Endodontics is the branch of dentistry that deals with diseases of the tooth foundation, namely, the tooth root, dental pulp, and surrounding tissue. Teeth are composed of a hard structure surrounding a soft, living tissue called the pulp (also called the “nerve”). The pulp contains blood vessels, fibers and nerves. The pulp can become diseased or injured and thus is unable to repair itself. The pulp then dies and endodontic treatment is required.
The most common procedure done by an endodontist is root canal therapy which is the removal of diseased pulp tissue before infection sets in. Other procedures include incision for drainage and periradicular surgery (root end surgery). These treatments are needed in cases of abscesses, root fractures, problematic tooth anatomy and to prevent extractions.
Prosthodontists are fully-trained dental specialists in the areas of cosmetic dentistry, crowns and bridges, dental implants, restorations, missing teeth replacement and rehabilitation of head and neck cancer patients. They possess the expert knowledge and experience to treat patients with more complex dental problems. Your doctor may refer you to a prosthodontist to treat the more difficult dental problems, such as procedures to replace or reconstruct multiple missing teeth and their associated structures.
Apart from the functional aspects, patients with cosmetic concerns should consult with a prosthodontist.
Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that specializes in treating patients with improper positioning of teeth when the mouth is closed (malocclusion), which results in an improper bite. Orthodontics also includes treating and controlling various aspects of facial growth (dentofacial orthopedics) and the shape and development of the jaw. An orthodontics specialist is called an orthodontist.
Orthodontics used to be called orthodontia - the word comes from the Greek orthos, meaning "straight, perfect or proper", anddontos, which means "teeth".
Orthodontics also includes cosmetic dentistry; when the patient's aim is to improve his/her appearance.
An orthodontist uses a range of medical dental devices, including headgears, plates, braces, etc. to help in:
What is malocclusion?
Malocclusion literally means bad bite. Some children's jaws and teeth do not develop properly. Malocclusion refers to crooked, misaligned teeth and a fault in the relation between the bottom and top set of teeth (the two dental arches). This may develop because of injury to the teeth or facial bones, frequent thumb sucking, or for reasons unknown.
Thumb sucking (or finger sucking) can result in localized deformation of the teeth and supporting bone. In order to restore a natural improvement, the thumb sucking habit has to be stopped.
Generally, malocclusions do not affect physical health, malocclusion is not a disease, it is a variation in the normal position of teeth. However, it may impact on the shape of the person's face and the appearance of their teeth, which can lead to embarrassment, a lack of self-confidence, and even depression.
Severe malocclusion may affect eating, speech and keeping the teeth clean.
UK health authorities say that approximately one third of all 12 year-olds in the country probably need orthodontic treatment. People may require orthodontic treatment for different problems:
When can orthodontic treatment start?
Treatment will not usually commence until the child is about 12 or 13 years old; when the adult teeth have come through and developed fully. In some cases treatment may start a couple of years later if teeth problems had not become noticeable beforehand.
Children with a cleft lip and palate may require orthodontic treatment before their adult teeth have developed completely.
Good oral hygiene is essential before any orthodontic work can begin. When devices are placed on the teeth, bits of food are much more likely to become stuck; the patient will need to brush much more carefully and more often to prevent tooth decay while treatment is ongoing.
Patients who have not reached good oral hygiene standards beforehand are much more likely to suffer from tooth decay after treatment begins.
Diagnosing dental problems and recommending treatment options
Assessment - the orthodontist will assess the state of the patient's teeth and make a prediction on how they are likely to develop without treatment. The following diagnostic procedures will be performed:
After the assessment is done, the orthodontist will decide on a treatment plan.
Examples of orthodontic appliances
There are two types of orthodontic appliances: fixed and removable ones.
Fixed appliances - the most common devices used in orthodontics. They are used when precision is important. Although the patient can eat normally with fixed appliances, some foods and drinks need to be avoided, such as carbonated drinks, hard sweets, or toffee. People who participate in contact sports need to tell their orthodontist, so that special gum shields can be made.
Examples of fixed appliances include:
Wires in the shape of an arch pass through the brackets and are fixed to the bands. As the arch wire is tightened, tension is applied to the teeth, which over time moves them into proper position.
A patient sees the orthodontist once a month so that the braces can be adjusted. The treatment course may last from several months to a number of years.
Children tend to prefer the colored braces, while adults usually go for the clear styles.
Removable appliances - these are typically used for treating minor problems, such as preventing thumb sucking or correcting slightly crooked teeth. They should only be taken out when cleaning, eating or flossing. Sometimes, the orthodontist may advice the patient to remove them during certain activities, such as playing a wind instrument or cycling.
Examples of removable appliances include:
Periodontics is the branch of dentistry that deals with the treatment of gum diseases and the foundation structures around the teeth. If such a condition is not treated, a person could suffer tooth loss and jaw bone loss.
Periodontists also work closely with other specialists such as oral & maxillofacial surgeons, orthodontists, prosthodontists and paedodontists to ensure a comprehensive and seamless approach to your dental treatment.
Oral-Maxillofacial Surgery is a surgical specialty which involves the diagnosis, surgery and adjunctive treatment of diseases, injuries and defects involving both the functional and aesthetic aspects of the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are well-prepared to: