During the dental exam, the dentist or hygienist will:
- Evaluate your overall health and oral hygiene
- Evaluate your risk of tooth decay, root decay, and gum or bone disease
- Evaluate your need for tooth restoration or tooth replacement
- Check on your bone and jaw profile problems
- Take some digital x-rays and intraoral pictures
What is a Recall Exam?
A very important component of dental health, a Recall Exam is also called a “check-up”. This is for our existing patients and usually occurs at the same time as a regularly scheduled cleaning. The frequency of the recall exams is individualized to meet each patient’s needs.
In our office we use digital x-rays for examination and treatment of your teeth. The benefits of digital radiography are:
- The film is immediately processed and available to view, whereas film takes time to be developed.
- Less radiation needed to produce the same quality image as film (digital X-rays gives 70% less exposure to radiation than conventional X-rays).
- You can enhance the digital image (such as alter brightness and contrast) with a series of processing techniques
- Digital archiving—the ability to store images on a computer.
- Digital radiography produces larger photos to better source hard-to-see cavities
- Digital radiography, though expensive to buy initially, is cheaper and more environmentally friendly in the long run
- Grey-scale of digital X-rays offers 256 shades of grey versus 16-25 shades in conventional radiography.
Good oral health comes with regular dental cleanings. Regular teeth cleaning helps to remove plaque (bacteria) and tartar build-up, which attribute to periodontal disease (gum disease).
Frequency of Dental Cleaning
Two dental cleanings a year provides significant benefits to people with good oral hygiene habits, healthy mouths and no medical problems. Most of dental insurance policies will cover two cleanings per year.
More regular dental cleanings and professional check-ups with the dentist may be needed by patients with:
Periodontitus (chronic inflammation and deep gum problems)
Medications being taken that cause alterations of the saliva and oral cavity
Can teeth cleaning damage your teeth?
During a dental cleaning the hygienist is not scraping the enamel (outer layer) of your teeth. Enamel is very hard — harder than the instruments being used — and the hygienist is trained and skilled at using those instruments so as not to damage your teeth or your mouth in any way.
Dental emergencies are any dental problems that require immediate treatment in order to save a tooth, stop ongoing tissue bleeding or to alleviate severe pain.
Most common dental emergencies:
- Broken teeth
- Partially dislodged teeth
- Dislodged teeth
- Debonded crowns
- Loose of lost fillings
- Inflammation of the gums and oral tissues
- Infected teeth
Fillings help restore teeth damaged by decay to their normal appearance and function, and can prevent further decay. Your dentist will consider a number of factors when choosing which type of filling material is best for you. These factors include the extent of the repair, where in your mouth the filling is needed and the cost.
The most common filling materials are:
- Composite Resin
- Cast Gold
- Glass Ionomer
A dental extraction (also referred to as tooth extraction, exodontia, exodontics or tooth pulling) is the removal of teeth from the dental alveolus (socket) in the alveolar bone.
Extractions are performed for a wide variety of reasons, but the most common are:
- No restorable teeth due to tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease or dental trauma.
- Impacted wisdom teeth (stuck and unable to grown normally).
In orthodontics (brackets) if teeth are crowded, to create space so the rest of the teeth can be straightened.
Applications for and research on lasers in dentistry continues to expand since their introduction to the dental profession.
Dental laser systems are used for:
- Reduction of bacteria level (patients with gum disease)
- Laser wound healing
- Micro-surgery (gum surgery)
Our practice has the AMD Picasso Lite Dental Diode Laser laser for the above listed situations.
WHITENING / BLEACHING
In most cases, the natural colour of teeth is within a range of light greyish-yellow shades. Teeth naturally darken with age and their appearance can be affected by the accumulation of surfaces stains acquired from the use of tobacco products and the consumption of certain foods or drinks (coffee, tea etc.)
Many Canadians want a brighter smile. Responding to this desire, a wide range of “whitening” options has become available to patients. The products fall into two main categories: surface whiteners and bleaches.
These products use special abrasives to improve the product’s ability to remove surface stains. Most products in this category are either toothpastes or chewing gums. Because the special abrasives in these whitening products are often only finer versions of what is used in regular toothpastes, they are unlikely to cause excessive tooth wear. However, the effectiveness of these products is limited to surface stains and should not be used as a substitute for professional cleaning.
Most bleaching products are peroxide-based and are actually capable of altering the colours of the tooth itself. However, not all tooth discolorations respond to tooth-bleaching treatments. Individuals contemplating tooth-bleaching should consult with a dentist to determine the cause of the tooth discolouration and to determine whether a bleaching treatment will have the desired result. This step is especially important for patients with fillings, root canal treatments, crowns and/or with extremely dark stains on the anterior teeth.
A number of different bleaching techniques and products are available to patients. Your dentist will use one of these two methods to whiten your teeth:
- Vital bleaching is done on “living” teeth and can be used to whiten your teeth if they have become stained by food or tobacco, or if they have become dark with age.
- Non-vital bleaching is bleaching done on teeth that are no longer “alive.” If your tooth has changed colour because of a root canal, non-vital bleaching can lighten your tooth from the inside out.
There are three methods for bleaching teeth. The method that will work best for you depends on the number of teeth that need to be bleached, and on how badly they are stained (or discoloured).
Your dentist may suggest:
- Putting a special bleach on your stained teeth and using heat (or heat and light) to start the bleaching action; or
- Wearing a custom-made mouthguard filled with a special bleach for part of each day; or
- Brushing with a special bleach mixed in toothpaste.
Bleaching should be done only under a dentist or hygienist’s care. Tooth-bleaching under controlled dental office conditions may be safe and effective, but the new in-office vital tooth-bleaching techniques, particularly those using laser and lights, have undergone little scientific assessment.
Home-use tooth-bleaching systems are available to the general public, either from a dentist or from various retail outlets. Clinical studies support the safety and effectiveness of home-use bleaching gels when used appropriately. Tooth sensitivity and irritation to soft tissues can occur during bleaching treatment, but these effects are transient.
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root made of titanium that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge.
Dental implants are useful for:
- Replacement of a single tooth.
- Replacement of a group of teeth.
- Retention of a complete denture.
How do dental implants work?
The dental implant, usually a cylindrical and/or tapered post made of titanium, is placed surgically into the jawbone. As you heal, your implant will osseointegrate (or fuse with your natural jawbone) with the two growing together to form a strong and long-lasting foundation. This process of integration takes around 4 to 6 months.
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth to cover the tooth, restoring its shape, size, and strength; and to improve its appearance. The crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that is at and above the gum line.
Different types of crowns
Crowns are made from various types of materials. Depending on which tooth needs a crown, your dentist will suggest a material, or combination of materials, that is right for you.
Metal crowns are made of gold. They generally last a long time and won’t chip or break. They tend not to wear down your opposing natural teeth. However, the gold colour does not look natural, particularly on front teeth.
Composite crowns look natural. They won’t chip as easily as porcelain crowns, but they tend to wear more quickly from chewing. Tooth brushing tends to remove the highly polished surface of composite crowns and this causes them to stain more easily.
Porcelain crowns look the most natural. They are more brittle than metal or composite and may chip more easily. Because of this, they are not usually placed on back teeth.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns look natural and are stronger than porcelain or composite crowns. They won’t chip as easily as porcelain or ceramic crowns. However, depending on their design, the metal may show if your gums are thin or shrink.
What else should I know?
Crowns are strong and generally last for about 10 years or longer if you take good care of them. Brush and floss your crown, just like you clean your natural teeth. Crowns may not be as strong as your natural teeth. So like your natural teeth, remember not to bite down on hard objects or use your teeth to open or cut things
A bridge, also called a “fixed bridge” or a “fixed dental prosthesis,” is a dental restoration that replaces one or more missing teeth. It extends across an area that has no teeth and is typically made up of an artificial tooth fused between 2 crowns. (A crown is a hollow, artificial tooth that fits over a natural tooth or a dental implant). The bridge is held firmly in place by your own teeth on each side of the missing one(s) or by dental implants. A bridge is permanent and cannot be removed.
Types of Bridges
There are different types of dental bridges. Your dentist or prosthodontist will recommend the most appropriate one depending on the location of the missing tooth (or teeth) and the condition of your teeth, mouth and gums.
- Traditional bridges are used if there are natural teeth on each side of the gap where the tooth is missing. (As an alternative to a bridge, your dentist may suggest a single implant to replace a missing tooth between 2 healthy teeth. An implant will prevent you from having to get your healthy teeth filed down in preparation for the crowns.)
- Resin-bonded bridges, also known as “Maryland” bridges, are used when the missing teeth are in the front of the mouth. This type of bridge involves the artificial teeth being fused together to metal bands and cemented to the back of your natural teeth.
Cantilever bridges are used when there are healthy teeth on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth. This procedure involves anchoring the artificial tooth over one or more of your natural adjacent teeth.
ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic treatment, is the process of removing infected, injured or dead pulp from your tooth. The space inside the hard layers of each tooth is called the root canal system. This system is filled with soft dental pulp made up of nerves and blood vessels that help your tooth grow and develop.
When the nerve of your tooth becomes infected, a successful root canal treatment lets you keep the tooth rather than having to pull it out. Keeping your tooth helps to prevent your other teeth from drifting out of line and causing jaw problems. Saving a natural tooth avoids having to replace it with an artificial tooth.
Dentures are artificial replacements for your natural teeth and gums. If an accident, a disease or poor oral health care has left you with only a few healthy teeth or none at all, your dentist or prosthodontist might suggest dentures to replace your missing teeth. There are 2 types of dentures: partial and complete. For both types of dentures your dentist or specialist makes a model of your teeth by taking impressions. The models are used to custom-make your dentures.
Types of Dentures
- Partial dentures are also called “removable partial denture prostheses” or “partials.” They may be used when nearby teeth are not strong enough to hold a bridge, or when more than just a few teeth are missing. Partial dentures are made up of one or more artificial teeth held in place by clasps that fit onto nearby natural teeth. You can take the partial denture out yourself, for cleaning and at night.
- Complete dentures are what we most often refer to as “false teeth.” They are also called “full dentures” and are used when all your natural teeth are missing. Complete dentures are removable as they are held in place by suction. They can cause soreness at first and take some time to get used to. There are 2 types of complete dentures: immediate dentures and conventional dentures.
- Immediate dentures are made before your teeth are removed. Your dentist takes measurements and makes models of your jaws during your first visit. Once your teeth are extracted, your dentist inserts the immediate dentures. The benefit of immediate dentures is that you are not without teeth during the healing period, which can take up to 6 months. During the healing period, your bones and gums can shrink and your immediate dentures may need to be relined by your dentist for a proper fit.
Conventional dentures are made and inserted into your mouth after your teeth have been extracted and the gums and jaw tissues have healed.
If you are having trouble with your complete dentures, your dentist may suggest overdentures. An overdenture is a removable denture that fits over the natural teeth left in your mouth or over dental implants. If you have some natural teeth left, they are reshaped to fit in the denture. If there are no natural teeth left, small implants are placed into the jawbone. The overdenture attaches to the implants or rests on the natural teeth.