Thanks to the development of faster and more efficient dental treatments, new pain-free dental techniques, and durable, aesthetically appealing dental materials, modern dentistry now offers a solution for virtually every type of dental problem. Patients of all ages can choose from a multitude of traditional or more innovative general and cosmetic dentistry treatments to improve the health and beauty of their smile.
Patients tend to put off dental visits for a variety of reasons, but one of the most common sources of frustration is the sheer multitude of dental treatment options available and the mystery that surrounds many of these new techniques and treatments. If you meet any of the criteria in the descriptions below, click on the accompanying dental procedure links to learn about possible treatments, and take this opportunity to find out more about the costs, benefits, and risks of each treatment.
When teeth are too short or long, stained, chipped, misaligned, or overcrowded, a dentist can combine multiple cosmetic dentistry treatments to transform the smile, or the patient can invest in porcelain veneers. Veneers can be placed over the teeth to mask virtually any cosmetic problems.
Discolored, Stained, or Dull Teeth
Stubborn stains from coffee, tea, and cigarettes can be difficult to remove with brushing alone. Teeth whitening (in-office or take home) can help eliminate these more superficial stains and also address staining caused by aging or prescription medication use, such as tetracycline stains.
Chips and Minor Gaps
Many patients are troubled by minor cosmetic issues with their smile, including jagged or chipped teeth and noticeable gaps between teeth. Cosmetic dental bonding is an ideal solution for these minor imperfections. With a tooth-colored bonding material, your dentist can mask these imperfections in just minutes.
Mild to Moderate Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is common among patients of all ages. Once a dentist removes the decay, they will generally recommend filling the cavity with a tooth-colored "white" filling or reinforcing the tooth with dental inlays or onlays.
Severely Cracked or Fractured Teeth
When a tooth becomes so damaged or decayed that a filling or inlay/onlay is no longer a sufficient solution, the tooth can be covered with a dental crown, or "cap." Dental crowns are designed to stabilize badly damaged teeth; they can be made of metal or an attractive porcelain or ceramic material.
There are several viable treatment options for patients missing one or more teeth – dental implants and implant-supported dental bridges are the most modern, permanent solution, but patients can also opt for removable full and partial dentures.
Crooked, Misaligned, or Overlapping Teeth/Bite
While more minor gaps and misalignment can be fixed with cosmetic dentistry solutions such as veneers or bonding, dentists generally recommend orthodontic treatment for significantly misaligned teeth. Patients can now opt for modern alternatives to traditional metal braces, including invisalign® "invisible" braces.
Swollen, Bleeding Gums
Painful, swollen, or inflamed gums are often the first symptom of periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease treatment can consist of everything from a deep cleaning for the mildest form of the disease, gingivitis, to surgical intervention for advanced gum disease, such as periodontitis.
Severe Tooth Pain
Tooth pain can signify a variety of dental problems. Aside from decay, one of the most common sources of tooth pain is an infection of the root canal. Root canal therapy involves cleaning out the infected tissue and filling the canal to stave off further infection.
Jaw Pain, Soreness, or Stiffness
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint located where the jawbone meets the skull. When the TMJ is misaligned or the joint is stressed by other causes such as bruxism (teeth grinding), symptoms such as headaches, jaw pain, and ear pain can result. Fortunately, dentists offer several treatment options for patients suffering from TMJ disorders, including bite appliances, orthodontics, and joint-relaxation techniques.
Severely Worn, Missing, and Broken Teeth
Patients who have neglected their oral health are often left with severe dental problems that require multiple restorative and cosmetic dentistry treatments. To treat these patients, dentists can perform what is known as a "full-mouth reconstruction." Full-mouth reconstructions incorporate everything from thorough cleanings to dental implant restorations in order to restore the function and beauty of the smile.
Dental phobia and a fear of the dentist’s office causes millions of Americans to avoid the dental treatment they need each year. Dental anxiety, whether mild or severe, can be addressed by any number of sedation dentistry methods, including oral conscious sedation with nitrous oxide or sedatives, moderate sedation with I.V. drugs, or deep sedation with general anesthesia.
Explore DocShop’s Online Directory of Dentists
DocShop is an online source for patients who want to be connected with dental professionals in their area. Find a dentist in your area using our online directory. DocShop will provide you with a list of practices nearby as well as information about the dentist(s) and links to his or her website(s).