We prepare the cavity and remove the decay and then place layers of white composite (tooth coloured) material. Each layer is set in place with a light. The composite is made from a synthetic resin with particles of glass that is set together in a adaptable consistency that the dentist can shape. It comes in a variety of shades which the dentist will match up to blend in with your own teeth shade and this mimics the appearance of a natural tooth. The new white filling is then smoothed and adjusted to the perfect bite, leaving you with a hard wearing and natural look.
We use the same tooth coloured filling material to touch up stained or chipped, uneven teeth and gives fantastic results! Ask your dentist for further information.
A crown is a ‘cap’ that fits over the tooth. It covered the portion of tooth that is visible above the gum. It is an ideal way to rebuild teeth that have been broken, weakened by decay or a very large filling, or a root treated tooth. The crown restores strength and functionality and gives the shape and contour of a natural tooth.
Bridges are an option to fill a gap where a tooth once was with a false tooth that is attached to teeth either side.
For a crown or bridge the preparation stage is much the same. At your first appointment the dentist will prepare the tooth or teeth to the ideal shape for the crown or bridge. This will mean removing some of the outer surface, and leaving a strong inner ‘core’. The amount of the tooth removed will be the same as the thickness of the crown or bridge to be fitted which is often very minimal.
Once the tooth or teeth are shaped, the dentist will take an impression of the preparations, one of the opposite jaw and possibly another to mark the way you bite together. The dentist will then create a temporary crown or bridge whilst your impressions are sent off to the lab technician, along with any other information that they need to make the permanent crown or bridge.
The permanent crown or bridge will be made to match the shade of the rest of your teeth and will then be fitted on your second visit. Once the fit and appearance has been checked and approved by you it will be cemented in place with special dental cement. The cement also forms a seal to help hold it firmly in place.
It is very important to maintain good oral hygiene around crowned or bridged teeth by brushing twice daily along the gum line and using something to clean between the teeth such as interdental brushes or floss tape. This will prevent decay happening on the edge where the crown meets the natural tooth.
An Everstick bridge is a great tooth replacement option for missing teeth at the front or near the front of the mouth. Everstick is a fibre reinforced composite (white filling) material. The strands of fibre are mouldable and bonded to the teeth either side which act as anchors for the bridge. They are then set hard with a bright light. The dentist can then build up a tooth around the fibre blending layers of filling material in shades to match your teeth. The results are so natural you would think it was a real tooth! As with conventional bridges good oral hygiene at home is essential to prevent decay of the teeth each side and inflammation of the gums around the bridge.
After a tooth is extracted, a gap is left. Sometimes leaving a gap is fine, but sometimes it can put greater strain on the teeth at either side. A gap can also mean your “bite” is affected, because the teeth next to the space can lean into the gap and alter the way the upper and lower teeth bite together. This can then lead to food getting packed into the gap, which causes both decay and gum disease.
A denture is one way of replacing multiple teeth and restoring chewing function on both sides of your mouth.
Here at Whole Tooth we do 2 main types of dentures: acrylic (pink plastic) and chrome cobalt (metal framework). Acrylic dentures don’t usually have any mechanism for holding them in place and relies solely on the gums and suction from the palate. These are often bulkier than metal dentures but cost less. Chrome Cobalt dentures have a metal framework that can clip around existing teeth to hold them in place. These can be made a lot thinner than acrylic dentures but can cost up to twice as much.
Whichever denture you decide upon, they both take over a month to construct, usually split over 4 appointments. At the first appointment the dentist will take impressions of your teeth and send them to the laboratory. A week later, at the second appointment, the dentist will take further impressions in special trays that the laboratory has constructed. This gives a more accurate representation of your mouth. Also, the dentist will soften some wax blocks that look like dentures and place them into your mouth and get you to bite down on them. This records your “bite” so that the laboratory knows how the impressions relate to each other. At the third appointment a week later, the lab will have made a mock up of your denture. This will show the relative positions of the teeth and the shape, size and colour of them. This is the last opportunity for you and the dentist to tweak the design before they are made up. The 4th appointment is the fit appointment where the finished denture is tried in and adjusted if required. Hopefully it should fit perfectly and you will leave with new teeth!
Usually it is quite straightforward to add teeth on to a denture. We need to take an impression and then the laboratory can add on the teeth very quickly so that you are not without your denture for very long at all. The dentist will assess your denture and check that this is possible.
Sometimes if a tooth is badly broken or decayed it may need extracting as it can no longer be restored. Decay may extend to the inner part of the tooth called the pulp where the blood supply and nerves are. The area then becomes full of infection that can only be cured with root canal treatment or extraction. Another reason to extract a tooth may be due to gum (periodontal) disease. The surrounding tissues and bone that support the tooth may be destroyed due to infection and the tooth may become loose as a result and need removing. Sometimes teeth may need extracting due to orthodontic reasons. If teeth are being straightened it may not be possible to align them fully if teeth are too crowded. In this case it may be recommended to remove a tooth to make room. There may also be a need for extraction if you are undergoing treatment such as chemotherapy when your immune system is significantly lowered. If there is a risk of infection from a tooth then there may be a need to extract that tooth or teeth.
Having a tooth extracted is a straight forward procedure. The dentist will give you local anaesthetic to ensure that the area is fully numb and gently loosen the tooth until it comes out. If the dentist expects the extraction to be a little trickier then it may be recommended for our visiting oral surgeon to remove the tooth. An oral surgeon is skilled and focuses mainly in complex extractions so you are in very safe hands.
Once a tooth has been removed we need to ensure that the mouth has the best possible chance to heal. After the extraction, a blood clot will form. The dentist will give you some gauze to bite on to stop the bleeding straight after the tooth is removed. It is best not to rinse the area for 24 hours so as not to disturb the blood clot. We recommend taking it easy for the rest of the day and not exerting yourself as this can raise your blood pressure and lead to further bleeding.
Try not to have any food and drinks that are too hot, spicy, chewy or crumbly. Where you are numb it is important not to chew your cheek or burn your mouth. It is best to avoid alcohol for 24 hours and avoid smoking for at least a day afterwards. Warm salt water is perfect for aiding healing. Have a teaspoon of salt dissolved in warm water and swish and hold in the area 24 hours after the extraction. Repeat this a few times a day.
You should expect some discomfort after an extraction. The area may feel a little tender and sometimes there may be swelling and bruising. You may wish to take a pain killer to ease the discomfort. However, please make sure that you take the correct dose and always check with your Doctor if you are unsure. Aspirin should be avoided as this will encourage bleeding.
Sometimes the blood clot in the socket can be washed away and bone may become exposed and infected. This can be very painful and will usually happen a couple of days after the extraction. It is called a dry socket. In this case please call the practice and your dentist can dress the tooth and give you antibiotics if necessary.
When you see the dentist they will look for signs of tooth wear that may indicate that you grind or clench your teeth and examine your jaw and the way that your teeth bite together. If your teeth are not meeting evenly in a comfortable position; this may make things worse. There are lifestyle factors that may contribute to bruxism such as stress and anxiety, certain medications, sleeping conditions and recreational drug usage. These are all things to discuss with the dentist.
Some symptoms may be your jaw feeling achy or stiff. It may click out of line when you eat or yawn or cause you discomfort and headaches. Some people do not experience any symptoms at all and are unaware.
For most of our patients symptoms are usually very easily treatable with splints or mouthguards, and/or symmetrical jaw exercises. If the teeth have been worn down by bruxism there are many ways to restore the teeth to their original height and appearance.