San Rafael General Dentistry: When to See General Dentist?

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San Rafael General Dentistry

While there are plenty of dentist that specialize in various areas, there is still a need for the dentist that practices general dentistry. It is important for people to understand what a general dentist does for them so they know when to see this individual and when to see a dental specialist.

The general dentist is the dentist that a person will see most often. They are the ones that will help an individual with the overall care of their teeth and gums. It is always a good idea to see San Rafael general dentist twice a year or every six months. This will allow them to monitor your teeth and gums and discover any problems that may need to be taken care of.

Types of Procedures You Can Expect a General Dentist to Perform

When you go to visit your dentist in San Rafael, you hope for an uneventful experience that consists of nothing more than a thorough cleaning and a reminder to always brush and floss. This is often the case if your oral health is in excellent condition without such problems as gum disease or misaligned teeth. If there are dental issues to resolve, however, the modern dentist will make use of a wide variety of tools and procedures to quickly and painlessly get the job done.

Diagnostic Procedures

Modern dentists use x-rays to provide a more nuanced examination of your mouth. X-rays offer one of the best tools for monitoring oral health and setting a plan for damage prevention. X-rays allow the doctor to identify cavities, examine the roots, detect periodontal disease, and track the status of growing teeth.



This is one of the most often performed procedures San Rafael general dentists.  First, your dentist might use one of many different methods to find out what – if any – tooth decay you have.  This can include cavity-detecting dye and x-rays.   If there is a surface-level cavity, your dentist will use silver metal or white composite materials to fill the hole and even out chewing surfaces. This means the cavity will no longer grow, and the tooth will be sealed off at the same time.  If your teeth have any sort of trauma that has left them cracked or broken, they can also be filled.

Root Canals

A root canal is another of the most common dental procedures. Typically, the tooth’s pulp – the tissue in the center of the tooth – has become inflamed or infected, so it is removed.  The inflammation or infection can have many different causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, faulty crowns, or a crack or chip in the tooth.  If a tooth is not treated or remains infected, there can be a buildup of pus which forms an abscess.  Abscesses can actually destroy the bone around the tooth as well as be very painful.  After having had a root canal, your dentist might want to put a crown on the tooth to create more protection, as teeth that are filled can break more easily than healthy teeth. general dentist can perform a root canal but may also refer patients to an endodontist for the procedure. This specialized dentist works on the inner portion of the tooth, removing infected tissue, and refilling the nerve canal. Endodontists specialize in root canals and tooth pain.

Dental Crown (Cap)

Dental Crown (Cap)

A crown permanently covers an existing tooth.  It’s used if the tooth has decayed a lot or has chipped or broken. They’re also used after root canals for strengthening it.  Typically, crowns are composed of metal, porcelain, or a combination of the two.  If you come into the office for a crown your dentist starts by numbing the tooth and tissue around it with anesthetic.  Then, the tooth getting the crown will be filed down to make room for the crown.  If too much tooth is missing then your dentist will actually use filling material to build up the tooth to support the crown.  After reshaping the tooth, San Rafael general dentist will make a mold which she or he will send off to a dental lab to manufacture the crown.  You will receive a temporary crown until the permanent one is delivered.  On a second visit, your temporary crown will be removed, your tooth will be anesthetized again, and the new crown will be permanently cemented in place.

Bridges and Implants

Bridges and Implants

These are two ways to replace a missing tooth or teeth.  The first is a bridge, which is also called a fixed removable denture.  This is a false tooth that attaches to the teeth on either side by using crowns.  Bridges can be supported by natural teeth or implants.

The second way to replace a missing tooth is to use an implant. Implants look and act like natural teeth and also include the crown and root. They are metal posts or frames which go into the bone socket of the missing tooth.  As healing takes place in the jawbone, it grows around the post which eventually anchors it well into the jaw.  Dental implants actually fuse with the bone, so they do become permanent and feel like your own teeth. In addition to a general dentist, there are other types of dentists trained in dental implants such as Prosthodontist, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and Periodontist.



The last common dental procedure is an extraction.  When a tooth has decayed or broken beyond repair, it need to be completely removed.  You might also have an extra tooth pulled that blocks other teeth from growing in or have your dentist remove teeth to create space for braces. Wisdom teeth are often extracted due to pain or the lack of space in the oral cavity. Despite these numbers, extractions are typically a last option. If a tooth can be saved, then your dentist will try and do this first, using a filling, crown, or other treatment.

A tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone. There are two types of extractions: simple and surgical.  Both require a local anesthesia. A simple extraction is for visible teeth which can be removed by loosening the tooth and removing it.  A surgical extraction, sometimes performed by an oral surgeon (and sometimes a general dentist), is for a tooth that has broken off or not broken through yet. The doctor makes a small cut into your gum to access the tooth and remove it.  Typically, anti-inflammatories are taken after the extraction and you have to be careful about food, drink, and keeping the area clean.  Your doctor will give you specific instructions about after-care.

Have No Fear

Armed with knowledge, you hopefully have a better understanding of the above common dental procedures. Certainly no one wants to have these processes done, so the best measures for your mouth are preventative: brush and floss daily with the appropriate tools, and see your dentist regularly for checkups so as to nip any potential problems in the bud.  If you do need a procedure, be sure to have it done as soon as possible at. You don’t want a small problem to grow into something larger.

Referring patients to specialists

A good general dentist will know their limitations. They will be able to evaluate a patient’s condition and will know when that patient requires more care than they can provide. When a general dentist sees a patient that needs extra care, they should refer them to a dental specialist. The general dentist may or may not recommend a specific doctor to go to, but they should be able to tell a person what type of specialist is needed for the patient. There is nothing wrong with going to a general dentist that understand their limitations. In fact, they may be the ones that help keep your teeth in the best possible health.

How To Know When To See A Periodontist Instead Of Your General Dentist?

How To Know When To See A Periodontist Instead Of Your General Dentist

one type of dental specialist is called a periodontist. Periodontists are trained to diagnose and treat infections of the gum tissue and bone. They also perform bone regenerative procedures to restore lost bone and gum support around previously affected teeth, perform periodontal cosmetic surgery procedures to treat gum recession, and place dental implants, among other specific dental procedures.

Choosing to see a periodontist versus a general dentist is going to depend on your condition. Here are a few points to consider:

  • If you have a periodontal concern, your dentist already has it in their files because these types of conditions don’t tend to develop overnight. Talk to your dentist first — ask them how serious your condition is and if they are qualified to handle it. Some dentists are experienced enough to manage mild periodontal needs, but if your case is more complex or you have moderate or severe periodontal disease, a periodontist is going to be better suited to treat your condition.
  • A periodontist can develop a partnership with your general dentist so that everyone involved in your treatment is on the same page and your dental care is streamlined. Don’t think of it as an “either/or” situation because your health and happiness are top priorities for all dental professionals that treat you.
  • Schedule a consultation with a periodontist if you have concerns about receding gums, dental implants or if you are suffering from periodontal disease. They will complete a full oral health evaluation using state-of-the-art equipment and provide you with the answers and treatment options that help to correct your condition. In your initial consultation, you may learn that you don’t need to see a periodontist to treat your condition, and they may refer you back to your general dentist for treatment. Either way, you will have peace of mind knowing that you’ve seen a specialist whose knowledge and expertise you can trust.

Should you go to a general dentist or orthodontist for braces?

Uneven teeth can be a cosmetic issue but can also have negative effects on your health, contributing to plaque build-up, risk of cavities, and gum disease. For teeth straightening, including metal braces and clear aligners, a general dentist will refer you to an orthodontist.

Dentists can also offer orthodontics. However, orthodontists have specific training on this matter. You may be referred to an orthodontist if you have misaligned teeth or a bite that is off. Orthodontists design and apply braces, retainers, and other corrective appliances to realign teeth and correct your bite.