We know that dental anxiety is real, and it can be taxing. There’s nothing like going into an appointment or procedure without knowing everything it will entail, so we wanted to get the most common ones out of the way for you. Our guide below will go over the most common dental procedures, so you know exactly what you’re walking into next time!
1. Crowns and Caps
A crown or cap is created by your dentist to cover a tooth that has been affected by either health or purely aesthetic issues. A tooth may need a crown if it has badly decayed and can no longer be exposed, if it’s broken or chipped, or badly stained beyond the point of repair.
Before the crown is bonded to your teeth, your dentist will freeze the area to ensure you’re comfortable throughout the procedure. Once frozen, the tooth will be filed down to make sure the cap can comfortably and properly fit over it. Before the real cap can be placed, an impression of the teeth and gums will be made, and a temporary cap fitted over the tooth until the crown has been prepared.
This means that this process typically requires two visits. On your next visit, your dentist will cement the new crown to your teeth, this one permanent. The crown will closely match the colour and shape of your teeth in order to blend in as well as possible. Your dentist will give you further instructions for how to take proper care of your teeth and oral hygiene in order to prevent further instances.
2. Oral Cancer Screenings
While not necessarily a procedure to prepare for, these screenings are something to prepare for and be expected. As dental specialists, we’re required to not only treat existing problems, fix dental irregularities and clean your teeth but to ensure that we’re monitoring you for any future problems you could face down the road. Oral cancer screenings happen to fall in our realm of expertise.
We’ll often do these when you come in for your bi-annual check-ups and cleanings, so they don’t need to require an additional appointment. On top of your typical exams, we’ll feel for any unusual lumps or irregular tissue changes in your head, neck, face, and inside your mouth. Part of this exam will also consist of looking for sores or discoloured tissues within your mouth.
The bottom line is, don’t be alarmed if your dentist begins to perform an exam you’re unfamiliar with. It’s not an indication that something is wrong or off, rather, they’re just ensuring they can catch anything irregular early on.
Your routine dental exam will consist of your dentist searching your mouth for any signs of decay, like black, brown and yellow spots, identifying any fillings that may be old or broken, and ensuring that you don’t have any active cavities that need immediate attention.
A cavity doesn’t necessarily always have to be treated immediately, and depending on the severity of it, your dentist may just monitor it instead of choosing to fill it right away. If the cavity is particularly large, it’s likely your dentist will want to take care of it right away so it can’t worsen and start to affect your oral health.
The process of getting a filling consists of your dentist numbing the area to prepare you for the procedure. This allows you to be as comfortable and pain free as possible, allowing you to be relaxed throughout. Once frozen, they will then remove the decay from the tooth. This is done using a drill with that familiar, high pitched sound. Once the decay has been removed, they’ll shape the affected tooth to prepare it for the filling.
A bonding material is added to ensure the material sticks to the tooth and stays on properly. Once everything has been properly bonded and is in the right place, your dentist will finish and polish the tooth to help it look as natural as possible. The entire process is short and sweet, and the local anesthetic helps you to feel virtually nothing throughout the process while leaving you with a renewed and healthy tooth free from pain.
4. Root Canals
You may be familiar with the name of this procedure, but not many are familiar with what, exactly, it entails. Root canals treat abscessed teeth. In order to perform one, the tooth needs to be opened up to remove any infected tissue and decay that may be plaguing the tooth. The space is filled so it can’t remain vacant to attract disease and bacteria, and then the opening is sealed to further protect it.
This procedure is done to preserve your natural tooth, so you can avoid having to go through with having it extracted and replaced with an implant.
5. Professional Teeth Whitening
While this is more of a cosmetic procedure and aesthetic issue, it’s still nice to be prepared for exactly what professional teeth whitening entails so you know precisely what to expect.
Your teeth will naturally darken and begin to stain with age and over long periods of time. This doesn’t necessarily indicate that your teeth are unhealthy, but do pose a variety of aesthetic issues that many don’t care for. When you do notice these dark stains, professional teeth whitening becomes a viable and safe option.
Some dentists will treat you in-office, and others will provide you with an at-home bleaching kit. If they choose the latter, they’ll never just send you on your way without detailed instructions. Your dentist will arm you with all the knowledge you need to properly and safely whiten your teeth at home to achieve the results you’ve discussed prior.
Most of these whitening kits are extremely easy to use, and with the given directions, will likely be a breeze. Whitening treatments can consist of strips, rinses, trays, and toothpaste. Talk to your dentist for detailed information about their preferred method of treatment.