If you’re asking is dentistry a real word? That’s a great question and one that I get asked a lot. The short answer is that it is indeed a real word, but it isn’t used so much in the North America and UK as it is elsewhere around the world. In fact the word is used so little it actually means “of or relating to dentistry”. It’s also used as a suffix meaning “of the dentist” or “of the dental industry”.
So, the question is does dentistry have any connection at all with the word ‘dent’? Well, consider this. When you see the word ‘facial surgeon’ does it mean a surgical doctor who performs facial surgeries? Of course it does – but it is also used to describe a whole range of medical professionals such as an oral surgeon, a cardiologist, a radiologist and so on.
So, is dentistry a real word? Well, it is used by lots of people all over the world and is one that is widely regarded as a form of healthcare. But like many words the meaning is widely varied.
There are lots of people who ask is dentistry a real word? The simple answer is yes. No, it isn’t. The reason is that the word is used to refer to a whole array of healthcare professionals, many of whom do very important jobs that involve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of problems with the teeth and the mouth. If you have a cavity or some teeth missing, you can see a dentist who is an oral surgeon.
A dentist can treat toothaches, using methods such as root canal treatment or removing plaque from the teeth using laser or electric stimulation. If you have chips in your teeth, they can be treated using dental fillings or caps. If you suffer from receding gums, you may need to have surgery to correct this problem. It is likely that you will find a specialist in dentistry if you visit your general practitioner. This is because they will have received the appropriate training for this field and will therefore be qualified to deal with patients’ needs.
However, the definition of dentistry is more complicated than this. In fact the word is often used to describe a wide range of specialties in dentistry. For example, orthodontists perform procedures that are aimed at straightening teeth. Oral surgeons perform operations aimed at preventing tooth decay, and so on.
Orthodontists use tools such as braces to help straighten teeth. And while a dentist is responsible for diagnosing what a patient has and for planning treatments, an oral surgeon is not necessarily limited to this. Some people also go on to get training as an oral surgeon. There is a huge amount of knowledge that goes into treating people and so these specialists are very valuable to the medical profession. They may also perform surgery under the supervision of a dentist.
So the real answer is dentistry is a real word, but it is quite misleading to suggest that it is simply about cutting and pulling teeth. In fact there is a lot more to it than most people realise. It is probably best to stick to metaphors such as the dentist’s bay, in order to get a clear picture.
The first stage is to remove decayed teeth. Teeth which are rotting or decaying will soon lose all their ability to be a source of food for the jaw. If they cannot be salvaged, they will not be able to provide teeth for chewing. Once this has been completed the process of dental implants will be necessary. This involves attaching artificial teeth into the jaw bone. It is important to understand that the whole arrangement is rather complicated, but in the end the effect will be that the person’s natural teeth will be fully restored, allowing them to chew properly again.
Many people do not associate dentistry with beauty, but this is simply because we are not aware of the work it entails. The term does not even begin to cover the advances made in dental technology over recent years. Dental implants have now been developed which are not only less noticeable but can also give a better smile than false teeth ever could.
When you understand the answer to “is dentistry a real word?” you may wonder how you managed to cope without it all these years. It was probably something along the lines of ‘I just didn’t know there was such as thing’.