For Patients

Why does your dentist want to schedule another appointment with you so soon- even if today’s oral examination was perfect?

Regular dental visits are essential to maintain healthy teeth and gums. For maximum benefits, a good home care regimen must be supplemented with an examination at least every 6 months. Depending on the status of your oral health, your dentist may recommend more frequent visits.

Several months after cleaning, teeth can have plaque build-up as well as stains from food beverages, tobacco etc.

Checking your tooth for teeth decay is only a small part of a thorough oral exam. During each visit, your dental hygienist will also check your gums (gingiva) for inflammation, tooth motility and pockets. Examine your mouth for indications of possible cancer, diabetes and vitamin deficiencies. To note if there is any irregularities in your facial structure, bite, saliva and Tempormandibular Joint (TMJ). Your dentist will clean your mouth and encourage you to maintain proper oral hygiene.

The Regular Dental Visit

A regular dental visit will include:

Head and Neck Examination

  • Cancer Examination
  • Facial Structure Examination
  • Palpation of Chewing Muscles
  • Palpation of Lymph Nodes and Tempormandibular Joint (TMJ)

Clinical Dental Examination

  • Periodontal Examination- including periodontal pockets and gingiva
  • Teeth Mobility
  • Mucous Membrane
  • Lack of Saliva
  • Bite or Occlusion
  • Tooth Decay
  • Broken Fillings
  • Erosion
  • Removable Appliances between teeth

Prophylaxis/ Dental Cleaning

  • Mouth Cleanliness Assessment
  • Scaling
  • Polishing
  • Flossing
  • Oral Hygiene Instructions

After completing the clinical dental examination, your dentist may outline a detailed treatment plan. If necessary, will indicate when you need to return for a follow up visit. Regular preventive maintenance, along with a thorough home care routine assures good oral hygiene.

Note: Follow the special home care instructions mentioned by your dental hygienist.

What are “Orthodontic/Braces” and why do people get braces?

Orthodontics is a special discipline of dentistry. It is normally concerned with teeth alignment and jaws, to improve your smile and oral health. “Ortho” means “correct or straight” and “Odont” means tooth. A dentist usually recommends braces to improve your facial appearance. Through orthodontics treatment problems like crooked and over-crowded teeth, overbites or under bites, disorders of the jaw joints and incorrect jaw positions are corrected.

When is the right time for braces?

Patients with orthodontic issues can benefit from treatment at any age. An ideal time for braces is between 10 and 14 years of age. While the head and mouth are still growing and hence, teeth are more accessible to straightening. However, facial appearance can be traumatic to the patients during these sensitive ages. Parents must talk to their children before going for braces. And remember braces are just not for kids. Day by day more adults are opting for the braces to correct minor dental problems and for smile improvement.

What kind of braces I would have to wear?

Dentists are well aware and know what appliances are best for your problem. Braces generally come in 3 varieties. Popular ones are brackets, plastic and metal. These are bonded to your teeth and are far less noticeable. The lingual type of braces is attached to the back of the teeth and is hidden from the view. Bands are the traditional type. They cover most of your teeth with metal bands wrapped around the teeth. Wires are used to move the teeth in the desired position.

How long will I have to wear braces?

Duration for braces depends on your treatment plan. For complicated teeth spacing or bite problem and the older you are, treatment duration will be longer. Treatment duration is mostly in between 18 and 30 months, followed by retainers for few more months to up to couple of years. Some patients may also have to wear permanent retainers.

Will the treatment be painful or uncomfortable?

The interconnected wires are tightened on each visit, bearing mild pressure to shift the jaws and teeth in the desired position. You may feel sore teeth and jaws after each visit, but the discomfort is for brief duration. Bear in mind that, some teeth might be extracted to make the required room for teeth and jaw alignment.

Do I have to avoid any food or personal habits?

  • Yes, avoid soda, sweets and chips.
  • Starchy and sugary foods generate acids and plaque that may cause tooth decay or gum disease.
  • Cut on hard and crunchy food items like carrots, apples, nuts and hard candy.
  • Eating sticky and chewy foods such as caramel may result in wire damage and also loosen the brackets.
  • Stop personal habits like thumb sucking, excessive mouth breathing, lip biting and pushing your tongue against teeth.

What about home care treatment?

With braces oral hygiene becomes even more important. Braces have tiny spaces where food particles may get trap and result in plaque. So, brush carefully with fluoride toothpaste and soft bristle toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly and take a close look in the mirror to ensure that all braces are clean. Take time to floss under braces and wires with the help of floss thread. Get your teeth clean from dentist after at least every six months for healthy gums and teeth. Insufficient cleaning can cause enamel staining around the braces.

If tooth root chamber is infected by decay or damaged by trauma, root canal Is the only option that can save your tooth. Inside the harder outer shell of each tooth is a specialized area called pulp or nerve chamber.

The nerve chamber contains blood vessels, lymph vessels and nerves which enter from bone through the root canals.

Deep tooth decay or an injury may damage or infect the tooth pulp. In Endodontic or Root Canal Treatment, damaged or infected pulp is removed and replaced by special filling to maintain the remaining structure of the tooth.

Some indications for root canal treatment may be,

  • Spontaneous pain or throbbing while biting
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold food
  • Severe decay and injury causing infection in the bone

Root Canal Procedure

Step 1: After the tooth is anesthetized, an opening is made through the crown into the pulp or nerve camber.

Step 2: The length of root canal is determined.

Step 3: Infected or damaged pulp is removed. Canals are cleaned, enlarged and shaped.

Step 4: Pulp canal are filled and sealed. A metal post may be added for structural support or to retain restorative materials.

Step 5: The tooth is sealed with a temporary filling, whereas gold or porcelain crown adds further protection.

The material used to fill your root canal may last for a lifetime, but eventually you may have to replace the crown or fillings.

Note: Make sure that you follow the special home care instructions mentioned by your dental hygienist.

Dental implant includes several procedures. Depending on the type of implant the steps may vary. The placement of single tooth is explained below

Step 1: The procedure is carried out under local anesthesia. An artificial root is placed in the jawbone. Bone grows around the anchor. This takes around 3-6 months.

Step 2: Next a healing cap is placed when the implant is uncovered.

Step 3: Then the healing cap is removed and an abutment may be attached to the anchor.

Step 4: When your gums and jawbone have healed, a crown is constructed and screwed or cemented to the post.

Brush and floss your implants twice a day. Make sure that you brush back side of the abutment also. Avoid chewing of hard objects and sticky food items. Proper oral hygiene will help you keep your mouth and implants healthy.

Crowns

When a tooth is fractured or when the old filling is severely damaged by decay, your dentists may recommend the placement of a crown, or cap. Crowns strengthen and protect the remaining tooth structure. It improves the appearance of your smile. Types of crowns include full porcelain crown, porcelain fused to metal or full metal crowns.

Crown fitting requires at least two visits to the dentist.

  • Initially, dentist removes the decay and shapes the tooth.
  • Makes an Impression
  • Makes and fits a temporary plastic or metal crown

In a subsequent visit, the dentist removes the temporary crown, fits and adjusts the final crown and cements it into place.

Bridges

Few incidences have greater impact on dental health and personal appearance than tooth loss. When one or more teeth are missing, the remaining teeth can drift out position, which can lead to a change in the bite, the loss of additional teeth, decay and gum disease.

When tooth loss occurs, your dentist may recommend the placement of a bridge. A bridge is one or more replacement teeth anchored by one or more crowns on each side.

  • Initially, dentist prepares teeth on each side of the space to receive crowns and makes an impression of the entire area.
  • Fits a temporary and transitional bridge

In a subsequent visit, the dentist places, adjusts and cements the bridge.