Your total health starts with your mouth, and oral care starts with your general dentist. A general dentist is the dental professional who evaluates your oral health, ensures your teeth and gums are healthy, and refers you to a specialist if need be. Today, our Riverside County dentists explain what a general dentist does and offer some at-home oral hygiene tips.

What’s a General Dentist?

A general dentist offers a wide range of services. He or she can refer you to a specialist, if necessary, but has expertise in a multitude of fields, including:

  • Orthodontics
  • Cosmetic dentistry
  • Restorative dentistry
  • Teeth cleanings
  • Endodontics (root canal treatment)
  • Dental surgery

To become a general dentist, one must complete at least three years of undergraduate coursework, often with an emphasis in science, before completing four years of dental school. A prospective dentist must then pass a licensure exam in the state in which he or she wants to practice dentistry.

The Front Line

Your general dentist can identify small problems in your oral health and treat them before they get out of hand. He or she can closely monitor changes in your oral health because you should be scheduling visits every six months. General dentists watch closely for signs of tooth decay, which can eventually cause tooth loss; gum disease, which can also cause tooth loss; and oral cancer, which can be fatal. Early diagnosis and treatment improves the prognosis of an oral cancer sufferer.

Your general dentist’s office is also where you get your teeth cleaned. Twice-yearly cleanings allow a hygienist to remove plaque and tartar that builds up over six months, and he or she can polish away six months of coffee and/or tobacco stains.

Tips for Good Oral Health

  • Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss once day
  • Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash
  • Drink a lot of water to remove food particles from the mouth and keep the gums hydrated
  • Visit your general dentist regularly

Schedule a Consultation

Riverside Dental Group offers general dentistry services, in addition to orthodontics, periodontics, and endodontics. To schedule an appointment at one of our Riverside County dental offices, visit our website at