Dental Tips Blog

Jan
1

Tooth Colored Fillings

Posted in Fillings

Tooth colored fillings are also known as resin or composite dental fillings. These fillings are an aesthetic treatment option compared to traditional silver fillings. Composite fillings can also be placed in areas where traditional fillings cannot, such as on smooth surfaces or on the biting edges of teeth.

Because of the way composite fillings are made, they bond directly onto the surface of the tooth. One of the biggest benefits of composite fillings is that they are one of the least invasive treatment methods for small areas of decay or tooth abrasion. Other types of fillings require tooth preparation that holds the wedged filling material into place. Composite fillings require less tooth preparation, making them less invasive. Instead of patching a tooth, tooth colored fillings help repair and rebuild the natural anatomy of a tooth.

The color of composite fillings is matched closely with the natural enamel shade of the tooth surrounding the area that is to be repaired. Coloration of composite fillings does not change over time, so if the area is near the front of the mouth you may want to consider whitening your teeth prior to the treatment if that is something you will eventually want to do.

Composite fillings are used on all types of teeth. Some people also choose to have them done to replace older silver fillings, giving them a more aesthetic smile. Tooth colored fillings do not contain mercury, so for patients who are concerned about mercury content in amalgam (silver) fillings, composite fillings are the best alternative. Another benefit over silver fillings is that composite fillings do not act as a conductor to temperature changes, which prevents sensitivity.

Jan
1

Sleep Sedation for the Dental Patient

Sleep dentistry allows dental patients with special needs or severe anxiety to undergo necessary dental treatment that otherwise couldn’t be performed without some type of sedation. Another benefit of sleep dentistry is that it allows for all of the necessary treatment to be completed in a single visit. Typically care is broken up into several appointments depending on what area of the mouth is to be treated. When a dental patient chooses sleep dentistry, they are comfortable for an extended period of time, allowing the dentist to access and care for all of their needs. This saves the patient additional visits to the office.

Patients can have sleep sedation performed in two different methods. The first option is to take an oral medication just before their scheduled appointment. Within about an hour, most patients have fallen into a soft sleep. If needed, an additional dose is given. This medication lasts for an extended amount of time and continues to wear off after the treatment is completed, allowing the patient to rest during their recovery.

The other alternative to sleep dentistry is by having intravenously administered sedation drugs at the time of the appointment. These take effect very quickly and last until the medication is cut off at the time the treatment is actually completed. The patient may still feel slightly dozy, but the medication will wear off quicker than patients who take an orally administered sedative.

Sedation dentistry is a great alternative for patients that dislike having dental treatment completed but truly have needs that must be addressed. All sleep dentistry patients will need to have a friend or family member escort them to and from their appointment, as it is unsafe to drive while medicated.

Jan
1

Silver Fillings

Posted in Fillings

Silver fillings, or amalgam fillings are the silver-colored restorations that are placed in areas of larger decay or where tooth colored fillings are not appropriate. Because of their unique design, silver fillings can be placed in areas of small or even large decay. They may also be used to patch a tooth that has had root canal therapy before a permanent crown can be placed on the tooth.

Amalgam fillings are a slightly more economical choice compared to other types of dental treatments. The fillings are made up of an alloy of different metals including silver, copper and tin. The compound is mixed immediately before placement and is shaped into the area in need of repair, where it quickly solidifies after being placed by the dentist.

The age of some silver dental fillings can last upward to over 20 years. Adults that grew up having extensive dental work typically have silver fillings in their back teeth. As these fillings wear out and are in need of re-treatment, it is an option to replace smaller silver fillings with tooth colored ones. If the filling is larger, it will need to be replaced with another silver filling or a crown. Silver fillings are not typically used on the front teeth, as they are not an aesthetic treatment option.

Silver fillings are becoming less common as tooth colored restorative materials improve, but they are still a very viable treatment option especially for teeth that do not show when you talk or smile. They wear very well and fit in areas that aren’t appropriate for other types of restorations, allowing you to treat larger areas of decay with a filling rather than go directly to a larger restoration such as a crown.

Jan
1

Replacing Missing Teeth with Dental Implants

Posted in Dental Implants

Losing a single tooth can affect your entire mouth. Though it may not feel like it, just one open area where a tooth once was can allow the adjacent teeth or teeth in the opposite arch to begin shifting or repositioning themselves throughout the mouth. It is very common for adjacent teeth to collapse inward into the area of the missing tooth, which makes those teeth susceptible to gingivitis, bone loss, periodontal disease and areas where food can pack under the gums. This shifting causes a chain reaction throughout the mouth. Even the tooth on the opposite arch that used to bite against the now missing tooth may super-erupt, and come farther out of the socket in search of a tooth to bite against.

Dental implants are the most natural and minimally invasive therapy available for replacement of missing teeth. A titanium root is placed into the socket area of the missing tooth, which is then left in place for a period of healing time, where the bone fuses to the new root. After this healing has occurred, a porcelain crown is placed on top of the implant. The crown can be brushed and flossed around, similar to an independent tooth.

Other types of tooth replacement use removable partials or are made of fixed dental bridges, which are cemented onto adjacent teeth that have been prepared for the appliance. A dental implant is much easier to clean around and does not affect the structure of the adjacent teeth or require preparation of other teeth.

The sooner a missing tooth is replaced, the better. Early replacement of missing teeth with dental implants is an effective plan to prevent other oral health problems later on.

Jan
1

Replacing a Dental Filling with a Crown

Posted in Crowns

As a filling begins to age, the margin of the filling begins to leak. This allows microscopic bacteria to enter into the area surrounding the filling, which can cause further damage to the tooth. The surrounding tooth enamel also becomes dehydrated and more brittle, which can set the tooth up for possible fracturing of large areas of the tooth.

If the filling is very large, or too much of the tooth has begun to fracture around an old filling, it is necessary to place a dental crown over the entire surface of the tooth. This maintains the structural integrity of the tooth and allows it to function normally. Simply removing an old large filling and re-prepping the tooth for another filling will not provide enough stability to withstand normal use. The tooth could easily break or fracture during chewing or biting.

Aging fillings will typically appear to have shadows in the tooth enamel around the filling. Teeth that have aging fillings may experience no symptoms whatsoever. Other times patients may feel occasional sensitivity to hot, cold, sweet or pressure. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should seek dental care in a timely manner. Delaying crown treatment on a tooth can allow the remaining enamel to become brittle and weak, breaking apart over time. Ultimately there may not be enough healthy enamel left to treat, leaving nothing to hold the crown on with. If treatment is delayed up to this point, a crown cannot be placed on the tooth and the tooth will simply have to be extracted after its live has extended itself. This will then require a tooth replacement option such as an implant.

Jan
1

Preventing Discomfort During Dental Appointments

Anxiety or discomfort during a dental procedure can cause people to delay or avoid necessary dental care. Putting dental needs off until later can actually allow conditions such as gum disease or decay to worsen. It’s important to know that your dentist is there to help treat not only your dental needs, but anxiety or discomfort associated with the procedure as well. A variety of options including sedation dentistry are now available to dental patients so that you can have your care completed in as comfortable of a manner as possible.

Nitrous Oxide or “laughing gas” is the most common analgesic used in dental care. The scented nosepiece delivers a mixture of gas to the patient, which helps create a relaxed sensation over their entire body. The onset is quick, as is the recovery. This option is appropriate for patients of all ages.

Orally administered sedation medication can also be used. The medicine is usually taken one our prior to the appointment and causes the patient to have a light sleep, where they are comfortable but can also respond to the dentist if needed. If deeper sedation is needed, there is also the option of intravenous medication. Both of these methods will require the dental patient to have a family member or friend drive them to and home from their care appointment.

Maybe you only experience mild discomfort during simple procedures such as a routine cleaning. Fairly new products have come out that allow temporary, short-term anesthesia in the mouth, allowing your hygienist to clean your teeth without any discomfort whatsoever. This is useful for patients that have infrequent care appointments or hypersensitive gums.

Whatever your comfort need is, always let your dentist know. It’s important to put you at ease, so you can have all of your care needs addressed in the most comfortable manner possible.

Jan
1

Preventing Bad Breath

It is very common for dental patients to be concerned with whether or not they have bad breath. Even for the dental professional, bringing up the topic with a patient is a very sensitive subject. Several factors affect the way a person’s breath smells, and it’s something that everyone wants to be sure that they manage. Bad breath can affect your personal and professional life, not to mention make you feel uncomfortable around other people.

Certain foods can cause bad breath, such as garlic or foods that contain sugar, which feed oral bacteria. Avoiding these foods will prevent odor or excess bacteria that would contribute to bad breath.

Other causes of bad breath include infections in the head and neck. These include sinus infections, allergies, nasal drainage, gingivitis, periodontal disease, decay or abscess, prescription medications and reflux disease. Managing these conditions will help eliminate the bacteria in the mouth or esophagus that causes breath malodor.

The majority of bad breath bacteria are found on the surface of your tongue, so oral hygiene is the primary treatment when it comes to treating and preventing bad breath. It is estimated that up to 90% of the bacteria that cause bad breath reside on the surface of your tongue. You can gently clean your tongue with a soft bristled toothbrush or a tongue scraper. Tongue scrapers are easy to clean and will amaze you at the amount of bacteria that they remove. Be careful not to be too aggressive with tongue cleaners as you may damage the delicate papilla on your tongue.

Seeing your hygienist regularly for dental cleanings to remove accumulated tartar or plaque deposits also helps you to manage odorous oral bacteria. Avoid alcohol-containing mouth rinses as these may dry your mouth out further and alter the natural flora of your mouth.

Jan
1

Porcelain Crowns

Posted in Crowns

Porcelain crowns are usually used to repair teeth that have large older fillings, large areas of decay, on top of a dental implant, or have been treated with a root canal. While porcelain crowns are typically used for the front teeth, they can also be placed on the back teeth as well and are often used instead of other materials that may be less aesthetic. Porcelain dental crowns allow dental patients to laugh and smile without metal restorations showing.

Each porcelain crown is carefully matched so that its shade is the same color as the surrounding teeth. The color of a porcelain crown is permanent, so if you’re consider whitening, you ought to do so before having your crown made so that it will match the rest of your teeth. You will work with your dentist using a shade guide in natural lighting to choose the color that has the most natural appearance in your mouth. If you need several different crowns it is best to have them made all at the same time, so the dental laboratory can make the colorations as identical as possible.

There are three types of porcelain crowns. One is an all-porcelain crown that is made of the ceramic material through-and-through. The second type is the most common, and is a porcelain-fused-to-metal base crown. The last type of porcelain crown is a porcelain-faced crown, where only one side of the crown is porcelain (the side that shows when you smile) and the rest of the surfaces are metal.

Tooth colored porcelain crowns are beneficial because they appear as a natural tooth. Most people find it difficult to differentiate the appearances between a natural tooth and a dental crown.

Jan
1

Dental Care for the Special Needs Patient

All patients are special to their dentist, but patients with special needs require additional care and understanding when it comes to providing high quality dental care. Special needs dental patients include patients with developmental disabilities that makes providing dental care in a tradtional setting uncomfortable or dangerous to the health of the patient.

Because every patient has different needs, the dentist and staff will work closely with the caregiver of the patient to find out what works best to make that patient comfortable. Special needs patients are empowered by their dentist because their care plan and preventive routines will be tailored in a way that helps them as much as possible to be involved in their own care.

Various forms of sedation can be used to help special need dental patients undergo their dental procedures. This can range from just using nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to sleep sedation treatments. Sleep sedation can be performed using orally administered medication of through intravenous delivery. The level of sedation chosen will be based on the patient’s needs and past experiences with dental care.

Sleep sedation can allow dental patients to have all of their treatment needs completed in a single visit, instead of multiple appointments to the dental office. Another benefit of in-office sedation is that it allows special need patients to have all of their treatment completed inside of their normal dental office without having to travel to a hospital or surgical facility for the therapy.

Appointments are scheduled to fit around each patient’s schedule. Some patients are happier or more relaxed at different times of the day, so scheduling care during these times helps address the patient’s personal needs as well as their overall treatment experience.

Your dentist will work very closely with you to address all of your needs and concerns with every patient that comes into to their office, no matter how special their needs are.

Dec
18

Acid Erosion of the Teeth

Acid erosion of the teeth is a serious condition that causes permanent damage to your tooth enamel. Severe erosion of the teeth can weaken the tooth and cause sensitivity, or make it more likely to develop decay in addition to causing a severe aesthetic impact.

People who commonly suffer from acid erosion of tooth enamel include people with:

•           GERD (acid reflux disease)

•           Chronic heartburn

•           Bulimia

•           High frequency consumption of acidic drinks (soda, lemonade, etc.)

As the acids from your food or those that regurgitate into the mouth come into contact with your teeth, the tooth enamel becomes etched and erodes away over time. The erosion can occur on the cusps of the teeth, around older restorations, between the teeth and on smooth tooth surfaces. If the cause of the erosion is not addressed, teeth will eventually weaken, break down, become sensitive or decay.

If you are undergoing treatment for conditions like GERD, bulimia or heartburn, you can also choose to use a supplemental fluoride treatment to help remineralize tooth enamel each day. It’s best to avoid overzealous brushing, as this can cause the acid to be spread throughout the mouth. Instead, choose to rinse your mouth frequently throughout the day with water or a fluoride rinse. Don’t let your condition go untreated, see your medical professional in a timely manner as these conditions can cause other systemic problems that don’t affect your teeth at all.

Acidic drinks are a major factor in tooth decay. Even diet sodas and natural juices can cause enamel decalcification. Instead, choose to drink more water, which is also a natural lubricant to wash away acid.

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