Dental Tips Blog

May
20

Here’s How Long to Expect Your Dental Fillings to Last

Posted in Fillings

It would be nice if all of your dental work could last forever. Dental researchers are still working to find a way to make that possible. But for now, the unfortunate reality is that no dental filling can last a lifetime. The oral environment is a dynamic one where dental materials can only hold up for so long.

Why Do Dental Fillings Wear Out?

Fillings tend to fall apart when something happens to the tooth material around them.

For example, a tooth worn down by acid exposure or a grinding habit will have weak enamel that only gets weaker as time goes on. Any dental fillings in that tooth are at risk for popping out much sooner than expected.

Teeth with fractures or cavities also have a hard time keeping fillings in place.

Some dental restorations even discolor over time and become eyesores.

Factor That Affect the Lifespan of Dental Work

It’s hard to estimate how long your fillings will last, but the following factors could help you make a close estimate:

  • What your filling is made of, as some materials are stronger than others
  • Quality of the work done while placing your filling
  • Size of the filling (the smaller the better)
  • Environment of your mouth (dry mouth or an acidic environment is harmful)
  • How well you care for your teeth each day

On average, a silver amalgam filling should last you around 10-15 years. A tooth-colored composite resin filling can last about 10 years as well. Nowadays some people see their dental work last upward to 20 years.

Are you trying to decide which dental restoration will last the longest? Contact your dentist to find out your best options.

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

May
18

Why You Need a Filling Even if Your Tooth Doesn’t Hurt

Posted in Fillings

It might seem counter intuitive to fix a tooth that feels fine. But the thing about cavities is that they can do a lot of damage long before you notice any symptoms.

What Is a Cavity?

A cavity is a hole in your tooth caused by a bacterial infection. Harmful germs (which live in everybody’s mouth) eat the sugars and carbohydrates from the foods that you eat and produce an acid, which wears away tooth enamel. As the decay process continues, the cavity grows.

Why Cavities Don’t Always Hurt

Inner layers of your tooth have channels that lead to a larger nerve, but the hard enamel layer on the outside insulates and protects the more delicate parts. Your enamel doesn’t have any nerves.

When a cavity starts eating away at your tooth, you won’t feel much of anything, at least until the cavity has worked its way through your tooth and has exposed the sensitive dentin.

If you have tooth pain, it usually means the cavity is quite advanced.

Get That Filling Right Away!

Dentists can detect cavities long before they start to bother you. Dental x-rays are the main way to find the start of a cavity. Your dentist will likely recommend that you fill your cavity before it can get any bigger.

The sooner you treat a small spot of decay, the smaller the filling will be. Big fillings weaken teeth and ultimately lead to your needing a crown or extraction sooner rather than later. Take preemptive action by treating cavities while they’re still small and you’ll hold onto your tooth much longer.

Schedule a dental checkup to find out for sure whether you’re cavity-free or need some early intervention.

Posted on behalf of:
Precision Digital Dentistry
674 US-202/206
Suite 7
Bridgewater, NJ 08807
(908) 955-6999

May
17

Is It Possible to Cure Cavities at Home?

Posted in Fillings

Before you try to save on your next dental bill by attempting a DIY cavity cure, take a moment to consider the facts.

You Can’t Cure Cavities

A cavity is a patch of irreversible damage to tooth structure. Teeth are harder than other body tissues and made from very unique materials. They just can’t heal like wounds in bone, muscles, skin, or other tissues.

Cavities are a sign of an active and aggressive bacterial infection. They are caused by germs that feed on the sugar and carbohydrates you eat, then secrete an acid that eats through teeth.

Tooth decay presents a compound problem: you have to both stop the bacteria from progressing and reinforce the tooth so that it doesn’t break.

How Teeth “Heal” Themselves

Tooth enamel, the protective outer layer, forms while teeth are still developing in the jawbone. After it forms, that’s all you get – it doesn’t grow back once lost.

The enamel layer weakens when it loses minerals, which is the first stage of decay. If you catch this process in time, you can remineralize weak areas. But these spots are hard to detect, especially if they form between teeth.

Unlike the enamel, your teeth can deposit a layer of protective dentin to fight an invading cavity and repair the spot. But this process usually can’t keep up with the rapid rate of decay.

Why You Need to See a Dentist 

By the time you notice a cavity in your tooth, it’s already too late. All the rinses, diet changes, and vitamins in the world probably won’t be enough to stop it in time.  Treatment and restoration of the damage caused by tooth decay typically involves placing a filling or crown.

Ask your dentist about safe and successful treatment options for tooth decay.

Posted on behalf of:
Group Health Dental
230 W 41st St
New York, NY 10036
(212) 398-9690

May
15

My Tooth Doesn’t Hurt. Why Should I Fill It?

Posted in Fillings

It’s hard to feel motivated to get a cavity filled if your tooth doesn’t hurt to begin with. But like any dentist will tell you, not all cavities cause pain!

Using dental X-rays is a great way to intercept tooth decay when it’s smaller and less-invasive to treat. In fact, we can sometimes stop cavities in their earliest stages before a filling is even needed.

But if you have a visible cavitation inside of your tooth — and continue to go symptom free — you should have it treated right away.

Cavities Spread…Fast

A small cavity on one tooth at your dental checkup, if it goes untreated, can quickly turn into two cavities by the time of your next appointment six months from now.

Not only do cavities “jump” from tooth to tooth, they grow larger. It’s possible to have an extremely severe area of tooth decay that extends well into the nerve of the tooth to the point of creating an abscess, without the tooth ever hurting.

Don’t Wait for it to Hurt

Pain is a symptom to look out for, but it’s not the only way to spot a cavity. A large number of dental fillings are placed on teeth that never hurt to begin with, but only show the physical signs of a hole eroding into the enamel.

If you really love your smile, you’ll treat the cavity before it hurts you or your pocketbook! Small fillings save you money and preserve the most amount of enamel possible.

Talk to your dentist today about how a small filling can help you avoid a crown or root canal later on.

Posted on behalf of:
Feather Touch Dental Care
1175 Peachtree St. NW Ste 1204
Atlanta, GA 30361
(404) 892-2097

Apr
24

How Do Dental Fillings Stay in Teeth?

Posted in Fillings

Have you ever wondered what makes dental fillings stay in teeth?

There are two main ways that this dental “magic” happens. The traditional method is mechanical, while the newer one is micro-mechanical. Once you understand the difference, you’ll be better prepared to choose the right kind of filling for your smile.

How Dentists Place Mechanical Fillings

Don’t let the term “mechanical” fool you; there aren’t any machines included in a tiny filling. Mechanical simply refers to how a filling physically locks with a tooth.

Traditional silver fillings set up quickly once the amalgam mixture is poured into a prepared tooth. It hardens, and the dentist shapes it to repair the tooth. But this material won’t stick to enamel like glue.

So, what the dentist has to do is create the base of the deeper layer of your tooth to be slightly wider than the opening at the top. After the liquid filling hardens, the tooth’s shape helps hold – or wedge it – in place.

What Is a Micro-Mechanical Bond?

Dentists set  composite resin tooth-colored fillings with a special light that results in a chemical reaction. Before pouring in the material, however, the dentist prepares the tooth surface by etching it with a chemical.

The roughened tooth surface then creates an easy place for the filling to grip onto as it hardens. This is called a micro-mechanical bond.

A micro-mechanical method is considered better than the traditional method since it lets the filling create a tighter bond with the tooth. This means that the tooth preparation doesn’t have to be as invasive.

Should you choose a conservative tooth-colored filling or the classic silver one? Contact a restorative dentist nearby to help you decide.

Posted on behalf of:
Soft Touch Dentistry
1214 Paragon Dr
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 622-5050

Apr
17

Have You Tried the Dental Filling-Crown Hybrid, Yet?

Posted in Fillings

When you get a cavity, your options usually include either a filling or a crown.

Did you know that you could get the best of both worlds?

There are dental filling- crown hybrids that many dentists use to restore and enhance teeth. They’re called inlays and onlays.

How Do Inlays and Onlays Work?

Inlays and onlays are called indirect restorations as opposed to direct restorations.

Direct restorations are fillings, which are packed directly into your tooth in one sitting. But an indirect restoration is based on a mold taken of your prepared tooth. The restoration is carved from a material (usually tooth-colored porcelain) and then that piece is cemented into your tooth at a later date.

This process is very similar to that of placing dental crowns. The only difference is that crowns cover the entire tooth while inlays and onlays replace a part of it.

So, inlays and onlays are strong like dental crowns but more conservative like fillings. This makes them the perfect hybrid for repairing teeth that need more support than a filling can give.

The hybrid restorations are called inlays when they replace a part of the “valley” in a molar. They become onlays when they have to replace part of a cusp or edge on a tooth.

Does Your Tooth Qualify for an Inlay or Onlay?

If you have a cavity that needs treatment, then an inlay is a great option. Some patients opt for an inlay even when their tooth doesn’t have much damage simply because they want a stronger and more lasting treatment.

Ask a restorative dentist about inlays and onlays the next time they recommend a filling.

Posted on behalf of:
Mitzi Morris, DMD, PC
1295 Hembree Rd B202
Roswell, GA 30076
(770) 475-6767

Apr
17

Dentists Debunk the “Soft Teeth” Myth

Posted in Fillings

Everyone on your dad/mom’s side of the family has “soft teeth” so that explains why you get so many cavities and need lots of dental fillings.

Or does it?

What Soft Teeth Really Are

There is a condition that causes soft tooth enamel. It’s called amelogenesis imperfecta and it’s a tooth development disorder. The complication results in unusually small dark-colored teeth that are prone to damage.

According to one estimate, only 1 in 14,000 people in the United States have this condition, so it’s not a common thing to have actual “soft teeth.”

If your teeth look normal otherwise, then that means there’s something else making you prone to tooth decay.

The Cause of Tooth Decay

Cavities are caused by a kind of bacteria that feed on the sugar you eat. These germs turn this sugar into acid, which wears holes into tooth enamel. More bacteria move into those holes and continue eating away at teeth.

Everyone has this kind of bacteria in their mouths. So why do you get more cavities than most people you know?

There are a few lifestyle factors that can increase your cavity rate.

Perhaps you need to brush and floss more to keep up with the bacterial growth. Your diet might be high in sugars and acids that speed up the decay process. Maybe you have dry mouth from a medication that you take. Or you may have put off treating a cavity long enough that the contagious infection has spread to infect other teeth.

Whatever the cause, it’s probably not due to soft teeth! Visit a dentist to find out how you can lower your risk for tooth decay and prevent more cavities in the future.

Posted on behalf of:
Montevallo Family Dentistry
711 Wadsworth St
Montevallo, AL 35115
(205) 665-2224

Apr
14

The Truth About DIY Fillings

Posted in Fillings

Filling your tooth at home may seem like the easy way out when you want to save a buck or skip a trip to the dental office.

But DIY fillings aren’t the miracle solution they may seem to be.

DIY Dental Filling Kits Can Be Dangerous

Without actual dental treatment experience, you could put too much patch-up material in your tooth, damage your it further, or accidentally swallow something you shouldn’t.

Additionally, you can’t just cover over a cavity with filling material and call it good. Tooth decay is an active bacterial infection, and the cavity will only spread underneath the filling if a dentist doesn’t properly clean out the decay before filling your tooth.

You’ll Pay More for a Job that Wasn’t Done Right the First Time

Using a cheap DIY kit to fill your tooth may feel like a smart move. But you can end up spending more money for an actual dentist to repair the damage done by a kit you bought online.

Temporary Fillings Are Just That – Temporary!

There are plenty of products available in drugstores that are labeled as temporary dental cements. These kits contain a quick-setting filler and instructions for filling a tooth when you’re in a pinch.

But these kits are temporary for a reason. The cement isn’t the same kind of long-lasting filling material you’d get in a professional treatment. It only holds up for a limited amount of time (like while you’re away on vacation.)

Temporary cements are not substitutes for real dental fillings. They just tide you over when you’re in a situation where you can’t see a dentist.

Visit your dentist to learn more about the importance of professional dental fillings and alternatives that might be available.

Posted on behalf of:
Kennesaw Mountain Dental Associates
1815 Old 41 Hwy NW #310
Kennesaw, GA 30152
(770) 927-7751

Apr
9

Does It Hurt to Get a Filling?

Posted in Fillings

When you hear “dental filling” you might think “pain.” But that’s only because you need a filling to repair a cavity, which is painful.

Cavities are often painful because they are holes that expose the tooth’s nerve to uncomfortable elements in the mouth. That nerve is very sensitive to sweets, hot and cold temperatures, and acids. Decay removes some of your tooth’s protective layers and jeopardizes the nerve.

Getting a dental filling is what will help your tooth to feel better. It patches up the hole, to restore the insulation around your tooth’s nerve.

But does it hurt to have decay removed and filled?

Why Fillings Don’t Hurt

You will be numb for the entire filling process. Your dentist will give you an injection of anesthesia that dulls your tooth to pain. While the physical removal happens, you won’t feel more than a little pressure.

Cavity preparation removes only the rotten part of your tooth to keep the hollowed-out hole as small as possible.

The dentist then puts in the filling to seal off the opening left behind. Your patched-up tooth will be ready for action almost immediately after your appointment.

After the Filling

Even after your numbing injection wears off, you shouldn’t feel any pain. The only potentially painful part is the fact that your tooth nerve was exposed to food and air temperatures. The filling plugs up the opening and fixes that problem.

Some people experience a little sensitivity soon after getting a new filling, but their teeth quickly adjust.

It is very unusual to experience discomfort after getting a tooth filled. If you do, contact your dentist to have your restoration checked.

Posted on behalf of:
Buford Family Dental
4700 Nelson Grogdon Blvd. NE #210
Buford, GA 30518
678.730.2005

Mar
13

4 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Dental Fillings

Posted in Fillings

Are any of these facts news to you?

  1. Mercury Fillings Aren’t Poisonous

Amalgam (silver) fillings that contain mercury are not considered dangerous, so there’s no need to panic if you still have metal restorations.

The mercury in metal fillings can’t harm you, since inhaling a mercury vapor is what’s really toxic to humans. Your restorations don’t give off enough vapor to cause any toxicity. But if you’re still worried about them, your dentist can offer a safe removal method.

  1. The Oldest Known Dental Fillings Are Roughly 13,000 Years Old

In 2017, archaeologists at the University of Bologna discovered a human body that had teeth with evidence of dental work dating around 13,000 years old. Two front incisors appeared to have holes in them that were drilled with stone tools and then filled with a tar-like mixture.

  1. White Fillings “Move” with Your Teeth

Tooth-colored composite dental fillings are made from a material that contains a combination of plastic resin and glass. The result is a strong restoration that bonds with teeth and also moves with them.

Your teeth feel hard, but they actually expand and contract on a microscopic level with temperature changes. Metal fillings expand and contract too rapidly and this extreme activity can damage teeth from the inside. But white fillings move at the same rate natural tooth structure does, making them much a much more gentle and conservative restorative option.

  1. Dental Fillings Are Preventable!

Dental treatment doesn’t have to be inevitable. By cutting down on your sugar consumption, using fluoride toothpaste, and practicing good oral hygiene, you can lower your risk for needing a dental filling.

Talk with your dentist about other preventative dental treatments like sealants and fluoride varnish.

Posted on behalf of:
Pure Smiles Dentistry
2655 Dallas Highway Suite 510
Marietta, GA 30064
770.422.8776

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