We all know that dental anxiety is real, and it can be taxing. It can be nerve wracking into an appointment or procedure without knowing everything it will entail, so we wanted to illuminate some of the most common ones for you. Our guide below will go over the most common dental procedures, so you know exactly what you’re walking into!

  • Crowns and Caps

A crown or cap is created by your dentist to cover a tooth that has been affected by health or aesthetic issues. A tooth may need a crown if it has decayed and can no longer be exposed, if it’s broken or chipped, or stained beyond the point of repair.

Before the crown is bonded to your teeth, your dentist will freeze the area to ensure you’re comfortable throughout. Once frozen, the tooth will be filed down to make sure the cap can comfortably and properly fit over it. Before the permanent cap can be placed, an impression of the teeth and gums will be made and a temporary cap fitted over the tooth until the crown has been prepared.

This means that this process typically requires two visits. On your next visit, your dentist will cement the new crown to your teeth. The crown will closely match the color and shape of your teeth in order to blend in as well as possible. Your dentist will give you further instructions for how to take proper care of your teeth and oral hygiene in order to prevent further issues.

  • Oral Cancer Screenings

While not necessarily a procedure, these screenings are something to expect and prepare for. As dental specialists, we’re required to not only treat existing problems, fix dental irregularities, and clean your teeth, but to ensure that we’re monitoring you for any problems you could face down the road. Oral cancer screenings fall well within our realm of expertise.

We’ll often do these when you come in for your and cleanings, so they don’t require an additional appointment. On top of your typical exams, we’ll feel for any unusual lumps, sores, or irregular tissue changes in your head, neck, face, and inside your mouth.

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t be alarmed if your dentist begins to perform an exam you’re unfamiliar with. It’s not an indication that something is wrong; rather, they’re just ensuring they can catch anything irregular early on.

  • Fillings

During your routine dental exam, your dentist will search your mouth for any signs of decay, like black, brown, and yellow spots, identifying any fillings that may be old or broken, and ensuring that you don’t have any active cavities that need attention.

A cavity doesn’t always have to be treated immediately. Depending on its severity, your dentist may just monitor it instead of choosing to fill it right away. If the cavity is particularly large, it’s likely your dentist will want to take care of it right away so it can’t worsen and start to affect your oral health.

In preparation for your filling, your dentist will numb the area. This allows you to be as comfortable as possible, letting you relax throughout. Once frozen, they will then remove the decay from the tooth with a drill (and its familiar, high-pitched sound). Once the decay is gone, they’ll shape the affected tooth to prepare it for the filling.

A bonding agent is added to ensure the material sticks to the tooth and stays on properly. Once everything has been properly bonded and is in the right place, your dentist will finish and polish the tooth to help it look as natural as any other. The entire process is short and sweet, and the local anesthetic helps you to feel virtually nothing throughout the process while leaving you with a renewed and healthy tooth, free from pain.

  • Root Canals

You may be familiar with the name of this procedure, but not many are familiar with what, exactly, it entails. Root canals treat abscessed teeth. In order to perform one, your dentist will open up the tooth to remove any infected tissue and decay that may be plaguing it. The space is then filled so it can’t remain vacant to attract disease and bacteria, and then the opening is sealed for further protection.

This procedure is done to preserve your natural tooth, so you can avoid having to go through with having it extracted and replaced with an implant.

  • Professional Teeth Whitening

While this is more of a cosmetic procedure and aesthetic issue, it’s still nice to be prepared for exactly what professional teeth whitening entails so you know precisely what to expect.

Your teeth will naturally darken and begin to stain over long periods of time. This doesn’t necessarily indicate that your teeth are unhealthy, but it does pose aesthetic issues that you may not care for. When you do notice these dark stains, professional teeth whitening becomes a viable and safe option.

Some dentists will treat you in-office, and others will provide you with an at-home bleaching kit. If they choose the latter, they’ll never just send you on your way without detailed instructions. Your dentist will furnish you with all the knowledge you need to properly and safely whiten your teeth at home.

Most of these whitening kits are remarkably easy to use with the given directions. Whitening treatments can be composed of strips, rinses, trays, and special toothpaste. Talk to your dentist for detailed information about the method of treatment that will work best for you.

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