In dentistry, there are various treatments that patients can undergo to take better care of their teeth. Professional dental treatments can include anything, from routine procedures (like annual cleaning or dental scaling) to more complex, long-term therapy (like orthodontic treatments or oral surgery).
What are the types of dental treatment your treating doctor might recommend? Learn more about your options and the problems they address.
7 Dental Treatments to Ask Your Dentist About
Work with your doctor to figure out which treatments are best for you. Use this general list of dentist services as a guide to jumpstart those conversations.
1. Cleaning and whitening
Most dentists recommend that patients undergo professional teeth cleaning (a.k.a. “dental prophylaxis”) at least twice a year. Unlike daily teeth brushing and flossing, professional cleaning is much more thorough and involves the removal of stubborn plaque buildup. It’s a preventative measure against various dental issues, including cavities and gingivitis.
Teeth whitening can be an additional benefit of professional cleaning. It’s also a separate procedure that dentists offer. It’s a relatively painless process for bleaching teeth. Since it’s natural for teeth to discolour over time, some may choose to undergo whitening routinely (at least once a year) for maintenance.
A tooth extraction sounds extreme, but it’s one of the most common dental procedures patients can go through. It refers to pulling or “extracting” teeth from their socket. It’s often the last resort when a damaged tooth can’t be saved through other means, i.e., fillings or crowns.
3. Root canal treatment
This procedure falls under endodontics, which deals with the study and treatment of dental pulp. If your dentist discovers an infection at the centre of a tooth (the root canal system), they may recommend this treatment. The method effectively removes the infection and prevents it from spreading.
It may save a tooth that would otherwise require extraction. If you’re experiencing a persistent toothache, reach out to your dentist so they can determine the source. While the infection may be painful, the procedure to treat it isn’t. Patients receive a local anesthetic to numb the affected area.
4. Crowns, fillings, and bridges
These three refer to different options for repairing or replacing missing, decayed, or damaged teeth. They enable the teeth to recover with fewer issues. All call for relatively quick and painless procedures.
- Dental crowns are custom-made to fit over an existing tooth with damage to its top. It serves as a cap or cover that prevents further deterioration. This option is better vs. fillings for teeth with larger cavities.
- Dental fillings are for smaller cavities in teeth. Dentists remove the decayed portion of a tooth, so they can refill the area with the appropriate materials, i.e., gold or porcelain.
- Dental bridges “bridge” the gaps between teeth. They’re fixed prosthetics or a replacement for missing teeth. They help prevent the surrounding teeth from shifting into empty spaces.
5. Dentures and implants
Dentures, or false teeth, seamlessly replace natural teeth. A full set of dentures replace all missing teeth, while a partial set replaces one or more. They fit snugly over your gums, enabling the wearer to eat, speak, and exercise facial muscles comfortably. They’re also completely removable.
Meanwhile, dental implants are a fixed alternative to removable dentures. They’re surgically implanted into the jaw. Like dentures, they help the wearer perform daily tasks like chewing or speaking. They also support dental prosthetics like crowns or bridges.
6. Braces and aligners
Braces are orthodontic devices that align, straighten, and improve the positioning of misaligned teeth. With consistent use, they should help the patient develop a healthy bite free of malocclusions.
When people think of dental braces, they usually think of traditional metal-wired braces. After all, they’re the most common type. They move teeth to the desired position with fixed metal brackets and wires. But clear aligners are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative, especially among people looking for more discreet orthodontic treatment.
Clear aligners are undetectable, removable, and fit seamlessly over teeth. ClearCorrect is one of the global leading brands under the Straumann Group. It uses a medical-grade, triple-layer plastic material called ClearQuartz. The material makes them incredibly durable and stain-resistant. They also maintain their shape and comfortable grip throughout treatment. Aligners apply gentle, consistent pressure on misaligned teeth to straighten them out.
Are you considering getting clear aligners? Ask your dentist to walk you through the process, so you know what you’re committing to. Certified ClearCorrect providers use ClearPilot to plan your teeth movement, so you’ll be able to visualise your teeth’s alignment journey. Think of it as your dental GPS!
Dental veneers are shells that fit over the front section of teeth to conceal cosmetic imperfections. High-quality veneers should look identical to natural teeth. For the most part, they simply improve the look of teeth but don’t offer any reparative benefits. They’re best for people who have otherwise healthy teeth but want to improve the look of discolouration and minor gaps or cracks.