Braces can be made less noticeable-or as noticeable-as the patient desires. Brackets are now smaller and made of several different types of material: metal, ceramic, plastic or a combination of these materials. Some brackets are clear or tooth-colored. For those who want to show off their braces, there are brackets shaped like hearts and footballs, and elastics (orthodontic rubber bands) are available in school colors and can be changed monthly.
Treatment plans are customized for each patient, but most people wear their braces for one to three years depending on the conditions that need correcting. Then a retainer is used that holds the teeth in their new positions. Although a little discomfort is expected today’s braces are more comfortable than ever before. The great news is that all the effort has a great payoff – a beautiful new smile.
Tooth loss is a celebrated event during childhood, but losing teeth as an adult can be devastating. Not only will you suffer the cosmetic embarrassment of a gapped smile, but you will also develop numerous problems with your oral health if you do not replace the missing teeth. Biting and chewing food will become more difficult, and your remaining teeth will start to shift out of place because tooth loss creates extra room for them to do so.
Dentures are a type of prosthesis used to accommodate missing teeth. These devices are typically removable, but some are bonded or implanted. When all teeth are absent, complete dentures are used. When only some teeth are missing, partial dentures are used. Dentures may be for the maxillary arch, mandibular arch or both.
Dentists whom specialize in endodontics are dealing with the cause, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases and decay that cause tooth pain. They specialize in performing root canal treatments and other procedures. These specialists have at least two years of additional education beyond their traditional dental schooling and training.
Dental extractions are a common practice in oral care and consist of the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone. When a tooth cannot be fixed with a filling or crown, an extraction may be the best answer. Trauma, disease or crowding are a few cases that might call for the removal of your teeth. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon typically handles this kind of procedure but if it’s not a complicated (impacted tooth) a general dentist may also perform simple extractions.
Gum disease is an infection of the periodontal tissues that provide support for the teeth. These tissues include the gums, periodontal ligaments and the jawbone. Also called periodontal disease, this condition begins with bacteria-ridden plaque irritating the gum tissues. If this plaque is not removed with thorough brushing and flossing, it will turn into a hard substance called tartar. Once this happens, you can no longer sufficiently clean your teeth on your own because tartar must be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist with a special instrument.
While many people will have no trouble with their wisdom teeth, these teeth are often removed to prevent more serious issues like an abscess. These teeth generally begin to surface in the late teens to early 20s, and many times, they become impacted as they develop, growing sideways into the other teeth or angled forward. Wisdom teeth may erupt from the gumline or may still be set in the jaw.
Orthodontics is a specialty of dentistry devoted to correcting misalignments of the bite and teeth. Using appliances such as braces, headgear and palatal expanders, orthodontists can move teeth and jawbones into their ideal positions for optimal oral functioning and aesthetic appeal. To become an orthodontist, a dentist must undergo up to three years of specialized training after completing dental school.
Just as pediatricians specialize in health care for children, pediatric dentistry refers to children’s dental care. Sometimes called pedodontics, pediatric dentistry starts even before a child’s first teeth appear. Your child’s dentist can assess oral health and ensure that new teeth grow normally. Early dental visits also teach children about proper oral hygiene from a young age and foster good dental habits. Kids who learn early that dental visits are neither painful nor unpleasant generally grow into adults who feel comfortable with regular dental upkeep.
Periodontics is an oral specialty that offers support specializing in the various inflammatory diseases that affect the gums and other oral structures that support the teeth. This specialty has a primary focus on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of these diseases. These periodontal cases include but are not limited to mild and severe gum diseases. In addition to their dental schooling, periodontists pursue an extensive post-graduate program of three years.
Prosthodontics is a title that pertains to dentists who specialize in the diagnosis, treatment planning, restoration and replacement of teeth. Their focus consists of, but is not limited to crowns, dentures and cosmetic implants. Prosthodontists have obtained a higher level of education and have pursued three or more years of extensive state-of-the-art training after their dental school completion.
A root canal, also called endodontic therapy, treats teeth that have become severely damaged, allowing the nerves and soft inner pulp of the tooth to become infected. Your dentist may also recommend a root canal if a tooth has become so damaged or decayed that future infection appears inevitable. Root canals have a reputation for being painful, but modern endodontic techniques and anesthetics make the procedure no more uncomfortable than having a tooth filled. After completing the root canal, the tooth will also need a crown or filling to complete the restoration.