A visit to the dentist in the 21st century bears no resemblance to the traditional and tired stereotype of white-coated practitioners who inflict pain on frightened patients in sterile-looking rooms filled with dangerous-looking equipment.
The modern dental practise is customer-focused. That means it offers a welcoming, relaxing environment that puts its customers – not patients – at ease. It means the dental team looks professional and is trained to the highest standards. It means that practitioners – dentists, hygienists, therapists, nurses etc – listen to the needs and desires of their customers and offer a range of solutions to meet them. It means that educational programmes and fun visits are arranged for children so that they grow up with positive perceptions of oral hygiene and can maintain exceptional and attractive smiles.
The contemporary dental practice – your dental practice – is where you go to seek advice and receive treatment to maintain the oral health and attractive smiles of you and your family.
Contact us today to learn more about our general dentistry treatments.
Bridges & Crowns
Bridges are usually made of a precious metal. If the bridge will show, porcelain is then bonded to the base. Sometimes, there are other non-precious metals used in the base for strength.
Are bridges expensive?
Although a bridge may seem costly they can be a wise investment that will give many years of good service. It will also improve your appearance and bite. A bridge uses the considerable skill of the dentist and technician, and in this way, it’s similar to ordering a piece of hand-made jewelery.
How do I look after my bridge?
You need to clean your bridge every day, to prevent problems such as bad breath and gum disease. You also have to clean under the false tooth every day. Your dentist or hygienist will show you how to use a bridge needle or special floss, as a normal toothbrush cannot reach.
A crown is a cap that is placed over a tooth and held in place by dental adhesive or cement.
Crowns are used for several reasons:
- as a protective cover for badly decayed teeth or fractured teeth
- as a permanent restoration for teeth with large fillings
- to correct minor problems in natural teeth like spacing and irregular shape or severe discolouration.
What are crowns made from?
Crowns can be made from a variety of materials. They can be made from plastic, ceramic or metal alloys. A combination of metal and ceramic is also possible to maximise strength and simulate the appearance of natural teeth.
How are crowns made?
Firstly, a thorough clinical examination is conducted with radiographs, by the dentist. The suitability for crowns is assessed and any preparatory work is carried out. Your dentist will also be able to advise on material choices, treatment sequence and any other concerns you may have.
At the second appointment, the teeth to be crowned are prepared. This involves reduction of the tooth size (usually under local anaesthesia) followed by an impression or mould of the prepared tooth. This trimming of the tooth is required to create space for the crown to be fitted. The mould taken is then sent to a laboratory where skilled technicians will fabricate the crown. In the meantime, a temporary crown is made and fitted onto the trimmed tooth.
At the third appointment, the temporary crown is removed and the tooth surfaces cleaned. The completed crown is tried on the tooth for fit, harmony with the bite, and appearance. Finally, the crown is cemented onto the prepared tooth with dental cement.
How long do crowns last and how do I care for them?
Crowns are made of inert materials that do not deteriorate over time. However, the underlying tooth is still prone to decay and gum disease.
Ceramic on the surface may chip or fracture. Avoid chewing excessively-hard substances like ice or bones. Daily brushing and flossing are essential for maintaining good oral health as well as keeping the crown trouble-free. The most vulnerable portion of the crown is the margin or the junction between tooth and crown.
Regular check-ups will enable your dentist to detect any problems with your crown and recommend necessary treatment.
Gum Disease Care
Why might I be susceptible?
Periodontal disease is the Number One cause of tooth loss amongst adults. This is because a certain number of people (15-20%) have immune systems that overreact to the bad bacteria in their mouths. When this overreaction occurs, the immune system attacks and breaks down the bone and tissue that surround the tooth. This destruction is not predictable and can occur sporadically. None of us knows if we are part of this 15-20% because we can’t usually feel or notice the onset of gum and bone (periodontal) disease. Both adults and children should be routinely checked for gum disease.
Keeping your gums in shape
Keep in mind that healthy gums DON’T BLEED. You are the key player on the hygiene team. If you don’t do the essential daily brushing and flossing, the rest of your dental team (the dentist and hygienist) is playing short-handed. And sometimes with everyone fighting the good fight, stubborn plaque and bacteria will require some new maintenance techniques for battling gum infection.
GUM DISEASE IS NOT CURABLE,
BUT IT IS TREATABLE,
AND IN MOST CASES, CONTROLLABLE
Are you living at high risk for gum disease?
Smoking: Numerous studies have shown that smokers have more gum disease. Smokers have increased levels of tartar in the mouth, and experience more tissue irritation, which makes their gums more susceptible to disease. Smokers have more bone loss and heal less quickly than non-smokers.
Stress: When our immune system is stressed it is difficult to fight off the bacteria that cause gum infections.
Dental neglect: Avoiding the dentist is a lifestyle choice that puts you at risk of contracting diseases of the mouth, teeth and gums.
Floss or die! Your hygienist or dentist works to prevent infection in your mouth from entering the bloodstream and reaching vital organs.
Heart disease: Gum inflammation products and bacteria in gum disease can cause heart disease, and in some cases, double the risk of a fatal heart attack. In addition, bacteria from your mouth may combine with blood-clotting cells called platelets, forming heart-stopping blood clots.
Stroke: New studies show that 70% of the fatty deposits of stroke sufferers contain bacteria, of which 40% comes from the mouth.
Diabetics: This group of people are more likely to have gum disease than most people and gum disease makes it more difficult for diabetics to control their blood sugar.
Premature birth: Pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be as much as seven times more likely to have a baby born early. Some research suggests that gum disease may increase the level of hormones that induce labour.
Gaps in your teeth can lead to eating or speech problems and may result in the teeth either side growing at an angle. Dentures prevent these issues. Sometimes only a partial denture is required to replace one or a few missing teeth. Other times it may require a complete set of dentures to replace all your upper or lower teeth. Dentures are effective and comfortable to wear but over time shrinking jaw bones and gums can lease to dentures becoming loose causing discomfort and annoyance.
There are a number of procedures that can help resolve the issue of loose dentures. The use of adhesives, new denture fitting or implants to secure your existing dentures.
Loose dentures can cause discomfort and annoyance but removing them is not the answer! Contact us today to learn more about our treatments for loose dentures.
Can I alleviate my fear of the dentist?
Some people are so frightened of the dentist that they avoid dental treatment altogether but today’s dentists are sympathetic and in recognising that some patients experience real anxiety, they have developed new techniques and approaches to help. In fact if you check the Yellow Pages or dental websites you will find dentists who specifically mention treatment for anxious patients.
Modern dentistry is very customer focused and as such, a range of sedation and relaxation techniques have been developed to help anxious patients overcome their fears.
What is sedation?
An effective way to treat the most nervous of patients is via intravenous sedation (injection). The drugs have a relaxing and calming effect but don’t prevent communication between dentist and patient so treatment can still be carried out easily. Weight, age and medical condition must be assessed before suitability for this kind of sedation is determined but this would all be discussed during the consultation with the dentist. Usually the patient would need to be referred to a specialist clinic for this treatment.
How will IV sedation in the surgery affect me?
Whilst IV sedation will make you drowsy and unaware of the treatment you are undergoing, you will remain lucid enough to communicate and cooperate with the dental team. The effects of the sedative will take time to wear off and you won’t be able to drink alcohol, drive or work machinery during this time so it is important that someone can help you home after treatment and keep a careful eye on you for sometime afterwards. Your dentist will tell you how long it will be before the drugs are completely clear from your body.
What else can help?
You can be helped to feel relaxed by ‘relative analgesia’ sometimes known as inhalation sedation. This means breathing in a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen (‘laughing gas’) which quickly leads to a pleasant, relaxed feeling. At the same time, your dentist puts you at ease through calming speech. Although you may feel a little drowsy, you remain conscious throughout but any treatment given causes you no discomfort. You breathe in the mixture through a nosepiece which is very comfortable. You can’t overdose on the gas as the mixture quickly leaves your body if you breathe in one or two breaths of ordinary air. There are no after-effects and you are able to drive a car about 15 minutes later. Many dentists use this safe and effective technique.
Will I ever feel differently about visiting the dentist?
It is highly likely! As you get to know and trust your dentist, hygienist and other members of the dental team at your practice, your fears will dampen. In time you will come to see your regular visit to the dentist as just another part of your normal life.
Following your excellent care I am now pain free, and having received numerous compliments about the improved appearance of my teeth, I now have a smile to be proud of.