Cosmetic dentistry is generally used to refer to any dental work that improves the appearance (though not necessarily the function) of a person's teeth, gums and/or bite. It primarily focuses on improvement dental aesthetics in color, position, shape, size, alignment and overall smile appearance. Many dentists refer to themselves as "cosmetic dentists" regardless of their specific education, specialty, training, and experience in this field. This has been considered unethical with a predominant objective of marketing to patients. The American Dental Association does not recognize cosmetic dentistry as a formal specialty area of dentistry. However, there are still dentists that promote themselves as cosmetic dentists.
Removable partial dentures are for patients who are missing some of their teeth on a particular arch. Fixed partial dentures, also known as "crown and bridge" dentures, are made from crowns that are fitted on the remaining teeth. They act as abutments and pontics and are made from materials resembling the missing teeth. Fixed bridges are more expensive than removable appliances but are more stable.
Another option in this category is the Flexible partial, which is widely considered to be the most comfortable. The final restoration can now be made very quickly with innovations in digital technology. Flexible partials are becoming much more popular due to their aesthetic qualities. While the cost may be higher than a partial made with visible metal clasps, the results of the flexible partial are beautiful, with high levels of satisfaction. Flexible partial fabrication involves only non-invasive procedures, and serves as a virtually invisible tooth replacement option.
Complete dentures are worn by patients who are missing all of the teeth in a single arch (i.e., the maxillary (upper) or mandibular (lower) arch) or, more commonly, in both arches, upper/maxillary and lower/mandibular alike.
Extractions are often categorized as "simple" or "surgical".
Simple extractions are performed on teeth that are visible in the mouth, usually under local anaesthetic, and require only the use of instruments to elevate and/or grasp the visible portion of the tooth. Typically the tooth is lifted using an elevator, and using dental forceps, rocked back and forth until the periodontal ligament has been sufficiently broken and the supporting alveolar bone has been adequately widened to make the tooth loose enough to remove. Typically, when teeth are removed with forceps, slow, steady pressure is applied with controlled force.
Surgical extractions involve the removal of teeth that cannot be easily accessed, either because they have broken under the gum line or because they have not erupted fully. Surgical extractions almost always require an incision. In a surgical extraction the doctor may elevate the soft tissues covering the tooth and bone and may also remove some of the overlying and/or surrounding jawbone tissue with a drill or osteotome. Frequently, the tooth may be split into multiple pieces to facilitate its removal. Surgical extractions are usually performed under a general anaesthetic.
Teeth cleaning (also known as prophylaxis, literally a preventive treatment of a disease) is a procedure for the removal of tartar that may develop even with careful brushing and flossing, especially in areas that are difficult to reach in routine tooth brushing. Professional cleaning includes tooth scaling and tooth polishing and debridement if too much tartar has accumulated. This involves the use of various instruments or devices to loosen and remove deposits from the teeth.
A dental implant (also known as an endosseous implant or fixture) is a surgical component that interfaces with the bone of the jaw or skull to support a dental prosthesis such as a crown, bridge, denture, facial prosthesis or to act as anorthodontic anchor. The basis for modern dental implants is a biologic process called osseointegration where materials, such as titanium, form an intimate bond to bone. The implant fixture is first placed, so that it is likely to osseointegrate, then a dental prosthetic is added. A variable amount of healing time is required for osseointegration before either the dental prosthetic (a tooth, bridge or denture) is attached to the implant or an abutment is placed which will hold a dental prosthetic.
Endodontic therapy or root canal therapy is a sequence of treatment for the infected pulp of a tooth which results in the elimination of infection and the protection of the decontaminated tooth from future microbial invasion. Root canals and their associated pulp chamber are the physical hollows within a tooth that are naturally inhabited by nerve tissue, blood vessels and other cellular entities which together constitute the dental pulp. Endodontic therapy involves the removal of these structures, the subsequent shaping, cleaning, and decontamination of the hollows with small files and irrigating solutions, and the obturation (filling) of the decontaminated canals with an inert filling such as gutta-percha and typically a eugenol-based cement. Epoxyresin is employed to bind gutta-percha in some root canal procedures. Endodontics includes both primary and secondary endodontic treatments as well as periradicular surgery, as applied to teeth that still have potential for salvage.
In dentistry, crown refers to the anatomical area of teeth, usually covered by enamel. The crown is usually visible in themouth after developing below the gingiva and then erupting into place. If part of the tooth gets chipped or broken, a dentist can apply an artificial crown. Crowns are used most commonly to entirely cover a damaged tooth or cover an implant. Bridges are are also used to cover a space if one or more teeth is missing. They are cemented to natural teeth or implants surrounding the space where the tooth once stood. There are various materials that can be used including a type of cement or stainless steel. The cement crowns look like regular teeth while the stainless steel crowns are silver or gold.
A bridge is a fixed dental restoration (a fixed dental prosthesis) used to replace a missing tooth (or several teeth) by joining an artificial tooth permanently to adjacent teeth or dental implants.
Types of bridges may vary, depending upon how they are fabricated and the way they anchor to the adjacent teeth. Conventionally, bridges are made using the indirect method of restoration. However, bridges can be fabricated directly in the mouth using such materials as composite resin.
Direct dental composites are placed by the dentist in a clinical setting. Polymerization is accomplished typically with a hand held curing light that emits specific wavelengths keyed to the initiator and catalyst packages involved. When using a curing light, the light should be held as close to the resin surface as possible, a shield should be placed between the light tip and the operator's eyes. Curing time should be increased for darker resin shades. Light cured resins provide denser restoration than self-cured resins because no mixing is required that might introduce air bubble porosity.
Direct dental composites can be used for:
Occlusal splints (also called bite splints, bite planes, or night guards) are removable dental appliances carefully molded to fit the upper or lower arches of teeth.
They are used to protect tooth and restoration surfaces, manage mandibular (jaw) dysfunction TMD, and stabilize the jaw joints during occlusion or create space prior to restoration procedures. People prone to nocturnal bruxism, or nighttime clenching, as well as morsicatio buccarum may routinely wear occlusal splints at night. However, a meta-analysis of occlusal splints used for this purpose concluded "There is not enough evidence to state that the occlusal splint is effective for treating sleep bruxism. Indication of its use is questionable with regard to sleep outcomes, but there may be some benefit with regard to tooth wear.
Periodontitis - A serious gum infection that damages gums and can destroy the jawbone.
Periodontitis is common but fairly preventable. The cause is usually poor oral hygiene. Periodontitis can lead to tooth loss. It's a risk factor for heart and lung diseases.
Symptoms include swollen, red and/or bleeding, and tender gums.
Treatment includes professionally cleaning the pockets around teeth to prevent damage to surrounding bone. Advanced cases may require surgery.
For comprehensive orthodontic treatment, metal wires are inserted into orthodontic brackets (braces), which can be made from stainless steel or a more aesthetic ceramic material. The wires interact with the brackets to move teeth into the desired positions. Invisalign or other aligner trays consist of clear plastic trays that move teeth. Functional appliances are often used to redirect jaw growth.
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