Dentistry is a specialized branch of medicine that deals with the study, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases and conditions of the oral cavity (mouth with all structures within including teeth, gums, tongue, etc.). As per World Health Organization (WHO), it is appropriately defined as the ‘art and science’ of preventing, diagnosing and treating diseases, injuries and malformations of the teeth, jaws and mouth. It is really an art as well as science which makes smiles better while also treating many diseases.
A dentist is a medical professional who aims to improve the quality of lives by preventing and treating oral diseases and conditions. The dentist's supporting team is also very important, and it aids in providing oral health services and also handling many procedures apart from assisting the dentist. It includes dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental technicians, and in some states, dental therapists.
The dentists achieve the above by:
- Promoting good oral health practices and educating people about them
- Patient education
- Diagnosing dental diseases and conditions including dental decay, gum diseases, etc.
- They may also diagnose some general conditions by just looking at oral cavity, because some diseases and conditions have oral manifestations
- Providing preventive dental and oral care, like restoring slightly decayed teeth, covering them with thin layer of restorative materials, providing treatments to prevent further problems by cleaning, scaling, root planning, application of fluoride, etc.
- Prescribing appropriate medicines to treat some oral diseases, to prevent or allay infections, and for all three prophylactic, preventive and promotive purposes
- Treating and restoring decayed teeth by appropriate materials
- Replacing lost teeth by implants, dentures, partial dentures, etc.
- Treating other conditions of mouth, related structures and even jaw
- Also undertaking some surgical procedures, most common of them being tooth extraction
- Providing orthodontic treatment to adjust and correct mal-aligned teeth
- And many other functions as per further specialization.
Complications with Root Canal Treatment
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- Root fillings
Occasionally, especially if the root is curved or curly, the root filling fails to reach to the tip of the root. Your dentist may be only able to seal up to the point of the curvature and this results in a seal that is less than perfect. Fortunately, this rarely poses a problem as the seal above the curvature, coupled with the seal obtained from the filling could be adequate. However, if the tooth starts giving problems your dentist may refer you to a specialist.
- Fractured instrument
The files and drills used in root canal treatment are often very fine and delicate. Although very resilient, they can sometimes fracture. If they are not easily removed, your dentist may choose to leave the fragment in place and seal around it. This will often be enough and the tooth could settle down well. However, if pain persists you may have to see a specialist or your dentist may choose to do an Apicoectomy.
- Split root
During the seal, a great deal of pressure is used to fill the root canals. This can sometimes cause the root to split – If this happens, the root may have to be removed in a procedure called a Hemi–resection or sometimes the tooth may have to be extracted.