Preventive care consists of the regular dental routines everyone should practice to maintain oral health. These include brushing, flossing, eating a healthy diet and seeing your dentist twice a year for an oral examination (see What is a dental or oral examination? below for more information.) These simple steps help prevent tooth decay, gum disease and a range of systemic diseases. They stop dental problems before they begin. Practicing preventive dental care keeps your mouth, teeth and gums healthy and your smile beautiful!Restorative Dentistry
Restorative dentistry procedures repair injured, diseased or abnormal teeth and restore them to their normal function and appearance. They also replace missing teeth, open bites, realign abnormal bites, and correct impaired or abnormal chewing motion. For the most severe cases, restorative dentistry can provide full mouth rehabilitation and reconstruction, treating and restoring most or all of a patient's teeth. The most common restorative procedures are fillings, crowns and bridges, partial and full dentures, implants and bite realignment and opening. These procedures can involve both the creation of new restorative dental work and the repair and maintenance of existing work. Due to advances in the field, even over the past few years, today's restorative procedures and products are more comfortable than ever. Ultimately, this area of general dentistry can work miracles, restoring the health, function and look of your teeth and bite. For the similarities between restorative and cosmetic dentistry, see below.Cosmetic Dentistry
There is some overlap between cosmetic and restorative dentistry, because some restorative treatments have cosmetic benefits, and vice versa. Many treatments can be considered either restorative or cosmetic. There are procedures that are purely cosmetic, however, and the difference is that restorative procedures are necessary, while cosmetic procedures are elective. The good news is that the cosmetic treatments you want can have restorative benefits, and the restorative treatments you need can improve the appearance of your teeth. The main purpose of cosmetic dentistry is to enhance the look of your teeth and smile. Cosmetic procedures include tooth-colored fillings, teeth whitening, veneers, bonding, gum lifts, smile makeovers and smile design. Some procedures can even change the size, shape and alignment of certain teeth. Significant technological advancements in cosmetic dentistry have made today's cosmetic dental treatments more durable, more reliable and better looking than ever before. Whatever the condition of your teeth, you too can have a natural-looking, long- lasting and beautiful smile.Dental or Oral Examination
A dental exam begins with a medical history intake, during which a dental hygienist will ask you for information that will help your dentist determine the best treatment plan for you, and also what precautions your dentist should take during your treatment. This information can include:
Next, the dental hygienist will begin the physical examination of your mouth, teeth and gums. He or she will check all the surfaces of your teeth, using special dental tools to probe for cavities and inspect the strength and quality of your existing fillings. Your hygienist will also look for calculus deposits (tartar formed from hardened dental plaque.) If necessary, you may have x-rays of your teeth taken, which will allow your dentist to see problems the exam alone can't discover.
Your hygienist will conduct periodontal probing, which is the insertion of a calibrated probe between each tooth and the adjacent gums. This allows your hygienist to calculate how closely your gums adhere to your teeth, test the strength of the supporting bone structure of each tooth, and measure each tooth's circumference. Based on these results, your hygienist and dentist can assess whether or not you have periodontal disease or bone loss, and begin treatment accordingly.
Finally, your hygienist will clean your teeth. He or she will use scraping tools to remove plaque, calculus and staining from the surfaces of your teeth. The hygienist also cleans between your teeth and below the gum line. Next, he or she will polish your teeth, using an abrasive polishing compound to smooth the surface of your teeth and make it harder for plaque to accumulate on it. Your hygienist may also give you a fluoride rinse to swish in your mouth.
Your visit will conclude with a chat with your dentist about any problems or concerns he or she has regarding your oral health, the best treatment plan for you, and a referral to a specialist if needed. You should plan to see your dentist for another oral exam in six months, or possibly sooner if you are at risk for periodontal disease.TMJ
TMJ disorder, also known as TMJ syndrome, TMJD or TMD, stands for Temporomandibular joint disorder. It is an ailment characterized by chronic or acute inflammation of the temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that connects the mandible, or lower jawbone, to the skull. TMJ disorder can be very painful and impair regular functioning. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research reports that over 10 million people are affected by TMJ disorder, and that it is more common in women than in men. Symptoms include:
There are many potential causes of TMJ disorder, including dental defects, dental neglect and bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching.) Fortunately, there are likewise many treatments for the disorder, such as pain relief, mouth guards, restorative dental care, surgery, and a series of long-term approaches and reversible treatments. There are also treatments that change the para-functional habits, or abnormal habitual exercises, of the jaw and adjoining muscles.
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