What is a dentist?

General dentists are doctors who care of the oral health of their patients using prevention and preservation through restorations such as root canal therapy, fillings, bonding, extractions, porcelain veneers, bridges, dentures and dental implants. In Ontario, according to the RCDSO, there are over 8,400 dentists and there are over 17,000 in Canada.

What are common dental treatments according to the Ontario Dental Association?

  • professional cleanings
  • porcelain crowns
  • root canal therapy
  • dental sealants
  • replacing a lost tooth through dentures, implants and bridges
  • bonding
  • fillings and repairs
Approximately 78% of Canadians have had at least one filling done, 37% a root canal, 7% used a tooth-whitening product and only 3% have had a dental implant.

What training does a dentist have? What is the difference between a DDS and a DMD?

After completing a bachelor’s degree, dentists take a four year post-graduate degree, dentists have an abbreviation after their name and it varies depending on where they were trained. If their dental school was in Canada, they would have a DDS after their name which stands for Doctor of Dental Surgery. If it was in the United States, they would have DMD after their name which represents Doctor of Dental Medicine. Both degrees are comparable, it’s just the abbreviation that differs.

What are the recognized Dental Specialties?

In Canada there are also over 2,000 dental specialists that have completed additional post-graduate training including:

  • pediatric dentistry
  • periodontics
  • endodontics
  • oral surgery
  • prosthodontics
  • orthodontics

In other countries, there are also specialties in dental anesthetics, dental implantation, orofacial pain, oral radiation and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

What are the trends in dentistry today?

The oral health of Canadians has greatly improved since 1972 when another national survey in Canada was undertaken (1972 National Canadian Nutrition Survey).*

Today, 75% of Canadians visit a dentist annually compared to 50% in 1972. The prevalence of decayed, missing or filled teeth for children (6-11) is 23.6% today compared to 74% in 1972. The average number of decayed, missing or filled teeth was 6.0 in 1972 compared to 2.5 today (140 percent higher in 1972).

The prevalence of decayed, missing or filled teeth for adolescents (12-19) is 58.8% today compared to 96.6% in 1972. The average number of decayed, missing or filled teeth was 9.2 in 1972 compared to 2.5 today (268 percent higher in 1972).
Edentulism has decreased substantially from 23.6% of the population in 1972 to 6.4% today.

 

*Statistics provided by the Canadian Dental Association Facts and Figures report.