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What is Dentista?

    Dentista means dentist in the Romantic Languages of Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. It originates from the French—also a Romantic Language—word dent, meaning tooth. The French word dent is derived from the Latin, dens or dentis, also meaning tooth. All Romantic Languages have a Latin base. Some of the countries that use the word Dentista include The Philippines, Portugal, Brazil, Italy, Spain, Mexico and other Spanish speaking countries. Several countries use similar words including: Dentist (English and Romanian), Dentysta (Polish), and Dentiste (French).

    The Roman Catholic Church is the predominant religion in most of the countries where the word Dentista is used. St. Apollonia is the Patron Saint of Dentistry. She is believed to protect against toothache and heal pain from tooth infection due to the torture—including the pulling or breaking of all her teeth—she had to endure for her faith. In art, she is represented by tongs or pincers holding a tooth.

Dental health has been a concern for generations worldwide. Archeologists discovered teeth among the Indus Valley Civilization—located in Pakistan—with holes from dental drills in them. Other evidence of ancient dentistry was found in China, Egypt, Greece and Rome.

    In the Middle Ages monks, assisted by barbers, performed tooth extractions until papal edicts prohibited them from doing so. Barbers then performed the majority of tooth extractions. In 1210 a group of barbers in France formed a guild that eventually broke off into two groups: surgeons (performing complex medical operations) and lay barbers or barber-surgeons who performed shaving, bleeding, lancing and tooth extraction.

    Pierre Fauchard from France is considered the “Father of Modern Dentistry” for publishing a book called Le Chirurgien Dentiste (The Surgeon Dentist, A Treatise on Teeth) in 1723. This book was the first to present a comprehensive practice for dentistry including treatments such as prosthesis and dental fillings to treat cavities. He also stated that sugar derivate acids cause tooth decay.

Many technological and educational strides were taken in the 19th and 20th centuries to further the profession of dentistry, making it more effective and available to all social class systems.

    In today’s modern society dentistas are trained medical professionals that have completed a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine). They prevent, diagnose and treat disease and injuries of the mouth, teeth and jaws. Often a dentista will work with a team of specialists including dental hygienists, dental assistants, receptionists and lab technicians.

    The most common ailments treated by dentistas are dental caries (cavities) and periodontal disease (gum disease). Regular treatments include restoration of teeth (fillings), endodontic therapy (root canal), root planing and scaling (for gum disease), extraction and prosthetics (dentures). Preventative methods include regular check-ups (every 6 months), brushing and flossing of teeth and using fluoride. Dental sealants are also used to prevent tooth decay.

    Some dentistas choose to specialize in a certain area of dentistry after they receive their general dental degree by attending internships, residencies and receiving advanced graduate training. The American Dental Association recognizes nine dental specialties. These include: Orthodontics (straightening teeth by the use of braces), Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (surgery including extraction and impacted teeth), Pedodontics (dentistry for children), Periodontics (gums and bone supporting teeth, gum disease), Dental Public Health (promoting good dental health in the community), Endodontics (root canal therapy), Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology (diagnosing oral diseases), Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology (diagnosing diseases through imaging devices), and Prosthodontics (replacing missing teeth with dentures, bridges and implants). There is also a new trend in dentistry called Cosmetic Dentistry which includes using veneers, crowns, tooth whitening and implants to create an aesthetically pleasing smile.

    Dentistry has come a long way from its early roots. By keeping regularly scheduled dental visits and developing proper oral hygiene habits you can prevent cavities and gum disease which could lead to more severe problems later. There are several ways that you can find a highly qualified dentista. One way is to ask for recommendations from friends and family. The internet is another great way to find highly qualified dentistas. Just type in the keyword Dentista or visit www.topdentistsonline.com. You can also check your local listings for top rated dentista in your area.

Next time you visit the dentista, you can feel confident that together you will keep your mouth healthy and clean.