Portal:Dentistry

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The Dentistry Portal

A dentist performing oral surgery.
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Dentistry is the art and science of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of conditions, diseases, and disorders of the oral cavity, the maxillofacial region, and their associated structures as they relate to human beings. Dentists, also known as 'dental surgeons', are health care practitioners that specialize in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and conditions of the oral cavity. The dentist's supporting team aids in providing oral health services, for example, by utilizing radiography and other equipment to ensure correct diagnosis and treatment planning. Treatment may include filling dental cavities, removing the nerves of teeth during root canal treatment, treating diseases of the gingiva, removing teeth during extractions, and replacing lost teeth with bridges, dentures, and implants. Anesthesia is often used in any treatment that might cause pain. Teeth may be filled with gold, silver, amalgam, or porcelain. There are numerous soft tissue diseases of the mouth that are treated in dentistry. The most common pathologies are periodontitis, trauma, aphthous ulcers, herpes simplex virus and fibromas.

Disease prevention is an important aspect of dentistry. Regular oral hygiene is recommended, using the most common instruments including toothbrushes and dental floss. Limiting the frequency of sugar consumption is usually stressed. The dental significance of fluorides was discovered in the 1930s. Since then water fluoridation and topical applications of fluoride have become valuable tools in the prevention of tooth decay. Please see our medical disclaimer for cautions about Wikipedia's limitations.

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A maxillary right central incisor.
Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONj) is a severe bone disease that affects the jaws, including the maxilla and the mandible. Jaw bone (osteo-) damage and death (-necrosis) occurs as a result of reduced local blood supply (ischaemia). The condition is thus included in the general category of ischaemic or avascular osteonecrosis (literally "dead bone from poor blood flow.").

Various forms of ONj have been described over the last 160 years, and a number of causes have been suggested in the literature. In recent years, an increased incidence of ONj has been associated with the use of high dosages of bisphosphonates, required by some cancer treatment regimens, especially when the patient undergoes subsequent dental procedures. The possible risk from lower oral doses of bisphosphonates, taken by patients to prevent or treat osteoporosis, remains uncertain. Various treatment options have been explored, however severe cases of ONj still require surgical removal of the affected bone. Careful medical history and assessement of pre-existing systemic problems and possible sites of dental infection are required to help prevent the condition, especially if bisphosphonate therapy is considered.

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Dental braces with power chain attached
Credit: Dr. Leonard Weiss

Dental braces are a device used in orthodontics to correct alignment of teeth and their position with regard to occlusion. They are often used for malocclusions such as underbites, overbites, cross bites, open bites, or crooked teeth. Most orthodontic patients are children or teenagers, however, more adults have been seeking orthodontic treatment.

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