- Q?What is a dental implant?
A dental implant can be thought of as an artificial tooth root that is submerged into the jawbone. When dental work such as a crown, fixed bridge or a full set of dentures is added, one or more missing teeth can be replaced. A dental implant is fabricated from a very strong, biocompatible material placed in a simple procedure that, generally, is as convenient as a tooth extraction. After an initial healing period, during which the implant is buried in bone and left undisturbed under gum tissue, it is uncovered and connected to a small metal post that secures and supports the artificial tooth.
The implant material is extremely biocompatible. The bone grows to the implant and bonds to it. This makes the implant very strong. The process is called ‘osseointegration’.
- Q?Why choose a dental implant?
A dental implant is the closest thing to a natural tooth your dentist can give you. They feel much more natural and secure than traditional removable dentures, especially if these are loose fitting because of extensive bone loss. If several adjacent teeth are missing, a fixed bridge may be attached to dental implants as an alternative to a removable partial denture plate. Dental implants allow for the replacement of a missing tooth without modifying adjacent teeth. We will be happy to discuss alternatives for restoring your dental function with you.
- Q?What should I do if I have a toothache?
Very persistent toothache is always a sign that you need to see a dentist as soon as practicable. In the meantime, you should try to obtain relief by rinsing the mouth with water and trying to clean out debris from any obvious cavities. Use dental floss to remove any food that might be trapped within the cavity (especially between the teeth). If swelling is present, place a cold compress to the outside of the cheek (DO NOT HEAT). Take pain relief if necessary, using pain medicines that you know you are safe with. Remember, no pain relief tablets will work directly on the tooth. They must be swallowed as directed. If placed on the tooth, they can cause more trouble (especially aspirin).
- Q?What is Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal or endodontic treatment is a process whereby inflamed or dead pulp is removed from the inside of the tooth, enabling a tooth that was causing pain to be retained.
Dental pulp is the soft tissue in the canal that runs through the centre of a tooth. Once a tooth is fully formed it can function normally without its pulp and be kept indefinitely.
After removing the pulp, the root canals are cleaned, sterilised and shaped to a form that can be completely sealed with a filling material to prevent further infection. The treatment can take several appointments, depending on how complex the tooth is, and how long the infection takes to clear.
Subsequently a crown or complex restoration to restore or protect the tooth may be a necessary recommendation, as a tooth after undergoing treatment may be more likely to fracture.
- Q?What should I do if I have knocked out or broken my tooth?
Knocked out tooth:
If dirty, rinse tooth in milk holding it by the crown (not roots). If not available, have the patient suck it clean, then put the tooth back in the socket. If the tooth cannot be replanted, wrap in Glad Wrap or place it in milk or in the patient’s mouth inside the cheek. Go to a dentist within 30 minutes if you can. Time is critical for successful replanting.
Try to clean debris from the injured area with warm water. If caused by a blow, place a cold compress on the face next to the injured tooth to minimize swelling. Try to find all the bits that are missing and bring them to the dentist, keeping them moist. Some broken bits can be bonded back onto the teeth almost invisibly. Go to the dentist as soon as practicable.
- Q?What is a bridge?
A bridge is an appliance permanently fixed in the mouth to replace missing teeth. It uses remaining teeth to support the new artificial tooth or teeth.
A conventional fixed bridge consists of crowns that are fixed to the teeth on either side of the missing teeth and false teeth rigidly attached to these crowns.
An enamel bonded bridge uses a metal or porcelain framework., to which the artificial teeth are attached, then resin bonded to supporting teeth.
- Q?What can I do if I am scared of the dentist?
The best way to overcome your fear is to discuss your concerns with your dentist and we would be happy to sit down and discuss your options prior to any treatment.
Experiences as a child may become distorted by time and reinforced by outdated media presentation of stereotypes. Much has changed, thanks to technology and education, and dentists are skilled professionals in dealing with patients who are apprehensive about seeking treatment.
This will obviously be a team approach with us together. Communication is the key. You must feel comfortable expressing your fears and concerns and have a sense that you are being listened to.
There are various forms of anaesthesia and relaxation that can be used effectively to change your negative thoughts into a positive experience.
We can offer you use of “happy gas”.
“Happy gas”, “laughing gas”, “relative analgesia”, “nitrous oxide” are all describe the same form of sedation which can be used for patients who are apprehensive of treatment done with local anaesthesia.
Sedative prescription tablets may also be offered to you in selective cases.
- Q?What do I need to know about teeth whitening?
For facts about teeth whitening, visit the ADA’s website containing quick facts, natural methods of whitening your teeth, and the potential dangers of undergoing the procedure at the hands of an untrained individual.
For further FAQs visit ADA.org.au or feel free to contact us or visit us for further information
Acknowledgment: Australian Dental Association resources from ADA.org.au