We all tend to “back burner” the things we dread. Some people dislike doing the laundry, which piles up until there is no choice left but to do it. That can be true when it comes to having some of the common “dreaded” dental procedures.
Im our Shelby Twp dental office, we offer some of the most advanced technology and highly skilled techniques in the dental field. By “modernizing” dental procedures, some of those once-deemed highly dreaded are actually performed – in what patients share with us – end up being “no big deal.”
Below are several dental procedures that people tend to put off and put off, yet, in our office, are actually performed with exceptional patient comfort and in minimal time.
In the center of each tooth there is a “pulp chamber” that holds nerves, blood vessels and other soft tissues. The pulp extends to the jaw and is fed by blood vessels and contains nerves that carry signals to the brain. When the nerve in the pulp becomes infected, a root canal is performed to remove dead nerve tissue and infection inside the tooth. Infection can occur from a crack or fracture, cavity or other injury to the tooth. Without treating the infection, the tooth is likely to require removal.
In a root canal procedure, we use a small drill to make an opening in the top part of the tooth to expose the pulp. Using special tools, we remove the infected nerve and clean the canal inside the tooth. We then dry and fill the cleaned area with a special material. Once the tooth is filled, a crown is often place to prevent further damage to the tooth.
Although a root canal has the reputation of being a painful procedure, we use advanced techniques that shorten treatment time and maximize comfort. They are performed with the area thoroughly numbed and, if desired, sedation can be added to treatment.
PROCEDURES THAT INVOLVE THE GUMS
Gum tissues are tender, soft layers that cover the interior of the mouth. They are filled with nerves, which make them highly sensitive. When procedures involve removal of gum tissues, older methods of cutting away tissues with a scalpel have been replaced (in our office) with dental laser therapy.
Our Nd: YAG Laser is a small, hand-held device. It is ideal for procedures that improve the health and appearance of gum tissues. Because the laser seals tissue as it goes, patient comfort is enhanced and healing time is faster. Some uses of the dental laser include:
• Removing bacteria
• Easily opening gum tissue where dental implants have been placed
• Rapid repair of oral ulcers (including canker and cold sores)
• Re-contour or repair of gum tissues with a precision line
• Removing gum disease bacteria in a comfortable, rapid process that speeds healing
• Correction of a “gummy smile” line, providing natural contours and reduced healing time
• Beautifully reshaping the tissues arching teeth in “crown lengthening”
• Removal of tissues to exposure more tooth structure to possibly save a tooth (for crowning) that has broken near the gum line
Although our dental laser is used while the patient is comfortably numb, sedation may be added to treatment for patients who request it. Oral sedation, in pill form, allows patients to ‘doze’ through procedures. I.V. sedation, also known as ‘twilight sleep,’ is available for patients who prefer a deeper level of sedation.
EXTRACTIONS, FILLINGS & ANYTHING THAT REQUIRES A DRILL
When a tooth develops a cavity, the decay must be removed and the area “filled.” Although the filling material is designed to replenish removed tooth structure, a tooth with more than one filling becomes a weaker structure with each filling.
When a tooth needs repair beyond the adequacy of a simple filling (or less than the need for a full crown), an inlay or onlay may be the ideal remedy. Inlays and onlays are ideal when a large, biting surface area of a tooth needs repair. Inlays and onlays are like porcelain puzzle pieces. They are custom-designed to fit precisely into the tooth, similar to how a puzzle piece fits snugly into a jigsaw puzzle.
The procedure begins with removing the decayed area and preparing the tooth with the patient numbed for the procedure. While you relax, a mold is made of the area to be replaced with the inlay or onlay. A temporary “restoration” is placed to protect the area while the final porcelain inlay or onlay is custom-created. Once the restoration is ready, it is “seated” into place and secured with a dental adhesive.
To avoid tooth fractures and even eventual breakage, we typically advise crowning a tooth. This porcelain “cap” covers over the majority of the tooth to restore the durability and strength of the remaining natural tooth structure.
The porcelain used in crowns, inlays and onlays provide exceptional durability with a highly natural feel and function. Porcelain also has the best longevity of all restorative materials.
DENTAL FEAR OR ANXIETY
During any appointment, patient comfort is always a priority. If desired, sedation can be added to treatment for added relaxation. We offer oral and IV sedation, with both options safely administered. Throughout treatment, the patient is overseen by trained team members who use advanced safety monitoring equipment.
We understand that dental fear or anxiety can also be the cause for people delaying or avoiding dental treatment, often until pain forces them into a dental office. This can also lead to the need for more involved treatment than what earlier treatment could have remedied.
Dental fear is a common issue that many adults have. In addition to our sedation options, fearful patients find that moving through care in small steps can help them trust their comfort to our hands and, in turn, relax (often no longer needing sedation).
If dental fear is a problem for you or someone you know, please review some tips we’ve provided in a simple “guide” that can be downloaded from our web site: “Guide For The Fearful Dental Patient“.
Dentistry is an excellent investment for smiling confidence as well as your overall health and well-being. We believe that financial constraints should not be an obstacle to obtaining treatment.
We offer several excellent financial plans with most requiring no down payment and are interest-free. Our financial coordinator, Venus, is ready to help you enjoy healthy, confident smiles through the easy payment plan that works best for you. Please reach out to her for assistance so your smile goals can be achieved in a budget-friendly way.