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Understanding Oral Health

Recognizing the Fundamental Role of General Dentists in Oral Health

In association with:
In association with:

Dr. Merlin P. Ohmer

President, The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD)

Explore the pivotal role of general dentists in fostering oral health and wellness, empowered by AGD’s initiatives and advocacy.

The dental experience begins with general dentists. They are at the frontlines of oral health, attending to the diverse array of dental needs that cross the threshold of their practices. As gatekeepers to oral health, their primary goal is ensuring that the overall dental well-being of their patients is the top priority. Even after dental school, general dentists continue to invest in continuing education so that they are capable and prepared to address a plethora mix of dental and other general systemic health-related issues.

The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) represents the needs and interests of general dentists. As the president and a long-term member of the AGD, our priority is to ensure that the organization continues to emphasize continuing education as a means for building great dental careers and becoming even greater dental providers to their patients. Since the organization’s inception, it has provided vital resources and services, which are attributed to the success of dental students, general dentists, and many who specialize in other areas of the profession. Because dentistry is an essential aspect of good overall health, the AGD is helping general dentists immerse themselves in the latest dental education and industry trends so that they can handle the simplest to the most complex dental cases.

Promoting Oral Health Wellness

We believe that the mouth is the gateway to the body and maintaining good oral health can greatly impact a person’s overall health. Therefore, the AGD recommends preventive care such as regular cleanings, examinations, and oral hygiene education. General dentists are also oral health experts in more comprehensive dental health conditions, offering treatment and performing more extended services in their practices, such as root canals, fillings, extractions, and crowns. For dental patients, keeping routine visits is necessary to detect dental issues like cavities, gum disease, or oral cancer early. This allows for timely intervention, treatment, and – in the case of oral cancer – increased survival rates.

General dentists are also trained to identify signs of systemic diseases. During routine dental examinations, they can identify conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, and other health disorders manifesting oral symptoms. With advances in modern dentistry, dentists have equipped their practices with more advanced and innovative dental technology, such as digital radiography, laser dentistry, intraoral cameras, and CAD/CAM technology, which increases the accuracy of detecting and treating systemic health issues.

Advancing Accessible Dental Services

Managing and overseeing their patients’ oral health is extremely important to general dentists. The top priority of general dentists is making sure that services are available to oral health patients when needed. Outside the clinical setting, general dentists advocate for accessible and affordable dental services. In addition, general dentists are on the frontline supporting legislation that promotes oral health education and initiatives addressing oral health disparities.

To help you find a general dentist who can treat you and/or your family and care for your overall oral health needs, AGD provides an online directory of our members to assist you in locating a general dentist within your geographic area. AGD members care about your and your family’s long-term dental health. They are dedicated to continuing education, helping them stay up to date on the latest procedures to provide you and your family with quality treatment options.

Discover your path to optimal oral health. Find a skilled general dentist through AGD’s directory for comprehensive care and lasting wellness.

Merlin P. Ohmer, DDS, MAGD, is the president of the Academy of General Dentistry.  

The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) installed Merlin P. Ohmer, DDS, MAGD, as president during in 2023.  
He earned a Doctor of Dental Surgery in 1979 from the Louisiana State University School of Dentistry while in the U.S. Army Reserve. He then spent three years on active duty in the U.S. Army, stationed at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia. After release from active duty in 1982, he served in the Louisiana National Guard as a major and practiced in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, until 1989, when he returned to active duty in the U.S. Navy Dental Corps as a lieutenant commander. He retired as a captain in 2016 after 30 years of active military service. He then opened a solo practice in St. Augustine, Florida, where he practiced until 2022. 

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