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Whitening

Teeth whitening helps restore teeth to a shiny white colour through the use of bleach. What causes teeth to turn yellow?  Our teeth can discolour through the years as our enamel wears down. The wearing down of enamel allows dentin, a yellow color substance that makes up the core of our teeth, to show through. This is what gives our teeth a yellowish tint.  Best way to whiten teeth at home?  The best way to whiten teeth is to use a professional whitening kit. The kits can be purchased from your dentist for use at home. The strength of the gel used in these kits is lower than that used for in-office bleaching. Therefore, the gel can be applied for longer periods of time. Usually the custom made trays are worn a couple hours a day or overnight for a few days or weeks depending on the product.  Some of my teeth are more yellow than others You can selectively whiten those teeth until they become the same shade as the rest of the teeth! The other advantage of this system is that if patients wish to whiten their teeth in the future, additional whitening gel can be purchased for a fraction of the cost since the bleaching trays can be used indefinitely (as long as they still fit).  Is in-office whitening right for me?  We do not recommend in-office whitening for a few reasons.  There is a risk for increased sensitivity, as the strength of the solution used is much higher than the at home solutions.  The cost of in-office bleaching is about 3X that of professional at home kits. Does not offer predictable shade results and you may end up needing a second appointment to achieve the result you want.

Veneers

What are Veneers? Dental veneers are thin custom-made shells that cover the front surface of your tooth to improve their appearance. They are made of tooth-colored materials and can be used to improve the color of teeth that have been worn down or stained. Alternatively, they can be used to improve the shape or size of the tooth. Types of veneers There are two types of veneers that are commonly used. Porcelain veneers are more durable, and resist stains better. The properties of the material also helps to create a very natural tooth look. Unlike porcelain veneers, composite resin veneers are not made in a laboratory, but instead directly applied to the teeth. They typically have a shorter life span and are less expensive. When should you consider dental veneers?  Talk to your dentist about dental veneers if your teeth are… stained or discolored teeth crooked or misshapen teeth have spaces between them broken or chipped How its done Typically, two visits are required for porcelain veneers. First visit:  The teeth are prepared to be fitted with a veneer, which will involve trimming a portion of the tooth so the veneer can be bonded on top.  An impression is taken of your tooth which will be sent to a laboratory to prepare the veneer.  You may receive a temporary veneer depending on how much of your tooth structure was removed. This temporary veneer will protect your tooth while the permanent veneer is prepared at the laboratory. Second visit:  If you had received a temporary veneer it will be removed. The new veneer received from the laboratory will be checked to see if it fits well. Once you and the dentist are satisfied with the look and feel of the veneer, it will be bonded to your tooth.

Bridges

What is a Dental Bridge?   A dental bridge is a false tooth that is used to fill the gap created by a missing tooth or missing teeth. Dental bridges use the two surrounding teeth as anchors to hold a false tooth in the place where the gap is. Typically, porcelain crowns are placed over the surrounding teeth, and the false tooth, known as a pontic, is fused between them. Should I get a dental bridge if I’m missing teeth?  Leaving a gap between your teeth could lead to negative consequences. A gap can cause your teeth to shift resulting in a change in your bite that may be cause pain. Having a bridge can prevent that problem. Another alternative is to get a dental implant if you are a candidate. Types of dental bridges There are three types of dental bridges that are commonly used today: Traditional fixed bridge – This is the most common type of dental bridge, in which porcelain crowns are placed over the two surrounding teeth and used as anchors to hold the false tooth in place. The false tooth is usually made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics. Cantilever bridge – This is used when teeth are present on only one side of the gap. These are used typically in areas of your mouth that doesn’t experience an intense chewing load, such as your front teeth. Resin-bonded bridge – In a resin-bonded bridge, metal bands are bonded to the surrounding teeth with resin and used to hold a plastic false tooth in place. This type of bridge is typically used in areas of the mouth that undergo less stress, such as the front teeth. How it’s done There are two visits required.  First visit:  The surrounding teeth are prepared to be fitted with a crown. This may including filing down the tooth so that the crown can fit over it.  An impression is taken of your teeth which will be sent to a laboratory to prepare the bridge and crown.  The dentist fits your teeth with a temporary bridge to protect them while the bridge is prepared at the laboratory. Second visit: The temporary bridge is removed and the new bridge received from the laboratory is fitted and adjusted.  Multiple visits may be necessary to check and adjust the fit.

Braces and Invisalign

What alternatives are there to metal braces?  Orthodontics, commonly called braces, can be made of metal, ceramic or plastic. They may be removable or may be brackets bonded to the teeth. Invisalign is the most well-known removable 3D-printed plastic aligners and can be a treatment option. Our dental team can assess your teeth to determine whether you are a candidate for Invisalign or braces.  How do Braces work?  Brackets or Invisalign aligners place a constant, gentle force in a carefully controlled direction to slowly move teeth to a corrected position. Braces provide a functional benefit by aligning the patient’s teeth so they have a correct bite and teeth alignment. The added benefit of braces is getting a straight smile and boosting patients’ self-esteem. How long will I have braces or Invisalign? Generally, treatment times are 1-3 years. Patients will respond individually to orthodontic treatment so the time may differ slightly from the original estimate. The patient must diligently use any prescribed rubber bands or headgear or the treatment time can be prolonged.  Do Braces hurt? We try to keep our patients as comfortable as possible. After an appointment, the patient may feel discomfort for a few hours up to a few days. The majority of the time, a patient won’t feel anything. Bonding the braces on and taking them off will require zero freezing because we are attaching the brackets only on to the surface of the tooth. How old does my child have to be to get braces?  We recommend that your child be seen by age 7 to advise if orthodontic treatment is required and when the best time is to start treatment. Early treatment and monitoring is highly recommended and can prevent future complications.  Early treatment may simplify later treatment because it can… Guide the growth of the jaws and guide incoming permanent teeth Regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arch shapes Gain space for permanent teeth Possibly avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions Reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth Correct thumb-sucking Eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems Braces for Adults Orthodontics can be successful at any age. It improves confidence and self-esteem. 1 in 5 patients with braces is over the age of 21. Adults may have may require periodontal treatment before, during and/or after orthodontic treatment if they have some breakdown or loss of their teeth and bone.  How much do

Dental Implants

What are dental implants?  Dental implants are a way to replace missing teeth. Dental implants are titanium supports that act as an anchor for a replacement tooth. The replaced tooth is a natural-looking porcelain crown.  Who can get dental implants?  Dental implants might be right for you if you are in good health, have healthy gums and adequate bone in the jaw. If you lack bone, the dentist or specialist can place additional bone with a bone graft before placing an implant. Your dentist will tell you if are a candidate or may refer you to a dental specialist.  How it’s done The dentist or dental specialist will examine your mouth and take xrays of your jaw and teeth to see if dental implants are right for you.  If you lack bone, bone graft may be added. The best time to add bone is the time of the tooth extraction. It takes 4-6 months for the bone to get incorporated into your own bone.  The dental implant is placed under your gums. The implant will bond with your jaw bone and takes around 3 months to heal. Next, your dentist attaches an abutment which is a piece that will connect your replacement tooth with the implant.  Your porcelain replacement tooth is made. The tooth is properly fitted to the abutment. If you are replacing multiple teeth, a bridge will be fitted to your implants.  Can I get dental implants if I have dentures?  Dental implants can replace individual teeth and also be used when replacing multiple teeth as an alternative to dentures. Patients who currently wear dentures can have the stability and retention significantly improved by having their dentures ‘snap and lock’ onto dental implants. Advantages of dental implants Implants are extremely natural looking Implants are totally independent of other teeth, making it easier to clean and maintain Fusion of the implants into your jaw make them very stable and comfortable compared to traditional dentures They last a lifetime Implant costs are close to the cost of a dental bridge Disadvantages of dental implants Implants are more costly than dentures The process of getting implants can be time consuming and requires multiple visits to the dentist There is a chance the surgery fails (< 5% of the time) For more information about whether or not you are a candidate for dental implants, call 519-656-3355 for a complimentary consultation.

Porcelain Crowns

Why get a Crown?  A dental crown (or cap) is used when a tooth is broken or decayed to such an extent that fillings aren’t able to repair the problem. The crown is able to provide a protective shell around the damaged or decayed tooth to strengthen it, as well as to improve the appearance of the tooth.  While crowns come in different materials, the most common crowns typically have some mixture of porcelain in them to give them a look and feel similar to a natural tooth. How it’s done The dentist reshapes the tooth and takes impressions to create the crown. Typically, a portion of you tooth will have to be removed for the crown to fit properly. Then he/she will use a special material to create an impression of it. This impression will be sent to a dental laboratory to be made into a permanent crown.  Before sending you home, the dentist will provide you with a temporary crown to cover your tooth in between visits. In a few weeks, the dentist will remove the temporary crown and fit the new permanent crown. Before cementing the permanent crown in place, he will ensure that it fits comfortably and matches the colour of your teeth.

Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy is treatment used to repair and save a tooth that has been infected due to a deep cavity or cracked tooth. If the treatment is not performed, infection of the nerve can spread into the surrounding bone which may spread for years unnoticed. However, it is more likely that an acute infection will develop, which will probably require removal of the tooth. What are the signs that a root canal is needed? Severe tooth pain while chewing Your tooth pain wakes you up at night Teeth that are highly sensitive to hot or cold, with the sensitivity lingering for some time. Discolouration or darkening of the tooth Swollen gums in the area of the infected tooth What does the treatment involve? An opening is made into the pulp chamber (middle of the tooth) The pulp is removed. (A tooth’s pulp and nerve is not important to a tooth’s health and function after the tooth has fully emerged from the gums.) The root system is thoroughly cleaned. A temporary filling will be placed to protect the tooth, if the dentist decides to complete the root canal therapy in multiple visits.  When you return, the dentist will remove the temporary filling, re-clean the root canal and pulp chamber, fill the root canal system with a plastic-like filling material, and place a permanent filling and/or crown over the tooth. Root canal therapy has a high rate of success (>95%) and many teeth undergoing the procedure can be saved to last a lifetime. However, root canal treated teeth are more brittle and they are more susceptible to fracture.  It is highly recommended to protect root canal treated teeth with crowns to prevent future breakage.

Tooth Extractions

A dental extraction is most commonly required if one of your teeth is damaged beyond practical repair. The most common reasons for tooth extractions include: Severe tooth decay or infection may make it impossible or too costly to repair a tooth Advanced gum disease may require a tooth to be pulled so it doesn’t affect the supporting tissues and bone structures of your mouth A tooth may be extracted if it is blocking other teeth from coming in During orthodontic work, teeth may need to be extracted to create room for the teeth that are being moved into place Wisdom teeth are often extracted either before or after they come in What to expect Your dentist will first administer anesthetic to numb the area and reduce discomfort. During the extraction, you will feel the pressure of the tooth being removed, but will not feel any pain.  Typically, the dentist is able to remove your tooth within a matter of minutes A small amount of bleeding is normal and a patch of gauze will be placed in the affected area. The area may bleed minimally for the next 24 hours or so and taper off after that.  Follow your dentist’s instructions on how often to change the gauze, and what other post-procedure steps to follow. It is important to decide if you want to replace the tooth being removed. There are several different options for tooth replacements e.g. Bridges or Implants. Depending on the situation, your dentist will be able to discuss the best long term option for you.