Dentistry

Dentistry, also known as dental medicine and oral medicine, is a branch of medicine that consists of the study, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases, disorders, and conditions of the oral cavity, commonly in the dentition but also the oral mucosa, and of adjacent and related structures and tissues, particularly in the maxillofacial (jaw and facial) area. Although primarily associated with teeth among the general public, the field of dentistry or dental medicine is not limited to teeth but includes other aspects of the craniofacial complex including the temporomandibular joint and other supporting, muscular, lymphatic, nervous, vascular, and anatomical structures.

Dentistry
A dentist treats a patient with the help of a dental assistant.
Occupation
Occupation type
Profession
Activity sectors
Health care, Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, Medicine, Pharmacology, Cosmesis, Surgery
Description
Competencies
  • Sub-Millimeter Surgical Dexterity
  • Knowledge of human health, disease, pathology, and anatomy
  • Communication/Interpersonal Skills
  • Analytical Skills
  • Critical Thinking
  • Empathy/Professionalism
Education required
Dental Degree
Fields of
employment
  • Private practices
  • Primary care clinics
  • Hospitals
Related jobs
ICD-9-CM23-24
MeSHD003813

Dentistry is often also understood to subsume the now largely defunct medical specialty of stomatology (the study of the mouth and its disorders and diseases) for which reason the two terms are used interchangeably in certain regions.

Dental treatments are carried out by a dental team, which often consists of a dentist and dental auxiliaries (dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental technicians, as well as dental therapists). Most dentists either work in private practices (primary care), dental hospitals or (secondary care) institutions (prisons, armed forces bases, etc.).

The history of dentistry is almost as ancient as the history of humanity and civilization with the earliest evidence dating from 7000 BC to 5500 BC. Skeletal remains from Mehgarh dated to that time show evidence of teeth having been drilled with flint tools to remove decay, a method found to be "surprisingly effective". Dentistry is thought to have been the first specialization in medicine. The modern movement of evidence-based dentistry calls for the use of high-quality scientific evidence to guide decision-making.

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