The dentist will check your teeth, gums and oral tissues and inform you of any problems they have found. They will give you a treatment plan and discuss their findings with you. Radiographs (x-rays) may be required.
Cleaning the teeth removing tartar build up as well as dietary and smoking stains. This can be carried out by the hygienist or dentist.
Patients with more advanced gum disease may be advised to have root planning carried out. This is done by the hygienist who will make the area numb and clean the root surface of the teeth below the gum line.
Dental decay has to be removed and the cavity is then filled with either a white (composite) or silver (amalgam) material.
A root canal treatment involves removing the nerve from a non-vital tooth. For the patient it feels like having a filling done, although the appointment is a little longer.
Non-vital (dead) teeth or teeth that are beyond being able to restore may need to be removed. This may also be needed prior to getting braces. An extraction is the removal of the unwanted tooth. It is a painless procedure with the use of local anaesthetic.
If you have any teeth missing, the gaps can be filled with dentures which are false teeth that can be taken in and out (they are not fixed in the mouth). They can be on a plastic or metal base.
Patients who grind their teeth can benefit from wearing a splint at night time. This is like a gum shield which sits over the teeth to stop you grinding and protect the teeth from the strong force of the jaws.
If the mouth is free of cavities, the teeth can be whitened by using a special dental bleach which is put into custom made trays that fit around your teeth. You wear the bleach for 4-12 hours (depending on the concentration) and over a period of weeks the teeth become whiter. The teeth can be sensitive during the treatment but this is normally short lived, your dentist can advise you on how to manage this. Unless there are no external stains on the teeth (stains from smoking, tea and coffee etc) you would need to have a scale and polish done before the treatment.
If you have a single tooth which is dead, it may go dark and look grey compared to the rest of your teeth. If the tooth has a root canal treatment in it, we can put bleach into the tooth and leave it for a week to brighten. In most cases this takes 3-4 sessions to bring the tooth to the correct colour.
A veneer is a facing that covers the front surface of an anterior tooth. It helps to reshape the tooth to make it more aesthetic and gives the tooth an even appearance.
Crowns are like hats that permanently sit over a tooth. They are usually needed when a tooth is very heavily restored (has a large filling) or has a root canal treatment. Sometimes posts are needed to go into the root surface if a tooth is very broken down.
A bridge is used to fill the gap of a missing tooth. The fake tooth is held in place by bonding it to the adjacent teeth, meaning that the tooth will be fixed in position.
If a tooth has been removed an implant can be placed which involves a screw being in placed in the bone where the tooth root used to be. A crown is then put on top of the implant screw. The process can take a few months to complete.
To prevent tooth decay, newly erupted back teeth can have fissure sealants placed on them. A sealant is a thin film which covers the fissure (groove) in the tooth to help stop bacteria getting in and make them easier to clean.
Patients who are at high risk of dental decay can also be prescribed a toothpaste with a higher concentration of fluoride compared to normal toothpastes. With regular visits we can also put a fluoride varnish on the teeth to help make them stronger. This is particularly important for children's teeth.
Anyone participating in a contact sport is advised to wear a gum shield. It covers the teeth and helps to protect them if there is a blow to the mouth. Children should ideally have a new gum shield every season due to their mouth changing with the eruption of adult teeth.
Medication can be given to nervous patients to help them relax. See our section on nervous patients for further information.