Oral Health and Wellness 101

According to a recent survey, most adults believe a healthy smile is socially important. You might be thinking, “Hey, I don’t hate going to the dentist or fear it. It’s just a mild inconvenience but will give me a healthy smile. But did you know nearly 1 in 25 people are dental-phobic? If you fear going to the dentist, you are not alone. Between 9% and 20% of Americans avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety or fear. That is, they will do everything possible to avoid going to the dentist. Is it because of the fear of pain? Or of being embarrassed? The key to coping with dental phobia is to discuss your fears with your dentist. Once your dentist knows what your fears are, they may be able to determine the best ways to make you more comfortable.

From family dentistry to cosmetic and preventative dental care, there are various procedures dentists use to not only keep your teeth and gums health but to give you the smile you’ve always wanted. Let’s take a look at some of the most common dental procedures, both in pediatric dental exams and adult dental care:

– Tooth extractions: The removal of teeth can be necessary for a number of reasons including shifting teeth, too much damage, baby teeth that don’t fall out, etc. This is usually done with a local anesthetic (numbing area around the tooth) so that all you should feel is pressure. After the extraction you will bite down on a piece of gauze for 20 to 30 minutes, applying pressure to form a blood clot where the tooth was, which is an important part of the healing process.
– Cosmetic dentistry: If your teeth are stained, discolored, worn, chipped, broken, misaligned, misshapen, or have gaps between them, modern cosmetic dentistry can give you a better smile. A “teeth makeover” improves the appearance of your smile through one or more cosmetic dentistry procedures. Some of these include teeth whitening, veneers, bonding, crowns, and dental implants (and nearly 3 million people in the United States have dental implants!) From braces to whitening to Invisalign, there are many cosmetic dental procedures that will ease your anxiety about your teeth and give the results and smile you’ve been wanting.
– Root canal treatment is an often straightforward procedure to relieve dental pain and save your teeth. Patients typically need a root canal when there is inflammation or infection in the roots of a tooth. The root canals in a tooth contain nerves and blood vessels, and after an adult tooth grows in, these really serve no purpose other than sensing temperature and other nerve-stimulating instances. Removing a nerve in an infected tooth is part of a standard procedure to treat teeth pain caused by decay or infection in the tooth pulp (Tooth pulp is the most vital part of the tooth, originating in the center of the tooth. Tooth pulp is soft and consists of living blood vessels, connective tissue, and large nerves.) Common causes of root canals include decaying in the tooth, damage from cracks or chips in a tooth, or disease within the tooth itself. When you experience serious tooth pain when eating/drinking, extreme sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures long after the stimulant itself is present, darkening of the tooth, and tenderness or swelling of the gums, that is usually the time to go see your dentist and see if they recommend treatment for a root canal. The cost varies depending on the severity of disease and the type of dental professional who treats the problem.

According to a recent survey by the American Association of Endodontists, 67% of U.S. adults say the possibility of pain most concerns them about having a root canal. And because the tooth is the only part of the body that can’t really heal itself, it is so important to take care of them when something like a root canal or other situation arises that requires dental attention. Fear of the dentist can make you uneasy, but discussing concerns with those professionals can ease the discomfort and slowly turn your smile into a painless, anxiety-free, and beautiful one.

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