General Check up
A general check up every 6-12 months ensures your dentist detects any problems in their early stages, before they become more severe. Treatment in the early stages is generally easier and much cheaper. In addition to assessing your tooth and gum health, your dentist may take x-rays to assess the dental pulp and roots of your teeth and look for any early signs of oral diseases that can affect your general health.
Your dentist or dental hygienist will recommend you have a professional clean every 3 -12 months. Bacteria in your mouth form a thin film, called plaque, on your teeth. Over time the plaque and minerals in the saliva in your mouth form a hardened deposit called calculus (tartar). Regular brushing and flossing slows the buildup of calculus but its removal requires a professional clean. If not removed calculus and plaque can lead to tooth decay and gingivitis (early gum disease).
Bonding is done to restore chipped or broken teeth, to fill in gaps or to shape and recolour your teeth. The dentist will do this using a composite resin and then apply a bonding material to restore the appearance of your teeth.
A dental bridge is a false tooth or teeth that are fused between two porcelain crowns to fill in an area missing teeth. Your dentist will take a mould of your mouth and a dental technician will make your bridge so it matches the colour of your natural teeth. Bridges are important not only for improved cosmetic appearance but to keep existing teeth in position and prevent gum disease and tooth decay.
Cosmetic Contouring and Reshaping
Tooth contouring or reshaping generally does not require anaesthetic and can usually be done within 1-3 dental visits to correct minor problems with crooked, chipped, cracked or overlapping teeth.
Cosmetic dentistry combines a variety of techniques with the aim of giving you improved confidence and a better, whiter smile. Techniques include cosmetic contouring and reshaping, bonding, veneers, crowns, crown lengthening, bridges and tooth whitening.
Crowns cover the entire surface of your tooth. They are used to protect existing teeth and/or improve their appearance. To fit the crown your dentist will reduce the size of your existing tooth to make enough space for the crown and then make a mould for the dental technician.
There are two types of filling, direct and indirect restorations. Direct restorations occur in a single visit and are placed directly into a prepared cavity by the dentist. The material used is usually a plastic resin and it is set using a UV light. Indirect fillings occur over multiple visits and involve the creation of inlays and onlays, crowns or veneers that the dentist fits over your tooth.
Materials Used for Fillings:
● Amalgam Fillings
● Composite Fillings
● Glass Ionomer Fillings
Molars (teeth at the back of the mouth used for chewing) often have grooves or fissures. These can be difficult to clean and food particles can be trapped here. Bacteria may grow and release acids that can decay your tooth. Your dentist can apply a protective plastic covering (sealant) to the fissure to help prevent tooth decay.
Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease characterised by red, swollen (inflamed) gums that may bleed when teeth are cleaned. It is caused by bacteria in dental plaque releasing acid and enzymes that irritate the gums and stimulate an inflammatory response. Gingivitis can usually be reversed by improving personal oral care (regular brushing and flossing) and a professional clean.
Impacted Tooth Extraction
An impacted tooth is a tooth that is partially or totally trapped within the gum. This often occurs with wisdom teeth (3rd molars) as there is not enough space for the tooth to fully erupt. Your dentist may recommend extraction if you are at significantly greater risk of infection or tooth decay.
Knocked Out Teeth
During sport and other activities your teeth can be knocked out completely from your gums. In some instances your dentist can put them back in.
Pain Relief and Anxiety
Visiting the dentist can be a source of anxiety. Fortunately, with advances in dentistry, your dentist can manage the discomfort during procedures to make the experience as pain free as possible. Your dentist will usually apply a topical anaesthetic to numb the surface of your gum and then inject a local anaesthetic that works for up to 2 hours and numbs the tissue deeper within the gum. In certain circumstances your dentist may recommend the use of a sedative or general anaesthetic so you are asleep and do not remember the procedure.
Your general dentist may be able to provide a plate for your child to prevent a malocclusion (bad bite) from forming or to correct a mild malocclusion. For braces and orthodontic treatment your dentist will refer you to an orthodontist.
Root Canal Fillings
If a tooth’s pulp is damaged or infected a root canal may be needed. The pulp is the core of the tooth containing connective tissue, blood vessels and nerves. Your dentist will take an x-ray to determine the health and location of the dental pulp. They will drill a hole through the top of your tooth to access the root canals. The root canals are cleaned and shaped with a dental file and washed with a sterilising solution. The root canals can then be filled with a permanent filling. A crown may be added for further protection and to improve your tooth’s appearance.
Tooth extraction involves the removal of damaged, decayed or infected teeth. Healthy teeth may be removed that the mouth does not have space for, or in preparation for orthodontic treatment, or to remove teeth that are impacted or partially impacted and at risk of causing infection.
Although at-home tooth whitening treatments are available from pharmacies you are best to visit your dentist to ensure an effective and consistent result. Some teeth may not be suitable for whitening and not all of your natural teeth will be the same colour. There are a variety of tooth whitening techniques available. For the technique best suited to you please consult your dentist.
Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain or plastic that are permanently fitted to the front of your teeth. They can improve the appearance of your teeth by covering teeth that are discoloured, chipped, crooked or to cover gaps between teeth.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Wisdom teeth are the third molars right at the back of your mouth. They usually appear during your late teens or early twenties. If there is not enough room in your mouth they may partially erupt through the gum or not at all. This is referred to as an impacted wisdom tooth.
Due to their location wisdom teeth can be difficult to clean and are more susceptible to decay, gum disease and recurrent infections. They can cause crowding of teeth and, on rare occasions, cysts and tumours develop around them.
Your dentist will advise if some or all of your wisdom teeth need to be removed. Wisdom teeth will usually only be removed if your dentist believes they will be a significant compromise to your oral health.