Your dental check up recall i.e. 6 monthly/ annual will be based on your dental needs and any medical or general health conditions.
Your dentist will carry out a thorough examination of not only the teeth but other areas to include extra oral regions such as the head, neck and jaw joints. We also screen all soft tissue regions such as lips, tongue, saliva glands looking for any abnormal or cancerous conditions.
After that a screening of your periodontal health is carried out (the state of your gums). Minor cases of gum disease may mean a recommendation for a full-mouth scale and polish and oral hygiene instruction to get you practising the best techniques at home to prevent gum disease. More involved cases may require an in house hygienist referral and severe cases are referred to a Periodontist (gum-specialist).
Finally, as part of our dental service, your teeth are checked for decay, fractures, defective fillings and unsightly restorations an intraoral camera will be used to take still images of teeth at magnification supplemented by Small digital x-rays ( if justified) to gain a better view of ‘hidden’ areas of your mouth, for example, to detect whether any decay is occurring between or inside your teeth. X-rays also help to show the supporting bone level in your jaw, to detect signs of advanced periodontal disease or evidence of infections.
What is teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure that involves the use of mild bleaching materials to gently lighten the colour of your teeth.
At Sherwood Park Dental we offer two different types of whitening – a power whitening system with use of an active laser light Zoom! done in the dental chair , or a take home whitening system which allows tooth whitening to be carried out safely and effectively in the privacy of your home.
How does it work?
The active ingredients in dental whitening products is usually either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Both the in-chair (Zoom!) and at-home systems work in essentially the same way. After the gel is applied to the surface of the teeth, the active ingredient is broken down, oxygen gets into the enamel on the teeth and the tooth colour becomes lighter.
With the Zoom system, a strong laser is shone on the teeth to speed up the chemical reaction of the whitening product. The procedure takes about an hour to one and a half hours and can make your teeth up to five shades lighter.
With the at-home system, you will be provided with plastic trays moulded to the shape of your teeth. A small amount of Whitening gel is placed in the trays and the trays are then placed in your mouth for up to an hour a day or overnight as prescribed. The at-home system usually takes between ten days to three weeks
For either system the plastic tray moulds are recommended as whitening may need to be topped up at home in the future.
Are there any side affects?
Teeth whitening is a completely safe and harmless procedure as long as it is carried out under the supervision of your dentist. The typical course of treatment has the same effect on teeth as drinking a glass of cola.
Sensitivity during or a few days after treatment is the most commonly reported side effect. However, we have found that it quickly disappears and is usually fully reversible. For those patients’ susceptible to sensitivity a special fluoride toothpaste will be prescribed alongside treatment to control sensitivity and ensure comfort throughout
What causes teeth to go yellow?
The most common causes of tooth discolouration are drinks such as red wine, coffee and tea, food such as curry, and smoking.
Discolouration penetrates the surface of the tooth so brushing alone will never restore your teeth to their original colour.
Other types of discolouration such as that caused by tetracycline medication and other certain types of staining may not respond well to dental whitening procedures so your dentist will ensure they have looked at your particular discolouration before they recommend this treatment.
How is it different from an over-the-counter whitening kit or whitening provided by my beautician or "whitening therapist"?
Many over-the-counter kits are dangerous because they contain acids and are abrasive. Teeth whitening toothpastes are less abrasive and may remove some superficial stains, but they will never affect the shade of your teeth.
Whitening carried out by a non-dental professional (such as by beauticians or "whitening therapists") is risky and unsafe. It's paramount that your teeth and gums are in a healthy state before any whitening treatment is performed, and only your dentist is able to carry out these checks. For example, if conditions such as open decay or erosion lesions are not caught and dealt with, it can result in severe sensitivity and in the worst case devitalisation (nerve damage) of teeth.
In addition, non-dental professionals may not be familiar with the different kinds of whitening products, what they contain and how they can affect your teeth and gums. They may not be familiar with safety procedures in protecting soft tissues when performing whitening treatments.
Finally, whilst treatments carried out by beauticians or "whitening therapists" may initially give what appears to be a good result, if they haven't used the right materials or proper procedures then the fade back may be very quick and you would likely need to keep topping up every couple of months.
Teeth whitening is not a simple procedure, and should only be carried out under the supervision of your dentist after a thorough checkup.
How long does teeth whitening last?
Depending on your diet, smoking habits, oral hygiene and other factors, teeth whitening lasts an average of a year and a half, after which some patients request a top-up.
In some specific cases a tooth that has “died” due to a history of trauma for example may discolour and under certain conditions internal bleaching of the tooth can be carried out to lighten the tooth from within without having to remove any tooth tissue for a veneer/ crown.
If you have a tooth that has discoloured and you want to see if this treatment is suitable for you please ask one of our dentists for more information at your next visit.
A crown (or a cap) is a hand-made cover designed to restore a tooth damaged by decay or fracture to its natural look and strength. It has the shape and colour of a natural tooth.
Conventional crowns are made of porcelain bonded to precious metal or gold. Teeth are cut down so that there is enough mechanical retention to support a crown. New techniques however allow for highly aesthetic metal-free porcelain "onlay" crowns to be placed with adhesive techniques, meaning that only a small amount of natural tooth material is removed from the teeth. These 100% porcelain crowns emulate your natural teeth very closely in both look and feel, with all the natural ridges and even a semi-transparency around the edges so no one can tell it's not your original tooth. They are also strong, durable and long-lasting.
As each person is an individual, so is each tooth in your mouth. Each crown is hand-crafted by a skilled dental technician to match the specific shape and colour of your natural teeth.
When is it needed?
We recommend a crown when too much of a tooth is lost due to decay or fracture and a filling is not considered strong enough. A crown restores the original shape and function of the tooth. It is strong and is designed to fit in naturally with all your other teeth. It may also be recommended to seal a tooth after procedures such as root canal treatment.
What is involved?
Your dentist will start by numbing your tooth. The tooth will then be shaped and any existing decay or old fillings will be removed. An accurate impression is then taken using a rubber-like material. This impression (along with the shade and sometimes a photograph of your other teeth) is sent to a dental ceramicist who will then hand-make the crown from scratch. For crowns at the front of your mouth we may ask you to visit the ceramicist in person so he can make a more accurate shade match. This is so we can achieve the best possible aesthetic results.
Meanwhile, a temporary crown is placed over the tooth to protect it until the permanent crown is ready to be fitted.
Ten days later, the new crown arrives back from the ceramicist and is then “glued” in place. Your dentist may make minor adjustments to make sure you can bite comfortably.
How does teeth whitening affect crowns?
The colour of crowns are permanent, they don’t yellow (or whiten) like the rest of your teeth. To make a crown as natural-looking as possible, its colour is matched to the colour of the rest of your teeth at the time the crown is fitted.
If you are considering whitening your teeth, then we recommend doing it BEFORE you fit a crown, so that all your teeth (including the new crown) are the colour you want them to be.
A Veneer is a thin slice of porcelain that is made to precisely fit over your tooth, much like a false fingernail fits over a nail.
Veneers are always made of porcelain, but there are still several different types and techniques available. Usually a very small amount of enamel is shaved off the tooth and then the new porcelain veneer is bonded on. Newer techniques don't involve any removal of natural tooth material, but instead very thin specially made porcelain is added over the top of the tooth to change it's shape or size.
As each person is an individual, so is each tooth in your mouth. Each Veneer is hand-crafted by a skilled dental ceramicist to match the ideal shape and colour for your natural teeth.
When do you need Veneers?
Veneers are ideal for covering discoloured or unsightly teeth or closing gaps between your front teeth. They can also be used to repair chips and cracks.
What is a bridge?
A bridge fixes a replacement tooth (or teeth) to natural teeth on either side of the gap. Some bridges have crowns at each end, others are fixed to the surface of the teeth next to the gap. These bridges make use of adhesive materials to ensure minimal tooth preparation.
Just like crowns and veneers, bridges can be made from a variety of different materials. High-end porcelain bridges are individually hand-crafted by skilled dental ceramicists and designed to emulate your natural teeth as closely as possible so no one can tell you are missing a tooth.
When is a bridge needed?
Bridges are used to replace missing teeth. Appearance is one consideration, however, there are health reasons too. Teeth on either side of a gap can lean into the gap and alter the way the lower and upper teeth bite together, causing problems with your jaw. It can become more difficult to eat and food can also get packed into the gap, leading to both decay and gum disease.
What are the alternatives?
If you don’t want a bridge, one alternative is a partial denture. This is a plate with a number of false teeth on it. It may have clasps metal/ tooth coloured to keep the denture in place in the mouth, some of which may show when you smile or open your mouth. Dentures are generally removed at night and must be carefully cleaned. There are a variety of different material options such as acrylic, flexible acrylic, and chrome depending on your individual needs.
Dental implants are an alternative to dentures and unlike dentures are not removable. Though a more costly procedure these provide patients with a tooth replacement option that is independent of other teeth ie. other teeth are not required to support the missing tooth/teeth.
Please refer to our section on dental implants for more information.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are a way of replacing missing teeth. The implants themselves are metal structures, much like a screw, made of titanium alloys. They are placed into your jawbone in a precise and highly specialised procedure carried out in a dental practice under local anaesthetic or sedation. After a minimum of three months healing (to give a chance for the bone to integrate into the implant), the implant is exposed and a replacement tooth can be attached on top.
When is it needed?
Dental implants are an excellent alternative to dentures and bridges for replacing missing teeth. They are anchored to the bone more firmly than natural teeth and avoid the need to cut down on teeth on either side of the gap for crowns to support a bridge.
An implant can be used to replace a single tooth, and two or more implants can be used to anchor a group of artificial teeth.
Can implants always be used to replace missing teeth?
It depends on the condition of the bone in your jaw. If you are interested in dental implants the Implant surgeon will carry out a number of special tests to measure the amount of bone still there. If there isn’t enough or if it isn’t healthy enough, it will be difficult to place an implant there without some bone grafting first.
Is the treatment expensive?
Unfortunately, yes. However, over the longer term, implants are usually more cost-effective and satisfactory than conventional treatment with bridges and dentures.
There are also a number of other factors to keep in mind. Implants are anchored into your bone very firmly (more firmly than your natural teeth) so there is security in knowing they won’t become loose. You will get artificial teeth that look, feel and work like your own natural teeth.
THERE IS NO CHARGE FOR CONSULTATION WITH OUR IMPLANT SURGEON.
Root canal treatment (also called endodontics) is needed when the nerve of your tooth or its blood supply (the pulp) has been infected through decay or injury. An infection in the pulp can cause an abscess. An abscess is an inflamed area in which pus collects, and its symptoms range from a dull ache to a severe pain.
If root canal treatment is not carried out, the infection will spread and your tooth may need to be taken out.
What is involved?
The aim of the treatment is to remove all infection from the root canal and stop the infection from spreading to the jaw bone. The root is then cleaned and filled to allow it to heal and prevent further infection.
Root canal treatment is a skilled, precise and time-consuming procedure. Several appointments may be needed. Root canal treatment may be carried out here with our Reciproc rotary system or if necessary cases will be referred to anandodontist, a specialist in root canal who will carry out the treatment using a special microscope.
At your first appointment, the infected pulp is removed and any abscesses are drained. The root canal is then cleaned and shaped so it is ready for filling. A temporary filling is put in and the tooth is left to settle.
On your second visit, the tooth is checked again to make sure the infection has cleared and then it is permanently filled.
Once the treatment is complete, you may require additional work such as crown placement to protect the tooth post treatment and ensure an adequate seal to prevent reinfection.
Is it painful?
Not in the least. A local anaesthetic is used to numb up your jaw and so it should feel no different to having an ordinary filling done.
What if I don’t have treatment?
The alternative is to take the tooth out. The reason is that once the nerve is destroyed, it can’t heal and we would never recommend leaving an infected tooth in the mouth.
Although some people might prefer an extraction, we would recommend keeping as many of your natural teeth as possible.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is the swelling, soreness and infection of the gum and tissues supporting your teeth. The first stage is called gingivitis – it is when the gums around your teeth become red and swollen. The swollen gums may bleed when you brush your teeth.
The second, more advanced stage, is called periodontal disease. The bone anchoring your teeth in your jaw is lost and your teeth become loose. If untreated, your teeth will eventually fall out. More teeth are lost through gum disease than through tooth decay.
What causes it?
All gum disease is caused by plaque. Plaque is nothing more than a thin film of bacteria which builds up on your teeth every day. It’s the yellow stuff on your teeth that you can remove by brushing and flossing every day.
Smoking makes gum disease worse. The smoke itself leads to more bacterial plaque and the oxygen deprivation means that infected gums fail to heal. Our dentists will be happy to help you along your journey should you wish to stop smoking and will work alongside your GP to ensure you feel fully supported with all the right resources at hand.
What are the symptoms?
Gum disease is generally not painful so you may not notice the damage it is causing. The most common sign is bleeding whilst you are cleaning your teeth. Your breath may be unpleasant and your gums may also feel sore. In advanced cases, pus my ooze from around the teeth.
How is it treated?
Your dentist will start with a thorough checkup of your teeth and gums. Your dentist will measure the ‘cuff’ of the gum around each tooth to detect whether periodontal disease has started. X-rays may be needed to see the amount of bone that has been lost.
For minor cases, a visit to the hygienist and regular recall and maintenance will keep the disease under control and ensure you are doing everything you can to keep your gums as healthy as possible.
For more severe cases a referral to a periodontist may be required.
To ensure we are doing everything we can to keep your teeth healthy for as long as possible we practice a variety of different preventive procedures which are simple and of course pain free, these include:
- Fissure sealants to prevent caries ( dental decay) forming in the pits and fissures of our teeth
- Fluoride applications and prescribing to ensure the dental enamel is protected as best as possible from caries (dental decay)/ fracture/etc
- Dental hygiene treatment including patient education on oral hygiene to ensure careful plaque control in the mouth and promotion of a healthy dental environment
What are wisdom teeth?
A wisdom tooth is one of the large chewing teeth all the way at the back of your mouth. Not everyone develops wisdom teeth, but if they do develop, it’s usually during your late teens or early twenties.
What are “impacted” wisdom teeth?
An “impacted” wisdom tooth is one that has failed to emerge fully into its ideal position. That failure may be because there isn’t enough room in your jaw or because the tooth is emerging at an angle and is pushing against your other healthy teeth.
An impacted tooth that is still buried underneath your gums can be left alone as long as it’s not causing you any pain or discomfort.
What problems can an impacted wisdom tooth cause?
The term “pericoronitis” refers to an infection that is common with impacted wisdom teeth. It is most common when only part of the wisdom tooth has emerged from underneath your gums, a condition known as “partial eruption”.
When your wisdom tooth is only partially erupted, dental plaque can accumulate in the space between your gums and your wisdom tooth and unfortunately there is no way for you to effectively clean it out. The plaque can cause an infection to spread to the tissues surrounding your wisdom tooth, which in turn makes the area feel tender and start to swell. It can also be quite painful and can cause unpleasant mouth odours and taste. In some cases, it can make it difficult for you to open your mouth.
Pericoronitis is usually a temporary problem that can be relieved by your dentist. If pericoronitis is occuring repeatedly, then your dentist may recommend having the wisdom tooth extracted.
What's involved in impacted wisdom tooth removal?
The first step is to take x-rays to better see the entire wisdom tooth and plan the surgery accordingly.
Is it difficult to remove a wisdom tooth?
This will be dependent on the postion of the tooth and several other factors which will be assessed by the dentist and the surgeon.
Wisdom teeth in your upper jaw are generally easier to remove than those in your lower jaw. That’s because lower wisdom teeth are more likely to be impacted. The exact degree of difficulty depends on the position and shape of the roots.
Are there any risks involved in wisdom tooth removals?
Minor swelling and some discomfort can occur for a few days after the operation but that usually heals very quickly. It is important to follow the dentist’s advice regarding the use of hot salt-water mouth washes. The common pain-killers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen are usually sufficient to deal with pain.
Smoking and drinking can interfere with the healing process and cause post-operative infection. If that happens, you will need to return to your dentist so they can place a soothing dressing and possibly prescribe anti-biotics.