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Tooth Decay
  • Preventing Tooth Decay

    • Tooth decay can be prevented and even reversed when it is in its early stages by eating a well-balanced diet, good oral hygiene and regular dental visits


  • Plaque, an invisible film containing bacteria that form on your teeth every day, becomes a problem when it is not removed by brushing and flossing.  The bacteria in plaque uses sugars in the foods you eat (also the hidden sugars in carbohydrates) and produces acid. This acid slowly eats away the tooth.  Over time the tooth gets soft and a cavity develops.


  • At a regular dental visit one of the things dentists look for is tooth decay.  Using a dental instrument and x-rays if needed, your dentist looks at all surfaced of your teeth for signs of decay.  If decay is found, it must be stopped from spreading and depending on the stage of the dental disease, changes to your diet, oral hygiene routine, as well as the application of fluoride or another healing agent, may be recommended.  If the decay extent is beyond the early stage the tooth may need to be filled.



  • When decay forms, the resulting hole is called a cavity. If it isn’t treated, it will continue to grow and cause extensive damage to the tooth, potentially cause the tooth to become infected.  If simple changes in diet, oral hygiene or the application of reversal agents does not heal a cavity, a filling will need to be done.


  • The dentist will numb the tooth if needed and then remove the decay (diseased tooth structure).  There is now a hole in the tooth where the diseased tooth structure was.  A filling is then placed to fill the hole and help protect the tooth from further decay


Dental composite resins are types of synthetic resins which are used in dentistry as restorative material or adhesives. 

  • The filling is applied in layers and hardened with a special light. The final layers are shaped and polished to restore the tooth’s appearance and function.

Since the composite material closely matches the colour of the tooth, fillings are look very natural.


  • A crown, inlay or onlay (sometimes called  a cap) covers a damaged, weak, or heavily filled tooth to protect it.  They can also cover a discoloured or misshapen tooth.  They can last 15 years or longer if you take good care of them.  They can be gold, zirconia, porcelain or porcelain over the top of metal.

  • The process is as follows:

    • an impression of the existing tooth is taken so your dentist can make you a temporary crown to wear until the final one is ready

    • the tooth is shaped to make room for the crown (about 1-1.5mm is taken off the tooth all around and off the top).  This is done with anaesthetic if the tooth is not root canal treated, or can be done without anaesthetic if the tooth is root canal treated.

    • an impression of the tooth is taken after it is shaped, as well as an impression of the teeth in the opposite jaw.  An impression of the way your teeth bite together is also taken.  These impressions allow the dental laboratory to make a crown that fits perfectly.

    • your dentist then makes a temporary crown that is cemented with temporary cement.  This will hold the space for the permanent crown as well as protect the tooth that has been filed down while we wait for the permanent crown to be made.  If this temporary crown falls off it is important to call us so we can put it back on, otherwise the teeth may move and the permanent crown may not fit.

    • when the permanent crown is ready, the temporary crown is removed and the permanent crown is cemented with permanent cement.  This crown is just like any other tooth in your mouth now and can be used normally.



  • A bridge is a dental restoration that replaces one or more missing teeth. A bridge is a permanent replacement, meaning you do not take it in or out.  It is cemented onto the teeth on both sides of the missing tooth.  These teeth will need to be prepared in some way to hold the bridge. The process is the same as for a crown and the same materials (gold, zirconia, porcelain or porcelain over top of metal) are used.

  • Bridges can also be supported by implants.



Implants replace one or more missing teeth and do not require the natural teeth to be touched.  The implant is an artificial root made of titanium that is screwed into the bone of the jaw.

The process of an implant is as follows:

  • a small hole is drilled into the jawbone and then the implant is screwed into this hole. The implant is completely in the bone.  The dentist will then place a cover over the implant that you may see when you look in your mouth.  
  • the implant will need to sit for about three months so that the bone can grow onto it.

  • after the implant has integrated with the bone, an impression is taken so that the lab can make the crown.  The process is the same as for a crown and the same materials (gold, zirconia, porcelain or porcelain over top of metal) are used.

  • You go home this day with the cover back on the implant.

  • When the abutment and crown are fabricated, the cover over the implant is removed once again. The abutment is then screwed into the implant and the crown is cemented or screwed onto the abutment.

You must care for the implant and crown just as you would do for a natural tooth.  You will need to brush and floss and have regular dental check ups to ensure the implant is secure and the bite is correct.

Tooth Decay
Dental Implants
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