Dentistry is much more than simply cleaning teeth. There are a number of other procedures that you may encounter as a dental patient. Many are therapeutic, meaning that they correct an oral health issue. Others are preventative or cosmetic in nature. Some can be performed by a general dentist, while others require the services of a specialist in a particular subcategory of dentistry.
A journal of clinical dentistry can give you detailed information about some of these procedures. Here, however, is a brief overview of some of the most common.
1. Tooth Extraction
The removal of a tooth is usually performed for one of two reasons. Most often, there is not enough room in the mouth for all the teeth, and one must come out so that others can take its place. Sometimes the tooth is so badly damaged or decayed that there is no salvaging it, and the only remaining option is to remove it. However, dentists usually prefer to retain your natural teeth whenever possible, so extraction is usually reserved as a last resort.
Filling a cavity is one of the most common dental procedures. It is performed on a routine basis in general dentists’ offices all over the country. It involves numbing your mouth with a local anesthetic so that you do not feel any pain. Then the decayed area is drilled away and the remaining hole is filled with a metal amalgam or ceramic resin.
After an extraction, you may choose to replace the missing tooth with a dental implant. This is a small shaft of metal that is inserted directly into your jawbone with a prosthesis tooth placed on top. An implant procedure is a relatively new treatment option, but it has become very popular in a fairly short amount of time.
Other common dental procedures include root canals, which treat and preserve infected teeth, and whitening, which improves the teeth’s appearance.