I have some old silver fillings which are beginning to look bad. Should they be replaced?
Silver amalgam fillings, which are composed of 50% mercury and 50% silver alloy, will eventually need to be replaced. Amalgam fillings need to be checked regularly for signs of fracture or breakdown at the margin - this allows for bacteria to penetrate under the filling and cause decay. Book a consultation to discuss amalgam removal and we can explain the process to you.
If my tooth fractures, can it be saved and do I have to have the unsightly amalgam again?
These days, the vast majority of teeth that have suffered a fracture can be saved with the advances in dental material technology. We do not use amalgam at West End Dental.
What can be done if my teeth are broken and decayed?
The possibilities for creating a beautiful smile are limitless. Advances in technology now allow us to create stunning smiles even when the original teeth are severely broken down. At West End Dental, we will discuss the full range of options with you.
Q. What is gum disease?
Gum disease affects the foundation of your teeth, primarily the gum and bone supporting your teeth. It is otherwise known as ‘periodontal disease’ and has two common forms:
- Gingivitis - plaque, bacteria and calculus (known as tartar) build up and irritate the gums causing inflammation. The gums may bleed and become red, swollen, and tender.
- Periodontitis – A deeper inflammation which affects the bone holding the teeth in place. If left untreated the bone may be destroyed leaving a space or ‘pocket’ in which more bacteria can collect causing permanent bone loss. If enough bone is lost, the teeth loosen and may eventually be lost.
Q. What warning signs should I look for with gum disease?
The following signs are indications of potential gum disease:
- Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
- Bleeding when you brush your teeth
- Red and swollen gums
- Receding gums
- Sensitive teeth
Loose or moving teeth
Q. My gums don’t hurt – why do I need special gum treatment?
. Most people are not aware that they have gum disease. Like high blood pressure, gum disease is often painless and can be serious. Gum disease is the biggest cause of tooth loss, and we now know has a strong link with our general health. Gum disease is a risk for heart attack, stroke, and pre-term birth, as well as other health conditions.
Q. Does smoking affect my teeth and gums?
Research indicates that smoking significantly increases the risk for oral health problems, such as periodontal disease and oral cancer, as well as other conditions.
Q. Does pregnancy affect my teeth and gums?
Yes. Hormonal fluctuations increase your risk of gum disease, and it is important that you continue to visit the dentist for regular check-ups whilst you are pregnant.
Q. How does home whitening work?
Home whitening employs a specially formulated non acidic gel that is placed into a bleaching tray (custom-fitted to your mouth) which is worn generally for one hour a day for around 7-10 days. The results will vary from patient to patient but generally will lighten your teeth by several shades.
Q. Can I get an over the counter bleaching kit from a pharmacy?
The mass produced whitening systems are inferior. The tray provided in the kit doesn’t control the gel well enough and could cause damage to your gums and teeth.
Q. What can be done for crowded teeth?
You are never too old for orthodontics! We commonly refer patients to an orthodontist for a consultation.
Q. How do I know if I need a root canal treatment?
If a tooth reacts to heat, this can be an indication the nerve in your tooth is dying and needs root treating. Sometimes there are no symptoms, however, signs you may need a root canal include:
- Severe toothache pain upon chewing or application of pressure
- Discoloration (a darkening) of the tooth
- Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums
Q. If I have a root canal treatment on a tooth will I then need to have the tooth crowned?
This depends on how much of the original tooth is left. A root-treated tooth may not be as strong and durable as a normal tooth. This is especially true for molar teeth, which is why a crown is normally recommended.
Q. If I need to have a tooth crowned will the tooth automatically need a root canal treatment?
No not necessarily. If the fracture is not close to the nerve and the tooth is symptom free, a crown can be placed on the tooth without root treatment.