March 6th: National Dentist’s Day

March 6th is National Dentist’s Day. This holiday is designated to celebrate the unsung heroes who help to ensure that your oral health is protected. Here are a few reasons that you should celebrate your dentist and what you can do to honor your practitioner:

Preventive Care

Dentists provide preventive services that help you avoid pain caused by tooth decay. These services include:

  • Cleanings- Dental cleanings are performed using specialized scraping tools that remove tartar from your teeth. This is especially important because tartar cannot be brushed or flossed away. The calcified plaque can only be safely scraped from the enamel by a dental professional.
  • X-rays- Dental x-rays reveal the state of the inside of a tooth, which is not visible to the naked eye.
  • Sealants- Dental sealants, which are made from plastic, are applied to the chewing surfaces of your teeth to create a barrier between your teeth and decay-causing substances. The sealants last several years and help you avoid cavities.
  • Fluoride Treatments- Fluoride treatments help your teeth resist the ravages of bacterial acid. Your dentist coats your teeth with the fluoride product for a few moments before removing it. The fluoride attracts displaced minerals back to your tooth enamel and combines with the minerals to form a new tooth material that resists acid better than your original tooth enamel.

Restorative Treatments

Restorative dental treatments would be impossible without the help of your dentist. Here are a few common restorative dental services:

  • Fillings- Fillings are used to restore areas of a tooth that have been damaged by decay. Cavities form as bacterial acid eats away at your tooth enamel. When you incur a cavity, your dentist removes the decay and fills the hole in your tooth to restore the tooth and protect it from further damage.
  • Root Canals- When tooth decay or a dental infection causes irreparable damage to your dental nerves, your dentist can perform a root canal to stop your discomfort. During the root canal, the pulp, which is the soft material inside your tooth, is removed and the tooth is then disinfected, filled and capped.

Cosmetic Treatments

Cosmetic dental services don’t alter the health of your teeth, but they do improve their appearance. Here are some of the services that your dentist likely offers:

  • Veneers- Dental veneers are super-thin slivers of resin or porcelain that are shaped like teeth. Each veneer is individually attached to the front surface of a tooth to cover any dental blemishes or imperfections. Using veneers, your dentist can correct the look of a chipped, cracked, discolored or irregularly shaped tooth.
  • Whitening- Your dentist corrects dental discoloration incurred from the food or drinks you consume by applying dental bleach. A professional whitening session can whiten your teeth by multiple shades.

Orthodontic Treatments

The orthodontic services that your dentist provides help move your teeth into proper alignment, improving your bite and your appearance. Here are a few orthodontic applications that your dentist may offer:

  • Conventional Braces: Conventional braces move your teeth using brackets, an archwire and elastic bands. The dentist periodically adjusts the archwire to coax your teeth into proper alignment.
  • Self-ligating Braces- Self-ligating braces work in a manner similar to traditional braces. However, instead of the archwire being held in place using elastic bands, self-ligating brackets include small tunnel-like holes that hold the archwire in place. These holes lessen the counter-productive friction that works against the force needed to align your teeth.
  • Invisalign- Your dentist may use clear plastic aligners to reposition your teeth. Your treatment plan includes multiple sets of aligning trays that are worn consecutively to progressively straighten your teeth. This type of orthodontic treatment is often preferred because the plastic is clear, and the aligners are removable.
  • Lingual Braces- Lingual braces are similar to conventional metal braces but are worn on the sides of your teeth that are closest to your tongue.

How can you honor your dentist on March 6th?

To celebrate Dentist’s Day, consider scheduling your next routine appointment. You should see your dentist at least once during every six-month period. In addition, you can send your dentist a nice thank-you card. You can even surprise him or her with a special dentist-approved treat, such as a jumbo-pack of sugarless gum. One thing is certain: whatever you decide to do to honor your dentist on March 6th will be appreciated.