Dentistry as we know it focuses superficially on improving the appearance of teeth and to treat dental problems. In reality, dentistry is not all about just teeth. Advanced dentistry encompasses the functional dynamics of the entire head and neck and the correlation between the bones, musculature and nerves of this region.
The teeth have a lot more to do with the body than most are aware of, and correcting any associated problems of the head and neck is where advanced dentistry comes into play.
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Advanced Dentistry Procedures
Missing teeth require a replacement to restore their function. Dental implants are permanent replacements for lost teeth, which are placed within the bone bearing the previous tooth and support a dental restoration. Implants themselves are metal posts, which are permanently fixed within the bone where a previous root existed, upon which the prosthesis is fixed.
When the implant is placed within the empty tooth socket or bone of the jaw, it acts as a root, upon which prosthetic crown or bridge is attached. Dental implants may replace a single tooth or multiple missing teeth, for which they can also be used to support dentures. General dentists with specific training can place dental implants in many cases. Thus, advanced dentistry encompasses this surgical procedure for the replacement of missing teeth as well.
For many reasons, teeth may need to be extracted or removed from the oral cavity. The most common of these reasons include impacted wisdom teeth, extensive tooth decay, creating space for orthodontic treatment and even traumatic breakdown of a tooth rendering it non- viable in the oral cavity.
Both simple and surgical tooth extractions may be performed by dentists with advanced dentistry training. These extractions may involve the administration of anesthesia and removal of the tooth using all levels of extraction instruments.
The dynamic relationship between the teeth, the muscles and the jaws is an intricate one. Problems in the jaws not only have a direct impact on the teeth themselves, it also inadvertently affects the musculature and nerves associated with the jaws and teeth. Mal- aligned teeth and malocclusion (less than ideal tooth connections of the upper and lower jaw) of the teeth themselves can severely affect the jaw joint, adversely affecting the jaw to skull relationship.
Neuromuscular dentistry deals with alleviating symptoms in the muscles of the jaws and neck associated with a bad bite or with TMJ syndrome, along with the neurological pain associated with TMJ problems. It involves placing the jaw into its most optimal position in relation to the teeth and skull, for easier and more ideal movements. Normal dentistry mainly focuses on treating problems in the teeth, gums and underlying bone, but neuromuscular advanced dentistry includes the former along with the nerves and muscles which are crucial to have in a harmonious relationship. Its treatment aims thus include correcting the bite and realigning the jaws for better function.
Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy involves the removal of an infected tooth’s pulp due to excessive decay. The procedure is basic, whereby the tooth pulp chamber is exposed with the help of a handpiece or “drill”. Once the pulp chamber has been opened up, it allows the dentist to gain access to the tooth’s root canal to remove the infected pulp. It is then filled with anti- bacterial medicaments and after a period of eliminating all infection present, it is then filled with an inert material and filled permanently. The tooth is then “capped” i.e. has a crown placed over it to give strength and support.
For patients who suffer dental anxiety or dental phobia, sedation dentistry can be performed. This involves the use of mild to strong sedatives to relax a patient and reduce the pain associated with some dental procedures. Sedatives used may be in the form of gas, oral medications or through Intravenous (IV) route. Sedation dentistry allows fearful or anxious patients to remain calm and relaxed during a dental procedure, allowing easier working for the dentist and a more comfortable experience for the patient himself.
Athletes and sportsmen are some of the most likely individuals to sustain injuries during the practice of various sports. As professionals, these individuals need some form of custom- made protection for their head and neck region, in order to prevent and protect them from injuries during sports which may even be life-threatening in some cases. Injuries and trauma during sports can be severe, given the kind of sports that is played, and even accidents are common. Once an athlete is injured, it also hinders his performance in the sport and may even be a basis for his disqualification from continuing the sport.
Sports dentistry is associated with the prevention techniques and forms of protective devises that are used for athletes and sportsmen. Those participate in such activities have an increased likelihood to, or already have sustained injuries or acquired infections in the oro-facial region. Such devises include mouth guards and helmets that must be worn during the sport.
Apart from prevention techniques, the main purpose of establishing sports dentistry as a separate entity is to ensure the proper treatment for players and athletes who are likely to or who have sustained injuries to the head and facial region during sports.. All treatment and medication is given with the purpose of efficiently restoring the physical fitness of the athlete in order for him to participate in the sport again.
TMJ/ TMD Treatment
The Temporomandibular Joint is the articulation of the lower jaw with the skull. It is a crucial joint in the dento-facial region, as it allows all the necessary movements for chewing and speech. Any problems in the TMJ, known as TMJ Disorder need to be treated appropriately as the symptoms can be very painful. TMJ disorder may arise from a number of factors, the most common being a bad bite or malocclusion, high or faulty restorations, trauma, grinding the teeth and other functional habits such as chewing gum constantly and nail biting.
Symptoms of TMD may include dull ache or pain in the jaws or in front of the ears, headaches, pain in the neck and shoulders, clicking or popping sounds in the jaw while talking or chewing, and even tinnitus (ringing in the ears). These uncomfortable symptoms can be enough to disrupt the abilities to chew, talk and even swallow, greatly affecting the overall health of the individual.
Treating TMJ disorder involves removing the underlying cause then correcting defects in the TMJ and occlusion to bring the lower jaw into a harmonious relation with the skull. Habits will need to be stopped, and treatment with orthotics can bring the teeth into ideal occlusion.
Advanced Dentistry from Dr. Ueckert’s Office
Advanced dentistry encompasses all aspects of dentistry in a more specific form, focusing on individual aspects of the dento-fascial region and its aim at achieving more effective dental treatment. If you are experiencing dental issues and need advanced dentistry treatment options, contact the professionals at Dr. Ueckert’s office today to schedule your consultation.