The Six Most Common Dental Procedures

Leading health professionals advise that you should see a dentist for a professional cleaning about once every six months.  If you are following your dentist’s clinical suggestions (brushing a twice a day, flossing a few times a week at least, eating health, etc) a professional cleaning twice a year should keep you free from dental emergencies.  

Sometimes, though, the basic cleaning and routine maintenance is not enough.  This could mean you have to make an additional visit to a dentist or another related professional for one of these very common procedures.


A cavity is, as the name suggests, a hole in your tooth.  This happens, most often, when you don’t clean your teeth regularly or thoroughly enough.  They are easy to fix, most of the time, as your dentist will simply fill the hole with a restorative material to improve your tooth’s health.  Many repairs are minor, too, simply restoring strength to a chip or a crack, for example.


Sometimes you just want a prettier smile but your teeth are mostly healthy; maybe they are a little stained from coffee or tobacco or simply from many years of below-average cleaning.  Some dental offices can help restore some of the gleam.


Known professionally as “endodontics,” the root canal is yet another simple procedure performed by dental surgeons.  In this procedure, your dentist will remove the infected pulp (the deepest layer of teeth, kind of like the marrow in your bones).  The small, thread-like center of the tooth is cleaned out and then reshaped and filled, which repairs the damage to treat the disease by removing the dead pulp.  


Known also as a “cap,” the dental crown is kind of like the opposite of a root canal.  If you have a cracked or chipped tooth, a dentist could restore its health by putting a cap—made of metal, porcelain, or a composite material—over the top of the tooth.


To replace a missing tooth (or more than one missing tooth), your dentist might order a bridge or an implant.  These are “fixed removal denture” apparatuses that you put in and take out of your mouth as needed.


Finally, if you have a problematic tooth that is stubbornly refusing treatment, you may need to extract it.  This involves removing it—roots and all—deep from the socket in the gum line. The most common extraction is the wisdom teeth.