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General Dentistry

Fillings
Extractions
Wisdom Teeth
Root Canal Treatment
Crowns
Inlays and Onlays
Bridges
Removable Dentures
Hygiene Service
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Fillings are used to repair a cavity in your tooth caused by decay. The most common type of filling is dental amalgam, made from a mixture of mercury and different metals. Silver amalgam fillings are no longer the only option to fill a cavity in a tooth. “White” composite resin fillings are stronger than before and provide a cosmetic alternative to silver amalgam fillings. Where a cavity is very large your dentist may recommend composite resin or porcelain inlays or onlays as cosmetic alternatives to white fillings. White fillings are used to correct the same damage or decay a metal amalgam filling would correct, but white fillings provide a more natural look.
Teeth may be extracted for a variety of reasons. Teeth may be so broken down that they cannot be restored. Wisdom teeth may be impacted and causing problems. Sometimes teeth are taken out for teeth alignment. Generally the procedure is straight forward and once healed over, causes no further problems.
Wisdom Teeth are the last teeth to appear, at the back of the mouth, from the late teens onwards. Most people have four wisdom teeth, but it is not unusual to have fewer or even none. If there is not enough room for wisdom teeth they can come through at an angle pressing against the teeth in front or the bone behind. As wisdom teeth are coming through, the surrounding gum sometimes becomes inflamed and sore. It may settle down or the discomfort may come and go over a period of time. It is usually better to remove a wisdom tooth if you have repeated bouts of pain. Normally there is no need to have wisdom teeth removed unless they are causing you problems.
Tooth decay or trauma can destroy the living pulp tissue within a tooth and leave the tooth prone to infection resulting in a tooth abscess and pain. Root canal treatment cleans and removes any remaining pulp tissue leaving a space which is filled to prevent further infection. Without a root filling, a tooth with a dead pulp would probably have to be taken out in the end. There is also a possibility of infection spreading beyond the tooth itself. Root fillings are usually successful and can last many years, but re-treatment is also possible if infection recurs.
The crown of a tooth is the part which is visible in the mouth. An artificial crown completely covers a weak tooth above the gum line and protects it. Crowns are made of metal or porcelain, or porcelain with metal inside for strength. A crown is strong and can look and feel exactly like a natural tooth. The colour and shape can be matched to your own teeth. Depending on the strength of the tooth underneath, a crown can last for many years if you look after your mouth and teeth and the crown is not accidentally damaged. Crowns can also improve the appearance of misshapen or discoloured teeth.
You can sometimes have inlays or onlays instead of fillings. Fillings are soft to begin with and are moulded in the tooth which has been shaped to take and hold the filling. Inlays and onlays are made outside the mouth, usually in a dental laboratory, and then cemented to the tooth in the surgery. An inlay sits in a hole in the tooth. An onlay sits in the tooth and builds up its shape. Inlays and onlays can be made in tooth coloured porcelain, gold or a white filling material called composite. Inlays and onlays are strong and can last longer than fillings. They are especially suitable for the chewing surfaces of back teeth. Your dentist can match the colour to your other teeth.
If you have a missing tooth, a bridge will attach a replacement tooth to the natural teeth on either side of the gap. Some bridges have crowns at each end. Others are fixed to the surface of the teeth next to the gap. Bridges are made of metal and porcelain or just porcelain. A bridge will let you almost forget that you have missing teeth. It can improve the way you look, bite, chew and speak. The bridge can be matched to the colour of your own teeth. A bridge can last many years, if you keep it clean and if there is no accidental damage.
A removable denture replaces missing teeth. ‘Partial’ dentures replace a few missing teeth and ‘full’ or ‘complete’ dentures are needed if all the natural teeth are missing. Complete dentures are best made of acrylic (plastic). Partial dentures can also be made either wholly of acrylic or they can consist of acrylic teeth on a light metal alloy base: this type of partial denture is more secure and less bulky, but also more expensive. If you have lost some teeth, dentures can improve the way you look, bite, chew and speak. They are custom made to match your mouth and can be made to look as natural as possible. The teeth that are left are protected from wear and tear. Without dentures, your natural teeth might move or tilt, stopping your teeth biting together properly. Dentures can be fitted immediately after teeth have been taken out so that nobody will know that you have had a tooth out. These are called ‘immediate’ dentures.
Modern dentistry is prevention orientated. The dental hygienist is trained in treating gum problems and works closely with the dentist to help patients achieve good oral health. Their role is to provide education, skills and motivation to help you avoid gum and tooth problems.
A tooth jet wash may be recommended by your dentist or hygienist to remove staining. It is a jet of air, water and bicarbonate of soda which will remove staining effectively brightening your smile.
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Gingivitis - This is inflammation of the gum tissues and is caused by plaque. Correct home care can reverse gingivitis. If ignored, gingivitis will sometimes progress to become periodontitis.

Periodontitis - This occurs when the inflammation spreads to the supporting structures of a tooth, including the bone. Some people are more susceptible to developing periodontitis. Over time irreversible damage can occur to the supporting tissues and bone therefore this condition cannot be ‘cured’ as such. The hygienist works with you to ensure correct home care and provides professional treatment that aims to stop or control any further damage being caused by the disease.
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