Dentistry has become a very complex and exact science, with many new diagnostic and treatment modalities available almost on a monthly basis. It is very important that the dentist and the entire dental team keep up to date with the latest developments.
Dental health is not only important for a beautiful, confident smile but also you must be able to function properly.
It has a big influence on your quality of life. A beautiful healthy smile gives you so much more confidence.
Toothache and infection can cause severe suffering.
Missing teeth can lead to an inability to properly chew food which can lead to digestive problems and because of lack of vertical support, causes temporomandibular joint dysfunction and pain.
Periodontal Disease (gum infection) can lead to toothache, loss of teeth and even systemic diseases like pericarditis (heart disease).
A proper diagnosis is the key to solving any dental problem. All patients need a full dental examination, photographs and a good set of x-rays, today these are all digital and available immediately with very little exposure. X-rays will show us everything we can't see, underneath old fillings, between teeth and also in the bone surrounding the teeth.
Based on the above and what we clinically see in the mouth, a treatment plan is suggested along with a quotation and you can decide what you would like done to get your mouth to a healthy state.
Regular 6 monthly visits to the oral hygienist is very important to clean the teeth (prevent decay and gingivitis/periodontitis) and apply fluoride (make teeth more resistant to decay).
Teeth develop caries (holes) due to sugar and/or acidity in your diet. If you do not clean your teeth thoroughly and keep them clean, bacteria that occur naturally in your mouth will feed off the sugar and demineralise your teeth.
Underneath the enamel is a softer bone (dentin) which decays much faster. The process can be halted by removing all the decaying parts and repairing the tooth with a filling or crown.
If left untreated it will be necessary to remove the nerves (endodontic treatment) of the tooth or to extract the tooth.
Fillings can be silver (amalgam) or white (composite). Composite fillings look better but are not as hard as metal fillings. With white (composite) fillings the teeth may also be more sensitive.
White (composite) fillings are more expensive than silver (amalgam).
Because of the possibility that the mercury in amalgam fillings can be harmful we prefer doing white fillings. With white (composite) fillings teeth might also be more sensitive, although with new technology this happens very seldom and if it does it can be easily treated.
You should not eat on the filled tooth for at least 24 hours, to allow the filling to set and reach its full strength.
To scale and polish your teeth you will ensure that the teeth are cleaned very well.
Fluoride strengthens teeth and prevents the forming of caries.
Children’s teeth can be sealed with fissure sealants which also prevents the forming of cavities.
Dental implants are used: 1. To replace lost teeth – an implant is placed in the jaw bone and later a crown is placed on the implant and 2. To stabilize dentures. This is done in two ways:
A. An overlay type denture is made with o-rings on the fitting surface of the denture that clips onto a transmucosal abutment that is anchored to the implant. The denture must be removed and the denture, gingiva (gum) must be thoroughly cleaned daily.
B. A fixed denture where a metal structure is made that is screwed to the implants.
The denture teeth are fixed to this structure. It cannot be removed by the patient.
Factors such as diabetes, smoking, auto-immune illness can affect the quality of the bone (e.g. if there has been infection or abscesses in the area), respiratory or cardiac illness, radio-therapy or chemo-therapy patients constitute a risk to implant treatment.
Implants are a very advanced technology – a metal root is implanted in the jawbone and left for 3 to 6 months to integrate (to fuse with the jaw bone). It is sometimes possible to place an implant immediately after a tooth has been removed. A temporary crown or healing cap will be placed on the implant and a permanent crown after integration.
Afterward, a component is placed through the gum and a crown placed on the component. In the case of dentures, it clips onto the components. The lifespan for an implant is 6 years and longer.
It is very important to clean around the implant with brushing and flossing to prevent infection and loss of the implant.
Should the bone in the area where the implant must be placed, be of poor quality as a result of infection or other factors, it may be necessary to supplement the bone at an additional cost.
After the implantation there will be pain, bleeding and swelling, the same as with extraction. Soluble stitches are used and you should not disturb the wound. Do not rinse your mouth for the first 24 hours. Keep the rest of your mouth as clean as possible to prevent infection.
Implants can fail, if the bone quality and/or quantity is not good, it might not integrate. The implant is then removed and the hollow in the bone is filled up, the implant may be done at a later stage.
Should the bone in the area where the implants must be placed be deficient or resorbed or be of poor quality, bone must be added to make the placing of the implant possible. This will be a more expensive treatment.
To crown, a tooth is the last option to try and keep the tooth. Either the tooth has decayed or broken so badly that it cannot be repaired with a normal filling. A crown fits over the existing tooth to strengthen the tooth.
In certain cases, it might be that there is not enough natural tooth left to cement the crown onto. In such cases, a pin and core will be placed in the root to give additional retention.
A crowned tooth is not as strong as a normal tooth and it is, therefore, better to be careful with crowned teeth. Avoid hard or sticky foods.
Crowns sometimes are used for aesthetic reasons. In cases where teeth are slightly skew, it can be straightened or where teeth are badly stained or have old fillings that are discoloured or leaking, single or multiple crowns can be used to restore a beautiful smile.
If the crown should come lose it usually can be recemented. A crown should last for at least 6 to 8 years. (Not guaranteed).
We take great care in trying to create a "dental home" for children so that a visit to the dentist can be a positive experience for the child, parent and practitioner. Treatment may also be done using conscious sedation or general anesthetic (in theatre). Remember to prepare your child for a dental visit by discussing the probable experience beforehand.
For particularly nervous patients a tablet, a drip or injection can be administered to ensure they're relaxed for the duration of their treatment.
We can reduce anxiety through N20 (laughing gas) administration. The patient must first be evaluated to see which method will be best and safest to use.
TMJ (Jaw Joint) Problems
TMJ (Jaw joint) problems are mostly as a result of the “bite” of the upper and lower teeth that are incorrect.
Stress, grinding of teeth, gender (mostly women) and the emotional nature of a person are also factors that could play a role. In some cases, the symptoms include headache, neck ache, earache, sore muscles of the face.
A splint (removable plate) is used to treat the symptoms and to help the joint to heal.
In extreme cases, it might be necessary to surgically correct the joint.
It is very important that you wear the appliance 24 hours per day. It must be taken out after every meal and cleaned. You must also clean the teeth.
At first, it will be uncomfortable and you will find it difficult to eat or speak, but it will get better. The appliance will only work if you wear them!
The main aim of the appliance is to alleviate the symptoms and to give the joints a chance to recover. After six months the cause of the problem will have to be addressed.
It is therefore important that you come back so that your problem can be attended to.
It is also important that you come back regularly so that we can assess your progress or the lack thereof. Your first appointment is two weeks after you received your appliance and monthly thereafter.
While cleaning does not close your mouth – the teeth must not touch.
The appliance prevents the lower jaw to move up high when you close your mouth, which in return prevents injury to the joint between the lower jaw and cranium base.
It is therefore important that you must wear the appliance 24 hours per day, especially when you chew. This prevents the lower jaw to move up too high and further injures the jaw joint area.
Good luck, and if there are any problems, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Prosthodontics : Dentures
We have many years of experience in the fitting of new dentures. Over the years we have developed our own unique way of fabricating dentures and we have very good results.
Removal of Teeth
Due to decay, periodontal disease or trauma it might be necessary to remove teeth/a tooth.
We can do this with the utmost care and as atraumatic as possible. Because of a new line of instruments and methodology, it is a less daunting experience than before.
The same is true of the removal of impacted wisdom teeth.
Dental Pain Management & Therapy with Lasers
We use a Diode Laser for surgery and pain therapy.