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During this section, I am going to explain some of the words or treatments you may be prescribed by a dentist.
When having dental treatment carried out you could be offered three types of anaesthesia:

  • Local Anaesthetic 
  • Sedation  
  • General Anaesthetic

Local Anaesthetic is administered by a small injection directly into the gum or soft tissue, this will numb an individual tooth or small area within the mouth, the effect of the injection is very quick and you should feel the area getting numb quickly. It is a quick and safe way of stopping you feeling pan whilst dental treatment on the area is carried out and the numb effect will wear off in a few hours. If you are giving an injection to someone with limited capacity remind them that the tongue may be numb and not to bite this or the inside of their mouth. This can be very distressing for those with learning disabilities.

Sedation can be administered via a drug injected into a vein such as midazolam or breathing in a gas which is a mixture of Nitrous oxide and oxygen. Both will have the effect of relaxing the person so they are more able to tolerate treatment, this works very well for people who are anxious about dental treatment and dental injections. You will be conscious throughout but may not remember anything after the treatment, you will be to accompany a person for 24 hours after sedation.

A general anaesthetic is carried out by an anaesthetist in a hospital setting. The patient will be completely put to sleep via a drug administered into the vein. They will need to recover in hospital and accompanied by an adult for the following 24 hours. This is more suitable for longer and more invasive procedures and should be carefully considered as it carries more risks.  Some dental treatments are minor and require no anaesthesia at all such as teeth cleaning and small fillings.

There are two main types of fillings; adhesive and non-adhesive

Non-adhesive fillings are usually Amalgam, a silver looking substance which gradually gets darker over time. These fillings are very strong in compression so are a good way to fill the biting surface of the tooth. As they do not stick the cavity the filling is going into needs to be shaped in a way to hold the filling material, this can result in more of the tooth needs to be removed.

The most common adhesive filling is a composite, a collection of materials that form a white compound which will stick to the tooth surface, although these materials are not as strong they bond too small surfaces and can be colour matched to the existing teeth.

If a large amount of tooth is missing you may be advised to have a crown. This is like a jacket that fits over the existing tooth, they can be gold, silver or porcelain which is matched to the colour of the rest of your teeth. To make a crown an impression is taken of your teeth, this feels like biting into plasticine, the tooth is then drilled down into a peg and more impressions are taken, this is sent to a laboratory to be formed and the crown is fitted with an adhesive at a later date.

A bridge is a similar process to a crown but it helps the replace a tooth which is missing. The two teeth either side of the missing tooth are prepared in the same way as if a crown was being made but when the bridge comes back from the laboratory it will look like three teeth stuck together.

The final treatment I will talk about here is a root canal treatment (RCT). If a tooth has become infected or experience trauma which has damaged the nerve inside is may require RCT. During this process, a small opening is made in the tooth, a series of files with sharp edges are inserted into the centre of the tooth to remove the nerve and any infected tissue inside. The tooth is then thoroughly cleaned out and disinfected. Once the dentist is happy the canal of the tooth is completely clean and dry they will fill the inside with a plastic material and they close the opening to the tooth with a filling. This process may take several visits and each visit can take up to 45mins.