Over time our teeth begin to weaken and become more susceptible to problems such as decay, cracks, discolouration and others. If you feel your smile isn’t what it once was, crowns can help you recover your smile. Crowns can be made from porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or a full gold crown. To maintain a natural look and feel a porcelain finished crown is best, as it can be matched to the shade of your other teeth. This will allow it to blend in and appear just like one of your natural teeth.
The process of installing a crown takes 2-3 visits to the dentist. On the first visit the tooth will be reshaped by filing down the enamel so that the crown can be placed over it. You will be given a local anesthetic so that you do not experience any discomfort. Once the tooth has been reshaped, a mould will be taken of that tooth and the surrounding teeth. This mould will be sent to a dental lab so that your new crown can be created for the specific space and to match the surrounding teeth. Before leaving, your dentist will fit you with a temporary crown until your permanent crown is ready. The permanent crown takes about 2-3 weeks to be returned to your dentist. At this time you will have another appointment to place and fit the permanent crown. You will again have a local anesthetic to numb the area and the crown will be placed using a cement to ensure the tooth sets in place. Crowns are durable and will usually last about 10-15 years. You should care for it as you would any of your other teeth.
Dental bridges are a great way to replace missing teeth. Your existing teeth are used to literally create a bridge to cross the area where your tooth is missing. Bridges are made from gold, metal, alloys, or porcelain to ensure that they are strong and durable.
The process of creating a bridge begins by creating abutments out of your existing teeth where the bridge will be attached. The existing teeth are recontoured to provide a base for the bridge. After the abutments have been created, a mould is taken of the area which is sent to a dental lab. The lab is able to use the mold to create a bridge that will fit properly and feel as close to your natural teeth as possible. The bridge consists of two crowns on either end to place on the abutments and a pontic, which is the new tooth that replaces your missing tooth. We will fit you with a temporary bridge while we wait for the lab to craft your permanent bridge. This will protect the abutments and the exposed gum areas and look more appealing than having a missing tooth. When the permanent bridge has been created, you will have a follow up visit to set the bridge. It will be placed on the abutments and the dentist will then use an adhesive to make sure that the bridge is set.
INLAYS AND ONLAYS
Inlays and onlays are often referred to as partial crowns. They use the existing tooth as a base and fit the inlay or onlay onto the tooth. This is done to strengthen the tooth, restore its shape, and prevent further damage. An inlay is done when there is no damage to the cusps of the tooth and the inlay can be placed right on the tooth. An inlay is used when the damage is a little more extensive. The decayed area of the tooth is first removed during the procedure. A mould of the tooth is then taken and sent to a dental lab. They create a restoration made from porcelain, gold, or a composite resin. The restoration takes about 2-3 weeks to make, so a temporary inlay or onlay will be placed on the tooth for that time. During your next visit the inlay or onlay will be placed into your mouth and set with cement.
BONDING & FILLINGS
Bonding is a popular method to enhance the aesthetics of your smile. Bonding can be used to correct cracks or gaps in teeth after a cavity has been removed, or to cover up stains. A composite resin is used on the affected tooth or teeth. It is moulded and sculpted over an adhesive gel that is placed on the tooth. After the resin has been applied an LED light is used to harden the resin, which is then polished to give you a fresh, new smile. Bonding is an obvious improvement over unsightly silver amalgam fillings. With the advancements in dental technology, bonding usually lasts for over 10 years. It is a safe, affordable, and attractive solution for many dental problems.
Dentures are a replacement for missing teeth that can be removed and put back into your mouth as you please. Depending on each individual patient case, they may receive full or partial dentures. Partial dentures are suitable when not all of your teeth need to be removed. This is similar to a bridge, but it is not a permanent fixture in your mouth. Full dentures are used when all of the natural teeth are removed from the mouth and replaced with a full set of dentures.
There are two types of full dentures.
• Conventional Full Dentures – This is when all the teeth are removed and the tissue is given time to heal before the dentures are placed. It could take a few months for the gum tissue to heal completely, and during this time you will be without teeth.
• Immediate Full Dentures – Prior to having your teeth removed, your dentist takes measurements and has dentures fitted for your mouth. After removing the teeth, the dentures are immediately placed in your mouth. The benefit is that you do not have to spend any time without teeth. You will, however, need to have a follow up visit to refit your dentures because the jaw bone will slightly change shape as your mouth heels. The dentures will need to be tightened after the jaw bone has healed.
Your dentures may take some time to get used to. The flesh coloured base of the dentures is placed over your gums. Some people say that it feels bulky or that they don’t have enough room for their tongue. Other times the dentures might feel loose. These feelings will affect the way you eat and talk for a little while. Over time, your mouth becomes trained to eat and speak with your dentures and they begin to feel more and more like your natural teeth. Before you remove your dentures be sure to brush them to remove plaque and food particles. After you take your dentures out place them directly into room temperature water or a denture cleaning solution – never use hot water because it could warp the dentures. Lastly, never try to adjust your dentures yourself, seek assistance from your dentist.
Endodontics is the dental specialty that deals with the nerves of the teeth. Root canals are probably the most notorious procedure in dentistry and the most common procedure relating to endodontics. When a tooth becomes infected it is usually related to the nerves in the root of the tooth. The infected nerves need to be removed. If left untreated an infection can turn into an abscess, which is a much more serious problem that includes bone loss in the jaw. The area around the tooth is numbed with a local anesthetic to start the procedure. The dentist will then drill down into the tooth to create an opening into the canal. They will then be able to remove infected tissue and clean the canal. After the infection has been removed, the space if filled with a sealant called gutta percha. It is highly recommended that a tooth that has undergone a root canal is fitted with a crown. This will improve the appearance of the tooth, and will also make it much more likely that the root canal is successful.