Teeth experience wear and tear, just like any other part of the body. Therefore, everyone has the responsibility of taking care of his or her teeth to maintain perfect oral health and that perfect smile. Seeking the help of a general dentist would be a significant boost towards maintaining your overall oral health. These are skilled dentists who are specialized in various works related to oral health. At Northridge Dentist Center, we offer the best services that match your expectations.
Definition of General Dentistry
General dentistry involves the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of various conditions, disorders, diseases that affect the teeth, gum, and maxillofacial ( related to the face and jaw). The experts involved in the delivery of these services are known as general dentists. Generally, a general dentist is expected to have undertaken three to four years of undergraduate school and an addition of four years in a dental school to register as a fully-licensed service provider.
General dentistry carries a couple of services that can be classified as preventive services, restorative services, cosmetic procedures, and overall health concerns. Here is a brief explanation of these general services.
In these services, the general dentist helps in maintaining the health of your mouth and stopping diseases that might affect you. Therefore, you will expect the dentist to undertake regular exams, which might include diagnostic images such as X- rays. Also, preventive services involve teeth cleaning, instruction on how to improve your oral hygiene at home, and leaving an active lifestyle. Since most people seek general dentists to get preventive services, the best routine to consider would be twice every year. However, you can decide on a different schedule depending on the circumstances.
Restorative services involve resolving dental problems before they worsen. The most common restorative services include the removal of a decaying tooth and filling an affected tooth. Other services include diagnosis of periodontal disease, treatment of missing teeth, root canal therapy, and dental implants.
A general dentist can help you regain your sparkling smile with a variety of cosmetic services. They include porcelain veneer, teeth whitening, and a smile makeover.
Overall Health Concern
Your oral health can affect your general health in different ways. For instance, if you leave an untreated oral infection, it might lead to poor control of diabetes and increasing the possibility of a cardiovascular attack. Therefore, seeking general dentistry services will identify such possibilities, offer the right treatment, or refer you to a different medical expert if needed. General dentists can also provide advice on tobacco cessation, wellness information, and nutritional counseling.
Services under General Dentistry
Under the classification of services provided above, there are specific services that a general dentist can provide. The particular services are as follows:
As part of the preventive services, X-rays play a crucial role in diagnosing the images of your teeth and jawbone and evaluate the overall health status. The dentist usually uses low levels of radiation to ensure that they are safe for both adults and kids. X-rays help the dentist to identify problems such as cavities, impacted teeth, and tooth decay. Taking an X-ray might seem complex and dangerous, but it is as necessary as cleaning your teeth regularly. There are specific types of X-rays in dental X-rays. These types of X-rays provide a different view of the mouth. Generally, these types of X-rays include intraoral and extraoral X-rays. Some of the conventional intraoral techniques include:
In this technique, the patient bites on a special piece of paper to see how well the crown match up. This is a standard method used to check cavities between the teeth.
This type of X-ray is done with a closed jaw to see the teeth line up and detect any abnormalities that might affect the palate and the mouth floor. This kind of technique can capture all your teeth at a single shot.
In this type of X-ray, the machine rotates around the head. It helps the dentist to plan for an implanted dental device, check the wisdom teeth, and investigate any jaw problems.
This technique focuses on the complete teeth from its root to the crown.
For the extraoral X-ray, the dentist will consider it if there are suspicions of problems outside the gum or teeth, such as the jaw.
Before taking the X-ray, the dental hygienist will take you through every process involved. The expert will then leave the room while taking the X-ray and instruct you to hold still as the pictures are being recorded. If the expert is using a film holder, it will be adjusted and moved in your mouth to get a proper image.
Sealant and Fluorides Services
A dental sealant is a plastic material that is professionally applied on the chewing surface of the back teeth to reduce the possibility of cavities. They provide a physical barrier to prevent the entry of cavity-causing bacteria on the pits and fissures. A dentist might require a patient to consider placing a sealant if there is a possibility of fissures and pits development. Also, adults with a high risk of decay should consider this process.
On the other hand, fluoride treatment involves creating resistance to the teeth against demineralization and remineralization caused by acid attack. These acids are formed from sugars in the mouth and bacteria. Exposure of the teeth to minerals such as phosphate, calcium, and fluoride causes the teeth to demineralize. If there is too much demineralization without remineralization, this can lead to tooth decay.
A dentist might choose the fluoride treatment when there is an increased risk of tooth decay and probably to those with specific conditions such as:
- Medication for conditions such as high blood pressure, anxiolytics, antihistamine, and high blood pressure medication
- Gum diseases such as periodontitis and gingivitis that can expose the roots of your teeth
- A long history of regular cavities
- Crowns, braces or bridges
- People who are susceptible to cavities due to the lack of saliva
- Dry mouth conditions, such as diabetes and Sjogren Syndrome.
- Implant Restorations
Dentures are also referred to as false teeth. They are prosthetic devices that are constructed to replace missing teeth and are supported by the hard tissues of the oral cavity. Most dentures used in general dentistry and are removable either partially or wholly. There are different designs of dentures that contribute to the different types of denatures. The different types of dentures are as follows:
- Removable Partial Dentures
These types of dentures are for people missing teeth on a specific arch. Such an issue requires fixed partial dentures, also referred to as crown and bridge denture to fit on the remaining teeth. They act as pontics and abutments that are materials resembling missing teeth. Fixed bridges are quite costly compared to the removable materials, which are quite stable.
Patients can also use flexible partial dentures that are another option that falls under this category. It involves invasive procedures but can be challenging to clean.
- Complete Dentures
Complete dentures are suitable for patients whose teeth are missing in a single arch, which include the mandibular ( lower ) arch and the maxillary ( upper ) arch.
- Copy Dentures
These types of dentures work for partial or complete denture patients. They are ideal for patients who are uncomfortable adjusting to new dentures such as old patients and those who hate making frequent visits to the dentist. The process is quite easy since it requires an impression of the patient’s teeth and remarks on the teeth.
The material used to make dentures is mainly acrylic since it is easy to manipulate with the likeness of the gum. Most of them are made out of heat-cured acrylic and a rubber-reinforced acrylic. They also have a synthetic fiber that obtains the color of the tissues, mimic capillaries, and the oral mucosa. Since the acrylic is fragile and can fracture, it is reinforced with cobalt-chromium to ensure that they are thinner and stronger.
Dental Crown and Tooth Bridges Services
Dental crowns and bridges are fixed prosthetic devices that the user can take out and clean. They are cemented onto the existing implants or teeth and are only removed by dentists.
How the Crown Works
The crown works by covering or capping the damaged tooth. It can also be used to improve tooth appearance, alignment, and appearance. It is placed on the top of an implant to create a tooth-like shape for function. Ceramic or porcelain crowns are used in this process since they match with natural teeth color. Other types of materials used include gold and metal alloys, acrylic, and ceramic alloy, which are much stronger than porcelain making them ideal for back teeth.
Dentist recommends crowns to:
- Protect a weak tooth that is about to fracture
- Replace extensive filings if one does not have enough tooth
- Attach a bridge
- Cover a poorly shaped tooth or a discolored one
- Cover a tooth that has a root canal
How Bridges Work
The dentist might recommend a bridge if you are missing one tooth or more. The gaps that are left on the teeth eventually make the remaining teeth shift or rotate into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. The imbalance that results from shifting or rotation can also lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
Home Care Instructions Services
After completing any dental work, your dentist will give you instructions to ensure the best healing and follow-up care. In that case, the dentist provides a couple of home care instructions that you must observe. Here are a few examples of home care instructions that a dentist can provide.
- Oral Hygiene
Maintaining oral hygiene is not a task that only applies to those who have gone through dental work but applies to everyone. Most dentists recommend oral hygiene products that have been approved by the American Dental Association. Also, one should brush twice, preferably in the morning after taking breakfast and in the evening right before going to bed.
Also, one should floss in the evening to keep the teeth clean throughout the night. One should not eat anything but drink water after brushing and flossing. Besides that, one should avoid taking any food that might crack, chip, or damage the natural teeth or the new artificial ones such as peanut brittle, fingernails, pencils, and beer nuts.
If you are a sportsperson, always wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth. Also, if you are used to grinding your teeth, wear a custom night guard to keep your teeth safe.
- Home Care Instructions After Tooth Extraction
After a tooth is extracted, the gum will bleed until a blood clot forms to stop the bleeding and start the healing process. That’s why patients are recommended to bite on a gauze pad firmly for around thirty minutes.
Once the blood clot forms, you should not dislodge the clot as it aids the healing process. Also, it is highly prohibited to avoid smoking, taking alcohol, rinse vigorously, sucking a straw, and brushing near the extraction within seventy-two hours. However, this does not mean that you should not resume your regular dental routine. You should return to it 24 hours after the extraction.
- Home Care Instructions after Crown and Bridge Appointment
Once you are done with a crown and bridge appointment, there are are a few home-care instructions to consider. First, you must avoid eating sticky or hard foods and chew on the other side to keep your temporaries in place. Also, you need to brush and floss regularly, but be careful with flossing to avoid dislodging the temporary crown. Finally, take some mild pain medication since you will be experiencing sensitivity, pressure, and temperature.
- Home Care Instruction After Filling
Since an anesthetic is used during the filling process, your tongue and lips might remain numb for a few hours. During this period, avoid chewing or taking hot beverages, since it is easy to burn your lips or tongue while you are numb.
The injection site might also feel sore, hence the recommendation to take the prescribed painkillers every 3-4 hours to reduce the tenderness. If the pressure and sensitivity persist beyond a few days, reach out to your dentist for further instructions.
Teeth Cleaning Services
Teeth cleaning is another essential service that one can get from a general dentist. The service has plenty of advantages such as improving your smile, prevention of tooth loss, and prevention of cavities. The process involves a couple of procedures which include:
- Removal of the plaque and tartar
- Rinsing and application of fluoride
Besides that, there are other cleaning procedures, such as:
- Regular Cleaning
This process is also referred to as prophylaxis and works as a preventive process. In this process, the dentist does away with plaque, tartar, and stains from your teeth. It is recommended to consider this process regularly, probably once or twice in a year based on the health of your oral cavity.
- Deep Cleaning
This cleaning procedure is also referred to as scaling. Dentists recommend this procedure when there are signs and symptoms of gum disease. They include bleeding gums, X-ray diagrams showing significant tartar buildup and plaque under the gum.
- Debridement of the Full Mouth
Plaque and tartar might build up in your mouth significantly but in rare cases. If such a condition is experienced, the dentist can recommend the debridement of the whole mouth. This procedure involves the complete removal of plaque and tartar on your mouth.
- Maintenance of the Teeth
This procedure is recommended when one has gone through a dental treatment procedures, such as deep cleaning. The dentist determines the frequency of periodontal maintenance based on the health of your oral cavity.
Periodontal therapy is recommended when there is a need to restore the diseased tissue to health due to gum( periodontal) disease. This process is highly effective and can range from deep cleaning to surgical repair of the bone tissues or lost gum. Periodontal therapy procedures include:
- Root Planing and Scaling
These two types of deep-cleaning techniques are the best start when controlling gum disease. Plaque and tartar are removed below the gum tissues using an ultrasonic instrument or a hand scale.
- Gum Grafting
This procedure involves taking healthy gum tissues to a place that has lost gum tissues to protect the tooth roots in the affected area adequately. The healthy tissues can be taken from one part of the mouth or using laboratory-processed donor tissue.
- Periodontal Plastic Surgery
Although the procedure describes a surgery, it refers to reshaping the gum tissues to create a pleasing appearance.
- Crown Lengthening Surgery
This surgical procedure involves covering the tooth structure with gum and bone tissues. It may also include exposing the teeth for cosmetic benefits and securing a new dental crown.
Dental Implants Services
This process is likely the most preferred tooth-replacement method in the world. It involves replacing the teeth with a titanium implant below the gum line into the jawbone through a minor surgical procedure. It is hard to distinguish a dental implant with natural teeth after this procedure.
Orthodontics is a specialized area in dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of conditions that require alignment of the teeth or the jaw. Orthodontics is signified by corrective devices such as expanded plates, clear aligners, braces, and headgears. Orthodontics go through various treatment stages that involve:
- Expansion of the width of the palate or jaw if necessary to make room for the teeth so that they can align
- Fitting of a correction device to correct the existing teeth
- Retention by fitting a retainer to prevent the teeth from moving to their old position. The retainer is worn for 12 months and worn at night after the 12 months are done.
This is the most common type of device used in orthodontics. Braces have greatly improved over time and nowadays are made out of stainless steel, metal, plastic, and ceramic. Other types of braces that are invisible and those that can be changed every two weeks. These types of braces allow one to brush and floss compared with traditional ones.
Root Canal Therapy
This is a dental treatment used to remove infections from a tooth. It is also used to protect the tooth from future infections. It is also referred to as endodontic therapy, meaning inside the tooth.
The procedure involves a couple of steps which include:
- Cleaning the Root Canal
In this step, the dentist removes everything inside the root canal. The patient is put under local anesthesia for the dentist to make a small hole to access the surface of the tooth and remove the dead pulp tissues with small files.
- Filling the Root Canal
After cleaning the root canal, the dentist cleans, shapes, and decontaminates the small hole using the small fillings and an irrigation solution. The dentist will then fill the tooth with a rubber-like material with adhesive cement that seals the canal completely.
The tooth remains dead after this procedure since the tissue containing nerves has been removed.
- Filing or Adding a Crown
A tooth without its pulp is fragile, and it requires its nourishment from the ligament, attaching it to the bone. The supply might be adequate for the time being but will end up becoming brittle. Therefore, adding a crown or filling the hole is recommendable.
Patients are recommended to avoid chewing or biting using the newly filled tooth until the crown and filling is completed. This sort of treatment usually takes one appointment, but if there are issues such as significant infections, curved canals, or multi-canals, the patient will have to make additional appointments.
Find a Northridge Dentist Near Me
There are quite a lot of general dental services that one can consider. Getting the right general dentist should be your priority when seeking any of the services provided above. If you are living in Northridge, CA, you should consider choosing Northridge Dentist Center. Here you are guaranteed of caring personnel and excellent customer service. Reach out to us at 818-875-0216 to speak to one of our dentists today.