Teeth! Or as I like to call them “our smile bones”! Besides their most important function of enabling smiles and grins, they perform one of the most critical functions in our body: Chewing! Teeth assist us in making sure we breakdown our food into bits so that we can swallow.
We basically use our teeth all the time, sometimes for unusual tasks like opening a bottle, biting nails or to tear cloth, grinning, snarling or even biting aggressors (usually this one is just for the kids). I have even seen electricians using their teeth as a “vice grip” to break electrical soft wires. In short, teeth go through a lot! So sometimes brushing them 3 times a day, which is the norm, is not enough.
This is where a dentist comes in. A dentist treats and identifies problems in your teeth and the whole mouth in general. They also provide information on how best you can brush and floss your teeth and also the best type of Toothpaste that helps with tooth sensitivity. Have you ever taken a bite out of ice cream or taken a sip of some really cold water, and felt a really sharp sensation in your gums? That’s an example of sensitivity.
Dentists can also have specialisations or different types of dental care that they offer.
There are general practitioners (dentists) who deal with a variety of dental needs. Dentists can also specialise in specific areas such as:
- Orthodontists- focus on straightening teeth. These guys are the ones who give us braces that apply that pressure needed to straighten teeth.
- Maxillofacial- don't let the title scare you…, they operate on your jaws, gums, and teeth due to injuries or a defect
- Pediatric dentists- focus more on kid's teeth and those with special needs such as inflammation of tooth tissue and bone.
Dentists usually own their own business or surgeries, which means they usually work on their own or as a team with their partners or friends. The daily tasks of a dentist include:-
- Discussing dental concerns with patients
- Correcting teeth and overcrowding
- Prescribing medication
- Keeping records
- Treat oral diseases such as cavities, and gum infections
- Create treatment plans
- Monitor the development of teeth and jaws
- People skills are very important because most people are frightened and feel uncomfortable having someone touch their mouth.
- Good eyesight
- A steady hand- this is because you will be working with sensitive parts of the mouth, drills, and scalpels so precision is essential.
- Good communication skills both verbal and non- verbal
The educational path includes:-
- Studying subjects such as physics, chemistry, and biology in high school
- In university study towards a bachelors degree
- Or visit your local dentist, spend a day with them and learn more
Sharon Tanyaradzwa Sakonda