Though most people only associate their dentist with a very limited range of services – perhaps limited to cleaning, fillings, and braces – in reality, most dentists today offer a huge range of treatments and procedures.
Whether you are looking to improve the appearance of your teeth via cosmetic dentistry, have heard about Invisalign and want to see if it will work for you, or simply want to keep your teeth healthy, your local dentist should be your first port of call.
That said, sometimes the jargon of dentistry can be confusing. What’s the difference between bridgework and dental crowns? Are veneers the same as implants?
In this article, we’ll take you through 12 of the most common procedures used by dentists, and explain what each means.
1. Dental Bonding
Dental bonding is like a filing but relies on more advanced technology. Bonding can be used to fix imperfections and damage to your teeth and is often used to repair chipped teeth or seal decayed teeth.
In the dental bonding procedure, a tooth-colored resin is applied to your teeth, and this is then hardened using a special type of light. This bonds the material to the teeth, forming a tight seal that can help to protect them.
2. Dental Crowns
Crowns are familiar to most people – this is a “false” tooth that is attached to an existing root. A few decades ago, it was common for crowns to be made of gold, but nowadays dentists have access to more advanced materials. It is now far more common for crowns to be made of tooth-colored resin so that they blend in with your natural teeth.
A dental bridge is a straightforward way to replace a missing tooth. In this procedure, an artificial tooth is fitted into the gap and anchored to the two teeth which are next to it. This provides a solid foundation for a new tooth without the need to implant it. This reduces the complexity of the procedure and reduces the time needed to recover from it.
4. Cosmetic Fillings
Most people are aware of fillings, which can be used to fix and protect teeth that have been affected by decay. However, your dentist can also use the same technique to improve the appearance of healthy teeth.
Invisalign is one of the most exciting, and now one of the most popular, new dental treatments around. It is a way of straightening your teeth without using a traditional metal brace, which some people can find uncomfortable.
The Invisalign treatment uses a clear plastic brace that can be removed and which is almost invisible. It offers a path to straight, beautiful teeth without the hassle of having a traditional metal brace fitted.
Veneers have been around for a long time, but in recent years they’ve seen a surge in popularity. Veneers are thin coverings that are attached to the front of your teeth, and which cover up teeth that are misaligned, discolored, or otherwise damaged. They offer a quick way to achieve that perfect smile.
7. Teeth Cleaning
Your dentist will probably offer you teeth cleaning every time you visit. This is because it is almost impossible to keep your teeth completely clean at home, even if you are assiduous about brushing and flossing.
Even the most well cared for teeth are likely to have tartar and plaque build-up over the course of a few months, but this is easily removed by your dentist. Regular cleanings are very important to maintaining healthy gums and teeth and can reduce the need for more serious procedures in the years to come.
8. Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy is a way of saving teeth that would otherwise be too badly damaged to be left in place. Root canal therapy is essentially a filling, albeit one in which more of the inside of a particular tooth is removed. Though this kind of procedure is often regarded as being painful, most patients don’t find it much more uncomfortable than a standard filling.
Dentures are removable appliances that replace some or all of your teeth – what some people refer to as “false teeth”. Most of us will need dentures as we get old, but the dentures of today are far more advanced than those of a few years back. They look natural and are much easier to care for.
10. Dental Sealants
Sealants resemble crowns and dental bonding but are generally used on the teeth at the back of your mouth. These teeth work hard and can wear down quite quickly. Dental sealant helps to protect them and can save you money and inconvenience in the long term by reducing the need for fillings, crowns, or other types of more involved dental work.
Today, there are a few different ways you can whiten your teeth, and you can even buy “home whitening” kits that let you do the procedure at home. For the best possible results, however, it’s best to let your dentist perform this procedure – they have access to the latest teeth whitening technology, and have performed the procedure dozens of times.
Sometimes, nothing can be done to save a tooth that is damaged beyond repair. In these rare cases, it might be necessary to remove it altogether. Extractions can be uncomfortable, but a skilled dentist is able to remove a tooth with the minimum of pain.
A Healthier Smile
Ultimately, all of these procedures are used to achieve one thing – teeth and gums which are healthy and look great. If you think you might benefit from some of the treatments we’ve described above, don’t hesitate to get in touch, or to book an appointment to talk to one of our dentists.