Dental Tips Blog

Oct
9

Why Can’t I Get a Metal Filling Anymore?

Posted in Fillings

Dentists still learn how to place metal fillings in dental school, but you don’t see them used much these days. If you really wanted one, it could still be done.

But there are solid reasons why metal fillings are going out of date. Most of today’s dentists open up their practices right from the start offering only white composite dental fillings, so you’re bound to have a hard time finding metal ones. Here’s why:

White Fillings – Kind To Teeth

Metal fillings don’t create a very snug seal with the tooth. Thus, they require more of the tooth to be carved out so they can be anchored in place. White ones form a chemical bond with tooth enamel so they can afford to be more minimal in design.

While amalgam restorations are strong and long-lasting, they can sometimes be too strong for the tooth. The metal expands and contracts with temperature change at a rate faster than the tooth itself does, creating tiny cracks that allow bacteria to leak in. Conversely, composite fillings “give” similar to natural teeth.

For Future Reference

White composite fillings allow for a little more visibility on dental x-rays. A large metal restoration can block the view and is better at hiding sneaky cavities. If you develop new decay, you’ll be glad to catch it early on.

Err On The Safe Side And Go Mercury-Free

Tooth-colored dental fillings don’t contain any mercury. Granted, the traces in metal fillings are too small to worry about, but not having to deal with the substance anymore is healthier for patient and dentist, alike.

Are you keeping up with recent developments in dentistry? Contact your dentist for the latest.

Posted on behalf of:
Ora Dentistry
2733 Elk Grove Blvd #180
Elk Grove, CA 95758
(916) 975-1000

Sep
29

4 Uses for Old Toothbrushes

Posted in Fillings

Regular brushing with a fresh toothbrush is part of a good oral hygiene routine that will help prevent tooth decay and reduce the need for dental fillings, crowns, and other tooth restorations. Most dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if the bristles have become frayed or if you have been sick.   Before you throw that old toothbrush away, why don’t you see if you can put your brush to use in one of these areas?

  1. Scrubbing Tile Grout

There’s nothing like a toothbrush to loosen grime trapped between tiles or even around the sink faucet. It’s especially effective when used with a cleaning solution of baking soda and vinegar.

  1. Cleaning Jewelry

Toothbrush bristles are the ideal way to add some shine to your jewelry. Their small size makes them perfect for scrubbing the hard-to-reach inside of rings where dirt can accumulate. Use a jewelry cleaning chemical to treat your favorite treasures and then loosen debris with your old brush.

  1. Pre-Treating Stains On Clothes

Need a way to dab just a little pre-treat laundry soap on your favorite blouse? Your old toothbrush makes the perfect applicator. It’s also good for scrubbing out isolated stains.

  1. Unclogging Filters

Lots of household appliances come with filters that you probably overlook more often than not. A good cleaning will keep your refrigerator or clothes dryer running smoothly. A toothbrush can not only nab gunk stuck in the screen of the filter, but it’s perfect for reaching the angles at the corners of the filter.

Naturally, you can’t retire your toothbrush without having another at the ready to take its place. Use this opportunity to find a brush you’ll love even more. Schedule a dental appointment and ask your dentist for some tips on selecting a new toothbrush that suits your smile care needs.

Posted on behalf of:
The Newport Beach Dentist
1901 Westcliff Drive #6
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 646-2481

Sep
29

10 Ways to Avoid Getting a Cavity

Posted in Fillings

If your history is marked with more dental procedures than any other memory, then it’s a great idea to take steps that lower your cavity risk! Here are ten tips to help prevent tooth decay and avoid the need for fillings, crowns and other tooth restorations

Cut out sweet drinks. Sipping on sugary coffee, soda, or juice on a daily basis is basically soaking your teeth in enamel-eating acids.

Keep your mouth hydrated. A dry mouth is a playground for cavity-causing bacteria. Drink lots of water and chew sugarless gum to keep your saliva flow going strong.

Switch to whole grains. Simple sugars are the main fuel for enamel-eroding bacteria. High-fiber foods and complex carbs are good for your body in general and don’t stick around in the mouth to create sticky plaque.

Eat fresh, whole food snacks. Opt for fresh veggies and fibrous fruits like apples over chips and cookies. These will help to naturally cleanse your mouth.

Fluoride, fluoride, fluoride. Need we say more? Use a rinse daily and take advantage of any professional fluoride treatments your office provides.

Brush/floss even more. No matter how often you brush or floss, try to do it a little more frequently.

Get sealants. They’re not just for kids! Dental sealants prevent decay from starting in the grooves on molars.

Eat dairy. Cheese and milk neutralize acids in the mouth and fortify teeth against decay.

Rinse often. Don’t take any chances – rinse your mouth with water after every meal or snack.

See your dentist regularly. Never skip an appointment. Regular exams and yearly x-rays are key to detecting the signs of decay and stopping it before it can cause too much trouble.

Posted on behalf of:
Garrisonville Dental
481 Garrisonville Rd. #105
Stafford, VA 22554
540-318-1794

Sep
22

Are There Any Risks to Getting a Filling?

Posted in Fillings

Dental fillings have been at the heart of dentistry for ages.

Until recent years, dentistry was all about repairing damaged teeth. Nowadays, there’s more of a preventative focus which helps people avoid the need for restorative work, altogether.

But there’s still a good chance that you’ll need a few dental fillings in your lifetime.

If you face the possibility of having a tooth filled in the near future, you might be a little worried about the process.

Some of the risks of getting a dental filling include:

  • Sensitivity
  • Pain after the procedure
  • Retreatment
  • Complications with sedation

Sensitivity and Pain

The actual process of getting a filling shouldn’t hurt at all. Your dentist will give you an injection of local anesthesia to completely numb the treatment site.

After the numbing shot wears off, however, your tooth may be a tad achy and sensitive.

The good news is that this goes away on its own within a matter of a week or so.

Retreatment

Fillings rarely need to be redone once they’re in place. But they won’t last forever, either. While a tooth benefits from the protection of a filling, it’ll never be as strong as it originally was.

With time, all fillings need to be replaced. 

Sedation 

Most people don’t need dental sedation for a few little fillings. But if you do decide on sleep dentistry, just know that it has some inherent risks that filling procedures on their own do not.

A certified and well-trained dental team will make sure any sedation procedure you have is as safe as possible.

Find out more about the risks and benefits of dental fillings by scheduling an appointment with a dentist near you.

Posted on behalf of:
Dona W. Prince, DDS
4220 Sergeant Rd #100
Sioux City, IA 51106
(712) 274-2228

Sep
19

Do White Fillings Stain?

Posted in Fillings

Look at those gorgeous new white fillings! You might be smiling bigger and laughing louder these days, happy you’re no longer self-conscious over metal fillings.

Most folks are very glad to update old restorations with fresh tooth-colored ones. But the next order of business is keeping them in good shape.

Can your composite tooth colored fillings stain? Unfortunately, yes, your new white fillings will eventually pick up pigment from the foods you eat and darken over time. Metal fillings pick up stain, as well. You just don’t notice it as quickly. But tooth-colored fillings can discolor and get even darken around the edges. 

Can I Bleach the Stain Out?

You might now wonder: “will teeth whitening remove stain from my white fillings?”

The answer here is a disappointing no. Bleaching will lighten your teeth, but that may only make the darkened filling stand out even more.

Happily, a simple dental cleaning may do the trick. Your dental hygienist will carefully buff away surface stain while polishing your teeth. Professional tooth polishing is usually enough to get rid of all kinds of stain.

Just in case your smile doesn’t respond to a thorough polishing, there is one more solution that’s guaranteed to work.

Your dentist should be able to replace old, damaged, and deeply stained fillings with new fresh ones. This is very common for restorations in front teeth that show when you smile.

With brand-new fillings to match your smile, you’ll be motivated to brush and rinse better than ever before. You’ll also be able to keep your composite fillings white by avoiding things like:

  • Red wine
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Smoking

Schedule a consultation with your dentist to find out more on keeping your smile white.

Posted on behalf of:
Mansouri Family Dental Care & Associates
4720 Lower Roswell Rd
Marietta, GA 30068
(770) 973-8222

Aug
30

Why Is My Tooth So Sensitive After Getting a Filling?

Posted in Fillings

White resin tooth fillings are common today because they look nice and are kind to natural teeth. But if a filling is supposed to make your tooth feel better after getting a cavity, why is it so sensitive?

Your tooth houses a very secure and sterile environment. The inner chamber is filled with nerves and blood vessels. Wrapped around that are layers of dentin and enamel. Dentin has pores that allow the nerves in your tooth to pick up on temperature changes. Enamel is like insulation that keeps the sensation from being too strong.

When a cavity breaks through the protective enamel layer, it can open up your tooth to major sensitivity.

Fillings, in a way, do something similar. Your dentist has to drill away not just the decayed part of your tooth, but also a little more to help anchor the restoration.

Your tooth will have to adjust to the shock of having a large piece of itself replaced with a foreign material. For some time after you get your filling, your tooth may be unusually sensitive to things like:

  • Sugar
  • Cold temperatures
  • Air
  • Pressure

Give your tooth a week or so to see if it settles down. In response to the “leak,” your tooth’s dentin will build a thicker and more cushioned layer from the inside.

On occasion, persistent sensitivity can indicate a more serious problem. Your tooth simply may not respond well to the filling. Or, the restoration might have been insufficient, meaning you’d need a root canal or crown. Sensitivity could also indicate that your filling is too high and needs to be polished down a little more.

See your dentist if you feel the sensitivity means something’s wrong.

Posted on behalf of:
Smiles by Seese
610 Jetton St #250
Davidson, NC 28036
(704) 895-5095

Jul
31

Are Sealants the Same Thing as Fillings?

Posted in Fillings

Have you ever had a sealant before? If not, it’s easy to see how it can be confused with a dental filling.

These treatments both look white and sit on top of a tooth. Sealants are usually cheaper, but their differences go far beyond cost alone.

Sealants: What They’re For

A sealant is a thin ribbon of resin that fills in deep grooves on the chewing surface of a tooth. Toothbrush bristles can’t always reach into those valleys, so sealing them off makes for an easier to clean surface.

Sealants are designed to prevent decay.

Fillings: The Reparative Treatment Phase

Whether tooth-colored or metal, all fillings do the same job of repairing a tooth once a cavity has already struck. You can’t slap a sealant over a filling because that would just trap the decay inside a tooth where it will keep growing.

Instead, you have to remove the damaged tooth material and replace it with a new structure.

Do You Need A Sealant Or A Filling?

It’s not as simple of a matter as walking into your dentist’s office and requesting a sealant. In fact, even your dentist can’t tell you what you need until he or she gets a good look inside your mouth.

Special tools, lasers, and x-rays all aid in diagnosing decay. If nothing harmful is discovered, your dentist will be happy to place as many preventive sealants as you need. But once a spot of decay breaks through the enamel, it’s too late – that tooth will need a filling.

While you’re at your dentist’s, find out more about other cavity-prevention strategies. Call today to schedule your visit.

Posted on behalf of:
Dental Care Center At Kennestone
129 Marble Mill Rd NW
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 424-4565

Jul
25

Is That Brown Spot a Cavity?

Posted in Fillings

There’s really nothing like that sinking sensation of dread when you look in the mirror and notice a dark spot in the center of your tooth.

You pick at it in a panic, hoping it’s just a spice left over from dinner. But no, it doesn’t seem to budge even after a vigorous brushing.

Is it time to panic?

What A Dark Spot Can Mean

Your molars (back chewing teeth) resemble a landscape of mountains and valleys. The mountains are the cusps that interlock with teeth directly above or below. The valleys are the shallow spaces. This setup gives your teeth a solid grip on food and mega chewing power.

But those little valleys are also great for catching stain.

You may not have noticed it at first, but over the course of time, your tooth may have accumulated dark stain from the food you eat. It’s possible to have dark spots on your teeth that are perfectly harmless.

What You Should Do

Even if it is just a spot of stain, it’s still a good idea to get it checked out. Those stained fissures and pits in molars are prime territory for cavities to get started in.

Your dentist will use x-rays, a special cavity probe, and maybe even a laser scanner to check for signs of decay. If he or she finds that it’s time to place a filling, you’ll be glad you didn’t wait too long before coming in.

In the meantime, work on brushing those sticky valleys a little more often. You might even want to ask your dentist about sealing healthy molars to avoid further stain and decay.

Posted on behalf of:
Royal Oak Family Dental
7101 NW 150th St. Suite 100
Oklahoma City, OK 73142
(405) 754-5941

Jul
18

Are Metal Fillings Poisonous?

Posted in Fillings

Metal fillings were used in dentistry for decades before we started to understand the risks of mercury exposure. Interestingly, mercury is a key ingredient in silver amalgam fillings, even today.

It’s understandable that you may wonder: are metal fillings toxic?

Why Mercury?

Metal fillings are made from an alloy of metals including tin and silver. To help them harden up from their fluid state, mercury is added. This enables the dentist to mix, pour, and shape a filling quickly before it hardens on its own.

Because of mercury’s chemical nature, there is no other reasonable substitute. But the good news is that once the filling sets up, the mercury doesn’t harm you. People have been opting for metal fillings because they’re fairly inexpensive and very durable.

Myth About Mercury Fillings

Some people believe that chewing with metal fillings releases vapors that you can inhale and get sick from. Yes, regular pressure on metal fillings can release some residue. But this is a very small amount that won’t significantly impact your body. After all, you can get the same effects from eating fish.

It would take a whole lot more mercury than what’s found in a few fillings to make you sick. Occupational exposure to mercury is more of a concern than exposure through dental work.

Alternative To Mercury Restorations

If you don’t want to take any chances with your next filling, you can probably choose to go with a white composite filling. Composite resin dental material combines plastic and glass for a strong, sleek, and metal-free finish.

Ask your dentist about the possibility of upgrading any broken-down metal fillings for tooth-friendly composite ones.

Posted on behalf of:
River Ranch Dental
203 George Hopper Rd #100
Midlothian, TX 76065
(469) 672-4245

 

Jul
17

Say Cheese! Cheddar May Benefit Your Smile

Posted in Fillings

One recent study strongly suggests that cheese could be an anti-cavity super food.

This study compared the effects of different dairy products on the pH levels inside of the human mouth. Some study participants drank milk, others ate yogurt, and the rest ate cheese.

Study Results

Each person ate their assigned snack for three minutes and then rinsed with water. pH readings were taken at 10, 20, and 30-minute intervals after eating. While the milk and yogurt didn’t make the mouth more acidic, the cheese caused pH levels to spike.

High pH levels means a more alkaline environment. This is good news for your teeth, since acid is responsible for wearing down enamel. A basic food item like cheese helps to neutralize acids that your mouth does encounter.

Other Benefits of Cheese

Cheese is a great source of calcium and casein. These elements show evidence of preventing the formation of plaque and reinforcing enamel.

Finally, there’s nothing like a tangy piece of sharp cheddar to get the saliva glands flowing. Saliva is your body’s natural way of neutralizing acid. It also washes away bacteria and food debris.

Snacking on cheese makes more spit, and that’s a good thing!

None of this is to say that chewing cheese will take the place of brushing! Maintaining a routine of good oral hygiene is still the best way you can prevent cavities and avoid dental fillings.

It’s just nice to know that one of America’s favorite foods is now on your dentist’s list of smile-friendly snack recommendations. Even if you melt some cheddar in pasta or rice, you’ll still get great benefits.

You’ve got a great reason to smile when you say “Cheese!”

Posted on behalf of:
Park Slope Dental Arts
506 3rd St
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 962-0300

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