General Dentistry

FILLINGS

Composite fillings – also known as tooth-coloured fillings – are dental restorations designed to be inconspicuous and natural in appearance. They blend well with the teeth and appear more natural than amalgam fillings, which are darker and more easily seen by other people.

Composite fillings are made from a special type of medical-grade resin that chemically bonds to the teeth. They can be used to fill in decayed areas of the teeth, as well as to help repair chipped or broken teeth.

Most dentists use composite restorations to treat the teeth closest to the front of the mouth, as they are more noticeable when patients smile. However, advancements in dental technology and the composition of composite fillings have made it possible to also use tooth-colored fillings on molars, which receive more wear than other teeth.

SEALANTS

Dental sealants are very thin coatings used to fill in deep grooves and pits in teeth that can harbour bacteria. Sealants are applied to healthy chewing surfaces of the teeth to prevent decay and cavities – especially among children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, tooth decay affects more than half of children ages 6 – 8, and even older children and teens.

By applying sealants, families can prevent decay and save on the costs associated with filling cavities. If you plan to get dental sealants in, the CDC recommends doing so shortly after the molars have erupted from the gums – usually beginning around age 6.

ROOT CANAL TREATMENT

This treatment describes the removal of the nerve tissue and blood vessels located inside a tooth. A tooth’s root cannot be left hollow, so the area is filled or sealed up with a caulk-like material. The predictability of a root canal depends on both the quality of the diseased tooth and the technique used to treat it.

CLEANINGS

A dental cleaning is a professional cleaning you receive from a dentist or dental hygienist. Most dental cleanings take only between 25 and 30 minutes. Cleanings should be performed every three to six months to prevent excessive plaque and tartar buildup. Plaque left untreated can lead to unhealthy gums and tooth decay. A routine dental cleaning should include scaling and polishing of teeth.

Scaling: This is the process of removing plaque and tartar from all tooth surfaces in a variety of methods, depending on the amount of plaque and tartar. Dental hygienists traditionally perform scaling by hand. However, new and advanced technology has lead to more modern methods such as ultrasonic scalers. This sophisticated instrument allows dental cleanings to be performed more efficiently. To achieve best results, both ultrasonic and manual scaling methods are combined for dental cleanings.

PERIODONTITIS & GUM DISEASE

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.

Factors that may contribute to gingivitis include: diabetes, smoking, ageing, genetic predisposition, systemic diseases and conditions, stress, inadequate nutrition, puberty, hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy, substance abuse, HIV infection and certain medication use.

Periodontitis

Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected.

As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.

There are many forms of periodontitis. The most common ones include the following:

  • Aggressive periodontitis occurs in patients who are otherwise clinically healthy. Common features include rapid attachment loss and bone destruction and familial aggregation.
  • Chronic periodontitis results in inflammation within the supporting tissues of the teeth, progressive attachment and bone loss. This is the most frequently occurring form of periodontitis and is characterized by pocket formation and/or recession of the gingiva. It is prevalent in adults, but can occur at any age. Progression of attachment loss usually occurs slowly, but periods of rapid progression can occur.
  • Periodontitis as a manifestation of systemic diseases often begins at a young age. Systemic conditions such as heart disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes are associated with this form of periodontitis.
  • Necrotizing periodontal disease is an infection characterized by necrosis of gingival tissues, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. These lesions are most commonly observed in individuals with systemic conditions such as HIV infection, malnutrition and immunosuppression.

TOOTH EXTRACTION

Tooth extractions are routine dental procedures used to remove decayed, damaged or otherwise problematic teeth. Dentists usually make every effort to preserve natural teeth, although sometimes an extraction is necessary.

Although the procedure is performed in a dentist’s or oral surgeon’s office, it is considered surgery. Depending on which teeth are removed, they may be replaced with a dental implant or another oral prosthetic.

WISDOM TEETH

Wisdom teeth are the third and last molars to appear on each jaw top and bottom. They are the final ones to appear normally late in the teens, early in the twenties.

If your wisdom teeth are impacted this can result in causing pain, discomfort, infection and facial swelling. When these conditions arise it will be removed by an oral surgeon, normally under general anaesthetic or even sedation. This will be discussed with the patient after a panoramic x-ray was taken and the position of the teeth is examined.

CROWNS & BRIDGES

Dental crowns and bridges are custom-fitted tooth prosthetics that are used to replace or restore damaged or missing teeth. Crowns – also known as caps – are fixed over the surfaces of natural tooth structures or dental implants. Bridges are used to fill in the gaps left by missing teeth and are anchored in place by the natural teeth or crowns nearest the empty space. Both crowns and bridges are non-removable and must be cemented in place by a licensed dentist. Patients who get crown or bridges to restore their smiles achieve both the function and appearance of natural, healthy teeth.

A temporary restoration is often used during these treatments while patients are waiting for their permanent restoration to be fabricated by a dental lab. Temporary restorations allow patients to try out the look and feel of the final prosthetic and make any necessary changes before the final fabrication and fitting. Unlike temporary prosthetics of the past, modern provisional restorations are highly functional and aesthetically pleasing. Today’s temporaries are composed of a quality acrylic resin that mimics the look and feel of permanent metal or ceramic restorations.

DENTURES

Dentures are removable tooth prosthetics designed to look and function like natural teeth. For thousands of years, some form of denture has been used to fill in the gaps left by missing teeth, although today’s dentures are much more advanced and easier to care for.Most dentures are composed of replacement teeth attached to plastic bases that take on the appearance of the gums. They are used to compensate for one or more missing teeth, and are available as partials and complete sets of teeth.

Many people elect dentures for tooth replacement if they are not candidates for dental implants or are otherwise looking for a tooth replacement option that is more affordable and budget-friendly. If you are looking for another option, Implant Supported Dentures could be the answer. Click here to read more about FULL ARCH IMPLANTS


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