General DentistOnalaska, WI
Do you see a general dentist on a regular basis? If not, you could be putting your oral health at risk. Routine checkups and cleanings not only keep your teeth and gums looking and feeling better but also help protect them against preventable problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. How often you should see a dentist depends on your unique situation, but many people schedule an appointment every six months.
At each visit, your dentist can provide numerous services, including:
- Visual examinations
- Brushing and flossing your teeth
- Scaling to remove plaque and tartar buildup
- X-rays to detect issues below the surface
- Topical fluoride treatments for cavity prevention
- Professional advice about home care, dietary choices, and dental products
Prevention is not the only key to good dental health. A dentist can also treat a variety of common tooth and gum complaints, such as oral pain and cavities. Fillings, dental crowns, bridges, and root canals are some of the most common types of dental work for these issues. However, there are other services your dentist can offer that you may not have considered that can also repair and improve your smile.
Tooth loss is no small matter and should always be taken seriously. Without treatment, a missing permanent tooth can lead to a host of issues, from alignment problems and increased tartar buildup to speech and digestive complications. While there are many ways to replace a missing tooth, your general dentist may recommend dental implants as the treatment of choice. This option takes a few months to complete but has numerous benefits.
During the procedure, incisions are made to place a titanium rod below the surface of the gums at the site of the lost tooth. As the area heals over a few months' time, the rod fuses to the jaw bone, creating a permanent and stable support for a prosthetic tooth. An abutment is mounted to the rod, and once the tissues are fully healed, the tooth cap is attached.
To be a good candidate for one or more implants, you must have enough healthy jaw bone structure to support them. Sometimes, a bone graft can make this possible. Once the dental implant procedure is complete, it helps prevent future bone loss while providing natural-looking results that typically last a lifetime.
If your teeth are misaligned, it can lead to discomfort and an unsightly smile. In many situations, your dentist may be able to help. While braces are often the first treatment that comes to mind when dealing with crooked teeth, clear aligner trays are gaining in popularity, and for good reason. This option is more discreet, more comfortable, and just as effective in treating some common alignment issues. Trays are also convenient, as you can receive them directly from your dentist without making additional appointments with an orthodontist at a separate location.
If your dentist decides clear aligner trays are the right option for your smile, they will begin by taking digital scans or impressions of your teeth. These images are sent to an off-site laboratory where your unique set of custom trays is fabricated. After receiving your first set from your dentist, you will switch to new sets as needed, usually every two to four weeks. Your dentist will check your progress as you go in case any changes need to be made. Once the treatment is complete, you will receive a set of retainers to keep your teeth straight and your smile in top shape.
Damaged, discolored, or unevenly spaced teeth can cause you to be less than confident in your smile. A smile makeover can address both the health and cosmetic concerns you have to give you more beautiful teeth and gums. The treatments your dentist can offer will vary. Some are simple and require almost no downtime, while others may be more invasive and require some recovery. Your dentist can help guide you toward the right choices for your unique needs.
If staining is a problem, professional whitening treatments can remove years of food and tobacco discoloration for a whiter and brighter smile. A peroxide gel and dental lasers are used to penetrate deep into tooth enamel for safer yet more dramatic results when compared to home treatments. Stains that cannot be effectively removed with this type of procedure can be addressed with dental bonding or veneers. These tooth coverings can also be used to repair chips and cracks or to close gaps between permanent teeth. Crowns, bridges, and even dentures can also be used to address severe decay or missing teeth that lead to an unsightly smile.
Dental anxiety is a serious problem in the United States. According to the Journal of Dental Hygiene, research has shown that around 19% of Americans experience moderate to severe dental anxiety. This can prevent thousands of people from getting the dental care they need. Fortunately, you can choose a general dentist who offers sedation dentistry to keep patients calm and comfortable.
Often, dentists will employ the use of nitrous oxide or laughing gas to help you relax for a cleaning or treatment. A small mask is placed just over the nose and the gas is administered as needed to minimize discomfort. More invasive procedures may require the use of other medications. Your dentist can help you create a safe and effective strategy for easing dental anxiety so you can maintain good oral health.
A general dentist can do so much more than simply clean your teeth twice a year. Many offer several additional services so you can protect, enhance, and care for your entire mouth in one convenient location. Whether you need preventative screenings, damage repair, or cosmetic adjustments, a good dentist should be your first stop. However, do not forget that those routine cleanings are still essential and can help minimize the need for other procedures down the road. When combined with good oral hygiene and a healthy lifestyle, seeing a dentist can improve both your oral and overall health.
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