Here you can find information about fillings, bridges, dentures and root canal treatments.
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.
Dental amalgam is the traditional silver-coloured filling we are all familiar with. Although there is mercury in dental amalgam, once it is combined with the other materials in the amalgam filling its chemical nature is changed rendering it harmless. Research into the safety of dental amalgam has been carried out for over a century and to date, no trustworthy controlled studies have found a connection between amalgam fillings and any medical problem.
Whilst composite (tooth coloured) fillings are becoming more popular, amalgam fillings represent the most durable and long-lasting form of filling available. (Apart from gold fillings which are more expensive.)
Amalgam fillings are the only type of filling provided through the NHS – composite fillings are considered to be ‘cosmetic’ and therefore must be paid for.
What are bridges made of?
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 jewellery.
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.
What are dentures?
A denture is a removable prosthesis used to replace missing teeth. Commonly referred to as ‘false teeth’, a denture is usually made of acrylic or a combination of acrylic and metal. A partial denture is fitted to replace some missing teeth whilst a complete denture is indicated when all natural teeth are missing. A good set of dentures helps you to eat, speak, function, and often improves a person’s appearance.
How long does it take to make dentures?
Depending on the complexity of each case, the duration of the treatment will vary. After the initial visit of examination and diagnosis, the subsequent visits will include taking impressions of the mouth, bite registration, try-in of the denture, fitting and review.
What to expect?
New dentures always feel strange when first placed in your mouth. Several days or weeks will be required before you get accustomed to them. Adaptation varies with different persons and often time and experience are essential before dentures can be worn comfortably and function effectively.
Useful suggestions to help you to adapt to the new dentures:
Eating - Eating will take a little practice. Start with soft foods and foods cut into small pieces will help. Chew slowly using both sides of your mouth at the same time to prevent dentures from tipping. Once you become accustomed to chewing, include other foods until you return to your normal diet.
Increased salivary flow - You may experience an increase in salivary flow when the dentures are first inserted. This is a natural response of the salivary glands that will return to normal after a few weeks. You can improve the situation by swallowing more often.
Speech - New dentures may alter your speech initially. Pronouncing certain words may require practice. Reading out loud and repeating troublesome words will speed up the adaptation process. This problem rarely persists beyond two weeks.
Sore spots - Minor irritation caused by surface irregularities or pressure spots on the denture-bearing areas are quite common. Your dentist will relieve the discomfort by adjusting the denture surface. Stop wearing the denture if the irritation is very painful. Consult your dentist immediately.
Root Canal Treatment
When Is Root Canal Treatment Needed?
The crown of the tooth is made up of the hard, white, enamel layer and a thicker dentine layer. Both these hard layers protect the innermost soft tissues of the tooth called the pulp. The dental pulp contains blood vessels and nerves within and extends from the crown to the tips of the root or roots.
Root canal treatment involves the removal of the pulp tissues from the tooth in the event that it gets infected or inflamed. The pulp can be infected or inflamed due to either deep decay or an extensive restoration that involves the pulp, cracked or fractured tooth due to trauma, excessive wear of enamel and dentine exposing the pulp, and sometimes as a result of severe gum disease.
Signs of pulp damage may include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, swelling, tenderness of the overlying gums or a bad taste in the mouth. On the other hand, there may be no symptoms at all. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can eventually cause pain, swelling and loss of the supporting bone.
How Is Root Canal Treatment Carried Out?
Removal of the infected or inflamed pulp is the first step in saving the tooth. Under local anaesthetic an opening is made in the crown of the tooth to get access to the infected or inflamed pulp within.
Using small, specially designed hand or rotary files, the root canals are cleaned and shaped to a form that can be sealed. Debris within the canals is removed by flushing with an anti-bacterial solution.
The canals are finally filled or sealed with an inert material called gutta-percha. The tooth should be restored to full shape and function by either a permanent filling or a crown, depending on how much of the tooth is left. This should be done as soon as possible as there could be a risk of tooth fracture due to biting forces.
All root canal treatment procedures are performed by isolating the tooth with a rubber dam to provide a clean and saliva-free environment. Root canal treatment may be done in single or multiple visits depending on the complexity of the tooth. In between treatment appointments, medicaments may be placed within the canals and the tooth is covered with a temporary filling.
Often, X-rays are taken to determine the length of the root and to monitor the various treatment stages.