ABC Of Dentistry – Part 1

An alphabetical look at some of the terminology used in our Wickford dental practice

Hygienist VickiWe thought that we would set ourselves a challenge to come up with a dental term for each letter of the alphabet.

We will continue with this throughout our next few blogs to allow us a little more detailed explanation. Thankfully (for us anyway), some of the more difficult ones will come towards the end …. plenty of time to plan for ‘Z’!

Anyway, without further ado, here are some of the common terms that the Cygnet Dental Practice team came up with. See if you can think of any others.

A – Anaesthetic – Some of our older patients will probably be able to remember the old style ‘gas’ anaesthetic that was routinely used in the past. Whilst this may have suited our more nervous patients as it put them in a deep sleep, it also presented a number of problems. Firstly, there was no way that the dentist could communicate with the patient about a problem as they were ‘asleep’. Secondly, it left the patient very drowsy for some time and meant that someone had to come with you to make sure you got home safely. Finally, and sadly, there were a small number of fatalities in the UK which led to it being banned in practices unless there was a qualified anaesthetist present. These days, a powerful local anaesthetic is used instead. This is both safe and allows the patient to continue with their day after their dental treatment.

B – Braces – The bane of many teenagers in the days when dental braces were made from metal and were very visible. Although they were effective in straightening teeth, their high visibility meant that many people simply refused to have them. The wires and brackets used also meant that food could easily become trapped, potentially leading to tooth decay. Today, using modern cosmetic dental braces such as Invisalign, it is possible to have an even and attractive smile in a much more discreet manner.

C – Cosmetic dentistry – Gone are the days when people only saw a dentist in order to have healthy teeth. Whilst this is still the priority, the range of cosmetic treatments available has led to a big increase in the number of patients looking to have teeth that are also as attractive as possible. Although some of these treatments, such as teeth whitening, have cosmetic benefits only, others, such as veneers and dental implants also have practical benefits whilst also helping to improve your smile.

D – Dentists – Don’t you just love us? We know that you do really even though some patients find visiting a dental practice to be an unsettling experience. We are fully aware of this and indeed, we know of dentists who are none too keen themselves when it is them receiving treatment. The reality though is that good quality oral care is essential and we do all that we can to put our patients at ease whether they are receiving a simple check up or a more extensive treatment such as implant placement. If you are nervous about seeing a dentist, please do let us know and we will do all that we can to make your experience as trauma free as we possibly can.

E – Emergency Dentistry – What defines a dental emergency? The most obvious thing would be a major trauma such as following a bad accident or fall. Whilst this may be an obvious case, the fact is that any problem such as a toothache or a broken tooth, even if minor, should be treated as soon as possible, even if it is causing little or no discomfort. Any damage to a tooth will lead to it becoming worse and you should see your dentist as soon as you can. When you ring our Wickford dental practice for an appointment, please explain to our receptionist and they will try to find a speedy appointment for you so that you can be treated as quickly as possible.

F – Fillings – Most of us will have a filling or two, or probably more, during our lifetime. This is still the most effective way of restoring a tooth following decay, especially in the earlier stages. Whilst the darker amalgam fillings have been used for some time and do offer a strong solution, they are certainly not pleasing to the eye. Increasingly, patients are turning to tooth coloured fillings which offer an alternative strong option and also are produced to blend in with your natural tooth colour, rendering them almost invisible.

G – Gingivitis – More commonly known as ‘gum disease’. In fact, gingivitis is just the earlier stage of this common problem and can usually be treated, or managed, either by improving your home care or with the aid of a scale and polish procedure carried out by a hygienist. Whilst gingivitis can have unpleasant side effects such as sore and inflamed gums along with halitosis, it is more easily treated than if left to advance further. At this stage (periodontitis) it can also affect the underlying bone that supports the teeth and can lead to loose teeth or even loss of teeth.

We will stop there for this blog and hope that you look forward to future ones. If any of the above has highlighted a problem you suspect you might have, or if you want further advice on either family or cosmetic dentistry, we are here to help you. You can contact the Cygnet Dental Practice by calling us on 01268 733078.