a significant difference in the lives of your family members. Children especially benefit from preventive care because it helps their developing adult teeth become strong and healthy and teaches them good oral hygiene habits that they can carry into adulthood.
Those with poor oral health are at higher risk of systemic and social problems, including heart disease, respiratory infections, low birth weight, and depression. Access to affordable, preventive care can decrease disparities in oral health and overall well-being in communities of need. This can be done through community dental clinics and outreach programs. Prevention is also the best way to ensure that people with dental insurance receive the dental care they need, which can save the nation’s healthcare systems a lot of money.
While most general dentists focus on preventive and restorative care, some perform cosmetic procedures. These include teeth whitening and veneers, among other treatments. While the primary aim of cosmetic dentistry is to enhance appearance, some procedures can have therapeutic benefits, such as tooth fillings that are bonded to restore decayed teeth. In such cases, the material used will often be composite and will try to match the color of your natural teeth.
Cosmetic treatment options can address various dental issues, including crooked teeth, chips or cracks in the enamel, and noticeable gaps between teeth. The process typically begins with a teeth cleaning by a dental hygienist. This removes plaque, tartar, and other debris from the surface of each tooth, allowing it to be whitened to a lighter shade. This is usually done in a single visit to the dentist’s office, and it can be a very effective way to improve the appearance of one’s smile.
Another common cosmetic procedure is the dental implant, which replaces missing teeth by anchoring artificial tooth roots to the gums. Dental implants are generally considered the most durable and natural-looking solution for replacing lost or damaged teeth. Many people find that these treatments significantly boost self-confidence, especially if they are dealing with gaps or overlapping of their teeth.
In addition to addressing aesthetic concerns, cosmetic dental procedures can help patients with various other health issues. For instance, a patient with misaligned or crowded teeth can sometimes have problems eating, speaking, and sleeping. This can lead to jaw pain, and it can also create a risk of infection. This is why it is often advisable for these patients to see a cosmetic dentist, who can correct the alignment of their teeth to make them easier to chew and speak with.
Cosmetic treatment is often not covered by insurance, but it may still be cost-effective for patients with the financial means to pay for it. Patients with insurance should carefully review their coverage to determine whether or not cosmetic treatment is covered under their current plan.
While the best way to avoid emergencies is preventative dental care like regular dental visits and teeth cleaning, there are times when patients do experience an issue that they believe is a dental emergency. In such cases, it is vital to understand what a true emergency is and the type of treatment you require.
For example, a severe toothache, uncontrolled bleeding, or fractured facial bones are considered dental emergencies, and the quicker they are treated, the better. In many cases, your dentist can handle these emergencies in their office. Still, for more serious issues like a dental abscess or a head injury, you should go to the emergency room immediately.
Another common type of emergency is when a crown or filling falls out of place. Depending on how loose the crown is and whether or not it has caused pain or a dental infection, your dentist may be able to fix the problem in the office, while other cases will need to be referred to a specialist, such as a dental implant surgeon.
Some problems that may seem to be a dental emergency might not need immediate attention, such as a chipped tooth without any pain or bleeding. However, if the crown is loose and can be removed from your mouth easily, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible to schedule an appointment for repair.
If a tooth is knocked out in a traumatic accident, keep it moist (place it between your cheek and gum or in a glass of milk) and bring it to your emergency dentist. Attempting to put the tooth back in the socket can damage your nerves and bones.
Other types of emergency dental care include a toothache that won’t stop hurting, swollen gums, and any dental trauma. Most dentists have a walk-in clinic for emergency dental care, especially during off-peak hours. Some emergency dentists also offer sedation dentistry to help ease the anxiety of patients in an emergency.