General dentistry addresses all facets of dental health, including the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of conditions or disorders related to the teeth, gums, and the area surrounding the face and jaw. General dentists are the primary providers of dental care for people of all ages. During a routine visit to your family's dentist, you will likely have a thorough examination of your mouth (including teeth, gums, and other structures), a professional cleaning, and a discussion about your dental (and general) health. If the exam reveals tooth decay, you may also have a filling in the affected tooth.
However, these procedures, while common, are not the only services offered by your general dentist. General dentists prevent, evaluate, diagnose, and treat diseases of the oral cavity, as well as maintaining the function and appearance of teeth. Many oral diseases and abnormalities may indicate other diseases. A general dentist may refer patients to their doctor or specialist for further evaluation, or vice versa for treatment.
General dentists offer preventive and restorative services, such as x-rays, dental cleanings, cavity fillings, and sealants. Unlike specialists, who focus on a specific area of dentistry, general dentists offer a wide range of treatments and procedures. They also treat patients of all ages. General dentists learn to perform oral or gum extractions and surgeries.
Some dentists love and perform frequent surgeries, while other dentists focus only on cosmetics and refer surgeries to other dental providers. It's all a matter of preference.