What do I need?
If you don’t know where to start, what to do or it has been a while since your last visit to the dentists.
Be assured, we’ve heard it all before. We are here to help you if there is something wrong. Whether it is a condition or any concern, we will be glad to help you address those issues.
We will start with a full mouth experience leaving no stone unturned so to speak. We take pride by our friendly manner and gentle approach to make the dreadful dental experience into a pleasant and comfortable one
It’s been forever and a day
You might be very busy; you might have fear of the dentists or for whatever reasons for postponing a visit to the dentist. It’s been a long time since the last one, and well you are not sure what the dentist might discover what is hiding in your mouth.
You might receive a reminder call from our team and can’t be bothered to reply and that was awhile back. Not to worry, do not hesitate to give us a call. We have different priorities and dentist visit at the time was not one of them. We are here to help, call us rest assured we have heard it before and nothing to be embarrassed about.
Visit us for a thorough examination and we will take it from there
Check-ups and Cleans
One would have to say that it is amazing that teeth last as long as they do when we chew on them every day for maybe 90 years and considering some of the stuff people eat – chocolate out of the fridge or pork crackling for instance. Then if our teeth have been filled they are weaker but we just keep on chewing. Some of us even grind or clench our teeth with forces unheard of in ordinary chewing. It isn’t surprising they break – is it?
Teeth crack, cavities start around old failing fillings, tartar/plaque builds up, gums recede and teeth start to come loose. All that is preventable but ignores your teeth and they will go away. Just because a tooth doesn’t hurt doesn’t mean it will stay like that. A sore tooth is more costly to fix if it can be fixed at all. Our mouths are like gardens; they need weeding and pruning to stay in shape, or like the floor under our beds; it needs regular vacuuming and mopping.
Many issues can be identified and either prevented or treated early. That is why seeing the dentist once every 6-12 months is a good idea. It is like weeding and mopping. We call that “Active Maintenance” because it doesn’t happen by itself. Effort is needed. Having said all that, you don’t need to floss every single tooth – only the ones you want to keep. Sometimes the need to take radiographs (X-rays) to check decay between the back teeth and check bone levels.
Tooth decay is not dissimilar in appearance to bad spots in a potato. It is soft and yellow/brown but unless there is a lot of decay there may not be an actual cavity. A tooth is a bit like a pumpkin too, really hard on the outside and softer the further in you get. If tooth decay is only in the hard enamel it can heal out and we don’t fill those teeth. However as it burrows deeper into the softer parts of the tooth fillings become necessary. It is important to realise though that fillings don’t strengthen teeth – Nothing is ever as good as the original! If a tooth is filled too much it can be like a shopping bag being stuffed until it bursts. This is when crowns become necessary to save teeth.
Amalgam – is the old, black metal material that almost all of us have in our back teeth. It is strong and lasted well but because turns black and contain mercury, we don’t use it any more. In fact we don’t even have it.
Composite – is plastic and works nicely in small cavities. It is routinely used for front teeth, it is bonded to the tooth and sets hard in the presence of blue light. If composite fillings are big and there is hard chewing done on them, they fail after a few years; new decay easily forms under them.
Glass Ionomer and RM Glass Ionomer – is a white fillings material that can be used in back teeth. The advantage is that new decay doesn’t form too easily under it but on the other hand glass ionomer is brittle and hard chewing fractures the material. Suitable for fillings that are either temporary (root canal temporary fillings, fillings in baby teeth), permanent fillings in areas of minimal load (away from the biting surface such as on the root of the tooth) or fillings that cannot be kept dry. It has a chemical bond with the tooth.
Inlays, Onlays and Overlays
These are fillings/restorations that are made outside of the mouth made by a dental laboratory. It is made from a solid substance fitted to a cavity and cemented in place rather than placing soft material to the prepared tooth and wait for the material to set hard. These fillings are suitable where there is a particularly heavy bite and where both strength and aesthetics are required and usually requires two visits.
Porcelain – lifelike material to replace and restore teeth. It is strong and last well. It can be colour matched to be indistinguishable from the tooth but the cost is high.
Gold – has worked well for many years and is strong and seals well. The down side though is the cost and some people just don’t like gold in their teeth. Still for back teeth it is an option. Composite resins – good option but not as durable as the first two
Crowns and Bridges
A tooth is meant to last a life time. The “six year old molar” – the one we chew on most – comes through at the age of six. Many of us had it filled when we were seven, then again at eleven. Another cavity formed and a second filling was needed at fifteen. Then one corner broke off at 35 and so it goes. Each time the tooth gets filled it becomes weaker and the less tooth the less for fillings to hold on to. Think of a tooth as a shopping bag. We fill it and fill it and eventually the bag breaks. A tooth is the same. This is when a crown is needed.
A crown is like a helmet that sits all around the tooth and holds on to the root. This strengthens the tooth and will usually last a long time. Crowns are made of gold and/or porcelain. Porcelain is getting better and better metal free options are coming on the market and it probably won’t be long until that is all we do.
A bridge usually involves the preparation of teeth either side of a gap to provide support for an artificial tooth. A bridge is just one option to replace a missing tooth.
Extractions and wisdom teeth
Extractions of teeth involve the removal of the crown and root of a tooth. If you require extraction, please discuss all replacement options prior to treatment. If you decide not to replace the tooth, be mindful that in time, teeth may drift into the gap – this may change your bite and chewing ability. Loss of a tooth also concentrates the load onto the remaining teeth.
Please tell the dentist of any medical conditions, medications or allergies. A radiograph of the tooth is always required (by law) prior to extraction to view the roots of the teeth. Today’s anaesthetics are extremely effective in making the procedure as comfortable as possible.
For particularly difficult extractions or some wisdom teeth extractions, referral to a trusted specialist oral surgeon may be required.
OK. So who came up with the name “wisdom teeth?” I mean, they’re anything but wise and often cause problems at the worst possible time.
Wisdom teeth usually erupt between 17 and 25 years of age. There is no “normal” number of wisdom teeth, although most people have somewhere between zero and four. Many wisdom teeth never erupt. Where there is space, wisdom teeth may erupt without incident. However, sometimes wisdom teeth can be difficult.
Why do I need my wisdom tooth/teeth out?
- Limited space: This is the most common reason for removal of a wisdom tooth. Many wisdom teeth start to push through partially, but cannot come through completely. This can lead to a problems and discomfort.
- Persistent infection/pericoronitis: When a tooth partially comes through the gum, it leaves a flap of gum half covering the tooth (called “operculum”). Plaque and bacteria can multiply here and cause pericoronitis – a painful localised gum infection.
- Traumatic bite: Wisdom teeth can often lead to biting of cheeks and gums at the back of the mouth. This can cause continuous ulcers and pain.
- Neighboring damage: This takes two forms;
- Decay: Impacted or crowded wisdom teeth can lead to more plaque, food and bacteria being trapped making the area more difficult to clean. This can cause decay to start between the teeth.
- Resorption: Sometimes the wisdom tooth may partially resorb the side of the adjacent tooth.
- Damage to the tooth: As with any tooth, if a wisdom tooth suffers excessive damage to it from decay, trauma or periodontal disease, it may need to be removed.
- Pathology: In rare cases un-erupted wisdom teeth can be associated with pathology like cysts or tumours.
Root Canal Therapy
is a treatment sequence for the infected tissue of a tooth which results in the elimination of infection and the protection of the decontaminated tooth from future microbial invasion.
What Does Root Canal Therapy involve?
- 1st stage of treatment: Following a thorough assessment, the dentist will start with a local anaesthetic to numb the area. At the first appointment may simply “settle the tooth” by dressing the pulp with a special antibiotic and anti-inflammatory dressing. Otherwise special instruments called files to simultaneously remove the infected and inflamed tissue and widen the canals in each of the roots.
- 2nd Stage of Treatment: Cleaning and shaping the root canal/s. The aim is to remove bacteria and organic debris within the root canal system.
- 3rd stage of treatment: Once the roots have been cleaned and shaped, they are then filled with rubber-based filling material. The dentist will usually take an x-ray to ensure the tooth is filled to the correct lengths.
- Final restoration: Your dentist will advise you what is best for the longevity of your tooth.
A denture is a type of prosthesis used to replace missing teeth. They are designed to restore function – both chewing and speaking, while maintaining a normal or natural appearance.
Is a denture right for me?
The dentist will assess a number of factors when considering if a denture is right for you. These include, but are not limited to:
- Number of teeth lost: Generally, the more teeth lost, the more convenient it is to have a denture that can replace numerous teeth. That’s not to say that single tooth dentures aren’t also used.
- Patient health: Patients in poor health with certain medical conditions may not tolerate alternatives such as implants.
- Patient hygiene: An inability to clean under a bridge, or having poorly controlled periodontal disease can mean alternatives such as implants and bridges may not last. Removing the dentures can make cleaning easier.
- Patient anatomy: Bone levels will dictate stability of all replacement options including dentures, implants and bridges. Your friendly Northbridge Dentists team will assess these factors and let you know if a denture is right for you.
- Patient preference: Some patients cannot handle the thought of wearing dentures, or feel that they might “gag.” Some think it makes them feel older. Some patients like that it is minimally invasive (less drilling etc) and often looks great. It’s up to you!
Types of dentures and materials?
- There are two main types of dentures:
- Full Denture: Replaces all teeth in either the top or bottom jaw. Full dentures are made of acrylic.
- Partial Denture: Replaces one or more missing teeth in either the top or bottom jaws, and is secured via clasps that latch onto the remaining teeth. In most cases partial dentures are made of a combination of acrylic and metal.
Cosmetic Dentistry and Veneers
Our smiles reflect our inner selves and a healthy smile gives us confidence. Missing teeth may give an impression of neglect – paying no attention to detail. There are many ways of restoring a smile. Sometimes it can be a matter of just smoothing off edges and corners, sometimes much more involved treatments are needed. We do all that. Whether you are old or young and irrespective of dental condition, there are always a few options.
Veneers are like false-fingernails – a thin material that sits over the top of your teeth. In order to make room for the veneers, the teeth must be shaved-down slightly, so that the veneer does not stick out too thickly. Veneers can help to cover a tooth and restore aesthetics when a tooth is either defective (often during formation from injury or antibiotics), has a number of un-aesthetic fillings, or is worn or poorly shaped. It can even help to close gaps and disguise small rotations in the teeth.
There are two main materials for veneers:
- Composite resin: This is the “plastic white” filling material that bonds to the tooth. It can be used in a thin layer and polished very finely to give a good aesthetic result. This can often be achieved in one appointment and is cheaper than porcelain veneers.
- Porcelain: This is a lab-made porcelain material which is bonded to the tooth. Aesthetic results are excellent. This requires two appointments – one for the preparation of the tooth and one for the bonding of the veneer.
We strive to make the child’s visit to the dentist as comfortable and care-free as possible. We are gentle, caring and love to joke around to help put them at ease.
Whether kids need just a simple examination and clean or something more such as fillings, fissure sealants and mouth guards, we are proud to offer a wide range of services.
We understand that you may have many questions regarding your child’s dental health. If you can’t find answers to some of the common questions at the FAQ section, chances are we have heard them before and are happy to answer them at your appointment.