Professional cleanings are a very important part of maintaining good oral health and keeping the gums and teeth disease-free. It is recommended that people have their teeth cleaned at least twice a year. At your cleaning appointment, the dentist will also provide an oral examination to ensure that your mouth is healthy and cavity-free.
Scaling and Root Planing:
In certain cases a regular cleaning is not enough. In cases of gum and bone infection (periodontal disease), often a more advanced cleaning is needed. The recommended treatment of deep scaling and root planing helps to remove plaque and tartar on tooth and root surfaces below the gunline. Once the teeth and roots are cleaned, good home oral hygiene and routine maintenance cleanings will often preserve the attachment to the teeth.
Advances in dental materials have made it possible to place fillings that appear just like natural tooth structure. These "composite" fillings provide good wear resistance and strength and can be bonded to the tooth to allow for a more conservative filling. Available in a wide array of shades, the tooth-colored fillings will blend in with natural teeth and give you a healthy looking smile. The decision about what filling material is best to use can be determined in consultation with your dentist.
When needed, root canals can relieve pain and infection, and provide longevity to a tooth. A root canal doesn't have to be a painful and long procedure--in fact many of them can be done quickly, with local anesthetic and with minimal or no discomfort! In most cases root canals can be finished in one or two appointments.
Teeth that are weakened with large fillings, cracks, or are discolored often can be restored with a crown. It can also be used to help support a partial denture. A crown can help strengthen a tooth and improve its appearance. When recommended by a dentist, a crown will help reserve a tooth to have them last as long as possible. A crown can be made from gold alloys, porcelain, or a combination of materials.
A bridge replaces missing teeth with a restoration that is connected to surrounding teeth. Bridges are fixed in place and function similar to natural teeth. They can help prevent movement of teeth into a space and alleviate stress in the bite. In addition, they can dramatically improve the appearance of the smile and aid in effective chewing. They can be made from gold alloys, porcelain, or a combination of materials.
When a tooth is badly decayed, lacks sufficient bone support to function effectively, or has pain or infection that cannot easily be treated, often the last option is to remove the tooth. This can usually be done with just local anesthetic (numbing the area just around the tooth). Wisdom teeth that are impacted (not fully erupted in the mouth) can also be taken out either by an oral surgeon or in some cases, a general dentist.
For more information on these or other topics, visit your local dentist or check out the American Dental Association website on oral health topics by clicking on the button to the right.