An Overview of Family and General Dentistry
General Dentistry is the branch of medicine involving the care and prevention of oral health conditions, diseases and disorders. A dentist’s job is to use preventative care and patient education to preclude the need for treatments and instead promote a healthy smile for life. Dentists are also responsible for diagnosing conditions that affect the mouth, teeth, gums and jaws, as well as develop the most effective treatment plan with the patient’s best interests in mind.
General dentists attend and complete dental school to achieve a Doctor of Dental Surgery or a Doctor of Dental Medicine. At that time, dentists may take national and state certification exams, which prove a dentist’s proficiency to practice. Upon passing the exams, state licensure is awarded on an individual basis.
General dentists typically do not focus on any particular specialty, instead opting to provide generalized dental care to patients. In some cases, general dentists may refer a patient to a specialty provider for care or treatment that is beyond the scope of general dentistry. However, most general dentists are capable of providing complete examinations, cleanings, root canals, restorations, extractions and tooth prosthetics.
General dentistry is best when patients use it for preventive care, rather than for corrective treatment. By visiting a dentist and his or her team of hygienists and dental technicians twice annually for cleaning and examination, patients can avoid decay and identify potential oral health conditions, such as periodontal disease, in their earliest stages.
Dental Crown and Bridge
A crown (cap) is a restoration that is placed on teeth that have lost a lot of their structure. There are various types of crowns, ranging from full porcelain to full metal crowns. Your dentist will explain the advantages and disadvantages of each kind for you.
Crowns may also be used to securely attach a bridge if the structure of the surrounding teeth is inadequate. A bridge is a dental appliance that is used to replace one or more missing teeth. They are designed to be cosmetically appealing and to restore proper occlusion. Like crowns, bridges are fully customizable and made of various materials, including porcelain and metals. Although not as permanent as a cap, bridges are bonded to the surrounding teeth and only removable by your dentist.
Both crowns and bridges are created to match the color, height, texture, and overall appearance of your teeth. Most crowns and bridges will last for life, eliminating the need to replace them unless they fall out or become loose. You may prolong the durability of your crowns and bridges by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings.
Every tooth consists of three different layers. The outermost and hardest layer is enamel, and the second layer is dentin. The third is pulp, which is the cavernous space where the live tissue and nerve of each tooth is located.
If for any reason the pulp space is exposed to the outside, the tissue becomes contaminated and eventually infected. The exposure of pulp happens in many circumstances, such as when you have a large cavity or a fractured tooth. Your dentist can explain the exact reason for damage to this tissue. In these cases, the treatment is usually root canal treatment.
Root canal treatment is the process of going inside the pulp space and removing the infected, dead tissue. The space is then disinfected and sealed with special materials. Nowadays, root canal treatments are performed with advanced techniques and materials, making them far more comfortable and faster. After root canal treatment is complete, your restorative dentist will usually place a crown on your tooth to safeguard against fracture.
Though many advances have been made in the field of dentistry, loss of teeth is still an ongoing problem. In the United States, 26% of adults between the ages of sixty-five and seventy-five have lost all of their teeth. Currently, there are a number of options available for people who have lost their teeth. One of the most versatile and affordable is a set of removable dentures.
Standard Full Dentures
Standard full dentures are dentures that comprise a full set of upper and lower teeth. This type of denture uses suction to stay in place. They are made of a pliable material which makes suction easy. However, it is for this reason that standard full dentures require routine visits to the dentist. Being pliable, the dentures are susceptible to shrinkage, thus creating an ill-fitting prosthetic that can result in the atrophy of the jawbone.
Partial dentures are dentures that replace only a limited number of teeth, not an entire set. Partial dentures are a single piece fitting that is supported by the remaining teeth and gums. They are much more secure than standard full dentures and are more comfortable.
Cosmetic dentures, as you can imagine, are made to look as natural as possible. Unlike standard dentures that use a heat curing process which leads to dentures that become ill-fitting over time, cosmetic dentures are made from a special acrylic base that eliminates the possibility of the denture shrinking and warping.
Furthermore, some cosmetic dentures achieve a natural appearance through the use of implants. Implants are installed in the mouth so that the dentures have something to hold onto. The cosmetic denture will either rest on or snap onto the implant. What this does is allow the denture to stay in place without the chance of it moving around, which makes the denture more comfortable than a standard one.
Loss of teeth and expensive treatment options don’t have to prevent you from continuing to lead a healthy and happy life. Removable dentures are a suitable course of treatment for many people. You deserve to give yourself the best treatment possible. If you live in or around Huntsville, Alabama and need a consultation for dentures, give us a call today.