It is a familiar sight to see children being terrified of going to the dentist, so much so that the threat of having to visit a dentist can be enough to get misbehaving kids to fall in line. The image of a dentist in a mask inserting sharp tools into your mouth is no doubt a scary prospect for most youngsters. Hence, many are always advised to take care of their teeth every day.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and some carry poor dental hygiene habits well into adulthood. Worse, for some, the fear of the dentist never goes away, making them dread regular dental checkups. As a result, many adults end up developing cavities and other forms of damage to their teeth and gums. Thus, they find themselves having to go through even more invasive dental procedures to address these problems.
Here are some of these procedures that dentists perform in order to help mitigate having broken or decaying teeth:
This is one of the most common procedures performed in a dentist’s office. If tooth decay or cavities have been found on the surface layers of the teeth, the solution is to use an electric dental handpiece — or drill — to remove the parts that exhibit decay. Composite materials or silver metal are then used to create a filling that will occupy the hole left and even out the tooth surface. Thus, a person will be able to chew and swallow without the pain caused by tooth decay.
Fillings are sufficient when the damage is limited to the external enamel. However, when the decay has reached the pulp, which is the tissue located at the center of the tooth, this can result in the inflammation and infection of the pulp. If left untreated, this can lead to abscesses forming inside the tooth.
A root canal thus removes and cleans out these infected parts of the tooth. Afterward, the tooth is sealed, similar to the process for fillings.
Those who undergo fillings and root canals will have their teeth substantially weakened as a result of the decay and damage sustained. In order to ensure that no further damage will take hold, dentists typically place a crown on the tooth to protect and strengthen it afterward. Having a dental crown also allows the tooth to be restored to full function, although this crown will become a permanent fixture on the tooth, thus also requiring regular cleaning and maintenance.
In extreme cases wherein the damage to the tooth is so extensive that it is beyond repair, removing the tooth is the only option left. Extractions are done as a last option when fillings, root canals, and dental crowns are not enough to restore or repair the tooth.
In some cases, the tooth may simply be removed by having it loosened. However, if it has not broken off, it is necessary to remove the tooth by surgically extracting it through cutting open the gum to reach the tooth. In any case, tooth extraction is not recommended, as these can no longer be replaced once the procedure has been completed.
With the pain that comes with such invasive procedures, people should do their best to avoid having to resort to these. This further underscores the importance of good dental hygiene so that the teeth can remain healthy and strong throughout one’s lifetime.