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Learn more about dental procedures and medications often used in dentistry.

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The following is some basic information about dental procedures and medications often used in dentistry. For more detailed information, please click on the topic headings:


  • Often used in dental treatment for pain control, anesthesia – a dental medication is given as an injection into the cheek and gum tissue. Numbness can last several minutes to several hours. Complications are rare, but they may still occur.

Common Dental Problems

  • As bacteria is allowed to interact with food debris in the mouth, it produces the waste products of toxin and acid.  The following common dental problems are directly proportionate to prolonged levels of toxin and acid exposure with resulting breakdown of these structures.

Complete Dentures

  • Immediate Temporary Dentures — dentures are delivered immediately following removal of teeth. This will also mean that the condition of the gums will change over the several months following the extraction(s) as the bony ridges and gum tissue begin to shrink with healing. They are more loose since there will be less mechanical support for them.
  • Permanent– within 3-6 months, more permanent dentures are normally required once healing of the gums is complete.

Crowns, Bridges, Onlays and Inlays

  • Made of porcelain/ceramics, resins, acrylics, metals, or a combination of these materials. 
  • A common dental procedure – Crowns are restorations that are placed to cover a tooth. The purpose is to strengthen a tooth damaged by decay, large failing restorations, trauma, root canal treatment, or a combination of these conditions. It can also be used to improve the bite in certain abnormal situations.
  • A Bridge is several crowns fused together across a space. Treatment involves removing 1-2 mm of the outside surface of the tooth.
  • Onlays & Inlays are similar to fillings in appearance, but their placement is different in that these restorations are cemented into place, thereby creating a stronger and sturdier restoration.

Esthetic/Cosmetic Teeth Whitening

  • Whitening products use carbamide peroxide, hydrogen peroxide, and glycerin that carry out a ‘whitening’ process to lighten discolorations of tooth enamel by oxidizing stains. There are some potential risks involved with treatment like hot/cold sensitivity of teeth, ulcers on gums, possible damage to existing fillings, and sore throat from swallowing some of the solution.

Partial Dentures

  • Supported by gum tissue and remaining teeth. Depending on the condition of the remaining teeth, the dentist will recommend one of three treatment options:
    • Metal-Framework Partial — Remaining teeth are stable and free of active periodontal disease.
    • All-Acrylic Partial — Remaining teeth may have active periodontal disease and are not good ‘anchor’ teeth, and some teeth are expected to be lost within 6-9 months.
    • Flexible All-Acrylic Partial — Remaining teeth do not have active periodontal disease, but are not good anchor teeth. However, gum tissue is healthy and will support the denture base.

Periodontal (Gum) Disease

  • Inflammation and infection that affects the gums, bone and supporting tissue structures around the teeth. In addition to inadequate flossing and brushing, other factors that contribute to periodontal disease include smoking, Osteoporosis, stress, diabetes, medications, illness, hormonal changes and genetics. 3 out of 4 people have a form of periodontal disease and most are unaware of it due to the silent nature of this disease. Common signs include gums that are red and swollen, bleeding when brushing or flossing, gums that have ‘pulled away’ from the teeth, pus between gums and teeth when the gums are pressed, permanent teeth are loose or separating, etc.  Pain to chewing and biting or deep throbbing ache is not normally present until the condition is severe.


  • Essentially complete dentures that are supported by remaining tooth roots or implants with bars. Tends to be more stable due to retention of the bars.

Tooth Colored Fillings

  • Can be made  of resin, plastic-like materials; a mixture of glass ionomers and resin particles; or porcelain and ceramic materials that combine silicates and oxides. Treatment involves replacing the space(s) created by removal of decayed and deteriorated tooth structure and restoring the tooth/teeth to beauty and function.

Tooth Decay and Cavities:

  • Decay is a disease that damages and causes breakdown of the hardest substances – enamel and dentin, that the body is able to produce. A cavity is a hole in the tooth. If the cavity gets to the nerve and bacteria is allowed to infect the nerve, this may result in a painful abscess (Pus-filled sac), and can become life threatening if not treated.


  • Made of porcelain/ceramics, resins or acrylic material. More conservative restorations with the treatment involving the removal of 0.5-1 mm of the tooth outer surface.
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