Exams and X-rays (Radiographs)
When you come for your first visit, we will perform an oral exam to check your teeth and surrounding tissues. We will also take some x-ray pictures (radiographs) to check for cavities and gum disease. At the end of the exam, we will present you with step-by-step treatment recommendations. We encourage you to ask questions regarding your teeth and oral health at any time during the exam, as we want you to fully understand what is going on in your mouth.
Pit and Fissure Sealants
The deep grooves on the biting surface of your teeth are prone to decay as they tend to trap food and bacteria. If you have deep grooves, we may recommend a sealant, which is a thin white plastic filling which covers the grooves, helping to prevent decay. This simple procedure is commonly performed in children after their adult molar teeth are fully erupted. Protecting these teeth early on will keep them healthy for years to come.
To use an analogy, in construction, the foundation of a house is meant to withstand the forces of nature, supporting the house on top. In dentistry, the bone around the teeth is the foundation, and the teeth are like the house. Strong and healthy bone starts with having a set of clean and healthy gums. Many patients require periodontal treatments (“peri-” means around, “odontal” means teeth) to keep the gums healthy. These deep cleanings are performed by our highly skilled hygienists, who will gently remove any tartar build-up that may have accumulated above and below the gumline.
We use our teeth to chew our food during the day. However, during the night, we may be unknowingly grinding our teeth in our sleep, causing additional wear to our enamel (the pearly outer shell of teeth). Over time, this can lead to excessive tooth wear and exposed dentin (the softer, yellow layer of the tooth just beneath the enamel). Exposed dentin on the biting surfaces of teeth can lead to sensitivity and tooth decay. Teeth can also chip and break during heavy grinding. If we suspect that you are grinding your teeth (bruxing), a customized night guard can be fabricated for overnight use to protect your teeth when you sleep. Wearing a night guard can also alleviate symptoms of jaw muscle soreness and headaches in the morning for people who are heavy grinders.
When a tooth needs a filling, the decay is first removed from the tooth and then a filling material is placed to build the tooth back up to its functional and esthetic form. Although silver fillings have been traditionally used, today, we have materials for fillings that are practically indistinguishable from the shade of our teeth. Sometimes we may recommend replacing old deteriorating metal fillings, which may be leaking or breaking down. A white, composite filling can help you to smile with confidence.
If your tooth has been heavily restored with a large filling, it may be weak and prone to breaking. In this situation, a crown may be recommended to protect the remaining tooth. A crown or “cap”, made from a hard material such as porcelain, is custom-made to look like a real tooth. The colour of the crown can be closely matched to blend in with the natural colour of your teeth. Once the crown is fitted, it is permanently cemented over your tooth, protecting the tooth from chewing forces.
When a tooth is lost, the missing tooth can be replaced by an imitation tooth, supported by the neighbouring teeth. This fixture is called a bridge. Once the custom-made bridge is fitted, it is cemented permanently in the mouth, restoring the appearance and function of the missing tooth.
When multiple teeth are missing, a removable partial denture may be a practical option to replace the missing teeth. Made out of metal and plastic, a partial denture is worn during the day and removed at night. For someone with missing teeth, a partial denture can improve both chewing ability and enhance the smile.
A child’s baby teeth are important not only to chew food but also to preserve the space in the mouth for the adult teeth. Early loss of a baby tooth can lead to lack of room for the adult teeth.
Our focus with children is on the prevention of dental decay, through teaching good oral hygiene habits, i.e. brushing and flossing at an early age. We also recommend the use of fluoride to help prevent decay. Should your child be in need of a filling, our dentists are very experienced in working with children. We recognize that going to the dentist can be stressful for both parents and child. If your child is anxious or nervous, we offer complimentary nitrous oxide sedation, a mild and safe way to help your child get through the appointment.
Root Canal Treatments
Sometimes the tooth nerve can be damaged due to decay or trauma. When this happens the tooth can be saved by a process known as a root canal treatment. As long as the tooth is adequately “frozen” the procedure is quite comfortable, similar to getting a filling. After the root canal treatment, the tooth is able to heal, and can be maintained for many years. Often a crown is recommended for the tooth for protection from chewing forces.
Gum recession can occur due to heavy tooth brushing, gum disease, and age. Once the gum has receded, the tooth root is exposed, which can be sensitive to hot, cold, and sweets. A minor procedure, known as gum grafting can be performed to cover the exposed root surface, eliminating the sensitivity.
Extractions/Wisdom Tooth Removal
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to grow into the mouth. Frequently there is not enough room in the mouth for the wisdom teeth to fully come in. If the wisdom teeth grow in sideways, they may push against the neighbouring teeth, causing problems. Additionally, wisdom teeth can be hard to keep clean as they are difficult to reach. Sometimes it may be beneficial to have the wisdom teeth removed or extracted.
Treatment of TMD
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that attaches our jaw bone to our skull. Sometimes this joint can become painful due to night-time clenching or grinding or also due to trauma. Fortunately, there are treatments to alleviate pain, such as being fitted with a custom night guard.
Accidents happen. So do toothaches. If you have a dental emergency please call us for help. We will try our best to accommodate you as soon as possible.