When you’re looking for a new dentist, you’re searching for more than someone to just clean your teeth. Having a dental home allows you to feel comfortable when you’re dropping in for a regular visit and gives you a safe and trusted place to turn for a procedure or dental emergency. Here’s how to find the best dental fit for you and your family.
Start with the Basics
Regular visits are key to a healthy smile, so start with the details that work best with your lifestyle and dental care needs. Some things to consider include:
- Is the office easy to get to from your home or job?
- Do they have convenient office hours?
- If you have dental benefits, is this dentist in your network?
- Doctor-patient communication is very important. Do you need translation or interpreter services?
Below are explanations of some common dental procedures:
Applying composite tooth bonding is a restorative procedure that uses tooth enamel-coloured composite resin (plastic) to repair teeth that are decayed, chipped, fractured or discoloured. Tooth gaps can also be closed. Unlike veneers, which require laboratory work, bonding is done in the dental office.
A dental brace is a device used to correct the alignment of teeth and bite-related problems (including underbite, overbite, etc.). Braces straighten teeth by exerting steady pressure on the teeth.
Bridges and Implants
Bridges and implants are two ways to replace a missing tooth or teeth. Bridges are false teeth anchored in place by neighbouring teeth. The bridge consists of two crowns on the anchoring teeth along with the false tooth in the centre. Dental implants are artificial roots used to support replacement teeth.
Crowns and Caps
Crowns are dental restorations that protect damaged, cracked or broken teeth. Dental crowns, often referred to as caps, sit over the entire part of the tooth that lies above the gum line.
A severely damaged tooth may need to be extracted. Permanent teeth may also need to be removed for orthodontic treatment. Dentures
Dentures are prosthetic devices replacing lost teeth. There are two types of dentures – partial and full. Full dentures are often referred to as “false teeth”.
Fillings and Repairs
Dental fillings and repairs use restorative materials used to repair teeth which have been compromised due to cavities or trauma.
Periodontal or gum disease is an infection that affects the gums and jaw bone, which can lead to a loss of gum and teeth. There are two major stages — gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the milder and reversible form; periodontal disease is often more severe. In some cases, gum surgery will be required to reverse the effect of the disease.
Oral Cancer Examination
Oral cancer starts in the cells of the mouth, tongue or throat. Oral cancer screening is usually a routine part of a dental examination. In this exam, your dentist will feel for lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, face, and inside your mouth. Your dentist will also look for sores or discolored tissue in your mouth.
Root canals treat diseases or absessed teeth. Once a tooth is injured, cracked or decayed, it is necessary to open the tooth and clean out the infected tissue in the centre. This space is then filled and the opening sealed.
Dental sealants, usually applied to the chewing surface of teeth, act as a barrier against decay-causing bacteria. Most often, the sealants are applied to the back teeth, e.g., premolars and molars.
Teeth naturally darken with age, however staining may be caused by various foods and beverages such as coffee, tea and berries, some drugs such as tetracycline, smoking, or a trauma to a tooth. There are various teeth whitening options available, including in-office and at-home bleaching.
Veneers are strong, thin pieces of ceramic or resin material that are bonded to the teeth. Veneers are used to repair chipped, decayed or stained teeth and may help in closing gaps between teeth.