Many people find themselves quite overwhelmed when they discover that it is once again time to visit the dentist. While we understand that some of the anxiety that comes along with going to the dentist derives from childhood memories or bad experiences in the past, we also think that a lot of the fear that patients experience has to do with not being informed about what our procedures actually entail. In this post, we are going to tell you a bit more about some of the most common dental procedures we perform at Brightleaf Dental in Santa Monica. Continue reading below to learn more.
This is probably the most common procedure to be performed in a dentist’s office. People have to get fillings when the dentist discovers that a cavity is present. If it is a surface-level cavity, your dentist will most likely use a silver metal or white composite materials in order to fill the hole where the cavity was residing. This means that the cavity cannot grow anymore and that your tooth will be sealed off to protect it from future carries. Fillings can also be used if your teeth have been through any sort of trauma that has left them broken or cracked.
Ah, the dreaded root canal. Chances are you have heard a horror story or two about root canals at one point or another. While we certainly aren’t going to tell you that you’re going to enjoy your root canal, we can ensure you that this procedure, when completed by a qualified dental professional, is not as bad as you may be anticipating.
Root canals are also one of the most commonly performed dental procedures meaning whether they are fun or not, they have to be done from time to time. This is often because the tooth’s pulp (the tissue inside of the tooth) has become infected or inflamed and therefore has to be removed. There are many different things that can cause an infection to occur in the pulp of a tooth. Some of the most common causes are deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the same tooth, faulty crowns, or a crack or chip in a tooth.
Additionally if a tooth’s pulp is infected or inflamed and nothing is done to correct it, the tooth may become extremely infected, expelling pus and growing an abscess. Abscesses additionally, can destroy the bone around the tooth, making living with the infection extremely painful.
Dental Crowns (Caps)
A crown is a piece of dental equipment that works to permanently cover an existing tooth. This is most common when a tooth has become chipped or broken or after a root canal in order to strengthen the tooth. When you come into your dental office to get a cap put on, your dentist will start by numbing the tooth and the tissue that is around it with anesthetic. The tooth will then be filed down to make room for the crown. If there is too much of the tooth missing already, then your dentist might have to use filling material to build up the tooth so that it can support the crown. Once the tooth has been reshaped, your dentist will make a mold which will be sent to the lab so that a crown can be custom made for your tooth. In the meantime, a temporary crown will be put on your tooth until your permanent crown is ready. Your tooth will then be anesthetized during your second visit and your permanent crown will be placed.
Bridges & Implants
These two dental procedures are used to replace one missing tooth or multiple teeth. The first is a bridge, also known as a fixed removable denture. This is a false tooth that attaches to the teeth on either side by using crowns to do so.
The other option you have for replacing a missing tooth is to have an implant put in. Implants are great because they look and act like natural teeth and also include the crown and root. This option is made from metal posts or frames that are placed into the bone socket of the missing tooth. As your jaw begins to heal, the bone will grow around the post which will eventually keep the tooth secure.
Lastly, dentists are extremely used to performing tooth extractions. When a tooth has become decayed or broken and it cannot be repaired, the dentist will have to take it completely out of the mouth. Wisdom teeth are a great example of teeth that are commonly extracted from patients’ mouths as they do not serve a purpose and can greatly alter smiles in a negative way if they are allowed to grow in. Your dentist will not do this without using anesthetic (unless instructed to do so) and will try to make the process as painless as possible every step of the way.
Make an Appointment at Brightleaf Dental
Now that you know the ins and outs of the most common procedures we perform at Brightleaf Dental, we hope you will not feel as anxious the next time you need dental care. Plain and simple, avoiding the dentist will only result in your having to have more extensive work completed in the future, which we are sure you do not want at all. If you are currently in need of assistance from a dentist, you can call our Santa Monica dental office right now and we will make you an appointment right away!