Dental caries (tooth decay) is one of the most prevalent diseases
affecting humans, and the greatest portion of the dentist's
time and efforts is expended on treating dental decay and
its consequences. In addition to caries, teeth can be damaged
by trauma, erosion, and abrasion. Restorative dentistry encompasses
efforts to conserve and restore decayed, defective, missing,
and traumatically injured teeth.
Significant advances have been made in the practice of restorative
dentistry. Development of high-speed, air-driven turbines
combined with rotary cutting instruments fashioned from diamonds
and ultrahard steel permits the rapid removal of tooth structure
with little discomfort to the patient. In addition, many new
materials for restorations and impression taking have become
available. Especially important is the availability of composite
resins which have sufficient strength to withstand biting
and chewing pressures.
Seven branches of specialization are recognized by the American
Dental Association: oral surgery, orthodontics, pedodontics,
periodontics, prosthodontics, oral pathology, and public health
dentistry. Other subspecialties such as oral medicine, dental
radiology, and periodontal prosthetics exist but are not recognized.
Treats diseases and abnormalities of the maxillofa-cial region
by surgical means. Oral surgeons treat a wide variety of problems
by removing teeth, reducing bone fractures, removing cysts,
tumors, and growths, and correcting congenital anomalies and
malformation of the structures of the maxillofacial region.
Orthodontists deal with abnormalities in tooth position
and jaw relationships that result in facial disharmony and
malfunction. The objective of orthodontic treatment is to
establish normal occlusion and facial harmony. The teeth are
repositioned and the jaws modified through the use of mechanical
force applied with fixed or removable appliances. Successful
treatment results in normal shape and expression of the mouth
and lips, aids in enunciation and the sounding of words, and
permits proper mastication.
Pedodontics is the branch of dentistry concerned with
the detection, prevention, and treatment of oral and dental
diseases and abnormalities in children. The deciduous or primary
teeth are very small and have shapes which differ from those
of adult teeth; special procedures and materials are required
for their conservation and restoration.
Periodontics is the branch of dentistry devoted to the study,
prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases of the tissues
supporting the teeth: gingiva (gum tissue), alveolar bone,
periodontal ligament, and cementum. Periodontal diseases include
gingivitis, periodontitis (sometimes called pyorrhea), primary
and secondary occlusal traumatism, gingival hyperplasia, and
periodontal atrophy. Several types of anaerobic gram-negative
microorganisms are thought to be associated with chronic periodontitis.
See also Periodontal disease.
Prosthodontics is the branch of dentistry devoted
to the construction and replacement of oral structures with
artificial substitutes. The replacement of teeth and other
oral structures is necessitated by congenital abnormalities,
loss of teeth from disease or trauma, and destruction of teeth
or jaws or other parts of the mouth by surgical management
of neoplasms or trauma.
Oral pathology is concerned with the detection and
diagnosis of the diseases of the teeth, oral cavity, and jaws,
and also with the oral manifestations of systemic diseases.
See also Pathology.
Public health dentistry is defined as the science
and art of preventing and controlling dental diseases and
promoting dental health through organized community efforts.
It comprises research, education, prevention, diagnosis, prescription,
treatment of problems related to dentistry, and evaluation
of community dental care.
Li is a member of American Dental Association (ADA) ,
California Dental Association(CDA).
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