• General and Cosmetic Dentistry

  • Quality Dental Care to The
    Community and Surrounding Areas

  • Creating Vibrant Smiles
    For Everyone

  • Individualized Dental Care

  • Preventative Oral Healthcare
    And Treatment

Patient Education

Patient Education

Many dental procedures are necessary to maintain oral health, while others promote general well-being in other ways, like improved self image. By knowing about the purpose and importance of the procedures offered at Highland Dental Clinic, our patients can make more informed decisions about their dental health.

A tooth abscess is the result of pus collecting in the tissue at the base of a tooth. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including infection caused by decay, damage, or advanced gum disease. Abscesses are usually accompanied by extreme pain and swelling in the jaw. If left untreated, tooth abscesses can spread to other areas of the body and cause dangerous complications like blood infection, brain abscesses, pneumonia and infection of the jaw and facial tissue.

Tooth abscesses are generally treated with antibiotics and drainage, to cure the infection and remove infected material. Once the infection is cured, a root canal procedure can be performed to restore the tooth. If the tooth cannot be restored, it is extracted.

Patients experiencing severe dental pain or swelling should see their dentist as soon as possible. 

Oral cancer refers to any cancerous tissue inside the mouth. Oral cancer can originate in any of the tissues in the mouth, including the tongue, gums, cheek lining, palate or floor of the mouth, or it can be the result of cancer spreading from other areas of the body. Signs and symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • White or dark red patches on the lips or inside the mouth
  • Lumps inside the mouth, or changes in colour or texture of tissues inside the mouth
  • Lesions or sores inside the mouth that do not heal
  • Bleeding or numbness inside the mouth
  • Problems with swallowing
  • Changes in taste or tongue sensation
  • Fortunately, if oral cancer is detected early enough, treatment is usually very effective. With regular screenings, your dentist can detect early signs of oral cancer and advise you on treatment options. 

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is a mild sedative that has been used in dentistry for more than 100 years. Usually mixed with oxygen, nitrous oxide is administered through inhalation and is a completely safe method to reduce pain and anxiety.

A colourless and odorless gas, nitrous oxide produces feelings of mild euphoria and a sense of well being. Patients remain alert and conscious of their surroundings, but are far less likely to feel anxious. Patients also experience tingling sensations and light-headedness.

Your dentist and clinic staff can explain nitrous oxide as a sedation option, and discuss any concerns you may have about its suitability or side effects. 

Oral sedation is a form of conscious sedation administered through oral medication. "Conscious sedation" means patients remain awake during the procedure, but experience reduced anxiety and pain, allowing for dental work to be completed more quickly and easily.

Highland Dental Clinic uses lorazepam (trademarked Ativan) for oral sedation. Ativan is effective for the treatment of anxiety and also helps patients cope with prior trauma or unpleasant memories associated with dentistry.

If you have any questions or concerns about Ativan, or your suitability for oral conscious sedation, please discuss them with your dentist.

Dentures are artificial, removable replacements for teeth and gums. There are two types of dentures – partial dentures for when some of the patient’s teeth remain, and complete dentures for when all of the patient’s teeth are missing. Dentures are made by taking impressions of the patient’s mouth and then custom fabricating the replacements.  Partial dentures are attached to adjacent teeth, while complete or full dentures are held in place by suction or an adhesive. Both types of dentures can be removed for cleaning or at night.

Replacing missing teeth with dentures can help patients in a variety of ways. Dentures can make it easier for patients to eat and speak, and can improve appearance and self-esteem.

Composite resin is a plastic and glass mixture used for fillings and to restore damaged or disfigured teeth. Composite can be shaded to match the tooth, giving it an aesthetic advantage over other filling materials. Composite fillings also bond to the tooth and support the remaining tooth structure, helping to protect it against further damage.

The decision whether or not to use composite resin in tooth fillings is usually based on the location of the tooth. Composite may not be the best option for teeth on which the patient bites down hard.

Composite fillings are made by cleaning all the decayed material from the cavity, then placing a bonding agent inside. The composite is then added in layers, with the dentist using a special light to harden each layer as it’s applied. When the filling is complete, the dentist shapes and polishes the composite to match the original shape of the tooth.

Tooth bleaching is a cosmetic process by which teeth are whitened using a peroxide-based gel. Teeth can become stained or darkened for many reasons, including aging, tobacco use, or consumption of certain foods and drinks. Unlike surface whiteners, which only remove stains on the surface of the teeth, bleaching can change the colour of the teeth themselves.

There are many factors that determine whether or not bleaching is a suitable treatment, including the type and origin of discoloration and stains, and what kind of previous dental work has been done. Your dentist can offer advice on whether bleaching is an appropriate procedure for you.

For more information about the whitening procedures and products offered at Highland Dental Clinic, please talk to your dentist or clinic staff.

Tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from the mouth. This can happen for several reasons, including severe decay, impacted wisdom teeth, or to make room for orthodontic treatment.

In cases of severe decay, the tooth is extracted because it cannot be restored. Wisdom teeth are removed when they grow in sideways and affect other teeth. In orthodontics, teeth are sometimes extracted to make room for the teeth that will be realigned during treatment.

There are two types of tooth extraction – simple and surgical. A simple extraction involves teeth that are visible in the mouth, and is performed using a local anaesthetic. Surgical extractions are performed on teeth that are not easily accessed, usually because they have broken under the gumline or have not fully appeared.

If an extraction is necessary, your dentist can advise you on what type of procedure is required and explain the process and outcome. 

Sealants are thin layers of composite resin that are placed in the pits, fissures and grooves of teeth, usually molars, to prevent decay on these surfaces. The majority of decay on the back teeth begins in the grooves and pits of chewing surfaces, especially in the first few years after the teeth erupt.

Sealants are one of the most effective methods of preventing decay. Though it’s still possible for decay to take place on the surfaces between teeth, sealants significantly reduce the overall chance of cavities in children and adults. 

Bruxism is the excessive grinding of the teeth and/or clenching of the jaw. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, alignment of the teeth, diet, sleeping habits and more. The symptoms of bruxism range from mild to severe, with many patients being unaware there is a problem. Symptoms of bruxism include damage to the teeth and dental work, tooth sensitivity, headaches, anxiety, stress, muscle pain, insomnia, earaches and depression.

Bruxism can also lead to, or be caused by, problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the joint that connects the upper and lower jaw. It is one of the most complicated joints in the body, allowing forward and backward movement, side to side movement and rotations. Common symptoms of TMJ problems include pain, limited movement of the jaw, clicking sounds, muscle spasms and locking of the jaw.

Your dentist can help diagnose bruxism and TMJ problems, and help evaluate the causes. Common treatments include night guards, bite guards and bite adjustments. If you experience and symptoms of bruxism or TMJ problems, consult your dentist, who can guide you toward the best treatment options for your situation.

Teeth are composed of three layers: the enamel, the outer layer of the tooth (and the hardest part of the body); the dentin, which is the hard layer inside the tooth; and the pulp, which is the space at the centre of the tooth where the live tissue and the nerve is located. 

When the pulp is exposed to the outside, the tissue becomes contaminated and eventually infected. This exposure can happen for many reasons, such as a large cavity or a tooth fracture.

Once this exposure takes place, the treatment is usually a root canal. A root canal is the process of removing infected and dead tissue from the pulp space of the tooth, then disinfecting and sealing the space. After this procedure is finished, the dentist will usually place a crown over the tooth to protect it against fracture.

Nowadays, root canals are performed with advanced techniques and materials, making them more comfortable and faster than in the past.

Veneers, or laminates, are a thin shell of porcelain or resin bonded to the surface of the teeth. Veneers can change the shape, shade and position of teeth, and replace or restore lost tooth structure. Veneers are a cosmetic treatment that can dramatically improve the appearance of teeth in shape and whiteness, and are often chosen by patients who are concerned with the aesthetics of their smiles. 

Because veneers are very thin, they often require very little or no tooth structure to be removed before placement. Veneers are considered one of the most conservative cosmetic treatments available. Your dentist can evaluate whether or not veneers are a suitable treatment for you.

A dental implant is a titanium-based cylinder that replaces the missing tooth root, eventually allowing the dentist to place a crown over the implant. With excellent success rates and a variety of options, dental implants have become a great alternative to other methods of replacing missing teeth.

Dental implants can also be used to support full or partial dentures, dramatically improving retention and stability.

Most patients with enough bone to take the implant can have one placed, however, your dentist can advise on your eligibility. 

Crowns, or caps, are a method of restoring teeth that have lost much of their structure but still have enough root structure to support the crown. A bridge is a way of restoring teeth where there is not enough remaining structure to support a crown. In the case of a bridge, the restoration is supported by the adjacent teeth.

Crowns and bridges can be made of many different materials, including porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or full metal. Your dentist can explain the advantages and disadvantages of each type of material.

The process of making a crown or bridge begins with taking an impression of the patient’s teeth, and then installing a temporary crown or bridge. Then technicians pour a mold based on the impression, with multiple steps involved in fabricating the crown or bridge. Once complete, the dentist checks the fit, makes necessary adjustments, and then cements the crown or bridge to the patient’s teeth.

© Copyright 2013 Highland Dental Clinic.

P.O. Box 650, 1018B Osler Avenue,

Crossfield, Alberta, T0M 0S0