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If you are heading to your general dentist, there are various general dentistry procedures to choose from! From routine dental exams to minor oral surgeries, general dentists can meet most of your dental needs. For example, they can offer restorative services, preventative treatments, oral surgery, and cosmetic dentistry.

Restorative Dentistry

In general dentistry, restorative dental procedures are often referred to as the “bread-and-butter” because they make up most routine dental treatments. When your dentist performs regular dental exams and notices any tooth decay, their next step is to recommend restoration—either indirect or direct.

Direct Restoration

These restorations are performed inside the mouth and are often completed within one visit to the dental office.

  • Composite is an adhesive bonding substance made up of acrylic resin and often, tooth-colored. This material is most commonly used for dental bonds, cavity fillings, veneers, and inlays.
  • Amalgam is a combination of up to 54% mercury mixed with silver, copper, and tin. This mixture is common in restoring back teeth like premolars and molars.
  • Conventional Glass Ionomer (CGI) is like composite in that it is a restorative material that is also tooth-colored. This material is more fragile than composite and amalgam, making it more common for front teeth restorations (e.g., incisors and canines). Glass ionomer is not used to restore back teeth.
  • Resin-Modified Glass Ionomer (RMGI’s) are different from conventional glass ionomers because they are stronger and contain acrylic resins. However, RMGI is solely used for the restoration of baby teeth.

Indirect Restoration

General dentists perform these procedures with the materials made outside of the mouth. In other words, general dentists base these treatments on the patient’s teeth impressions. And while direct restoration only takes one visit to complete, indirect restoration requires at least two dental appointments.

In the initial visit, the indirect restoration process begins when the general dentist preps the teeth and removes any decay. The dentist will then make an impression of the patient’s teeth and send it to a dental laboratory for creation.

In the following visits, the dentist fits the restorations to the teeth and makes any necessary adjustments. Below, we have compiled a list of common indirect restoration treatments:

  • Dental crowns are caps that are fitted to go over a tooth. This material is mainly used to restore missing, decayed, or cracked tooth structures. However, these differ from veneers because they are not considered cosmetic.
  • Dentures are partial or full sets of fake teeth.
  • Dental implants are synthetic tooth roots.
  • Inlays and onlays replace older dental fillings with indirect fillings. While inlays are placed to fit inside the top perimeter of the teeth, onlays extend over the teeth’ cusps.
  • Wisdom teeth removal is known to be one of the most common dental surgeries offered. Oral surgeons and some general dentists perform this procedure.
  • Root canals are recommended when the soft tissues of a patient’s tooth become infected, affecting the surrounding nerves and blood vessels. This procedure prevents the tooth from being extracted, as well as relieves pain.
  • Tooth extractions become necessary when a tooth becomes severely decayed. In this indirect restoration, the dentist or surgeon will extract the tooth from its socket directly from the bone. This practice prevents any further damage.

Cosmetic Dentistry

Because cosmetic dental procedures improve the patient’s smile and esthetic appearance, these treatments have become more popular and are, in fact, one of the fastest-growing categories of dentistry. Because of this, many U.S. general dentists and certified dental professionals specialize in cosmetic dentistry, making it safe and available to all ages. Cosmetic dentistry treatment options include:

  • Porcelain veneers improve a tooth’s appearance by bonding a shell over the front edge of it. This material can also change the shape and color of the patient’s teeth.
  • Professional teeth whitening is a common practice used to safely and effectively lighten discolored teeth.

For more information, give Douglas Family Dentistry a call today!

Located at 10630 North Scottsdale Road, Douglas Family Dentistry serves families in Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Glendale, and surrounding Arizona communities.  To schedule an appointment to discuss the dental procedures and services we offer, call our office today at 480-948-3680.