And When They May Be Necessary

Did you know that only about a third of Canadians actually brush and floss their teeth as much as they should? Skipping these cleanings may not seem like a problem on a busy day, but doing it often enough can put your oral health at risk!

If you’re worried that your brushing and flossing habits may be affecting your teeth, or if you’ve noticed sensitivity or pain, it might be time to consider dental procedures that could help.

Cleanings, fillings, restorations, extractions, and root canals may sound intimidating, but they’re a great way to protect your smile. If you’re not sure which treatment you need or what to expect, here’s a quick guide.

Cleanings and Examinations

The Canadian Dental Association recommends visiting a dentist twice a year for a cleaning and examination. Here’s what to expect from these common appointments.

Regular Cleanings and Check-ups

During a regular dental cleaning, a dentist or hygienist will remove plaque and tartar from your teeth. To do this, they use special tools like small mirrors and scalers.

They will also polish your teeth with gritty toothpaste. Afterwards, they’ll perform an expert flossing to remove any leftover plaque. The last step is a fluoride treatment for extra cavity protection.

Early Detection and Prevention

During your cleaning, your dentist will perform a physical examination of your teeth. This helps them check for common dental issues like gingivitis. They’ll also look for signs of tooth decay, which we’ll touch on below.

Fillings and Restorations

If your dentist notices tooth decay, they can help address it with a few different procedures. In some cases, your dentist may do a same-day procedure, or they may talk to you about scheduling a dental appointment on a future date.

Purpose and Process of Fillings and Restorations

When you have tooth decay, it’s important to remove it before it can spread.

To do this, your dentist will use an anaesthetic to numb the area around your tooth. They will then remove the decay, clean the space inside your tooth, and add a filling. This filling prevents further decay and ensures that your tooth functions as normal.

Types of Fillings

There are several different options for tooth fillings:

  • Gold
  • Amalgam or silver fillings
  • Composite fillings
  • Porcelain

Depending on your preferences and the amount of decay, your dentist can help you find the right material for your filling. Many dentists default to composite fillings, which are great for most small cavities.


A tooth extraction is a procedure in which your dentist removes one or more of your teeth. Often, this procedure is designed to help improve your overall dental health.

Reasons for Tooth Extraction

Most tooth extractions are the result of severe issues with the tooth in question.

Extreme decay or infection, for example, can pose a problem for the rest of your teeth: left unchecked, these issues can spread throughout your mouth. These issues are also common in wisdom teeth, which is why dentists often push for their removal. Overcrowding can also be problematic, as crowded teeth are difficult to brush and floss.

Types of Extractions

There are two main types of extractions. With a simple extraction, your dentist will numb the tooth and remove it with an instrument called a forceps. During a surgical extraction, your dentist will also need to cut into your gums to remove the underlying tooth.

Root Canals

Though root canals have a reputation for being painful, modern procedures are simple and often pain-free. As with the other procedures on this list, the goal is improving dental health.

The Procedure and When It’s Necessary

Root canals may become necessary when the inside of your tooth, also called the “pulp,” gets infected. Once this happens, it’s important to remove this infected inner core to preserve your tooth.

During a root canal, your dentist will numb the tooth and create a small hole at the top of it to remove the pulp. Once the pulp is gone, they’ll clean the insides and add a temporary filling.

A few days later, you’ll come back for a check-up to ensure the infection is gone. Your dentist will then add a permanent filling or place a crown or bridge on the tooth.

Crowns and Bridges

Adding a crown, or a permanent cap over the tooth, can add an extra layer of protection for that tooth. If you have multiple teeth in a row with health issues, your dentist may recommend bridges instead. These replace or cover multiple teeth at once.

Materials Used

After your root canal, your dentist will use a rubbery temporary filling called “gutta-percha.” Once your tooth is ready for a permanent filling, your dentist will rely on one of the fillings we mentioned above, often a composite filling. Crowns and bridges also come in the same materials as the fillings we’ve mentioned, though you can also find metal alloy and acrylic options.


If you’ve had a dental extraction, your dentist may recommend an implant. These permanent metal fixtures are fused to your jawbone, meaning that you can use them in the same ways you’d use your natural teeth.

Pros and Cons

Dental implants have a few clear advantages. They look and function like normal teeth, and they’re durable enough to last a lifetime. They’re also easier to care for than removable prosthetics.

However, there are disadvantages to consider as well. Implants can be expensive and may require multiple surgeries. In addition, not all patients are eligible for the procedure.

Orthodontic Procedures

Some types of dentists will offer orthodontic procedures for patients with crowded or crooked teeth. There are two popular options worth considering.

Braces vs. Invisalign

Traditional braces involve fitting a wire and brackets to your teeth. This option can be cost-effective, and they’re often better for more complex straightening needs.

Invisalign involves using sets of clear aligners to correct crooked teeth. This option is often more expensive than braces, but they also tend to be more comfortable, less noticeable, and easier to clean.

Contact Us for Your Dental Procedures

At Highbury Park Dental, we’re proud to offer a wide range of dental procedures to our patients. From cleanings and fillings to restorations, extractions, and root canals, our expert team will work hard to maintain your oral health. To learn more about how we can improve your smile, contact us today.