Routine Dental Exam and Cleaning
Regular dental exams and cleanings are essential to maintain healthy gums and teeth. Seeing your dentist for regular check-up and cleanings helps control bacteria and reduce tartar buildup. As a result, you are less likely to develop tooth decay and gum disease in the future. The examinations your dentist performs can also help them catch potential problems early, allowing them to develop a treatment plan with a greater chance for a positive outcome.
Maintaining clean teeth and healthy gums can also reduce your risks of developing serious and life-threatening issues in the future. For these reasons, it is important to see a dentist at least twice a year.
Cavities, also called tooth decay or dental caries, are permanently damaged areas in the hard surface (enamel) of your teeth that develop into holes. The hole, or cavity, is a breeding ground for bacteria, which will continue to spread and eventually damage the entire tooth unless treatment is sought.
During treatment, your dentist will drill out the decay from your tooth, and fill the hole with a filling. The fillings are molded to match the shape and look of your tooth, and restore your tooth's strength and integrity. There are different types of fillings, the two most common are resin composite (white fillings); and amalgam (silver fillings).
A cavity should be filled as soon as it is detected. If left untreated, the cavity will become big and eventually spread and reach the nerve. The bacteria will eventually infect the root canals of the teeth, which would cause toothache, dental abscess, and facial swelling. Once this happens, you may need to have root canal therapy to alleviate the pain and save the tooth, or in severe cases extract the tooth.
Root Canal Therapy
Root Canal Therapy (RCT) is necessary when bacteria has infected the inner layer of the tooth known as the dental pulp. This usually happens when a cavity is left untreated for a long time, or if a tooth becomes cracked or damaged due to trauma. Infected dental pulp can cause a number of symptoms, including tooth pain that does not go away, sensitivity to heat and cold, swollen gums, pimple or boil on gums; tooth discoloration; and loose tooth.
RCT involves removing the infected dental pulp of a tooth, cleaning the tooth and placing a filling to prevent further infection. It is recommended to put a crown on a tooth that has had a RCT.
Crowns and Bridges
A dental crown, sometimes referred to as a cap, is often recommended to help restore a damaged tooth that is no longer strong enough to function properly. Crowns are also used on dental implants to replace a missing tooth.
A dental bridge is also designed to replace one or more missing teeth. This restoration commonly involves preparing two adjacent teeth for dental crowns or using dental implant crowns connected by an artificial tooth in the middle where a tooth was lost.
Dental crowns and bridges can offer great benefits to your smile. Dental crowns help replace lost tooth structure, increase the survival of weakened teeth (teeth that have had root canals), and improve the appearance of misshaped or discolored teeth. Dental bridges and implant crowns help to replace missing teeth and improve your chewing, speaking, and appearance of your smile.
A tooth extraction is when the tooth is completely removed from its socket. We prefer to save natural teeth whenever possible. However, there are some cases when a tooth extraction is necessary, for instance, if there is severe tooth decay, fractured tooth, impacted tooth, crowded teeth (if you are doing orthodontic treatment to straighten your teeth), and severe gum disease.