All About Dental Treatments in the UK
Looking after our teeth is a big part of our healthcare. There are many things that we should do at home for our oral health, such as brushing our teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and choosing healthy foods and drinks. Some things are of course best left to the professionals. In this article, we are having a look at the main treatments that are carried out by dentists here in the UK.
Regular Dental Check-Ups
To maintain healthy teeth, it’s a good idea to see your dentist on a regular basis for dental check-ups. How often this should be varies between different people. For some, it’s ideal to go as often as every 3 months, while some can go every 2 years – and everything in between. It all depends on how healthy your teeth and gums are, whether you are at risk of future problems, and whether you’re currently having any treatments done to your teeth. When it comes to oral health, it’s always best to deal with any issues early or to prevent them from happening in the first place.
During a regular dental check-up, your dentist examines your teeth, gums, and mouth and asks you about your health and if you have any problems with your oral health that need addressing. They might also ask and give you advice about healthy habits.
Your dentist will also recommend a date for your next visit so that you can book in before you leave the dental surgery.
Sometimes a scale and polish will be done during your check-up. This is a professional teeth cleaning procedure done by a dental hygienist or dentist to remove deposits of tartar that build up on the teeth.
Fillings & Crowns
If you are experiencing tooth decay, your dentist will suggest repairing the affected teeth. Usually, fillings are used to repair holes caused by decay. The most common one is an amalgam made from a mixture of metals but there are white fillings available too. Your dentist will recommend the best option for you.
Crowns are a kind of cap that covers a real tooth. They can be made from different materials and are fixed in your mouth. They’re often used when a tooth is decayed, broken or damaged. To fit one, the original tooth needs to be drilled down. A lab will prepare a crown that fits your mouth perfectly – this can take some time so there is usually a bit of waiting time and crowns are not often fitted on the same day.
Root Canal Treatments
A root canal treatment can be essential when the blood or nerve supply of a tooth has been infected. The treatment tackles the infection so that it will not spread and so that you can keep your tooth. After the infection has been removed from the tooth, the root canal is filled and sealed to stop it getting infected again.
Tooth Removal & Replacements
Sometimes, a tooth needs to be removed and sometimes they get knocked out in accidents.
Wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure. Our wisdom teeth are the last ones to come through and most people have one in each corner, four in total. Sometimes they emerge at angles or emerge partially and can cause problems, which is when it can be a good idea to have them removed.
There are a few different options for replacing missing teeth. A bridge is a fixed replacement that is created by taking an impression of the surrounding teeth, that will support the bridge when it’s fitted. Other options include dentures (false teeth) and dental implants. Dentures can be a full set of teeth or a partial set to replace one or more missing teeth. They are removable and you clean them at home. Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth or several and are a fixed alternative. They are expensive as they take a lot of time to create to ensure they fit your mouth and other teeth properly.
Braces are used to straighten or move teeth to improve how teeth work and look. Some are removable while others are fixed, depending on your needs. Braces are available on the NHS for children and sometimes for adults too, depending on their clinical needs.
Veneers & Teeth Whitening
Veneers can be used to hide discoloured teeth or to cover chipped teeth. They are pretty much new facings made of porcelain and to fit them, the front to of the relevant teeth need to be drilled away a little. Veneers are generally only available privately and are usually very expensive.
There are lots of home teeth whitening kits available to buy online and in shops, but if you want to whiten your teeth, it’s best to do it with your dentist. Teeth whitening is exactly what it sounds – the teeth are bleached to make them a lighter, brighter colour. The finished colour can be several shades lighter but will not reach a brilliant white shade.
The treatment usually involves visiting your dentist 2-3 times, then using a mouthguard with a bleaching gel at home afterwards.
Another option is laser whitening or power whitening, and these treatments are done at the dentist’s surgery. Because teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure, it’s only available privately.