Common Dental Procedures: A Breakdown

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Dental procedures are an important part of maintaining good oral health. There are many different types of procedures that a dentist may perform, ranging from simple cleanings to more complex procedures like extractions and root canals. In this article, we will take a look at some of the most common dental procedures that you may encounter at the dentist’s office.

  1. Dental Cleanings

One of the most common dental procedures is a cleaning, also known as a prophylaxis or “prophy.” This is a preventive measure that is performed to remove plaque, tartar, and stains from the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth, and if it is not removed, it can harden into tartar, which is more difficult to remove. Stains can also accumulate on the teeth over time due to the consumption of certain foods and beverages, such as coffee, tea, and red wine. A dental cleaning involves the use of special tools to gently scrape away plaque and tartar from the teeth and along the gum line. The teeth are then polished with a rotating brush and fluoride gel to help prevent cavities. Dental cleanings are usually recommended once every six months, although some people may need to have them more frequently depending on their oral health needs.

2. Fillings

A filling is a common procedure that is used to repair a tooth that has been damaged by decay. When a tooth has a cavity, bacteria can enter the inner layers of the tooth and cause damage to the pulp, which is the soft tissue inside the tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels. If the pulp becomes infected, it can cause pain and lead to an abscess, which is a pocket of pus that forms at the tip of the tooth’s root. A filling is used to remove the decayed tissue and fill the hole in the tooth to prevent further damage. There are several types of fillings that a dentist may use, including amalgam (silver), composite (tooth-colored), and gold. The type of filling that is used will depend on the location of the cavity, the size of the filling, and the patient’s preferences.

3. Extractions

An extraction is a procedure that involves the removal of a tooth from the mouth. There are several reasons why a tooth may need to be extracted, including decay, infection, crowding, or trauma. A tooth may also need to be extracted if it is impacted, which means that it is stuck in the gums or jawbone and cannot emerge properly. Extractions can be performed using local anesthesia to numb the area around the tooth, or with the use of general anesthesia if the patient is anxious or if the extraction is more complex. After the tooth is removed, the dentist will usually place some gauze in the socket to help stop any bleeding and promote clotting. The socket may also be packed with a dissolvable material to help protect the area and promote healing. In some cases, the dentist may recommend replacing the extracted tooth with a dental implant or a bridge to restore function and appearance.

4. Root Canals

A root canal is a procedure that is performed to remove infected or damaged tissue from inside a tooth. The pulp, which is the soft tissue inside the tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels, can become infected or damaged due to decay, injury, or a deep filling. If the pulp becomes infected, it can cause pain, swelling, and an abscess. A root canal is used to remove the infected or damaged tissue and clean out the inside of the tooth.

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