Dentistry is one of the coolest things around. Seriously. Dentists are on the cutting edge of technology. We pride ourselves on making what could otherwise be a very unpleasant experience into something easy, painless, and perhaps even fun. Yes, we can do that. Because we use a lot of really cool tricks.
The Lead Apron
This deceptively simple device will save your insides from the harmful effects of x-rays. It’s especially helpful for pregnant women, as it will also protect the little one growing inside you. Dentists aren’t the only ones who use this type of thing, but we think it’s particularly thoughtful, since really we’re mostly concerned with your body from the neck up. Nice to know we’re thinking about you as a whole person.
After you get a cavity filled, it’s important to make sure that the filling isn’t built up so high that it interferes with your regular bite. After filling a cavity, your dentist may ask you to bite down on a little piece of carbon paper using the newly filled tooth. If the filling is too high, it will leave carbon mark on the opposing tooth. Your dentist can then gently shave down the filling on that spot until it no longer leaves a mark on the tooth it faces. The idea is to make sure that all of the top teeth hit the bottom teeth with equal pressure, throughout your mouth. The carbon paper is a neat little tool that helps your dentist to make that happen.
The Water Sucking Hose
When drilling your teeth, the drill sprays a lot of water into your mouth. So your dentist’s assistant is usually standing by with a really neat hose that hooks over your lower lip and sucks out all the extra water. This prevents your mouth from filling up and maybe even choking you with all of the excess fluid. It’s a simple concept, but it’s absolutely essential to a safe dental experience.
Also known as “Laughing Gas,” “Sweet Air,” or “Mr. Happy Air,” nitrous oxide is a great way to relax even the most nervous patient. It is mixed with oxygen and administered through tubes attached to a rubber mask that fits over the mouth and nose of the patient. You breathe it in until you feel kind of floaty and sideways. And honestly, if the drilling hurts a little, you probably don’t care. Once the mask is removed, the effects wear off in minutes. Pretty cool, huh?
For larger cavities, or for the patient who really can’t stand the thought of even the smallest amount of pain, there is the option to have a portion of your mouth completely numbed. Your dentist can inject a local anesthetic that will completely numb the affected tooth and the surrounding area. There’s even a topical anesthetic that will temporarily numb the spot on your gum where the syringe is to be inserted. It may take an hour or longer for the local numbness to wear off, however, so you have to be careful until full feeling returns to the affected portion of your mouth.
The Rotary Tooth Polisher
When you go to get your teeth cleaned, your dentist or hygienist will use a rotary tooth polisher that shines up the surface of your teeth better than anything you can use at home. It will leave your mouth feeling clean and fresh – and it doesn’t hurt a bit. It’s a special treat you can look forward to during your twice yearly cleanings. Just another one of the cool tricks your dentist uses to take good care of your teeth and gums.