The dental checkup is a thorough and comprehensive examination af your mouth.
They will carefully remove hard deposits of calculus (tartar) that build up on your teeth, using manual or ultrasonic instruments. If there is a lot of tartar, two or three visits may be necessary.
also give advice on diet, oral hygiene and will recommend suitable products to maintain good oral health.
Every patient has different needs. For example, if you have advanced gum disease, four visits may be required over a period of four weeks, followed by monthly visits after that. On the other hand, if you have a healthy mouth, your hygienist may recommend twice-yearly visits.
Children will benefit from having their teeth polished. The Dentist may also apply flouride gels and solutions to help prevent decay.
In addition, the Dentist can put 'fissure sealants' on children's permanent back teeth. This is a highly effective method for preventing decay.
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.
We offer two different types of whitening - an in-chair system called Zoom!2 and an at-home system using specially made trays and whitening gel.
How does it work?
The active ingredients in dental whitening products is usually either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Both the in-chair (Zoom!3) 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!3 in-chair 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 and can make your teeth up to five or six 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. The at-home system usually takes between two and three weeks to achieve a similar result to the in-chair system.
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, that usually quickly disappears on its on or can be eased using a sensitive toothpaste and flouride mouthwash.
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.
How is it different from an over-the-counter whitening kit?
Many over-the-counter kits are dangerous because they contain acids and are abrasive. Teeth whitening toothpastes are safer to use and may remove some stains, but they will never affect the shade of your teeth.
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 it take?
Our in-chair Zoom!3 system takes about an hour and a half and can make your teeth up to five or six shades lighter. The at-home system using trays and a lower concentration whitening gel takes longer (between two and four weeks is typical) and can make your teeth up to six to eight shades lighter or more.
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.
What is a white filling?
A filling replaces a part of the tooth that has been lost due to decay or accidental damage. For over 150 years fillings have been made out of a silver material called amalgam. Although it is a strong material, it is certainly not the most attractive!
The alternative is what are called 'white fillings', using materials that match the colour of your tooth. The aim is to make it impossible to tell that a filling has been placed. Sometimes white fillings can be used to cover unsightly marks on teeth.
The technology behind white fillings has improved considerably in the last few years, and their strength will now match that of amalgam fillings.
What is involved?
Fillings are usually a very simple and straightforward process. The area around your tooth will be numbed with local anaesthetic and then the decay together with possible old fillings will be cleared out. Weak parts of the tooth may be removed to lessen the risk it will break off later.
Unlike silver fillings, white filling materials stick to the tooth surface. This means that less tooth is drilled away.
Once the cavity has been cleared out and conditioned, a filling material is matched to the colour of your tooth and then placed. It is set (hardened) with a specially designed bright light.
At the final stage, the filling is trimmed and polished so it fits in more naturally with the contours of the rest of your tooth.
Can you replace older amalgam (silver) fillings with white fillings?
Absolutely! In fact, we highly recommend it. White fillings are, in a majority of cases, almost impossible to notice. That's because they can be matched and shaped to the existing colour and contours of your tooth.
How does teeth whitening affect white fillings?
The colour of the fillings are permanent, they don't yellow (or whiten) like the rest of your teeth. To make a filling as invisible as possible, its colour is matched to the colour of the rest of your tooth at the time the filling is made.
If you are considering whitening your teeth, then we recommend doing it BEFORE you do a filling, so that all your teeth (including the new filling) are the colour you want them to be.
What is a crown?
A crown (or a cap) is a hand-made cover designed to restore a damaged tooth to its natural look and strength. It has the shape and colour of a natural tooth.
Crowns are made from many different materials, for example, porcelain, porcelain bonded to gold or ceramics. High-end crowns like the Procera crown are meticulously designed to emulate your natural teeth as closely as possible 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!
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 will completely cover the tooth above the gum line and thus restores the original shape and function of the tooth. It is strong and is designed to fit in naturally with all your other teeth.
What is involved?
Your dentist will start by numbing your tooth. The tooth will then be shaped and if necessary old fillings will be replaced or a core will be built up. An impression is then taken using a rubber-like material. The impression (along with the shade of your teeth) is sent to a laboratory so that a dental technician can hand-make a crown in the specified material.
Meanwhile, a temporary crown is placed over the tooth to protect it until the permanent crown is ready to be fitted.
One or two weeks later, the new crown arrives from the laboratory and is then "glued" in place. Your dentist will then 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.
What are Veneers?
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.
Although Veneers are always made of porcelain, there are still many different types available for use. High-end Veneers such as a Zirconium Procera Veneer are specially designed to emulate your natural teeth as closely as possible in both look and feel, so no one can tell it's not a natural tooth!
As each person is an individual, so is each tooth in your mouth. Each Veneer is hand-crafted by a skilled dental technician 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 involved?
Your dentist will start by numbing your tooth. A small amount of enamel is then removed from your tooth, usually the same thickness as the new veneer will be. An impression is then taken using a rubber-like material. The impression (along with the shade of your teeth) is sent to a laboratory so that a dental technician can hand-make the veneer.
Meanwhile, a temporary veneer is placed over the tooth to protect it until the permanent veneer is ready to be fitted.
One or two weeks later, the new veneer arrives back from the laboratory and is then "glued" in place. Minor adjustments may then be needed to ensure the job is completed to perfection.
How does teeth whitening affect veneers?
The colour of veneers are permanent, they don't yellow (or whiten) like the rest of your teeth. To make a veneer as natural-looking as possible, its colour is matched to the colour of the rest of your teeth at the time the veneer is fitted.
If you are considering whitening your teeth, then we recommend doing it BEFORE you fit a veneer, so that all your teeth (including the new veneer) are the colour you want them to be.
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.
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 technicians 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 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.
A better (though more costly alternative) are dental implants. Dental implants are inserted into the jaw during surgery then topped with a replacement tooth or a crown. They form a stable long-lasting solution and can be used for almost all adults regardless of age. For more information, please refer to the section on Implants.
What are 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 office 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. Your dentist 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.
Speak to your dentist about whether implants are right for you, and about the interest-free finance options available to help you spread the cost of your treatment.
When is it needed?
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. All but the simplest cases are referred to our in-house Endodontist (root canal expert), who will carry out treatment using an advanced Zeiss 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 be referred back to your original dentist if additional cosmetic work (e.g. a crown) is needed. Your dentist would then talk you through the possible options.
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.
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 number of sessions with the hygienist will be needed to thoroughly clean all surfaces of your teeth. Your dentist or hygienist may prescribe a medicated mouthwash, and will also demonstrate to you proper oral healthcare.
More severe cases are referred to our in-house periodontist. He will carry out a further cleaning of the roots of your tooth to make sure that the bacteria pockets are removed. This is known as root planing and will require you to be numbed up.
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, most likely by an oral surgeon.
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.
If the wisdom tooth is fully buried then the surgeon will need to make an incision in the gums and then remove some bone that lies over the tooth. To minimise the amount of bone that has to be removed in order to get the tooth out, the surgeon will often separate the wisdom tooth into smaller pieces. Each piece can then be removed through a smaller opening in the bone.
The entire procedure is carried out under local aneasthetic and takes no more than an hour.
Is it difficult to remove a wisdom tooth?
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.
Very rarely, extremely difficult cases are referred to hospital, where they would be removed under general anesthetic (you would be put to sleep).
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.