Dental Tips Blog

Jul
13

Are Metal Fillings Bad for Teeth?

Posted in Fillings

Dentists have used amalgam dental restorations which contain silver and other metals to fill teeth for decades.

Metal fillings have been in use so long because they are cost-effective and easy to place. In fact, you can still find some dental offices that offer them.

Such places are becoming scarce, however, for the following reasons:

Amalgam Fillings Contain Mercury

Mercury is an essential part of metal fillings because it’s what enables the filling to be shaped and placed into a tooth before hardening. This mercury stays in place and shouldn’t make you sick. But some people still worry about having a potentially dangerous substance in their mouths.

Metal Fillings Stress Tooth Enamel

Although amalgam fillings last a long time, they can put a lot of wear on teeth.

Metals expand and contract with temperature changes. A metal filling gets slightly larger in warm temperatures and shrinks slightly in cool ones. Your mouth regular experiences extremes in temperature change when you take in hot and cold foods.

The problem with this is that your teeth can’t expand and contract as fast as metals do. With time, the more rapid motions of a metal filling can weaken the enamel and cause tiny cracks that lead to sensitivity, fracture, and cavities.

Silver Doesn’t Look the Best on Teeth

Metal fillings are also falling out of favor just because people don’t like the look of them especially when there are more subtle options like white composite fillings. A tooth-colored filling is much more natural looking and is especially useful for making small cosmetic smile enhancements.

Ask your dentist about which restorative options available in your area are right for your smile.

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

May
20

Why Is My Filled Tooth Sensitive?

Posted in Fillings

Isn’t the point of a filling to stop pain of a cavity? Then why does your tooth hurt?

There are a few possible reasons behind your sensitivity and discomfort.

Your Tooth Is Getting Used to its New Structure

It’s not every day that your teeth get opened up and exposed to air. Although you’re numb for the procedure, your tooth may complain about the intrusion for a few days afterwards.

Give your tooth a few days to settle down before you start panicking. Use a fluoride rinse and a sensitivity toothpaste to reinforce weak spots in your enamel.

The Filling Is “Too High”

Sometimes a little difference can make a big one. What that means is a subtle height discrepancy in your dental filling can throw off your entire bite. It might only feel as annoying as a seed stuck in your tooth, but it can cause some people a lot of annoyance.

You may not be able to tell for sure if this is the issue, but if the pain lasts a while, your dentist can confirm it. A brief adjustment will make your tooth comfortable again.

You Need More Than a Filling

Dentists prefer to start out with the most conservative treatment when possible. Treating with a filling is the best way to preserve your natural tooth. But it could turn out that your tooth has more damage than expected and you need a crown or root canal.

If you’re experiencing pain near your new filling that persists for a week or more or interferes with eating, call your dentist. He or she will have you right back in to take a look and make adjustments that’ll get you the relief you need.

Posted on behalf of:
Manhattan Dental Design
315 W 57th St Suite 206
New York, NY 10019
(646) 504-437

May
13

How Does Filling a Cavity Make It Better?

Posted in Fillings

A cavity is a hole in your tooth that’s caused by acid-producing bacteria.

Dentists have been filling teeth for decades in an effort to stop the spread of cavities. How do fillings work, though?

What a Dental Filling Does 

When a cavity strikes, it creates a weak spot that compromises your tooth’s structural integrity. It’s only a matter of time until biting down on your tooth can cause it to chip or fracture.

Not only do cavities weaken teeth, but they very rarely stop growing once they get started. The bacteria that eat a hole in the tooth multiply and keep on producing the acid that makes the hole bigger and bigger.

Before long, a cavity can grow so large that the tooth becomes abscessed or breaks apart completely.

Dental fillings restore holes in teeth to keep them strong and seal out germs that would only make the cavity larger. Before your dentist fills your tooth, he or she ensures that all the infected and damaged tissues is completely gone.

What’s the Best Dental Restoration?

The kind of restoration you need depends on the amount of damage your tooth has experienced. Treatments range from classic direct fillings to partial crowns to root canals. The sooner you treat your tooth, the more conservative the procedure will be, and the more likely you are to avoid the need for re-treatment.

All kinds of dental restorations can wear down and fall apart with time. But filling a tooth still remains the best way to treat a cavity. Good oral hygiene will help your fillings to last as long as possible.

If you suspect that you have a cavity, call your dentist to learn about your options.

Posted on behalf of:
Les Belles NYC Dentistry
420 Lexington Ave #228
New York, NY 10170
212-804-888

Mar
31

Which Kind of Dental Filling Is Right for Your Tooth?

Posted in Fillings

Different kinds of dental fillings are out there to serve different purposes.

It’s like different kinds of shoes. Some are meant to make a fashion statement while others keep you dry on a rainy day or are suited to hiking.

Fillings work a lot like that. Your tooth needs a filling that’s right for the job at hand.

Here are some of the different types of fillings you may encounter.

Classic silver amalgam fillings are affordable and durable, but are being phased out. This is due to their mercury content and the fact that they can be too strong for teeth. Stress from a metal filling can cause tiny fractures in enamel.

Gold, however, is great for teeth. It works well in the oral environment and lasts a long time. The only downsides are that it’s costly and pretty noticeable. Although some people like it for just those reasons!

Today’s most popular fillings are made from composite resin. These plastic-ceramic blends camouflage nicely with natural tooth color and are conservative in design.

Exposed tooth roots near the “neck” of teeth are often candidates for glass ionomer fillings. These restorations bond well with teeth but aren’t strong. They’re ideal for the sides and edges of teeth where they won’t be engaged in the bite force.

For a mix between a crown and a filling, inlays and onlays make up the middle ground. Created outside the mouth, these indirect fillings are placed into the prepared site in one solid piece. This makes them strong but they are much more minimal than a fully crown.

Which filling is right for you? Contact your dentist to schedule a dental checkup.

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

Mar
30

Think Your Filling Is Too High? What You Can Do

Posted in Fillings

Almost all of us have had that sensation that a new dental restoration is too big for our tooth.

It can take a while for a new filling to seem like it fits at just the right point of feeling natural.

But what about when it’s been months since you got the filling and your tooth still feels bulky?

Signs Your Filling Is Too Big

  • Aching jaw
  • Sensation you always have something stuck in a tooth
  • Difficulty flossing
  • The tooth opposite from the one with the filling hurts

Why It Matters

A large filling may not look that bad, at first glance. Even the first few times you chew with it may not feel unusual. But the difference can show up subtly over time.

The tiniest discrepancy in tooth height can throw your bite out of balance. Eventually, this would lead to uneven tooth wear, a sore jaw, pain, and even sensitivity.

Get Your Filling Fixed!

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do at home to repair a high filling. Anything you could attempt would only be dangerous. You’d risk damaging the filling and even permanently harming your tooth.

The solution for a high filling is simple: your dentist drills and polishes it down.

In a procedure that lasts just a few minutes, your dentist will check the fit of the restoration and grind it down. Only your dentist can determine exactly which spots should be filed to create a comfortable fit. This is such a quick and noninvasive job that you won’t even need any anesthesia.

Is your new dental restoration bothering you?

Get it checked as soon as possible to see what can be done. Don’t put up with the pain – call your dentist today.

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

Feb
16

Dentists Taking Steps to Combat Effects of Mercury

Posted in Fillings

Starting in July 2017, a couple new initiatives are going into effect with the aim of reducing the effects of dental mercury on the environment.

Very few dental offices in the United States still offer amalgam (50% mercury) as an option for dental fillings. They are being phased out and replaced by composite tooth colored fillings which are more conservative and metal-free.

While getting a silver filling isn’t likely to put your body at risk of mercury poisoning, getting these fillings removed could gradually be doing damage to the environment.

Dentists have to clean out the metal, which generates a mercury vapor that can be harmful if they breathe in a lot of it over the course of their career. In addition, the waste gets washed down the drain and into the water supply, where it can accumulate in drinking water and seafood.

After decades of efforts to completely eliminate the use and effects of mercury-based fillings, a couple of major steps have been taken.

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Clean Water Act

A part of this act requires that all dental offices in the United States install amalgam separators that trap mercury debris so it can be properly disposed of.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP): Minamata Convention on Mercury

This initiative goes into effect as of August 2017 and aims to phase out mercury use in dental offices on a global level. As a start, dentists are encouraged to not provide silver fillings for children and pregnant or breastfeeding women. Later talks will work toward the goal of eliminating mercury use entirely by 2030.

Want to know more about smile-safe dental restorations? Talk with your local dentist about your options.

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

Feb
13

Why That Filling Needs to Be Replaced

Posted in Fillings

In all honesty, it can seem like it isn’t fair to have to get a filling again. Especially right where you already have one to begin with.

Why does your dentist recommending redoing something you’ve already had done? Aren’t dental fillings supposed to last for life?

No Fillings Last Forever

The simple goal of dentistry is this: make your teeth last as long as possible. There’s no guarantee a treatment like fillings will last forever. While stronger dental materials are still under research, we have to accept the fact that for now, it’s only a matter of time. Even a ten-year-old dental filling is something to be grateful for!

So why do fillings ultimately need to be replaced at some point?

There Was a Mistake With The Last Restoration

It happens! Perhaps the tooth wasn’t prepared correctly or a material was used that wasn’t right for your tooth. You might visit a new dentist to find out that the last one did sub-standard work.

You Are Being Too Rough on Your Teeth

It is possible to chew a filling right out of your tooth. No, normal eating habits won’t do this. But if you’ve got a habit of grinding your teeth in your sleep, this can weaken and wear down a dental filling.

Dental Decay Has Made a Comeback

This is going to be your most likely reason to update a filling. Over time, a tooth once weakened by a cavity can once again fall victim to the effects of decay. Once those tooth-eating bacteria sneak their way back under a filling, they’ll carry out their dirty work unseen.

Ask your dentist for more details if you’re advised to redo a filling.

Posted on behalf of:
Les Belles NYC Dentistry
420 Lexington Ave #228
New York, NY 10170
212-804-8884

Jan
10

How Much Does it Cost to Get a Filling?

Posted in Fillings

With several factors coming into play, there is no flat-rate for a dental filling. The price you’re quoted will depend on things like:

  • Material used for the filling
  • Size of the filling
  • Complexity of the restoration (how hard it is to place)
  • Location of the dental practice
  • What your dental insurance policy covers 

Basic Cost Of A Filling

On average, a basic metal amalgam (silver) filling costs about $150. A tooth-colored composite filling goes for $250. Gold fillings come in as the most expense at around $400, but often more, depending on the size.

The averages given above will increase significantly in proportion with the size and location of the filling.

How Your Insurance Helps Out

As long as you meet any deductibles set by your insurance, your dental insurance company may cover around 80% of the cost of a filling. But this rate depends on your individual policy. Even that may vary depending on the filling material type.

Why Do Prices Vary?

A dental office needs to make a margin of profit that allows the practice to keep running. Not all that money is going straight to your dentist’s pocket! There are staff members to pay, equipment to maintain, bills to pay, and a building to maintain.

Geographic location also factors in. A dental office’s prices reflect the economy of the area it’s situated in.

You won’t know how much your next filling will cost until you actually go into a dental practice for an evaluation. Your dentist will work with you to plan treatment that suits your wallet and – even more importantly – your smile.

Posted on behalf of:
Blue Sky Dental Group
14866 Old St. Augustine Rd, Suite 111
Jacksonville, FL 32258
(904) 595-7918

Dec
31

5 Signs Your Pre-Teen Has Bad Oral Hygiene

Posted in Fillings

Your son or daughter is reaching that age where they start to worry about how others view them. Kids are bombarded with images that prompt them to set near-impossible standards for themselves in terms of appearance.

As for you? You just want to see your child happy and healthy. Your pre-teen deserves a great foundation to start from, one of health that gives them more freedom to express themselves.

Great oral hygiene is a cornerstone of health. If your child gets into good habits in this area now, you’ll have some peace of mind.

Use your child’s natural desire to fit in and be beautiful to encourage those healthy tooth habits.

Here are some signs that your kid may actually be headed down wrong path when it comes to dental health and hygiene:

  1. Their teeth look orange from layers of plaque.
  2. Your child is a very picky eater. Limiting their diet to junk food or carbs makes their dental plaque stickier and more prone to causing cavities.
  3. Your child’s gums appear red or swollen. This indicates gingivitis.
  4. You’re constantly visiting the dentist to get another filling for your child.
  5. You find out your child is experiencing bullying because of his or her tooth appearance or bad breath.

What you can do:

Encourage good hygiene for your family by having the appropriate dental products easily accessible around the home. Promote healthy snacking by stocking the right foods. Educate your son or daughter on how choices in daily life can affect the look of their smile.

Your family’s dentist is on your side and can help your child get an idea of the condition their mouth is in. Schedule an appointment to get more information.

Posted on behalf of:
Sycamore Hills Dentistry
10082 Illinois Rd
Fort Wayne, IN 46804
(260) 213-4400

Dec
12

Is Vaping Bad For Your Teeth?

Posted in Fillings

Over the past couple of years we’ve seen an upswing in the numbers of people “vaping” or using electronic cigarettes.

It’s easy to think that because there’s no smoke involved (and sometimes not even any nicotine) vaping is harmless.

But is that really the case?

Effects Of Vaping

Studies have already shown that the vapor produced by e-cigarettes triggers inflammation in the lungs that reduces their functioning capacity. While the damage isn’t the same as that caused by tobacco smoke, it’s enough to weaken your lungs.

Weak lungs are prone to bacterial infections (like with plaque biofilm spreads from your mouth.) Take one lab study, for example. Mice exposed to vaping died after catching a common flu virus. The non-vaping mice recovered just fine.

Vaping: The Mark It Leaves In Your Mouth

While an e-cigarette or vape pen won’t leave nicotine or tobacco stains, it can still cause some damage that your dental hygienist will notice. The hot vapor can actually cause mild burns and irritation called “stomatitis.” More notably is how vaping contributes to dry mouth.

Dry mouth increases your mouth’s susceptibility to problems like gum disease and cavities.  Vaping can lead to the need for periodontal treatment and fillings.

Never Smoked? Never A Need To Vape

E-cigarettes were designed to help wean people off their nicotine addiction minus the harmful effects of tobacco smoke. No one yet knows the long-term effects of vaping in humans. Taking up vaping when you’ve never smoked is an unnecessary step backwards and could pose some serious risks to your health.

Why take that chance?

If you use nicotine in any form and want to learn about how to quit or how it’s already affected your oral health, contact your local dental office.

Posted on behalf of:
Gainesville Dental Group
1026 Thompson Bridge Rd
Gainesville, GA 30501
(770) 297-0401

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