Emergency Dental Care,
Dentures, Bridges, Implants,
Root Canal Treatment
Tooth whitening is a treatment option to brighten teeth
It is not suitable for everyone. Your dentist is best placed to advise whether the treatment is right for you and the results you can expect. There are two procedures available to whiten or lighten your teeth.
- Home Whitening
This simple home procedure uses hydrogen peroxide to bleach or whiten the teeth. Your dentist or hygienist takes a mould of your teeth so a technician can prepare a gum shield or tray of exactly the right size and fit. Once the tray is ready, your dentist will provide you with the whitening gel and important advice on how to use it. Your teeth may achieve the desired colour within a couple of days, but it may take from three weeks up to five weeks. One of the common sife effects associated with whitening is sensitivity , but your dentist will discuss this with you.
Off-the-shelf home whitening kits are not advisable as the trays are not custom made to exactly fit. This can allow the bleaching gel to come into contact with your gums and may cause irritation. There have also been reports that the bleaching gels in such kits may not achieve the desired results and not licenced for use.
- Whitening in the Surgery
This option provides a more immediate result and is delivered in surgery under the care and supervision of your dentist or hygienist.
Treatment takes around an hour and requires the use of a laser light technique along with a whitening gel.
Both teeth whitening treatments are only suitable for healthy teeth and gums, so your dentist will thoroughly examine your mouth before treatment begins. You need to be aware that the gel does not whiten crowns, fillings and veneers.
In addition, the whitening effect is not usually permanent and overtime your teeth will gradually fade back to their original shade. However, the use of a top up treatment will usually whiten them up again.
Veneers provide a quick and effective way of hiding cracked, stained or misshaped teeth. They most often consist of a thin layer of porcelain specially made to match your existing teeth. This is then fixed or bonded to the front surface of the tooth.
Once you and your dentist have agreed a treatment plan for your veneer, your tooth will need to be prepared. This usually requires your dentist to shave a thin amount of enamel from the front surface of the tooth (0.5 – 1mm). As this is the same thickness as the veneer, your tooth returns to its original size once the veneer is attached.
- How is this done?
Watch the video for more information.
A veneer can last for many years if the care and advice provided by your dentist is followed.
Crowns are one of the methods by which teeth can be rebuilt. If you have a tooth with extensive damage or decay, and a filling would not be appropriate, your dentist may recommend a crown. These cover the damaged tooth to prevent further decay.
Crowns can be metal, metal covered with porcelain or entirely porcelain. The material chosen depends on where in your mouth the crown is needed; for example crowns that are completely metal are normally only suitable for back teeth.
Porcelain (or ‘white’) crowns are carefully colour-matched to ensure they are very similar in appearance to your own teeth. By the end of treatment your crown will blend in with your existing teeth. Whilst a very technically precise procedure, it is quite straightforward.
Through following the aftercare advice from your dentist, your crown should last for many years.
Dentures are used to replace lost or missing teeth.
You may require a partial denture to replace gaps in your teeth or a full denture to replace all of your original teeth. If you have missing teeth, your dentist will discuss all the options in detail with you.
A full denture has a complete set of acrylic teeth fixed onto a plastic or acrylic base. A partial denture consists of a plastic or metal plate onto which are fixed false teeth that match the shape and colour of your existing teeth. This plate attaches securely onto your existing teeth with metal clips, but it is easily removed for cleaning.
The most common full dentures fit securely over your gums, however, there is a range of dentures available, including some that fix onto dental implants. If your dentist recommends a denture, he or she will take an impression and some measurements of your mouth so that a technician can craft your dentures to exactly fit.
If you decide to have dental implants, you may be referred to a dentist trained in implantology or prosthodontics to place these into your jaw. The special denture that attaches to these implants is made of porcelain and has the appearance and feel of real teeth. This treatment is currently unavailable on the NHS.
Fillings and Onlay
Your dentist may recommend replacing part of a tooth that has been lost through wear and tear or decay with a filling. Fillings are made from a number of materials, and your dentist will discuss your options with you before starting treatment.
If the damage is more extensive and a filling is not suitable, then you may need an inlay or onlay. This treatment is similar to a filling, but the worn area is replaced with a moulded piece made to exactly fit the affected tooth.
Tiny cavities discovered during a regular check-up may be filled with amalgam or composite to repair the tooth and avoid further decay or damage. Amalgam (which is a grey or silver coloured material) works particularly well in molar teeth. Composite is a very similar colour to natural teeth and is sometimes used when patients are concerned that amalgam fillings may be visible following treatment.
Fillings are placed and sculpted into your tooth to ensure you can bite properly after treatment. You must follow the care and advice recommended by your dentist so the filling is retained and your tooth remains healthy.
Inlays and Onlays
If the area of decay or damage is extensive, or if the area needing treatment is in a tooth at the back of the mouth, an inlay or onlay may be recommended. An inlay is placed inside a tooth, whereas an onlay fixes to the outside and rebuilds the tooth shape. They can be made of metal, composite or porcelain.
As with a filling, the damaged area is prepared, but then an impression is taken of the tooth using a mouldable material so a technician can build an inlay or onlay to exactly fit your tooth.
Whilst it is being built, a temporary filling is placed in the tooth. When it is ready, your dentist will remove the temporary filling, fix your inlay or onlay onto your tooth and make small adjustments to ensure it is comfortable.
Daily brushing and flossing of your teeth is the most effective way of preventing gum disease.
Although your dentist and hygienist routinely remove build-up of tartar or plaque during your appointments, if you do not take care of your teeth you may develop gum disease. This can cause your gums to recede or pull away from your teeth, leaving them weakened and at risk of falling out.
Swollen, sore or infected gums may be caused by gum disease or gingivitis. This is very common and is experienced to some degree by half the adult population in the UK. Bad breath and bleeding gums when you brush your teeth may indicate that you are at risk of developing gum disease.
When treated early, with the removal of plaque and tartar and thorough oral hygiene, most cases of gingivitis settle down and the gum returns to normal. But if it is left untreated, more serious problems can occur including the formation of a gum abscess, receding gums and loose teeth.
Some people are more vulnerable to the effects of plaque and tartar and the build-up can cause pockets to develop around their teeth. These pockets are very difficult to clean, so further plaque builds up inside them and the disease progresses.
The branch of dentistry that treats these problems is called periodontics.
Root canal treatment
When a cavity is large and extends into the inner part of the tooth containing the nerves, your dentist may recommend a root canal treatment (referred to as endodontic treatment).
If a tooth is broken, or if a cavity or hole becomes so large that it reaches into the root canal, then bacteria may enter and destroy the nerves. This can be extremely painful and lead to abscess formation and infection in the gum or jawbone. Root canal fillings may avoid the need for extraction of the affected tooth. In these cases, the nerve in the tooth chamber is removed and the space it leaves is filled with a material that helps support the tooth.
Once the root filling is completed, the tooth is restored using a filling, inlay or crown. Your dentist will be able to advise you accordingly.
Dental implants are a permanent way of replacing missing teeth and they feel, work and look very much like your own teeth.
They can be used to replace individual or even a full set of missing teeth. A dental implant is an artificial or prosthetic tooth root which is placed into the jaw. Once this implant is in position, a tooth that has been built to match your own teeth is fixed onto it.
Following assessment of your suitability for dental implants, you will be referred to a dental practitioner who has undergone extensive training in Implantology.
This skilled procedure starts with the placement of a prosthetic root implant, which is usually made of titanium, into your jaw under local anaesthetic (if you are particularly nervous you can be sedated). After 3-6 months, when the jaw has healed, an impression is taken so that one of our trusted dental laboratories can build your new tooth to the exact size, shape and colour required. This is then tried in place and if you and your dentist are happy, it is fixed securely to the artificial root.
It is very important to maintain a routine of good oral hygiene following an implant to make sure the surrounding teeth and gums stay healthy. If you follow the advice of your dentist and hygienist carefully, your implant will last for many years.
Short Term Orthodontics
- Tooth Straightening Options for Children and Adults
Braces are used to improve the position and function of crooked teeth and of course to improve their appearance. There are a wide range of braces available, but the most common systems use wires that gently move the teeth into a more natural position.
If your child’s teeth appear to be developing out of line, your dentist may make a referral to an orthodontist. He or she will examine your child’s teeth and jaw and complete an assessment to identify if they qualify for NHS treatment.
NHS orthodontic treatment is currently only available to children. However, private options are available for adults as well as children, and there are a number of wire and clear-brace systems to suit varying needs. Less severe cases may be treated with a removable brace, but most commonly a fixed brace is required and has to be worn for a significant period of time to achieve the desired result.
Good oral hygiene is particularly important to make sure the teeth remain strong and healthy whilst the brace is in place. Your orthodontist or hygienist will provide appropriate oral care advice.