At Empire Dental, we offer a variety of general dental services and preventative treatments to maintain excellent oral health. Listed below are some of the procedures and services that we provide.
General Dentistry and comprehensive services
If a tooth displays signs of decay or a cavity, a dental filling may be required to prevent further decay. If a cavity is not filled, it can increase in size, cause pain, and may require the tooth to be removed. There are two commonly used materials for fillings; metal (dental amalgam) and composite.
Dental amalgam fillings are composed of metal, and are silver in colour. Dental amalgam fillings last for a long time and are very durable. Composite fillings are composed of thin layers of resin placed inside the tooth. Composite fillings resemble the appearance of natural teeth, and can usually be completed in one appointment.
The choice of dental filling type is influenced by a variety of factors, including the integrity of the remaining tooth, the location of the filling, and the required performance of the tooth. In addition, local anesthetic or sedation may be provided to mitigate pain that a patient may experience during the filling procedure.
Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer is abnormal growth of cells in the mouth, lips, tongue, or throat. People age 45 and older are at the highest risk for oral cancer. At Empire Dental, we examine the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat for indicators of oral cancer, and will address any concerns immediately. If necessary, we will provide references to specialists should further diagnosis and treatment be required.
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is among the most common dental problems and a main reason why adults lose their teeth. Gum disease can begin at any age, and often develops slowly, and signs or symptoms may not be noticed until the disease has reached an advanced stage. However, gum disease can be prevented, treated, or even reversed (if detected in it early stages).
Gum disease is caused by plaque, bacteria, and tartar. Plaque is clear and sticky, and forms everyday on teeth and the area where gums and teeth meet. Plaque hardens into tartar if it is not removed by brushing and flossing. Unlike plaque, tartar cannot be removed by brushing and flossing, and can cause infection in the area where teeth attach with the gums. This is early stage is called gingivitis, and may be noticed by some redness and bleeding when brushing.
As gingivitis worsens, periodontal pockets may form, allowing bacteria and toxins to collect. These pockets cannot be seen and your gums may not be sore, but there may be evidence of puffy gums, traces of blood on toothbrush bristles, or a change in gum colouration. The infection progressively breaks down the gum tissue that attaches to teeth, causing teeth to loosen and eventually fall out. At this stage, the only way to restore your smile is through cosmetic treatment, such as dentures or dental implants or dental bridges.
In its early stages, gum disease can be difficult to detect, but it is checked for during every dental examination. If early stage gum disease is detected, removal of plaque and tartar by brushing and flossing in addition to regular cleanings by your dentist allows for gums to get better. If gum disease is more serious, you may be referred to a periodontist, and surgical methods of treatment may be required.
If your gums display redness, bleed when brushing or flossing, change in colour and appear shiny, puffy or feel sore, you may have gum disease. Bad breath, a taste of metal, or sensitive teeth are also indicators of gum disease. If you have any of the above signs and symptoms, contact your dentist as soon as possible.
A root canal treatment may be required when the nerve of your tooth becomes infected. A root canal treatment allows you to retain the tooth rather than having it removed. Retaining the tooth instead of removing it prevents other teeth from moving or drifting out of line, in addition to not requiring replacement with an artificial tooth.
Root canal treatment may be suggested when it is determined that a tooth will not heal itself from infection. The root canal treatment process involves removing the infected or dead pulp from your tooth. The area inside of each tooth is named the root canal system, and is filled with soft dental pulp made up of nerves and blood vessels. If an infected tooth is left untreated, it can spread through the tooth and bone, and ultimately result in the loss of the natural tooth.
A tooth becomes infected when bacteria enter your tooth through cavities, cracks, and flawed fillings, resulting in an abscess. An abscessed tooth may cause pain or swelling, and if pulp becomes infected, it will need removal.
At Empire Dental, root canal treatment or extraction of the affected tooth can be performed by our resident endodontist (a specialist concerned with the treatment of dental pulp and nerves of teeth). Local anesthetic is used during the treatment procedure in order to mitigate any pain that the patient may experience.
Following a root canal treatment, a tooth will require restoration to appear and function and a natural tooth. A dental crown or filling may be used to restore the tooth. The chosen method of restoration depends on the strength and location of the remaining tooth. A root canal treatment can be completed in one or two appointments, and following treatment you may experience soreness for the initial two weeks. It is important to contact your dentist or endodontist if you experience any significant pain or swelling following the procedure.
If a tooth is decayed, fractured, is impacted, blocks other teeth, cannot be restored, or is affected by gum disease, it may require removal. At Empire Dental, we can extract problematic teeth, and will provide anesthetic or sedatives if required to alleviate pain or control anxieties. You may be provided with care instructions following the dental extraction procedure to ensure proper healing and to avoid complications.
If you are affected by bruxism, or grinding of teeth, a mouth guard may be a suitable solution to prevent damage to your teeth. Grinding or clenching of the teeth often occurs at night, so a night guard can provide a barrier between your top and bottom teeth as you sleep. Night guards are custom fitted for your comfort. To ensure the best fit of the mouth guard, impressions of your teeth are taken, and then the mouth guard is created by our dental lab. As mouth guards are very durable, you can expect them to last for up to 10 years.
If you have a dental emergency, please contact our office at 780-482-4000, and we will do our best to determine the best solution for you. You may be given a referral to another dental office or hospital depending on the condition of the dental emergency.
Dentures are artificial replacements for missing natural teeth and gums. If you are left with none or few healthy teeth, dentures may be suggested to you to replace the missing teeth. Depending on the number of healthy teeth remaining and their condition, a patient may receive complete or partial dentures. Complete dentures are required when all natural teeth are removed from the mouth and replaced with a complete set of dentures. Partial dentures are an option when some healthy natural teeth remain and do not need to be removed. Partial dentures are similar to dental bridges, but are not permanent fixtures.
There are two kinds of complete dentures: immediate dentures, and conventional dentures. Immediate dentures are made prior to teeth being removed using models of your jaw. Once all teeth are extracted, then the immediate dentures are inserted. This means that you are not without teeth during the healing period of approximately 6 months. Conventional dentures are made and placed in your mouth after all teeth have been extracted and healing has taken place.
Complete and partial dentures require daily care just like natural teeth. Dentures can build up plaque and tartar, resulting in stains, bad breath, and gum problems. To clean dentures, remove them from your mouth, then brush and rinse them to remove food particles. Use a denture brush to apply denture cleaner or mild soap. Brush gently on all surfaces where bacteria collect. Rinse the dentures before placing them back in your mouth. Never use hot water, as it could damage or warp the dentures. When cleaning dentures, observe them for damage such as cracks, and make sure to handle them very carefully as they are delicate.
IV (Intravenous) Sedation
Intravenous Conscious Sedation (aka “IV sedation”) is when a drug, usually of the anti-anxiety variety, is administered into the blood system during dental treatment.
What does it feel like? Will I be asleep?
A lot of terms such as “sleep dentistry” or “twilight sleep” are used when talking about IV sedation. This is confusing, because it suggests that IV sedation involves being put to sleep. In reality, you remain conscious during conscious IV sedation. You will also be able to understand and respond to requests from your dentist.
However, you may not remember much (or anything at all) about what occurred because of two things:
1. IV sedation induces a state of deep relaxation and a feeling of not being bothered by what’s going on.
2. The drugs used for IV sedation produce either partial or full memory loss (amnesia) for the period of time when the drug first kicks in until it wears off. As a result, time will appear to pass very quickly and you will not recall much of what happened. Many people remember nothing at all. So it may, indeed, appear as if you were “asleep” during the procedure.
What are the main advantages of IV sedation?
- IV sedation tends to be the method of choice if you don’t want to be aware of the procedure – you “don’t want to know”.
- The onset of action is very rapid, and drug dosage and level of sedation can be tailored to meet the individual’s needs.
- Benzodiazepines may produce amnesia for the procedure.
- The gag reflex is hugely diminished – people receiving IV sedation rarely experience difficulties with gagging.
- Patients are conscious, and they can cooperate with instructions.
- Recovery from IV administered drugs is not complete at the end of dental treatment. You need to be escorted by a responsible adult.
What drugs are used? Are there different types of IV sedation?
The most commonly used drugs for IV sedation are benzodiazepines, or “benzos” for short. These are anti-anxiety sedative drugs.
Anti-anxiety sedatives (benzodiazepines): Midazolam and Diazepam
Mostly the drug used for IV sedation is a short acting benzodiazepine, or “benzo” for short. This is an anti-anxiety sedative. IV administered benzos have 3 main effects: they reduce anxiety/relax you, they make you sleepy, and they produce partial or total amnesia (i.e. make you forget what happened during some or, less frequently, all of the procedure). Total amnesia is more common with midazolam compared to diazepam.
By far the most commonly used drug for IV sedation is Midazolam, but occasionally Diazepam can be used. Midazolam is the first choice because of its relatively short duration of action (meaning that it’ll be out of your system faster).
After IV Sedation:
- Have your escort take you home and rest for the remainder of the day.
- Have an adult stay with you until you’re fully alert.
- Don’t perform any strenuous or hazardous activities and don’t drive a motor vehicle for the rest of the day.
- Don’t eat a heavy meal immediately. If you’re hungry, eat something light, e.g. liquids and toast.
- If you experience nausea, lie down for a while.
- Don’t drink alcohol or take medications for the rest of the day unless you’ve contacted your dentist first.
- Take medications as directed by your dentist.
- If you have any unusual problems, call your dentist.