White Fillings

What is a white filling?

A filling replaces a part of the tooth that has been lost due to decay or accidental damage. For over 150 years fillings have been made out of a silver material called amalgam. Although it is a strong material, it is certainly not the most attractive!

The alternative is what are called 'white fillings', using materials that match the colour of your tooth. The aim is to make it impossible to tell that a filling has been placed. Sometimes white fillings can be used to cover unsightly marks on teeth.

The technology behind white fillings has improved considerably in the last few years, and their strength will now match that of amalgam fillings.

What is involved?

Fillings are usually a very simple and straightforward process. The area around your tooth will be numbed with local anaesthetic and then the decay together with possible old fillings will be cleared out. Weak parts of the tooth may be removed to lessen the risk it will break off later.

Unlike silver fillings, white filling materials stick to the tooth surface. This means that less tooth is drilled away.

Once the cavity has been cleared out and conditioned, a filling material is matched to the colour of your tooth and then placed. It is set (hardened) with a specially designed bright light.

At the final stage, the filling is trimmed and polished so it fits in more naturally with the contours of the rest of your tooth.

Can you replace older amalgam (silver) fillings with white fillings?

Absolutely! In fact, we highly recommend it. White fillings are, in a majority of cases, almost impossible to notice. That's because they can be matched and shaped to the existing colour and contours of your tooth.

How does teeth whitening affect white fillings?

The colour of the fillings are permanent, they don't yellow (or whiten) like the rest of your teeth. To make a filling as invisible as possible, its colour is matched to the colour of the rest of your tooth at the time the filling is made.

If you are considering whitening your teeth, then we recommend doing it BEFORE you do a filling, so that all your teeth (including the new filling) are the colour you want them to be.

Root Canal Therapy

What is Root Canal Therapy and When is it needed?

Root canal treatment (also called endodontics) is needed when the nerve of your tooth or its blood supply (the pulp) has been infected through decay or injury. An infection in the pulp can cause an abscess. An abscess is an inflamed area in which pus collects, and its symptoms range from a dull ache to a severe pain.

If root canal treatment is not carried out, the infection will spread and your tooth may need to be taken out.

What is involved?

The aim of the treatment is to remove all infection from the root canal and stop the infection from spreading to the jaw bone. The root is then cleaned and filled to allow it to heal and prevent further infection.

Root canal treatment is a skilled, precise and time-consuming procedure. A few appointments may be needed.

At your first appointment, the infected pulp is removed and any abscesses are drained. The root canal is then cleaned and shaped so it is ready for filling. A temporary filling is put in and the tooth is left to settle.

On your second visit, the tooth is checked again to make sure the infection has cleared and then it is permanently filled.

Once the treatment is complete, you may be referred back to your original dentist if additional cosmetic work (e.g. a crown) is needed. Your dentist would then talk you through the possible options.

Is it painful? Not in the least. A local anesthetic is used to numb up your jaw and so it should feel no different to having an ordinary filling done.

What if I don't have treatment?

The alternative is to take the tooth out. The reason is that once the nerve is destroyed, it can't heal and we would never recommend leaving an infected tooth in the mouth.

Although some people might prefer an extraction, we would recommend keeping as many of your natural teeth as possible.


What is a crown?

A crown (or a cap) is a hand-made cover designed to restore a damaged tooth to its natural look and strength. It has the shape and colour of a natural tooth.

Crowns are made from many different materials, for example, porcelain, porcelain bonded to gold or ceramics. High-end crowns like the Procera crown are meticulously designed to emulate your natural teeth as closely as possible in both look and feel, with all the natural ridges and even a semi-transparency around the edges so no one can tell it's not your original tooth!

As each person is an individual, so is each tooth in your mouth. Each crown is hand-crafted by a skilled dental technician to match the specific shape and colour of your natural teeth.

When is it needed?

We recommend a crown when too much of a tooth is lost due to decay or fracture and a filling is not considered strong enough. A crown will completely cover the tooth above the gum line and thus restores the original shape and function of the tooth. It is strong and is designed to fit in naturally with all your other teeth.

What is involved?

Your dentist will start by numbing your tooth. The tooth will then be shaped and if necessary old fillings will be replaced or a core will be built up. An impression is then taken using a rubber-like material. The impression (along with the shade of your teeth) is sent to a laboratory so that a dental technician can hand-make a crown in the specified material.

Meanwhile, a temporary crown is placed over the tooth to protect it until the permanent crown is ready to be fitted.

One or two weeks later, the new crown arrives from the laboratory and is then "cemented" in place. Your dentist will then make minor adjustments to make sure you can bite comfortably.

How does teeth whitening affect crowns?

The colour of crowns are permanent, they don't yellow (or whiten) like the rest of your teeth. To make a crown as natural-looking as possible, its colour is matched to the colour of the rest of your teeth at the time the crown is fitted.

If you are considering whitening your teeth, then we recommend doing it BEFORE you fit a crown, so that all your teeth (including the new crown) are the colour you want them to be.


What is a bridge?

A bridge fixes a replacement tooth (or teeth) to 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.

Just like crowns and veneers, bridges can be made from a variety of different materials. High-end porcelain bridges are individually hand-crafted by skilled dental technicians and designed to emulate your natural teeth as closely as possible so no one can tell you are missing a tooth.

When is a bridge needed?

Bridges are used to replace missing teeth. Appearance is one consideration, however, there are health reasons too. Teeth on either side of a gap can lean into the gap and alter the way the lower and upper teeth bite together, causing problems with your jaw. It can become more difficult to eat and food can also get packed into the gap, leading to both decay and gum disease.

What are the alternatives?

If you don't want a bridge, one alternative is a partial denture. This is a plate with a number of false teeth on it. It may have clasps to keep the denture in place in the mouth, some of which may show when you smile or open your mouth. Dentures are generally removed at night and must be carefully cleaned.

A better (though more costly alternative) are dental implants. Dental implants are inserted into the jaw during surgery then topped with a replacement tooth or a crown. They form a stable long-lasting solution and can be used for almost all adults regardless of age. For more information, please refer to the section on Implants.


What are Dentures?

Dentures are still an important way of replacing missing teeth, particularly if they have been missing for a long time or there has been soft tissue damage. Dentures can be made of acrylic or have metal cobalt chrome base.

Do dentures have to be loose?

There are now many ways to make dentures as comfortable and secure as possible, either using a good design utilising any remaining teeth for retention or more complicated precision attachments almost like presstuds to retained roots.

What if my full dentures are loose?

Help is now available with this in the form of implants which are placed into the bone and dentures constructed that firmly attach to a framework so they are unable to move. If you would like any further advice on this please book a free consultation with Mike so we are able to give you the individual advise.

How will my dentures look?

The best artificial teeth which are on the market are used allowing a totally natural look to be created. Time is taken to make individual dentures enabling them to replicate how your own teeth used to be.

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