Dentists are doctors who specialize in oral health. Their responsibilities include:
Dentists’ oversight of the clinical team is critical to ensuring safe and effective oral care. Even seemingly routine procedures such as tooth extractions, preparing and placing fillings or administering anesthetics carry potential risks of complications such as infection, temporary or even permanent nerve damage, prolonged bleeding, hematomas and pain.
Dentists’ areas of care include not only their patients’ teeth and gums but also the muscles of the head, neck and jaw, the tongue, salivary glands, the nervous system of the head and neck and other areas. During a comprehensive exam, dentists examine the teeth and gums, but they also look for lumps, swellings, discolorations, ulcerations — any abnormality. When appropriate, they perform procedures such as biopsies, diagnostic tests for chronic or infectious diseases, salivary gland function, and screening tests for oral cancer.
In addition, dentists can spot early warning signs in the mouth that may indicate disease elsewhere in the body. Dentists’ training also enables them to recognize situations that warrant referring patients for care by dental specialists or physicians.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions regarding oral health. For more information about our legislative issues, visit ada.org/advocacy.
Chris Tampio, Director, Congressional Affairs Megan Mortimer, Congressional Lobbyist
firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.789.5178 email@example.com, 202.898.2402
Jennifer Fisher, Congressional Lobbyist Natalie Hales, Congressional Lobbyist
firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.789.5160 email@example.com, 202.898.2404
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