Dentistry is a medical branch that deals with the study, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases, disorders, and conditions of the oral cavity, teeth, gums, and associated mouth structures. The repair and replacement of the infected or broken teeth also fall under dentistry.
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Symptoms of Dental and Oral Problems
If you experience any of the following warning signs or symptoms of dental problems, then make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible:
- sores, ulcers, or tender areas in the mouth that doesn’t heal even after a week or two
- swollen or bleeding gums after brushing or flossing
- chronic bad breath
- sudden sensitivity to hot and cold beverages and food
- loose teeth
- receding gums
- pain while chewing/biting
- swelling of the face and cheek
- the clicking of the jaw
- cracked/broken teeth
- frequent dry mouth
Basic Tests in Dentistry
- Orthopantomogram: An Orthopantomogram is an X-ray that offers a panoramic view of the lower face displaying all the teeth of the upper and lower jaw on a single film. It displays the number, position, and growth of all the teeth including those that have not yet surfaced/erupted. An OPG also reveals issues with the jawbone and the joint connecting the jawbone to the head called the temporomandibular joint.
- Computed Tomography(CT): Dental cone beam Computed Tomography(CT) is special X-ray equipment used when regular dental or facial x-rays are not sufficient. Computed Tomography(CT) is used by the dentist for creating three dimensional(3-D) images of teeth, soft tissues, nerve pathways, and bone in a single scan.
Oral and Dental Treatments
- Dental Fillings: The dental filling is a way of restoring a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. When a dentist performs a filling, they first remove the decayed element of the tooth, clean the affected area, and then fill the cleaned out cavity with a filling material. Closing off spaces with a filling where bacteria can enter helps in preventing further decay. Materials used for fillings include porcelain, gold, a composite resin(tooth-colored filling), and an amalgam(an alloy of mercury, silver, copper, tin and sometimes zinc).
- Dental Crowns: A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap placed over a tooth to cover the tooth for restoring its shape and size, strength, and improving its appearance. When cemented into place, the dental crown completely encases the visible portion of the tooth that lies on and above the gum line. A dental crown is required to:
- protect a weak tooth from breaking or to hold the parts of a cracked tooth together,
- restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has severely worn down,
- hold a dental bridge in place,
- cover severely discolored teeth,
- cover a dental implant,
- make a cosmetic modification.
- Dental Bridges: Dental bridges are done to bridge the gap produced by one or more missing teeth. A dental bridge is made of two or more dental crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap and a false tooth in between. The two or more anchoring teeth are known as abutment teeth. However, the false teeth are called pontics that are made of gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Dental bridges are supported by natural teeth or dental implants.
- Root Canal Treatment: Root canal treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed/infected and is performed on the inside of the tooth. The inflammation/infection may be caused due to deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, faulty crowns, or a crack/chip in the tooth. Additionally, trauma to a tooth can cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips/cracks. During a root canal procedure, the infected/inflamed pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected which is then filled and sealed with a material called gutta-percha. The tooth is then restored with a crown or a filling.
- Tooth Contouring and Reshaping: Tooth contouring or reshaping is one of the few instant treatments in dentistry. Dental contouring and reshaping is a dental procedure to correct crooked teeth, chipped teeth, cracked teeth, or overlapping teeth in only one session. The dental contouring procedure is also a substitute for braces in some cases. Tooth contouring is a dental procedure of subtle changes. A few millimeters of reduction and a few millimeters of tooth-colored laminate creates a beautiful smile when performed by a cosmetic dentist. Tooth reshaping or contouring is commonly performed to alter the length, shape, or position of the teeth.
- Tooth Whitening: The most usual method of tooth whitening is a professional bleaching. The dental team informs you if you are suitable for the tooth whitening treatment and if yes, then they supervise it. First, a rubber shield or a gel is put on the gums to protect them. Then, the whitening products are applied to your teeth, using a specially made tray which fits into the mouth like a mouthguard.
- Dental Implant: A dental implant is a surgical procedure to replace tooth roots with screw-like metal posts and replacing damaged or missing teeth with artificial teeth that look and function much like the real ones. A dental implant offers an alternative to dentures or bridgework that don’t fit well and also provides an option when the lack of natural teeth roots don’t allow the building of dentures or bridgework tooth replacements. The benefits of a dental implant include improved appearance and speech as well as improved oral health and easier eating.
- Smile Designing: A smile design is a dental procedure for creating a straighter, whiter, and beautiful natural-looking smile. It is a dental procedure to improve smile appearance through one/more cosmetic dentistry processes, such as dental veneers, composite bonding, tooth implants, and teeth whitening. Essentially, smile design is something that can be chosen by us while a full mouth reconstruction is something that requires to be performed. A smile makeover includes tooth color, alignment & spacing, missing teeth, harmony & balance, fuller lips, smile, and cheeks.
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