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Preventive

Preventive Dentistry is a term used to describe the diagnosis of a patient’s overall oral health, and identifying the ways we can help to enhance and maintain health.  This involves both the teeth and gums, and very occasionally other structures in the mouth that present with problems.

Diagnosis

A diagnosis can be made of a specific problem, or the overall health of your mouth.  In order to make a diagnosis, we require various information.  This can be gained from any of the following:

  • Examination
    Undertaken for each patient.
  • x-rays
    Usually required in some form to establish a clear picture of your current dental health, and any areas we cannot see (such as in between the teeth or beneath the gums).
  • Models
    Or ‘moulds’ can be used to study the bite, alignment and appearance of the teeth. Often required in orthodontic, bridge and implant cases.
  • Photographs

Gums

  • Importance of good hygiene
    Our gums are like the foundation of a building.  They help to hold our teeth in place and anchor them in the jaw bones. Without healthy gums, teeth won’t last a lifetime.
  • Gingivitis and periodontitis
    Are both diseases of the ‘gums’. Gingivitis affects the part of the gum that you can see in your mouth. It causes them to become inflamed, swollen, bleed easily and sometimes odorous. Periodontitis is a slightly more serious condition, where other structures that also support the tooth are affected.  These include the gums, the ligament around the tooth and the bone. It leads to loose teeth, can be quite odorous, and can cause periods of acute pain.  In most cases the cause of gingivitis and periodontitis is ‘calculus’. This is plaque that has gone hard over time. Proper cleaning both at home and at the dentist to remove calculus is vital in maintaining good gum health.
  • Referrals
    In some cases we may feel that the gum disease is quite severe, or that specialist techniques could be used to improve or restore gum health.  This is when we would refer patients to see a periodontist for specialist treatment.

Teeth

  • Cleaning
  • Re-calcifying
  • Diet
  • Fluoride

Restorative

Restorative dentistry involves returning an area of the mouth (mainly teeth) to health, and restoring their original function and appearance. This may involve a whole array of techniques, starting with re-calcifying tooth structure that has been affected by acid attack, to using silver or white filling materials to replace parts of a tooth.

Sometimes when a tooth is infected or dying we need to do root canal therapy. Other times we may use crowns, bridges or veneers to replace parts of a tooth. If a tooth is missing we offer dentures, bridges or implants.  At Gilbert st Dental, we also offer laser therapy, which can often be used instead of a drill.

Re-calcifying

Recalcifying or remineralising is a wonderful and conservative way to reverse early stages of decay, preserve tooth structure affected by the effects of acid attacks, and to prevent future effects of acid attacks.

Fluoride has been the conventional product used to remineralize teeth, and now we have CPP-ACP (tooth mousse) which works in a similar way and continues to provide excellent results both in research and clinical settings.

Fillings

  • White
    The improvement in the quality of white filling materials over recent years has been quite remarkable. There are several different types of white filling materials we use. We strive to achieve excellent cosmetic results with our white fillings, while provide sound strength and structure for the tooth.
  • Silver
    Although less popular today, we believe there is still a place for silver (amalgam) fillings. There strength and longevity can be excellent, and in the right situation, we will discuss the benefits of a silver filling. At the end of the day, it is ultimately our patient’s choice as to which material is used.

Root canals

There has always been a lot of talk about the dreaded root canal! They are basically required when the nerve inside a tooth gets infected, inflamed or breaks down.  They can prevent the need for extractions, and prolong the life of your tooth for many years.

Generally they require 2-4 appointments, where the infected area inside the tooth is located, measured, cleaned out and finally filled.

At Gilbert St Dental, we realize these are two words that can evoke fear, and we will make sure the process is fully explained, and all measures taken to reduce the pain these infected nerves can cause.

Often after a root canal, it is recommended to place a crown over the tooth, in order to protect the work that has just been done.

Crowns, bridges, veneers

Crowns, bridges and veneers are usually made out of porcelain, so that they look very similar to a natural tooth. They all involve preparing the tooth surface to some degree, taking impressions, then sending these impressions to a dental laboratory, where they are made, and cemented 1-2 weeks later.  In the meantime we will make a temporary tooth.

Using porcelain or similar products produces excellent cosmetic results, and generally lasts significantly longer than standard fillings.

Implants

Implants involve one or more titanium ‘screws’ being placed into the jaw bone. From here a crown is fixed to the implant screw, so that you now have a new root and crown. The process often takes several months to complete.

Dentures

Dentures are false teeth that you can take in and out of your mouth. Dentures can be used to replace one (rarely), multiple or even all missing teeth. There are several materials that can be used to make dentures, and you and your dentist will need to discuss the material that is best for you.

Cosmetic

The aim in cosmetic dentistry is to enhance the appearance of a tooth, smile or overall appearance.

There are many areas of dentistry which help to achieve this.  Procedures may involve whitening teeth, straightening teeth, improving the gum lines, replacing old worn fillings or resurfacing a tooth with porcelain.

  • Whitening
    We offer two whitening systems, the quick-smile in office method, or a customized tray method. Speak to your dentist about what is right for you.
  • Straightening
    Achieved through orthodontics.  This can be achieved with plates, metal or invisible braces and will sometimes require a referral to a specialist orthodontist.
  • Veneers
    Made out of porcelain, are like a shell that is cemented to the front of the tooth to improve colour, shape or alignment.
  • Crowns
    Sometimes called a ‘cap’, a crown can be made out of gold, porcelain fused to gold or all porcelain (zirconia), and covers the whole tooth. They require 2 visits as they are produced in a dental laboratory). Crowns provide protection, and white crowns are an excellent match to a natural tooth.

Laser

Lasers have been used in dentistry now for over 15 years.  Their popularity is increasing both in Australia and world-wide.

They have many uses, including

  • Densensitizing
  • Preparing tooth surfaces
  • Cutting (tooth, gum, bone)
  • Control bleeding
  • Sterilizing areas of infection

They are often used as an alternative or and adjunct to the drill.

In many cases, tooth preparation with a laser does not require anaesthetic (injections).  For larger fillings we sometimes recommend anaesthetic still.

The strength of the laser can be adjusted, which will alter the sensation and sound you hear.  Because we can alter the strength, we can chose to make the laser strong enough to cut only decay, and not surrounding healthy tooth.

The size of the laser beam is much smaller than a standard drill, which makes it an excellent conservative option.  Sometimes the procedures take a little longer because of this.

Using a laser can improve how well a filling bonds to the tooth surface.

The area it cuts creates a completely sterile environment, which is particularly useful when removing decay.  Also, where the gum needs re-shaping, this means that the area is much cleaner, and will heal faster, with less discomfort.

If there is a localized area of infection, a laser can be used to sterilize and kill 99.99% of all the bacteria.

We use both an ER:yag and PAD laser at Gilbert Street Dental.

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