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Patient Education

78375520Knowledge is power.  If you understand common dental procedures, you will be armed with information, even if you don’t need it. Take a look at these simple descriptions of common dental procedures.

Whitening

This may be something that is recommended by your dentist or it may just be a procedure you would like. Whitening is also referred to as bleaching. It helps to eliminate those everyday stains that may occur from smoking, drinking coffee, wine and soft drinks.

Often, a dentist will use a customized tray that will make applying a whitening gel more effective and precise than store bought remedies.

Cavity

A cavity occurs as a result of tooth decay. Tooth decay is the destruction of the tooth structure. Tooth decay can affect both the enamel (the outer coating of the tooth) and the dentin (the inner layer of the tooth).

Tooth decay occurs when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches) such as breads, cereals, milk, soda, fruits, cakes, or candy are left on the teeth. Bacteria that live in the mouth digest these foods, turning them into acids. The bacteria, acid, food debris, and saliva combine to form plaque, which clings to the teeth. The acids in plaque dissolve the enamel surface of the teeth, creating holes in the teeth called cavities.

Crown

A crown, often called a cap, fits over and replaces the entire tooth above the gum line. It encases the tooth and becomes the tooth’s new outer surface.

You will typically need two or more visits to your dentist to repair a tooth with a crown.

A crown can last up to 10 to 15 years, especially if you pay close attention to the things you chew, avoiding a lot of hard candy and ice, for example. And of course, regular dental visits are required.

Dental Implant

A dental implant is used when a person is missing one or more teeth.

This process begins with the surgical implantation of a titanium post into the jaw. Then you will have to be patient for several months as the bone begins to fuse around the post. In many cases, however, a crown can be place on the implant immediately.

If you have suffered from a lot of bone loss, you are not a good candidate for this procedure.

Fixed Bridge

Fixed bridges have been around for decades. They involve the placement of a crown on the teeth on either side of the missing tooth. Crowns are then made to fit over the prepared teeth that are fused together usually using a metal or ceramic substructure. In this way a false tooth can fill the missing-tooth space. These permanent replacements can be very aesthetically pleasing and they feel very natural.

Full Denture

A full denture can be either “conventional” or “immediate.”  Made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has begun to heal, a conventional denture is ready for placement in the mouth about eight to 12 weeks after the teeth have been removed.

Unlike conventional dentures, immediate dentures are made in advance and can be positioned as soon as the teeth are removed. As a result, the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums remodel over time, especially during the healing period following tooth removal. Therefore a disadvantage of immediate dentures compared with conventional dentures is that they require more adjustments to fit properly during the healing process and generally should only be considered a temporary solution until conventional dentures can be made. A partial denture is used to replace one or many teeth and can be made with a metal or acrylic substructure.

Root Canal

A root canal is used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes infected.

Root canal procedures are performed when the nerve of the tooth, or pulp, becomes infected or damaged. During a root canal procedure, pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. A dentist will recommend a crown following a root canal.

Extraction

An extraction involves the removal of a damaged tooth.

Scaling (deep cleaning)

Scaling is a specialized cleaning procedure needed when a patient has a large amount of plaque built-up on the teeth. This usually occurs when patients have missed regular scheduled cleanings.

The best way to avoid these dental procedures is to get regular checkups with your dentist, as well as brush and floss your teeth regularly.