Many people find the prospect of going to the dentist intimidating. Reasons for anxiety may be varied. It may have been a long time since my last visit to the dentist. What if the examination hurts? What about injections or the prospect of long, complicated treatments?
Evidence has shown that the more informed a patient is about different treatments, the less likely they are to be nervous.
There are a variety of reasons why people go to the dentist, but there are a couple of more common ones. I have compiled a list of five of them and how exactly they are done, so you can feel at ease the next time you have to go to the dentist.
Due to the amount of sugar and acid in our diets, cavities are a common appearance. When these appear you need to get them filled in to avoid them growing or getting more painful.
Having your tooth filled is a quick procedure, only taking about an hour to perform. The dentist will drill the decaying tissue out before filling it with a dental filling. Dental fillings can come in a variety of colours, the most popular being white, silver, and gold.
Fillings can also repair fractured teeth. The dentist will numb the area beforehand so you don’t feel any pain.
Another common reason to go to the dentist is for tooth alignment. If you need your teeth straightening you usually get two choices, veneers or braces.
Veneers are a thin plastic that fits over your teeth to slowly align them. They can also be used to help with teeth whitening.
Braces are slightly more severe than veneers since they typically use metal, but they may get your teeth straighter faster. Braces also allow you to have different coloured bands which appeal to children.
Having straighter teeth not only is more visually appealing, but they are also easier to clean.
If the cavity is too big or the top of the tooth is decayed then a crown may be needed. This procedure usually happens across two sessions. The first is to get a mould of your tooth so your crown will fit perfectly, and the second is to put it on. In the meantime, the dentist will provide you with a temporary crown.
Crowns are typically made from metal, porcelain, or a composite of the two materials. Like fillings, crowns can also come in a variety of colours.
For most people, the idea of a root canal is the biggest thing to be scared of at the dentist. While it isn’t a particularly comfortable experience, it is not painful. The dentist will take extra care to make sure you are numb for the procedure, and that it stays numb for a little while after it.
Root canals are performed on a tooth that has infected or inflamed tissue underneath it, but the tooth can be saved. The procedure involves deadening the nerve under the tooth and removing any inflamed tissue
If you need to have a root canal, then clearly your tooth is very painful. No matter how scary the procedure may seem, it is completely safe and painless and it will make your mouth feel a whole lot better.
While this may sound like the most painful procedure, it is only done as a last resort. If you need to have a tooth removed, the dentist will do everything they can to make you feel more comfortable. The pain of your tooth will be far worse than any pain you feel getting it removed, that is if you feel any pain at all.
For most dental procedures you will only need simple numbing, for extractions it may be necessary for you to be unconscious for it. You would essentially walk into the dentist’s office with a painful tooth, fall asleep, and then wake up with no pain. In the long run, you will be eternally grateful for that tooth being gone.
Commonly, if you ever get wisdom teeth then they will also be removed. This is because they can cause pain, infection, and damage to neighbouring teeth. The younger you are the better it is to remove them as the bone and root aren’t fully formed yet, and you typically recover faster after surgery.
Special treatment considerations are made for infants, young children, adolescents, people with special needs and the elderly.
Hopefully, now you know exactly what to expect at the dentist and that it is not as scary as you may think. Thanks to modern technology, dental procedures are a pain-free process and your teeth will thank you for going.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.