Your first visit to Gareth is a comprehensive review of your existing oral health. This hour long appointment is a great chance to get to know Gareth and the team, and allows you as the patient to become fully informed as to the current condition of your oral health. It is also an opportunity to discuss with Gareth your concerns about treatments and what you would like to achieve for your oral health in the future.
During this visit Gareth will examine your teeth, gums, soft tissues, jaw joints and lymph nodes, and he will take a full set of x-rays and photographs. If a treatment plan is needed then this is included in the comprehensive review process and will tell the patient what treatment is advised, how many appointments are required and the cost of each appointment. Gareth will even prioritise the order of the treatment so the patient knows where to start and where different treatment options are available he will make sure you understand the costs and the benefits of each option. We like to call this ‘no surprises dentistry’.
Once patients receive their personalised treatment plan they tend to stop worrying about the unknown and start focussing on working through their plan at a pace that suits their time demands and finances.
Sometimes tooth pain doesn’t allow you the luxury of a new patient exam; if you need immediate care phone us and explain your situation and we will find an appointment to help you.
To treat a cavity your dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and then “fill” the area on the tooth from where the decayed material was removed.
Fillings are also used to repair cracked or broken teeth and teeth that have been worn down from misuse (such as from tooth grinding).
Permanent composite restorations are available in a range of shades to match the colour of your teeth. Sometimes depending on the location and extent of the decay, a gold filling may be suggested.
Although we do not encourage extractions as an easy treatment option, there remain situations where a tooth extraction is the only remaining solution.
Most decayed or infected teeth can be removed trouble free; however, when complications do arise a tooth may need to be surgically removed. This procedure can usually be performed safely within the practice and may involve sectioning of the tooth and or bone removal. The Dentist may then need to suture the site afterwards
If a root of the tooth is too close to the nerve or impacted then a patient may need to be referred to the oral surgeon.
A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes infected. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth will become infected and abscesses may form.
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, and improve its appearance. These can be made from gold, porcelain or ceramic materials.
A dental crown may be needed in the following situations:
- To protect a weak tooth (for instance, from decay) from breaking or to hold together parts of a cracked tooth
- To restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down
- To cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t a lot of tooth left
- To hold a dental bridge in place
- To cover misshapen or severely discoloured teeth
- To cover a dental implant
- To make a cosmetic modification
Dental implants are replacement tooth roots that provide a strong foundation for fixed (permanent) or removable replacement teeth that are made to match your natural teeth. Patients should have healthy gums and enough bone to hold the implant. They also must be committed to good oral hygiene and regular dental visits. If you are considering implants, talk to Gareth to see if they are right for you.
Dental veneers are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-coloured materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your appearance. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth changing their colour, shape, size, or length. These can be made of porcelain or composite material. Veneers are used to repairs teeth that are mottled in colour, worn down, chipped or broken, misaligned or uneven, or to close a space between teeth.
Dental bridges “bridge” the gap caused by one or more missing teeth.
- Restore your smile
- Restore the ability to properly chew and speak
- Maintain the shape of your face
- Distribute the forces in your bite properly by replacing missing teeth
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
There are three main types of dental bridges:
- Traditional bridges involve creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic (false tooth) in between. Traditional bridges are made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics.
- Cantilever bridges use only the tooth/teeth on one side of the gap as support for the pontic.
- Maryland bonded bridges (also called a resin-bonded bridge) uses metal wings to attach to the enamel of the adjacent teeth. This means far less drilling on the teeth thus preserving healthy tooth tissue.
Once the immediate dental care is completed then it is onto the preventative part of your oral health care and in this stage we focus on regular hygiene visits to keep the mouth squeaky clean and identifying any future problems when they are small and hopefully less expensive to fix.
Patients new to hygiene visits sometimes ask “what are the benefits of getting a hygienist to clean your teeth?” A hygienist is specially trained to assist patients maintain their oral health by thoroughly cleaning the teeth and gums, screening for gum disease, educating the patient on at home oral care and providing dietary advice relating to dental disease. Even with the most effective dental home care it is important to see a hygienist to ensure cleaning occurs below the gum level and to allow the hygienist to identify caries in its early stages.
We can also help you make your smile whiter and brighter with a tooth whitening system that you do yourself at home.
We start this process by booking the patient an appointment with Gareth to ensure that they are a suitable candidate for bleaching. Issues to consider are any existing caries that would need to be repaired and any existing restorations that may stand out once teeth are whitened. After this appointment it is time for a visit to Hayley make sure teeth and gums are clean and free of tartar build up.
At the hygiene appointment Hayley will take the moulds of the mouth which we use to create the bleaching trays. Once the trays are ready it is back to Hayley for instruction on using the whitening system and photographs of the pre-whitened teeth, and then the tooth whitening can commence. We get the patient back for two follow up appointments to make sure the whitening is working as desired and discuss any sensitivity problems. Once the desired whiteness is achieved we take an “after” photograph to compare to the photo of the pre-whitened teeth. Over time teeth will stain again so patients should keep the bleaching trays safe and then you only need to purchase more whitening product to maintain a beautiful whiter brighter smile.
A Member of the New Zealand Dental Association