Endodontics/root canal treatment
When tooth problems occur it can sometimes be possible to keep a tooth which otherwise would need to be removed by having a procedure called Endodontic Therapy. This is sometimes referred to as Root Canal Treatment.
This procedure may be an option for teeth which have become very inflamed inside or which have become infected. The treatment involves the dentist making the tooth comfortable with a local anaesthetic and then isolating that particular tooth from the rest of the mouth with a method called a dental dam or rubber dam. This enables the dentist to work on the tooth safely whilst providing a degree of separation from the procedure for the patient. Most patients find this to be a very useful, comfortable and effective technique.
The dentist will then use high powered magnification to aid in thoroughly cleaning away the inflamed or infected part of the tooth. The inside of the tooth, known as the root canal system, is then precisely shaped and meticulously cleaned to give the best possible chance of removing the cause of the problem. The root canal system is then sealed with a filling material and the top of the tooth restored with a separate filling, usually followed by a crown. In our hands this process can often allow you to keep the tooth for many years to come.
There are also some other more complex procedures which are part of the range of Endodontic Therapies that we provide. If your tooth requires re-treatment of an old or failing root filling, or removal of a post or separated instrument, even apical surgery, this can all be provided using the most contemporary techniques and equipment.
Tea, coffee, smoking and wine are just a few of life’s little pleasures that can over time, discolour and stain your teeth. A popular method of whitening teeth is the at-home dentist-supervised option. During your visit the dentist takes a mould of your teeth and creates comfortable, customized thin plastic guards. The guards are designed to hold a mild whitening solution whose main ingredient is carbamide peroxide, a substance that reacts with water to release a non-toxic bleaching element (hydrogen peroxide). The guards are placed inside the mouth, and sits only against the teeth, thereby avoiding contact with gums. Patients can choose either to wear the guards throughout the night or for periods that last from two to four hours. Patients with more sensitive teeth may opt for the latter approach. Whitening is not effective on dental restorations such as composite (white) fillings, metal or porcelain crowns, etc.
A composite (white) filling is a tooth-coloured plastic and glass mixture resin used to restore decayed teeth. It is a popular choice for fillings because the material can match the shade, translucency and even the texture of your own natural teeth and provides a much better result than an amalgam (silver) filling, which can be unsightly when you smile. Composites are bonded to the tooth by a special adhesive to support the remaining tooth structure, which helps to prevent breakage and insulate the tooth from excessive temperature changes. Composites are also used for cosmetic improvements of the smile by changing the colour of the teeth or reshaping disfigured teeth. Aesthetics are the main advantages of composites, since dentists can blend shades to create a colour nearly identical to that of the actual tooth.
Dental amalgam is a dental filling material used to fill cavities caused by tooth decay. It has been used for more than 150 years in hundreds of millions of patients. Amalgam (silver) fillings are made up of a combination of metals including silver, tin, copper and mercury. Amalgam is extremely durable and able to withstand the grinding and chewing of your back teeth over long periods of time often lasting much longer than white fillings do. Some people have concerns about the safety of amalgam fillings because they contain mercury. In large enough doses mercury is toxic. However, fillings only use very small amounts and here at Albert Road Dental Practice we use very accurately measured pre-dosed amalgam mixes to minimize the amount of mercury in our fillings. We also take take special precautions when removing amalgam fillings because drilling into amalgam can release some of this mercury as vapour. Your dentist uses extra water and high-powered suction to minimise the amount of vapour. Very small amounts of mercury collect in our bodies from a number of sources including the environment, our food and our amalgam fillings. It is estimated that amalgam fillings account for one sixth of the average daily amount – about nine millionths of a gram. Extensive research has been done to investigate the effect of amalgam fillings on health. No harmful effects from amalgam fillings have been shown and the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UK’s Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) support the continued use of amalgam fillings.
A dental hygienist is specially trained in the prevention and treatment of gum (periodontal) disease, which is the main cause of adult tooth loss, and to give advice on all aspects of oral health. A dental hygienists' main work is to professionally clean the patients' teeth, known as ‘scaling and polishing’. They are also experts in teaching you how to look after your teeth and gums. They can discuss your diet, suggest ways to improve and maintain your oral health, and even advise you on ways you can give up smoking, which has been proven to be very damaging to teeth and gums. Regular visits to one of our dental hygienists will ensure your teeth stay stronger and healthier for longer.
Mouths are full of bacteria, and this along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless "plaque" on teeth. Regular brushing and interdental cleaning help get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form 'tartar' that brushing alone does not remove. Only a professional clean by a dental hygienist can remove tartar. The longer plaque and tartar are on teeth, the more harmful they become. The bacteria cause inflammation of the gums that is called 'gingivitis'. In gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen and can bleed easily. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can usually be reversed with daily brushing, interdental cleaning and regular scale and polishes from your dental hygienist. This form of gum disease does not include any loss of bone and tissue that hold teeth in place. When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to 'periodontitis'. When this occurs gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces (called 'pockets') that become infected. The body's immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Bacterial toxins and the body's natural response to infection start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. If not treated, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and may need to be removed.
Dentures are removable restorations for missing teeth. People wear dentures to replace lost or missing teeth so they can enjoy a healthy diet and smile with confidence. Dentures are custom-made in a dental laboratory from impressions taken of your mouth. Your dentist will determine which type of denture would be best suited to yourself. They can be partial, replacing some teeth, or complete, replacing a full arch of teeth. Both types of dentures are removable and usually made of metal and acrylic resin, a plastic-like material that is moulded to fit the exact shape of your mouth. Suction helps hold the dentures in place, so they stick to the surface of your gums.
A dental implant is a small device made of titanium metal, which is placed carefully into the jawbone to fully support a replacement tooth. Rather than resting on the gum line like removable dentures, or using adjacent teeth as anchors like fixed bridges, dental implants are long-term permanent replacements. The dental implant acts as a substitute tooth root, and is used to support crowns, bridges or dentures to increase stability and reduce gum tissue irritation, thus providing you with replacement teeth that look, feel and function like your natural teeth. Dental implants are one of the most natural ways to replace missing teeth. Studies have shown a five-year success rate of 95% for lower jaw implants and 90% for those in the upper jaw. Dental implants have many advantages: they are stronger and more durable than such alternatives as bridges and dentures, they offer a permanent, fixed solution to tooth loss, and may be used with other restorative procedures for maximum effectiveness. They will help distribute force over your remaining teeth and therefore may lengthen the life span of your remaining teeth.
Dental crowns are artificial restorations that protect damaged, cracked or broken down teeth. They are made from either metal, or porcelain and metal, and fit over the remaining part of a prepared tooth, making it strong and giving it the shape of a natural tooth. A crown strengthens your existing, damaged tooth so as to preserve its functionality. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve the appearance, shape or alignment of your teeth. Crowns are fixed prosthetic devices; they are cemented onto existing teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist. Dental crowns are also commonly known as caps (because a crown sits over your existing tooth, covering the entire outer surface).