For the healthy person, a full dental exam with x-rays should be undertaken once a year.
At your first exam at our clinic, you will have full x-rays (panoramic digital or a set of 16-20 intraoral). At repeat examinations you will normally have 4 intraoral x-rays. The X-Ray gives detailed images of patient’s teeth and mouth to reveal dental problems that may not be evident from a visual examination, such as decay in the teeth, decay under existing fillings, or abnormalities such as cysts, abscesses and tumours.
From the exam and x-rays, the dentist will identify existing problems and potential future problems and recommend appropriate treatment to manage such problems. Your gums will be reviewed for disease and measurements will be taken with a probe. The dentist will make a treatment plan for any required treatments including consultation and discussion of options with you including cost and time considerations.
Fillings is the term used for the restoration of lost tooth structure by using materials such as metal, alloy, plastic or porcelain. Fillings are placed immediately into a prepared cavity in a single visit. Materials used include dental amalgam, glass or resin ionomers and composite fillings.
Dentists and patients today have several choices when it comes to selecting materials to repair damaged or decayed teeth. New materials such as ceramics and polymer compounds have not eliminated the usefulness of more traditional dental materials, such as gold, base metal alloys and dental amalgam. That’s because the strength and durability of traditional dental materials continue to make them useful for certain situations, such as fillings in the back teeth where chewing forces are greatest.
Grey Amalgam Fillings: Dental amalgam is the most researched and tested restorative material among all those in use. It is durable, easy to use, highly resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive. Because amalgam fillings can withstand very high chewing loads, they are particularly useful for restoring molars in the back of the mouth or in areas where a cavity preparation is difficult to keep dry during the filling replacement, such as in deep fillings below the gum line. Amalgam fillings are considered biocompatible – they are well tolerated by patients. Disadvantages of amalgam include possible short-term sensitivity to hot or cold after the filling is placed. The grey coloured material is not as natural looking as one that is tooth-coloured, and to prepare the tooth, the dentist may need to remove more tooth structure to accommodate an amalgam filling than for other types of fillings.
White Composite Fillings: Composite fillings are a mixture of glass or quartz filler in a resin medium that produces a tooth-coloured filling. They provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small-to-mid size restorations. Less tooth structure is removed when the dentist prepares the tooth, and this may result in a smaller filling than that of an amalgam. The cost is moderate and depends on the size of the filling and the technique used by the dentist to place it in the prepared tooth. It generally takes longer to place a composite filling than what is required for an amalgam filling.
Ionomers Fillings: Glass ionomers are translucent, tooth-coloured materials made of a mixture of acrylic acids and fine glass powders that are used to fill cavities, particularly those on the root surfaces of teeth. Glass ionomers can release a small amount of fluoride that may be beneficial for patients who are at high risk for decay. They are primarily used in areas not subject to heavy chewing pressure. Resin ionomers are also made from glass filler with acrylic acids and acrylic resin and they are also used for very small, no-load bearing fillings, on the root surfaces of teeth.
Saving your natural teeth should always be your first choice when dental care is needed, as not even the most advanced bridges and implants, can truly replace your natural tooth. Inside each tooth there is a pulp which provides nutrients and nerves to the tooth, it runs like a thread down through the root. When the pulp is diseased or injured, the pulp tissue dies. The pulp must then be removed, or else the will get infected and the tooth could fall out. Root canal treatment removes the injured pulp of your tooth and fills and seals the space. Afterward the root canal treatment, you may have a crown or other restoration placed on the tooth to protect or cosmetically enhance it. Your tooth is then restored and can function just like any other tooth for the rest of your life, ensuring comfortable chewing and a natural appearance.
Although some general dentists perform root canal procedures, many refer their patients to endodontic specialists, who have specialised training and experience in endodontics and can often save even the most severely injured teeth.
The signs of needing endodontic treatment include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, tenderness to touch and chewing, discoloration of the tooth, and swelling, drainage and tenderness in the lymph nodes as well as nearby bone and gingival tissues. Sometimes, however, there are no obvious symptoms.