I often forget the many and varied tasks of a dentist during the course of their practice. My dental experience has been very mundane, as I have no major dental problems and having only experienced orthodontic work while growing up. I have never had to deal with issues relating to dental implants, bridges, and other more intense dental work. Let’s face it; the worst most of us have had to deal with is a root canal. Other than that, we end up with relatively easy lives in the dental world. We see our dentists at the end of our appointments as they do a once over after the dental hygienist has dealt with the gross part of cleaning out our mouths in the first place. And then they move on to work on another patient. With this kind of a relationship, I often forget just has difficult a dentist’s work can be. They are, after all, medical professionals who work through many different and difficult hurdles during the course of their career. While most dentists do not meet with death in their everyday practice, they still carry our difficult procedures and work to keep patients happy and healthy, just like any other doctor. Dentists serve an important function in our medical world, and it is important that we all understand and respect the work that they do.
First, dentists and all doctors do not go to school and then rest on their laurels for the rest of their careers as they serve their patients. The advances that occur in medicine seem so quick that they are impossible to keep up with sometimes, so if doctors of all kinds were allowed to simply continue along in their careers without attending extra lectures and practicing new methods, our medical world and our ability to treat disease of any kind would be severely limited. This is why it is so critical to continue education and why in the field of adult dental care, dentists must continue their education and accumulate education hours in their career lifetimes. After all, no one wants to be treated by a doctor who is out of touch with the latest trends in the field and may end up prescribing a course of action that really is not the most advanced or best for the patient.
Second, dentists have to keep up with all these new trends because they perform a number of surgeries as a dentist. Most dental and oral treatments can be carried out by a dentist, though some need to be performed by a periodontist or orthodontist. The treatments range from restorative to orthodontic to periodontal. Many dentists can perform more specialized surgeries, but some treatments are so specialized that it is important to refer a patient to a more specialized practice. However, all doctors practice restorative treatments like crowns, dental restorations, bridges, and other kinds of restorative surgeries. Dentists can prescribe medications as well, such as antibiotics, fluorides, pain killers, anesthetics, sedatives, and other medication that is important for the treatment at hand!