Dentists are often taken for granted. We see them every six months (or maybe more if we’re lucky), but we don’t really think about what they do or how important they are to our overall health. Today is National Dentist’s Day, so let’s take a moment to celebrate these amazing professionals and all that they do for us! Altoona Smiles is proud to be home to some of the best dentists in the area, and we’re honored to serve our patients day in and day out. In honor of National Dentist’s Day, we would like to teach you a little more about dentists and dentistry.
What education is necessary for dentists?
Becoming a dentist is no easy feat. The process of becoming a dentist requires numerous hours of education and dedication. First, aspiring dentists must complete an undergraduate degree in subjects like biology, chemistry, mathematics or anatomy. Other majors can also apply to dental school, however they must complete at least 8 hours of biology, chemistry, physical science, organic chemistry, and English. During the junior year of college it is also required to take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). The scores from this exam, along with a student’s GPA and coursework determine admission to a dental school.
Dental school is an additional four years of education. During the first two years, students take courses related to dentistry. The second two years are then used for clinical training. Once a student completes dental school, they will be awarded with either a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry). Despite their different names, both degrees involve the same coursework and clinical training. After completing dental school, the next step is to take and pass a series of licensure exams. The exact type of exams can vary based on the state in which a dentist is practicing. Depending on the focus of their practice, some dentists may opt for specializations that require extra residencies or certifications in addition to the fundamentals. Dentists also have to stay up-to-date with advances in dental procedures, diseases and treatments each year to ensure they are offering the best care for their patients. If you haven’t thanked your local dentists for their extensive work yet today is an excellent opportunity to do just that!
Why are dentists important and how can they help improve our oral health?
Dentists are essential to our health, as they can help us keep our mouths healthy and spot potential issues before they cause more serious problems. Oral health is an important part of overall health and it should not be taken lightly since it affects how we look, how we speak, and even how we eat. Dentists can provide preventative care like cleanings, x-rays, and education on proper oral hygiene techniques which can help avoid dental decay and gum disease. Additionally, dentists can apply fillings to treat cavities created by tooth decay and repair chipped or cracked teeth with restorations like crowns and bridges. Visiting a dentist regularly for check-ups is an important part of keeping our mouths (and our bodies) healthy.
What services do dentists provide and what should you expect during a visit to the dentist’s office?
Here is a table showing some of the common services that dentists offer:
|A deep cleaning of the teeth to remove plaque and tartar buildup
|Filling of a cavity in a tooth caused by decay
|A tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a damaged tooth to restore its shape, size, strength, and appearance
|A dental appliance used to replace missing teeth by using adjacent teeth for support
|A surgical component that interfaces with the bone of the jaw or skull to support a dental prosthesis such as a crown, bridge, denture, facial prosthesis, etc.
|Root Canal Therapy
|A procedure to remove infected or damaged pulp from inside a tooth and then fill and seal the space
|The removal of a tooth from the socket in the jawbone
|A removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues
|A branch of dentistry that corrects teeth and jaws that are positioned improperly
|A cosmetic procedure to lighten the color of the teeth and improve the appearance of a smile
During a regular dental checkup, the dentist will perform a thorough examination of your teeth, gums, and mouth. This is done to check for any signs of problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. Here are some things that you can expect during a dental checkup:
- Cleaning: The dentist or dental hygienist will remove any plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth. This helps to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. After the cleaning, the dentist or hygienist may apply a fluoride treatment to your teeth to help strengthen the enamel and prevent tooth decay.
- X-rays: The dentist may take X-rays of your teeth to check for any issues that are not visible during a visual examination. This can help to detect problems such as cavities or impacted teeth.
- Examining your teeth and gums: The dentist will use a small mirror to examine the inside of your mouth and check your gums for any signs of inflammation or bleeding. They will also check your teeth for any signs of decay or damage.
- Oral cancer screening: The dentist will examine your lips, tongue, and throat for any signs of oral cancer. This is an important step as early detection of oral cancer can improve treatment outcomes.
- Checking your bite: The dentist will check your bite to see if it is aligned properly. This helps to detect any problems with your bite that can cause pain or damage to your teeth.
- Discussion of findings and recommendations: Finally, the dentist will discuss any findings from the exam and make recommendations for maintaining good oral health, such as regular cleanings, dietary changes, or further treatments if needed.
It’s important to have regular dental checkups to maintain good oral health and catch any problems early on. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends scheduling regular dental appointments at least once every six months. If you are at a higher risk for certain dental issues, your dentist may even recommend more frequent visits.
Thanking our dentists for their hard work and dedication to keeping our smiles healthy!
Now that we know more about what it takes to become a dentist and what dentists do for our oral health, let’s take a minute to recognize our hardworking dentists at Altoona Smiles. These amazing professionals go above and beyond to ensure that everyone has access to good oral health, dedicating their lives to helping others. Without their skill, knowledge, and dedication we wouldn’t be able to maintain beautiful, healthy teeth! So take a moment today to celebrate our beloved dentists – thank them for the long hours they put in, from routine checkups to complex procedures.
Dr. Eric Forsberg
Dr. Eric is a co-owner of Altoona Smiles. He graduated from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and has even served as an adjunct professor there. He is passionate about providing individuals with a positive dental experience so they can leave the office with a smile.
Dr. Nicole Brummel
Dr. Nicole is a co-owner of Altoona Smiles. She also graduated from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. Her main goal as a dentist is to help her patients achieve a beautiful, healthy smile in a relaxed and caring environment.
Dr. Daniel Van Roekel
Dr. Daniel chose to become a dentist because he enjoys talking to people, working with his hands, and leaving an impact on his community. He believe dentistry is the perfect way to serve others.
Dr. Jenni Boyles
Dr. Jenni graduated from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. She initially practiced dentistry in Phoenix, AZ, but then decided to move back to central Iowa. She is passionate about providing high quality dentistry in a comfortable way for her patients.
Dr. Mary Bucklin
Dr. Mary graduated from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and practiced dentistry in Jackson, WY. Like Dr. Jenni, Dr. Mary eventually decided to move back to central Iowa and become part of the Altoona Smiles team.
Happy National Dentist’s Day!
Education, technology, and experience all work together to make sure you receive the best oral care possible from your dentist. Dentists are constantly learning in order to provide their patients with the most up-to-date treatments available. They use cutting edge technology in order to ensure that your smile is healthy and looking its best. When you visit Altoona Smiles, you can expect to be greeted by a friendly staff who will make sure you are comfortable throughout your visit. We would like to take this opportunity to thank dentists for their hard work and dedication!