The goal of preventative dentistry is to maintain a good oral health status over time. Prevention of dental problems involves three key players. You, the patient, must maintain good home care via brushing, flossing, and a healthy diet. Our dental hygienists will see you regularly for dental cleanings, fluoride applications, and home care reviews. Our dentists may apply sealants to protect teeth when appropriate, and design fillings to decrease the risk of further tooth decay.
Excellent oral health contributes significantly to your overall health and well-being. The proper approach to achieving oral health involves treating not only cavities, but also ailments of the gums, bone, bite, and jaw in an integrative way. It all starts with a comprehensive examination and a discussion with you.
The Canadian Dental Association recommends that children begin seeing a dentist regularly within 6 months of getting their first tooth or by the time the child has reached one year of age. Seeing the dentist early helps to prevent your child from developing cavities or other dental problems and allows for growth monitoring. Regular dental visits familiarize your child with the dental office and strengthen the child's relationship with the dental team so that treatment of cavities is an easier experience for them if ever necessary.
Children's dental visits are currently covered by MSI in Nova Scotia.
Untreated cavities in primary teeth, or "baby teeth", can lead to abscessed teeth, facial infections, and crowded adult teeth with underdeveloped enamel. Painful cavities cause difficulty eating and sleeping, and can influence your child's overall growth and development.
For kids who are too young to cooperate for in-office dental treatment, Dr. Hillier also provides care in the OR at the Glace Bay Hospital. These appointments are done in coordination with an anesthesiologist and a perioperative nursing team.
If you are experiencing pain from a toothache, a cracked tooth, or a traumatic accident, we will do whatever we can to provide pain-relieving treatments in a timely manner. If facial swelling or fever develops, please call us immediately or visit a nearby emergency room. Antibiotics are often helpful, but will not solve the problem alone. The source of the infection, the tooth, needs to be addressed to prevent pain and swelling from returning.
Minor Restorations "Fillings"
Restorative dentistry involves the removal of caries (the soft decayed tooth material that we call "cavities") and restoration of the teeth. Most commonly this involves placing a filling. In our practice, we do both silver amalgam fillings and white resin fillings – we will typically make a recommendation specific to each individual tooth, but we are happy to discuss your preferences with you!
Endodontics "Root Canals"
Toothaches usually begin when cavities get too close to the nerve of the tooth. If the tooth becomes too inflamed, the damage may exceed that which the body can heal on its own. At this point, your dentist will recommend either removing the tooth, or doing a root canal. The root canal procedure involves removing the inflamed or infected nerve/tissue from inside the tooth. Root canals have a bad reputation in the media, but they really aren’t that bad! The experience is a lot like getting a filling, it just takes a little longer to complete. Plus, it helps you keep your tooth!
Dental Surgery & Extractions
Most of the surgeries we do in a general dental practice are dental extractions, or the removal of teeth. Other minor oral surgeries can be completed in a general practice, but more invasive surgeries are often referred to one of our local oral surgeons.
A tooth may be removed/extracted for many reasons: large cavities, dental infections, severe bone loss causing mobility, or in conjunction with orthodontic treatments. Wisdom teeth are often removed if they fail to grow into the mouth properly.
Crown & Bridge, Veneers
Your dentist may recommend a crown, or "cap" if you've had a root canal or if you have a tooth with very large fillings. The tooth is trimmed down and a crown is placed over top. It’s like a protective armour that prevents the weakened tooth from breaking when you chew. Crowns can be gold, porcelain, or a combination.
Bridges are similar to crowns. They replace missing teeth by “bridging” the gap between two other teeth with a prosthetic tooth. To do this, the teeth on either side of the gap are trimmed and crowned.
Veneers are thin layers of porcelain placed over only the front of the teeth. They are usually done to improve smile aesthetics.
Dental implants are another great option for the replacement of missing teeth. A titanium implant is inserted into the jaw bone surgically by a local oral surgeon. After a period of healing, the implant will act as a prosthetic “root” for the replacement tooth. The replacement tooth is then screwed or cemented on top of the implant.
Two major advantages to implant treatment over conventional bridge procedures are:
1. Your bone in the area of the missing tooth is better maintained over time.
2. Your teeth on either side of the implant maintain their natural integrity!