Routine dental care

Examination and oral health check

At the examination your dentist will discuss any problems you may have and inspect your mouth to check the following:

  1. teeth and fillings
  2. gums and oral hygiene
  3. oral cancer screen
  4. jaw joints
  5. occlusion

Once we have gathered all the necessary information, we will discuss our findings with you and mutually decide on a suitable treatment with an explanation of the likely costs involved.  Arrangements will then be made for further visits so that the treatment carried out.

Radiographs

It may be appropriate to take radiographs of your teeth.  This may be a periodic check to ensure that hidden areas, such as under fillings or between the teeth, are free from caries or they can be used to aid the diagnosis of a particular problem.  Our digital radiographic system offers a great advantage over conventional radiographs as it significantly reduces the radiation dose and allows us instant sight of the area under investigation.

Hygienist visits

See our page on our hygienist services.

Fillings

Historically, fillings on back teeth have been silver with cosmetic white fillings only being used for front teeth where the biting forces on the teeth are smaller.  However, modern white fillings combine excellent physical properties with a natural appearance and can be used on most back teeth.  They are bonded to the tooth so there is less reliance on the shape of the cavity for retention which means less tooth removal and stronger restorations.  These materials are used in carefully controlled conditions, can be more time consuming and therefore generally more expensive than silver fillings.

White fillings are always used in front teeth; the variety of shades and techniques is improving all the time allowing more natural looking restorations to be placed.

Read more about our cosmetic fillings.

Local anaesthetics

Local anaesthetic is given for all treatment where required, unless previously discussed with the dentist. Topical anaesthetic gel to numb the gum surface is used before administering the anaesthetic using a careful technique that causes surprisingly little discomfort.  We realise that this can still be an unpleasant part of modern dentistry and we are very happy to discuss patient’s concerns regarding this or any other aspect of treatment.

Root fillings

Read about our root canal fillings.

Extractions

Extractions can be a stressful and we will always try to make the procedure easy.  Radiographs are taken beforehand so that individual difficulty is assessed and discussed if necessary.  Difficult cases may be referred to a local specialist clinic if required or if sedation or a general anaesthetic is appropriate.

Crowns

Crowns, or caps, are used for a variety of reasons. They may be used where the remaining tooth structure is very weak and liable to fracture during normal use as seen when a large filling fails or following a root filling.  They can be used to improve the appearance of a tooth.  They can be made from a number of materials including ceramic alone, ceramic bonded to metal or simply gold alloy.  The preferred choice depends on the clinical situation of the tooth and your dentist will discuss the appropriate type of each type of restoration before a decision is reached. 

Sometimes it may be necessary to place an adhesive filling in the tooth prior to making the crown to provide a firm foundation..  At the first visit, the tooth will be trimmed to make space for the crown to fit over the tooth without disturbing the bite.  An impression is taken and a temporary crown then fitted while the dental laboratory constructs the restoration. The patient attends for a second visit, when the crown is cemented in place, ensuring that the appearance, fit and bite are acceptable.

On occasion, a short post is fitted into the root of a very weak root-treated tooth prior to a crown being made to provide more strength and support.

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Bridges

Bridges are used to replace missing teeth and are cemented permanently into place.  They supported by teeth or implants adjacent to the gap and generally fall into two types.

The first is a traditional bridge which consists of crowns being placed on the supporting teeth with the replacement tooth joined between them.  These usually have good aesthetics but have the disadvantage that invasive crowns have to be cut on the adjacent teeth.  They are not suitable where the supporting teeth are already weakened or if the span of missing teeth is too large.

The alternative type of bridge is an adhesive bridge which is far less destructive.  With this type of bridge the porcelain tooth has a wing attached on one side which is invisibly stuck onto the back of the adjacent tooth.  They also have a good appearance, but are not suitable in situations where there is a very heavy or close bite.

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Dentures

These are removable devices for replacing missing teeth and are either partial dentures, if some natural teeth are retained, or full dentures where there are no natural teeth.

The design of a partial denture is dependent on the where the gaps are situated and the support that the remaining teeth can provide.  If there are sufficient natural teeth, a metal based partial denture is often preferred.  These take support from the adjacent real teeth and are generally less intrusive and more firmly retained.  However, in situations where the number of teeth being replaced by the denture is large, the support must come largely from the gums and underlying bone and this usually involves acrylic based dentures.  In some circumstances a flexible acrylic denture or Valplast denture may be better. For more information go to www.valplast.info

Full dentures are usually based with acrylic, and replace all the teeth in a particular arch.  Their design and retention very much depends on the support afforded by the remaining bone in the jaws.  When natural teeth are extracted, the supporting bone is resorbed.  The extent of this bone loss varies greatly in each individual and mostly occurs in the first six months following tooth removal.  However, it continues throughout  life and can be a major factor in poor denture retention in the elderly.

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