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Dentistry is a branch of medicine that consists of the study, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases, disorders and conditions of the oral cavity, commonly in the dentition but also the oral mucosa, and of adjacent and related structures and tissues, particularly in the maxillofacial (jaw and facial) area.Although primarily associated with teeth among the general public, the field of dentistry or dental medicine is not limited to teeth but includes other aspects of the craniofacial complex including the temperomandibular and other supporting structures.

This schooling is followed by four years of dental school to qualify as a "Doctor of Dental Surgery" (DDS) or "Doctor of Dental Medicine" (DMD).

Dentists need to complete additional qualifications or continuing education to carry out more complex treatments such as sedation, oral and maxillofacial surgery, and dental implants.

According to the World Health Organization, oral diseases are major public health problems due to their high incidence and prevalence across the globe, with the disadvantaged affected more than other socio-economic groups.

The majority of dental treatments are carried out to prevent or treat the two most common oral diseases which are dental caries (tooth decay) and periodontal disease (gum disease or pyorrhea).

A sagittal cross-section of a molar tooth; 1: crown, 2: root, 3: enamel, 4: dentin and dentin tubules, 5: pulp chamber, 6: blood vessels and nerve, 7: periodontal ligament, 8: apex and periapical region, 9: alveolar bone The first dental college, Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, opened in Baltimore, Maryland, US in 1840.

The second in the United States was the Philadelphia College of Dental Surgery, established in 1852.Dentists in the United Kingdom are now regulated by the General Dental Council.In Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Finland, Sweden, Brazil, Chile, the United States, and Canada, a dentist is a healthcare professional qualified to practice dentistry after graduating with a degree of either Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD).This is equivalent to the Bachelor of Dental Surgery/Baccalaureus Dentalis Chirurgiae (BDS, BDent, BCh D, BDSc) that is awarded in the UK and British Commonwealth countries.In most western countries, to become a qualified dentist one must usually complete at least four years of postgraduate study; within the European Union the education has to be at least five years.Remains from the early Harappan periods of the Indus Valley Civilization ( The term for the associated scientific study of teeth is odontology (from Ancient Greek ὀδούς (odoús, "tooth")) – the study of the structure, development, and abnormalities of the teeth.

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