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Changing the face of Northland, one smile at a time
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61 Maunu Road, Whangarei

Dental Services

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Fillings
Dental fillings are used to replace small to medium portions of lost tooth structure due to decay or chips. There are two main types of filling materials commonly used to replace lost tooth structure, silver (amalgam - a mixture of several metals) or tooth coloured (composite - a mixture of quartz crystals and resin.)

Each type of filling material has its advantages and disadvantages. Silver fillings are dark in colour, contain mercury (which can be harmful to certain types of individuals) but they do tend to last a long time when used appropriately. Tooth coloured fillings are barely visible, contain no harmful substances that we know of but have a shorter life span especially when they are large. The best filing material depends on the factors most important to you. Rarely are silver fillings used on front teeth.
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Crowns
Crowns, also known as caps, are used to restore a tooth when large portions of a tooth are lost or when a tooth is fractured. When a tooth has large aging fillings, a crown is a common solution to restore the tooth. Crowns are made by a technician from a mold of the prepared tooth and then fitted to the tooth at a subsequent appointment. There are many types of crowns available, predominantly porcelain (tooth coloured) and metal (either gold or another metal), to restore a tooth. Unlike fillings, crowns do not deteriorate over time and can last a lifetime if properly maintained.
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Partial Dentures
Partials are used to replace missing teeth. They can be made entirely out of acrylic or a combination of a lightweight metal and acrylic (as shown in the picture to the left.) Both acrylic and metal partials are fabricated by a dental technician from a mold of your mouth. Small wires (clasps) hold onto remaining teeth to keep the partial in place while the replaced teeth rest on the gums. Metal partials tend to be more comfortable than the all acrylic partials due the thin construction of the metal framework. Although partials can be a viable option for replacing missing teeth, they are not as comfortable as your own teeth or a permanent solution, such as a bridge, for replacing missing teeth.
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Bridges
Bridges are used to replace one or more missing teeth where there are teeth on either side of the gap. The process of making a bridge is similar to that of a crown except both teeth on either side of the gap are prepared for crowns. A mold of the prepared teeth is taken and sent to a dental technician to fabricate the bridge. The bridge is then fitted at a subsequent appointment and permanently cemented onto the adjacent teeth. Bridges are a comfortable, lifelike solution to replace missing teeth.
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Root Canals
Root Canals (Root Fillings) are performed when the tissues inside the tooth are dead or dying due to trauma from fractures or decay. Once bacteria enter the nerve chamber (pulp chamber) through deep decay or a fracture opening, the body sets up an inflammatory reaction which causes increased pressure inside the tooth. This increase in pressure stops the normal blood flow inside the tooth which results in tissue death. Pain and or swelling is the result of the succumbing tissues. The tooth is opened through the top and the tissues are removed with tiny files and the resulting empty chamber is sterilized with chemicals to remove any bacteria. Finally, the empty chamber is filled with a special rubberized compound, gutta percha, to occupy the the empty space. Crowns are usually required after a root canal is performed to hold the tooth together. A tooth with a root canal can last just as long as a normal tooth.
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Porcelain Veneers
Porcelain veneers are very thin, custom-made laminates used to restore or enhance the appearance of front teeth. They can be used to correct teeth that are worn down or chipped or to give slightly crooked or stained teeth a beautiful make-over. Like a crown, porcelain veneers are made by a dental technician. First, a small amount of tooth is removed from the front and edge of the tooth to make room for the veneer. Then an impression is taken which is sent to the dental technician where a mold is made and the veneers fabricated. The veneers are fitted and permanently bonded at a subsequent appointment.