There are many dental procedures, of varying costs, effectiveness, and invasiveness. They range from practical procedures, to restore health and function to the mouth and teeth, to cosmetic procedures that restore or improve the aesthetic quality of the smile, and can even alter the shape of the face. Many of the procedures do both.
Surgical treatments tend to be more invasive by definition, but can be more dramatic and effective, or simply be the only option to get the desired results. Surgical treatments include root canals, tooth extraction, gum tissue grafts, gum contouring, and dental implants. Surgical treatments are done under various forms of anesthesia, some requiring only local anesthesia, and some requiring general anesthesia.
Non-surgical dental procedures include a wide variety of treatments. Tooth fillings are perhaps the most well-known of these. They are used to repair cracked, broken, or decayed teeth. This procedure is done in a dental office, and fillings can be made of a wide variety of materials, depending on the use and the patient. Dental bonding is used to restore or improve a smile. Dental crowns are essentially ‘caps’ over a tooth, and are used for a wide variety of things, including the tops of dental implants, and bridges. Dental bridges are prosthesis that are used to replace a missing tooth. They “bridge” the gap with dental hardware that is hidden, and are bonded to adjacent teeth. Teeth whitening is a common cosmetic practice and is non-invasive. Dental veneers are another cosmetic treatment but have very specific uses. Teeth can also be recontoured by removing material. This is also a cosmetic practice. Tooth extractions, tooth sealants, and mouth guards are all available treatments as well.
Dentures are prosthesis that replace part or all of a patient’s smile. They are custom fit for each individual, and take a few weeks to get used to using. They are removable and have their own cleaning regime.
Gum disease treatments begin with scaling and root planing, which is also known as a deep dental cleaning. Medications are generally used to control enzymes levels and bacteria in the mouth until gums have a chance to heal. More severe gum disease may require surgery.
Braces and aligners treat underbites, overbites, and crooked teeth.
Pain-free or sedation dentistry does not reference unusual or special medications or procedures, but instead references training in a pain management philosophy that makes dental treatment for patients with anxiety or other difficulties possible. These regimes ensure that any procedures will use whatever pain management procedures are appropriate for each patient or difficulty are used. This can range from a small dose of nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” before local anesthetic use, to IV sedation, and everything in between.
Other dental procedures are available based on the needs of each patient. Lasers and other special equipment have been developed to improve some of these procedures, such as curing the material of a filling. This is a broad overview of the most common procedures. Your East Brunswick dentist welcomes any questions you might have.