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Your dentist will carry out a thorough dental examination to determine if you have any existing problems with your teeth, gums, mouth or jaw. This includes an oral cancer assessment.
Fillings are used to repair broken, worn or decayed teeth. You have the option of selecting traditional amalgam (silver), porcelain or composite (tooth coloured) materials to restore your teeth.
Dental crowns are used to restore damaged, decayed, cracked or root treated teeth. They can improve the strength and appearance of the tooth.
A veneer is a thin layer of porcelain which is placed on to a tooth to improve its appearance and to protect and repair a damaged tooth surface.
Inlays and onlays are similar to fillings and made of porcelain or gold.
Our Cerec system can make porcelain crowns, veneers, inlays and onlays in a single visit using the latest CADCAM (computer aided design and manufacture) technology.
Dental implants act as supports for replacement teeth. They are fitted into the jawbone allowing dentures, crowns or bridges to be attached.
The All on 4 technique uses four or more implants to support a bridge or denture immediately, so you can use your new teeth straight away.
Implant treatment is a successful way of securing teeth. However, the success rate is reduced if you smoke, suffer from diabetes, osteoperosis or have had chemotherapy.
Dentures are a removable way of replacing missing and lost teeth. They are made of either acrylic (plastic) or a combination of chrome-cobalt and acrylic (metal and plastic).
They can either be a full denture (replacing all the natural teeth) or a partial denture (replacing some teeth).
When a tooth is painful it may be because the nerve (pulp) has become infected. Once this happens there are two alternative forms of treatment - extraction or endodontic (root treatment).
Root canal treatment removes the damaged pulp and bacteria from inside the tooth, allowing healing to occur and relieving the pain.
Invisalign is an almost invisible brace that is used to re-align teeth. After an initial consultation, a 3D virtual treatment plan will show you how your teeth will look at the end of treatment.
Invisalign provides a way of transforming your smile without interfering with your life.
We provide two methods for tooth whitening; chairside (professional whitening) gel or dentist supervised home whitening.
Our hygienists remove any plaque or tartar that has built up on your teeth. They will clean and polish to remove superficial stains and show you how to clean your teeth more effectively to prevent dental problems.
If you don't clean your teeth and gums effectively then you can develop gum disease which can cause tooth loss.
Jaw pain can be very uncomfortable and may be associated with a restricted and painful opening of the mouth; pain when chewing; clicking and/or locking of the jaw. Read more about our effective treatments, which can include acupuncture, physiotherapy, splint therapy and Cerezen.
We believe that dental treatment should be pain free and comfortable.
We use topical anaesthesia to numb your gum before treatment.
Also, we have 'The Wand' which has been developed to provide painless injections.
In addition we can arrange for treatment to be provided under sedation if required.
Lasers can be used instead of drills to remove tooth coloured restorations and decay.
Acupuncture can be used to relieve the symptoms of jaw pain, clenching and grinding. It is also used to help control dental anxiety, gagging, and relieving headaches.
When a tooth becomes decayed, if it goes untreated, the progression will lead to tooth loss
In order to prevent tooth loss, dentists remove decay from teeth and replace the lost tooth tissue with a filling.
Traditionally teeth were filled with amalgam which is a compound of mainly silver and mercury. The main alternative to amalgam was gold.
Amalgam and gold have proved to be durable, however their main problem is their appearance. With respect to amalgam a debate continues about the health risks. Current thinking is that once they are placed very little mercury is released from them.
Modern developments have led to tooth coloured materials called composites, glass ionomers, and porcelain
Composites consist of acrylic resins with glass filler particles, whilst glass ionomers consist of a silicate glass powder combined with a polyalkenoic acid.
Composites are held in place with adhesive and, in rare cases, can cause allergic reactions. The appearance of composite fillings is very acceptable, however they are not as durable as amalgam.
The advantage of glass ionomer materials is that they release fluoride slowly over time which acts to prevent decay. Unfortunately the material is weak and wears away.
Gold and porcelain can be used to fill teeth but require more complex treatment and are usually more expensive as a result.
Once a filling reaches a certain size (usually over half the tooth) it is recommended that a crown, veneer or porcelain filling is placed.
A crown is a restoration that fits snugly over the remaining part of a tooth. It protects what is left and gives the shape of a natural tooth.
Crowns can be known as ‘caps’. They are commonly used to restore teeth that are broken or have been weakened by decay or a large filling. They can also be used to cover a discoloured filling to improve the appearance of a tooth.
Root filled teeth are often crowned to protect what is left of the remaining tooth. Crowns can also be linked together to form a bridge to replace missing teeth.
Crowns can be made from a number of different materials and new materials are being introduced continually. In general, crowns are made out of a combination of gold, golden porcelain, porcelain and reinforced glass.
The best appearance is usually provided by porcelain or reinforced glass materials. These crowns are not as strong as a crown with metal in them.
Traditionally, when teeth are prepared for crowns, a mould is taken of the tooth along with the shade matching of the adjacent teeth. These are sent to a technician, who then manufactures it. A temporary crown is fitted until the new crown is ready.
Then the new crown is tried in, and once both you and your dentist are satisfied with it’s fit and appearance, a dental cement or adhesive is used to fix it in place. The treatment usually takes place over two visits occurring a couple of weeks apart.
At the Terrace Dental Centre we now offer a new type of crown designed by computerised technology (CEREC). The crown is milled on our premises and fitted on the same day.
Traditionally, these restorations would take multiple appointments and involve a technician.
A specialist digital camera is used to capture images of the patient’s teeth. This allows ceramic crowns, fillings or veneers to be designed virtually on a computer.
Cerec can also be combined with 3D X-ray technology to make customized templates for guided implant placement.
This provides many benefits for individuals undergoing implant treatment including a shorter operation and healing time. In most cases, there is no need to expose the patient’s jaw bone as implant site preparation and placement can be carried out through the gum.
This means that moulds, a second appointment, and a temporary crown are no longer necessary. The crowns are made from porcelain or reinforced glass. In the future zirconia crowns will be available.
Crowns are made to match the other teeth as closely as possible. The shape of the crown also matches the adjacent teeth. Because the material of the crown is different to the adjacent teeth you may be aware of it for a few days. Occasionally you may need to return for adjustments.
It is important that you look after the crown as you would the rest of your teeth by cleaning it with fluoride toothpaste, and flossing around it. You should avoid eating sticky foods that may loosen the glue. Properly looked after crowns should last many years.
A veneer is a thin layer of porcelain (or sometimes a composite material) that fits over the front surface of a tooth a little bit like a false fingernail.
Veneers are used to improve the shape, position and colour of your teeth.
Veneers can also be used to close small gaps. The tooth position will determine how much preparation is required.
As with crowns, the traditional way of providing veneers is to take moulds and shades and provide a temporary veneer between visits. A technician makes the veneer which is tried in by the dentist. Once you and your dentist are happy with the fit and appearance it is bonded on with a special dental adhesive.
At the Terrace Dental Centre we now offer a new type of veneer designed by computerised technology (CEREC). The veneer is milled on our premises and fitted on the same day.
This means moulds, a second appointment, and a temporary veneer are no longer necessary.
The veneers are made from porcelain or reinforced glass.
Dental implants are used to replace one or more teeth. They can also be used to support a bridge or denture. An implant is made from titanium or a titanium alloy, which acts as a replacement root.
Once an implant has been placed in the jaw, it will form a connection with it (known as osseointegration). When this has occurred, implants can be used to secure a crown (single tooth) or a bridge (many teeth) or retain a denture.
Every individual is different, so each treatment plan is tailor-made. Before any treatment is provided, a comprehensive and detailed examination is carried out to assess whether this treatment is suitable for you.
In particular, your general and dental health is considered. A CT scan is taken to analyse the jaw bone, and location of nerves and sinuses. Soft tissues and gums are also examined.
All treatment options are discussed with you, along with their benefits and risks. A written plan, estimated costs and appointment schedule, is provided prior to commencing treatment.
There are two phases of treatment; in phase one the implants are placed in the jaw bone using local anaesthesia. If you are apprehensive, we can arrange for this to be done under sedation.
We usually recommend that implants are allowed to integrate with the bone for a period of eight to twelve weeks, this is the healing period. Occasionally implants fail to integrate and need to be removed. If this occurs, the implant is replaced once the implant site has healed and the treatment resumes.
In phase two, moulds and measurements are taken and sent to a laboratory. The technician manufactures the restoration (crown, bridge or denture) which is then fitted. Your dentist or hygienist will provide instruction on how to look after your new restoration.
It is possible to omit the eight to twelve week healing period by restoring the implants (with a crown, bridge or denture) straight after placing them. This is known as immediate loading.
A particular technique known as ‘All on 4’, uses immediate loading to provide a full arch bridge from four implants (teeth in a day).
If immediate loading is employed then you must be very careful to maintain a soft diet or there will be a risk of that the implant will fail to integrate.
Implant treatment is very successful in general, and there is much research to show that well cared for implants are durable and long lasting. The Terrace Dental Centre recommends that implant patients attend for regular maintenance appointments, this is usually once every six months.
If you don’t look after your implants you could develop problems such as gum infections, and potentially, loss of the implant. If you develop an infection around an implant then treatment can be provided to control this. In rare cases, the implant will need to be removed. However even if an implant is lost, once healing has occurred the implant can usually be replaced.
Full dentures which replace all your own teeth will help you to eat comfortably and speak clearly. They also help to support the muscles of your face around your mouth. Dentists recommend that partial dentures are used to replace missing teeth.
If you have gaps between your teeth, your other teeth may move resulting in crooked or tilted teeth. This could affect the way you bite together and may cause damage.
Immediate dentures can be fitted straight after tooth removal. This means you don’t have to be without teeth whilst gum healing occurs.
In the first six months after your teeth have been removed the bone and gums shrink, which means your immediate dentures will need relining or replacement. Occasionally we recommend that you wait until your gums have healed prior to providing dentures, as this will provide a better fit.
In order to make dentures, measurements and moulds of your mouth are taken either by your dentist or a clinical dental technician.
Dentures can be made to closely match your natural teeth, however it can sometimes take a while for your mouth to adjust to wearing a denture (usually a week or so). We advise that you return for adjustments to the dentures if they are uncomfortable.
You should take your dentures out at night in order to allow your gums to rest. It is best to store them in a small amount of water to stop them distorting.
Dentures are normally held in place by suction, this means upper dentures are far more stable than lower ones as the palate provides a much larger upper surface area compared to the lower gums.
Stability can be increased by using denture fixative, or support from any remaining teeth or implants.
Endodontics, also called root canal treatment, is necessary when the pulp (blood and nerve supply of the tooth) becomes infected due to decay, or dies through injury.
In the earlier stages of infection, the tooth may be sensitive to hot and cold, and may throb. It may also be tender to bite on. In some cases, the tooth does not give any symptoms and you may not feel any pain.
If the pulp becomes infected and the infection spreads through the tooth, you may get an abscess. The symptoms of an abscess range from a dull ache and throbbing to severe pain. If root canal treatment is not carried out then infection can spread and the tooth will need to be extracted.
The aim of treatment is to remove infection from the tooth by cleaning, shaping and disinfecting.
Once your dentist is sure the tooth is no longer infected, the root is filled. Usually this process is not painful (as your dentist will numb the tooth first), however the tooth may be a bit tender for a few days after treatment.
Root filled teeth are structurally weaker and can be prone to breaking. Your dentist will advise you whether a crown is necessary to help prevent this occurring.
Tooth whitening is a non-invasive way of lightening the natural colour of your teeth without removing the surface of your tooth or damaging it. The result is a lightening of the tooth rather than whitening.
The natural colour of teeth is dependant on age (they get darker with age), diet (the food and drink consumed) and other habits (e.g. smoking).
Calculus and tartar can also affect the colour of your teeth. If you have cracks in your teeth they can also get stained. Sometimes, antibiotics can cause your teeth to be darker.
At The Terrace Dental Centre, if you would like your teeth whitened, we recommend an assessment first to check whether whitening is suitable for you and which methods will give you optimal results.
We offer two methods, chairside (professional whitening) or dentist supervised home whitening. We currently recommend the ZOOM whitening system for both methods.
In chairside whitening gel is applied to your gums to protect them whilst the whitening product is applied to your teeth.
A special lamp is then used during the process to activate the gel. The whole appointment usually takes about ninety minutes.
With dentist supervised home whitening, we use specially made trays (gum shields) that apply whitening gel to your teeth, and will advise you of how to continue this at home.
The most effective results are achieved by a combination of the two methods.
The length of time to complete the whitening will depend on how discoloured the teeth are and how light a shade you wish to achieve. On average the process takes between two and four weeks.
The effects of whitening last up to three years and is dependent on whether you consume food or drink that can stain your teeth, or smoke. We usually suggest that you retain your trays so they can be reused for further treatment should you wish at a later date.
Jaw Joint Problems
Problems with the jaws are known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD). They are a group of conditions that can cause pain in your jaw and are a result of issues with the jaw joint, cartilage, disc and the controlling muscles. The jaw joints are hinge joints that connect the lower jaw to the base of the skull. They are complex structures, each has a cartilage and disc, and are controlled by four sets of muscles. These are the most used joints in your body, being involved in eating, talking and breathing.
Jaw pain can be very uncomfortable and may be associated with:
- A restricted and painful opening of the mouth
- Pain when chewing
- Clicking and/or locking of the jaw
Other symptoms of TMD can include toothache, headaches and neck pain. Stress, clenching and grinding of the teeth as well as a poor posture can also be contributing factors in TMD.
At the Terrace Dental Centre we offer several effective treatments for TMD:
- Splint Therapy
Your dentist will carry out a thorough examination, form a diagnosis, and will recommend a suitable course of action for you which may involve one or more of the above treatments. There is no single treatment method for TMD and therefore we find a combination approach, tailored to individual needs, is the most effective.
Acupuncture is often used to give initial pain relief as it helps to relax painful muscles. It usually takes two to four sessions, several weeks apart, to resolve symptoms.
Physiotherapy aims to relieve pain, reduce stiffness and restore normal function and mobility.
Anett, our physiotherapist, will first assess your individual needs and will formulate and present a plan of action prior to treating you. On average it can take 4 to 6 sessions to treat TMD.
Anett’s approach to treatment is patient focused and is keen to ensure that you have an understanding of the causes of your TMD condition. She believes successful treatment involves self-management of your condition in the long term.
Anett is specially trained in techniques to reduce tension in your jaw muscles. She will show you appropriate exercises and self-massage which will help maintain the mobility of your jaw joints and increase the strength, condition and flexibility of your muscles. Providing you with knowledge and support to enable long term management of TMD.
A splint is a hard plastic guard that fits over either the upper or the lower teeth. It is designed to move the jaw into a relaxed muscle position whilst being worn. This is a non-invasive procedure that allows muscles in spasm to relax and protects the teeth and jaws from the adverse effects of grinding. Splints can also be effective at reducing headaches.
Splint Therapy treatment usually involves a session to take moulds of your mouth and some measurements. Then, after a few weeks, your dentist will fit and adjust the splint, providing you with instructions on how to look after it. A month or so after fitting the splint, we recommend a follow-up appointment to check it is comfortable and if necessary carry out any further adjustments.
Cerezen is a non-invasive custom made ear insert that encourages the jaw to return to an ‘open bite’ position. This results in a reduction in clenching and grinding.
This treatment usually involves three sessions to measure and fit the ear inserts. During the first visit, an audiologist will carry out an examination of your ears for the preparation of the custom made inserts. In the next session the ear inserts are then fitted by your dentist, who will provide you with instructions on their use. After a few weeks of wearing them, we recommend a follow-up visit to check on your progress.
Read more on the Cerezen website (opens in new window)
It is important to have a healthy mouth and healthy gums as infections in the mouth can cause problems in other parts of the body.
Research has shown that poor dental health can affect many conditions including heart disease, strokes and diabetes. Expectant mothers who have gum disease have been shown to give birth prematurely or to have a low birth weight baby.
People with gum disease (gingivitis and/or periodontitis) are more likely to have coronary artery disease. Bacteria from the mouth can get into the bloodstream and potentially cause blood clots, which could cause a heart attack or a stroke.
Diabetics are more likely to have gum disease than non-diabetics. If you are a diabetic and have gum disease it can increase your blood sugar, which can lead to further diabetic complications. Smoking causes changes to the blood supply of your gums, which aggravates gum disease.
The symptoms of gum disease include bad breath, loose teeth, mouth infections and inflamed gums. When gums are inflamed they are red, swollen and often bleed when brushing and flossing.
To prevent gum disease you need to clean teeth thoroughly with a toothbrush and use either floss or interdental brushes to clean between your teeth.
The Terrace Dental Centre recommend regular examinations during which we will check the general health of your mouth and provide a detailed inspection of your gums.
We also recommend regular visits to the hygienist to help maintain the health of your gums. The dental hygienist will demonstrate how to clean teeth thoroughly and help you develop a good oral care routine at home, in addition to providing treatment for gum disease.
At the Terrace Dental Centre we believe in working with you to reduce any anxiety you may have regarding dental treatment.
Most people have some concerns about attending the dentist.
We use a combination of kindness and gentleness, along with modern techniques and equipment, to make your visit as pleasant as possible.
Topical anaesthetic is used routinely to numb the gum, so that you don’t feel injections when numbing your teeth.
We also have overhead displays with soothing images, and relaxing music, to give a calm atmosphere.
We ask patients to let us know if they need a break during treatment by raising their hand – this means that the patient has control of the situation at all times.
If you are still very anxious please ask us to discuss available sedation techniques with you.
These range from prescribing a mild sedative to arranging a trained anaesthetist to provide intravenous sedation.