Dental Implants: Stains, Whitenings and Other Considerations
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Dental Implants: Stains, Whitenings and Other Considerations

Dental implants can make a smile look fabulous – I know I have them. However, if you are just thinking about getting them, you may have a lot of questions. You may be wondering how smoking affects implants, whether or not wine will stain them, if they can be whitened or other concerns. I also know from experience that it can be intimidating to ask some of these questions to your dentist. In my dental implant blog, I am going to answer the questions that can be hard to ask. I hope you find the info you need in this blog and that it guides you to the right decision about dental implants. Thanks for reading!

Dental Implants: Stains, Whitenings and Other Considerations

The Dentist's Drill: Why Cavities Need to be Drilled and How You Can Face the Music Fearlessly

Isobel Berry

When it comes to the dentist's drill, your imagination can often paint some quite horrific pictures. This is especially true if you are one of the estimated 13–24 per cent of people, globally, who suffer from dental anxiety. Dental fear comes in several forms, such as fear of gagging, needles or fear of the dreaded drill and that incessant whining whirr that sends heart rates soaring. 

Unfortunately, if you have a cavity, the chances are you will eventually need to face the music. The alternative, which is to put off dental treatment, could mean that the condition of the affected tooth deteriorates rapidly. The pain you experience due to an infected tooth is far worse than anything a dentist's drill can do. 

If you discover a cavity in one of your teeth, it's best to seek out a dentist as soon as possible. 

Why the Drill? 

A cavity forms because the bacteria that thrive in your mouth have attached themselves to a tooth in order to feast on the food particles that get caught there. Eventually, if your oral hygiene is not up to scratch, this bacteria colony produces enough acid to eat through the enamel of whichever tooth they are attached to. 

Once this happens, your tooth is compromised. The bacteria then have access to the interior of your tooth and can hide there, feasting on the foods you eat whilst the acid they produce eats away at your tooth. 

If you do nothing, eventually the living tissue inside the tooth (pulp) will become infected, and the tooth will die. An infected pulp or nerve can cause intense pain, swelling and an abscess (puss filled area on the gum). 

To save your tooth, a dentist needs to remove the decayed areas of the tooth. To do this, a drill is required. 

Does it Hurt?

This might come as a surprise to you, but a recent study found that 75 per cent of dental patients experience no pain during regular treatments. Unlike what your imagination may tell you, a dentist's drill is relatively small and bears no resemblance to a standard, bulky drill. 

Your dentist will go through the following process to remove the decayed parts of your tooth: 

  1. Apply numbing gel to your gums for a painless injection.
  2. Inject Novocaine into the gum to block nerve impulses, blocking pain.
  3. Drill out the decayed part of the tooth. If the decayed area is small, the dentist won't go very deep. During this stage, your dentist will ask you to inform them should you experience any discomfort.
  4. Fill in the remaining, infection-free tooth with either an amalgam filling or a tooth-coloured filling.
  5. Polish the area until it matches its previous form.

The drill itself only ever comes into contact with the tooth. It doesn't touch the nerve or gum tissue; the only discomfort you should have might come from the high-pitched whine of the drill in your ear.

What Can You Do to Get Through It? 

To make the treatment process as calming as possible, you could:

  • Use an iPod to play soothing music or even an audio-book to block out the noise.
  • Go for a massage before your treatment to relieve tension in your body.
  • Try to talk to someone else who has had the same treatment so you know what to expect.
  • Rehearse the treatment with your dentist beforehand and discuss the steps.
  • Imagine you are somewhere else, somewhere calming and relaxing. 

The dentist's drill might once have been something to fear, but with current advances in technology and medicine, it really isn't all that bad. General dentistry procedures are nothing to fear.