Dental Tips Blog


What is Holistic Dentistry?

Posted in Fillings

While holistic dentists are not very common, the practice as a whole is gaining in popularity.

Holistic dentistry is the practice of treating the mouth as a small part of the greater whole. A dentist in this branch is concerned with the effect that dental treatment and problems can have on the entire body.

Holistic Dentistry vs. Traditional Dentistry

All dentists who take a holistic approach have been accredited to treat dental problems. But there is no regulated system for certifying holistic professionals.

Every dentist wants to help you reach your smile goals. Instead of merely repairing problems, holistic or biological dentists focus on finding the solutions and preventative treatments that will be kind to your entire system.

Holistic dentists are qualified to perform any procedure other dentists do, but they will incorporate more elements into treatment.

Some of these specialties include:

  • Mercury-free composite fillings
  • Safe metal filling removal
  • Nutritional therapies
  • Orthopedic orthodontics
  • Addressing breathing issues

There is certainly a fundamental truth in the concept of treating your mouth as a part of your body. Dental infections are scientifically-known to affect other body systems. Nutrition, exercise, and rest all factor into dental health. You can’t deny the fact that your mouth is closely connected to the rest of you. Your oral hygiene should always go hand-in-hand with a healthy lifestyle.

Is Holistic Dentistry Right for You?

At the end of the day, the choice is completely up to you. It’s perfectly reasonable to begin your own holistic journey by setting personal health goals to better harmonize your oral and overall health. A holistic dentist just might provide you with the resources you need.

Get started by asking your personal dentist for recommendations.

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


4 Benefits of White Fillings

Posted in Fillings

Metal fillings are falling out of style as you read this.

It’s not that metal (aka “silver” or “amalgam”) fillings aren’t safe or effective. Lots of people still appreciate the strength and durability of the traditional fillings. But they are getting a little harder to find. Today’s dentists just aren’t placing as many of them as they did in years past.

Why is that?

Here are four solid reasons to get onboard with the increasingly popular white fillings that are taking over modern dentist offices:

  1. Composite Fillings Chemically Bond with Tooth Enamel

White or “composite” restorations create a tight seal with the tooth after placement. This keeps them securely in place and helps prevent cavity-causing bacteria from invading in through any leaky margins.

  1. White Fillings Are Conservative

Because metal restorations don’t bond chemically with teeth, they require the removal of more tooth structure to wedge them in place. Getting a white composite filling instead can help you hold onto more of your tooth!

  1. Go Mercury-Free!

Although the metal fillings haven’t been proven to cause any problems, some people are still nervous about their trace mercury content. With the metal- and mercury-free composite restorations, you don’t need to worry about any adverse effects.

Ask your dentist which option is right for you!

  1. They Just Look Better

You have to admit it: a mouth full of metal fillings isn’t something you’re quick to show off. When all your fillings blend in with your natural tooth color, no one ever has to know just how many cavities you’ve had. Smile without shame after you trade in your silvers for composites!

Talk with your dentist to find out how white fillings could improve your smile for the better.

Posted on behalf of:
Ambler Dental Care
602 S Bethlehem Pike C-2
Ambler, PA 19002
(215) 643-1122


Adios, Amalgam?

Posted in Fillings

Twenty years from now, will amalgam still be used for dental fillings? It’s hard to say, given the stigma that seems to surround its use today.

Amalgam is an alloy that is typically half mercury and half silver, copper and other trace metals. Its use as a restorative dental filler gained enormous popularity in the 1800s, and, until very recently, it was the filler of choice due to its strength, durability and low cost in comparison to other fillers, including composite materials.

The main ongoing concern about amalgam is its high concentration of elemental mercury. Numerous scientific studies have suggested connections between high levels of mercury and adverse health effects such as organ damage or neurological disorders. Because of health and environmental risks, Norway, Sweden and Denmark banned the use of amalgam fillings in 2008.

However, U.S. oversight agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and the American Dental Association continue to support amalgam, saying mercury levels in the dental restorative are too low to pose a health risk. This 2009 FDA ruling followed an exhaustive review of all scientific studies.

Safety issues aside, the demise of amalgam may still become a reality in the not too distant future. Scientists are constantly developing new dental fillers using composite materials that are stronger, longer lasting and more natural looking. In fact, aesthetics is probably the number one reason patients opt for composite fillers.

So, the answer to the question of whether amalgam will even be around in 20 or 30 years is, probably not. If there is a cheaper, more durable alternative that poses even less of a health risk, then that alternative will always prevail. Hands down.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Lawrence Rosenman, Springfield Lorton Dental Group




Cheese and Your Teeth

Posted in Fillings

The word is out! Cheese may actually help prevent your teeth from developing cavities. The study by scientists shows that while a pH of 5.5 in a person’s mouth can begin causing enamel erosion and tooth decay, consuming cheese can neutralize the acidic levels in the mouth. Subjects were adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15, and were given cheese, milk and sugar-free yogurt to consume and were then told to rinse their mouths with water. At 10, 20, and 30 minutes later, the pH level of their mouths was checked. By far, cheese had the most anti-cavity properties as it raised the pH significantly in each person.

One theory why the cheese was more effective than the other dairy products was due to the fact that chewing was necessary, and that chewing stimulates saliva production. Additional saliva in the mouth can neutralize acids associated with food consumption. Having cheese as a snack during the day may actually benefit the tooth enamel by protecting it from acid erosion. Cheese also contains calcium, which helps aid in healthy bone and tooth development. Low and fat free cheese seems to have the same properties, allowing you to reap the benefits without the extra fat.

If you’re especially prone to weak teeth or cavities, consider making small amounts of cheese part of your go-to snack or after school treat for the kits. You may need fewer fillings or other restorative dental work.  As always, you want to eat a diet that is balanced, and the USDA food pyramid recommends that all people consume 2-3 servings of dairy each day.

Posted on behalf of Kennesaw Mountain Dental Associates



5 Ways a Trip to the Dentist is Kinder and Gentler Than Ever Before

Posted in Fillings

Many people have an aversion about going to the dentist. In fact, by some estimates, this fear, whether based on fact or fiction, prevents as much as 45 percent of the adult population in the U.S. from seeing the dentist on a regular basis.

The dental profession has for years seen this as a challenge and has worked on ways to make a dental visit less painful, if not more enjoyable, to patients. So if you are seeing the dentist for the first time in a while, you might be surprised by some advances designed to mitigate your apprehension.

1. A calming atmosphere.   

Some dental offices are design specifically with colors that sooth, space that does not constrict and even little added touches like fish tanks or waterfalls to make you as relaxed as possible. Dentists, meanwhile, are being taught more and more how to talk in calming ways to patients, much like a psychiatrist would in a therapy session.

2. Quieter drills. 

Some people cringe at the idea of a dentist going to work on their teeth with a high pitched drill. Dentists now use electric drills, which are much quieter than their predecessor air-driven drills. The new drills also use sharper bits, which get the job done a lot faster.

3. More use of composite materials with fillings. 

Unlike metal, composite fillings don’t require the dentist to dig deep, wide holes to anchor the filling. Tooth colored composite fillings take less time and last longer because they don’t weaken the tooth as much.  In addition, tooth colored fillings look just like your natural teeth.

4. Phosphorous X-ray plates. 

The days of clenching your teeth on cardboard plates that dig into the bottom of your mouth are numbered. Some dentists are now using softer, thinner plates made of phosphorous that don’t hurt like the old ones.

5. Laser technology. 

Precise, painless and quick, laser technology is being used by more and more dentists for everything from treating tooth decay to gum disease to whitening. Lasers are perhaps the biggest recent advance in dentistry.

Posted on behalf of Lawrenceville Family Dental Care, P.C.



What Type of Filling Is the Best?

Posted in Fillings

There is no simple answer to that question and only a qualified dentist can make that determination based upon their experience and each patient’s unique situation.  In general dentists will opt to use either a amalagam or a composite material to fill a tooth after the decay has been removed.

Traditionally, dentists have used amalagam to fill cavities once the decay has been removed.  Amalagam is a mixture of several metal alloys including silver, tin, copper and mercury.  While the material performs well and is not harmful, it is also very visible.  Recent advances in dentistry have resulted in an entirely new class of composite dental fillings that are economical, very durable and are white in color, which results in natural appearing teeth no matter how many fillings a patient has!  Typically these composite fillings are made with a combination of glass or quartz and resin.

The choice of the filling material to be used should be discussed in detail with the dentist prior to the work being done.  Typically dentists prefer to use composite filings is areas where the filling could be visible.  In general, dentists are able to custom mix the composite material to closely match the tooth.  This results in a filling that virtually is invisible to the average person.

Some dentists still like to use the traditional amalagam fillings in the back molars, as they are usually withstand chewing better than the composite fillings.  However, dentists are using more and more composite fillings in these areas, often opting for a composite filling, when the amalagam filling fails.

While there is no one ideal filling type for every patient, composite fillings continue to grow in popularity.  The choice should be discussed with the dentist to determine the best selection for the individual patient.

Posted on behalf of Grateful Dental



Your First Filling

Posted in Fillings

If you’ve made it your entire life without a cavity, that’s wonderful! Many people envy having strong, healthy teeth. But, if this is your first cavity you might also feel a little disturbed when it comes to having it treated. That’s ok! For many people it is common to have had a few cavities in their lifetime, but your dentist can help fix that.

The best filling is one that is performed quickly after the decay has been diagnosed. This means that the decay is as small as possible and has not been given time to spread to other teeth or the nerve of the tooth (that would mean a root canal.) Depending on the size and location of your cavity, your dentist will give you options about what type of filling material you would prefer. Most people choose tooth colored composite fillings. Composite fillings require less tooth preparation making them smaller than traditional metal fillings. They also blend in with your natural tooth enamel.

Your dentist will use local anesthetic in the area of the tooth that is to be treated. Laughing gas can also be used to help you relax during the entire appointment. After the area has been anesthetized, the decayed enamel is removed and the tooth is conditioned for the filling. The filling material is placed and shaped appropriately, using a curing light to harden tooth colored filling materials. Your appointment will typically last no longer than one hour, but you may need to wait 2-3 hours before eating to allow your anesthetic to wear off.

Fillings help protect the tooth from more decay, fracturing and restore the beauty of your smile. Treating cavities as early as possible is always best.

Posted on behalf of Park South Dentistry




What You Can Expect From A Filling

Posted in Fillings

Fillings are almost a rite of passage. Most adults in this country have had at least one of two, most of them were usually due to a cavity that they had as a youth. Although filling materials have changed, techniques improved, and dental care has become more comfortable, there are some things that you can always expect from a filling.

  • Fillings are not permanent. Fillings are long-term restorations that help maintain the function and health of a tooth, but they do not miraculously become new tooth enamel. If not properly cared for through a balanced diet and oral hygiene, recurrent decay can develop around your existing filling.
  • Over time, even healthy fillings will begin to wear out. This can be seen by your dentist and is known as “leaking” around the filling. The bond between the filling and your tooth can open up and allow bacteria or saliva between the old restoration and the tooth enamel. If this happens, the filling will need to be replaced in a timely manner to prevent your tooth from becoming fractured.
  • Fillings can’t do what a crown can. If you have a very large cavity or fractured tooth, then fillings are not acceptable methods of treatment to restore the tooth. This would create abnormal weight distribution on your remaining healthy enamel, causing the tooth to split or fracture off, leaving you with nothing left to restore. Placing a crown over the tooth can preserve it for several more years.
  • If left untreated, a small filling can turn into a large filling very fast. Cavities are best treated as early as possible, keeping tooth preparation minimal, more comfortable, and less expensive.

Removal of Silver Fillings

Posted in Fillings

Most people that have older fillings in their mouth most likely have amalgam, otherwise known as silver or metal fillings. Amalgam fillings have been used for decades as the go-to restorative material of choice, but advancement in dental materials over the past several years have changed that. Modern tooth-colored composite fillings require less tooth preparation, are less invasive, and appear much more natural in the mouth. Silver fillings patched the decayed area of the tooth, where resin fillings actually bond directly to it.

Over time, silver fillings simply wear out and begin to leak. This weakens the tooth and allows stain from the silver material to enter into the tooth enamel, discoloring the tooth. Some patients are also concerned with having silver fillings in their mouth as they do contain a small amount of mercury in their formulation. Placement and removal of metal fillings must be done very carefully to prevent exposure to these materials. Specialized trap and filtration systems allow your dentist to remove the filling and isolate the material so that it can be disposed of without harming the environment.

Silver fillings can be removed and replaced with tooth colored resin fillings. However, if the filling is extremely large it may require a crown to be put over the tooth to maintain it’s stability. The new resin filling or crown is carefully matched to the shade of your existing teeth so that the tooth appears as natural as possible, blending in with the rest of your smile. Choosing to remove your silver fillings and have them replaced can allow you to laugh and talk without feeling self-conscious about the appearance of dark fillings.

Posted on behalf of Dan Myers



Composite Tooth Colored Fillings

Posted in Fillings

If you have recently been told by your dentist that you need a filling for a cavity, you may be wondering if there was a way to make the filling ‘match’ your other teeth, instead of being a metal color.

In fact, there are tooth colored fillings called composite fillings.  A composite filling is designed to be used on small to medium sized cavities and fillings. While this type of cavity and filling takes longer to perform, the result is a match to your surrounding teeth coloring so that no one will ever know that you had a cavity there.

Composite fillings are made from a combination of plastic, resin, and other materials to make a smooth surface that matches with your surrounding teeth.  Composite fillings can be used in either front or back teeth, and can withstand moderate chewing pressure.  They have been shown to have a good lifespan and have a good resistance and lifespan.

The reason it takes longer to place a composite filling is because your tooth must be kept dry during the process.  You may see the assistant frequently suctioning your mouth, or blowing bits of air on your tooth.  This is to help the filling adhere better.

Composite fillings are actually placed by bonding the filling to the tooth. This is different than traditional metal fillings that are drilled into place. One of the advantages to composite fillings and bonding is that a smaller amount of tooth surface is actually drilled away, leaving your natural tooth more intact after the procedure.

If you are concerned about the appearance of a filling, and would like to have your teeth look as ‘natural’ as possible, talk to your dentist about the use of composite fillings.

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