Category: Restoration

August 8, 2022 by Copy 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.

December 14, 2021 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

What is the Procedure for a Broken Tooth?

Left untreated dental trauma, such as broken tooth, can result in further problems such as infectionA broken tooth can be painful and result in a loss of confidenceIf you experience a broken tooth, see your dentist as soon as possible. Fortunately, if treated as soon as possible there are many things your dentist can do to save the health and look of your tooth. 

What are common causes of a broken tooth?

Teeth are generally quite strong, however a broken tooth can be the result of a facial injury, biting down on something hard – like ice or hard lollies – and can be emphasized if the tooth already has some decay.  

Grinding your teeth, biting down on hard foods, uneven chewing, exposure to hot then cold temperatures and brittle teeth can lead to a broken tooth. Even healthy teeth can break. What’s important is that you see your dentist as soon as possible after you notice your broken tooth. 

How do I identify a broken tooth?

If you have experienced a facial injury – like a knock to the mouth – it might be obvious that your tooth is broken. However, it is possible to crack a tooth and not realise. Here are some warning signs that you may have cracked a tooth: 

  • Tooth pain when biting or chewing 
  • Overall tooth pain is inconsistent and comes and goes 
  • Sensitivity to sweet foods hot or cold temperatures 
  • Infection around your tooth or the gum of a tooth 
  • Tooth pain but there are no obvious signs of decay 
  • Hearing a crack after eating hard foods 
How to care for a broken tooth?

If your tooth is cracked, or you suspect it is cracked, you should book an emergency dental appointment as soon as you can. At Gentle Dental, we have same-day appointments available for patients, so you don’t have to wait to get your teeth sorted.  

 Leaving a broken tooth for too long could result in infection, further damage or even the loss of your tooth. While you wait for your appointment, here are some things you can do that may help: 

Take pain relief: Over the counter pain relief should help with the pain.  

Rinse your mouth with salt water: Swirl your mouth with salt water to help keep it clean. 

Avoid biting down on the tooth: Don’t eat if you can help it. Eat soft foods if you must eat before your appointment. 

What is the treatment for broken teeth?

The treatment for a broken tooth depends on how your tooth is broken.   

Bonding A Chipped Tooth 

If your tooth is chipped, you may have just broken off part of the tooth enamel. A dentist may be able to repair the damage with a filing. If you have broken off a part of your front tooth, and your tooth is uneven, your dentist may choose to use a procedure called bonding. 

Bonding uses tooth-coloured resin to repair the look of your tooth. The procedure does not require any anesthetic and is fairly painless. The dentist will etch the surface of the tooth so that the bonding material will stick to it. The resin is attached using an adhesive and the tooth is shaped to look natural again. 

Dental Cap or Crown For a Larger Break 

For more significant broken teeth, your dentist may replace part of the tooth with a dental cap or a crown. First, the dentist will file away at the remaining tooth before covering it with a crown or a tooth-shaped cap. The final result will look like a real tooth. 

Crowns are made from metal, resin, ceramic, or porcelain fused to metal and each has its own benefit. Metal crowns are very strong and ceramic and porcelain crowns look very real. If your entire tooth is broken off but the root remains intact the dentist may perform a root canal to insert a pin into the canal and help build up some structure to hold the crown on top. 

Dental Veneers 

Dental veneers are a good option for chipped or broken front teeth. They do a good job of hiding the broken tooth and will look just as real as the rest of your teeth. A thin shell of porcelain or resin covers the whole front of the tooth with a thicker section to cover the broken portion of the tooth. 

During the procedure, the dentist will remove a thin layer of enamel from the surface of your tooth so that the veneer can then be applied. An impression of your tooth will be taken for the veneer to be made. Once the veneer is ready it is applied with dental cement to the surface of the tooth. 

Root Canal Therapy 

Root canal therapy is only necessary when the tooth is broken and exposes the center of the tooth. In this case, the exposed pulp can become infected and die if it’s not removed. Root canal therapy will remove the deal pulp clean the root canal and seal it. The remaining tooth can then be covered with a crown. 

What to do if your tooth is knocked out

If your tooth has been knocked out, acting quickly can help save your tooth and increase the chance that it can be replanted. 

  1. Collect the tooth or the tooth fragments that have been knocked out. Handle them carefully and rinse the tooth gently in lukewarm water if there is dirt on it. Do not rub or scrape the dirt as it may damage the tooth. 
  2. Rinse the mouth out with warm water and if possible insert the tooth into the socket and bite down on some gauze to hold the tooth in place. Teeth can be stored in whole milk if you cannot reinsert them.
  3. Use sterile gauze or cloth to control the bleeding and apply a cool compress for the swelling. Take ibuprofen for the pain.
  4. See a dentist or go to the emergency room as soon as possible and take the tooth or fragments with you. 

If you have experienced a chipped or broken tooth, book an emergency appointment today at Gentle Dental. Our dentists will work to restore your tooth as best as we can.  

November 14, 2021 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

Can Dental Implants Be Replaced?

If you have dental implants the crown of your implant can be replaced if it is damaged. However, dental implants are inserted with the intention that like real teeth, they will be with you for life.

Dental implant surgery can cause a lot of stress and strain on the jaw and is not something most dentists want their patients to have to go through more than once. However, there are some instances where your dental implant as a whole may need to be replaced.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are permanently installed to replace a broken or missing tooth. Dental implants are made to replace individual teeth and do not need to be removed like dentures.

A dental implant is made up of:

  • a receptor. These are not designed to be replaced. These are inserted into the jawbone to hold the crown of the tooth in place.
  • and a crown. The crown screws into the receptor and can be replaced if damage is caused to it.
Why might a dental implant need to be replaced?

A common reason a dental implant may need to be replaced is because of poor oral hygiene habits that can lead to infection. However, according to one study age, length of the implant, the diameter of the implant, bone quality, and region of the implant are all factors that determine how long dental implants will survive.

Dental implants are grafted into the bone. Poor hygiene can cause gum disease which can lead to the loosening of the gum from the bone and undermine the implant.

When the implant is no longer supporting the tooth the whole dental implant may need to be extracted.

What factors can cause dental implants to fail?
  • Smoking: Smoking restricts blood flow to the bones which can lead to the loosening of the gums. When the gums are loose the implant has a harder time being supported by the jawbone the implant is grafted to. Dental implants in smokers have a 20% higher failure rate than non-smokers.
  • Gum disease: Gingivitis leads to weakened gums which affect the success rate of an implant. You will need to have healthy gums to undergo dental implant surgery.
  • Bone loss: Some people have an insufficient bone in their jaw for dental surgery to be effective. Osteoporosis in older age can have an effect on dental implant success.
  • Pre-existing conditions: Some medical conditions can cause the body to heal slower than a healthy body. Dental implants can take up to six weeks to heal. Diabetes or arthritis may cause the jawbone to heal very slowly. One study from 2016 found heartburn medications may reduce new bone growth. Talk to your doctor about which medications you are on before undergoing dental implant surgery.
  • Bad oral hygiene: Poor oral hygiene can lead to the failure of dental implants. This is because diseases like gingivitis can compromise the health of your gums.
How to know if my dental implant is failing?
  • Infection, bleeding, or pain around the implant unrelated to the initial surgery
  • The implant becomes loose or falls out
  • Numbness, tingling and loss of feeling in the jaw or area where the implant is
  • Sinus problems which develop after surgery. This could be a sign the implant is touching the sinus cavity.
  • Peri-implantitis. This is highly uncommon but is caused when the bone and gum around the implant are inflamed from a bacterial infection.
How to ensure your dental implant lasts a lifetime:

Brushing for two minutes a day with an electric toothbrush is one of the best ways to keep your dental implant healthy. Flossing every day between teeth is critical to keeping the gums healthy and strong.

Keeping a consistent schedule with your dentist is also key to ensuring your dental implants last a lifetime. If you have dental implants and are concerned about its longevity, book in now to see one of our highly qualified dentists.

Our dentists will take a look at your implant and give you the advice and guidance needed to keep your mouth and your dental implant healthy.

September 15, 2021 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

Why You Shouldn’t Fear Dental Implants

Dental implants look and function like regular teeth and are often recipients will have a hard time deciphering their fake tooth from their real ones.  Dental implant surgery is a procedure that replaces the root of a tooth with a metal screw and an artificial tooth. This procedure can be performed on one or several teeth as an alternative to dentures of bridgework.

Many people feel nervous about dental implant surgery, but the reality is it’s not as invasive as it sounds. What’s important to remember is that dental implants serve a very important function as it creates solid support for your new teeth. While it may be more painful to get surgery than be fitted with a denture, the end result is a permanent tooth that doesn’t need any extra maintenance than a regular tooth. 

What is involved in dental implants surgery?

The surgery will differ from person to person as it depends on the type of implant and the condition of your jawbone. Some people may require a bone graft to ensure the dental implant has a strong enough foundation to be screwed into.  

After the bone graft, or if you do not require a bone graft a titanium implant is placed into the jaw bone just beneath the gums. Over the span of a few months it fuses with the bone and will act as an “artificial tooth root” for a crown to be screwed into once healing is completed.

Dental implants have gained a lot of popularity because they are so effective. The technology used in dental implant surgeries has evolved and the success rate of implants is close to 98% 

Despite this statistic, some people still have fears of getting dental implants. This may be because they’re not sure if getting implants is the correct option or they fear the discomfort or infections it may cause.  

Dental implants are safe because dentists use titanium for embedding in the jawbone. In fact, titanium has a natural affinity with bone. So, over time it makes a stronger and more durable connection in your jaw as new cells tend to grow. If you are considering dental implants, we’ve created a shortlist that should put your mind at ease.  

3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Be Nervous About Dental Implants

An implant surgery is a minor surgery yet the details and thought that goes into each surgery is thorough. With a 98% success rate it’s unlikely you need to worry about getting a surgery that won’t heal properly or solve the issue of your missing tooth. In complex cases, dentists use x-ray or CT imaging to determine the location for the implant. This will guide them during the surgical procedures where they’ll use it to create channels to hold the implant.  

The reality is that implants are easier than tooth extraction. So, if you’re comfortable with using a local anesthesia, then this procedure will not be painful. Dentists numb the implant site with local anesthesia while all the other surrounding tissues remain conscious. If you don’t approve your dentist of using anesthesia, they could include  a sedative or anti-anxiety medication before proceeding with the surgery.  

Dental implants are a great option because they offer a permanent solution for tooth loss. They generally last longer than teeth bridges and don’t require removal, extra cleaning and storage like dentures do. Some dental implant procedures can be done in one day, however, it’s up to your dentist, whether or not they recommend more time after the initial surgery and before fitting the crown. This is to avoid strain on your healing implants.  

Find Your Dental Implants NZ Expert   

At Gentle Dental, we can walk you through the best solution for missing teeth. As experts in dental implants NZ, we have some of the best dentists in Wellington. Dental implants do represent a slightly greater investment but their longevity makes it all worth it.  

The technology, expertise and gentle approach to all our dentistry services make us the most preferred dentists around here. Contact the team at the Gentle Dental Centre for an implant appointment or assessment.