Common Procedures Performed by General Dentists


General dentists provide routine dental care. They focus on prevention, cleanings, and basic procedures. General dentists treat many common issues themselves. Others refer patients to specialists. This article covers procedures general dentists commonly perform. Maintaining oral health requires regular visits to one’s general dentistry.

Exams and Cleanings

Exams check overall oral health. Dentists look for cavities or gum disease. They feel neck lymph nodes for signs of infection too. Cleanings remove plaque and tartar buildup below the gumline. Dentists and hygienists clean thoroughly but gently. Regular cleanings prevent many dental issues. Exams identify problems early for treatment.


To repair small cavities, dentists use composite or amalgam fillings. They first remove decayed tooth material. Then a filling material replaces the lost portion. Fillings restore teeth to proper functioning. They come in tooth-colored composite or silver-colored amalgam. Dentists match fillings to suit each patient’s preferences and needs. To repair tooth decay, dentists first numb areas, drill away decay and replace them with a composite, amalgam filling to restore tooth functionality for the long term normally.


Crowns cover teeth that cannot be filled. Large cavities, cracks, or extreme wear necessitate crowns. Impressions create a custom-fitted crown. Temporary ones let teeth function until permanent crowns cement on. Crowns protect vulnerable tooth structures very effectively. They restore proper bite and appearance too. When teeth are severely decayed or cracked require stronger restorations, crowns custom fabricated cover entire visible surfaces to restore strength, and appearance normally.

Root Canals

Deep tooth decay or cracks can infect root canals. To save the natural tooth, dentists clean, shape, and seal canals. They remove infected pulp tissue. The medication kills any remaining bacteria. Finally, dentists fill and permanently seal the canals. Root canals preserve teeth that would otherwise require extraction. For infected tooth pulps, root canals involve cleaning, and shaping tooth canals filling them to seal off infection saves natural teeth frequently.


Severely decayed, cracked, or infected teeth may need extraction. Dentists numb the area and gently remove the tooth. Some extractions require minor surgery for impacted teeth. Post-op care aids healing. Extractions prevent further issues from problem teeth. Patients feel relief once problematic teeth are removed. When decay infects a tooth beyond repair, the safest option extracts the tooth and surgically removes it safely usually to prevent infection spread.


For patients missing many teeth, dentures replace them. They snap onto plastic bases shaped to fit the gums. Dentures let people eat and speak normally. Partial dentures replace select missing teeth. Full dentures cover the entire mouth. Dentures maintain facial structure and prevent jawbone loss from tooth loss.

Night Guards

Patients grinding or clenching teeth at night need guards. Dentists create custom-fitted mouthguards from molds. Worn only at night, guards prevent damage to teeth and jaws. They cushion teeth and absorb forces. Night guards promote restful sleep by reducing teeth grinding too.


Dentists apply plastic sealants to chewing surfaces of permanent back teeth. This non-invasive treatment prevents up to 80 percent of cavities in sealed teeth. Sealants fill grooves where plaque can get trapped. Teenagers especially benefit from preventive sealants. They protect their teeth for several years.


General dentists perform many routine procedures to maintain oral health. From cleanings and exams to more involved treatments, they handle most dental needs. Specialists assist with very complex cases. By visiting their general dentist regularly, patients catch issues early. They also prevent costly procedures down the road. Proper dental care preserves natural teeth and overall health.