The main goal of restorative dentistry is, exactly as the name suggests, to “restore” the functionality of the teeth and bite. By that, we mean that the teeth should once again allow for full biting and chewing functionality which may have been affected by damage or decay. Although utility is the primary goal, restorative dentistry now allows for smiles to be brought back to their full splendour.
When people talk about fillings, they usually tend to think of amalgam or perhaps gold. These two materials are still used today, but much less so than in the past. Amalgam or gold fillings have been largely replaced by so called “white fillings” – fillings made of composite resins. This latest restoration material is becoming very popular with both patients and dentists. First, its color can be perfectly matched with the patient’s natural tooth color. This makes the fillings almost invisible to the untrained eye. Second, composite resins are as strong and durable as their metallic counterparts; this makes them not only aesthetically pleasing, but highly functional at the same time. If you are looking for that “all white smile” white fillings may be the answer.
Endodontics (Root Canal Therapy)
The goal of endodontic therapy is to treat and preserve teeth that have been seriously damaged by either trauma, decay or disease. Whatever the cause of the damage is, once it involves and affects the soft nerve tissue underneath the enamel, root canal treatment is usually indicated.
The treatment includes the cleaning and removal of all inflamed nerve tissue and bacteria. Once this is done, the root canal is filled and closed off using a sealer paste. It is strongly recommended that the treated tooth is covered (protected and strengthened) by a dental crown.
Our philosophy and treatment goal is, and always has been, the preservation of natural teeth. There are circumstances, however, where an extraction becomes unavoidable; situations where teeth are so severely damaged by trauma, decay or periodontal disease that they simply cannot be saved. In such cases, as a last resort, the damaged teeth are removed to protect the health of the adjacent teeth, bone or soft tissue. Tooth extraction is always presented as a part of a larger rehabilitative treatment plan. Recommendations are made for the replacement of the tooth or teeth in order to preserve the general health and functionality of the mouth.
Dental crown could be called a “Classic”. It is a very popular dental restoration that has gradually evolved and improved over the years. Dental crowns are designed to completely cover and protect (“cap”) a significantly damaged tooth or to replace a missing tooth (Implant Supported Crown). Today dental crowns are made of a durable, natural looking, ceramic material that can be tinted to perfectly match the surrounding natural teeth. One disadvantage of this restoration that can sometimes affect whether or not the solution is appropriate is that it requires quite extensive “preparation” (trimming down) of the natural tooth itself. This reduction is permanent which means that the tooth will always have to be covered and protected by a crown.
We perform wisdom teeth extractions routinely. Wisdom teeth are the very last molars in the back of the mouth and due to their size and location, their extraction can sometimes be a little challenging. They can be impacted (buried in the gum or the jaw bone), they often grow at an unusual angle, and they are difficult to brush and clean which easily leads to significant decay. For these and other reasons, wisdom teeth are frequently recommended for extraction. The procedure is done using local anesthetics and for those patients who need a little extra “reassurance”, we offer nitrous oxide sedation (“laughing gas”). Nitrous oxide not only helps a patient to relax more, it also acts as a mild pain killer. This combination is usually quite adequate and effective for most wisdom teeth extractions.
Inlays / Onlays
Inlays and onlays are, in a sense, types of fillings. They are used to restore decayed tooth surface and are made of gold or, more recently, of white ceramic material. The difference between inlays and onlays is their location on the tooth. Onlays are used to restore or “rebuild” the tooth’s cusps (corners) while inlays repair the inside “flat” surface in between the cusps. Unlike fillings, however, inlays and onlays require two separate visits to the dentist. During the first visit the tooth or teeth are prepared and impressions are taken. The restorations are then manufactured in a dental laboratory and later cemented during a second dental appointment. This relative inconvenience of two visits is easily outweighed by two important advantages of inlays and onlays over regular fillings: durability and better fit. (Better fit tends to offer better protection against recurring tooth decay.)