Many people do not like to visit the dentist and for some of these people, there is a deep-seated fear behind this. In a lot of these cases, there is no real reason for the person to be afraid of visiting a dentist. These people are probably influenced by the negative portrayal of dentists in movies and on television. In some cases however, fear may result from previous negative experiences. Some even avoid the dentist’s clinic because they are embarrassed about their oral hygiene. (1)
Some of these issues can be prevented if people know more about the type of treatments dentists offer and how these treatments benefit them. This article explains some of the more common dental treatments and how and why they are carried out.
Types of Dental Treatments
Dental Fillings: Fillings are used to fill the cavity in a tooth as the name suggests. To do this, the dentist drills into the cavity to remove and clean the decayed areas. The filling is then placed into the cavity and molded properly. If the cavity is deep and has reached the nerves at the root of the tooth, the dentist first places a resin to protect the nerves before filling. For cavities that are not deep and thus, have not reached the nerves the patient may not even require anesthesia since he or she will feel virtually no pain. However, dentists generally use a local anesthetic in all cases. Dental fillings can be made of silver amalgam, ceramic or even gold. (2)
Root Canal Treatment: You often hear people make statements like: “I would rather have a root canal than go bungee jumping”. This is supposed to mean that they would rather endure something very horrible than carry out what they are being asked to do. However, a root canal treatment is neither horrible nor painful. It is actually a way to save your teeth so that they do not have to be removed. Also known as Endodontic Therapy, a root canal treatment is carried out in cases of infection of the root of a tooth to prevent the infection from spreading. It involves draining the abscess (pus) and filling the tooth. A local anesthetic is used to prevent pain. (3)
Tooth Extraction: This is the removal of teeth which are too damaged to be repaired. Having a tooth or teeth removed can be a traumatic experience for many people. It is often the last option that a dentist will offer a patient and it is usually necessary before it is done. A tooth extraction can be done for one or more of the following reasons: advanced tooth decay, crowded or broken teeth that cannot be repaired, and severe gum disease. A local anesthetic is also used. (4)
Fluoride Treatments: Fluoride is an element that helps to prevent tooth decay which is why it is added to toothpastes and the public water supply in some places. It also occurs naturally in food. Fluoride treatments are recommended for children as their teeth are growing and especially if they have a history of tooth decay or have a high risk of developing tooth decay. Adults can also benefit from fluoride treatments. They are given at 6-monthly intervals. (5)
Other treatments offered at a dental clinic include:
– Fitting of dental braces: Helps to align crooked teeth.
– Teeth whitening: This can also be carried out at home using teeth whitening kits.
– Insertion of dental implants:A dental implant is an artificial tooth root which is inserted into the jawbone to support a replacement tooth.
– Dental cleaning: This is done by an oral hygienist and helps especially in removing tartar which cannot be removed ordinary brushing.
– Application of pit and fissure sealants
– Fitting of dentures, dental bridges and crowns
1. Going to the dentist is now a relaxing experience: abc7.com
2. Dental Health and Tooth Fillings: WebMD
3. Root Canal Treatment Frequently Asked Questions
4. Having a tooth removed
5. Fluoride Treatments and Supplements: Colgate World of Care