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Archive for the day “December 15, 2012”

Dental care for Humans – Part One

Dentistry is the branch of medicine that is involved in the study, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases, disorders and conditions of the oral cavity, the maxillofacial area and the adjacent and associated structures, and their impact on the human body.

Human beings are the species Homo sapiens, and they belong to the Animal Kingdom.  They are definitely not Plants, are they?   Therefore, Homo sapiens appear in this blog.  Following up on Part 2 of Bits and Bites about the structure and function of human teeth, this post is about dental care for human beings.  Dental care for your animal companions is in the form of your dog and/or cat cleaning their own teeth through chewing and using their own protective saliva, and is achieved through you the “owner” taking your animal friend to the vet if she/he (the cat or dog) needs dental treatment.  Non-human animals don’t use toothbrushes and neither do they eat sugary food or many carbohydrates, which can cause tooth decay to humans if human beings eat such and don’t exercise basic daily care of their teeth.

bucky beaver iPana
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Dental care for human beings – Part Two



No, I am not talking about the crown that a king or a queen puts on his/her head, but about dental crowns!  A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth, to cover the tooth to restore its shape, size and strength, and improve its appearance. The dental crown, when cemented into place, fully encases the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.

A dental crown can be used to protect a weak tooth from breaking or to hold together parts of a cracked tooth, to restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down, to cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t a lot of tooth left, or to hold a dental bridge (crowns on teeth on either side of a gap) in place.

Crown or Filling??  A dental crown will cost substantially more than a filling. A filling will take just one visit to complete while a dental crown will require two visits to the dentist. Dentists recommend dental crowns for teeth that have sustained a significant amount of damage, and your dentist will be the best person to answer the question whether your damaged tooth needs a crown or a filling.

Hopefully, you will never need a dental crown, if you look after your teeth well.

More information can be read about dental crowns at this page   here.   You need to go twice to the dentist because on the first visit, your dentist will use a paste or putty to make an impression of the tooth to receive the crown.  Then, the Crown needs to be made, and on your second visit, the crown will be affixed regally to your poor tooth.

Root Canal

The often dreaded and seen to be tortuous Root canal treatment is used to save a tooth which would otherwise need to be removed.  It is needed when the blood or nerve supply of the tooth (known as the pulp) is infected through decay or injury.

The term “Root canal” is the term used to describe the natural cavity (pulp) within the center of the tooth.  A tooth’s nerve and pulp can become irritated, inflamed, and infected due to deep decay, repeated dental procedures on a tooth, and/or large fillings, a crack or chip in the tooth, or trauma to the face.

This treatment requires two or three visits, at least two.  On the first visit, your dentist will access the root canal via a hole drilled into the tooth and will clean, medicate and seal the root canal (pulp cavity).  On the second visit, a polymer substance called gutta percha will be piped into the root canal and a composite filling added to close the access hole or gap in the tooth’s enamel covering.

Furthermore, the dentist will probably recommend that you get a Crown put over the tooth because the removal of the pulp will mean limited blood supply to the tooth dentin, thus weakening the tooth.  Adding a dental crown will give more rigorous protection, and of course will mean another visit to the dentist.

Root Canal

You can read more about the procedure for a Root Canal at this link   here  from which the picture above is taken from.

At the time of posting this, it can cost $950 or more in Australia for one root canal treatment, so it is wisest to do your very best to avoid having to get a Root Canal treatment – in order to avoid the multiple visits, the large cost involved, and of course to avoid the pain and discomfort, that having a tooth problem bad enough for a root canal, brings.

 Orthodontics and Braces

Orthodontics is a type of dental treatment that aims to improve the appearance, position and function of crooked or abnormally arranged teeth.  One example of orthodontic treatment is the use of braces, which are a device used to gradually reposition crooked teeth to a more favorable alignment.

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