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Learn more about General Dentists and how to choose the right one for you

Learn more about General Dentists

A general dentist, or simply dentist, specializes in primary dental care: the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases and conditions of the oral cavity (mouth, teeth and gums) and the maxillofacial area (head, neck, face and jaw). Dentists also maintain the function and appearance of these areas. The overall goal is to help people keep their teeth, mouth and gums healthy.

A dentist typically: 

  • Evaluates the patient's dental and medical history and performs an oral exam
  • Teaches patients about dental conditions and diseases, good oral hygiene, and oral disease prevention
  • Orders and interprets laboratory and imaging tests, such as X-rays and saliva tests, and prescribes medications including antibiotics and pain medications
  • Diagnoses oral and maxillofacial diseases and conditions based on an evaluation of tests and exams
  • Provides preventive oral and primary dental care including dental cleanings and fluoride treatments
  • Treats various oral and maxillofacial diseases and conditions including tooth decay, gum disease, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
  • Works closely with other dental specialists and members of your healthcare team as needed to ensure optimal care

A general dentist may also be known by the following terms: dentist, primary dentist, tooth doctor, family dentist, Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), and Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD).

There are 6217 specialists practicing Dentistry in Virginia with an overall average rating of 4.4 stars. There are 56 hospitals in Virginia with affiliated Dentistry specialists, including Inova Fairfax Hospital, Inova Fair Oaks Hospital and VCU Medical Center Main Hospital.

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