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But there are solid reasons why metal fillings are going out of date.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

Oct
9

What Is the Core Buildup of a Dental Crown?

Posted in Crowns

A dental crown is a hollow cap that’s shaped like a tooth. Inside, it’s got an empty space that fits right over the top of a tooth. So in order to support a crown, teeth have to be trimmed to the right shape. Otherwise, the crown would be too bulky.

When You Need More Than A Crown

On occasion, a tooth might be too damaged by decay or fracture to support a crown. It might have lost a lot of structure to large old fillings. In order to keep the tooth strong, your dentist may do what’s called a “core buildup.”

As it sounds, a core buildup reinforces that center foundation of the tooth which seats the finished crown. Your dentist will use restorative materials to mold this new core which will be the same size and shape that your tooth would be naturally.

What If A Core Buildup Isn’t Enough?

Your dentist might then take things a step further and use a post to help secure the material to the tooth. This ensures a stable foundation to support your dental crown.

A core and post won’t necessarily guarantee a stronger tooth, however. All the extra material placed in your tooth can weaken it. But the post and core may buy you a little more time with your tooth before it is ultimately extracted.

Do You Need A Post And Core?

If it seems too risky to attempt a core buildup, extraction may be your only option. It all depends on the quality of the tooth structure you have left. Professional dental x-rays are the best way to determine this. Talk with your dentist about your restoration options.

Posted on behalf of:
Columbia Dental Center
915 N Main St #2
Columbia, IL 62236
(618) 281-6161

Oct
9

Should I Get My Wisdom Teeth Taken Out?

Most people are given the option of extracting their wisdom teeth while they’re young adults. You might be facing that decision right now. Naturally, few people are happy to have even one tooth pulled, let alone up to four at once!

But there are pluses to getting your third molars out sooner rather than later.

Are You In Pain?

Wisdom teeth that are erupting through the gums can be quite irritating. You can head off the pain before it starts by opting to have your wisdom teeth taken out.

Anticipated Trajectory

Your wisdom teeth may not be bothering you right now. But your dentist may recommend extraction anyway if they appear to be on a collision course with other teeth.

Do You Really Need Them?

Because wisdom teeth are located so far back in the mouth, it’s easy to neglect them with brushing and flossing. This puts them at risk for developing cavities and gum disease in the tissues around them.

Should problems arise, you’re not going to be in a hurry to treat those teeth with a filling or crown. So, this brings you to a dilemma: would you prefer to have those molars pulled as the need arises? Or would it be simpler to just have them taken out all at once at a convenient time you can plan for?

True, some people manage to hold onto their wisdom teeth their entire lives without much trouble. To see if that’s going to work in your case, you’ll need to work closely with your dentist. Keep an eye on how your wisdom teeth develop and keep them as clean as you can.

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

Oct
9

Do You Have a Salivary Gland Disorder?

Is it a passing case of dry mouth, or something more?

Your saliva glands are small and easy to take for granted. Yet, they play a big role in dental hygiene by keeping your mouth clean, healthy, and comfortable. So, when something goes wrong with a saliva gland, it’s hard to ignore.

There are three major disorders that commonly affect salivary glands:

  • Sialolithiasis
  • Sialadenitis
  • Sjogren’s Syndrome

The first condition is where a salivary stone obstructs a saliva duct. The second is inflammation of the duct that often follows as the result of a stone blockage, but it may happen independently. Lastly, Sjogren’s Syndrome is a set of symptoms that affect moisture-producing cells all over the body.

Additionally, viral infections and tumors can also cause problems with your salivary glands.

Signs You May Have A Salivary Gland Disorder

If you have a stone blocking a saliva duct you may feel a small lump in the area. It will probably hurt more when you eat because food stimulates saliva flow, but the fluid has nowhere to go.

An infection in the salivary gland may present with some pus and even a fever.

Swollen glands can indicate a variety of diseases and are also characteristic of diabetes and excessive alcohol use.

Have Dry Mouth? What You Should Do

If your discomfort is accompanied by fever or swelling that makes it hard to swallow or breathe, contact a doctor right away.

A simple case of dry mouth in itself may not be quite as serious. Plan a visit to your local dentist to find out whether your lack of saliva is due to medication or a serious medical condition.

Posted on behalf of:
The Grove Family Dentistry
6200 Center St Suite I
Clayton, CA 94517
(925) 350-8592

Oct
9

Do You Need to Premedicate with an Antibiotic Before Dental Treatment?

Dental treatment and oral surgery can involve sharp tools and manipulation of gum tissue that introduce bacteria to the bloodstream. Oral bacteria can potentially trigger infections in other parts of the body.

For years, many dental patients were prescribed antibiotics to take prior to treatment to prevent bacteria from thriving in the bloodstream.

Nowadays, bigger issues include the threat of antibiotic resistance and a bad reaction to antibiotics. When should a prophylactic antibiotic be prescribed and to whom?

Here are the latest guidelines per ADA (American Dental Association) and AHA (American Heart Association) collaboration:

Who Needs An Antibiotic Before Dental Treatment?

It’s not routinely recommended for those with joint replacements unless there is a history of previous infection.

There’s a more serious risk when the heart could develop an infection.

Specific heart conditions that warrant the use of a prophylactic antibiotic include:

  • Replacement heart valves
  • Heart transplant with a faulty valve
  • Certain serious congenital heart problems
  • A history of infective endocarditis 

When To Take A Prophylactic Antibiotic

Your doctor or dentist will give you directions to take the medication well before dental treatment or surgery. But new guidelines show that it’s still effective to take it up to two hours post-treatment.

Already taking an antibiotic? Your dentist will prescribe you a different kind. 

Keep In Mind

Dental treatment and oral surgery are not the only times you risk getting bacteria in your bloodstream. That can happen during many other daily activities such as brushing your teeth. What you can do is keep your mouth as healthy as possible to limit open sores, delicate gum tissues, and populations of bad bacteria.

Consult with your doctor and local dentist to make sure everyone is on the same page about the latest in prophylactic antibiotic guidelines.

Posted on behalf of:
Enamel Dentistry
2717 S Lamar Blvd #1086
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 717-5315

Oct
9

How A Latex Allergy Affects Your Dental Treatment

Latex is a versatile material made from natural rubber. It creates a secure barrier against infection, so it’s commonly used in many medical settings. In fact, some 40,000 products, medical and otherwise, are made from latex. This rubber is virtually everywhere.

Needless to say, your allergy to latex is more than a bit inconvenient.

The dental office is no exception when it comes to the abundance of latex in the medical field. From routine dental cleanings and checkups to fillings, root canals, and implants, virtually every dental treatment typically involves latex.  How can you ensure a safe visit for your dental treatment?

Communicate!

Be thorough when disclosing your health history to a dental professional. Questions on a form that might seem silly (i.e., are you allergic to bananas?) are actually designed to find connections to a possible latex allergy.

Ask your local dental office whether they are totally latex-free and if not, what protocol they have in place for treating patients with a latex allergy.

If a piece of equipment looks suspiciously made of latex, don’t be shy about asking before the dental professional uses it. Chances are, they use the equipment so routinely that they may forget it contains latex. Be your own advocate and speak up!

Be Prepared

If you are worried that a dental professional will question the validity of your allergy, then keep a note from your allergist with you to put on file. In fact, if your allergy is severe enough, you should have a medical alert bracelet or chain on your person. Take it upon yourself to keep an Epipen with you at all times.

With a little careful forethought and clear communication, you can get the dental treatment you need in a safe and latex-free setting.

Posted on behalf of:
Preston Sherry Dental Associates
6134 Sherry Ln
Dallas, TX 75225
(214) 691-7371

Oct
9

Basic Denture Do’s and Don’ts

Posted in Dentures

It’s easy to slack off when it comes to proper denture use and care. Hey, we all need reminders from time to time, and especially when we get into bad habits. Denture care is no exception. Keep your mouth healthy and your denture strong for as long as possible with these simple tips.

DO soak your denture anytime it’s not in use to prevent stain and keep it moist.

DON’T ever soak your denture in bleach to attempt lightening tooth color!

DO clean your denture with a denture brush to remove debris daily.

DON’T use any household tools to attempt to chip away tartar or stain.

DO use warm water with an effervescent denture cleaner tablet.

DON’T place your denture in hot water which can warp the acrylic.

DO use a denture adhesive to enhance the security of the fit.

DON’T use a denture adhesive to compensate for an ill-fitting denture.

DO use a gentle hand soap or dish liquid to cleanse your denture, if needed.

DON’T reach for any abrasive household scrubbing products!

DO give your gums time to “breathe” each day.

DON’T sleep in your denture since this promotes infection and dry mouth.

DO clean your mouth and gums daily with gauze or a soft toothbrush.

DON’T ever attempt to clean your dentures with denture chemicals while wearing them.

To make sure your denture is still fitting comfortably and that your current denture care routine is working, see your local dentist. Your dentist will also keep you updated on any changes in the tissues of your mouth.

Don’t procrastinate – do schedule your visit today!

Posted on behalf of:
ABQ Dentures
2010 Wyoming Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87112
(505) 933-7794

Oct
9

Do Your Children Need Fluoride Supplements?

Fluoride has given humans a major advantage over tooth decay. Because many of today’s kids get regular fluoride exposure from a young age, their teeth are more resistant to cavities than those of their parents.

Sometimes, however, kids don’t get enough of the fluoride their smiles need.

What Are Fluoride Supplements?

A fluoride supplement is only available by prescription and may come in a drop, tablet, or lozenge. Other topical forms can be found in over-the-counter rinses and professional topical applications.

Like other minerals or nutrients, fluoride is beneficial in safe levels and can be harmful if too much is ingested. That’s why fluoride should be used in line with a dentist’s instructions.

Who Should Have Fluoride Supplements?

A supplement delivers this mineral directly to developing teeth via the bloodstream. It’s important for kids to get enough fluoride while their teeth are growing. But once tooth development stops, the systemic (ingested) method is no longer as effective.

Kids aged 6 months to 16 years may qualify for a fluoride supplement if they haven’t gotten enough in their drinking water. Supplements are also indicated where a child is at particularly high risk for getting cavities for any other reason.

Is A Supplement Is Right For Your Child?

If your child’s primary source of drinking water contains less than 0.7 parts-per-million of fluoride, then they may need an additional source. You can contact your local health department for information on fluoride levels in your area.

Your dentist will let you know whether a supplement is right for your child based upon a complete history of his or her fluoride exposure.

Posted on behalf of:
Carolina Smiles
3244 Sunset Blvd
West Columbia, SC 29169
(803) 794-2273

Oct
9

Chewing Gum: 4 Reasons to Smile!

A piece of gum after a meal can be good for your smile, dentists say. Here are four ways you can expect to benefit from occasional gum chewing.

  1. It Freshens Your Breath

This is obviously the number one reason anyone chews gum. We love the taste! Chewing gum can be found in virtually any flavor you can imagine. Mint is a popular choice because it makes breath sweet and clean after a meal.

  1. It Cleans Your Teeth

As you chew on a tasty piece of gum, you’ll notice an increase in saliva in your mouth. Chewing action stimulates saliva production that helps wash away acids and debris from food. Some people even feel that gum nabs those pesky leftovers that get stuck in the grooves on teeth.

  1. It Keeps Your Mouth Comfortable

If you have a problem with dry mouth, chewing on gum can help encourage extra saliva flow. You need spit to keep your mouth working smoothly! What’s more, saliva contains calcium and phosphate which strengthen enamel.

  1. It Distracts You From Bad Habits

Trying to quit smoking? How about a nail-biting habit? Chewing gum could be just the thing. When your mouth feels like it’s busy eating, you won’t be so inclined to put your fingers or a cigarette in there.

Just remember, chewing on a piece of gum is NEVER a substitute for daily brushing and flossing or for regular dental cleanings and checkups! You still need to physically remove plaque on a daily basis and have routine preventative dental care. Gum is just a nice freshener in between meals. Also, make sure you choose only sugar-free gum with XYLITOL to get all the benefits! Talk with your dentist or dental hygienist to get more tips on smile-smart gum chewing habits.

Posted on behalf of:
Atencio Family Dentistry
3773 Baker Ln #3
Reno, NV 89509
(775) 829-8684

Oct
9

Therapeutic Use of Dermal Fillers and Botox in Dentistry

Posted in Botox

You may be familiar with substances like Botox and Juvederm for how they’re used in making facial structures look younger. What place do these products have in a dental office?

Some dentists are seeking to expand their treatment services by offering cosmetic muscle relaxants and facial fillers. But there are more applications for products like Botox and Juvederm than you might guess.

What Else Is Botox Used For?

Botox can be used to treat pain in the TMJ because it relaxes tense muscles in the area. This also makes it handy if you have a problem with clenching your teeth out of stress.

Botox can also be placed around the corners of mouth to keep the edges of the lips from collapsing over each other. If your smile seems rather “gummy,” then relaxing some of the muscles around your lips may help them not open so far over your teeth.

Overactive muscles can create tension in the mouth that makes it hard for dentures and partials to stay in. Botox is a temporary treatment that can enhance retention of removable appliances.

How Can Juvederm Help Your Smile?

Juvederm and other similar fillers can sometimes substitute for gum surgery by plumping up areas to fill in empty gaps around teeth. Plumping up lips themselves may also be necessary to allow for clear speech. As Botox relaxes muscles to improve mouth movement, Juvederm can add structure where needed to make similar improvements.

The Future Of Fillers And Relaxers In Dentistry

Depending on where you live, Botox may be used in dentistry or not. Laws vary from state to state. Ask your dentist about which cosmetic treatments are currently available in your area.

Posted on behalf of:
Basin Dentistry
5016 Briarwood Ave
Midland, TX 79707
(462) 699-7334

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