Oral Health Procedures
Oral Health Procedures
Hopping in the dentist chair for a dental procedure can be a straightforward and comfortable experience if you’re prepared for the service you need. Having a basic understanding of the various services that are available from dentists and oral surgeons better equips you for when the time comes to undergo your own procedure - whether that’s a routine cleaning or a complete dental reconstruction. The complete list of all available oral health procedures is vast, so for the purposes of this article, we’ve summarized the most common varieties of dental services. Whether or not you are a candidate for any of these services is for a qualified dentist to determine, and this information is meant to educate and inform as a supplement to professional medical advice. After reading this, you will have a better understanding of what kinds of dentistry are meant for what kinds of dental problems, and you can guide your own level of oral health care accordingly.
Preventative Cleanings and Maintenance
Many patients initially visit a dentist’s office or treatment center for the purpose of getting routine cleaning procedures and maintenance. These services are considered ‘preventative’, because in theory, they prevent dental complications like cavities and gum disease. Cleanings are sometimes performed by a dental assistant who works with the dentist to prepare the mouth for his or her inspection after cleaning. Part of the cleaning process can involve a procedure called a debridement. Debridements are special dental treatments that involve gently scraping away built up plaque that can accumulate between teeth and near the gumline. There may also be a fluoride rinse applied to the teeth; this is done to strengthen the enamel and protect it from decay. As part of good dental practice, x-rays are often taken of patient’s upper and lower jaw. This is to check for abnormalities within tooth roots, dentin and other bony material.
If an x-ray reveals an issue with a tooth root - say there is a serious cavity that has made it’s way far into the tooth - then an endontic procedure may need to be performed. Endontics is the field of study related to the root of the tooth.
Adhesive Dentistry (Operative)
Procedures that are considered cosmetic fall under this category. Clinics that practice adhesive dentistry are conducting dental work related to veneers, implants, crowns and whitening services.
Oral/Maxillofacial Surgery “Do I get a balloon this time like I did last time? Yay!”
Surgeons who specialize in oral and maxillofacial procedures work to correct injuries and deformities related to the mouth and upper/lower jaw. An oral surgeon will also perform more routine surgeries like extractions (tooth removal).
Orofacial Pain Management/Oral Medicine
This field of practice is focused on oral disease and oral pain, like that stemming from jaw grinding, misaligned bite, breathing issues, etc..
Pediatric dentists are specialists in treating younger patients. This includes toddlers all the way up through adolescents.
When there are problems related to the gums, connective tissue or soft tissue that surrounds the teeth, periodontic procedures may need to be performed. These procedures include gum grafting, implants and preparation for reconstruction surgeries.
For patients who are dealing with missing teeth or tissue in and around the mouth, there are solutions available from the field of prosthdontics. This includes the fabrication of crowns, implants, bridges and other corrective devices.
Sometimes dental procedures can’t wait. For patients who need immediate assistance with their oral health issues, urgent care centers are available. These centers are particularly helpful for treating patients with acute trauma to and around the mouth. Keep this list of dental service categories handy for future reference if you or someone you know is in need of dental care. As always, consult with a qualified dental health professional for the best guidance and advice for your particular needs.