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Definition of Dentistry

MVSAT 2024

It is the branch of medicine that deals with oral health. It includes the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disease of teeth and associated tissue of the buccal cavity. Despite being primarily associated with dental health it also encompasses the craniofacial complex which means the part of the muscle adjoining brain and head, it also includes the temporomandibular joint and other supporting, muscular, lymphatic, nervous, vascular, and anatomical structures.

Now the question arises what is a dentist. They are a medical professional who practices dentistry and is known as a dentist. The minimum qualification to practice dentistry in India is a bachelor’s degree in dentistry, Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS). Dentistry is interchangeably used with the medical specialty of somatology. Somatology is the branch of science that encompasses the study of the mouth and disease associated with the oral cavity. Apart from general practice, dentistry includes specialties like pediatric dentistry, periodontics, prosthodontics, orthodontics and dental orthopedics, oral and maxillofacial surgery. It also includes dental pathology known as oral and maxillofacial pathology. It also has sub-specialties like endodontics, public health dentistry, and oral and maxillofacial radiology.


The medical professional who specializes in oral health is known as a dentist. The simple dentist definition refers to the person practicing treatment, prevention and diagnosis of the diseases of the buccal cavity.  The dentist can have sub specialization in fields like orthodontics and dental orthopedics. A dental treatment team not only constitutes a dentist it also includes the following dental auxiliaries which includes dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental technicians, as well as dental therapists. The profession of the dentist can be dated back to the 17th century in Europe and America over time the practice of dentistry has been moved from primal health care to advanced surgical treatment and preventative treatment. 

General Facts about Dentist

There are some important responsibilities and facts which are as follows, the responsibilities of according to dentist definition include. 

  1. They have the responsibility of diagnosing oral disease

  2. They promote oral health and the prevention of any disorder.

  3. The dentist creates a treatment plan according to the medical history of the patient. 

  4. They specialize in surgery of soft tissue of the mouth.

  5. They can also perform surgery of bone teeth and muscle of the oral cavity. 

  6. Administration of safe anesthesia is also the responsibility of the doctor. (countries like America, Canada have anesthesiologists, to assist in case of major surgery.)

  7. Interpreting the results of the diagnostic tests.

The dental health care expertise of a dentist includes muscles of the head, neck, and jaw, the tongue, salivary glands, the nervous system of the head and neck. During a comprehensive diagnosis, if needed, the dentist can perform biopsies, diagnostic tests for chronic or infectious diseases, salivary gland function, and screening tests for oral cancer.  

Subspecialization of the Dentist

Subspecialization of dentist meaning refers to the advanced fields in which dentistry is classified. Each field has its own difficulties and challenges. They deal with the different aspects of dentistry individually. Some of the examples of specialization include the following, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, prosthodontics, orthodontics, endodontics, maxillofacial pathology, and radiology.


It is the study of the dental pulp and surrounding tissues; prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the dental pulp is studied in this branch, dentists specialized in it can perform medical procedures like root canals.

Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology 

It deals with the study of identification and diagnosis of disease associated with the mouth and surrounding tissues.

Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology

It deals with the diagnosis and treatment of the disease using X rays. They are used for imaging the oral cavity.

Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics

It is the branch that deals with correcting, intercepting, and diagnosing the abnormalities in the facial region and oral cavity.

Pediatric Dentistry

It includes the specialization in maintaining the dental health of the children through the adolescent years. 


It deals with prosthetic teeth, it includes treatment of lost tooth or oral structure by replacing it with prosthetic structure, examples of dentures.


It deals with the diagnosis and treatment of teeth bones and associated gums.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

It includes the expertise in the treatment of scar anf injuries through surgery in the maxillofacial region. 

History of Dentistry

The history of dentistry dates back to 2500 to 2700 BCE, in Egyptian civilizations. This civilization has evidence of small holes in tooth roots which shows that dentistry was followed even in those times. There is enough evidence to suggest that dentists are medical professionals. Scholars of ancient greek wrote about the ailment of the oral cavity. There are documents that define dental health and dental procedures. Hippocrates and Aristotle wrote about procedures like tooth removal,  eruption patterns of tooth, treating decays, and stabilizing the oral cavity structure. Many documents suggest that forceps and metal wires were used to stabilize the tooth and give it a proper structure. 

The earliest documentation of dental amalgams dates back to the Tang dynasty in China, it was documented by a Chinese physician called Su Kung in 1659. These documents state dentist meaning a person that can fix ailments like tooth structure and gum bleeding.

Modern dentistry gained acknowledgment by the 1700s. A french doctor named Pierre Fauchard wrote the exceptional book `` The Surgeon Dentist, also known as Treatise on the Teeth. This book contained all the principles known till the 1700s in dentistry. This book described the specialization in orthodontics, prosthetics, periodontal diseases, and oral surgery. It is after the efforts of Pierre that dentistry came to be known as a separate field in medical surgery.

Diseases that are Associated with Dental Health

There are the following conditions that can be diagnosed in case of bad oral health, such as

  1. Cardiovascular disease

  2. Lung disease

  3. Osteoporosis 

  4. Alzheimer’s disease

  5. Diabetes

  6. Endocarditis 

  7. Premature birth and low birth weight.

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FAQs on Dentistry

Q.1. What is a Dentist Job?

Ans: A dentist is a medical professional who practices dentistry, it includes the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases associated with the oral cavity.

Q.2. Define Dental Health.

Ans: Dental health includes the proper functioning of teeth, muscles, and soft tissues found in the buccal cavity.

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