Teeth problems may be many and varied. Some of the teeth problems handled by dentists are:
- Removal of tooth decay
- Filling of teeth cavities with gold, silver, amalgam or cement with fused porcelain inlays
- Removal of teeth (extraction)
- Removing the nerves of teeth or root canal treatment
- Replacement of teeth with bridges and dentures or dental plates
- Examine x rays
- Place protective plastic sealants on kid's teeth
- Straighten teeth and repair fractured teeth
- Dentists also perform corrective surgery on gums and supporting bones to treat gum diseases.
- Dentures are constructed by dentists by making models and measurements of extracted teeth.
- Dentists render advice on dental care.
Most dentists handle general teeth and gum-related issues. Some dentists do specialty practice. Orthodontist is a specialist who straightens teeth by applying pressure to the teeth with braces and retainers. This is the largest practicing group in dentistry. Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons are the next largest group and they operate of the mouth and jaws. Periodontist treats gums and bones supporting the teeth, prosthodontist replaces missing teeth with permanent fixtures, endodontist performs root canal therapy, and public health dentist promotes good dental health and prevents dental diseases in the community level. An oral pathologist studies oral diseases and oral and maxillofacial radiologist diagnoses diseases in the head and neck through the technique of imaging.
A dentist dedicated to the dental and oral health of children is a pediatric dentist. In other words, pediatric dentists are pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist attends to the dental problems of infants' right through the teenage years. A pediatric dentist requires additional qualification after a graduation in general dentistry to meet the special needs of children. Visiting a pediatric dentist from early childhood to the growing years can help avoid dental treatments at later age and stage.
- A pediatric dentist handles normal children as well as hospitalized, handicapped and chronically ill children. The pediatric dentist can approach the child's own special needs in a sensitive, caring and professional manner. A pediatric dentist employs medication and controls pain to alleviate the child's apprehension about treatment.
- Prevention of dental diseases and disorders is a pediatric dentist's primary concern. A pediatric dentist advises parents that regular dental care should begin by one year of age. A pediatric dentist explains and discusses diseases of the gum, and how to avoid or minimize the damage if it has already started in the child.
- Preventive home care for brushing, flossing, diet control programs, importance of the use of fluorides are taught by a pediatric dentist.
- The issue of 'nursing decay', often called 'bottle mouth syndrome' is bound to occur in infants. As the name indicates, this is a pattern of decay associated with prolonged nursing. A pediatric dentist recommends that a child be weaned by approximately twelve months of age to prevent such nursing caries.
- It is normal for a pediatric dentist to prevent tooth decay by using sealants. A sealant is a clear or shaded plastic material that a pediatric dentist uses to apply to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. In a child, the back teeth have depressions and grooves on their chewing surfaces and so it is difficult and sometimes impossible to clean. The sealant forms a coating or barrier to protect the tooth from bacteria and bits of food. A pediatric dentist helps dramatically reduce the risk of decay for children and teens by protecting such depressions and grooves with a coating of sealant.
- Bite problems (malocclusion) are often a concern of parents of young children. Sometimes this problem is hereditary when a child has an extra or missing teeth from birth.
- A pediatric dentist is especially qualified and trained to handle several dental emergencies that can occur in childhood. It may be a broken tooth, broken braces and wires, a cut or bitten tongue or a knocked-out tooth or a common toothache.
A cosmetic dentist is a general dentist with an added dimension. Besides performing the functional requirements of a dentist, the cosmetic dentist pays close attention to the appearance of the dental work. Cosmetic dentistry is not generally taught in dental schools as part of the normal curriculum. A cosmetic dentist, in addition to qualifying as a dental graduate needs to pursue additional training after graduation and undergo specialist accredited training in the field. Cosmetic dentistry covers a multitude of procedures that improves the beauty and health of one's smile. Cosmetic dentistry can be as simple as re-contouring of one or more teeth or as comprehensive as an aesthetic and functional rehabilitation. Cosmetic dentistry can brighten a dull teeth, whiten stained teeth, close gaps between teeth, repair chipped teeth, mask metal fillings and straighten crooked teeth.
- When a person's teeth are short or long, stained or chipped, misaligned or over crowded, a cosmetic dentist renders multiple cosmetic dentistry treatments and transforms the unattractive smile of a patient.
- A cosmetic dentist places porcelain veneers over the teeth to mask virtually any cosmetic problem.
- A cosmetic dentist can remove the coffee, tea and cigarette stains from the teeth. These stubborn stains cannot be removed by brushing alone. Special teeth whitening procedures can help eliminate these superficial stains. Staining caused in teeth due to aging or medication usage can also be removed.
- A cosmetic dentist addresses minor cosmetic issues including jagged or chipped teeth and noticeable gaps between teeth. Dental bonding is an ideal solution for such minor imperfections. The cosmetic dentist uses a tooth bonding material and masks these imperfections.
- Tooth decay is one of the commonest of problems among all ages. A cosmetic dentist recommends filling the cavity with tooth colored white filling or reinforces the tooth with dental inlays or onlays.
- For a severely cracked and damaged or fractured tooth, when filling or dental inlays or onlays do not work, a cosmetic dentist uses 'dental crown' or caps.
- Old and unsightly crowns can also be replaced with ultimate all-ceramic crowns.
- A cosmetic dentist provides viable treatment options for patients with missing tooth or more teeth. 'Dental implants supported by dental bridges' are the most modern permanent solution to this problem. Sometimes patients can also opt for full and partial dentures.
- The modern alternatives of 'invisalign invisible braces' are used by cosmetic dentists in place of traditional metal braces to attend to crooked, misaligned or overlapping teeth.
- A cosmetic dentist renders gum disease treatment for painful, swollen or inflamed gums. A 'gummy smile' or excessive uneven gums are often helped with a 'gum life procedure'.
- Excessive tooth wear and grinding are often linked to jaw joint problems and headaches. A cosmetic dentist helps to alleviate these problems by using 'occlusal splint' or in severe cases treat with full oral rehabilitation.
- Depending upon the unique aesthetic needs and physical characteristics that change with age, the cosmetic dentist adopts useful procedures that are more suitable for achieving the look an individual desire.
- 'Combined techniques' are frequently used in smile design to create an ideal and natural looking smile. An example is 'bleaching' may be followed with 'minor orthodontics' and completed with porcelain veneers.
Techniques adopted by a cosmetic dentist
A cosmetic dentist adopts latest dental techniques to improve the treatment and reduce the 'chair time' of the patient. Some of the latest techniques are:
- Laser technology that adopt a 'no drill' technique
- Digital x ray technology
- Computerized anesthetic delivery
- Diagnodent-laser cavity detection
- Tooth whitening