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Q. What is a Root Canal?
A. The space inside the tooth from the center, known as the pulp chamber, that travels down the length of the root to the tip (or apex) is called a "canal," or more specifically, a root canal. Human teeth may have one to four root canals, depending on the anatomy of the tooth. Molars, may have 2 to 4 canals, premolars may have 1 to 2 canals, cuspids may have 1 to 2 canals, and finally incisors generally have 1 canal. Extra canals may branch out from the main canal, called "accessory canals." The number of canals and the anatomy can vary among teeth.
 
           
 
Q. How Is Root Canal Therapy Performed?
A. Root canal therapy can be preformed in single or multiple visits. Before the procedure, though, your dentist will advise you as to the number of appointments necessary to complete the canal. If you had an infection or abscess in the tooth, the dentist may choose to have you start antibiotics before completing the root canal. Your dentist will begin the appointment by giving you local anesthetic to "numb" the tooth that is being worked on.

 
           
 
Q. What is prosthodontics?
A. Prosthodontics is the branch of dentistry that deals with the restoration and replacement of missing teeth and parts of the jaw (often using dentures or bridges).

 
           
 
Q. What are dentures?
A. Dentures are a partial or complete set of artificial teeth used to occupy the upper or lower jaw, usually attached to a plate. Simply put, dentures are a set of false teeth.

 
           
 
Q. Who needs to have their wisdom teeth extracted?
A. Anyone who is in danger of developing impacted wisdom teeth (third molars that only partially erupt or get trapped or stuck in the jaw) should have them removed so that they do not damage adjacent molars and cause other oral problems. In addition, anyone who is getting dentures should have their wisdom teeth removed.
 
           
 
Q. What is implant dentistry?
A. Implant dentistry is the branch of dentistry that involves installing an artificial tooth into a patient's jaw in order to replace or restore a missing tooth.
 
           
 
Q. What are the treatments for periodontal disease?
A. If periodontal disease is caught at an early stage (when it has not progressed beyond the point of gingivitis), it can be treated with scaling and root-planning (removing plaque around the tooth and smoothing the roots' surfaces). If the disease progresses to a later stage, the patient may need surgical treatment, which involves cutting the gums, eliminating the hardened plaque build-up, and repairing the damaged bone.
 
           
 
Q. What are Dental Crowns and Tooth Bridges?
A. Both crowns and bridges are fixed prosthetic devices. Unlike removable devices such as dentures, which you can take out and clean daily, crowns and bridges are cemented onto existing teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist.
 
           
 
Q. How do Crowns Work?
A. A crown is used to entirely cover or "cap" a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape or alignment. A crown can also be placed on top of an implant to provide a tooth-like shape and structure for function. Porcelain or ceramic crowns can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. Other materials include gold and metal alloys, acrylic and ceramic. These alloys are generally stronger than porcelain and may be recommended for back teeth. Porcelain bonded to a metal shell is often used because it is both strong and attractive.
 
           
 

Q. How do Bridges Work?
A. A bridge may be recommended if you're missing one or more teeth. Gaps left by missing teeth eventually cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

Bridges are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth. They span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These teeth, called abutments, serve as anchors for the bridge. A replacement tooth, called a pontic, is attached to the crowns that cover the abutments. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges. Your dentist can help you decide which to use, based on the location of the missing tooth (or teeth), its function, aesthetic considerations and cost. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to the color of your natural teeth.

 
           
                                                               
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