Hopefully, when you visit the dentist, all will be well and you will leave with a smile that has simply been scaled and polished. However, every now and then, you may find that your check up highlights issues that need to be rectified with further dental treatment. Surprisingly few of us know all too much about the procedures that dentists may need to carry out on us at some point or another. But it’s extremely important that you understand your dental health and are aware of what different procedures entail. While a dentist will generally brief you regarding what will be done before carrying out a procedure, it’s a good idea to clue yourself up before you go into their office. Here are just a few common dental procedures that you might want to know a little more about!
If you begin to experience tooth decay and reach out to your dentist in the early stages of the process, the first route of action that they will generally take is to carry out a filling. A filling is a method used to restore a tooth that has been affected by decay. You will generally have a local anaesthetic. Once this has taken hold, your dentist will use a variety of tools to remove decayed tooth matter, clean the area, and then fill the cleaned cavity with filling material. The four most common filling materials used are gold, amalgam (or “silver” fillings), composite (or plastic) resin, or porcelain. Each of these materials has specific qualities and you may like to request one or another based on these qualities.
Gold fillings are perhaps one of the most traditional types of filling material. Gold tends to be well tolerated by the majority of people’s gum tissue and is hard wearing, meaning that a gold filling can last up to twenty years. It is, however, the most expensive filling material.
Amalgam tends to be the most commonly used filling material. It is cheaper than gold and tends to stay in place well. The dark colour of amalgam fillings, however, does make them more noticeable. Consequently, amalgam is generally used for teeth further back in the mouth that remain hidden most of the time.
Composite resins can be made to match the colour of your own teeth, making composite fillings a whole lot more discreet than the previously mentioned options. They are generally favoured by people concerned with their appearance, especially when used on front or more visible teeth. Composite can chip and wear over time. You may need to get them replaced between three years to ten years after they have been fitted.
Porcelain is generally used as a cap, an inlay, or overlay rather than as a pure filling material. It is costly and tends to be priced around the same as gold fillings.
If decay is not treated before it causes more serious damage, or if an existing filling is not fitted correctly and leaks manage to make their way behind the filling itself, you may have to undergo root canal treatment. Generally speaking, your dentist will be able to tell you whether you need to have a root canal carried out, but you can keep an eye out for a variety of warning signs you need a root canal. Otherwise referred to as endodontics, root canal treatment tends to be a little more complex than a casual filling, will take more time to complete, and will consequently come hand in hand with a higher price tag. Before planning a root canal, a dentist will check that you definitely need one. They will carry out an x ray. If the x ray shows that the pulp of your tooth is infected or damaged, they will then create a course of treatment. Pulp infection will cause pain, but many people make the mistake of consulting a dentist, then assuming that they don’t need root canal treatment when the pain goes away. While the pain may go away, the infection won’t. Pain will begin to subside over time as the pulp of your tooth dies. Only root canal treatment will clean the root canal system and keep infection at bay.
Tooth extraction is a dental procedure in which a tooth is pulled out and removed from the mouth. While your adult teeth should last a lifetime, there are various reasons that you might have to have a tooth extracted. If you have experienced injury, you may have a tooth that is damaged beyond repair. If your wisdom teeth fail to come through in an anticipated manner, they may have to be removed to prevent damage to your other teeth or infection. If a tooth is infected and your immune system is already compromised, it may be better to remove it than try to treat it. You may simply have a crowded mouth and there are too many teeth trying to come through in too small a space! Whatever the reason for tooth extraction, it’s important to bear in mind that it isn’t a process to be scared of. Generally speaking, you will receive local anaesthetic to numb the area before the tooth is pulled. In some cases, you may receive general anaesthetic in order to put you to sleep while the tooth is pulled, however, this will be arranged well in advance of the appointment. The tooth will then be loosened and pulled! Your dentist will then give you information regarding proper aftercare - make sure to stick to this and to check back in should you experience any problems!
These are just a few of many dental procedures that are carried out on a daily basis around the world. But they are also some of the most common. Hopefully, the above information has helped you to familiarise yourself with them!