If you or a member of your family are anxious about visiting the dentist then we have created a helpful guide below which provides an overview of each member of a dental team as well as what to expect on the day.
Who will I see?
During your visit you may see one or more members of the dental team. Who you see will depend on where you live, the oral health system in your country and what kind of preventive or restorative treatment you may need done.
Dentists diagnose and treat problems with patients’ teeth, gums, and related parts of the mouth. As well as providing preventive care, they will perform restorative treatments, such as fillings, root canals and crowns, as well as sometimes more complex procedures. .
- Dental Hygienist
In many countries hygienists play an important role in preventive dental care. They provide advice and instruction on taking care of the teeth and gums and on diet choices that affect oral health, and also dental cleaning services.
- Dental Therapist
In a number of countries, Dental Therapists provide over 90% of oral care for children. They are preventively focussed professionals, providing advice, cleaning and minimally invasive treatments, as well as providing restorative care where needed.
- Dental Assistant
Dental Assistants are an integral part of the dental team and in many places their duties extend beyond chairside assistance. Their role in helping patients to feel comfortable and assisting them in understanding the advice given is invaluable. Many Dental Assistants have done further study in order to assist them in providing preventive oral health education to their patients.
- Oral Surgeon
You may be seen by a specialist oral surgeon if the procedure you require is more complex. Surgeons have undertaken further training in a particular area of dental surgery.
What will happen on the day?
If you are visiting for a check-up, you will be asked some questions about your oral care routine and potentially your diet. Your teeth will then be examined one by one. The condition of each tooth surface will be recorded. Additional notes may also be taken by a dental assistant. After examining your teeth, the dentist may suggest any preventive or treatment measures that should be taken to help you improve your oral health.
Some ‘at home’ treatments might be suggested by your dental team. These might include an adjusted oral care routine such as the use of high fluoride toothpaste, or changes to your diet such as reducing your intake of sugar.
You can also use this opportunity to ask what minimally invasive or preventive treatment options would benefit you or your family. If you need more complex treatment, there are a few different restorative procedures that might be offered at the dental office.
- Deep Cleaning (Preventive)
A member of the dental team might perform a deep clean on your teeth which removes any plaque which has built up between the teeth or around the gum line.
- Fluoride Varnish (Preventive)
A varnish brushed directly onto the teeth which provides a concentrated dose of fluoride to the teeth which can help to stop demineralisation and aid remineralisation, making your enamel stronger and more resistant to attack
- Sealants (Preventive)
These are cements which are applied to the occlusal (biting) surface of the teeth. They form a cover over the pits and fissures which are susceptible to decay.
- Fillings (Restorative)
Decayed tissue is removed before using an amalgam composite to fill the cavity.
- Root Canal (Restorative)
When decay has progressed into the pulp, the infected or inflamed pulp will need to be removed. The inside of the tooth is then cleaned and afterwards filled with a rubber like sealant.
- Crown (Restorative)
A type of dental restoration which completely covers a tooth or dental implant, bonded to the tooth using dental cement. Crowns are often needed when a large cavity threatens the ongoing health of a tooth.
If you are a patient and want to learn more about oral health, then be sure to explore our dedicated patient area on our website: https://www.acffglobal.org/resources/for-your-patients/