The 7 most common dental procedures of the corona year
Even with the coronavirus pandemic, dental hygiene never stops. Tandarts Jordaan has detailed some of the most common dental procedures that took place over the past year, whilst we’ve been in lockdown.
Coronavirus has turned daily life upside down over the last year, in ways we could never have anticipated. Still, we’ve tried to "keep calm and carry on" looking after ourselves, our health and that of those around us.
As normal health care services picked up again, and we adjusted to lockdown life, people started venturing back out to their dental appointments too. Whether for regular check-ups or to fix a Netflix-and-cake induced cavity, dentists up and down the country have been helping patients restore and maintain their dental health.
A cavity (hole) in a tooth is not just painful, it can lead to sore gums, bad breath and inflammation in the mouth but also elsewhere in the body. Did you know that good dental health has a positive effect on your cardiovascular health too? Cavities are easily recognised by the soreness in the tooth or area around it, and sometimes you can see the hole itself or a darker patch in the centre of the tooth as well.
Cavities are caused by bacteria in the mouth which causes stubborn plaque, softening dental tissue and making it susceptible to rot. Good, regular brushing and biannual check-ups at your dentist help prevent them. This is why it is important to keep going to the dentist; you can be sure to find extra precautions against COVID in place.
But how to get rid of cavities once they appear? Well, there’s no way around it, they need filling. This a common and straightforward issue and dentists now use white fillings as standard, so that the filling matches your surrounding teeth.
If a cavity isn’t treated on time, it can lead to further tooth decay and occasionally this means a tooth needs to be extracted. Simply put, this means the troublesome tooth needs to be removed.
Dental professionals will always try and avoid pulling a tooth if it can be saved. It’s not a treatment anyone looks forward to. However, if it’s the only way forward, a good dentist will provide plenty of information before the procedure and a calm and welcoming environment. In addition, they’ll make sure of sufficient anaesthetic and painkillers, if need be.
After a tooth extraction, you will need to rest and avoid disturbing the repair for at least 72 hours. That might be brushing too vigorously, drinking alcohol or eating hard foods. You’ll be given a guide to caring for your teeth at home while your mouth heals.
If you’ve had a tooth removed, often you will want to consider a dental implant to fill the gap. In essence, a dental implant is a false tooth, or a tooth repair to a broken tooth, that makes it functionally and aesthetically whole again.
Are dental implants painful? No, they don’t need to be. Top-quality dental practices will usually have their own in-house "implantologist." Dental implants may require several visits or more time in the dentist chair, as the root sometimes needs to be removed or, occasionally, the jaw bone needs to be strengthened to provide a suitable base for the "new" tooth.
A specialist in this area of dentistry will guide you through the whole process and they will make sure that any anxiety or pain you may experience is managed well too.
If you’ve had work on your teeth, such as a filling or an extraction, the relative strength of the surrounding teeth may have been compromised as a result. This too can be fixed.
If your dentist thinks that there may be a chance of another tooth weakening or cracking, they will recommend a dental crown or bridge. Crowns, sometimes called "caps," are protective coverings added to a weak tooth to protect it from further damage.
If an implant was not possible then a dental bridge - two crowns with a fitting between them that "bridges" the gap where the extracted tooth was - can serve to strengthen the teeth and fill the gap where the first tooth was removed.
The latest technology is used at practices to make sure the tooth is a perfect match for your mouth and to speed up the process too. A good bridge like this will last five to seven years, ten if you look after it well.
All that snacking on the sofa during lockdown has led to a lot of people seeking teeth whitening treatments this year. Whitening is a safe and quick way to restore the natural whiteness of your teeth. The whiteness of teeth varies but discolouration can worsen with a lot of fizzy or caffeinated drinks, or if you are a smoker.
With the "walking bleach" method, teeth whitening has become very easy as well as effective. The dentist makes a mould of your teeth and provides the whitening agent and instructions for you. It’s so easy nowadays that you can do it yourself at home!
Of course, a regular visit to the dental hygienist will also keep your teeth cleaner, whiter and naturally beautiful. They give your teeth a thorough clean, can advise on maintaining optimum oral hygiene and refer you to the dentist if they see anything that may need further attention. Seeing the hygienist at your practice at least once a year is a good rule of thumb.
That said, there is of course no replacement for your biannual dental check-up. A dentist has the most expertise and can see into the corners of your mouth that you can’t! They’ll test the strength of your teeth and the general health of your teeth and gums; giving you the best advice to help you maintain a beautiful, healthy smile.
A good dentist isn’t just good with teeth, they’re also good with people. For advice or more information on all Tandarts Jordaan's services, contact them or register via their website. You can also call the practice on 020 612 12 43. If you can’t get through during busy periods, feel free to drop them an email with your name, date of birth and query and they will get back to you ASAP.