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Cleanings/Periodontal Therapy

Having one's teeth cleaned is one of the most familiar dental procedures to most people. Modern tools such as ultrasonic cleaning devices have improved the comfort of these procedures for many people. For those who may be more comfortable with more traditional instruments, that option is available as well. A regular cleaning appointment with a dental hygienist can be a very effective tool is fighting gum disease, and also provides an opportunity for your dentist to make sure everything else is healthy in your mouth.

More advanced gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is now recognized as one of the leading causes of poor health. It is the root of a host of serious medical problems, including heart disease, respiratory problems, and is now even linked to Alzheimer's Disease. In fact, people suffering with periodontal disease experience twice as many fatal heart attacks as those without. In addition, periodontal disease contributes to low birthweight or premature babies, and is interrelated with diabetes.

As a general practice dental office, we fight periodontal disease daily. Regular hygiene appointments help ­ but you must do your part at home too, by following the advice of your dental professionals and cleaning your teeth well. Your heart will thank you!

Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer kills one person every hour, 24 hours per day in North America, and its incidence is increasing. Unlike many other forms of cancer, the survival rate has not improved significantly in decades. The 5-year survival rate is quite low, at 52%, but increases dramatically to 80-90% when the cancer is detected in its early stages. Unfortunately, only about 35% of cases are diagnosed in the early stages. This sad fact is because most cancers start below the surface of the tissues in the mouth, where they cannot be detected by the naked eye. Until recently, there have been few advances in cancer screening technology.

At our dental practice, we take the health of our patients very seriously. We are happy to provide to our patients the latest in oral cancer screening technology, the Velscope. The Velscope uses a specific wavelength of light that causes healthy tissue to fluoresce, or glow, when observed through a special lens. Unhealthy tissue shows as a dark shadow, and indicates the need for further investigation. Fortunately, not every shadow means cancer; something as simple as a pizza burn can show up as a dark patch. If we find something unusual, we will usually have you back for a second screening two weeks later to see if the shadow is still present. If it is, further testing is then required to determine the exact nature of the dark spot.

We recommend that our patients undergo screening with the Velscope once per year, as per the recommendation of our medical doctor colleagues. We also usually recommend an X-ray that shows the jaws clearly every five years, to screen for cysts and other problems that occasionally appear in the jaw bones.

For more information on the Velscope and cancer screening, please visit www.velscope.com.

White Fillings

Also known as composite fillings, white fillings are a plastic material designed to build up and match the colour of your teeth. They can restore a decayed tooth or repair a defect. Although they are often used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important, they may also be used on a back tooth when the restoration is small or may be visible. As a general rule they are less durable than metal or porcelain dental work, but are often an excellent solution where the amount of tooth being replaced is small.

How are white fillings done?

Like silver fillings, composites can be prepared and placed in one visit. After the decayed portion of the tooth is removed, your cosmetic dentist will use a very mild acid solution to "etch" the tooth surface, cleaning it for the next step. A bonding agent is brushed onto the prepared tooth, followed by several thin layers of the tooth-colored composite. Once the composite filling is placed, the material is chemically hardened, or cured, with a special light, and polished.

There are many reasons why most dental patients choose white fillings over metal fillings. The mercury in amalgam fillings is sometimes viewed as potentially toxic, and many patients feel that the white composite fillings represent a more advanced technology. Composite fillings are also less likely to contribute to tooth fracture than their metal counterparts. However, by far the most common reason for choosing white fillings over silver fillings is aesthetic - white fillings simply look more like teeth.

Crown and Bridgework

Bridges and crowns are excellent treatments for stained, missing, chipped, or similarly damaged teeth. If a tooth has been severely damaged as a result of teeth grinding, decay, age, or improper bite, a crown is often the most predictable and long lasting solution. Crowns not only remedy cosmetic blemishes by covering the entire surface of the affected tooth, but they also reinforce and stabilize the damaged or weakened areas. The procedure for creating and placing crowns typically requires two office visits. During the initial visit, we will make a mould of the tooth that requires a crown. The mould is then sent to our dental lab, where your crown will be made to match the mould. The process of creating the crown takes approximately two weeks, after which point you will come back for your second visit to have your new crown cemented onto your tooth.

Bridges are an excellent treatment for cases in which a missing tooth or missing teeth have created a gap. Bridges are appropriately termed because they literally bridge the gap between the teeth by anchoring an artificial tooth between two dental crowns that are placed on either side of the gap. Bridges remedy the effects of gapped teeth, allowing you to smile naturally, speak normally, and chew efficiently.

Bridges are commonly available in three main varieties: the traditional bridge, the Cantilever bridge, and the Maryland bonded bridge. Most common is the traditional bridge, which is created by placing two dental crowns on either side of the gap and fixing an artificial tooth between them. The Cantilever bridge consists of an artificial tooth that is fused to two crowns on one side of the gap, resulting in a solution that is somewhat mechanically weaker than a standard bridge. The Maryland bonded bridge conserves more tooth structure than a standard bridge, but also tends to be more susceptible to wear and tear.

The procedure to place dental bridges is very similar to that procedure for crowns. We first make moulds of your natural teeth and prepare the teeth that will be supporting the crowns, and then send an impression of the prepared teeth to the laboratory. The finished bridge is cemented onto the appropriate teeth to complete the job at a second appointment.

Root Canal Therapy

Endodontics is the term use to describe the treatment of the internal portion of an abscessed tooth, dead tooth or a tooth damaged and exposing the nerves. The most common term for this procedure is a root canal treatment. A tooth is like a hollow tube open at the tip of the root and closed at the other end, the crown (the part that we see in the mouth). If the nerves and the blood vessels in this hollow tube get damaged, the treatment required is a root canal. The process is the cleaning of the internal hollow of the tooth and then the placement of special root canal filling, thus retaining the tooth in the mouth. If a damaged tooth requiring a root canal treatment is left untreated, the eventual treatment will be the extraction (removal) of the tooth.

Abscessed Tooth

A tooth becomes abscessed due to a bacteria invasion of the internal part of the tooth (the pulp). The rapid growth of bacteria produces pressure and hence extreme pain.

Dead Tooth

Quite often a tooth may be dead. The content of the pulp chamber dries up leaving a void in the hollow of the tooth. Often, heat can cause pain in such a dead tooth. Most often a dead tooth is detected on an X-ray of the root of the tooth. Most dead teeth are a result of trauma (blow to the tooth).

Tooth with Exposed Nerve

Often an accident may cause the fracture of the top of the tooth. If such a fracture exposes the nerves of the tooth, the only option is usually a root canal treatment. A minor nerve exposure may be treated with special medication and a filling.

Tooth Whitening (Dental Bleaching)

All dental whitening methods (over-the-counter or professional) involve the application of a whitening agent to the teeth. Professional home whitening has become a safe, quick, and predictable way to achieve a brighter smile. The custom fit trays made by your dentist will ensure that the whitening material stays on the tooth where it is most effective.

The Procedure

Your first appointment is approximately 20 minutes, and consists of measurements (ie. Impressions) that allow the laboratory to fabricate soft, ultra-slim trays that are custom fit to your teeth. Your second appointment is approximately 10 minutes. You will be given your custom fit trays, and tips on how to use your home whitening kit.

2 weeks of whitening using a professional dental product is usually sufficient to make a good improvement in your smile. However, you may continue to lighten your teeth beyond this. Talk to your dentist about how you can work together to get the best results.

Orthodontics

Braces have come a long way since they were invented in the early 1900s. Modern orthodontic techniques work with the physiology of the human body to move teeth in a faster and more gently way. The health benefits and social benefits of having an attractive smile and a comfortable bite are well documented. Now more than ever before it is both important and possible to correct smile problems and bite problems with orthodontic treatment.

Braces & Functional Appliances

What Are Functional Appliances?

Functional appliances are dental devices designed to correct problems with the position and relationship of the jaws as they develop, by guiding the growth of the jaws into a more harmonious position. These devices are most commonly used in children as a first step to prepare for future treatment with braces. The goal of treatment with these appliances is to prevent or reduce the severity or likelihood of more severe orthodontic problems later in life, which may require surgery in order to fully correct.

The Damon Braces System

Most people are familiar with the idea of "braces", but it is less well known that braces come in many different types and qualities. Many different types of brackets (the part that is attached to the tooth) and wires are available for use by dentists who practice orthodontics. One of the most exciting breakthroughs in orthodontic technology is the concept of self-ligating brackets; that is, brackets that hold the wire themselves, without the need for tying elastics. This greatly reduces friction and force on the teeth, and allows the teeth to be moved faster and more gently.

The bracket system we use in our office is possibly the most advanced system available in dentistry today, the Damon 3MX bracket system.

n combination with advanced orthodontic wire technology, the Damon system allows for treatment of even extreme crowding, usually without the need for extraction of teeth. This is true for both children and adults; in fact, orthodontics in adult patients well into their 50's is becoming more and more common. Anyone who could benefit from an improvement in the alignment of their teeth, or an improvement in their bite position may be a candidate for orthodontic therapy with the Damon system.

Please visit the Damon System website at www.damonbraces.com for more information.

TMJ/TMD Treatment

If you experience jaw pain or headaches, you may be suffering from a TMJ problem. TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joints, although the acronym is also used by many to refer to temporomandibular disorders (properly referred to as TMD). Both terms are acceptable when referring to diseases that affect jaw joints and the muscles that control the jaw's movement. Neuromuscular dentistry is used to relieve TMJ/ TMD in our practice.

Some Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

Many patients suffering from TMJ problems are not even aware that the discomfort and pain they are experiencing is related to TMJ. At Smile Solutions Dental Centre we have comprised a list of common TMJ symptoms.

Some of the symptoms or signs of TMJ may not seem apparent, but patients with a TMJ disorder may suffer from any of the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Clenching or grinding of teeth/jaw
  • Headaches
  • Pain in neck, shoulder, and back
  • Clicking or popping of jaw joints
  • Reduced ability to open or close mouth
  • Facial pain
  • Pain and sensitivity in teeth
  • Earache: ringing in the ears or ear pressure
  • Crowded teeth
  • Biting or chewing difficulty
  • Worn, chipped, or cracked teeth or fillings
  • Numbness in arms and fingers

How are these disorders treated?

TMD disorders can have many different causes, including breathing or airway problems, development problems, and injury. The approach that we may recommend for treatment for any given person depends on the root cause, the specific symptoms they experience, and the state of the teeth and the rest of their body. Sometimes relieving TMD symptoms can be as simple as making minor adjustments to the teeth. Other times fabrication of a special kind of mouthguard may be a good solution. Sometimes there is a problem with the bite that requires a significant amount of dentistry to correct. Still other times, orthodontic treatment may be a good option. Treatment of these disorders requires a great deal of care and patience, but the rewards can be immense.

As your bite changes, it becomes increasingly difficult to chew your food, possibly damaging your jaw-joint, the TMJ. It's much harder to clean teeth that have shifted. Harmful plaque and tartar collect in these new hard-to-reach places, causing cavities and the permanent bone loss that comes with gum disease.

A bridge is another way to solve the missing-tooth problem. But two advantages of an implant over a bridge are that the teeth next to the space aren't affected with an implant as they are in the preparation for a bridge. Also, the implant helps stop the ongoing bone loss that occurs once a tooth has been lost. A missing tooth really changes a person's smile, but a dental implant can replace the missing tooth and greatly improve your smile!

Cosmetic Makeover Dentistry

Coming soon.