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What to Know About 9 Common Dental Procedures

professional dental procedure

Do you know the difference between a dentist and a dental surgeon? When you need oral surgery, a dental surgeon is the trusted professional to turn to for a safe and skilled pair of hands to perform the task. Procedures managed by a dental surgeon can range from the simpler removal of a tooth to implant procedures and facial cosmetic surgery.

What are dental procedures?

A filling

Cavities are frequently addressed through dental fillings, it is a routine procedure aimed at repairing and restoring damaged teeth. They help prevent further decay and discomfort, while also preserving your smile’s natural look. Dental fillings come in various types, including durable amalgam, tooth-coloured composite, aesthetic ceramic, and less common gold fillings. The process involves diagnosing the extent of decay, removing damaged portions, placing the chosen filling material, and finishing to ensure a smooth, natural feel.

Tooth extraction

Tooth extraction involves the removal of a tooth from its position within the jawbone socket. This may be necessary due to various reasons, including severe decay, advanced gum disease, crowding, or the need to prepare for orthodontic treatment. Dentists or oral surgeons perform extractions, and the procedure is typically done under local or general anaesthesia, ensuring minimal discomfort. After extraction, proper aftercare is essential to prevent infection and promote healing.

Tooth extraction is a common dental procedure performed for various reasons. Some of the most common examples include:

  1. Severe Tooth Decay: When a tooth is extensively decayed and cannot be saved by restorative procedures like fillings or crowns, extraction may be the only option. This is especially true if the decay has reached the pulp of the tooth, causing pain and/or infection.
  2. Impacted Teeth: Impacted teeth are teeth that are trapped beneath the gum line or bone and cannot erupt properly. This can cause pain, crowding, and other problems. Extraction of impacted teeth is often recommended to prevent these complications.
  3. Gum Disease: Advanced gum disease can damage the bone and tissues supporting the teeth, leading to tooth loss. In some cases, extraction of affected teeth may be necessary for improved oral health and to prevent further damage.
  4. Crowded Teeth: When there is not enough space in the jaw for all the teeth to erupt properly, extraction of some teeth may be necessary to create space and improve alignment. Orthodontic treatment often involves this procedure.
  5. Wisdom Teeth: Wisdom teeth are molars that appear between the late teens and early twenties. They can sometimes become impacted, leading to pain, infection, and other problems. Extracting wisdom teeth is a common preventive measure to avoid these complications.
  6. Trauma: When teeth are severely damaged or fractured due to trauma, they may need to be extracted if they cannot be repaired.
  7. Failed Root Canal: In some cases, root canal treatment may fail to save a tooth. In this scenario, extraction may be the only remaining option.
  8. Pre-Prosthetic Treatment: When preparing for certain prosthetic treatments like dentures or implants, extraction of some teeth may be necessary to improve fit and function.
  9. Orthodontic Treatment: Extracting certain teeth can sometimes create space needed for orthodontic treatment to successfully align remaining teeth.
  10. Medical Reasons: In some cases, tooth extraction may be necessary for medical reasons, such as preparing for cancer treatment or organ transplantation.

Dental bonding and veneers

Dental bonding and veneers are two popular cosmetic dentistry procedures aimed at enhancing the appearance of teeth. Dental bonding involves the application of a tooth-colored resin to the tooth’s surface, which is then shaped and polished to improve its aesthetics, correct minor imperfections, or fill in gaps. It’s a quick and non-invasive procedure.

On the other hand, dental veneers are thin, custom-made shells usually crafted from porcelain and permanently bonded to the front of teeth. Veneers can effectively transform the appearance of stained, chipped, misaligned, or unevenly spaced teeth.

Fixing a crown

It is another common dental procedure used to restore a damaged or weakened tooth to its natural form and function. It involves placing a customised cap, or crown, over the prepared tooth to cover and protect it.

Dental crowns are crafted from materials like porcelain, metal, or a combination of both, and they can effectively address issues such as extensive decay, fractures, or large fillings. The process typically entails tooth preparation, impressions, crown fabrication, and finally, permanent placement.

Dental crowns, also known as caps, are used to cover and protect damaged teeth. While they’re quite durable, they can sometimes become chipped, cracked, loose, or fall off completely. Here are some common examples of crown repairs and when they might be needed:

1. Chipped or Cracked Crown:

  • A minor chip on the edge of a crown can often be repaired with dental bonding material.
  • For larger chips or cracks, the crown may need to be reshaped or replaced entirely.

2. Loose Crown:

  • A loose crown can be recemented if the underlying tooth and cement are still in good condition.
  • If the cement is damaged or the tooth is no longer healthy, the crown may need to be replaced.

3. Broken Crown:

  • If a crown breaks into several pieces, it cannot be repaired and needs to be replaced.
  • The same applies if the crown fractures and exposes the underlying tooth structure.

4. Worn-Down Crown:

  • Over time, crowns can wear down due to grinding or chewing.
  • This can lead to sensitivity, discomfort, and eventually necessitate crown replacement.

5. Misaligned Bite:

  • If a crown doesn’t fit properly and causes a misaligned bite, it may need to be adjusted or replaced.
  • This can prevent further damage to the teeth and jaw joint.

6. Aesthetic Concerns:

  • Sometimes, patients may choose to replace a crown if its color or appearance no longer matches their natural teeth.
  • This can be due to staining, aging of the crown material, or simply a desire for a more aesthetically pleasing smile.

In addition to these specific examples, crown repairs may also be needed if:

  • The underlying tooth develops decay or infection.
  • The patient experiences gum recession, causing the crown to appear too long.
  • The patient experiences allergic reactions to the crown material.

It’s important to see your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. During these visits, they can assess the condition of your crowns and recommend repairs or replacements if necessary.

Here are some additional tips for maintaining your dental crowns:

  • Avoid chewing on hard objects like ice or nuts.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste to brush your teeth.
  • Floss regularly to remove plaque and food debris around the crown.
  • Visit your dentist for regular check-ups and cleaning.

Treating periodontal (gum) disease

It involves a range of interventions to combat the infection and inflammation of the gums. In its early stages, gingivitis can often be managed through improved oral hygiene practices, such as regular brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings.

For more advanced periodontitis, treatment may include deep cleaning procedures like scaling and root planing to remove plaque and tartar from below the gumline, as well as antibiotic medications to address the infection. In severe cases, surgical options like gum flap surgery and tissue or bone grafts may be necessary to repair damage and restore oral health.

Thankfully, various treatment options can help manage and even reverse the disease at different stages. Here are some examples:

1. Non-Surgical Treatments:

  • Professional Cleaning: Scaling and root planing are the cornerstones of gum disease treatment. This deep cleaning removes plaque and tartar buildup from both the surface and below the gum line, creating a healthy environment for healing.
  • Antibiotics: Topical or oral antibiotics may be prescribed to control bacterial infection and inflammation.
  • Antiseptic Mouthwashes: Using an antiseptic mouthwash can help reduce plaque bacteria and promote healing.
  • Dietary Changes: Reducing sugary and processed foods and incorporating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can improve oral health and contribute to gum disease management.

2. Surgical Treatments:

  • Flap Surgery: This procedure involves lifting the gum tissue away from the teeth to allow for deeper cleaning and removal of tartar deposits. It also helps reshape the bone and gum tissue to create a healthier environment for the teeth.
  • Bone Grafting: If bone loss has occurred due to gum disease, bone grafting can be used to restore the bone structure and support the teeth.
  • Soft Tissue Grafts: In cases where gum recession is present, soft tissue grafts can be used to cover exposed tooth roots and improve the aesthetics of your smile.

3. Laser Therapy:

  • This advanced technology uses precise laser energy to remove diseased tissue and stimulate gum regeneration. Laser therapy offers minimally invasive treatment with faster healing times and reduced discomfort.

Aligning teeth

Aligning teeth is a common dental procedure to correct issues with misaligned or crooked teeth, improving both aesthetics and oral health. Orthodontic treatments, such as braces or clear aligners, are typically used to gradually move teeth into their proper positions.

Braces consist of brackets, wires, and elastics, while clear aligners are removable, transparent trays that are changed periodically. Orthodontic care aims to address problems like crowded teeth, gaps, overbites, underbites, and crossbites.

1. Traditional Metal Braces:

  • Application: Traditional metal braces are the most widely used method for correcting various teeth misalignments. They use metal brackets and wires to gradually apply pressure and move teeth into their desired positions.
  • Examples: Traditional braces are effective in treating crowding, spacing, overbites, underbites, crossbites, and other orthodontic issues.
  • Pros: This method is highly versatile and can address complex misalignments. It is also relatively affordable compared to other options.
  • Cons: Metal braces can be noticeable and may cause discomfort, especially during initial adjustments. They also require regular visits to the orthodontist for tightening.

2. Ceramic Braces:

  • Application: Similar to traditional metal braces, ceramic braces use brackets and wires to align teeth. However, the brackets are made of tooth-colored ceramic material, making them less noticeable.
  • Examples: Ceramic braces are suitable for correcting mild to moderate misalignments. They are particularly popular among adults who desire a more discreet approach to orthodontic treatment.
  • Pros: Ceramic braces offer a more aesthetically pleasing option compared to metal braces. They are also generally more comfortable due to smoother brackets.
  • Cons: Ceramic braces are more expensive than metal braces and may be more prone to chipping or breakage.

3. Lingual Braces:

  • Application: Lingual braces are attached to the back of the teeth, making them completely invisible from the front. This makes them a popular choice for individuals seeking a highly discreet orthodontic treatment.
  • Examples: Lingual braces can be used to address mild to moderate misalignments. They are particularly suitable for adults who prioritize a concealed approach.
  • Pros: Lingual braces offer the highest level of discretion among fixed orthodontic options. They can also be beneficial for individuals with speech concerns.
  • Cons: Lingual braces are more expensive than other types of braces and can be more difficult to clean and maintain. They may also require a longer adjustment period due to their tongue contact.

4. Clear Aligners (Invisalign):

  • Application: Invisalign uses a series of clear, removable aligners to gradually move teeth into their desired positions. Aligners are virtually invisible and offer a more comfortable and convenient alternative to traditional braces.
  • Examples: Invisalign is effective in treating mild to moderate crowding, spacing, and some bite issues. It is a popular choice among adults and teenagers who prioritize aesthetics and convenience.
  • Pros: Invisalign offers a near-invisible and removable approach to orthodontic treatment. This makes it ideal for individuals who want to maintain a natural appearance and enjoy greater flexibility.
  • Cons: Invisalign may not be suitable for complex misalignments. It requires discipline for consistent wear and may be more expensive than traditional braces.

5. Veneers:

  • Application: Veneers are thin shells of porcelain or composite material that are custom-made to cover the front surface of teeth. They can be used to improve the appearance of chipped, stained, or misaligned teeth.
  • Examples: Veneers can be used to correct minor misalignments, such as gaps or slightly rotated teeth. They can also significantly improve the aesthetics of your smile by masking imperfections and creating a more even and attractive appearance.
  • Pros: Veneers offer a quick and aesthetically pleasing solution for minor misalignments and imperfections. They are resistant to staining and can last for many years with proper care.
  • Cons: Veneers require irreversible removal of a small layer of tooth enamel. They can also be more expensive than other alignment methods.

Replacing lost teeth with a denture

It is an effective solution for individuals who have experienced tooth loss. Dentures are custom-made, removable devices designed to closely resemble and perform like natural teeth. They are custom-made to fit comfortably in the mouth, using either acrylic, metal, or a combination of materials. Partial dentures replace a few missing teeth, while full dentures are used when all teeth are missing.

The process involves dental impressions, precise measurements, and multiple appointments to ensure a secure fit and natural appearance. Dentures not only restore the ability to chew and speak but also enhance the overall aesthetics of the smile, providing a functional and aesthetically pleasing solution for tooth loss.

Dental implants and bridges

These are two distinct methods for replacing missing teeth. Dental implants involve surgically placing artificial tooth roots made of titanium into the jawbone, onto which a lifelike crown is affixed, providing a stable and permanent solution for individual tooth replacements. Bridges, on the other hand, involve attaching prosthetic teeth to adjacent natural teeth or implants. Implants offer superior stability, function, and aesthetics, while bridges are a non-invasive option suitable for some cases.

Root canal therapy

Root canal therapy is a dental procedure designed to save a tooth that is infected or severely decayed, preventing the need for extraction. During this treatment, the dentist removes the infected or damaged pulp from inside the tooth, cleans and disinfects the area, and then seals it with a filling or crown. Root canals are often performed when a tooth is causing severe pain, sensitivity, or an abscess, and they can effectively alleviate discomfort while preserving the natural tooth structure.

Questions to ask before accepting a dental procedure

1. Is there a dental surgeon in Sydney who includes nutritional counselling in my treatment plan?

Of course! A good diet is pivotal to a healthy mouth and Balmain Dentist can help.

2. Why do I need dental x-rays?

So we can see the full extent of your oral health that is not apparent to the naked eye and compare changes to your last x-rays.

3. Why do I have tooth sensitivity?

This can be because of thinning tooth enamel, receding gums, tooth grinding, chipped or fractured teeth, or broken fillings.

 4. Why do I need dental implants?

Dental implants give you a better functioning mouth, replacing missing teeth. They also stop surrounding teeth from moving or loosening.

5. Should I be using mouthwash regularly?

Mouthwash is excellent for combating gingivitis, tooth sensitivity and cavities, while freshening breath.

6. What are the benefits (and possible risks) of the treatment?

Your dentist will always discuss the entire procedure, including all costs, prior to commencing work.

7. Is it okay if I seek a second opinion?

 Of course, you can take a second opinion with a specialised professional dental practitioners of your choice.