General Dentistry

providing you with all your preventative oral health needs

Description of General Dentistry Services

White fillings, also known as composite restorations, involves “filling” holes in a tooth with a material called composite. The holes, which dentists and hygienists call cavities or caries, are a result of bacteria infecting and destroying parts of the tooth. Without eliminating the bacteria and restoring the decayed areas of the tooth, bacteria will progress and weaken the tooth until it fractures or becomes infected. An infection that reaches the nerve of the tooth will kill the nerve resulting in pain and discomfort. At this point, more expensive and invasive dentistry must be performed to rescue the tooth. Like other infections, cavities can spread to other teeth if they are not eliminated and restored at an early stage. You can prevent cavities or detect them at an early stage by scheduling regular continuing care appointments with your dentist and dental hygienist.

Extraction refers to the removal of a tooth and the root structure. If a tooth is fractured beyond repair, it will need to be extracted. A surgical extraction is when the dentist needs to cut through the surrounding tissue and bone to the remove the tooth. To replace extracted teeth, there are several functional and cosmetic options available. Wisdom teeth are often extracted for practical reasons. Sometimes, very complex oral surgery requires referral to a specialist such as an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon.

Endodontics refers to work performed “inside” the tooth, or more commonly “root canal therapy.” Sometimes the root of a tooth can become infected or injured and needs intervention to alleviate pain and to save the tooth from eventual destruction. Imagine the root of a tooth like a vein in the middle containing nerves and soft tissue. A root canal involves removing the infected nerve and soft tissue from the canal to eliminate pain and discomfort the patient is experiencing. The canal is then disinfected and filled with special material to replace the removed nerve. The canals inside the tooth can have unique sizes, shapes, and paths. If the procedure is too complicated, a referral to an Endodontist, a root canal specialist, would be recommended. The nerve of the tooth provides the blood supply needed to keep the tooth alive. Often times the tooth will need to be structurally enhanced by adding a cap (crown) to the endodontically treated tooth.

We’re going to say it, the best dentistry is no dentistry! With the right home care and preventative oral hygiene appointments, your smile can last a lifetime with minimal intervention. Just like taking your vehicle into a mechanic for periodic inspections, our team of committed and well trained hygienists ensure that your teeth are kept in tip top shape to prevent the need for invasive dentistry in the future. A dentist will take part in the inspection as well to look for signs of infection and disease at these continuing care appointments. Some of the services we offer at our continuing care appointments include: sealants, gum therapy, fluoride varnishes, root desensitization and plaque detection.

A cap (crown) is a prosthetic tooth that is placed over a pre-existing tooth or dental implant. A tooth weakened or broken by disease or from an accident can be reinforced by adding a crown. The procedure to insert a crown usually involves removing the decayed and broken part of the tooth to make room for the crown. A temporary crown is fixed to the remainder of the tooth, while the final crown is being handmade by a lab technician at a dental laboratory. When the crown is ready, the temporary crown will be removed and the final crown is cemented in place.

A dental implant is a titanium post that is surgically inserted into the bone to replace the root of a tooth. After the implant is inserted, the bone must grow around the implant so that it becomes secure. Once that is complete, a crown (artificial tooth) is then attached to the implant. Since a dental implant and crown are standalone and have minimal impact on the surrounding teeth, cosmetically it is the most natural looking tooth replacement strategy.

Before we had the technology of implant dentistry, bridges were a favourable option to replace a missing tooth. The two teeth on either side of the missing tooth are used like pillars to support a combined 3 tooth long “bridge” hence the term. The three tooth long bridge is like 3 crowns in a row. Now with implant dentistry, we can replace the single missing tooth without jeopardizing the adjacent teeth.

Dentures can be a favourable option to replace missing teeth, and can be very cost-effective. Fortunately with todays implant technology, dentures can be attached to implants for a more stable solution for dentures. Some dentures are semi-permanent, some must be removed at nighttime. Eating difficult food with dentures can present some problems. At Doctor Joe & Associates, we use dentures as a temporary solution for a missing tooth/teeth when a patient is undergoing an implant procedure. We also use dentures when the patient is missing so many teeth that individual implants would be cost-prohibitive. The latest advancement in dentures are implant supported dentures.

For patients who are apprehensive to receive dental care we offer sedation dentistry as a service. A formula of prescribed benzodiazepines such as Valium will help to relax the patient and help reduce anxiety. When receiving sedation dentistry patients must arrange transportation from our office following their appointment.
Our dentists and hygienists are able to perform periodontal care for our patients experiencing periodontal disease. Much like the difference between taking your car to a touchless car wash and giving it a thorough detailing, patients experiencing periodontal disease need careful and thorough cleaning of the root surfaces to prevent advancement of the disease. A dental deep cleaning is required to remove bacteria and hardened debris (tartar/calculus) and remove infection around the teeth. If left untreated, periodontal disease will progress and result in loose teeth and bone loss. In some cases with severe periodontal disease, the patient will be referred to a gum specialist (periodontist).