Tooth decay occurs when foods containing carbohydrates (starches and sugars)–such as breads, cereals, milk, soda, and fruits–turns into acids. The bacteria, acid, food debris, and saliva combine to form plaque, which clings to teeth. The acids in plaque dissolve the enamel surface of the teeth, creating holes in the teeth called cavities, or caries. To remove decay and restore tooth structure, a filling needs to be done. There are two types of restorations we use to fill cavities; they are called amalgam, and composite fillings.
Dental amalgam fillings are sometimes called “silver” fillings. They are the most common type of filling used in Canada today. Because these fillings are silver in colour, they are used to fill cavities on the back teeth. They are a mix of metals such as mercury, silver, copper, and tin. The advantages of this type of filling are that they are the least expensive filling and they last a long time. They are easy to put in place because they are a direct filling, one visit to your dentist will do the job in most cases. The disadvantage of this type of filling is that there are tiny amounts of mercury released from the filling when you chew. For most people, this bit of mercury is nothing to worry about. Studies have shown that amalgam fillings do not cause illness. They have been used on people for more than 150 years.
Composite fillings are also called “white” fillings. Getting this type of filling used to depend on where the tooth is in your mouth. We bite down hard on our back teeth, so a white filling was not be a good choice in the past. The technology associated with the new composite fillings, in recent years, has made this type of material, both acceptable and even preferable for both large and small restorations. To place this filling, your dentist cleans all decay from the tooth, and puts a glue (or bonding material) on the inside of the prepared area. Composite resin is then put into the preparation in thin layers. Each layer is then set with the help of a special blue light that your dentist holds over the tooth. When the last layer of the filling is hard, the dentist shapes the filling so it looks and feels natural.
A dental bridge is a 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 two crowns. Bridges are made from gold, metal alloys, porcelain or a combination 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. This process is identical to how crowns are prepared (see crowns). The dentist will often remove and replace any old restorations in these teeth to ensure that there will be no decay present underneath the bridge. These are called build-ups. After the abutments have been created, a mold is taken of the area which is sent to a dental lab. The lab is able to use the mold to create a custom bridge that will fit properly and will feel like your natural teeth. The bridge consists of two crowns on either end to place the abutments, and a pontic – a solid tooth shaped piece – that is the new tooth replacing your missing one.
The process of creating a bridge begins by creating abutments out of your existing teeth where the bridge will be attached.
We will then fit you with a temporary bridge while we wait for the lab to craft your permanent bridge. This will protect the abutment and exposed gum area, and look more appealing than having a missing tooth. When the permanent bridge has been created, we will have a follow up visit to seat the bridge. It will be placed on the abutments, and the dentist will then use an adhesive for the final placement of the bridge.
The bridge may take a while to get used to, but after a few days it should feel like your own teeth. You should eat soft foods for the first few days. After a short while, you will be able to eat whatever you want with no issues. If you are missing a tooth, you should strongly consider having it replaced, because missing teeth can cause structural changes to your mouth and jaw, as well as making it difficult to eat or speak properly. Set up an appointment today to restore your smile.
Dental implants are becoming more popular in today’s dental society for a number of reasons. Whenever a tooth is lost, the biting forces change and the teeth next to the space can shift. Also, opposing teeth may even be compromised by extruding into the open space, resulting in eventual tooth loss. Implants are titanium cylinders that are surgically placed in the jaw to serve as artificial roots. Attaching a replacement tooth to an implant allows us to avoid placing a bridge.
An implant and crown are practically indistinguishable from natural teeth, and it fits so securely that you won’t even notice it when chewing or speaking. Dental implants will improve your smile, chewing function and contributes to the preservation of healthy teeth and bone. When maintained, they enhance facial structure and self-esteem. The overall benefit is eating better, feeling better and looking better.
The tooth structure has two main sections, the root and the crown. The root is the section of the tooth that is below the gum line. A dental implant replaces the root of the tooth and provides an anchor in the jawbone. The first step of the procedure is the placement of the implant, with local anesthetic. There is no significant discomfort with this appointment. This process will take 1-2 hours depending on the number of implants being placed. After placement, the implant will be covered up with the gum and left undisturbed for a period of up to 4-6 months. During this time, bone will integrate around the implant. A removable crown may be utilized during this time period to preserve the cosmetic appearance. The next step in the process is to attach an abutment to the tooth. This is achieved by exposing the top of the implant and placing the abutment. This is the part of the implant that will support the final crown.
Finally, an impression is taken of the implant, with the abutment, and the final restoration is crafted. The final appointment consists of attaching the crown portion to the implant to create a restoration that is extremely functional, comfortable and cosmetically pleasing. Your completed implant will be ready to use immediately, allowing you to resume normal activities.
Ask us if implants are the right choice for you, and get the support and stability you deserve.
Inlays and onlays are custom fillings, fabricated in a lab. They use the existing tooth as a base and fit the inlay or onlay onto the tooth in an area that has been prepared by the dentist. This is done to strenghen the tooth, restore its shape, and prevent future damage. A inlay is done when there is no damage to the cusps of the tooth and the restoration can be placed right in the prepared area. An onlay is used when the damage is a little more extensive, such as decay or a break in the tooth that involves one cusp or more. The decayed area of the tooth is first removed during the procedure. If the tooth is broken, the area is smoothed and shaped to better accept the onlay. An impression of the tooth is then taken and sent to the lab. The restoration takes about 1-2 weeks to make, so a temporary inlay or onlay will be placed on the tooth during that time.
Inlays and onlays are usually made of either gold alloys or porcelain, depending on the area being restored and personal preference.
During the next visit, the inlay or onlay will be placed into the mouth and set with a cement. An onlay is a conservative option for restoring a tooth where a crown might otherwise be required. Ask our team if this is a good option for you.
Teeth whitening is an established procedure in cosmetic dentistry. Carbamide Peroxide and Hydrogen Peroxide are the active whitening ingredients, and have been used safely for many years in the treatment of gums and other oral soft tissues.
Over time, our teeth tend to become discoloured or stained. Whether this is from smoking, coffee, tea, trauma, or any other foods, a beautiful smile could be closer than you think. We offer Take-Home Whitening kits (Day White) that can get your teeth many shades whiter.
The first step in the whitening process is impressions. We take full impressions of your upper and lower teeth in order to make stone copies of all your teeth. These stone models will be used into make the custom bleaching trays. Once the trays are made, the next step is to place the bleaching solution in the tray, and to wear them for a half an hour, twice a day. Within 7-10 days, you will see a significant improvement in the colour of your teeth. Your smile will look brighter and younger.
Over time, our teeth tend to become discoloured or stained. Whether this is from smoking, coffee, tea, trauma, or any other foods, a beautiful smile could be closer than you think.