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Frequently Asked Dental Questions

What services does a dentist offer?

Dental practices offer various services to their patients, focusing on oral health care. Here are some common services that a dentist can provide:

  • Dental Exams: Dentists perform comprehensive oral exams to assess patients' overall oral health. They examine the teeth, gums, jaw, and other oral structures.
  • Teeth Cleaning: Dentists or dental hygienists clean and polish the teeth to remove plaque, tartar, and stains. Cleaning helps prevent tooth decay and gum diseases.
  • Fillings: Dentists treat cavities by removing decayed tooth material and filling the space with composite resin, amalgam, or porcelain.
  • Tooth Extractions: Dentists may extract severely damaged or decayed teeth that cannot be saved. They may also remove wisdom teeth that are impacted or cause problems.
  • Dental Restorations: Dentists restore damaged or missing teeth using techniques such as dental crowns (caps), bridges, and dentures.
  • Root Canal Treatment: Dentists perform root canals to treat infected or inflamed tooth pulp. This involves removing the infected tissue, cleaning the root canals, and sealing them.
  • Orthodontic Treatments: Some dentists specialize in orthodontics, which involves diagnosing and correcting misaligned teeth and jaws. They may use braces, retainers, or other orthodontic appliances.
  • Gum Disease Treatment: Dentists diagnose and treat gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis. They may prescribe medication, perform scaling, or root planning to remove plaque and tartar below the gum line.
  • Cosmetic Dentistry: Dentists offer various cosmetic procedures to enhance the appearance of teeth, such as teeth whitening, dental bonding, veneers, and gum contouring.
  • Dental Implants: Dentists surgically place dental implants, artificial tooth roots, into the jawbone to replace missing teeth. They then attach prosthetic teeth to the implants.
  • Oral Health Education: Dentists educate patients about proper oral hygiene practices, including brushing, flossing, and diet. They also guide preventive measures and recommend regular check-ups.

It's important to note that the specific services a dentist provides may vary depending on their specialization, experience, and the dental clinic or practice they work in.

What is the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist?

Simply put, a dentist is a general health care professional focusing on overall oral health. In contrast, an orthodontist is a specialist in dentistry who deals with the alignment and positioning of teeth and jaws. Here are the key differences between a dentist and an orthodontist:

Focus of Practice:

Dentist: Dentists provide a wide range of dental services, including preventive care (such as cleanings and examinations), restorative treatments (fillings, extractions, crowns), gum disease treatment, dental prosthetics (dentures, bridges), and essential orthodontic evaluations.

Orthodontist: Orthodontists primarily diagnose, prevent, and treat dental and facial irregularities. They specialize in the alignment of teeth and jaws and provide specialized orthodontic treatments such as braces, aligners (e.g., Invisalign), retainers, and other appliances to correct misalignments and malocclusions (bite problems).

Types of Patients:

Dentist: Dentists typically treat patients of all ages and address various dental concerns, including general oral health, cavity prevention, gum diseases, and essential orthodontic evaluations.

Orthodontist: Orthodontists often work with patients who require orthodontic treatment, primarily children, teenagers, and adults with teeth and jaw alignment issues. They focus on straightening teeth, correcting bite problems, and improving dental aesthetics.


Dentist: Dentists may refer patients to orthodontists when they identify complex orthodontic problems that require specialized treatment beyond their scope of practice.

Orthodontist: Orthodontists may receive referrals from dentists or other healthcare professionals when specialized orthodontic evaluation or treatment is needed.

It's important to note that dentists and orthodontists play crucial roles in oral health care and often work together to ensure comprehensive dental treatment for patients. Dentists provide general oral health services, while orthodontists specialize in tooth and jaw alignment to improve oral function and aesthetics.

Do I need insurance to see a dentist?

No, you do not necessarily need insurance to see a dentist. While having dental insurance can help cover the cost ofdental treatments and make them more affordable, it is not a requirement to access dental care. Dentists typicallyaccept both insured and uninsured patients.

If you have dental insurance, you should check with your insurance provider to understand the coverage details,including any deductibles, co-pays, and limitations on specific treatments. This will give you an idea of what expensesyour insurance will cover.

What does it cost to see a dentist?

The cost of dentist visits can vary widely depending on several factors, such as the specific dental treatment, the location, the dentist's experience, and whether you have dental insurance. Here are some approximate cost ranges for standard dental services in the United States, but please note that these are general estimates and actual costs may vary:

  • Dental Examination: The cost of a routine dental examination can range from $50 to $200.
  • Teeth Cleaning (Dental Prophylaxis): A dental cleaning typically costs between $75 and $200.
  • Dental Fillings: The cost of dental fillings can vary based on the size and location of the cavity and the filling material used. Simple fillings can range from $100 to $300 per tooth.
  • Tooth Extractions: A simple tooth extraction can range from $75 to $300 per tooth. Surgical extractions or extracting impacted wisdom teeth can be more expensive, potentially ranging from $225 to $600 or more.
  • Dental Restorations: The cost of dental restorations such as dental crowns, bridges, or dentures can vary significantly depending on the materials used, the complexity of the case, and the number of teeth involved. Costs can range from $500 to $2,500 or more per restoration.
  • Root Canal Treatment: A root canal procedure can range from $500 to $1,500, depending on the tooth being treated and the case's complexity. This cost typically excludes the price of a dental crown that is often needed after a root canal.
  • Orthodontic Treatment: Orthodontic treatment costs vary widely depending on the type of treatment required (e.g., braces, clear aligners), the duration of treatment, and the complexity of the case. The total cost of orthodontic treatment can range from $3,000 to $7,000 or more.

It's important to note that these are general cost ranges, and it's recommended to consult with your dentist or dental office to get an accurate estimate based on your specific needs and location. Additionally, having dental insurance can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket costs for dental treatments, depending on your insurance coverage and plan.

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