Dental Tips Blog

Aug
29

How Acidic Is Your Mouth?

Most of us aren’t too concerned with measuring the pH of our mouths on a regular basis. Your dentist probably won’t tell you to do that every day, anyway.

Even so, it’s good to educate yourself on a few basic facts of how acidity affects your smile.

What Is pH?

The pH scale goes from 1 to 14 with lower numbers being the acidic ones (like lemon juice and vinegar) and the higher numbers being basic (think baking soda and soap).

On the pH scale, 5.5 is a golden number: below this, tooth enamel starts to wear down. That’s right, under acidic conditions your teeth get weaker and more prone to cavities.

Another fun fact about high acidity: cavity-causing bacteria love acid and produce lots of it themselves. So an oral environment with a low pH, even by just a margin, is ripe for tooth decay.

Fighting Acid In The Mouth

Healthy human saliva clocks in at close to 7 on the pH scale. That’s a nice neutral number. In fact, it’s Nature’s way of cleaning your teeth and neutralizing any acid that is there. When people suffer dry mouth, they miss out on these great benefits.

On top of using saliva substitutes, you can also bring your pH levels up to par by:

  • Avoiding acidic drinks (juice, soda, sports drinks)
  • Cutting back on sugary carbs which metabolize into acids in the mouth
  • Snack on dairy items which neutralize pH
  • Up your fluoride intake and oral hygiene game to keep your enamel strong

See your dentist for more tips and product recommendations to fight the effects of acidity on enamel and reduce the need for dental fillings, crowns, and other tooth restorations.

Posted on behalf of:
Touchstone Dentistry
2441 FM 646 W Suite A
Dickinson, TX 77539
(832) 769-5202

Jan
7

Is an Indirect Filling Right for You?

Posted in Fillings

How is an indirect filling different from a regular filling? The answer could make a big difference in your next restorative dental treatment.

A “direct” dental filling is a traditional filling material that’s molded and set to your tooth. The material is placed in a semi-liquid state and then hardens to match the shape of the hole drilled in your tooth.

An indirect filling is one that’s made outside of your mouth and is later cemented into place. Your dentist will reshape the damaged part of your tooth and then take a scan or mold of the area. Using this mold, the filling is crafted in a lab or in the office.

Indirect fillings are also known as inlays or onlays. This is because they are crafted to “lay” over a tooth, either within all the pointed cusps (inlay) or encompassing at least one of the cusps (onlay.) This way, indirect fillings can provide greater structural support than regular fillings do.

An indirect filling is a good option when your tooth is decayed, but there isn’t enough damage to justify a full crown.

The Benefits of Indirect Fillings

  • Preserve more natural tooth structure
  • Can sometimes be made on-site, even faster than a crown
  • Are usually made of a tooth-colored material for aesthetics
  • Will likely last longer than a regular filling

Think you might have a cavity right now? Don’t wait too long to get it examined.

The next time your dentist let’s you know that you definitely have a cavity, ask how large it is. Then ask if an indirect filling is a possibility for restoring your tooth. Call your dentist for more information.

Posted on behalf of:
Dream Dentist
1646 W U.S. 50
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 726-2699

Feb
6

The Problem with Cracked Teeth

Having a cracked tooth is often compared to a woman having a run in a pair of nylon tights or leggings – the area under concern continues getting longer and longer until it has destroyed the entire pair. The same can be said for a crack in a tooth. When left alone, that crack works its way further and further down into the tooth, until there is nothing left that can be done.

Cracks typically begin on the crown portion of the tooth. The crack is usually from trauma or an aged restoration that is beginning to give out due to excess forces. An exam can identify some cracks, while others are so microscopic in nature that they cannot be seen with the naked eye. There are various tests that your dentist can perform on the tooth during your exam to determine if a tooth has cracked or not.

If a crack extends through the root of the tooth, it may become problematic or be non-restorable. Treating the tooth with a root canal is an option to help the tooth remain free of discomfort and infection while also continuing to stay in place for several more years. Most dentists will recommend seeing a specialist to assess root fractures as they are often a complex situation to handle.

It should be the goal of every dentist to help you maintain your natural teeth as long as possible. Even restored natural teeth are better than having the tooth removed just to replace it with something artificial. Ask your dentist what the quickest and most promising way is to repair your cracked tooth before it’s too late.

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

Dec
9

Teeth Whitening

Most of us are born with bright white teeth, but over time out teeth naturally become stained and, along with the natural effects of aging, our teeth begin to yellow.  The degree of yellowing depends on many factors including exposure to tobacco and dark beverages such as coffee, tea, and soft drinks.

If you want to regain that blinding white smile, you have several options to choose from.  Each of these options will work to some degree, but the results will vary depending on the extent of the discoloration and other factors including age. 

Teeth whitening, also called teeth bleaching, is generally more effective for younger people because the stains on their teeth is not as deeply embedded as it is for older people.  However, with some persistence, even the most heavily stained teeth can be significantly brightened with modern teeth whitening techniques.   

Over the counter teeth whitening products usually use a low concentration bleaching agent applied to the teeth using strips or a gel in a one-size-fits-all tray.  These products can be effective for mild discoloration, especially for younger people.  However, the whitening effect can be uneven.

Professionally dispensed teeth whitening kits available from your dentist use a stronger bleaching agent in a gel with a custom made application tray.  Most patients using professionally dispensed whitening kits see good results if they consistently use the product as instructed.

In-office whitening treatments use high concentration bleaching agents applied by the dentist or a trained technician.  This method produces the quickest results, but it is also the most expensive. 

No matter which technique you choose, you will need follow up whitening maintenance to keep that bright smile.  Also, if you have any colored tooth restorations, they will be unaffected by the brightening treatment and will need to be replaced after your teeth have been whitened.

Oct
24

Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic Dentistry focuses on improving the appearance of a person’s mouth, teeth, and smile.  Generally, it includes treatments or services that are desired or elective.  However, cosmetic dentistry may also have restorative benefits such as filling a decayed tooth with porcelain or composite fillings that closely match the tooth’s natural color.

Technological advances in cosmetic dentistry such as the use of lasers and new techniques have expanded the options available to patients.  Some common cosmetic dentistry treatments currently in use are outlined in the following sections.

Inlays/Onlays

Inlays/onlays are sometimes referred to as indirect fillings.  They are made from composite or porcelain materials and provide a long-lasting and cosmetic way to fill teeth with tooth decay or structural damage.  Inlays/onlays are created in a dental laboratory first and then are fitted and adhesively bonded into place by a dentist.

Composite Bonding

Composite bonding is a procedure used to correct the appearance of teeth that have been broken, chipped, discolored, or decayed.  A dental composite material that looks like enamel and dentin is applied into the cavity or onto the surface of a tooth.  It is then sculpted into shape, contoured and hardened with a high-intensity light.  The composite material blends invisibly with the remainder of the surrounding tooth structure and creates a bright, healthy smile.

Dental Veneers

Dental veneers are used to correct and repair chips and cracks in teeth.  They are also used to improve the appearance of teeth that are extremely discolored or worn.  Dental veneers consist of porcelain or composite laminates that are adhesively bonded to the surface of a tooth.  They may also be used for patients with gaps in their teeth or for patients who have not had success with teeth whitening.

Dental Implants

Dental implants fall under the category of prosthetic dentistry.  They are artificial replacements used to compensate for tooth loss.  Replacing missing teeth with dental veneers can enhance a patient’s smile and give them a more youthful appearance.

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening procedures involve bleaching teeth that are stained from smoking, drinking coffee, tea or red wine, or poor dental hygiene.  It can greatly enhance a patient’s smile and is currently the most common cosmetic dental procedure in use.

Other more dramatic cosmetic dental procedures such as full mouth reconstruction and smile makeovers are also available.  These procedures involve combining two or more of the options above to improve the appearance of a patient’s mouth, teeth or smile. 

Cosmetic dentistry provides a host of options for patients who are currently unhappy with their smiles.  If you are interested in getting more information about any of the cosmetic dental procedures discussed, please make an appointment with your dentist today.

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