General dentists are the main providers of dental care to people of all ages. At a routine visit to your family dentist, you will probably have a thorough examination of your mouth, a professional cleaning, and a discussion about your dental health.
Restorative materials are used to repair teeth, which have been compromised due to tooth decay (cavities) or trauma. Tooth trauma can be caused by cracked or broken teeth, teeth that are worn from unusual use such as nail biting and using your teeth to open things. Different materials can be used to repair teeth, the most common being composite fillings made from a tooth-colored resin which looks and feels like natural teeth.
Crowns are dental restorations that protect decayed, 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 and are made from porcelain, metal or a combination of materials. Veneers are similar to porcelain crowns except that they only cover the front of the tooth. They are used to improve the appearance of teeth by closing spaces and changing teeth shape and color.
Root canal treatment is the removal of the tooth’s pulp – a small, thread-like tissue in the center of the tooth. The remaining space is cleaned, shaped and filled once the damaged, diseased or dead pulp is removed. By the time decay advances near or into the pulp, the tooth is at a high risk of infection and usually begins to ache. The procedure seals off the root canal. If left untreated or infected, dead tooth pulp can create a buildup of pus at the root tip in the jawbone, forming an abscess. An abscess can be very dangerous and can destroy the bone surrounding the tooth and cause pain.
For patients with bleeding gums, heavy plaque, and calcium deposits (calculus), we recommend a deep cleaning procedure. Bacteria number in hundreds of billions in the mouth, and there are approximately 325 different bacterial species in plaque. As the plaque builds up around the teeth and below the gums, calcium in your saliva can deposit themselves on to the plaque and form calculus. As more and more bacteria accumulate, they will cause inflammation, pain, bone loss, and eventual loss of teeth. Deep cleaning will remove these harmful structures both above and below the gums, eliminating bacterial reservoirs.
A tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone. There are many reasons for extracting a permanent tooth, the most common being a broken tooth or a tooth damaged by severe decay. Usually, Dr. Lam will try to use other methods such as fixing the tooth with a filling, crown or other dental treatment, leaving extraction as a final option.
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