Dental Services in Toowoomba
Oral experts group
The use of composite resin (tooth coloured) filling material as our standard, allows us to provide conservative tooth preparation for fillings. This leaves your teeth stronger after a filling compared to using an amalgam filling.
Porcelain inlays and onlays are tooth restorations which provide strength and good looks without the expense of a crown. They are custom made to fit your tooth, making them a better fit and look than composite resin fillings. These are the only type of filling which comes close to returning a decayed tooth to its former strength.
Crowns & Bridges
Although teeth are strong and difficult to break, trauma can chip or break them. Teeth can also become severely weakened by tooth decay and root canal treatment. In these cases, a crown is often the best way to save a tooth and strengthen it. A crown fits over the existing natural tooth and replaces the natural crown, the part of the tooth seen above the gums.
Bridges replace one or more missing teeth, they are an artificial tooth anchored to the natural teeth on each side of the gap. If a tooth is lost through an accident, or is too badly decayed to save with a crown, a bridge may be the treatment of choice.
Crowns and bridges are usually made of porcelain and gold alloy. Porcelain is strong and can be made to match the appearance and colour of the natural teeth.
Teeth have many functions apart from chewing and biting, so missing teeth should be replaced.
Preparation for Crowns and Bridges
After the area is numbed with a local anaesthetic, the tooth or teeth are shaped and then an accurate impression is taken to record changes to the prepared tooth. The impressions are sent to a dental technician who makes the crown or bridge according to specifications from the dentist.
To protect the prepared tooth/teeth a temporary crown or bridge is attached.
At the next appointment, the temporary crown or bridge is removed and the new crown or bridge is placed and cemented after first checking that shape and colour match correctly.
After fitting, the crown should feel comfortable and natural in your mouth.
Hygiene and Care
Crowns and bridges should last for many years. However, there is no lifetime guarantee. As with natural teeth, it depends on good dental hygiene and oral health. Therefore, regular dental check ups are advisable.
Bruxism is an exaggerated clenching or grinding action of the teeth which is not part of your normal chewing function. It may lead to excessive wear on the teeth, damage to the jaw joints and surrounding muscles.
Clenching and grinding commonly occurs during sleep and people are unaware that they are causing damage to their teeth and joints. Studies report that 90% or more of people clench or grind their teeth in their sleep on a regular basis.
Causes of bruxism can be from a combination of physical and psychological factors such as nutrition deficiencies and dehydration, especially in children. Other causes can include prominent teeth and overbites where the teeth aren’t aligned correctly, however, the biggest cause of bruxism is stress.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and Symptoms of bruxism is not solely confined to teeth, but may include:
The symptoms of bruxism can vary widely and depend on the pattern of bruxing. People who clench their teeth may experience tension related headaches, but have very little wear evident on their teeth. Those who grind severely may have damaged their teeth and jaw joints, which can cause facial pain, tight muscles and limited movement of the joint.
Your dentist will diagnose your condition based on the location of your pain and stiffness, your range and limitation of jaw movements, audible joint noises and tooth wear as well as any tooth movement. To assist in the diagnosis your dentist may also recommend plaster moulds of your teeth and x-rays.
Bruxism treatment &
Treatment is aimed at removing the cause of bruxism, for example learning stress management techniques or by changing and modifying the behaviour that leads to bruxism. This change or modification can be achieved with the use of what is known as an occlusal splint or night guard.
This splint is a moulded layer of thin hard plastic which fits over either the upper or lower teeth. The splint prevents further wear of the teeth amongst other factors. Biofeedback analysis can be used as well; it is the electronic monitoring of muscles to measure the tension in certain muscles and can help people learn how to relax those muscles.
Repair of damage caused by bruxism
In order to repair the damage caused by bruxism, you may need fillings replaced or fixed, or your dentist may place crowns or inlays on the teeth to replace lost or broken tooth structure. Root canal treatment may be needed for teeth that have been severely affected. Your dentist may even suggest partial dentures, bridges or implants to replace lost or missing teeth, and to help spread the load of chewing more evenly. Orthodontics can also realign misplaced or crooked teeth.
Air abrasion is a technique for preparing fillings which do not require an injection or the use of a drill. This technique is available to all our patients and is ideal for small, early carious lesions, not large holes. With regular dental examinations, problems like this can be detected early, meaning that this technology can be used more often. Children as well as adults can benefit greatly from this simple atraumatic way of fixing decay.
Most cracked teeth can be saved. Early diagnosis and treatment is important to improve the chances of saving a cracked tooth.
Signs and symptoms of a cracked tooth
Causes of cracked tooth syndrome
Diagnosis can be difficult because symptoms are not consistent. Examination of cracked teeth may involve bite tests, probing of the gums, x-rays, removal of a filling and transillumination (using a special light to check for cracks).
Treatment for a cracked tooth
Early treatment is important to stop or slow down the potential progression and increase the chances that the tooth can be saved.
Simple Crack: The treatment for most cracked teeth involves removing the weakened part of the tooth and placing a large filling or crown on the tooth. The crown protects the tooth and often prevents the crack from progressing.
Complex Crack: If the crack has progressed to the pulp or has caused inflammation of the pulp, root canal treatment may be needed before the crown or filling is put into place.
Untreated cracked teeth
The longer a simple cracked tooth is left untreated, the more likely it will become a complex crack. The pulp inside the tooth may die, and infection in the tooth may occur. It will then be necessary to perform root canal treatment or in some cases, extract the tooth.
In severe cases the tooth can split in half, in those cases the tooth usually has to be extracted. A bridge, denture or dental implant may then be needed.
All invasive or surgical procedures carry risk. Please discuss the benefits and risks of procedures with your dentist before proceeding with treatment. We’re happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have about any aspect of diagnosis or treatment.
Disorders of Jaw Joints
The jaw joint is known as the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) and is located in the front of the ear canals which can be easily felt with your fingers. It is one of the body’s most used joints and is important in relation to chewing, talking and yawning. Any disorder of this joint can limit several bodily functions and cause pain.
Causes of TMJ Disorders
TJM disorders can develop by the loss of teeth which can alter the bite or grinding and clenching habits which cause abnormal pressure. Emotional or physical stress can induce grinding and clenching, creating pressure in the joint. Traumatic injuries like a fractured or broken jaw, degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis and the poor design of dentures, bridges and fillings, can also contribute to the development of TMJ disorders. Careful diagnosis of the cause by your dentist is important.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
Each person is different and TMJ symptoms can become evident in many different ways. This may include limited jaw movement when trying to open or close the jaw. Locking of the jaw, clicking or popping noises from the joint, pain and discomfort when opening or closing your mouth are also common symptoms. Headaches, earaches or muscular pain due to inflammation from around the joint, or aching teeth can also become apparent.
Diagnosis of TMJ Problems
Accurate diagnosis is important to enable the correct treatment. Your dentists will diagnose your condition based on:
Also, to assist in the diagnosis of your jaw. our dentist may recommend plaster moulds of your teeth and x-rays.
Methods of Treatment
Some TMJ problems can be temporary and may be resolved over a period of time. For this reason, early treatment methods are minor. The aim of any treatment is to lessen the discomfort and improve the function of the joint, but in some people this can take several months to occur. If it is necessary to introduce treatment, and depending on your symptoms and diagnosis, the treatment may consist of the following:
Causes of cracked tooth syndrome
Talk to your dentist. Make an appointment with one of the Oral Experts dentists if you think your jaw joints may be a problem.
Tooth whitening systems are available at our practice. Take home bleach systems are probably the best and cheapest way of whitening discoloured teeth, to help create that perfect smile. Average teeth will take 2-4 weeks to reach a significant colour change.
An examination is required before these bleach kits can be used safely as the bleaching material can cause pain in decayed teeth. The bleaching material has now been in use for 15 years or more and numerous studies, backed with extensive clinical experience; shows that it is extremely safe if used as directed. An examination and clean is required before this procedure.
Frequently Asked Questions
A real tooth will generally function better than any artificial tooth can, and natural teeth are generally stronger and more efficient at biting and chewing. Also, natural teeth are easier to clean and maintain than an artificial tooth. If a natural tooth is lost, we lose some of our ability to chew and eat efficiently. Also, the adjacent teeth may tilt into the space left by the missing tooth, which can make eating more difficult.
‘Gum disease’ describes a range of conditions that affect the supporting tissues for the teeth. The supporting tissues comprise of both the surface tissues that can be seen in the mouth and also the deeper tissues of the bone, root surface and the ligament that connects the teeth to the bone.
No. Bleeding gums are common but not OK. In a healthy state, gums do not bleed. Bleeding is often an indication that the gums are inflamed. The inflammation is generally a response to the bacteria on the surface of the teeth. The surface inflammation is Gingivitis. The bleeding may also arise from Periodontitis or traumatic cleaning. Bleeding gums are sometimes associated with serious medical conditions. A dental practitioner should check bleeding gums.
It depends on the direction and severity of the crack. If the crack is small enough, it may be removed by replacing the filling. Bonded white fillings and bonded amalgam fillings will hold the tooth together, making it less likely to crack.
Sometimes the cracked part of the tooth fractures off during the removal of the filling and this can be replaced with a new filling.
Your dentist may first place an orthodontic band around the tooth to keep it together. If the pain settles, the band is replaced with a filling that covers the fractured portion of tooth (or the whole biting surface). Other options include the placement of gold or porcelain fillings or even a crown.
If the crack goes too far vertically, there is a possibility the tooth may need to be removed and replaced with an artificial one. (See bridgework, denture, and implant). The nerve may sometimes be affected so badly that it dies. Root canal treatment will be required if the tooth is to be saved.
Dental crowns (also sometimes referred to as ‘dental caps’ or ‘tooth caps’) cover over and encase the tooth on which they are cemented. Dentists use crowns when rebuilding broken or decayed teeth, as a way to strengthen teeth and as a method to improve the cosmetic appearance of a tooth. Crowns are made in a dental laboratory by a dental technician who uses moulds of your teeth made by your dentist.
The type of crown your dentist recommends will depend on the tooth involved and sometimes on your preference. They include porcelain crowns and porcelain-bonded-to-metal crowns, which combine the appearance of tooth coloured material with the strength of metal, gold alloy crowns and acrylic crowns.
Some common problems that can arise with impacted teeth are infections of the gum around the teeth, decay and resorption of adjacent functioning teeth, and gum disease around the molar teeth.
Rare complications are cysts and tumours that can grow around impacted teeth. Some people feel that impacted wisdom teeth can contribute to crowding. For those who play contact sport, most fractured jaws occur at the site of impacted teeth as they can create a point of weakness. Most footballers who have broken their jaws have not had their wisdom teeth removed.
Infections are by far the most common problem, and although they can respond to antibiotics, the only real way to treat it is to remove the source of the problem. A small number of people who do not treat these infections seriously, especially people with other health problems, can have severe and even life-threatening complications with wisdom tooth infections.
All dentists are trained in removal of teeth. However, sometimes you may need to be referred to a specialist Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon who can remove your wisdom teeth for you.
For facts about teeth whitening, visit the ADA’s website containing quick facts, natural methods of whitening your teeth, and the potential dangers of undergoing the procedure at the hands of an untrained individual.
In today’s age of technology, your dentist has a range of options to help your teeth look great. Stained teeth, dark teeth, chipped teeth, crooked teeth and even teeth that are missing altogether can be repaired or replaced. Cosmetic or aesthetic dentistry is the broad heading under which many dental procedures that improve the appearance of teeth may be described.
There are many excellent ways to whiten the teeth and all have advantages and disadvantages. Since each case is different there is no one best way.
When staining is present on the surface, an ADA dentist can professionally clean the teeth, often producing a fresher, whiter appearance.
On the other hand, when staining is actually in the tooth and below the surface, there are a number of ways to whiten the teeth. Sometimes simply replacing old, worn out fillings that are failing at the edges can produce better looking front teeth. Alternatively, when the enamel is heavily stained, crowns or facings may be the best option. ADA dentists have access to continuing education in the latest dental techniques and they can give advice as to the best choices for you.
A mouthguard is a removable rubber or polyvinyl shield worn over your teeth, most commonly the upper teeth, to protect the teeth and jaws from traumatic injury during sporting activities.
There are two basic types of mouthguards available:
(1) The custom fitted mouthguard is available from your dentist. This mouthguard is constructed directly from a mould taken of your teeth in the dental surgery and fits tightly and comfortably over your teeth. This type of mouthguard is the type recommended by the dental profession and is the most effective in preventing injuries to the teeth and jaws.
(2) The ‘do it yourself’ mouthguards, available at many pharmacies are usually poorly fitting and uncomfortable to wear. Dentists do not recommend these as they offer little protection to the teeth and patients are encouraged to obtain the custom-fitted guard as a bare minimum.
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that is concerned with the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities (malocclusion). It generally involves the use of such things as braces, removable appliances, functional appliances or headgear to move the teeth or jaws into an ideal relationship.
Braces are the most efficient and accurate way of moving teeth. Brackets are adhered to each tooth with special dental adhesive and are usually made of stainless steel or a clear plastic material. These brackets act like a handle on the tooth so that it can be moved into its correct position using wires. The brackets remain on the teeth for the entire duration of treatment. Generally, adjustments are made to the braces every four to six weeks.
During treatment, patients may need to wear such items as rubber bands. These provide important extra forces for the correction of the bite.