Cosmetic dentistry is dedicated to brightening and enhancing the appearance of your smile. Whether your teeth are crooked, discoloured, too close together or too far apart, too short, too long or too gummy, today’s technological advancements can make an amazing difference. Techniques include porcelain veneers, crowns, dental bridges, gum lifts, bonding, tooth whitening and implants.
Crowns are coverings for the entire visible part of the tooth. They are used when teeth are broken; old and large fillings are lost; teeth are badly decayed or severely discoloured. They improve the appearance of your natural teeth and can brighten your smile. National Dental Care offers both porcelain and gold materials, taking into consideration where in your mouth the crown is to be placed.
There are several types, and which one we recommend depends on where it will go in your mouth, your bite and also the aesthetic and functional considerations.
A bridge will keep teeth from drifting into the space created by a missing tooth, helping preserve normal function and a normal bite for the jaw joint. In the most common type of bridge, crowns are applied to the two teeth on either side of a gap (where teeth have been removed). This involves joining three crowns, including a crown to fill the gap.
A bridge is suitable in areas where teeth on either side of the gap have been filled and would benefit from restoration with crowns. If the teeth beside the gap don’t have fillings, it might be better to explore options such as implants. This avoids having to cut otherwise-perfect teeth.
A check up appointment at an National Dental Care practice usually starts with a thorough pre-clinical discussion regarding your medical and previous dental history. The dentist then completes a comprehensive examination of your face, neck and full mouth (including a cancer check of the soft tissues). The dentist and the nurse may take some photographs, digital scans or x-ray images to better visualise your mouth. They will then sit down with you and discuss their findings. The dentists will inform you of your condition and what options are available for you.
You may decide that you would also like a clean performed on the day of your check up. The dentist or the hygienist will then perform a thorough removal of plaque and stain from your teeth. If you suffer from more advanced gum disease or have a lot of build up on your teeth, this visit may not be enough to remove all the build up, but it’s a great start towards improving your oral health. You may need to return for an additional visit to complete your cleaning appointment.
During the day:
- Excessive tiredness eg, inability to stay awake while reading or watching television
- Waking without feeling refreshed
- Morning headache
During the night:
- Snoring, usually loud, habitual, and bothersome to others, is found in almost all patients with OSA. However, not all snorers suffer from OSA.
- Pauses in breathing that often interrupt the snoring and end with a snort
- Gasping and choking sensations that intermittently arouse the sufferer from sleep
- Restless sleep (insomnia), with people often complaining of frequent arousal and tossing/turning during the night
Several simple lifestyle changes can reduce the symptoms in many patients:
- Weight loss (via meal replacement programs, drugs or surgery)
- Giving up smoking
- Avoiding alcohol and sedative medications, particularly before sleep
- If symptoms are worse in one position eg, when lying flat on your back, avoiding this position may help Many patients with OSA will require further treatment.
- Oral appliances, worn at night. They pull the jaw forward and are designed to prevent the collapse of the upper airway during sleep. They can be used for mild and moderate disease.
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) via nasal mask. This is a machine that blows air through a mask into your mouth and nose during sleep. The pressure of the air keeps the throat open, preventing the airway from collapsing. It is the most effective treatment for OSA, reducing daytime sleepiness and improving sleep quality. However, some people find the mask or feeling of pressure difficult to tolerate.
- Surgical treatment is rarely used. Several procedures have been trialled, including uvulopatatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), which is designed to remove some of the soft tissues of the throat that collapse the airway during sleep. However, while UPPP may reduce snoring, it is often ineffective at treating true obstructive sleep apnoea.
In chair teeth whitening uses a strong active ingredient, which can only legally be prescribed and applied in the dental practice. This type of whitening can only be applied for an hour at a time and if multiple visits are required, they must be at least one week apart. While this whitening process may result in a dramatic change in brightness, it also causes more sensitivity and temporary tooth dehydration.
One visit may not be sufficient to get your teeth to the brightest shade they can be. Because this treatment is done in surgery, there is a higher cost associated with the treatment. Take home whitening is gentler, has a mild active ingredient and is safe to use without constant professional supervision. However, some professional supervision is still advised as all whitening can cause side effects like tooth sensitivity and even chemical burns.
It is important to follow instructions from your dentist, therapist and hygienist regarding the safest application of your home whitening kits. You should also check in with your NDC dental team regularly to ensure you are on track for the best results. Take home whitening is also very economical: once you have been issued your custom made home kit and starter gel, you will only need to top up your whitening once per year and the gel can be supplied at minimal cost by your National Dental Care dental practice during your preventative care visits.
If you have TMD (also referred to as TMJ) you will experience a lot of pain, especially chronic headaches or migraines, or pain in the neck, shoulder and back. Other symptoms can include:
- Ringing or congestion in the ears
- Loose teeth
- Worn, chipped or cracked teeth and fillings
- Pain and sensitivity in the teeth
- Crowded teeth
- Clenching or grinding of the teeth
- Fractures at the gum line
- Pain or clicking and popping in the jaw joint
- Difficulty swallowing
- Numbness or tingling in the arms and fingers
- Limited opening of the mouth
- Loss of chewing efficiency
TMJ disorders are generally caused by a combination of problems with the joint, and stress on its surrounding structures. Some causes of joint problems include:
- Arthritis, injury and dislocation of the joint, which can be due to an improperly-aligned bite or joint hyper-mobility (looseness of the jaw).
- Jaw clenching and teeth grinding (also known as bruxism) can put significant stress on the jaw muscles. People who clench their teeth during the day and grind their teeth while asleep will often suffer from muscle pain and tightness, as well as damage to the teeth.
- Poor posture (eg, holding your head forward while looking at your computer screen) can also strain the muscles of your jaw, face and neck. The onset of TMD can be gradual or sudden.
Fortunately, TMD is treatable. Through Neuromuscular Dentistry, we are now able to gently and gradually correct the position of your jaw. In most cases, by aligning the jaw and getting it back to its proper position, we will eliminate the recurrence of the symptoms.
Your dentist will advise of best care after wisdom teeth removal. Typically, you will be advised to:
- protect the area where the tooth has been removed and avoid touching it with your tongue or hands
- avoid hot drinks or hot food for 24 hours, as this may cause the wound to bleed
- avoid rinsing your mouth and swishing water or mouthwash for 24 hours as this may dislodge the blood clot in the tooth socket and cause further complications
- if you experience bleeding, apply gentle pressure on the site with a clean gauze pack
- do not smoke for 2-3 days after the procedure and avoid drinking alcohol as this can cause serious complications and delay healing