What Dentists Can Do in 2011
Dentists are offering more services than ever before: faster and more advanced techniques, in-office products that previously weren’t available, and state of the art technology to diagnose and treat dental conditions. This article will briefly explore some of the newer technologies that are available in dental offices in 2011.
When replacing a missing tooth, bridges, dentures and partials aren’t the only options any more. Now, dental implants are becoming an increasingly popular option, due to their natural appearance and feel, and the fact that they are neither removable like dentures, nor attached to other teeth, like bridges. Whilst placing an implant requires at least one surgical procedure and may require a treatment time of several months, the results are usually very good: the final implant feels and functions very much like a natural tooth, and is easy to keep clean by normal brushing and flossing. There are of course some risks associated with any invasive or surgical procedure, and these should always be discussed with your dentist or surgeon well in advance of treatment.
Digital radiography (or digital x-rays) speeds up your dental appointment by omitting the time needed to develop traditional x-ray films in a chemical processor. This developing process used to take up to ten minutes: now the x-rays can be seen almost instantly! The x-ray images can be displayed on a large screen, making it easier for your dentist to see areas of concern. They can even show you details of your teeth and bone so much more easily than on a tiny x-ray film. Digital images can even be sent by email to specialists for referrals and consultations.
Snoring is certainly a social problem that can cause sleep disturbances for partners: however, sometimes the cause of snoring is a serious condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnea. A person with OSP will stop breathing periodically during sleep because parts of the throat and tongue relax and obstruct the breathing passages. This interference in breathing means the person never reaches a deep state of sleep, and this creates many serious health problems.
Dentists can do specific training which allows them to work with Sleep Physicians to provide people suffering from OSP with an Anti-Snoring device. These devices are worn at night, and reposition the individual’s jaw so that during sleep the obstruction doesn’t occur. It also means their partner might also enjoy a disturbance-free sleep! This is a marvellous example of cross-disciplinary cooperation to achieve a very positive outcome for many OSP sufferers.
‘Sleep Dentistry’- Intravenous Sedation
Some people are very nervous about dental treatment, and would prefer not to be consciously aware during an appointment: in fact, as dentists, we often hear people saying ‘I wish I could be asleep during my treatment!’. Intravenous sedation (also called IV sedation) provides such people with the opportunity to have their dental treatment performed in a normal dental office while they are in a deeply sedated state. This sedation is often so deep that the individual does not remember any part of the treatment or even arriving and leaving the dental practice, even though they were conscious (but generally very relaxed) during the treatment. People do sometimes even sleep during the appointment because of the degree of relaxation induced by the sedative medications.
A dental practice offering intravenous sedation must be specially registered and all staff need to be specifically trained for provision of such a service. As with any procedure involving the administration of strong sedative drugs, there are risks involved that should always be explained by your dentist and understood by the patient. The sedated patient must always be accompanied by a responsible adult as they leave the dental practice and for the time that they require afterwards to recover from the effects of the sedative drugs.
For many people, dentistry under intravenous sedation has provided them with a very satisfactory option for having their dental treatment done in a dental practice by their local dentist. Whilst they may not have overcome their fear of dental treatment, intravenous sedation at least allows them to get needed treatment done.
At Corinna Dental…
…we are pleased to be able to offer all of these technologies to our patients. Our Dentists and Staff have an ongoing commitment to continuing education, and we remain up-to-date in all areas of dentistry and dental technologies.
We are always happy to answer your questions about dentistry- so please don’t hesitate to ask!