DENTISTRY is a medical field concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and conditions of the mouth and related structures. Although the predominant focus of Dentistry involves the teeth and gums, some Dentists treat complex craniofacial and temporomandibular conditions including congenital deformity and trauma. To become a General Dentist, candidates must first complete four years of training at an accredited dental school where they earn either a DMD (Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry) or DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree. The degrees are identical and allow the Dentist to begin a General Dentistry practice and treat patients of all ages. Dentists who desire to subspecialize may undertake residency training in a variety of specialty specialties. Residency typically takes 1 to 3 years and permits a Dentist to earn a subspecialty Board Certification in Orthodontics, Endodontics, Periodontics, Prosthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, or Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology.
General Dentists are primary dental providers who provide overall care to teeth and gums. They also perform routine dental procedures such as cleaning, fillings, bridges, and crowns. Some also perform more complex procedures such as root canals. Medical negligence claims against General Dentists typically involve injuries during dental procedures such as trauma to nerves or complications of dental anesthesia. Some claims involve the performance of unnecessary procedures which result in undue cost or unwarranted injury.