Permanent teeth can last for a lifetime with good oral care. If you neglect it, you increase the risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease and eventually tooth loss. The general recommendation for everyone, including young children, is to visit the dentist at least twice a year.
However, lots of people get anxious about seeing their dentist, so knowing more about the common dental procedures might help in overcoming these fears. There are various modern techniques today that involve minimally invasive treatments and are usually carried out with no, or very little, discomfort.
The following are the most common dental procedures you may have in Australia.
Regular dental check-ups
First and foremost, regular dental check-ups are a must! The same care and attention you give to your skin health in all seasons, the same should be done with your oral health. Many illnesses have an impact on your oral health and the other way round. Also, some prescription drugs can affect your mouth so this should be considered before dental treatment.
At regular appointments, your dentist will check each tooth looking for issues such as tooth decay and gum disease. Soft tissues in the mouth are also examined for signs of oral cancer as well as your jaw joints and the lymph nodes located in your neck. Sometimes, an x-ray might be necessary and if there is a problem, your dentist will explain the recommended course of treatment.
Professional teeth cleaning and whitening
Professional cleaning is done to remove built-up debris from the teeth such as food particles, soft plaque or hard calculus. The latter two are the main causes of gum disease, so regular cleaning procedures prevent the development of gum disease.
Another common dental problem that affects adults is tooth discolouration. These are stains on the surface of a tooth caused by food, drinks, certain medication or by changes occurring inside the tooth. The process of the teeth whitening in Australia generally involves first determining the cause and then choosing an appropriate treatment plan. This can include treatment at the dental office or at-home teeth whitening solutions.
Dental repairs and fillings
Dental repairs are done to treat tooth decay that has caused a hole in a tooth. The decay is removed, the cavity cleaned, dried and sealed with a filling material. This material varies depending on the size, shape and location of the filling. The most common choice is natural tooth-coloured filling material which can mimic the appearance of the tooth, its shape and function.
Sealing material is used to protect teeth from decay. It’s usually applied on molars and premolars with grooves and fissures. Its function is to form a barrier that stops bacteria from building up in the grooves of the tooth and causing decay.
The main aim of dental practitioners is to preserve natural teeth. However, severely decayed and damaged teeth may need to be extracted. Often, dentists also recommend extracting wisdom teeth that can potentially cause problems.
Wisdom teeth can contribute to a variety of dental problems below the gum, particularly if they grow at an angle and push into the tooth next to it. Wisdom teeth are usually removed with local anaesthetic but for more difficult procedures, sedation or general anaesthesia can be administered.
Your dentist can also recommend a variety of treatments to restore damaged teeth. These treatments restore the shape, appearance and function of your teeth, and they commonly include composite resin for chipped, discoloured or oddly shaped teeth, veneers that are permanently glued to the surface of the tooth, and crowns which are caps that are permanently cemented to a tooth.
As a way of correcting abnormalities in jaw and tooth position, such as protruding upper teeth or protruding lower teeth, and crowding, orthodontic treatment is recommended. In that case, you can be referred to a specialist orthodontist to get braces or a removable device. Sometimes, jaw surgery might be necessary where a more radical and extensive intervention is required for best results.
Also, dental implants can be installed to replace extracted teeth. These are artificial screw-shaped devices made of titanium that are surgically fixed into the jaw with an artificial tooth fitted on top of it. An alternative version are dentures, or ‘false teeth’, which are removable artificial teeth that partially or fully replace your natural teeth.
Once you’re more familiar with the most common dental issues and treatments, you will be able to overcome your fears and anxiety and make your visits to your local dentist clinic regular. With healthy, strong, straight and perfectly white teeth, your life will surely be easier, and you’ll be more satisfied and confident.