About Dentistry

Everything You Need To Know About Dentistry

Dentistry is a medical practice that focuses on keeping a person’s teeth, mouth, and jaw healthy. It also aims to prevent dental issues from developing that may affect other parts of the body.

Dentists are highly trained medical professionals who must complete rigorous educational programs and pass national and state exams before they can practice. They also often need to complete a residency before becoming licensed.

Dental Hygiene

Dental hygiene is the prevention and treatment of oral diseases like gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath. It includes brushing and flossing regularly, using mouthwash, and visiting the dentist for teeth cleanings and examinations. Dental hygienists help patients understand how to maintain good oral health. They also use their skills to identify and treat problems such as gum disease, infections, bone loss and other issues.

Dental hygienists must be licensed in every state in which they work. Applicants must graduate from an accredited dental hygiene program and pass a national board exam to become a registered dental hygienist. In addition, dental hygienists must be self-disciplined and willing to devote a significant amount of time to their studies. They must also have excellent verbal communication skills, including listening, summarizing, paraphrasing and describing.

Students interested in pursuing a career as a dental hygienist should take high school courses that focus on health, biology, chemistry, math and speech. Many colleges and universities offer an associate degree in dental hygiene, while others offer a four-year bachelor’s degree.

The program at LCCC is a full-time, three-year program that provides classroom and clinical instruction. During the program, students learn about topics such as patient management, head and neck anatomy, medical ethics, dental radiography, nutrition and periodontics, the study of gum disease. They are also required to complete a number of laboratory and clinical hours, as well as pass a criminal background check and drug screening.

Dental Cleanings

Despite your best efforts, it’s impossible to remove every bit of plaque and tartar from your teeth with brushing and flossing alone. During a routine dental cleaning, a dentist or hygienist will use tools to remove these buildups from your teeth, as well as from in between your teeth. They’ll also polish your teeth and apply a fluoride treatment to prevent future buildup.

The main reason that people need regular professional cleanings is to avoid serious oral health issues like gum disease and tooth decay. When left untreated, these problems can lead to severe pain, infection, and even tooth loss. Regular cleanings give your dentist and hygienist the chance to detect these problems early on, before they become more serious.

A professional dental cleaning starts with a comprehensive examination of your mouth and facial area. This includes taking your vital signs, recording your medical history, and checking for any abnormalities. It also gives your hygienist the opportunity to look for any hardened plaque or tartar, and to recommend treatments to help you prevent further buildup.

A typical dental cleaning will last about 30-60 minutes, and is usually performed by a dental hygienist. Some dentists offer sedation dentistry to make the cleaning process more comfortable. Some people may need more frequent professional cleanings than others, but most will benefit from seeing a dentist every six months. This frequency can be adjusted based on your individual needs, however.

Dental Fillings

Dental fillings repair decayed teeth, restoring their function and preventing further damage to the tooth. There are many different types of dental filling materials, and the type your dentist uses depends on a number of factors, including the location and extent of the decay, the cost of the filling material and your insurance coverage.

Tooth fillings, or restorative dentistry treatments, are used to treat cavities (dental caries), the holes in the teeth that form when bacteria on your mouth break down food particles and produce acid that damages the enamel of the tooth. A cavity is often painless, especially when it is still small, but if left untreated, the hole will get bigger and eventually cause more significant problems with the tooth, such as infection.

A dental filling consists of a material that ‘fills’ the damaged portion of the tooth, which is then hardened with a curing light or laser. The dentist will first use a drill and other tools to remove the decayed portion of the tooth, then clean the area and apply the filling. A local anesthetic may be used before the treatment to ensure you are comfortable.

Most dental fillings are made of a porcelain or composite resin, but gold and silver fillings are also commonly used. Gold and porcelain fillings are created outside the mouth before being glued into a tooth’s cavity, which takes more time than other treatments. Resin-based composite and glass ionomer fillings are tooth-colored and release fluoride to help prevent future tooth decay. They last less than amalgam fillings, but they are safer and do not contain mercury. Amalgam fillings, which consist of silver, copper, zinc and tin, are also safe and have been in use for more than 150 years.

Root Canals

A root canal is a dental procedure that involves removing the soft inner part of a tooth, called the pulp. The pulp contains nerve tissue, blood vessels and other cells that help the tooth grow. It also senses hot and cold temperatures and provides a sensation of pain when a problem occurs. A root canal treatment is needed when this inner tissue becomes inflamed or infected, and if left untreated, the infection can spread.

During a root canal, the dentist removes the damaged tissue and cleans the area. Then, they fill the empty space with a rubber-like material called gutta percha and seal the area. They may also add a small support to strengthen the tooth, as well as place a crown on top to protect it in the long term.

Many people worry that root canals are painful, but the techniques used during this procedure have greatly improved over recent decades. In fact, the vast majority of patients experience no significant discomfort during or after root canal therapy.

However, some people can have an immune system that is unable to tolerate root canals. There are anecdotal reports of chronic infection months to years after a root canal, but this is rare. If you are worried, talk to your dentist.

It is important to have regular dental checkups, as this can help reduce the risk of infection in a tooth’s pulp. If a root canal is needed, it should be performed as soon as possible, so the pulp isn’t further inflamed or damaged. It is also a good idea to get routine dental cleanings so that a dentist can detect signs of a pulp problem, such as pain in the tooth or gums, swelling or a bad taste.

Dental Implants

The roots of natural teeth are embedded in the jawbones to provide stability and help translate the bite force of the upper and lower jaws into biting and chewing power. Dental implants mimic the function of natural teeth by replacing missing tooth roots. Made of titanium, a material that integrates well with the human body, dental implants fuse to the jawbone through a process called osseointegration. They serve as a stable foundation for replacement teeth such as dental crowns, bridges, and hybrid dentures.

Implants also prevent bone resorption in the area of the missing tooth. If no dental implant is placed within the first year of a tooth extraction, the bone in that area can shrink up to 25%, and continued loss can lead to other problems such as crooked teeth or impaired speech. In addition, an implant-supported bridge or full set of dentures can help a person speak and eat more easily and clearly.

Before you get an implant, a dentist will perform a clinical assessment to see if you are suitable for the procedure. They will take X-rays and possibly a CT scan to assess the quality of your existing bone and plan where the implant should sit. They may also recommend that you have a bone graft or sinus lift to prepare the area before you have your treatment.

A dental surgeon will insert the implant into your jaw during a minor oral surgery procedure. They will give you anesthesia to numb the area and may offer sedation for your comfort. Using a specialized tool, they will create an opening in the gum tissue to expose the bone. They will then place the implant in the hole and use a specialized tool to widen the opening until it is the right size for the replacement tooth. A small connector post called an abutment will then fit onto the top of the implant to hold the replacement tooth.