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We all want to have healthy, bright teeth for as long as possible. However, over the course of time and under the influence of different factors, we might deal with various dental issues, such as tooth decay, swollen gums, impacted teeth, etc. Regular visits to the dentist's office can help us address dental problems in a timely manner, reducing the risk of unwanted complications, such as gingivitis, periodontitis, or tooth loss. In this article, we will explain the most common dental procedures, so you are aware of potential interventions that might contribute to better oral health.
Dental procedures offered by professional dentists include the following:
If you are interested in having a radiant smile, you might consider professional teeth whitening. This is a safe and simple procedure, which is often performed by the dental hygienist. First, the dentist will make sure that both your teeth and gums are healthy. Then, a whitening gel will be applied to the teeth, with blue light being used to fix it. Laser whitening is another procedure that can help people return to a brighter smile, being carried out by the dentist.
This procedure is recommended to those who have stained teeth, either because of habits such as smoking or drinking staining beverages. Most commonly, the teeth are affected by the regular intake of tea, coffee, and red wine. Do not worry, as the teeth whitening procedure can safely remove such stains, without any damage to the teeth. With a brighter smile, you will also feel more confident.
Keep in mind that professional teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure, which means that your insurance might not cover it. The best thing you can do is check with your provider, inquiring about the partial coverage. As for the safety concerns, there is no need to be worried. When done at the dentist's office, this procedure is 100% safe. You might deal with sensitivity, but only in the first days after the treatment.
It is worth mentioning that teeth whitening procedures are not recommended for those with veneers, fillings, or veneers. If there are dental issues identified, these will have to be treated first. Internal teeth whitening is done for teeth that have become discolored after a root canal treatment. The effect of this procedure is not permanent, and it depends on one's personal habits. To guarantee the whitening effect for a longer period of time, the dentist might advise you to give up smoking and avoid beverages that might stain the teeth.
Teeth can be affected by decay, becoming painful. If you have noticed a cavity or more, it might be time to pay a visit to the dentist and have it treated. To ensure the vitality of the tooth, the dentist will remove the decayed portion and use special materials to fill the respective part. Dental fillings are also used on teeth that are worn down, either because of age or poor habits, such as nail biting and tooth grinding. Broken teeth might be repaired with dental fillings as well.
First, the dentist will apply local anesthesia, waiting for the affected region to become numb. The specialist will then remove the decayed part of the tooth, cleaning the space of debris and bacteria. A liner might be applied to protect the nerve, if the decay is in the proximity of the root. After the filling has been added, the tooth will be polished. Indirect fillings are used for damaged teeth that do not require a crown yet. Until the respective material is created in the dental laboratory, the dentist might apply a temporary filling. These types of fillings are sometimes used after root canal treatments, so as to allow the nerve enough time to recover. Other emergency dental treatments might benefit from temporary fillings as well, especially when it comes to preventing infections or other complications.
Dental fillings can be made from a wide array of materials, including gold, silver amalgam, plastic, resin, and porcelain. Many people prefer tooth-colored fillings, as they do not want to feel self-conscious about their teeth. As the dentist will point out, the lifespan of a filling depends on the chosen material and your personal habits. Generally speaking, they are meant to last between five and thirty years. The dentist can give you sound advice on how to take care of your teeth that have feelings, with oral hygiene standing at the top of the list.
The root canal procedure is a treatment employed to address an infection at the center of the tooth. Thanks to modern treatment methods, this procedure is no longer painful, and it might actually save a tooth. Such infections are caused by tooth decay, leaky fillings, and trauma to the teeth. If no treatment measures are taken, the dental pulp will die, and the tooth will have to be removed. Moreover, the infection can spread along the root canal system, causing further complications.
As a first step, the dentist will take an X-ray, in order to determine if the dental pulp has been damaged by the bacterial infection or not. You might also be asked about the symptoms experienced, such as pain when eating or drinking certain foods and beverages, pain when biting or chewing, loose teeth, etc. Patients might have swollen gums, purulent discharge, and discolored teeth. Their jaw might hurt as well, as the infection spreads.
Before the actual toot canal treatment, the dentist might give you antibiotics, in order to bring down the infection. The root canal procedure begins with the removal of bacteria from the root canal system. Afterwards, the dentist will fill the root canal and seal the respective tooth, using either a filling or a crown. Once the infection has been removed, the above-mentioned symptoms will disappear.
The dentist will advise you to take care of yourself, so as to recover from the root canal treatment. For instance, you might have to avoid certain foods, especially those with a hard texture. Pain-relieving medication can help you deal with the pain and feel comfortable during the recovery period. You will have to maintain excellent oral hygiene, refrain from eating sugary foods, and quit smoking.
Patients who suffer from misalignments and bite issues might benefit from wearing different types of braces. Common options include traditional metal braces, lingual braces, ceramic braces, self-ligating braces, invisible braces, and clear aligners. The orthodontist will call you for an initial consultation, in order to assess the state of your teeth and determine what option would work out the best. If any dental issues are identified, these will have to be treated first, as braces can only be applied on healthy teeth.
Traditional metal braces have brackets that are attached to the teeth, with an arch wire and small elastic bands working to shift the teeth in the desired position. Lingual braces are similar, but they are applied on the back of the teeth, representing a more appealing option for those who are self-conscious. Ceramic braces are tooth-colored, but they are not as durable as the metal versions. As for the self-ligating braces, these have a special system, which guarantees the shifting of the teeth without additional effort. For those who do not want to draw attention to their teeth, the best options include invisible braces and clear aligners.
The orthodontist will apply the respective braces, making sure they are well fixed to the teeth. Certain invisible braces and also the clear aligners are removable, which represents a definite advantage to consider. You might also be taught how to brush and floss while wearing a fixed corrective appliance, as well as what foods should be avoided. Some patients are allergic to metals, so they might need to reconsider their options. Follow-up appointments are necessary to make the necessary adjustments to the braces, and also to assess the progress made.
If a tooth has become infected and the decay is too severe, tooth extraction might represent the only available option. Tooth extraction is also necessary in case of crowding, the procedure allowing the other teeth to shift into a normal, healthy position. Such procedures are commonly performed by oral surgeons, under anesthesia. Periodontal disease is one of the main reasons leading to such infections and there are no other treatments that can be considered at that moment.
First and foremost, the oral surgeon will perform an initial consultation. If the respective tooth is in a visible position, the procedure should be simple and straightforward. However, when we are talking about broken or impacted teeth, the intervention might be more complex. X-rays are taken to assess the situation and the patient will have to provide information on his/her state of health. Antibiotics might be prescribed to reduce the risk of further infection, especially after the actual removal.
In some patients, it might be necessary to extract wisdom teeth. If these do not have enough room to grow, complications might occur, with pain and infection becoming common issues. As with the other extractions, such procedures are performed by oral surgeons. It might happen that the procedure is done to prevent further dental issues, even though the wisdom teeth do not cause any visible problems. The surgeon will explain how many teeth will have to be removed, type of anesthesia, and potential complications.
After the tooth extraction, you might be advised to eat only soft foods. As the respective area begins to heal, you might gradually return to your normal diet. You might also need pain-relieving medication to deal with the pain and inflammation. The oral surgeon will recommend that you assume a sitting position, so as to facilitate healing process. A follow-up appointment might be necessary to ascertain that everything is in order.
Dental crowns are recommended when the teeth are damaged, and fillings can no longer be used. The tooth is polished to retain its basic structure, with the crown being placed at the top. Crowns restore the shape of teeth and protect these against further damage. They can be made from a wide array of materials, including metal, porcelain, resin, and ceramic. As the orthodontist will point out, they do not require special care, but you can prolong their lifespan by maintaining excellent oral hygiene standards.
When are dental crowns used? As mentioned above, they are recommended for damaged teeth, with causes such as tooth decay, gradual wear and tear, and physical injuries. The dental crown is cemented in place, so you do not have to worry about the strength of the tooth. For this procedure to be effective, one must retain a solid-enough tooth structure. Aside from traditional crowns, patients might benefit from onlays and 3/4 crowns. Dental crowns are also be used to cover tooth with large fillings or to support a dental bridge. If the tooth has been treated with a root canal, a dental crown might be recommended as well.
Modern dental crowns are made with the help of 3D computer software. The orthodontist might point out that dental crowns can lead to sensitivity, but the effect is only temporary. If the symptoms persist, re-adjustments might be necessary. Unfortunately, certain dental crowns, particularly those made from ceramic, are susceptible to chipping or breaking. Of course, once the crown has been damaged, it will have to be replaced.
For those who are worried about the appearance of their teeth, veneers might be the answer. If you have gapped, chipped, or misshaped teeth, the dentist might recommend veneers as a potential solution. These are actually thin frontal covers, which create the impression of perfectly shaped teeth. You can also consider these if your teeth are stained and the teeth whitening procedure has failed to deliver the desired results. Veneers are normally made from porcelain or composite resin, with each material having both advantages and drawbacks.
The porcelain veneers are known for their resistance and natural appearance, and they require less tooth enamel to be removed, especially in comparison with dental crowns. The veneers are bonded to the teeth by the dentist, with a significant change to your smile. Composite resin veneers are made from tooth-colored filling material, requiring even less tooth enamel to be removed. They are more affordable than porcelain veneers, with fewer visits to the dentist's office. Moreover, once they get damaged, they can be easily fixed. The one thing to remember is that composite veneers are not as resistant as the porcelain veneers.
Keep in mind that veneers can only be applied on healthy teeth, so any dental issues will have to be treated first. If patients are clenching or grinding their teeth, they might not be suitable for veneers, as these can chip or break quite easily. You might be advised to wear a plastic dental night guard during sleep. The application of veneers involves the removal of tooth enamel, which cannot be undone. It might happen that the veneers become loose, requiring adjustment or replacement. It is for the best to discuss matters with your dentist.
Fluoride treatments are recommended to prevent cavities and improve oral health in general. They are meant to strengthen the tooth enamel and prevent the accumulation of harmful bacteria, being beneficial for the gums as well. Before performing such treatments, the dentist will examine the teeth, so as to identify potential dental issues that need to be addressed. Fluoride treatments are available in a wide array of forms, including as mouthwash, foam, gel, or varnish. The in-office procedures deliver the best results.
As the dentist will point out, the fluoride treatment is completed within minutes, with no or minimal discomfort. You might be advised to refrain from eating or drinking immediately after the procedure, so as not to affect the absorption of fluoride. The same goes for brushing and flossing, and the dentist might point out that staining beverages, such as red wine, tea, or coffee, should be avoided. Fluoride-containing products are on the “no” list, as you do not need more fluoride right away after the respective treatment. Once the allotted timeframe has passed, you might need to brush your teeth thoroughly, in order to get rid of the excess fluoride.
Regular fluoride treatments will make the tooth enamel stronger and less vulnerable to bacteria, with a lower risk of cavities, gum disease, and premature tooth loss. It is recommended to visit the dentist every six months or once year for such treatments. If you are at risk of dental issues, the procedure might be performed more often. At-home fluoride treatments might be prescribed by the dentist as well, but make sure to follow the instructions as recommended. Fluoride treatments might also be done in children, after the age of three, for the same reasons.
With the passing of time, our teeth can suffer from the accumulation of plaque, as well as staining. Unfortunately, if no measures are taken, the plaque can develop into tartar, with an increased risk of gum disease and tooth loss. A professional dental cleaning procedure can help with such issues, being performed every couple of months or once a year. Thanks to modern treatment methods, the dental cleaning procedure is simple and painless. They are performed by dental hygienist and always after an initial examination of the oral cavity. Any identified dental issues will have to be treated first.
The removal of plaque is followed by the use of a high-powered electric brush and the application of special toothpaste. It is not recommended to attempt at-home cleaning, as you might damage the enamel and suffer further complications. The dental hygienist will teach how you how to properly brush and floss, in order to reduce the risk of plaque. Depending on your individual situation, you might benefit from different cleaning procedures, such as: prophylaxis cleaning, scaling and root planting, periodontal maintenance cleaning, and gross debridement.
If you are wondering about the duration of the procedure, this actually depends on your oral health. Patients who have healthy teeth should expect for the cleaning to last under thirty minutes, while those with a lot of tartar should be prepared for a procedure that lasts up to one hour and a half. Local anesthesia might be used to make the whole experience more comfortable. A routine cleaning procedure is normally painless, as there is not a lot of plaque to be removed from the teeth.
If you have missing teeth, you might benefit from dentures. Complete dentures are recommended to patients who have lost all of their teeth, while partial dentures are chosen when some teeth are still present. Dentures can be immediate or made in advance, being positioned some time after the teeth have been removed or as soon as the teeth are removed. Immediate dentures are sometimes recommended, as the bones and gums might shrink if no teeth are present. However, these also require more adjustment in order to fit properly, so conventional dentures are still preferred.
Partial dentures are used when there are natural teeth on either the upper or lower jaw. A fixed bridge might be used to this purpose, preventing the other teeth from changing their position. It is worth mentioning that partial dentures are removable, with the patient having the possibility to attach them to the adjacent crowns. This modern attachment method guaranteed a more natural looking appearance. Dental implants might be recommended as an alternative to dentures, but not every patient might be a candidate for implants.
Most dental insurance plans cover the cost of dentures, either partially or totally. It is for the best to check with your insurance provider, before going thorough with the procedure. Dentures might require several appointments with the dentist, starting with the jaw impression and teeth pattern. It might take some time before you will become accustomed with the dentures, with minor irritation or soreness as potential symptoms. As the mouth adjusts to the new dentures, these manifestations will disappear. Dentures are made to resemble natural teeth, so you should not worry that your appearance might change.
There are many dental procedures that can help us maintain the best possible state of oral health. It is recommended to visit the dentist or orthodontist for preventative care, rather than the actual treatments. Ask the specialist about the best methods to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, including for advice on how to brush and floss correctly. Certain procedures, such as the dental cleaning, fluoride treatment, and teeth whitening, are meant to prevent dental issues, so be sure to consider them. If you need dental treatments, do not delay in visiting the dentist, in order to prevent more severe complications and further invasive procedures.
• Oral health exam
• Preventive dental care for adults, toddlers and older children
• Habit counseling for children (pacifier use, thumb sucking, etc.)
• Assessment and treatment for straightening teeth and correcting an improper bite (orthodontics)
• Repair of tooth cavities in adults, toddlers and older kids
• Repair of dental defects in adults, children and teenagers
• Diagnosis of oral conditions associated with diseases that may include diabetes, congenital heart defect, asthma, hay fever, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder
• Management of gum diseases and conditions in adults and children, including ulcers, pediatric periodontal disease
• Care for dental injuries in adults and children (knocked-out teeth, fractured teeth, etc.)
• Bridges and Implants
• Gum Surgery
• Oral Cancer Examinations
• Root Canals
• Teeth Whitening
• All dental emergencies
For young patients, dental care is offered by experienced pediatric dentists
Each pediatric dental offices is equipped to offer dental care to children while keeping kids comfortable. Equipment that is used in pediatric dental offices is specifically designed with children in mind.
Dental cavities, also known as tooth decay is one of the most common childhood diseases and the sooner dental cavity is detected and treated, the less damage is done to the tooth. During your child's dental check up, dentist will check each tooth for signs of decay and in case cavities are found, these dental problems can be treated and further damage to the teeth can be avoided. Regular dental check ups can help to detect cavities early on and proper measures can be taken to prevent further damage.
Dental problems in kids often start when a child is still a toddler. Enamel problems may be noticed even on baby teeth and this dental issue needs to be addressed by a child's dentist without waiting for the problem to get worse.
Dental sealants for kids is another common dental procedure that is done as a preventative measure to help protect the teeth against decay and cavities. A sealed tooth features a smoother surface that is less likely to harbor the bacteria that causes tooth decay.
Impacted wisdom teeth removal is a dental procedure that is more common for older teenagers. Wisdom teeth are considered to be impacted when wisdom teeth fail to erupt due to lack of room or because of their position. Symptoms of impacted wisdom tooth include gum tenderness, swelling and pain. If your child experiences any of these symptoms, give us a call to set up an appointment with a pediatric dentist.
Dental injuries are more common in children who participate in high-impact sports. Chipped and broken teeth need immediate attention from pediatric dentist. Finding the best pediatric dentist by city, state or even by zip code shouldn't be complicated. We are happy to help.
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