Many people feel anxious about going to see their dentist. Knowing more about common dental procedures can go a long way towards setting your mind at ease. At Greenspoint Dental, our dental team serves the wonderful people who live and work in the greater Houston area.
What to Expect with Common Dental Procedures
We provide quality dental care for a wide range of dental needs, including orthodontics, cosmetic dentistry, general dentistry, and restorative dental procedures and treatments. Some of the more common dental procedures we offer include:
Fillings– Dental fillings are one of the most commonly performed dental procedures. Sometimes a filling is necessary to correct a small cavity, a small chip or broken area on a tooth.
Dental caries, commonly called cavities, can often be treated with a colored tooth composite filling that matches the shade of your teeth to make it less noticeable. By sealing and filling the cavity, the chewing surface is restored, and the progress of the cavity is halted. Cavities do not get better on their own and must be treated to prevent further damage such as part of the tooth breaking or even needing a root canal treatment.
To complete a filling, the dentist will need to remove any damaged tooth material and place a tooth-colored filling to restore the missing part of your tooth.
Root Canals– A root canal is a procedure that removes the inner soft tissue, or pulp, of the tooth, as well as the nerve and any blood vessels inside the tooth. A tooth can often be saved with a root canal treatment. If a cavity remains untreated, bacteria can invade the tooth causing inflammation and infection.
Since the infection has no place to go, it causes what is known as a dental abscess. When a tooth develops a dental abscess, pus causes pressure builds up inside of the tooth and the bone, impinging upon the nerve and causing severe pain. Untreated dental abscesses can also damage the surrounding gum tissue and even spread into the bone.
During a root canal treatment, the dentist removes any infected nerve tissue, existing dental material, cleaning and then sealing the inside of the tooth canals to preserve its integrity and improve its structure. A crown is usually added to strengthen the tooth and restore the chewing surface of the tooth and prevent further damage to the tooth.
Dental Crowns– A dental crown is a man made cap or cover, that fits on an existing tooth. Crowns are typically used after a root canal has been completed, or to replace the chewing surface of a tooth that has been damaged by decay or trauma. In many cases, the tooth is first built up to strengthen the tooth before the crown is completed. The surface of the tooth must be reshaped, and then an impression is made so that a perfectly fitted crown can be fabricated to restore the surface of the tooth.
You will be given a temporary crown while the new crown is being fabricated at the dental laboratory. The crown is typically precision milled out of zirconia or porcelain fused to metal restoration.
Tooth Extractions– If a tooth has been damaged, either from trauma or decay, it may not be salvageable and may need to be removed. This is known as a dental extraction. Sometimes a tooth is extracted because there is an arch length discrepancy (larger teeth than the size of the jaw), or to create additional space to resolve crowding for orthodontics.
In some situations, a patient may require the removal of one or more of their wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth, so called because of the age that they typically emerge (in the early 20’s), are the last molars, emerging behind the 1st and 2nd molars on either side of the upper and lower jaw.
Wisdom teeth can crowd other teeth and may cause discomfort or even infections in some patients. Simple extractions refer to those in which a visible tooth is loosened and removed. Pain relieving medications, such as local anesthetics, are used to numb the area around the tooth and alleviate any discomfort during the procedure. Some of our Houston patients also request nitrous oxide, or even IV sedation in order to feel more comfortable during the procedure.
If a tooth is broken below the gumline or has not yet emerged, it may require surgical extraction. A surgical extraction requires cutting a small area of the gum and/or bone to gain access to the tooth in order to extract it. Your dentist will provide you with the necessary pain-relieving medications, antibiotics, as well as complete after-care instructions after your extraction.
If you would like to know more about our commitment to exceptional dental services or to schedule an appointment or consultation, please call (281) 823-9987 or click here. At Greenspoint Dental, we care about you and your teeth. Call today.