An illustration of tools used in common dental procedures.

Common Dental Procedures Explained

Although your dentist is the oral health expert, you don’t necessarily have to have any procedure that they recommend. You’ve got a say in your own oral health. Therefore, it’s important that you understand basic dental procedures and ask the right questions. This way, you will be making a fully informed decision.


Visiting the dentist probably isn’t your favorite activity. In fact, it probably won’t even make it to your list of top fifty things to do. You’ve got to sit in an uncomfortable chair and have your teeth poked and prodded. And what if you have to have a filling or a root canal done? It can be absolutely nerve-wracking. What is more worrisome is that some dentists don’t necessarily have your best interests at heart. Some try to sell you procedures that you don’t need. Don’t agree to a dental procedure before you’ve got all the information that you need. You have the authority to consent or reject treatment. Make sure you inform yourself about the common dental procedures ahead of time so you can decide whether or not you’d like to agree to have it done.

Why visit the dentist?

Prior to going over three common dental procedures, there’s one thing that needs to be said. You need to be visiting the dentist on a regular basis. Make an appointment every six months to have a cleaning and a checkup. This should be an important part of maintaining your oral health. Not only will your teeth be cleaned, but any issues and problems may be discovered before symptoms arise. This will make it easier to treat.

Discovering a dental problem early on often makes it possible for you to treat it with less invasive measures. Sometimes it’s just a matter of avoiding some foods and learning how to brush your teeth properly. Your dentist is able to guide you on these things. When you visit your dentist regularly, they’ll get to know you and build up a rapport. The relationship you have with your dentist is a long-term one, so having a good relationship with them will help you trust them when it comes to your teeth.


Have you been experiencing sharp pains in your teeth? Perhaps a throbbing pain or an inability to chew? Chances are one of the following three procedures will be recommended:


Cavities are a common occurrence. When they are discovered early on, it’s often possible to reverse them with a good diet and thorough cleaning. If it’s been left unaddressed for too long, however, you may need a filling. Cavities can result in pain, sensitivity to temperature, and even a physical hole in your tooth. If you are experiencing any of those symptoms, go for a filling.

Before your tooth can be filled, the diseased part of your tooth has to be removed. Your dentist will do so with the help of some tools. After that, the hole will be filled with a dental filling of gold, porcelain, zinc, or even composite resin. The undiseased portion of your tooth will continue to function normally. It’s important for you to stick to a good diet and clean your teeth well to avoid more cavities.

Root Canal

If your tooth is infected or decay has gone down into the roots of your pearly whites, you’ll probably need a root canal. Root canals are a dental procedure made to preserve rather than save a dead tooth. A dead tooth is simply covered and protected by a crown. A root canal cuts out the diseased portion of your tooth and tries to keep it alive in order to avoid the need for a bridge or implant down the line.

Root Planing

People who fail to regularly visit their dentist often have to have a root planing procedure done. This procedure is required when plaque accumulates on your teeth, moving down past the gum line. As it nears the root, the tooth isn’t able to attach to your gums as well. Root planing will scrape and disinfect teeth. It isn’t particularly uncomfortable but it’s important if you want to enjoy a clean, healthy mouth. Root planning can get pricey and may or may not involve anesthesia depending on the severity of the problem.

In Conclusion

Although a great number of people undergo fillings, root canals, and root planings every year, it’s important for you to understand what they are and whether or not you really need them before agreeing to them. Be sure to ask your dentist if there are any alternatives. If a problem is discovered early on, it may be possible for you to make a few lifestyle changes instead.


You’re the patient. It’s your oral health we’re talking about. You have the right to reject a dental procedure if you don’t wish to undergo it. That being said, talk to your dentist. If a procedure is necessary, it’s best for you to have it as to enjoy good oral health.

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