Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Understanding Full Mouth Reconstruction

Full mouth reconstruction (also known as full mouth restoration and full mouth rehabilitation) is the term used to describe the restoration or rebuilding of all the teeth in both the lower and upper jaws. It is among the most complex of dental procedures and very few doctors are qualified to provide this treatment.

Who May Need It

A full mouth reconstruction may be required for a number of reasons. Among the most common are:

  • Correcting flaws in the bite position that could cause pains in the jaws muscles and nerves and associated problems like headaches etc.
  • Replacement or rebuilding of teeth that have become worn and damaged due to a tooth grinding habit or because of erosion resulting from an improper diet and / or poor oral hygiene.
  • Replacement of teeth that have been lost due to decay or because of injury.
  • Replacing or repairing teeth that have been damaged or broken.

The Procedure

Multiple factors are taken into consideration when full mouth reconstruction is required. These include:

  • The condition of the teeth which will determine what specific procedures are required. Tooth decay, cavities, wear, damage, uneven lengths, looseness and root canal problems will all go into the creation of a treatment plan. Porcelain veneers or full coverage crowns are commonly used to treat these types of problems.
  •  Problems with the gums which could require a variety or treatment options. The dentist will look for signs of periodontal disease, bone density irregularities, problems with the gum tissue and so on. The treatments range from root planing and scaling to more intensive treatments such as bone or soft tissue grafts that will build up the gums and the jaw bone.
  • Occlusal changes, or changes to the bite. There should be no pain with normal biting and chewing motions. If there is, the bite position may be faulty which may require the use of a night guard, bite reprogramming or orthodontic treatment to correct the problem. This, if required, must be done before any other treatments are commenced.
  • Esthetic and appearance factors which may need correction. These include the color, shape and size of the teeth, how they appear in relation to the gums, lips etc.

Only a Dentist Can Decide If It Is Needed

While cosmetic factors do play a part in a decision to perform a full mouth reconstruction, there is much more than appearance that is involved. Only a dentist specializing in this procedure can perform the detailed examination required to know if the procedure is the best option and if so, to perform it. He or she may decide that there are other treatments that may be more suitable or which will provide better results for a specific case. The procedure, if advised, is a long one that will involve multiple visits to the dentist over a period of months. The doctor will inform the patient about what will be done, how the procedures are conducted and what the expected result will be.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

The Facts about Tooth Fillings

If tooth decay is one of the most common dental problems faced by most people, fillings are the most common solution. A filling, as the name implies, fills the cavity caused by the decay to return the affected tooth to its natural shape so it can function normally.

The Different Types of Fillings

Although all fillings perform the same function, there are a number of different materials used for them. The decision on what type of filling to use is based on the extent of the repair to be done, allergies to certain materials, where in the mouth the filling is required and the cost. Keeping these factors in mind, the options are:

  • Gold Fillings: This is the most common type of filling. Gold is generally well tolerated by the tissue in the gum and mouth. It is long lasting and with care, a filling can last up to 20 years. The downside is that the high cost of gold and the fact that multiple visits to the dentist are required for making this filling.
  • Amalgam Fillings: These are made of silver and are less expensive that the ones made of gold. They are also wear resistant and are normally long lasting. However, they are dark in color which makes them stand out against the natural teeth and so are normally not used in the front of the mouth where they will be visible. These are commonly used for the back teeth such as the molars where the darkness of the filling will not be seen.
  • Composite Fillings: These are made of a plastic based composite material and can be made to match the color of the other teeth to give the filled tooth a natural appearance. The materials are mixed in the proportion required to get the right hue and placed in the cavity is a liquid form where it hardens. The negative of these fillings is that while they give a natural look, they can become stained by coffee, tea, and smoking and by coming into contact with various other substances. They are also not as long lasting as gold and amalgam fillings and have an average life of between 3 to 10 years. This material is also not suitable for large fillings as it is prone to chipping.
  • Porcelain Fillings: As the name says, these are made of porcelain and are also referred to as inlays or overlays. They are made to order in a laboratory and they are bonded to the tooth in the dentist’s office. The porcelain can be shaded to match the color of the teeth. Unlike composites, porcelain is stain resistant. While these are tough and give a natural took to the tooth, they are expensive and cost about the same as gold fillings.

How It Is Done

The procedure is a common and simple one. The dentist will remove all the decay and then clean the affect area completely after which one of the materials mention here will be used to make the filling.

Do You Need A Filling?

A toothache or other discomfort could be a sign of tooth decay. Your dentist will examine your teeth during a checkup and if any signs of decay are seen, remove it and if required, give you a filling of the correct type. The earlier the problem is detected, the simpler the solution.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Your Teeth Change with Age

Your teeth are incredibly strong, but that is because they are among the parts of the body that are most used and which are subject to the greatest stress. A few generations ago it was a given that the elderly would have to use dentures. With modern advances in dental care, that is no longer true, especially if you are ready to follow these rules for teeth care:

  • Do not try to prove, to yourself or others, how strong your teeth are. That means avoiding chewing ice and other hard foods that could cause the enamel of the teeth to chip or even teeth to break.
  • Look after your gums. If plaque is allowed to form on the teeth, gum soreness, swelling and bleeding will result. If the problem is allowed to persist, the underlying bone could also be damaged. Among the common signs of gum problems are bleeding when the teeth are being brushed, gums that recede from the teeth, bad breath and loose or shaking teeth. If you have any of these or suspect that you are suffering from a gum problem, visit your dentist without delay. The longer you delay, the greater the chances of tooth loss.
  • As a person ages, saliva production is reduced and there is a tendency for the mouth to become dry. Because saliva helps to clean teeth and protect against tooth decay, the chances of dental problem increase with a dry mouth, even if it is an intermittent problem. If you are on medication that could contribute to the problem – many medicines cause the mouth to go dry. To combat this, drink more water and when you do, hold it in the mouth for a few seconds before swallowing it. Sucking sugarless candy or chewing sugarless gum is another way to keep the mouth moist.
  • Sodas and citrus fruits contain acids that can eat away at your teeth. If you do consume them follow up with cheese or milk to counter the acid effect.
  • Avoid sugary snacks. Sugary foods should be eaten along with your meals. The extra saliva produced at this time will counter the acid that the sugar produces.
  • If you do smoke, stop.
  • The chances of cancer increase with age. Regular dental visits will allow for early detection of any symptoms so that treatment can begin quickly. The earlier treatment starts, the better the chances for good results.
  • If you experience any unusual pain or sensitivity in the teeth or gums, consult your dentist immediately so that the cause can be located and treatment begum.
  • If your teeth become painful when consuming anything hot or cold, it is usually a sign of worn enamel. Consult your dentist who may prescribe a special toothpaste or an in clinic treatment to cure the condition.

Your teeth age with the rest of your body. Just as your body needs increased care and attention to continue to function optimally, so do your teeth. The best way to look after them is to visit your dentist regularly and follow his advice on caring for your teeth.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Choosing the Right Toothbrush Part 2

The debate over whether manual (disposable) or electric toothbrushes are better has been going on ever since the electric one was invented. There is no clear or definitive evidence that proves one is better than the other. In the end it boils down to a matter of personal choice and whether one option will clean your teeth better. Here are a few parameters that may help you decide which one is right for you.


Although the prices of electric toothbrushes vary considerably, even the cheapest ones are many times more costly than the most expensive manual brushes. There is a misconception that because an electric toothbrush lasts longer than a manual one, the price differential is not that great. The fact is the toothbrush head on an electric toothbrush has to be replaced almost as often as a manual brush. When looked at purely in terms of purchase price, the manual brush is the clear winner.


The best toothbrush is the one you are most comfortable using. For some the vibrating feeling of an electric brush feels good and they enjoy letting the brush to do all the work. For others, the vibration can be an irritant. They may also get a feeling of satisfaction from using their muscles for a few minutes to clean their teeth. Electric brushes may be the better option for those with mobility issues like arthritis. Other than that, it is really a matter of which type will motivate you to brush for the recommended time of two minutes.


Some people are hesitant about putting even a part of an electrical device in their mouths. All toothbrushes, both electric and manual, that are approved by the American Dental Association, are safe to use. That being said, those who tend to use excessive force when brushing the teeth may benefit from an electric brush which will limit any possible tooth damage. Some studies suggest that an electric toothbrush may increase the amount of bacteria in the mouth that enters the bloodstream. This will not affect most people, but may not be good for those with cardiac conditions or weak immune systems. There is no conclusive proof of this as of now.


Comparisons of the cleaning of manual and electric toothbrushes have been made for many years. A review of over 25 studies shows that there is no discernible difference between the cleaning achieved by an electric toothbrush and a manual one, if both are used correctly for the prescribed time. Some recent studies indicate that the new rotation oscillation type electric toothbrushes may be slightly more effective, but no proof is as yet available.

Daily brushing and flossing of your teeth is the foundation of good dental hygiene and health. The better you clean your teeth and gums, the less the chances of contracting tooth or gum problems. But brushing and flossing is not enough. It is important to visit your dentist every 6 months to have your teeth checked so that any incipient problems that you may not have noticed can be treated at an early stage.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Choosing the Right Toothbrush Part 1

Proper oral hygiene is essential not just to protect your teeth, but to also protect the rest of the body from infection and disease. Brushing your teeth is a first and most important part of this protection. Using the right toothbrush is a critical factor in the process. Toothbrushes can be divided into two types - manual (or disposable) and powered (or electric). Here are the guidelines for choosing a toothbrush, irrespective of the type you use.

Size Matters

It is a common fallacy that a very large toothbrush head is the best because each stroke will over a large area. This is incorrect. An overly large head is difficult to maneuver around the mouth and will not be able to reach all the surfaces especially the inner ones and the sides and back of the molars. Generally speaking, a toothbrush head that is about half an inch wide and one inch long is the correct size for most adults. The other important size related factor is the length of the handle. A long handle will make reaching the rear of the mouth easier. However, a long handled toothbrush is more difficult to maneuver and reaching corners and inner surfaces could be difficult. A medium length handle is a good place to start and if it can be maneuvered around the mouth easily, a longer handle can be tried. If the medium handle is difficult to use, it should be replaced with a shorter one.

The Bristles are Important

All toothbrushes have bristles made of nylon. When buying a toothbrush a wide variety of bristle types are available ranging for soft, medium and hard to various intermediate grades. There is a common misconception that the harder the bristle the better the scrubbing action and the cleaner the teeth. The fact is that hard and medium bristles can wear away tooth enamel and also cause damage to the gums and roots of the teeth. This is why a soft bristled brush is the best for most people. If you feel that soft bristles are not cleaning your teeth properly, consult a dentist before switching to harder bristle so you can be sure of not damaging your teeth while brushing. An additional factor in caring for your teeth, whatever the type of bristle you use, is to ensure that the bristles have rounded tips that will not scratch the teeth and gums.

Brushes that have the American Dental Association Seal of Approval are the best choices. In the next part of this blog we will look at the pros and cons of both disposable and electric toothbrushes.

If you are unsure of what type of toothbrush is right for you or if you have a dental condition that causes brushing problems, contact your dentist. He will be able to tell you what type of toothbrush to use and how to overcome any problems. Remember that brushing your teeth properly requires the use of the right toothbrush and the correct brushing technique. We tend to take brushing our teeth for granted but it is the foundation of all dental care and hygiene.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

The Facts about Teeth Whitening

Everyone wants white shiny teeth. Often regular brushing is not enough to prevent the buildup of stains and discoloration. That is why teeth whitening is such a popular option. Years ago it was a procedure that was performed in a dentist’s office using an array of chemicals and cleaning equipment. Today, technological development means that there are a number of ways of whitening teeth. Some are still done by the dentist and others are things you can do yourself at home.

The Methods

  • Teeth whitening strips and gels are applied directly to the teeth with a brush or using a thin strip that is part of the packaging. These products are usually peroxide based and work by bleaching the teeth. They typically have to be applied twice a day for about two weeks for best results. The process usually has to be repeated every four or five months.
  • With tray based teeth whitening systems a tray similar to a mouth guard used for sports is filled with the bleaching agent and placed over the teeth for several hours a day for a few weeks. The trays are available over the counter but a better option is to have one custom fitted by a dentist. A custom fitted tray will ensure that the right amount of the whitening agent is used and that the teeth are exposed to the agent in a controlled and uniform manner. Custom fitted trays can be made to be as inconspicuous as possible.
  • Whitening toothpastes are used like ordinary toothpastes. All pastes have a mild abrasive action that helps to get stains off the teeth. Whitening toothpastes usually have extra chemicals or polishing agents in them to enhance the stain removal.  These pastes are less effective than other over the counter options and can typically whiten teeth by about one shade but not more than that.
  • The best and most effective method of whitening teeth is done in the dentist’s office using a laser. This offers the maximum whitening and produces instant results. It is possible to achieve significant whitening in about an hour and there is no risk of the structure of the teeth being affected.

Keeping Teeth White

Once teeth have been whitened, it is important to maintain the results with proper oral hygiene and the avoidance of foods and beverages that stain the teeth. Your dentist will be able to answer any questions on oral care and the foods that can discolor your teeth.

The number of over the counter teeth whitening kits available make it seem like the process is a simple one. In many ways it is, but there could be complications involved. In some cases using these kits could even lead to tooth or gum damage. It is always advisable to consult a dentist before trying any tooth whitening procedures. If you get the go ahead to try an over the counter option, you can ask for a recommendation on which brand to use. And if you are advised that an in clinic whitening treatment will produce better results, you will have saved the money spent on the kit and the frustration of the bad results.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

What Is Preventive Dentistry?

Until a generation ago, the focus of dentistry was on repairing damage to the teeth and mouth as effectively as possible. That meant developing new materials for fillings that would last longer, creating better dentures and so on. Strides were also made in making dental work as painless as possible. The focus has now changed to keeping the mouth healthy to reduce the amount of dental treatment a person may require. By reducing the traditional cycle for extractions and fillings, the aim is to enable people to retain and use their own teeth for life.

Is Preventing Problems Really Possible?

There are two main causes of tooth loss – dental decay and diseases of the gums. The constantly evolving dental technology coupled with the development of newer and better oral hygiene products is making it increasingly possible to significantly reduce, if not completely prevent, the incidence of gum and teeth related conditions. Preventive dentistry can benefit even those who have lost many of their own teeth because it will increase the chance of their being able to retain those that are left.

The Process

The process begins with your dentist doing a detailed assessment of the health and condition of your teeth and gums. If required your teeth will be cleaned, existing problems treated and any developing problems attended to. Based on this you will be given an oral health plan to follow. This can include everything from any special brushing and flossing procedures to be followed, the types of dental products that will be best for you and the effects of diet on your oral health. This is an often overlooked aspect. What you eat contributes to your oral health as it does to every other aspect of your wellbeing. The idea is to get your teeth and gums physically fit and then to maintain them in that condition.

The Dentist – Patient Partnership

Your dentist can only start you off on the road to dental wellbeing by giving you a healthy mouth. Staying on track is your job. Between the two of you preventive dentistry can pay huge dividends. The American Dental Association recommends a minimum of two dental checkups every year. Start with this and build up on this partnership to keep your teeth and gums and as healthy as possible.

Preventive dentistry focuses on maintaining oral health and hygiene. It is a 3 stage procedure that is simple and easy. A regular visit to your dentist is the first stage. He will repair any existing damage and fix any incipient problems. The next is to obtain the dentists guidance on how to look after your teeth and gums. Following an oral hygiene regimen will help to prevent any problems from arising. And if you feel that you do have a cavity or some other issue developing, do not delay consulting your dentist. The earlier a problem is identified and treated, the simpler is the solution. By minimizing the possibilities of dental problems, you minimize the pain and downtime that is caused and the need for time consuming treatment.