Common Dental Procedures

Below are explanations of some common dental procedures. Use the links to scroll down the page.

Bonding

Braces

Bridges and Implants 

Crowns and Caps

Dentures

Extractions

Fillngs and Repairs

Gum Surgery

Oral Cancer Examinations

Root Canals

Sealants

Teeth Whitening

Veneers

 

Bonding
Applying composite tooth bonding is a restorative procedure that uses tooth enamel-coloured composite resin (plastic) to repair teeth that are decayed, chipped, fractured or discoloured. Tooth gaps can also be closed. Unlike veneers, which require laboratory work, bonding is done in the dental office.

Braces
A dental brace is a device used to correct the alignment of teeth and bite-related problems (including underbite, overbite, etc.). Braces straighten teeth by exerting steady pressure on the teeth.

Bridges and Implants
Bridges and implants are two ways to replace a missing tooth or teeth. Bridges are false teeth anchored in place by neighbouring teeth. The bridge consists of two crowns on the anchoring teeth along with the false tooth in the centre. Dental implants are artificial roots used to support replacement teeth.

Crowns and Caps
Crowns are dental restorations that protect damaged, cracked or broken teeth. Dental crowns, often referred to as caps, sit over the entire part of the tooth that lies above the gum line.

Extractions
A severely damaged tooth may need to be extracted. Permanent teeth may also need to be removed for orthodontic treatment.
Dentures
Dentures are prosthetic devices replacing lost teeth. There are two types of dentures – partial and full. Full dentures are often referred to as “false teeth”.

Fillings and Repairs
Dental fillings and repairs use restorative materials used to repair teeth which have been compromised due to cavities or trauma.

Gum Surgery
Periodontal or gum disease is an infection that affects the gums and jaw bone, which can lead to a loss of gum and teeth. There are two major stages — gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the milder and reversible form; periodontal disease is often more severe. In some cases, gum surgery will be required to reverse the effect of the disease.

Oral Cancer Examination
Oral cancer starts in the cells of the mouth, tongue or throat. Oral cancer screening is usually a routine part of a dental examination. In this exam, your dentist will feel for lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, face, and inside your mouth. Your dentist will also look for sores or discolored tissue in your mouth.

Root Canals
Root canals treat diseases or absessed teeth. Once a tooth is injured, cracked or decayed, it is necessary to open the tooth and clean out the infected tissue in the centre. This space is then filled and the opening sealed.

Sealants
Dental sealants, usually applied to the chewing surface of teeth, act as a barrier against decay-causing bacteria. Most often, the sealants are applied to the back teeth, e.g., premolars and molars.

Teeth Whitening
Teeth naturally darken with age, however staining may be caused by various foods and beverages such as coffee, tea and berries, some drugs such as tetracycline, smoking, or a trauma to a tooth. There are various teeth whitening options available, including in-office and at-home bleaching.

Veneers

Veneers are strong, thin pieces of ceramic or resin material that are bonded to the teeth. Veneers are used to repair chipped, decayed or stained teeth and may help in closing gaps between teeth.

  • worn tooth enamel
  • exposed tooth root

Sensitive teeth can be treated. Your dentist may recommend desensitizing toothpaste or an alternative treatment based on the cause of your sensitivity. Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing sensitive-tooth pain. Ask your dentist if you have any questions about your daily oral hygiene routine or concerns about tooth sensitivity.

Dry mouth

Everyone’s mouth can be dry sometimes, but if you feel like your mouth is always dry, it may be time to seek treatment. Medications and certain health conditions can lead to dry mouth. A dentist will check your teeth for signs of decay that can result from decreased salivary flow. A physician will test for any underlying disease or conditions that may be causing your dry mouth. Having a dry mouth is not itself serious but taking care of your teeth and gums and regular dental visits are important when living with dry mouth. Without the cleansing effects of saliva, tooth decay and other oral health problems become more common. Patients using oral inhalers for asthma often develop oral candidiasis, an oral fungal infection, and are encouraged to rinse their mouths with water after using the inhaler. Tell your dentist what medications you are taking and any other information about your health that may help identify the cause of your dry mouth.

Oropharyngeal Cancer

Ororpharyngeal cancer can affect any area of the oropharyngeal cavity including the lips, gum tissue, check lining, tongue, jaw the hard or soft palate and throat. It often starts as a tiny, unnoticed white or red spot or sore or swelling anywhere in the mouth or throat.
During your dental visit, your dentist can talk to you about your health history and examine these areas for signs of mouth and/or throat cancer. Regular visits to your dentist can improve the chances that any suspicious changes in your oral health will be caught early, at a time when cancer can be treated more easily.

The symptoms of mouth or throat cancer can include:

  • sores that bleed easily or do not heal
  • a thick or hard spot or lump
  • a roughened or crusted area
  • numbness, pain or tenderness
  • a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite down.

Make sure to tell your dentist about any problems you have when chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw. Regular dental check-ups, including an examination of the entire mouth, are essential in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions.