Dentistry in layman’s terms

For many people, going to the dentist can be daunting, not only because they feel nervous about the dental procedure, but because they do not understand the jargon used in dentistry. Therefore, we have compiled a list of the most common dental procedures, with a brief explanation, so that the next time you visit your dentist you will have a better understanding of the various procedures that he or she would recommend.

1.    Fillings

A filling is a hard tooth-like – and sometimes tooth coloured – material that is used to “fill” a tooth once the decay had been removed.

2.    Scale and Polish

A scale and polish is a procedure done to remove plaque and clean the mouth. It also smoothens the teeth so that plaque bacteria would not be able to stick to the teeth for a while.

3.    Extractions

An extraction simply means the removal of a tooth. This is usually necessary when the tooth is damaged beyond repair.

4.    Teeth Whitening/ Bleaching

Teeth whitening (also referred to as teeth bleaching) is the process of whitening the teeth to give it a clean and brighter appearance.

5.    Dental Crowns

A crown is a single tooth capping that covers a damaged tooth.

6.    Dental bridges

A dental bridge is an irremovable tooth-like replacement of a missing tooth. Dental bridges consist of a crown on either side of the bridge that holds the bridge in place

7.    Conscious sedation

Conscious sedation is when nervous patients are sedated in order to relax throughout the dental procedure. Conscious sedation can be administered orally, through inhalation, or intravenously. With conscious sedation, you will be completely awake, but unable to remember the dental procedure.

8.    General Anaesthetic

General anaesthetics are a lot like conscious sedation, in that it relaxes you. However, with general anaesthetics, the patient is completely asleep throughout the dental procedure.

For a dentist who would explain all dental jargon in layman’s terms for you to understand, contact a dentist in Cape Town.

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