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Root Canal Treatment
Root Canal Treatment or Endodontics involves work inside the root of the tooth. It is carried out because the nerve in a tooth has died and become infected, or because it has become inflamed and painful. This can happen due to trauma, decay or just general 'wear and tear'.
The aim of the treatment is to remove dead or inflamed tissue from the nerve canals and to fill this space so bacteria cannot colonise it, causing ongoing infection. The nerve chamber of the tooth is opened and the channels in the roots cleaned and shaped to allow disinfection and filling to the root tips. The difficulty of doing this varies considerably depending on the tooth involved, its past history and the age of the patient. An x-ray picture is taken before treatment starts to assess the number and shapes of the roots.
Treatment is usually carried out under local anaesthetic (as for a normal filling) and should not be uncomfortable. As small instruments and disinfectants are used, a protective sheet of rubber is placed over the tooth to create a secure operating area. This means no debris or water collects in the mouth. There are usually one or two appointments involved, depending on the particular situation.
Dental crowns (or caps) completely cover a heavily filled or broken tooth. They are made from various materials such as gold or porcelain or a combination of materials used to prolong the life of your tooth.
Why might I need crowns?
To improve your smile
To protect a tooth that has fractured
To prevent a tooth from breaking after a root canal filling
To protect a large filling
What materials can crowns be made from?
There are a wide variety of dental materials to choose from. Some crowns are made from gold whilst others are made from a gold alloy with a porcelain outer shell. All-ceramic crowns are also available and are becoming more popular.
How do you prepare and fit a dental crown?
Fitting a crown takes two visits with your dentist. At the first visit your dentist will prepare the tooth and will fit a provisional crown to protect your tooth until your next appointment. The laboratory will make a crown specifically for you, which will be fitted at your second visit. Once you are happy with the crown and how it looks, it will be cemented firmly into place.
How long do crowns last?
This depends largely on how well you look after your teeth. Dental crowns require the same level of care and attention as your natural teeth and we would expect a high quality dental crown to last 10-15 years along with a good oral hygiene regime and a good diet.
A porcelain veneer is a thin layer of tooth-coloured ceramic material cemented onto the tooth surface. It improves the appearance of a stained or a chipped tooth or to protect a damaged or worn tooth surface.
When appropriate, you can also use porcelain veneers to improve the alignment or appearance of crooked, small or spaced teeth.
The appearance of teeth can be changed with minimal tooth preparation and the veneers can often be placed with the use of little or no local anesthetic.
All Porcelain Crowns and bridges
Metal free crowns allow the light to shine through restorations just like your natural teeth giving an excellent match and a natural appearance.
There is a natural temperature sensitivity with the crown reacting more like a natural tooth than one made with a metal core.
Made from natural raw materials, Zirconia is a high tech ceramic that possesses exceptional durability and can be used at the front or the back of the mouth.
Your dentist may recommend replacing part of a tooth that has been lost through wear and tear or decay with a filling. Fillings are made from a number of materials, and your dentist will discuss your options with you before starting treatment.
If the damage is more extensive and a filling is not suitable, then you may need an inlay or onlay. This treatment is similar to a filling, but the worn area is replaced with a moulded piece made to exactly fit the affected tooth.
Tiny cavities discovered during a regular check-up may be filled with amalgam or composite to repair the tooth and avoid further decay or damage. Amalgam (which is a grey or silver coloured material) works particularly well in molar teeth. Composite is a very similar colour to natural teeth and is sometimes used when patients are concerned that amalgam fillings may be visible following treatment.
Fillings are placed and sculpted into your tooth to ensure you can bite properly after treatment. You must follow the care and advice recommended by your dentist so the filling is retained and your tooth remains healthy.
Inlays and Onlays
If the area of decay or damage is extensive, or if the area needing treatment is in a tooth at the back of the mouth, an inlay or onlay may be recommended. An inlay is placed inside a tooth, whereas an onlay fixes to the outside and rebuilds the tooth shape. They can be made of metal, composite or porcelain.
As with a filling, the damaged area is prepared, but then an impression is taken of the tooth using a mouldable material so a technician can build an inlay or onlay to exactly fit your tooth.
Whilst it is being built, a temporary filling is placed in the tooth. When it is ready, your dentist will remove the temporary filling, fix your inlay or onlay onto your tooth and make small adjustments to ensure it is comfortable.