Raising kids can be a handful. In addition to the everyday woes of dealing with changing children’s moods, it’s not uncommon for children (and some adults) to experience some trepidation about seeing the dentist. Who hasn’t had a bit of fear associated with something at some point in their life? Though it’s something that you should definitely try to conquer to maintain proper health, the good news is that you can do it with relative ease. What’s the greatest tool in combating fear? Information, naturally. Simply learning more about the dentist and what sorts of things they can/will do during a particular kind of visit go a long way in assuaging the fears that may come with thinking about a visit (be they real or imagined). With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the things that the dentist does to treat your teeth, in hopes of better informing everyone and reducing that urge to shy away from dental discussions.
One of the most common set of dental procedures involves fixing missing or damaged teeth. There are many ways in which a dentist can go about this. If you have a cracked or decayed tooth, perhaps from grinding your teeth or due to cavities from poor upkeep, your dentist may take x-rays of your mouth to determine the extent of the decay. In some cases, they’ll use fillings created from a resin that matches the color of your teeth to fill in the damaged areas and restore your teeth. There are several different materials used for this procedure, so you’ll have to consult with your dentist on which would best fit your specific situation.
In certain circumstances, dental crowns or caps are the preferred method for protecting teeth. They are a porcelain, metallic, or composite material that envelope the exposed tooth to improve their appearance and restore their functioning. In other cases, bridges and dental implants are a more appropriate course of action. Bridges are also known as “fixed, removable dentures.” In simple terms, bridges are dentures, secured in place by neighboring teeth. Sometimes they involve the use of crowns to strengthen them further. Dental implants require the use of metal posts that are anchored into the jawbone to serve as a base for the replacement teeth. They are effectively replica teeth, as they mimic the crown and root structure of a natural tooth.
Sometimes the dentist will be called upon to take some things out of your mouth. It might be a long time coming, or it might fall under the purview of emergency dental care. Either way, these procedures include things like extractions, wherein the dentist must take an entire tooth from its socket. Usually an option in cases of advanced decay, and only used when other options for fixing the tooth have failed. Extractions might also take place in cases where people have extra teeth that are obstructing normal, healthy tooth growth. A dentist may often extract wisdom teeth from the mouth and individuals who need braces also have teeth removed at times to make room for the “moving teeth around the mouth” part of the braces experience. When a tooth is so severely diseased or abscessed that an infection is present, then a root canal is in order. Everything within the tooth must go, and the infected tissue needs to be completely removed. The dentist will then need to fill in the resulting cavity, and the hole in the tooth sealed up.
It’s not all pulling and fixing damaged teeth, though. There are dental procedures that are purely cosmetic in nature. Like veneers, strong resins and ceramics that can be bonded to the teeth to transform crooked smiles, misshapen teeth, discoloration, and unsightly gaps. If discoloration is the only concern, though, teeth whitening might be the preferred option. The procedure often involves using a peroxide to whiten the teeth that have become darkened through eating and drinking certain foods, or just with natural aging.
Did those explanations help? Now that you understand some of the things the dentist does, it shouldn’t be as big of a deal to visit them. Not all of the procedures they perform are surgical in nature, and if you stay on top of your oral hygiene, the chances are you won’t need to have extensive dental work.