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Who is a Dentist?


Hooray! It’s Teethlicious Tuesday,

There are some things in life, we think we know until someone asks us to define it. I did a brief survey of people’s definition of a dentist. I would have loved to hear alot of people’s answers  but was privileged to ask a  few, a combination of dentists, nurses, staff that work in the dental area and patients in the waiting area. I will share some of their answers then after we will score them. hehehehe

  1. one who uproots teeth

  2. Is a healthcare professional who deals with diseases pertaining to the oral cavity and surrounding tissues

  3. Someone who takes care of the teeth

  4. Is a specialist who treats and diagnose diseases affecting the oral cavity

  5. A dentist is someone who has specialized and attends to patient with oral and head and neck defect

  6. Doctor of head and neck

  7. A doctor who takes care of oral health care services

  8. A doctor, engineer and artist who specializes in taking care of oro-facial structures

  9. A health professionals who has specialized in the oral region.

  10. Professionally trained individual in diseases in oral head and neck

They are not so far from the truth but before I let in on who a dentist is, lets do a bit of history. I love history because it always makes one appreciate the journey and accomplishments.



The origins of the word Dentist


The idea that a worm traveled through your mouth and was the cause of dental pain lasted until it was proven false in the 1700s. I don’t think its proven false yet in some part of Africa. Some people are still selling that lie with their herbal preparation and some even demonstrating.

So teeth were extracted to keep mouth pain away. The concept of having a tooth extracted from the mouth through using forceps termed ‘Dental key‘ was often used to treat many diseases into the middle ages. Their work was focused solely on removing any infected teeth for alleviating pain purposes, not preventive care.

Interestingly enough, the professionals who were doing these extractions during the middle ages were not medical authorities, but barbers.


The guild that had united the barbers and surgeons was dissolved in 1745, with the surgeons going their own way. Some barbers continued their dental ministrations and were designated “tooth drawers.”  (Thank God the name disappeared wont have joined  hehe). A second group, as a result of the French influence, referred to themselves as “dentists,” while those who did all manner of dentistry were called “operators for the teeth.”

L0017344 A man extracting a tooth from the mouth of another man Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://images.wellcome.ac.uk A man extracting a tooth from the mouth of another man by pulling a string attached to the tooth; after or in the style of Tim Bobbin (John Collier, 1708-1786) Published: - Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons by-nc 2.0 UK, see http://images.wellcome.ac.uk/indexplus/page/Prices.html

It was between 1650 and 1800 that the concepts behind what we now think of as dentistry got its start. The man behind the science was 17th century French Physician, Pierre Fauchard. He is called “The Father of Modern Dentistry”, and he was the brains behind many of the procedures still used in today’s society. Fauchard effectively separated dentistry from the larger field of surgery and thus established dentistry as its own profession.

Today, A dentist, also known as a DENTAL SURGEON , is a surgeon who specializes in dentistry—the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and conditions of the oral cavity. Please note and use the terms appropriately. One actually goes to a dental school to become a dental surgeon and receives a degree in Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) so basically a dentist is a worldwide accepted nickname .


Others define Dentists as doctors who specialize in oral health.

Their responsibilities include:

  1. Diagnosing oral diseases.
  2. Promoting oral health and disease prevention.
  3. Creating treatment plans to maintain or restore the oral health of their patients.
  4. Interpreting x-rays and diagnostic tests.
  5. Ensuring the safe administration of anesthetics.
  6. Monitoring growth and development of the teeth and jaws.
  7. Performing surgical procedures on the teeth, bone and soft tissues of the oral cavity.


They deal with much more than Just Teeth and Gums


Dentists’ areas of care include not only their patients’ teeth and gums but also the muscles of the head, neck and jaw, the tongue, salivary glands, the nervous system of the head and neck and other areas.

Now you know who a dentist is see one near you at least twice a year to check on all these structures mentioned above, so scroll up and check the answers in the survey, RIGHT OR WRONG?? Be the judge 

Thanks for reading stay tuned next week for more teethlicious updates. If you found this helpful, feel free to share and leave comments below. I’d love to hear your version of definition.

Till then Stay Gorgeous & Stay Professional.

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