Basics of Dentistry

Job/Occupational title
Federally appointed occupational terms used for classification

(i.e. dentist, dental hygienist, lab technician)

Qualifications earned that allows a person to perform a specific duty

(i.e. DDS, RDH, CDT)

– Gives lawful permission to practice in a specified geographic jurisdiction.

– Regularly renewed

– Requires continuing education in all jurisdictions although, amounts vary

The Dental Team
– As a hygienist you will be connected to different people that have various occupations in the dental industry.

– The development of the dental hygiene profession has always emphasized prevention of disease and promotion of health.

– This sets the stage for the profession’s contributions as preventive dental care specialists

General Dentistry
– Uses skills of oral diagnosis, disease prevention, and restoration.

– About 80% of dentists are general.

General Dentistry
– About 90% of these dentists are in private practice.

– By law, they must refer complicated cases to a dental specialist.

Interested in Dental School
– Get advanced chemistry, calculus, biochemistry, genetics, and physics.

– Take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) your final undergraduate year.

– Apply to dental school the summer before your senior year.

– Prepare to put your life on hold for another 3 – 4 years.

Dental Specialists
– General dentists who get more education in a detailed sector of dentistry.

– The practice is limited to 1 of nine ADA specialties

– 20% of dentists have a specialty.

ADA-Recognized Dental Specialties
– Dental Public Health
– Endodontics
– Periodontics
– Prosthodontics
– Oral and maxillofacial surgery
– Oral and maxillofacial pathology
– Oral and maxillofacial radiology
– Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics
– Pediatric dentistry

Dental Public Health
– The preventing & controlling dental disease and promoting dental health through organized community efforts.

– A form of dental practice that serves the community as a patient.

– Dental Public Health specialists have broad knowledge and skills in public health administration, research methodology, the prevention and control of oral diseases, and the delivery and financing of oral health

Treat pulpal and periapical diseases & tissues, including root canal therapy.

– Is the specialty that deals with the prevention, diagnosis, & surgical treatment of the periodontium.

– Requires a 3 year Master’s degree residency to specialize.

Pertains to the diagnosis, treatment, and maintenance of oral health, function, comfort, and appearance of patients with missing teeth and/or oral maxillofacial
tissues using biocompatible substitutes.

Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon
– Corrects a wide spectrum of diseases, injuries and defects in the head, neck, jaws and the tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region.

– It is a recognized international surgical specialty.

– Requires training in medicine, gen surgery, & anesthesia.

Oral & Maxillofacial Pathologist
– Deals with the nature, identification, and management of diseases affecting the oral and maxillofacial area.

– The practice includes research and diagnosis of diseases using clinical, radiographic, biochemical, microscopic, & examinations.

Oral & Maxillofacial Radiologist
– Mainly concerned with performing, understanding & interpreting diagnostic imagery related to facial, neck and oral structures.

– Requires a Master’s or Doctoral degree.

Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics
Deals with the correction and treatment of malocclusion, including modifications of facial growth.

Pediatric Dentistry
– Specializes in the advanced treatment of children.

– Tune to patient management, child development, and restorative care procedures

Difference between Dental Specialist & Discipline
– Specialists are ADA-recognized in subject matter taught in accredited programs.

– A discipline is subject matter that is unique in scope, requires a small amount of added education. It may become a specialty once requirements are established.

Dental Disciplines
– Complementary and alternative dentistry
– Cosmetics
– Anesthesiology
– Forensics
– Geriatrics
– High-tech dentistry
– Oral implantodontics
– Oral medicine
– Special care dentistry
– Sports dentistry
– TMJ disorder

Dental Hygienists
– Usually work under the varying supervisions of a dentist.

– Use skills to remove deposits, provide patient education, & administer types of preventive dentistry.

– Can work in a variety of settings.

Dental therapist
– “Dental Therapist” is a title used outside of the U.S. in areas like Australia and the U.K.

– They may work in public sectors, mobile dental units, private practices, research, management, education and policy development.

– Many levels of degrees offered in field

BA, BAS, BS Degrees in:
– Dental Hygiene
– Public Health
– Health Science

– MS degree in dental hygiene

Alternative Settings
– Academia
– Consultation
– Corporate environment
– Correctional Institutions
– Hospitals
– Military settings
– Government/Community
– Non-profit
– Entrepreneurship

CEU’s for a FL RDH
– Minimum credits needed : 24 hours

– One contact hour is equal to 50 mins

– ½ a C.E. is equal to 25 mins

Required courses: 2 hours of Domestic Violence every third renewal; HIV/AIDS prior to 1st licensure renewal; 2 hours of Prevention of Medical Errors & CPRBLS
for Healthcare Providers every license renewal or biennium.

Dental Assistant
– Offers the dentist or hygienist the chance to practice four-handed dentistry.

– Work more directly under the supervision of the dentist.

– Not required to have a college degree or professional training.

– “Dental nurse” is a title for a dental assistant in the U.K.

Certified DA & DT
– Two occupations in dentistry which can earn a certification.

– A national board exam is required and applicant must
graduate from an ADA accredited program or be a
high school graduate with at least 2 years of full-time

– Annual certification renewals require 12 hours of

– Fully Trained Dental Assistants are in short supply.

Dental Lab Technician
– CDT create prosthetics for patients.

– These appliances are custom fit for each client.

– A denturist is specialist in this area. This member may give OE’s, make impressions, and fabricate & repair the

– Can also specialize in specific appliances

Dentistry is a healthcare profession
that has a twofold role:
– To provide healthcare service

– To make a profit as a small business

Dentistry as an Enterprise
Business criteria include:
– Practice ethically
– Operate efficiently
– Operate safely
– Be productive
– Use technology
– Create a profit

There are two types of dental practices:
– Solo dental practice
– Group dental practice

Dental Management Companies
– A dental management company runs the business component of a dental practice

– The assets of the office, including the building and equipment, belong to the management company, not the dentist or dentists

– The dentist and staff sign a contract with the management company for salary, hours, uniforms, and benefits

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