THE TOP TEN Common Dental Procedures
Going to the dentist is a nerve-wracking experience which often you're just trying to get through hoping there'll be no pain. The dentist may tell you some work needs to be done which leaves you clueless as to what it will actually involve. Here's a list of ten common dental procedures to help you understand what needs doing and why.
Going to the dentist is a nerve-wracking experience which often you're just trying to get through hoping there'll be no pain. The dentist may tell you some w... more
A filling is one of the most common of common dental procedures. As the name suggests, it involves filling a broken or damaged tooth to restore its shape. The dentist will scrape and clean the damaged area and then fill it, which stops bacteria affecting the area and causing more problems.
A crown -- also known as a cap -- is used when a filling isn't enough. If the tooth is especially decayed or damaged a crown is used to cover it. A crown also has cosmetic purposes as it can cover misshapen or discoloured teeth.
A bridge is similar to a crown, but fills the space of an entirely missing tooth. There are different ways to fill the gap. One is to hold the fake tooth in place by bridging it over the two teeth on either side, held by crowns on these teeth. The other is through a metal frame that fixes to the back of the real teeth on either side, holding the fake one in place. This latter is only as strong as the bonding agent and can loosen after time. As these procedures often need multiple visits to complete, costs can mount and its for measures like this that dental insurance can be a big help.
A root canal is a procedure that involves removing the pulp at the centre of the tooth when it becomes infected. This can be through a crack or a deep cavity and can cause abscesses deep under the gum. Previously infected teeth had to be removed entirely, but now the area is numbed and the infected pulp removed, leaving the tooth to be filled in and left in tact.
X rays are very useful to dentists as they can help highlight a whole host of problems that may be in a patients mouth. Through x rays they can spot teeth that are still yet to come through, impacted teeth, decay, problems underneath fillings and crowns and bone loss caused by gum disease.
One step further along from bridges and crowns are dental implants. These involve attaching a metal rod to the jaw bone itself in order to hold artificial teeth in place. Good mouth and dental hygiene and regular check ups are important to maintain these implants.
Perhaps one of the more anxiety-inducing things that a patient can hear is that a tooth needs to be removed entirely. However this is never done for unnecessary reasons and is often because the tooth is impacted, troubled by bacteria or decaying. Another reason is that there simply isn't enough room in your mouth and removing a tooth would aid health and appearance.
Sealant is a plastic coating that is usually put on the surface of the molars and premolars, the permanent teeth at the back of the mouth. Because of their particular job, the molars have fissures and grooves on their surface which are sometimes too small for a single bristle of a toothbrush. As such they are susceptible to bacteria and decay.
This is often an aid for dental procedures and one that is no doubt welcomed by patients. It is used to numb small to moderate areas of the mouth in order for the dentist to proceed with other tasks such as above. The numbing effect usually last beyond the appointment time but fades within the following hours. One common hazard is biting your own mouth if you try to eat with the numbness still there!
Scale and Polish
This is a very regular and common procedure that almost everyone gets at the dentist. Calcium deposits that strengthen the teeth can start to build up -- like limescale in a pipe -- and need removing now and then. The dentist will then give the teeth a bit of a polish to keep them looking clean and healthy. This procedure also helps fight bacteria that may otherwise accumulate.
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