GENERAL DENTAL TREATMENT

OVERVIEW

TYPE OF TREATMENTS

Extraction

Fillings

Scaling & Polishing

Teeth Grinding

EXTRACTION

A dental extraction, sometimes referred to as exodontia, is the removal of a tooth from the mouth. Extractions are performed for a wide variety of reasons, including tooth decay that has destroyed enough tooth structure to prevent restoration. Extractions of impacted or problematic wisdom teeth are also routinely performed, as are extractions of some permanent teeth to make space for orthodontic treatment.

What Should You Expect When You Are Scheduled For A Tooth Extraction?

Your dentist will numb the area to lessen any discomfort. After the extraction, your dentist will advise you of what post extraction regimen to follow, in most cases a small amount of bleeding is normal. Avoid anything that might prevent normal healing. It is usually best not to smoke or rinse your mouth vigorously, or drink through a straw for 24 hours. These activities could dislodge the clot and delay healing.For the first few days, if you must rinse, rinse your mouth gently afterward. For pain or swelling, you can apply a cold cloth or an ice bag. Ask your dentist about pain medication. You can brush and floss the other teeth as usual but do not clean the teeth next to the tooth socket.

FILLINGS

A dental restoration or dental filling is a dental restorative material used artificially to restore the function, integrity and morphology of missing tooth structure. The structural loss typically results from caries or external trauma. Dental restorations may be fabricated out of a variety of materials such as dental amalgam, glass ionomer cement and composite resins. Several factors influence the performance, durability, longevity and cost of dental restorations. These factors include: the patient's oral and general health, the components used in the filling material; where and how the filling is placed; the chewing load that the tooth will have to bear; and the length and number of visits needed to prepare and adjust the restored tooth.

Several factors influence the performance, durability, longevity and cost of dental restorations. These factors include: the patient's oral and general health, the components used in the filling material; where and how the filling is placed; the chewing load that the tooth will have to bear; and the length and number of visits needed to prepare and adjust the restored tooth.

SCALING & POLISHING

Your dentist or hygienist will use a 'scale and polish' when your teeth require a thorough clean to remove all traces of plaque and tartar. Scaling is used to remove the hard tartar on your teeth, which cannot be removed by simply brushing your teeth. The polishing stage helps to clean away stains from your teeth, which may have been caused by coffee, tea or red wine. For stubborn stains, you require something more than polishing. The dentist uses an equipment known as "prophyjet" to 'blast away' the stains. If you have gum disease, you will require a deeper scaling which is called 'root planing'. As this treatment cleans all around the roots of the teeth, your dentist or hygienist may discuss the option of giving you a local anaesthetic, so that it does not feel too sensitive and uncomfortable.

Having a regular 'scale and polish' will help you maintain healthy teeth and gums and it will make it easier for you to keep them clean at home. As this procedure will thoroughly clean your teeth, they will look and feel different too. If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth, this may be the early signs of gum disease and you should tell your dentist. By visiting your dentist or hygienist for regular scaling, this can help prevent gum disease from getting worse. This will also prevent bad breath, which may be caused by gum disease.

TEETH GRINDING

What causes teeth grinding?

Teeth Grinding is usually caused by a combination of Dental and Psychological factors. Dental factors include Malocclusion (misalignment of teeth) and Occlusal interference (interference when biting). Psychological factors include stress, tension, anxiety, anger etc.

Why does teeth grinding only happen at night?

The grinding of teeth is very similar to our chewing action. The act of chewing is actually quite a complex action, involving our muscles of mastication (muscles controlling chewing), our teeth, our Tempuro Mandibular Joint (TMJ), our tongue etc. Chewing is controlled by both reflex actions and active conscious control by our brain. At night during sleep, our higher control by our brain is inactive and in highly stressed individuals their reflex part is still active and this leads to involuntary grinding of the teeth.

What are the consequences of teeth grinding?

Unfortunately many patients do not even know that they have a grinding problem. It is only when they complain about the consequences of teeth grinding that the problem is diagnosed.

Consequences of grinding include:

  • Broken restorations (like fillings, crowns, bridgework or veneers);
  • Excessive wear or damage to the teeth;
  • Pain around the neck, cheek or temple region;
  • Pain around the Tempuro Mandibular Joint (TMJ).

How do you know if you grind your teeth at night? Could you describe the type of sound a teeth grinder makes at night?

Many times it is the spouse or sleeping companion/partner that notices the grinding sound before the sufferer even realises he/she has the problem. This grinding sound can sometimes be really loud.

What causes teeth grinding?

Teeth Grinding is usually caused by a combination of Dental and Psychological factors. Dental factors include Malocclusion (misalignment of teeth) and Occlusal interference (interference when biting). Psychological factors include stress, tension, anxiety, anger etc.

How does one stop grinding their teeth?

Treatment involves both dealing with the dental and psychological/emotional problems, as follows:

  • A proper examination and diagnosis including questions about stress or anxiety that the patient may be feeling due to problems at work, at home, or with relationships etc.
  • Usually a splint is used to relieve the immediate signs and symptoms.
  • For long term solution, dental problems may have to be rectified by replacing restorations and missing teeth, correcting occlusal problems with fillings or crowns. In some cases it may even include correcting malocclusion with braces.
  • For complex cases they are best managed by a Prosthodontist (a dental specialist whose expertise is in restoring dentition and TMJ)
  • Patients may also be referred for counselling to resolve their stress/anxiety or emotional problems.
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