General dentistry procedures can include several areas of study within the oral health care field. While some specialties can bleed over into each other, most office visits involve the basics. Dating back to 1828, when the first school was established in Brainbridge, Ohio by John Harris, this profession is concerned with the treatment and prevention of the most common conditions that can afflict a patient within the oral cavity.

The primary focus is to prevent and treat caries, otherwise known as cavities. A major concern for parents, as cavities are typically regarded as a pediatric issue – they are even more prevalent in older patients, when oral hygiene may be superseded by other health priorities. The treatment and prevention of gum diseases are the second major thrust of basic oral health care, with gingivitis and periodontitis the most common problems that are dealt with. These two conditions alone can cause the loss of bone, enamel and, if left untreated, the complete loss of a tooth or several teeth.

X-rays, fillings and root canals are just a few of the other general dentistry procedures that a professional will have in his or her repertoire. X-rays are a mainstay of the diagnostic process, and help to identify almost all hygiene and disease related afflictions that a patient may experience. A total of six years is required for someone to become a Doctor of Dental Surgery, or DDS. If they wish to do so, professionals can adapt their skill-set and take classes for one of the nine specialties of the field. Otherwise, they begin their own private practice.