Category: Restoration

November 14, 2023 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

Choosing the Best Replacement for Missing Teeth: A Practical Guide

What is the best option for replacing missing teeth?

While lots of things can cause tooth loss, having a gap in your smile can cause problems later on. Tooth loss can make it hard to eat certain foods, cause speech problems and even affect the alignment of other teeth. Missing teeth can also change the way your smile looks. If you are one of the many New Zealand adults with missing teeth, there are ways to restore your smile.


What causes tooth loss?

Tooth loss doesn’t have to happen naturally as we age. If you adopt good oral health habits, there’s a good chance you’ll have all your natural teeth, even in old age.

Gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss in New Zealand. Periodontitis, the more severe form of gum disease, causes bone and soft tissue loss in the jaw. If not treated it can lead to tooth loss.

A poor diet can also impact your teeth. Eating a diet rich in sugar can cause cavities. If a tooth is too decayed for a filling, sometimes the only option is tooth extraction.


Is it bad to have missing teeth?

While you can live with missing teeth, it’s not good for your oral health. The hole left behind by a missing tooth is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Tooth loss increases the risk of gum disease and other oral health problems.

Another reason a gap in your smile is ‘bad’ is because your teeth can begin to shift around. Our teeth do a great job of keeping each another in place. When a tooth falls out, the surrounding teeth can start to shift into the empty space. Even if you had straight teeth before, you may end up with wider gaps between your teeth or a crooked smile after tooth loss.

A missing tooth can also affect the bone density in your jaw. Once a tooth falls out or is removed, some of the bone beneath the missing tooth is reabsorbed back into the body. This weakens the overall structure of the jaw and can weaken the surrounding teeth.

Missing teeth can also affect your facial structure. Extensive tooth loss can cause your cheeks to sink inwards, weaken your facial muscles and cause the lips to thin.


What are my options for replacing a missing tooth?

There are a few options for replacing a missing tooth. The best way to know what’s best for you is to talk to your dentist. Cost, the quality of your existing teeth and your own personal preferences are all factors that may influence your decision. Some options for replacing your tooth include:


Dental Implants

Dental implants can be a good option for a missing tooth or multiple missing teeth. Not only do they look natural, they also help prevent bone loss and will restore the functionality of your smile. Dental implants are strong, last for years, and can be placed anywhere in the mouth. If you take care of your dental implant, they can even last a lifetime.

A dental implant is made up of two parts, the implant and the crown. A metal screw is implanted into the jawbone and once healed a false tooth (the crown) is placed on top. Dental implants require surgery and several weeks of recovery before the crown is attached.

Pros of dental implants

  • Permanent option for tooth loss
  • Strong and natural looking option
  • Will last a lifetime if cared for

Cons of dental implants

  • They can be expensive
  • Long healing time post-surgery
  • Not everyone is a good candidate for dental implants


Implant supported bridge

If you are missing multiple teeth in a row, an implant supported bridge is a more affordable option than multiple implants. An implant-supported bridge consists of several artificial teeth anchored by dental implants on either side.

Implant supported bridges aren’t a permanent fix for tooth loss. Although the implants may last a lifetime, the bridge will need to be replaced at some point. You’ll also need to be more careful about brushing and flossing under the bridge as bridges can increase your risk of gum disease.

Pros of an implant supported bridge

  • Great option for multiple missing teeth
  • More economical than multiple implants
  • They look natural and feel comfortable

Cons of an implant supported bridge

  • Not a permanent option
  • Placement of your bridge requires multiple appointments
  • Can only be used under some circumstances
  • Food and bacteria can get lodged under the bridge


Tooth-supported bridge

With a tooth supported bridge your natural teeth act as the support posts for the bridge. For this to be an option you’ll need to have healthy teeth on either side of your missing tooth or teeth. During treatment, your natural teeth are shaped and fitted with a crown. The bridge is then cemented to the crowns on either side.

Tooth-supported bridges look natural and don’t take long to fit. Like an implant bridge, a tooth supported bridge increases the risk of food or debris getting trapped underneath the device. You’ll need to be careful about cleaning under the bridge.

Pros of a tooth supported bridge

  • No downtime or healing time
  • Crowns can be fitted in one visit
  • Natural, realistic looking option

Cons of a tooth supported bridge

  • Natural teeth need to be shaved down
  • Adjoining teeth can be damaged if the bridge is poorly fitted
  • Food and bacteria can get lodged under the bridge


Partial dentures

Removable partial dentures are a less invasive way to fill the gap in your smile. Removable partial dentures can replace several missing teeth. Artificial teeth are attached to a metal or gum-coloured base and kept in place with a metal framework.

Partial dentures are very affordable. It’s worth noting that while the teeth look natural, the metal clasp of the dentures may be visible.

Pros of partial dentures

  • If you lose further teeth, extra artificial teeth can be added
  • Affordable option
  • Easy to replace or repair
  • A simple option with no downtime or lengthy procedures

Cons of a partial dentures

  • Can sometimes be uncomfortable if not fitted correctly
  • Must be removed and cleaned daily
  • Must be removed before sleeping
  • Less natural as the metal clasps are visible


If you have a gap in your smile, these options can keep your teeth and mouth healthy and prevent further tooth loss. Come and see us at Gentle Dental to talk about options for repairing your smile.

September 13, 2023 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

Smile Makeover or Smile Reconstruction: Which is Best for You?

Two popular options for creating a lovely smile are a ‘smile makeover’ and ‘smile reconstruction.’ Learn the difference between these two dental terms.

August 24, 2022 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

How to Heal After Dental Implant Surgery

Here are some tips for post-surgery care and long-term maintenance to keep your dental implants healthy.

Post-surgery care during the first 24 hours

Before your dental implants have been fitted your dentist will discuss post-surgery instructions so that you can properly prepare for healing.

You may be given anaesthetics before your dental implants are put in. In this case, you will be required to stay in the clinic until the effects wear off. You will be required to have someone drive you home after the surgery. Once home, here are some tips for healing in the first 24 hours:

  • Get plenty of rest. Avoid sleeping on the side of your implants as this will disturb the healing process.
  • Leave your mouth alone. You can ice the outside of your face for twenty minutes at a time with an ice pack or by wrapping ice in a towel.
  • Brush before bed. Brush your teeth before bed very gently. Make sure you use a toothbrush with gentle bristles and try to avoid disturbing your implant.
  • Take painkillers. You make take any medication as recommended by your dentist.
  • Drink plenty of liquids. Water, milk and non-acidic juice (avoid orange, pineapple or grapefruit juices as these can sting) will help keep you hydrated.
  • Try not to move too much. Your mouth needs time to heal so keep any activity during the first 24 hours to a minimum. Avoid jumping or sudden movement if you can.
  • Eat soft or liquid foods. In order to not disrupt your surgery site, eat only liquid or very soft foods, such as smoothies, yoghurt, ice cream, soups, or applesauce.

Post-surgery care on days 2-4

  • Rinse your mouth: On days 2-4 you can begin to rinse your mouth out very gently with salt water every few hours. Doing this too soon can disrupt the healing process.
  • Eat soft foods: Continue to eat soft foods. By the end of the week you should be able to introduce soft foods like mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, soft bread and ground beef.
  • Compress with a warm cloth: Switch the ice pack for a warm compress on the outside of the jaw. This will help relieve the pain.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking can irritate your wound and prevent your mouth from healing properly.
  • Soften your toothbrush. Use a soft bristled brush and run it under warm water before you brush.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise. Avoid any exercise that involves jumping or rapid movements or is physically strenuous.

 Post-surgery dental implant care for weeks 1-4

 1. Brush and floss regularly

After day four you can rinse your mouth 3-4 times a day and start following a brushing and cleaning routine. You will need to devote extra attention to cleaning and caring for your implants. Bacteria and food can easily get stuck around your implants and gums and form plaque. This can lead to infections or gingivitis. Take your time when flossing and brushing. Use a soft toothbrush in the weeks following your dental implant surgery.

 2. Attend all your scheduled dental appointments

Dental implants are made up of three parts including the screw, abutment and the crown. Most people will need to attend several appointments to complete the procedure and ensure their implant is healing properly before and after the crown is placed. Make sure you are attending all your scheduled appointments as your dentist needs to monitor your progress after the initial surgery.

 3. Notify your dentist if you have any concerns

 Dental implants have an extremely high success rate. However, you must notify your dentist immediately if there is swelling at the implant, it seems to slip or sink under your gum tissue, or you begin to feel extreme pain. Essentially, the faster your dentist addresses any problems with a dental implant, the less likely you are to have major issues or need it replaced in the future.

 4. Eat the foods your dentist recommends post-surgery

Go easy on your tooth for at least three months. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy eating the foods you used to but remember that until your post-surgery recovery period has passed, it is possible that you may not be able to eat hard or sticky foods. Your tooth and gums may take some time before healing completely. Let yourself heal before eating foods that could stick or put pressure on your teeth.

 5. Follow the instructions from your dentist

When you get a dental implant at Gentle Dental, your dentist will talk to you about the recovery process, including what pain medication you can take, when to come in for a checkup appointment and what to expect during the healing process. To book a dental implant consultation click here.

August 8, 2022 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

5 Types of Dental Fillings: Which Is Best?

A common misconception about dental fillings is that they are only used to fix cavities. Fillings have many uses, including filling a tooth after decay has been removed and repairing cracked or broken teeth. Dentists also use fillings to repair worn-down teeth. The cost of dental fillings differs depending on the material used. 

What are the different types of dental fillings? 


While it’s best to let your dentist choose which type of filling is best for your needs, knowing what materials your filling is made of can be helpful.   

Here are five different types of dental fillings you should know about:  


  • Silver Amalgam Fillings
  • Composite fillings
  • Glass ionomer fillings
  • Ceramic fillings
  • Gold fillings
Silver Amalgam Dental Fillings 


Over the years, a commonly used material for fillings was silver amalgam. Silver amalgam contains a range of metals, including mercury, tin, copper and silver. Not all composite fillings contain these ingredients; sometimes, they have just one or two materials.


Silver amalgam fillings have been around for decades. They are highly durable and can last up to a decade. The mercury in silver amalgam fillings is not considered dangerous. In New Zealand, the Ministry of Health monitors literature on its safety and makes recommendation on its use. 

Silver amalgam fillings can be an option, but they have some disadvantages. Firstly, silver stands out against the white enamel of your teeth, and it is obvious you have a filling. Additionally, these fillings can stain and give your teeth a grey hue over time.  

Some dentists don’t like to use silver amalgam as healthy parts of your tooth often need to be removed to hold an amalgam filling. This destruction to more of the tooth structure can be avoided by choosing fillings made from other materials. This process can weaken teeth. 

Finally, amalgam can expand and contract with hot and cold temperatures. This can cause cracks and fractures to form in the tooth. For these reasons, Gentle Dental does not use amalgam fillings in our clinics.

Composite Dental Fillings 

Composite fillings are made of silica, plastic, glass quartz, and other ceramic particles added to a resin base. After the decay is removed from a cavity, the filling is bonded into the hollow cavity. Your dentist will then composite the composite using ultraviolet light. 

Composite is a popular choice of filling mainly because the resin matches the shade of your teeth. When preparing the filling, less of the tooth structure needs to be removed than when using amalgam. 

Composite fillings are also great for repairing chipped, broken or worn teeth. The material creates a strong bond which improves the strength of the tooth. 

There are some disadvantages to composite fillings. They wear out faster than amalgam. Composite fillings have a lifespan of at least five years. They also take a bit longer to set than amalgam fillings, and the cost of these fillings is slightly higher than amalgam.  

Glass Ionomer Dental Fillings 

Glass ionomer dental fillings are mainly used on children and for fillings below the gum line. Glass ionomer fillings are primarily used for their flexibility. They are easier to apply than composite fillings and create a tight seal between the tooth and the rest of the mouth. 

These types of fillings contain silicate glass powder, which contains fluoride. The slow release of fluoride from glass ionomer fillings can help to prevent future cavities and protect teeth. 

Glass ionomers are significantly weaker than composite resin fillings because they tend to wear and tear quickly. They also have a life span of fewer than five years and don’t match the tooth colour as precisely as composite. 

Ceramic Fillings 

Ceramic fillings are made most often out of porcelain. Ceramic fillings generally need to be made in a dental lab (or in one visit at Gentle Dental) and aren’t a good option for quickly treating a cavity. However, ceramic fillings last a long time and have a lifespan of around 15 years. They are more expensive than many other types of fillings.

Gold Fillings 

Gold fillings aren’t very common, but they have many advantages. They are highly durable and can last up to 20 years. They’re also super strong and aren’t likely to break or crack. Some people like how gold fillings look and are happy to pay the high price to be fitted with a gold filling.  

The downsides of gold fillings are the price. They also take longer to fit and require at least two appointments before your tooth is fully restored.  

How to Take Care of Your Dental Fillings 

Take care of your dental fillings by brushing twice daily, flossing and avoiding hard or sticky foods. These can cause fillings to come loose. Very hot and very cold temperatures can also cause amalgam fillings to expand or contract, which can lead to cracks. 

If you have fillings, you must see your dentist regularly, especially if your fillings are old. Your dentist can check that your fillings and the surrounding tooth structure are healthy and if they need to be replaced. 

Book a check-up for your fillings today at Gentle Dental. 

July 11, 2022 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

What to Expect From a Root Canal Treatment

Root canals might seem scary, but the procedure is necessary for preventing infected, decayed or injured teeth from further decay and eventual extraction. Here’s what to expect from a root canal treatment.  

What is a root canal? 

A root canal is a treatment for removing decay from inside a tooth. Soft tissue, known as the pulp, is at the centre of a tooth. This pulp contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues and extends from the tooth’s crown down to the roots. The pulp is vital to the development and growth of a tooth, while the nerves are what give our teeth sensitivity to hot and cold foods.  

During a root canal treatment, a dentist will remove the nerve and pulp at the tooth’s centre. The inside of the tooth is then cleaned and sealed to prevent further decay and to repair and restore the tooth.  

A dentist can perform a root canal. However, if your root canal treatment is complicated, a dentist might refer you to an endodontist — a type of specialist dentist that has expertise in the treatment of dental pulp. 

Why does the tooth pulp need to be removed? 

 Left untreated, the bacteria inside a tooth’s pulp can cause an infection or abscessed tooth. An abscess is a pocket of pus that forms at the tooth’s roots and can’t always be treated by a root canal. The infection may be so bad at this stage that the entire tooth needs to be removed.  

When an infection spreads to the roots of a tooth, it can also cause: 

  • Swelling of the face and neck 
  • Bone loss near the tip of the root 

Dentists generally don’t like removing teeth if they can help it. Teeth provide support and structure for one another, and extraction can leave the remaining teeth unsupported without an implant or teeth bridge to fill the gap. These procedures are also more costly than preventing tooth decay in the first place. 

How do I know if I need a root canal? 

There are several reasons why the pulp inside a tooth may become diseased: 

  • Tooth trauma, or injury 
  • Cracking or fracturing of the tooth 
  • Cavities or decay 
  • Repeated dental procedures 
  • Extreme wear and tear 
  • Large fillings

If you experience the following symptoms, you might need a root canal: 

  • Severe tooth pain when biting or chewing 
  • A chipped or cracked tooth 
  • Swelling or tenderness of the gums 
  • Decay or darkening of the gums 
  • Pimples on your gums 
  • Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures that lasts for longer than usual 
What can I expect during a root canal treatment? 

Root canal treatments can vary depending on how severely the tooth is decayed. A dentist will usually complete a root canal in one to two appointments. You may need an initial consultation followed by an appointment to remove the infected pulp. Tooth crowns are usually fitted at a second appointment. A root canal treatment typically includes the following steps 

  • The dentist or endodontist will take an x-ray of the tooth to see the shape of the root canals beneath the surface. The x-ray will help them determine if there are signs of infection in the surrounding bone.  
  • Local anaesthetic is administered to numb the tooth. A dental dam is often placed over the tooth to keep it isolated and prevent saliva from filling the tooth during the treatment. 
  • An opening is made in the tooth’s crown with a drill or small tool. The dentist removes the decayed tissue, pulp and bacteria from the tooth. The inside of the tooth is cleaned thoroughly, including the pulp chamber and root canals. 
  • The root canals are then sealed with a rubber-like compound called gutta-percha. In cases of infection, the dentist may wait a week before filling the tooth so that the root canals can be treated first. In this case, the dentist temporarily seals the tooth to keep out food debris and saliva. 
  • A filling is fitted to close the hole in the tooth’s crown. In some cases the patient may need a crown to restore the tooth further and prevent the tooth from breaking or cracking in the future. 
What should I do after root canal treatment? 

Most people experience sensitivity, pain or swelling in the treated area for the first few days, but can go back to school or work after treatment. 

Here are some things you can do to help recover after a root canal:  

  • Eat soft foods that don’t require much chewing 
  • Avoid hard foods or hot foods as these can hurt your teeth 
  • Listen to any advice from your dentist
  • Wait until the numbness has worn off before you eat 
  • Try to avoid chewing with the affected tooth until your procedure is completed 
  • Brush, floss and use an antiseptic mouthwash regularly 

Root canal treatment is highly successful, with tooth survival rates of 97%. After the tooth has healed, it will function as it usually does. To ensure the success of your treatment, talk to your dentist about after-care solutions and whether you need a follow-up appointment in the weeks following the root canal. 

Scheduling regular dental checkups is the best way to maintain tooth health and prevent tooth decay from becoming an infection or abscess. If you are experiencing tooth pain or discomfort, contact the friendly team at the Gentle Dental Centre to book an initial assessment. 

April 6, 2022 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

Is a Cavity Filling a Permanent Solution?

If you’ve ever had tooth decay, your dentist may have treated it by giving you a filling. While fillings are a great long-term solution for treating tooth decay, they are not permanent. You still need to take care of your teeth and mouth. Eventually, your filling will need replacing. Here are some things you need to know about getting a replacement filling.

How often does my filling need replacing?

Fillings are a great solution for treating tooth decay. They are durable and restore the overall strength of your teeth. However, a filling won’t last forever. The shelf life of a filling largely depends on what materials it is made of.

Amalgam Fillings

Silver fillings, also known as amalgam fillings, are very durable and can last 15 years before they need to be replaced. One downside to amalgam fillings is that the metals can expand and contract in the mouth. This can cause the surrounding area of the tooth to fracture and crack. It’s always a good idea to get amalgam fillings checked regularly.

Composite Fillings

These white fillings are made from a polymer composite resin. While they don’t last as long as amalgam fillings, they can last up to seven years. Composite fillings do not expand in your mouth and won’t cause your teeth to crack. However, if you have composite fillings, you should still regularly get them checked by a dentist.

Ceramic Fillings

Ceramic fillings are made from porcelain and can last up to fifteen years. Ceramic fillings can be pretty expensive and are generally less common than composite or amalgam fillings.

Why do fillings need to be replaced?

There are a few reasons why a filling might need to be replaced over time.

  • Daily wear and tear in the mouth weaken the filling after years of contact with hard foods and hot and cold liquids.
  • Chewing can put your fillings under pressure. Over time, your filling material gets weaker and doesn’t protect your tooth in the same way.
  • Cracking or tooth trauma can damage your filling and cause it to crack, chip or fall out.
  • You may also choose to get a silver filling replaced with something less noticeable, like composite.

How do I know if my filling needs to be replaced?

The best way to know if your filling needs to be replaced is to book an appointment with your dentist. Regular dental checkups every six months ensure that your fillings are strong and protect your teeth from further dental decay and cavities. Your dentist will check your fillings and will be able to tell you if it’s time for a new one.

If you’ve noticed any new changes in your filling, you should book in for a checkup. Changes can include:

  • pain in a tooth with a filling
  • the filling suddenly feeling sharp
  • a cracking sound in a tooth with a filling
  • part of the filling coming off in your mouth

How can I make my fillings last longer?

While the materials that fillings are made from generally have a finite shelf life, there are ways you can ensure your fillings last as long as possible.

Your eating habits have a significant impact on the general health of your teeth. Adding raw, crunchy fruits and vegetables (celery, carrots, apples etc.) is an easy way to get your five plus a day and keep your teeth nice and strong. Eating less sugar will help your teeth avoid further cavities.

Dental hygiene is the number one way to make your fillings last—book regular checkups with your dentist every six months. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly.

Wear a mouthguard while playing sport. Dental trauma can cause your tooth and filling to come loose.

Wear a mouthguard while you sleep. If you grind your teeth, this can put extra pressure on your fillings. Wearing a mouth guard to bed will help prevent that additional stress on your teeth.

Avoid hard or sticky foods. Some fillings, like amalgam, are not bonded into the tooth, which means there is a chance they can come loose. Avoid eating sticky or hard foods that might coat your tooth or cause the filling to stick to the surface of the food.

Need a checkup for your fillings? Book an appointment at Gentle Dental today.

April 1, 2022 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

Is regenerating teeth an alternative to cavity filling?

Imagine if rather than getting a filling to fix tooth decay, you could get a whole new tooth! While it might sound like science fiction, dental researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science have actually created new teeth within a laboratory setting.

Researchers use lasers to stimulate stem cells to form dentin inside the mouth of real test subjects.

What does this mean for the future of dentistry?

 This breakthrough in dental research means instead of placing a filling in your tooth, dentists may actually be able to grow you a whole new tooth.

Fixing cavities with fillings means that dentists often have to destroy part of your tooth. The decay needs to be removed by drilling a hole and the hole repaired with a filling. Overall, fillings do weaken the structural integrity of the tooth. To be able to grow an entirely new, healthy and strong tooth would be an amazing alternative.

How does regenerating teeth work?

Researchers have been trying to recreate tooth material using stem cells for years. However, until now, they have never succeeded in using stem cells outside of a laboratory setting.

This new research is different as researchers have generated dentin inside the mouths of patients. The researchers used lasers and growth factors to encourage stem cells in the mouth to grow into dentin.

Researchers drilled into teeth to access the stem cells found in the molars. These cells were exposed to low-level lasers, and dental crowns were then put over their teeth. After 12 weeks the researchers found that the dentin in the teeth was successfully regrowing.

What is dentin and why is it important?

Dentin is a hard material that makes up part of your tooth. Although it’s less well known than pulp and enamel, dentin is very important as it makes up the majority of the structure of the tooth. Dentin is the layer between the enamel and the pulp.

How long will it take for teeth regeneration to become viable?

Science is still in its early days which means traditional fillings will be the norm for the foreseeable future. However, scientists are excited by the possibility that tooth regeneration will one day become the norm.

It’s also likely that there will always be a place for treating cavities with fillings. Regenerating new teeth may be costly and currently, the procedure takes a long time. The research will also need to undergo a lot of scrutiny and health checks to make sure it is safe for humans. So far, research has only been carried out (albeit successfully) on rats.

Since there’s no telling when tooth regeneration will become an option for treating tooth decay, you should always look after your teeth as best you can. You can always prevent cavities from forming. When it comes to cavities, prevention is always better than a cure.

How can I avoid cavities?

 Cavities are permanent damage caused to the surface enamel of your teeth. Tooth decay can be caused by sugar, mouth bacteria and plaque buildup on your teeth. To prevent cavities from forming there are several healthy habits you can adopt.


  • Adopt a regular cleaning routine. Brush twice a day and floss between your teeth regularly. Brush your teeth for at least two minutes every time you brush.
  • Brush with fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride helps to build up the strength of your tooth enamel.
  • Avoid sipping sugary drinks. Sugars can cause an increase in acid in the mouth which attacks the enamel of your teeth. Cut down on soft drinks, energy drinks and adding sugars to tea and coffee. Sipping sugary drinks throughout the day can create the perfect breeding ground for acid and bacteria.
  • Avoid foods that get stuck in your teeth. Nuts and chips can be bad for your teeth as they get stuck easily behind and between teeth.
  • Visit your dentist regularly. Plaque can build up in hard-to-reach places in the mouth. Seeing your dentist regularly will ensure that all parts of your teeth are taken care of.


Need a checkup for your teeth? Book an appointment at Gentle Dental today.

March 28, 2022 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

Amalgam vs. Composite Fillings: Pros and Cons

If you have tooth decay, your dentist may ask you whether you want an amalgam or composite filling. In both cases, your dentist will treat your teeth by removing any decay and fitting you with a fling. However, amalgam and composite fillings are different in appearance, materials, and overall performance.

Here’s everything you should know about choosing the right filing for your mouth.

What are amalgam fillings?

If you’ve never heard of amalgam fillings before, you will have seen them. Amalgam fillings are usually referred to as silver fillings and these are very common in older dental patients. In fact, dentists have used amalgam to treat cavities for around 150 years.

Amalgam fillings get their silver colour from the materials they are made from — usually silver, tin, copper, and mercury.

What are the key properties of amalgam fillings?

Amalgam fillings have been the go-to option of dentists for years. They are:

  • Less expensive than composite fillings 
  • Durable and long-lasting 
  • Harden quickly makes them quick to fit in place 

What are the pros and cons of amalgam fillings?

There are lots of benefits to having silver amalgam fillings. These filings:

  • Can last for over a decade with proper dental hygiene habits and care 
  • Are strong and can easily fill large cavities within a tooth 
  • Have a lower price point and are more affordable than composite filings 
  • Harden quickly which makes treatment less stressful for anxious patients 

While there is nothing wrong with having amalgam fillings, there are a few reasons why dentists may prefer a composite filling instead.

  • Amalgam fillings are very noticeable even when fitted onto the back teeth. 
  • Patients with metal allergies may have a bad reaction to the metals. 
  • Amalgam fillings sometimes require more of the tooth structure to be removed. 
  • Amalgam fillings expand and contract with exposure to some temperatures. This can cause fractures in the tooth. 
  • Amalgam fillings are made with 50% mercury. While this is generally low enough not to cause toxicity, mercury is still a toxic material. 

What are the key properties of composite fillings?

Composite fillings blend in with the colour of the tooth and are made from a polymer-based resin that is free from mercury.

  • They are often used as a long-term solution for small and medium filings 
  • They may not be an appropriate long-term solution for very large cavities. Porcelain fillings or a full crown are sometimes used instead. 

What are the pros and cons of composite fillings?


  • Composite resin does not last as long as amalgam and has a shelf life of around 5 years. 
  • They are usually more expensive than amalgam fillings. 
  • They can take longer to fit in the mouth than amalgam fillings as the composite resin is placed in layers into the mouth. 

These might all sound like good reasons not to get a composite filing, but there are a few major reasons why some dentists prefer composite.

  • Composite does not expand or change in size and won’t cause teeth to crack.  
  • They are virtually undetectable. Composite blends in with the colour of your tooth. 
  • Dentists don’t have to remove as much of the tooth as composite fillings bond to the tooth. This means the tooth is stronger as it has more structure to provide support.   
  • Composite resin is completely nontoxic. 

At Dental Gentle we prefer to use composite fillings as they are safer, non-toxic, and won’t compromise the structural integrity of the surrounding tooth. You also won’t have to worry about your fillings being visible when you open your mouth.

Need a checkup? Book an appointment at Gentle Dental today.  

March 24, 2022 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

What Type of Sedation Can I Get for Wisdom Teeth Extraction?

Wisdom tooth extraction is a surgery that removes one or more of your wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth are located in the back of your mouth on the top and bottom rows of your teeth. Impaction is caused when there isn’t enough room for your wisdom tooth to come through. It may cause pain, infection, or other problems and need to be removed.

Wisdom tooth extraction is a fairly common procedure. Because adult humans don’t get their wisdom teeth until their late teens or early twenties, there is often not enough room in the mouth for wisdom teeth to sit. Therefore, your teeth can grow at an angle or push up against other teeth.

Problems with impacted wisdom teeth

 Impacted wisdom teeth might need to be removed because they cause problems for your oral health. This can include:

  • Trapping food behind or in between other teeth
  • Infections and gum disease
  • Damage to other teeth or the surrounding bone
  • Cysts around the wisdom tooth
  • General pain and discomfort
  • Pushing other teeth out of alignment

How should I prepare for a wisdom tooth extraction?

Wisdom tooth extraction for an impacted tooth is most likely performed as an outpatient procedure and is sometimes done at a specialist surgery office or hospital. After your surgery, you will be able to go home the same day. However, you won’t be able to drive or operate heavy machinery and you will likely need a week off work and usual manual tasks so that you can recover.

It is a good idea to discuss any concerns you have about the surgery with your dentist. If you are on medication or have concerns about what type of sedation your dentist will use, you can discuss this at your consultation. Commonly, you will be asked to:

  • Avoid eating anything for six hours before your surgery
  • Arrive slightly early for your appointment so that everything runs on time.
  • Provide the contact details for someone to pick you up after surgery. Your dentist will call them once you are ready to go home.

What sedation will my dentist use during wisdom tooth extraction?

Your dentist or oral surgeon will be able to tell you what type of anesthesia and sedation they will use during wisdom tooth surgery. Depending on how complex your surgery is, they will usually use one of the following options.

Local Anesthesia 

Local anesthesia is delivered via injection in the mouth, near the site of each wisdom tooth that needs an extraction. Before your dentist gives you an injection, they will likely use a numbing agent on your mouth so you shouldn’t feel the injection going in. During local anesthesia, you will be awake during the wisdom tooth extraction procedure. While you shouldn’t feel any pain during the procedure you may feel some pressure and movement within your mouth.

IV or Oral Sedation

IV sedation is delivered via an IV drip into a vein in your arm. Oral sedation is a liquid which you drink prior to your procedure. Sedation makes the patient more relaxed, drowsy and sometimes makes you fall asleep. Patients are awake and still responsive but will have little memory of the procedure.

General Anesthesia

Your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend general anesthesia. This is performed by an anesthesiologist and usually includes gas inhalation or intravenous forms of sedation. During general anesthesia, patients lose consciousness during the procedure and are unable to respond. Your vital signs will be monitored during the extraction surgery to ensure that the anesthetic has been administered safely.

How long does dental sedation last?

Local anesthesia lasts between four to six hours, although you may experience numbness for up to 24-hours after your procedure. IV sedation and general anesthesia last about six hours. Once an IV sedation is removed you will wake up in about twenty minutes. Your dentist will likely take you to a recovery room once you are awake to ensure you have time to properly wake up.  

It’s important that you have a friend or family member to pick you up after your wisdom teeth extraction surgery. You cannot rely on an uber or taxi. You will need someone to help get you from the vehicle into your house and make sure you are okay for the rest of the day.

How to book a wisdom tooth extraction 

If you think you need your wisdom teeth removed, book an appointment with our friendly dentists at Gentle Dental. During your regular dental examination, we’ll assess your teeth including an intra-oral exam and we can offer an additional full jaw x-ray.  

We have a wealth of experience removing both un-restorable teeth and impacted wisdom teeth, as painlessly as possible.



January 5, 2022 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

Wisdom teeth removal: how does surgery work?

Wisdom teeth are the teeth at the very back of the mouth that usually come through in your late teenage years. Sometimes if there isn’t enough room in your mouth for your wisdom teeth to come through properly these teeth can cause problems and may have to be removed.

How do I know if I need my wisdom teeth removed?

Most people have four wisdom teeth, however not everyone develops these teeth. Wisdom teeth only need to be removed if they cause problems in your mouth. Not every person needs to have their wisdom teeth removed and you may only experience problems with one or two of your teeth.

Wisdom teeth can cause mouth pain when they initially come through your gums. However, if your teeth have already come through and are still causing pain or bite problems it may be time to have them removed.

Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?

Wisdom teeth need to be removed when they are impacting other teeth. There may be a lack of space in your mouth for your wisdom teeth to come through and this can cause them to butt up against other teeth.

Your dentist may recommend wisdom teeth removal if you are experiencing any of these problems;

  • Tooth decay in your wisdom teeth
  • An abscess in the tooth or surrounding tissue
  • Periodontal diseases like pericoronitis
  • An infection in the bone
  • Cysts or tumors near your wisdom tooth
  • Obstruction of other teeth and impaction
How is wisdom tooth removal surgery performed?

Wisdom teeth removal can be straightforward or more complex depending on the position of your teeth. Most wisdom teeth surgery can be performed by a dentist, although occasionally it may be recommended that you see a specialist dental surgeon at another clinic or even hospital.

Wisdom teeth surgery is usually performed with the patient under local anesthetic, to numb the tooth and surrounding area.

If the wisdom tooth has not come through the gum at all, a small incision will be made into the gum so the dentist can access the tooth. The tooth may also be broken up to make the removal below the gum easier.

During the procedure you will feel movement and pressure of the tooth. The dentist or oral surgeon will need to widen the tooth socket to remove the tooth. This is usually done by rocking the tooth back and forth.

What is the best age to remove wisdom teeth?

There’s no “right age” to have your wisdom teeth removed. Most people get their wisdom teeth between their late teens and early twenties. However there is an advantage to getting wisdom teeth removed at a younger age, as the recovery process is faster in younger patients.

Only one of my wisdom teeth is causing problems. Do I need all four removed?

No. It is not necessary to remove perfectly healthy wisdom teeth. A dentist should only recommend removing wisdom teeth if they are currently causing problems or are likely to cause problems in the future.

Will removing wisdom teeth cause any long-term problems?

No. Removing wisdom teeth does not cause long-term problems. Instead, you are likely to avoid long term problems with your teeth and gums by having problematic teeth removed.

What to expect post-wisdom teeth surgery?

It can take up to two weeks to fully recover from wisdom teeth removal surgery. In any case, you should take a couple of days off work and scheduled activities to recover at a minimum. After surgery you may experience:

  • Swelling of the mouth and cheeks which should improve gradually over time. Pressing a cold compress to your face can help reduce the swelling.
  • Mild and visible bruising of your cheeks. The bruising may be visible for two weeks.
  • Stiffness and soreness in your mouth and jaw which should wear off in a week to ten days.
  • Pain in the mouth, which may be worse if the extraction was more difficult.
  • Tingling or numbness in the face, lips or tongue. Although this is not very common.

While it is normal to experience some bleeding and pain after surgery, you should report severe pain or discomfort post-surgery to your dentist.

What is the post-surgical care for recovering from wisdom teeth surgery?

Here are some things you can do to feel more comfortable and help recover faster after having your wisdom teeth removed:

  • Take paracetamol or ibuprofen to help with the pain of removal
  • Avoid exercise or strenuous activity for a few days after surgery
  • Use an extra pillow for support for the first few nights after surgery
  • Avoid rinsing, spitting, hot drinks or other things that can dislodge blood clots that form in the empty tooth socket
  • Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol for 24 hours after surgery
  • Eat soft or liquid foods and try to avoid using the teeth near your removed wisdom tooth to chew
  • Rinse your mouth with antiseptic mouthwash after 24 hours. Repeat regularly over the next couple of days
Can I work or drive after surgery?

It is recommended that you take a few days off work after surgery to recover. You can drive after the surgery if local anesthetic was used.

If general anesthetic was used, avoid driving for at least 48 hours after your surgery.

Book an appointment to get your wisdom teeth checked

The best way to know if you need your wisdom teeth removed is to book an appointment with a dentist. At Gentle Dental, we recommend booking a general appointment, and we will assess your wisdom teeth to see if they need to be removed.

During this time, we can give you a price estimation and guide you through the whole process, including how best to manage your recovery. Book your appointment here.