Although the occurrence of tooth decay has greatly decreased over the years due to preventive care and patient education, teeth are still susceptible. A tooth will need to be restored when it becomes chipped, decayed, worn or cracked or even if you are choosing to close a space between two teeth. Once a treatment plan has been established and we have established the most comfortable and least invasive treatment, a composite material will be used for the restoration as it is durable and can be closely matched to the existing shade of your teeth, creating a beautiful natural smile.
Our clinical team will offer educational information to help you reduce the number of cavities you get. We can also offer you treatment and products that help reduce the bacterial infection that causes cavities (caries).
What Is A Root Canal?
A root canal treatment is a procedure used to take out the inside (pulp – where the main nerves and blood vessels are) of the tooth and fill up the area with a sealing material. Once the pulp is removed the tooth becomes brittle and a crown is usually recommended to help prevent the tooth from breaking. In the past, the tooth would have had to have been extracted, but due to root canal treatments, we can now save these teeth.
Teeth that need root canals can sometimes be helped temporarily by antibiotics, but the problem will always reappear and may become life threatening if the tooth itself is not treated; the sooner, the better. Most patients tell us that their root canal was much better than they expected – some patients even sleep through the procedure.
When Is A Root Canal Indicated?
Any time the pulp is irreversibly damaged (necessary removal of deep decay or a deep old filling can cause this to happen).
When a tooth has cracked and germs (bacteria) from your mouth have invaded the inside of the tooth.
When decay has become very large and bacteria from this decay has infected the pulp.
When a tooth is traumatized from a large force, for example, an unbalanced heavy bite in that area or a blow from a baseball.
NOTE: There may or may not be any pain or swelling to indicate that your tooth needs a root canal i.e. the absence of pain does not always mean your tooth is in a healthy state. All of the above can proceed to what is known as an abscess.
After the appointment there may be some tenderness the first night or two and ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) will usually take care of any symptoms. If you were suffering from an abscess that caused a lot of pain you will most likely have a great reduction in your symptoms following your treatment.
What Are Fillings
Dental fillings can be made of gold, composite or amalgam. The gold fillings, otherwise known as gold inlays are statistically the longest lasting, the most biocompatible and gentle to the opposing teeth. They are made from a cast gold alloy and are an excellent choice in the posterior of the mouth. The composite filling is white and the most natural looking. Composite fillings are made from a mixture of glass or quartz filler in a resin. The least amount of tooth structure needs to be cut away to place a composite filling making it a good choice in terms of conserving tooth structure. The amalgam fillings are silver in colour and are made of alloy or elemental mercury, silver, tin, and copper.
In the past, most fillings that were placed were gold or amalgam. Presently most people prefer to have white fillings.
When Is A Filling Indicated?
When there is decay that is not too extensive
When a small amount of tooth structure is damaged
When an area of the tooth has worn away
When an area of the tooth is eroding
When an area of the tooth has cracked
Are Silver Fillings Safe?
The position of the Canadian Dental Association is that, yes, amalgam is safe. It has been used for over a century and is the most widely tested dental material. There is continued discussion surrounding amalgam safety so our philosophy is to place what the patient feels comfortable having in their mouth as long as it is suitable for the restoration. For example, composite cannot be placed and last in an area where moisture cannot be controlled.
Length Of Appointment
Generally speaking a small silver or white filling will not take more than 40 minutes. If there are more fillings to do, they can often be grouped together to minimize the number of appointments you require. If a gold inlay is done, then 2 appointments are necessary. One longer appointment to prepare the tooth and make a temporary and one shorter appointment to cement the inlay.