Dentists and Oral Health

Dentistry is a health care profession focused on the oral cavity and includes studies, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental diseases, injuries, and defects. Contact Boca Dental and Braces now!

With a steady demand for oral health services, dentists are able to enjoy job stability and income potential. Additionally, many dentists own their own practices, which gives them a sense of autonomy and control over their professional lives.

  1. Preventive Care

Many healthcare providers believe that oral health is an integral part of overall health. Infection in the mouth can spread to other parts of the body, causing more serious problems. For this reason, dentists recommend routine dental care for all patients. During dental appointments, dentists clean and floss teeth, apply fluoride treatments, and diagnose and treat any issues, such as cavities, gum disease or an overbite.

Unlike traditional medical care, which focuses on treating diseases or conditions after they develop, preventive care aims to stop health problems before they start. Preventive care includes screenings, checkups and patient counseling that can help keep people healthy and detect disease early when it is easier to treat.

Dentists have extensive education and training to treat a wide range of dental issues. Some specialize in cosmetic procedures, including veneers to create a beautiful smile and gummy smile lifts. Others focus on children’s dentistry or have advanced training in prosthodontics, which involves the restoration and replacement of teeth with crowns and bridges or dental implants.

  1. Routine Exams

A dental exam is an in-depth assessment of a patient’s oral health that involves a comprehensive evaluation of the mouth and teeth. It can also include a full dental cleaning, during which the dentist scrapes off any plaque and tartar from the teeth before brushing them and polishing them for a clean and smooth finish.

A routine exam can help patients avoid more serious and invasive procedures if it detects problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer at an early stage. It can also help to identify risk factors that could lead to these issues in the future, helping patients to establish good habits and avoid more complications down the road.

During the exam process, dentists will ask about any medical conditions that may affect oral health, like diabetes or arthritis, and review the patient’s medical history, especially if they’re visiting a new practice. They’ll also take X-rays to look for underlying dental issues that aren’t visible with the naked eye.

  1. Teeth Cleanings

Regular teeth cleanings are necessary to remove plaque, tartar and biofilm buildup that cannot be removed by brushing alone. It also allows the dentist to spot potential issues and address them early on before they worsen.

A dental hygienist will scrape the teeth with hand instruments or an ultrasonic device to loosen and remove built-up tooth plaque and tartar. This process may cause slight discomfort but should not be painful.

After the teeth are cleaned, the hygienist will polish them with a toothbrush and gritty toothpaste. This will remove surface stains and make the teeth more stain-resistant. They will also floss between the teeth to detect any areas where the gums are bleeding.

Finally, the hygienist will apply a fluoride rinse or gel to the teeth to strengthen them against decay. This step is optional but recommended by many dentists. Generally, patients are advised to come in for routine cleanings every six months. However, this will vary from patient to patient as some will require more frequent appointments based on their oral health.

  1. Fillings

Dental fillings are used to repair damaged teeth, primarily those with tooth decay. A dentist will numb the area with a local anesthetic and then remove any bacteria or decay from the affected tooth. After cleaning the area, they will apply adhesives and then a composite or amalgam filling material to the affected area. A blue-colored bonding light is then used to harden the composite material.

Amalgam fillings are made of mercury, silver, tin, and copper and have been in use for over a century. Although some people have concerns about the mercury in these types of fillings, research has not shown that they cause any harm to patients.

A tooth-colored composite can be used to fill a cavity or crack and will blend in with the surrounding teeth. These are a popular choice for their natural appearance, and they can also be shaped to fit your bite. Typically, a tooth-colored composite will last for more than 20 years when properly cared for.

  1. Extractions

While a dentist’s first goal is to preserve a patient’s natural teeth, there are situations where this is no longer possible. In these instances, tooth extractions can provide significant benefits for patients including pain relief and improved oral health.

A simple extraction is often performed using local anesthesia and involves removing the damaged or decayed tooth from its socket. A surgical extraction involves cutting into gum tissue to access the roots of a tooth and can be performed in more complex cases such as impacted wisdom teeth or severe dental damage.

Infection can be a concern after a dental extraction, particularly in immunocompromised patients, so close attention should be taken to post-operative care instructions and liaison with medical professionals as appropriate. However, when followed carefully, dental extractions can be safe and effective in addressing various types of oral problems. Patients may need to replace a lost or extracted tooth with a dental implant, a dental bridge or a partial denture.

  1. Root Canals

Root canal treatment is one of the most effective ways to save a damaged tooth. It involves cleaning the infected interior of the tooth and replacing it with a sterile filling material. It’s important to note that while root canal treatments were painful decades ago, with today’s dental technology and local anesthetics the procedure is very quick, painless and safe.

Inside each tooth is a hollow space filled with vascular tissue and nerves that extend through canals in the roots. When bacteria reach this tissue, inflammation and pressure build up. This may manifest as sensitivity to hot and cold, throbbing when chewing or a gray discoloration. If left untreated, the infection can spread and create a dental abscess that “blows” as a sudden, severe toothache.

During the root canal process, your dentist will open the tooth through the crown to expose and access the pulp chamber and root canals. Then they will clean the inflamed and infected area, removing all debris and disinfecting the space. Once the tooth is fully cleaned, it will be filled with a biocompatible substance and anchored to the rest of the tooth with adhesive cement.

  1. Implants

Implants are titanium posts inserted into your jawbone to hold artificial teeth. They act like natural tooth roots and may help keep your surrounding teeth from drifting toward the gap (a process called odontogenic migratory osteogenic syndrome).

Your dentist will perform a comprehensive dental exam before starting an implant treatment plan. This will usually include dental X-rays and 3D images, and models of your mouth and jaw. You might also receive a sedative during this exam, especially if the treatment is expected to take a long time or if you have other medical conditions that might prevent healing after the surgery.

During the implant surgery, your surgeon will give you anesthesia to numb the area. Then, they will make an incision in your gum to expose the bone. Next, they will drill into the bone and place an implant post. After the implant has bonded with the bone, a metal spacer is screwed on to connect it to the new artificial tooth.

  1. Cosmetic Procedures

Cosmetic procedures are a big part of the dental industry and many people have heard about them from the media and reality shows. These procedures are non-invasive and help patients achieve a smile that will boost their confidence.

Cosmetic treatments are often grouped with restorative procedures because they can have an impact on both the health and appearance of your teeth. For example, repairing a cracked tooth with a dental crown is both restorative and cosmetic because it will improve the structural integrity of the tooth and protect your mouth from further damage.

Other common cosmetic treatments include dental bonding and composite veneers, which can visually fix teeth with gaps or cracks. Teeth whitening is another popular treatment, which is often advertised in over-the-counter products and professional offices alike. This procedure can dramatically improve the color of a tooth without the need for an extensive invasive treatment. Full mouth restorations and dental implants can also provide a healthy, beautiful smile by correcting misaligned or missing teeth.

  1. Preventive Medicine

Preventive medicine is a medical specialty that seeks to protect, promote, and maintain health and well-being. It focuses on averting disease, illness, disability, and death on an individual level and in communities and populations at large.

This includes promoting healthy behaviors, running health screenings to detect early signs of disease, and providing immunizations to prevent certain diseases. It also involves addressing risk factors like lifestyle, diet, and environment that can lead to chronic diseases.

Doctors who specialize in this field often work both clinically and non-clinically. They may work closely with patients, helping them make lifestyle changes or run screenings that can reduce their chances of developing an illness. They can also provide education and advice to communities on how they can stay healthy. This infographic is designed to help raise awareness of the importance of this field and its impact on patients’ lives. Please share with your colleagues and networks!