Specialist Dental Care – What Is It?

A review of specialist dentistry services at our modern Bedford clinic.

Most patients who visit a dentist will usually do so for their regular check up, hygienist visit or minor treatment, such as a filling.

This isn’t always the case though, and, from time to time, more extensive treatment may be needed to save a natural tooth.

Some of these treatments fall into the category of ‘specialist dental care’ and usually require additional training by the dentist who carries them out.

The Dental Centre Bedford is pleased to offer three of these specialisms at our modern dental practice. Each one plays an important role in restoring a patient’s teeth when a minor procedure would not be sufficient. Our experienced dentists are here to make sure that everything possible is done to help you to keep your natural teeth. Where this is not possible, through decay or damage being too extensive, our prosthodontist can help to replace any lost teeth using artificial means.

Let’s take a closer look at the three specialisms that we currently offer.

Endodontist

The endodontist is primarily concerned with what happens inside of the tooth. This generally means looking after a tooth that has been infected in the root canals. This is a problem that cannot be ignored and can lead to intense pain if not treated promptly. The only way to save a tooth that is infected in this manner, is through the use of root canal therapy. We have discussed this role relatively recently, and more information about it can be found over at this blog.

Periodontist

The periodontist is primarily concerned with the health of the gums. Whilst some of our patients may associate gum disease with the spitting of blood when brushing, as sometimes seen on TV advertisements for certain types of toothpaste, gum disease can have more serious consequences than this. In addition to the bleeding and soreness of the gums, it can also eventually lead to deterioration of the bone structure surrounding the teeth. This occurs at an advanced stage of gum disease known as periodontitis and can result in very wobbly teeth, or even their eventual loss.

If gum disease has not developed too far, it can often be reversed and stabilised through a series of thorough cleans by our hygienist and better home care. Where it has become too advanced, specialist treatment, performed by the periodontist, may be necessary. This treatment is much more invasive than the ‘scale and polish’ and involves the cleaning, not only of the tooth that can be seen above the gum line, but beneath as well, right down to the roots and surrounding bone tissue. This procedure is called ‘root planing’.  Although this may not be a pleasant procedure for the patient, it sometimes provides the only opportunity to save the tooth. Preventative dental care, including regular appointments with both the dentist and the hygienist are the best way to avoid the problem reaching this stage.

Prosthodontist

The prosthodontist’s role is multifaceted and involves the restoration of the mouth following tooth loss. This could be the loss of a single tooth, or even a full arch of teeth, possibly following a serious accident or due to a serious illness or side effects of treatment. Each case will be assessed individually and a treatment plan developed to suit the particular circumstances. There are three main types of tooth restoration methods that can be used.

Dentures – Modern dentures offer a more natural look and a greater level of comfort that older style false teeth. They are not ideal for all patients however as there may be some movement in the mouth which can cause problems with eating, and occasional soreness of the gums. For patients whose dental anxiety levels are very high though, they often provide a non invasive means of replacing lost teeth and the occasional inconvenience may be a small price to play for those wishing to avoid more complex dental surgery.

Bridges – These are quite versatile albeit not suitable in all cases; for example where the rear tooth needs replacing, as they require a natural tooth either side of the gap for crowns to be fitted to anchor the bridge into place. This method provides a more stable solution than dentures and can be used where single or multiple teeth have been lost. They do, however, require some reshaping of otherwise healthy teeth, in order to fit the supporting crowns and understandably, some patients are reluctant to do this.

Dental implants – Increasingly, dental implants are the preferred option of patients who wish to replace a lost tooth or teeth. Not only do implants replace the part of the tooth above the gum line, but also the root of the tooth. The titanium artificial root that is placed into the jawbone, is largely responsible for giving this replacement tooth method its reputation for strength and stability. It also means that, unlike other methods, there is no ongoing bone loss in that area. Although this procedure does require minor dental surgery, the long term benefits are significant. Not only can you eat what you want, but keeping them clean is straightforward, and with a life-span often in excess of twenty years, they are likely to easily outlast either dentures or a bridge.

Through the use of these specialist services, we have been able to save a significant number of teeth that would otherwise have been lost or not replaced. If you feel that you would like to register with a dental practice that offers services such as these, as well as routine dental care, then The Dental Centre Bedford is suitable for you. You can register at our practice by calling us on 01234 819868 and we look forward to being of assistance.