Dental Tips Blog


Why do Fillings Wear Over Time?

Posted in Fillings

Dental fillings can treat diseased areas where tooth decay has been removed. Although fillings are not as strong as tooth enamel, they are very efficient at maintaining the health of the teeth and extending the tooth’s life by restoring the weak area. Otherwise, decay would expand and the tooth would become brittle and fracture.

Unfortunately, dental fillings are not a permanent restoration that is meant to last your entire life. It is very common for fillings to last several years or even as long as two decades, but they simply cannot last much longer than that. Over time the filling simply does not fuse or bond as well with the tooth enamel, allowing some wear or leakage around the margin of the filling. Sometimes the leaking areas can become sensitive and alert the patient to the problem. Other times it may not be noticeable at all. Routine preventive care visits with your dentist help monitor these sites and allow for intervention during the earliest signs that a filling is giving out.

As filling margins pull away from the teeth, the can be an area of leakage which allows bacteria or other debris to enter the area under the filling. Because these areas cannot be cleaned, recurrent cavities may form around the filling if they are not replaced in a timely manner. If delayed too long, the remaining tooth enamel may give way and fracture off during a meal when you are biting down on something. If too much tooth breaks away, the tooth will need to have a crown placed on it in order to keep the tooth healthy and functioning.

Your dentist wants to ensure that all of your fillings last as long as possible. Routine exams and x-rays help diagnose problems as earliest as possible, keeping treatment simple and more affordable.

Posted on the behalf of Crabapple Dental



Causes of Toothaches

Posted in Fillings

A toothache is described as throbbing or continuous pain that starts around a tooth, and often extends to the gum line and to the jaw.  Pain can be severe enough to keep someone up at night, and may be accompanied by a fever in cases of infection, or swelling in cases of an abscess.

There are many different things that may cause a toothache.  The number one cause of a tooth pain or a toothache is a cavity.  A cavity is tooth decay that has eroded part of the tooth, causing a tiny hole.  A visit to the dentist to clean out the decayed portion and restoring the toothe with a dental filling will make pain stop.

Other causes of tooth and gum pain include gum disease or gingivitis, a tooth abscess, an impacted tooth, cracked or chipped teeth, tooth root decay, or bone erosion.  Pain in the mouth and around the teeth is never a normal finding and should not be ignored.  If you are experiencing tooth pain, you should contact your dentist and be seen as soon as possible for a complete evaluation.

While waiting to be seen by your dentist, an over the counter pain reliever can be used to help with the pain.  Always follow the recommendations on the bottle to make sure you are not taking too much pain medication.  Some individuals may also have pain relief by using a hot or cold compress for a few minutes every hour.  Never place ice or a heating pad directly near the mouth, and always use a layer between the skin and the hot or cold source.


Study Finds Sports Drinks Are Bad For Your Teeth

Posted in Fillings

According to a recent study published in General Dentistry, add sports drinks to the list of things that are bad for you.  Sure, sports drinks are great for rehydrating and replacing carbohydrates and electrolytes after physical exercise, but it turns out that sports drinks and energy drinks are terrible for your teeth.

The authors of the study submerged tooth enamel in a variety of sport drinks and energy drinks for 15 minutes followed by submerging the tooth enamel for two hours in artificial saliva.  The process was repeated four times a day for five days.  At the end of just five days, there was noticeable damage to the tooth enamel.

The study concluded that the high level of acidity in sports and energy drinks can damage tooth enamel in just a few days leading to tooth sensitivity and tooth decay.  Energy drinks caused the most damage which was not surprising since the acidity of the energy drinks was higher than the sports drinks.

It has long been known that sugar and sugary drinks cause tooth decay, but it’s not the sugar that damages the tooth enamel.  Naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth break down the sugar and the process creates acids that eat away at the tooth enamel.  Sports drinks and energy drinks have high levels of acidity that attack the teeth directly.

The problem is most widespread among teenagers who consume sports and energy drinks to enhance performance and energy levels.  Sports and energy drinks are seen as healthier alternatives to soft drinks, which may explain the higher rate of cavities and dental fillings noted in children recently.  Dental experts recommend avoiding sports drinks as a way to limit damage to your teeth.  However, if you or your teenager are going to drink sports drinks, wash them down with a drink of water to help reduce the amount of acid that sits on the teeth.




You Have a Choice In Dental Fillings

Posted in Fillings

A dental cavity (also called dental caries) is a decayed area of a tooth caused by bacteria that produce acid which attacks the enamel of the tooth.  If you have a cavity, your dentist will repair the damaged tooth removing the decayed portion of the tooth and filling the area with a dental filling.  Fillings can also be used to repair a chipped, cracked or broken tooth.

You have several options for the material used for your dental fillings.  Gold fillings were popular years ago, but gold is less frequently used these days for filling cavities because there are much less expensive and more effective alternatives such as amalgam and composite materials.

Amalgam is a silver colored material made of various metals including silver, tin, and mercury.  Amalgam is a strong, long lasting filling material.  It can withstand chewing pressure and lasts 15 to 20 years or more.  It is also the least expensive material used for dental fillings.  Many people do not like the aesthetics of amalgam fillings and more tooth material must be removed to place an amalgam filling.  They are held in place through pressure and friction and do not add to the structural integrity of the tooth like composite fillings.

Composite fillings are made of synthetic resins and are tooth colored so they have much better aesthetics.  They usually do not require as much of the tooth to be removed and because they bond to the surface of the tooth, they add strength and support to the tooth.  They are not quite as strong or as durable as amalgam although they have greatly improved over the last 20 years.  Composite fillings may need to be replaced after about 10 years.

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