June 9, 2021 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

What are Dental Implants and How Do They Work?

In New Zealand, the percentage of adults who have missing teeth increases with every age group. While good dental hygiene is important to prevent the loss of a tooth, there are aesthetic solutions for their replacement.

Dental implants are excellent for people who need to replace one or more teeth. They are a permanent solution, are unparalleled in a cosmetic sense, and are nearly impossible to detect even when fitted next to real teeth.

So how do they work? A dental implant works like a screw-in tooth, with a receptor (the part that the crown screws into) insert placed into your jawbone to hold it in place. The receptor is usually made of an incredibly strong alloy or titanium. The crown (which is the tooth part) is made specifically to blend in with the rest of your teeth — making for a seamless and aesthetically pleasing result.

The most common practice for installing implants is very straightforward and simple. In fact, it’s often possible to remove a tooth, install the insert and place the implants all in the space of a single day.

What are the benefits of dental implants?

The benefits of having dental implants fitted is that they can replace one or more damaged teeth without needing to be anchored to your other teeth. This makes them a more permanent and natural solution than dentures or a dental bridge.

Dental implants are firmly secured into the jawbone which makes them incredibly durable. They provide a strong foundation that acts just like the root of a tooth does. They create a firm bone structure within your jaw and look and feel like natural, functioning teeth.

Dental implants do not require care in the same way that dentures do. As the results are permanent, you can look after your dental implant with brushing and flossing, as you would your regular teeth. Many patients enjoy the simplicity and freedom that dental implants offer when compared to less permanent options.

How are dental implants fitted?

The process of fitting dental implants always starts with a consultation. This is arguably the most important part of the process, as it’s paramount that the right details, dimensions and requirements for your surgery are taken into account. During the consultation, it’s common to undergo a clinical examination, X-ray scans and a CT scan Dentists use this scan to create a model to ensure optimum results.

Sometimes, there isn’t enough natural bone in the patient’s jaw to properly secure a dental implant, resulting in the need for bone to be grafted in to secure the insert. This involves leaving the graft in for a period of time during which it will bond to the natural bone of your jaw. This process provides more stability for your implant.

What does dental implant surgery involve?

Implant surgery is a common and well-established procedure, usually with a complete recovery. There are, of course, some discomforts associated with surgery — but these can be accounted for and often negated with the right consultation and care.

Before your surgery, you will be given instructions on what to do in the lead up to the procedure. This can include (but is not limited to) rinsing out your mouth with antibacterial mouthwash, not eating on the day of the surgery if you’re being sedated and taking prescribed antibiotics a few days before the procedure begins.

During the surgery, your dentist will place the titanium implant into your jawbone, right below the gums. This procedure can take one to two hours to complete, per implant. Most dentists will wait up to 3 months for the implant to heal before completing the final restoration. It is important that your gums and bone heals properly before they can secure the crown.

Once your healing period is complete, your dentist will fit the abutment and crown to the implant. An abutment is placed between the titanium implant and the crown to act as a shock absorber.

What is the cost of dental implant surgery?

Dental Implant treatment represents a slightly greater investment than conventional treatment; however, the benefits of implant therapy for most patients outweigh the minor additional cost involved.

As surgery requirements can differ from patient to patient, book a consultation at Gentle Dental, and we can give you a more accurate cost of the procedure.

What does post-surgery care involve?

After your implant surgery is completed, it’s important to take care of your new replacement teeth. Take extra care to carry out a thorough oral hygiene routine and come back to visit the dentist regularly to see how your implants are getting on.

All told, dental implants surgery takes longer than some other procedures, but the end result is totally permanent. At Gentle Dental, our friendly dentists can walk you through the process and tell you whether a dental implant is the best option for your smile. Book an appointment to see us today.

April 15, 2021 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment of a Cracked Tooth

Our teeth go through a lot. From grinding and chewing to eating sticky or hard foods, it’s no surprise that every now and then our teeth will crack or break.

What Causes a Cracked Tooth?

A cracked tooth can happen for a variety of reasons. Teeth grinding can put pressure on teeth causing cracks to form over time. Large fillings can also weaken the integrity of the tooth and cause fractures.

More common causes of cracked teeth are biting hard foods such as toffee and other sticky hard sweets, ice, and nuts. Injuries also cause a large proportion of teeth cracks. Changes in temperature in the mouth can weaken teeth — eating extremely hot foods then cooling the mouth with ice can cause stress to teeth. Age is also a leading factor of tooth cracks. As a large percentage of our population reach old age, cracked teeth, will become more of a problem.

What Are The Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth?

Not every cracked tooth is painful, or even noticeable. Some cracks are harmless and don’t require treatment. There are many more extensive types of crack that require dental treatment. If you suffer from any of the following you could have a cracked tooth:

  • Swollen gums particularly around the cracked tooth
  • Pain when eating, especially when chewing
  • Mouth or tooth pain that tends to come and go
  • Teeth that have suddenly become sensitive to sweetness
  • Discomfort around the teeth and gums that is hard to pinpoint
  • Teeth that have suddenly become sensitive to hot or cold foods
Are There Different Types of Cracks?

Commonly, there are five different types of cracked teeth. Each one is slightly more serious than the last and require more attention.

Craze Lines: These are superficial cracks that don’t cause pain to the teeth. Craze lines appear as thin cracks in the enamel of the tooth. They are natural and don’t require treatment.

Fractured Cusp: This type of crack will usually occur around a dental filling. These fractures usually don’t occur in the middle of the tooth where the nerve centre is and don’t cause much pain. It’s still a good idea to get a fractured cusp check out by your dentist.

Cracks to the Gum Line: If your tooth has a crack in it that goes all the way down to the gum line, the crack could run beneath your gums. This tooth will probably need to be extracted as the fracture could run deep. The best chance you have of saving this tooth is to get it examined by a dentist as soon as possible.

Split tooth: This is a crack that runs from the surface of the tooth to below the gum line and splits the tooth into two parts. While your dentist might not be able to save the whole teeth, they may be able to save half of it. A split tooth needs dental attention immediately.

Vertical root fracture: A vertical fracture starts below the gum line and travels upwards. Unless the tooth is infected vertical root fractures don’t always cause pain. It’s likely that this tooth will need to be pulled out.

What to do if You Have a Cracked Tooth

If your tooth is broken or fractured, visit your dentist as soon as possible. Otherwise, your tooth could be damaged further or get infected. This can increase the chances of losing your tooth and lead to other health problems.

In the meantime, try the following self-care measures:

  • If the tooth is painful, take an over-the-counter pain relief.
  • Rinse your mouth with saltwater.
  • Eat soft food to avoid biting down on the broken tooth.
  • If the break has caused a sharp edge, cover it with a piece of wax paraffin or sugarless chewing gum to keep it from cutting your tongue.

Treatment for a broken tooth will depend on how critical it is damaged. If only a small piece is broken off, it’ll be repaired in one sitting. A badly damaged or broken tooth may require a more lengthy and costly procedure.

How a Broken Tooth is Diagnosed

Since not all broken teeth are painful, or even obvious, a good dentist will have to do a visual examination on your teeth. They may ask about your dental history, whether you chew on hard foods or grind your teeth to figure out the cause of the breakage.

During the examination your dentist might:

  • Use a magnifying lens to do a visual examination to find the crack.
  • Run a dental explorer over the tooth to see if it catches on any broken parts.
  • use a dental dye to temporarily stain your teeth and make any cracks stand out.
  • Probe your gums to look for inflammation, particularly to identify vertical cracks.
  • Get you to bit down on something to identify where the pain is located.
Treatment for a Broken or Cracked Tooth

Depending on what type of crack your tooth has, your dentist will likely recommend one of the following treatments.

Bonding: This is a simple procedure, where plastic resin is used to fill in the crack in your tooth. This restores the look and functionality of the tooth.

Crown: A porcelain or ceramic crown is fitted over the top of your tooth to protect it. This process may take a couple of weeks as the dentist may have to make a mold of your tooth, and send it away to get the crown made.

Root Canal: If a crack extends into the tooth pulp (the softer centre of the tooth where the nerves live) a root canal can remove the damaged pulp and restore the tooth. 

Extraction: If the structure of the tooth is too damaged, a dentist may opt to remove the tooth completely.

How to Prevent a Cracked Tooth

Good oral hygiene is important for the health of our teeth. Avoiding hard or sticky foods is recommended as well as wearing a mouthguard during sport.

If you are concerned about cracks in your teeth, book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. At Gentle Dental, our expert team of dentists can gently examine your teeth and recommend a suitable treatment plan. Book an appointment today.