Dental Procedures

General preventive care

A check- up involves a thorough examination of your whole mouth including soft tissue, gums and teeth as well as x-rays to have a look at the bone around the teeth. During this visit the dentist attends to your immediate concern and determines whether other areas need work. A proper diagnosis is made, and further work planned. This enables the dentist to compile a treatment plan which will be communicated to the patient shortly after.

To enable the dentist to make an accurate diagnosis, proper imaging are usually required. This enables the dentist to evaluate not only the teeth in the mouth, but also the bone and tissues surrounding it.

We use modern x-ray machines with low radiation doses, and we limit our exposures, thus we only take x-rays when necessary. Our x-rays include intra- oral x-rays- to take x-rays of small areas in the mouth- and also Panoramic or Conebeam CT x-rays which takes an image from outside the mouth by circling the x-ray machine around the patient.

 

Scaling and Polishing of teeth remove plaque, as well as harder build- up called calculus. Cleaning of the teeth is followed by topical fluoride application, which strengthen the teeth, help lower sensitivity and prevent cavities from forming. Oral hygiene instructions are also thoroughly explained and demonstrated to aid each patient in keeping his/her mouth healthy at home.

Regular, bi- annual cleaning visits are imperative to maintaining healthy gums and teeth, prevent staining as well as bad breath.

Zoom tooth whitening is done, together with take- home kits to further the effect of whitening. Our practice manufactures custom bleaching trays- made for your mouth- which enables the bleaching liquid to be safely used at home.

The BriteSmile teeth-whitening procedure has been available in South Africa since March 2003 and it is growing at an amazing rate, with more and more dentists becoming associated with BriteSmile every month. The procedure has been introduced in more than 80 countries since 1999 and in early 2004 over a million treatments has already been performed worldwide.

These figures reflect the good results of the procedure – over 98% of BriteSmile patients are satisfied with the treatment. In just a little over an hour, your teeth are whitened by more than 9 shades (on average 9.3), which makes it economical for tourists to have the treatment while visiting South Africa.

Tooth whitening forms an essential part of the treatment process as a whole and helps to transform your smile into a radiant one.

Gum treatment is done, in conjunction to basic cleaning and oral hygiene visits, when indicated. Upon assessment of your mouth the dentist or oral hygienist will inform you if your gums need further treatment. This is usually indicated when gingivitis or periodontitis is present. These terms refer to inflammation of the gums and possibly the bone surrounding the teeth. These conditions can lead to gums bleeding when brushing, red or swollen gums, loose teeth and bad breath. The good news is that it can be treated!

A gum guard is a custom fitted guard that fits snugly around your teeth to protect the teeth and jaw from injury when participating in sports.

When a gum guard is custom fitted it is more comfortable to wear and more ideally suited for optimal protection, due to the precise fit. Gum guards are important for children, as well as adult athletes.

A night guard is essential for most people to wear while sleeping. A night guard is a translucent acrylic (similar to plastic) plate that fits precisely over the biting surfaces of the teeth (it does not cover the whole tooth and gum such as a gum guard would).

This is beneficial as it protects the surfaces of the natural teeth and crowns when grinding or clenching (which is very common in most people as almost everyone is under stress). The plate also protects the jaw joints (Temporo- mandibular joints) which more often than not sustain damage when grinding the teeth.

It is very important to get protection for your teeth and crowns by making a biteplate!

When a tooth has a cavity, then a filling needs to be done.

A cavity contains bacteria, which result from foodstuffs adhering to the tooth and damaging the outer layer of the tooth (enamel or dentin). When this cavity presents, it needs to be cleaned and the resultant hole/ cavity needs to be filled up to close the sensitive tooth structure and to protect is from further decay.

We use aesthetic, tooth coloured filling materials to do these fillings. If, however a cavity becomes too large, then a porcelain filling or crown may be necessary. 

Cavities can be uncomfortable and even painful, so be sure to get them fixed as soon as possible!

Emergency treatment and pain relief

We take the utmost care to give our patients the most comfortable treatment possible, and this includes painless anaesthesia. In order to do this, we use the Wand/ STA system. This system is much easier to handle than the conventional syringe and the speed of infusion is electronically controlled, making more precise work possible- which results in less or no pain.

When the pulp cavity, or nerve of a tooth has sustained damage, then root canal treatment is necessary to prevent further inflammation or infection. Root canal treatment is essential in such a scenario to save the tooth (which will always be our main goal). The tooth will be numbed completely before doing this, ensuring that you won’t have pain when we do the root canal treatment.

The pulp cavity may sustain damage in various ways, which may include:
⦁ Deep fillings
⦁ Large cavity extending into the nerve/ pulp
⦁ Tooth fractures/ cracked teeth
⦁ Trauma or injury to a tooth
⦁ Tooth abscess

A root canal treatment treats the nerve inside the tooth roots to relieve pain and restore the health of the tooth. We use specialized equipment (such as apex locators and heat obturation systems) and an array of disinfection materials when doing our root canal treatments to give you the best possible treatment. When the root canal treatment is done, the tooth is built- up with a filling, and most often a full coverage porcelain crown is necessary to strengthen the tooth.

We always try and save a tooth where possible, but if a tooth can’t be salvaged then it might be necessary to remove the tooth.

When a tooth extraction is necessary then the area is completely numbed to prevent any pain or discomfort. You will not have pain while we do the extraction!

We use modern techniques and instruments to gently remove the tooth and prevent damage to the surrounding bone and tissues. This is very important as we strive to replace a missing tooth when the area has healed, and this requires healthy tissues.

Options to replace missing teeth include:
Implants
Bridges
Removable dentures

Ceramic Dentistry

CAD/CAM procedures are exciting and painless, as we no longer need to take impressions of your mouth, but we simply use an intra- oral scanner that records a digital video of your mouth. These images are then transferred to the computer to enable the digital design (CAD) of the work to be done by our in-house Laboratory technician.

The next step involves the computerized manufacturing of the ceramic work (such as a crown) by a milling unit that mills the crown from a block of porcelain (CAM). The materials used are very strong and aesthetic, such as IPs Emax, which is a type of Lithium disilicate glass-ceramic.

A ceramic veneer can be described as an ultra- thin shell that covers the outside surface of a tooth, usually the front teeth in the mouth. This is a wonderful option to preserve as much as possible of your natural tooth structure. When indicated, porcelain veneers offer an aesthetic, minimally invasive solution to a better smile.

Dental veneers can:
⦁ Improve your smile
⦁ Improve tooth colour
⦁ Close gaps between teeth

A ceramic inlay or onlay is a great alternative to the conventional direct tooth coloured fillings and may be indicated when a cavity becomes too big for a conventional direct filling. A “conventional direct filling” implies that a filling is placed directly in the mouth and is not manufactured in the lab. An indirect filling, or a filling manufactured in the lab (inlay or onlay) has the following advantages:

⦁ More detail/ better aesthetic/ natural outcome and character to the restoration
⦁ Better contacts between teeth resulting in fewer food impactions
⦁ The porcelain filling is manufactured in the lab, thus there is no shrinkage in the mouth resulting in less post- op pain and better long-term stability.

If you are interested in the best possible long-term result, then ask your dentist regarding this exciting option!

A ceramic crown is a type of full- coverage dental crown that covers and protects the entire circumference of the tooth crown in the mouth. This procedure is done when a significant amount of tooth structure- necessary for function or aesthetic reasons- has been lost due to extensive damage to tooth structure. These scenarios include: ⦁ Very large cavities ⦁ Very large fillings ⦁ Root canal treated teeth ⦁ Fractured teeth ⦁ Worn down teeth ⦁ Crowding of teeth or severe problems of the bite.

A bridge is one of the options available to close a gap where a tooth has been lost (also refer to implants and dentures for other options). It is a fixed structure that is cemented in your mouth, just like an individual crown. A bridge needs to be anchored to the teeth behind and in front of the tooth-less gap, just like the abutments of a structural bridge support the arch thereof.

A bridge can utilize natural teeth (that have to be healthy) or implants as abutments. Just like a structural bridge connecting two pieces of land, the arch of a dental bridge can’t have arches that are too long between available abutments to support it. Due to this reason the dentist might advise against a bridge on natural teeth in certain instances and rather advise an implant(s) with crowns and/ or bridges.

Laser Dentistry

Laser therapy means state-of-the-art dentistry and modern patient care all in one. Due to the number of advantages, a dental laser should now be a standard feature of a modern dental practice.

This expand our treatment range with many pain-free alternatives and achieve better results, stress-free. Quick and successful use is provided by the intuitively operating lasers SIROLaser Advance and SIROLaser Xtend.

Implants

When a tooth needs to be removed then one of the options available to replace it with is a dental implant (also refer to ceramic bridges and dentures). An implant is a titanium body/ screw that is placed into the area where the tooth was lost. This is not a painful procedure as the nerves that held the tooth in place is not present anymore. We do, however numb the area to improve your comfort while we work. After placement of the implant we let the implant grow into the bone for several months, usually this process takes 4- 6 months. After this period, we can make a ceramic crown to fit on this implant to give you a fixed, natural looking tooth.

An implant can be used where a single tooth has been lost (implant crown) or where multiple teeth have been lost (implant bridges). Where all of a person’s teeth has been lost, then implant dentures are also an option to consider.

Dentures

A denture is an acrylic structure to replace teeth as well as gum tissue. This can be done in cases where a single tooth, multiple teeth or all of the teeth has been lost (please also refer to implants and ceramic bridges). If some natural teeth are present then we refer to partial dentures, when all of the teeth have been lost, we refer to complete dentures.

Partial dentures are usually supported by natural teeth by adding clasps to keep the denture from falling out. Complete dentures can either be placed directly on the gum tissue or be retained/ held in place by implants.

Please speak to our dentists regarding the best option to suit your needs and expectations.

Clear Aligners

Clear aligners refer to a series of removable, translucent aligners that are worn almost on a permanent basis (most of the day and night) to align the teeth. This is an alternative procedure to fixed braces, but it is not possible to do in all circumstances. When this is not a viable option then fixed braces or another alternative treatment approach might be necessary to achieve the desired treatment outcome.

To determine whether clear aligners are possible, please allow us the opportunity to do the appropriate examination and treatment planning to give you the best possible treatment option.

When indicated, clear aligners provide a shorter and more aesthetically pleasing alternative to fixed braces.