If hot or cold foods make you wince, you may have a common dental problem – sensitive teeth. This can be treated.
Sensitivity in your teeth can happen for several reasons including:
- Tooth decay (cavities)
- Gum disease
- Fractured teeth
- Exposed dentine (layer of tooth covering tooth nerve)
- Worn fillings
- Worn tooth enamel
- Exposed tooth root (gum recession)
Tooth-Coloured Resin Fillings
Composite resin is the tooth-coloured restorative material used for fillings. It is made of filler particles and a clear resin. The filler particles provide the colour and the bulk to the filling. The particles may contain a mixture of materials such as silica, glass or ceramics.
Note: The metallic filling material, amalgam, is not used at this practice. Amalgam has been used for over a century and consists of 2 materials: silver/tin alloy and mercury. Mercury and particularly its vapour can be toxic if absorbed by the body over a period of time. If amalgam fillings are removed and replaced, a rubber dam is used for your protection.
A rubber dam is a thin sheet of coloured rubber (latex or latex free) that is placed over the tooth/teeth to isolate it from the rest of your mouth.
If less than 50% of your natural tooth is missing due to decay or fracture, a tooth-coloured resin filling may be the best conservative treatment option.
If more than 50% of your natural tooth is compromised due to decay, fracture or root canal treatment, a crown or onlay may be the treatment option of choice to reconstruct your tooth so it is functional again.
A dental crown is a restoration that embraces the natural tooth, supporting teeth that have been weakened by large fillings, cracks, trauma or root canal treatments. Crowns become the new surface of your tooth and protect the weak tooth underneath.
An onlay is the most conservative type of crown where as much as our existing sound tooth structure is kept intact and the onlay is designed around it. They are more complex for a dentist to design, prepare, manufacture and bond to your tooth than a full-crown – but it is more minimally evasive.
Once the dentist has prepared the tooth, an impression is taken and a model and dye are made, on which a dental technician manufactures the crown/onlay to fit accurately and resemble the natural tooth as close as possible, functionally and aesthetically.
A bridge looks like your natural teeth and is used to replace one or more missing teeth. Bridges are supported by crowning the teeth on either side of the space, effectively linking them together. Advancements in materials and technology make porcelain bridges today incredibly strong and durable.
If you have a single missing tooth, missing teeth or dentures, you may wish to consider dental implants to restore the full use of your teeth, and to create a happy, confident smile. Dental implants consist of two components:
The first is a Bio-compatible Titanium fixture which is placed below the tissue and forms the “root” for the tooth. There are many different types to select from, according to the amount and quality of bone into which the implants are to be inserted. A period of some months is needed for the implant to integrate to the bone. After the osseo-integration the implants can be loaded with a crown, bridge or denture.
The secondary component supports the final replacement tooth. Once the implant has been positioned, it will not move – You can brush your teeth and eat as normal. Your implant crown/tooth is created in the laboratory by our skilled dental technicians. The implant crown looks like a beautiful natural tooth. Unlike bridges, dental implants do not require crowning of the adjacent teeth. Implant procedures are particularly relevant to denture wearers, implant retention of dentures gives greater benefits over traditional dentures and patients tell us that their new teeth improve their quality of life!
Dentures - Removable Appliances
Full dentures are made of patients who don't have any remaining natural teeth.
Partial dentures are made for patients who have some of their natural teeth remaining.
Dentures are made in the dental laboratory from acrylic material. Some dentures have framework for added strength, made of cast colbalt-chronium, titanium or gold alloys. A mould guide is used to select the shape and size of the teeth. The denture teeth are bonded to the denture base material when processed.
Dentures allow food to be chewed properly and improvement of person's appearance and speech by supporting the jaws, cheeks and lips. A person's self-confidence is boosted by restoring their smile.
Implant retained dentures may be an option for those people who have difficulty coping with standard soft tissue retained dentures, which have a tendency to move when eating.
Scaling and Polishing/Periodontal Treatment/Gum Treatment
Maintaining optimum gum health is most important. Healthy gums are pink and firm and should not bleed when are brushed. The signs of unhealthy gums are:
- Red and swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Bad taste in the mouth
The primary cause of gum disease is plaque bacteria. A professional scale and clean by the dentist or hygienist every 6 months will remove the disease causing bacteria.
Gum disease is an inflammation of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. If it is severe, it can destroy the tissue and bone, leading to tooth loss. Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. When plaque is not removed it can harden into calculus (tartar). When calculus forms above and below the gumline, it becomes harder to brush and clean well between teeth. That build-up of plaque and calculus can harbour bacteria that lead to gum disease. The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, which is the only stage that is reversible.
If not treated, gingivitis may lead to a more serious destructive form of gum/periodontal disease called periodontitis. It is possible to have periodontal disease and have no warning signs. That is one reason why regular dental check-ups and periodontal examinations are so important. Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. Good oral hygiene at home is essential to help keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring. Brush twice a day, clean between your teeth daily, eat a balanced diet and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
Sometimes a cavity is just too deep to be fixed and may require a root canal. Root canal procedures are used to treat problems of the tooth’s soft core, otherwise known as dental pulp. The pulp contains the blood vessels and the nerves of the tooth, which run like a thread down into the root. The pulp tissue can die when it’s infected or injured. If you don’t remove it, your tooth gets infected and you could lose it. During a root canal treatment, the tooth pulp is removed and the root canal is cleaned and sealed off to protect it. Your dentist may then place a crown over the tooth to help strengthen and protect it.
Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, often occurs unconsciously while you sleep. It can cause serious damage to your teeth and jaw. Although it is often considered to be stress-related, teeth grinding can also be caused by sleep disorders. The choice of treatment will depend on the cause of your grinding and you may be fitted with a nightguard to protect your teeth while you sleep.
TMJ or Jaw Joint
The temporomandibular joints or TMJ, are among the more complex joints in your body. Any problem that prevents the TMJ from working properly may result in a painful disorder, also referred to as TMJ disorder or sometimes TMD. The exact cause of a TMJ disorder is often unclear, but possible causes can include arthritis, dislocation, injury and/or problems related to alignment or teeth grinding from stress.
Symptoms can include:
- Pain in or around the ear
- Tenderness of the jaw
- Clicking or popping noises when opening the mouth
- Horizontal wear of tooth surfaces
If you're regularly experiencing facia or jaw pain, make an appointment to see us. Exercise, muscle relaxants or physical therapy may help.
Dental Extractions (removal of one or more teeth)
Extractions are performed for a wide variety of reasons, but most commonly to remove teeth which have become unrestorable through tooth decay, periodontal disease or dental trauma; especially when they are associated with toothache. Sometimes wisdom teeth are impacted (stuck and unable to grow normally into the mouth) and may cause recurrent infections of the gum (pericoronitis). In orthodontics, if the teeth are crowded, teeth may be extracted (often premolar teeth) to create space so that the rest of the teeth can be straightened.
Tooth extraction is usually relatively straightforward, but some teeth are more difficult to remove for several reasons, especially related to the tooth’s position, the shape of the roots and the integrity of the tooth.
Orthodontic Treatment (Straightening Teeth)
If you have an unbalanced bite or your teeth are crooked or out of alignment, you may benefit from orthodontic treatment. It involves the correction of irregular tooth positions and jaw patterns. Crowding or shortage of space has to be relieved by sometimes removing some teeth to make space for the rest of the developing teeth. This space can also be used to help adjust the relationship between top and bottom teeth.
It is possible to move teeth through the bone so that spaces can be closed.
It can help improve your smile and make your teeth straighter. It can also improve your dental health and overall health because untreated orthodontic problems can make it hard to bite and chew and can interfere while eating. If you have crowded teeth, you may also be prone to cavities or gum disease because it may be hard to clean your teeth. Treatment comes in many forms, including tooth-coloured plastic braces, traditional metal braces and invisalign. Removable clear retainers can sometimes be used.
Home Care Instructions
Every patient will receive customized home care instructions after their treatment.