Good oral hygiene is essential for overall health, and regular visits to the dentist are a key part of that. But what happens during those appointments?
Dental procedures vary in complexity, however, there are some common treatments that dentists perform on a daily basis. Let’s explore the most common dental procedures so you can be prepared for your next visit.
The bulk of your visits to the dentist will likely consist of basic preventative procedures like the following:
During a routine visit, the dentist will examine the teeth and gums to look for any signs of decay or other oral issues. This may also include taking X-rays to get a better view of areas that can’t be seen with the naked eye. After the exam, a dental hygienist usually cleans the teeth and removes any built-up plaque or tartar.
Sealants are thin, plastic-like coatings that are applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. They help to prevent cavities by “sealing off” any grooves or crevices in the tooth enamel where bacteria can hide and cause decay.
Restorative dental procedures are used to treat or fix the damage caused by cavities, fractures, and other issues. They can range from simple fillings to more complex treatments like crowns. Even with a slight increase in complexity, these restorative procedures rank among the most common dental procedures:
Fillings are commonly used to repair areas of the tooth damaged by decay. The dentist will use a small drill to remove decayed tissue and fill the cavity with a dental material like amalgam or composite resin, restoring the tooth's function.
Crowns are caps that fit over damaged teeth to restore their strength and appearance. Metal-free crowns are custom-made to match the look and color of your teeth.
Cosmetic dental procedures are conducted to enhance the appearance of a person’s smile. This can involve whitening the teeth, reshaping them, or closing gaps between them. These treatments are not medically necessary but many people find them desirable and beneficial for their confidence and self-esteem.
Whitening is one of the most common dental procedures performed within cosmetic dentistry. The procedure can be completed in the dentist’s office in approximately an hour, dramatically improving the appearance of your smile.
Veneers are thin shells that fit over the front of the teeth and are used to cover up chips, cracks, or discoloration. They can also be used to close gaps between teeth or reshape them for a more desirable aesthetic.
Oral surgery is typically needed for more complex issues such as removing impacted teeth or treating severe gum infections. Common oral surgery procedures include:
Tooth extractions are performed when a tooth has been damaged beyond repair or is at risk of infection. When deemed necessary, an extraction can help alleviate pain, prevent further complications, and maintain oral health.
Dental implants are artificial teeth that replace missing natural teeth and provide a permanent solution for tooth loss. Implants have become a significantly more popular, routine alternative to dentures and bridges.