Dental Tips Blog

Sep
12

Direct or Indirect Fillings – Which Is Better?

Posted in Fillings

The classic method for repairing cavities is to patch the hole in a tooth with a silver or white composite filling. An indirect filling, on the other hand, is when the restoration is made outside of the mouth and then placed into the “hole.”

Indirect fillings are often called “onlays” or “inlays.” They usually take more time to make than a traditional filling. The prepared tooth is scanned or molded to create a model and the finished restoration will be put in the tooth in a single piece.

Which method of restoring teeth is better?

When to Get a Direct Filling

A direct filling is usually the first line of defense against a cavity or chipped tooth.

As long as the damage is small, a direct filling may be all you need. These traditional restorations work well in teeth that still have a solid structure remaining.

What if that cavity in your tooth is too big for a filling?

Advantages of Indirect Fillings

If a traditional silver or composite restoration isn’t enough, the next step is usually a dental crown.

But you don’t have to cap your tooth entirely, thanks to indirect fillings. An onlay or inlay is something between a crown and a filling. It’s made very much like a crown, but it requires the alteration of far less natural tooth structure.

Indirect fillings are a great option for support and strength while not compromising the rest of a tooth.

So when it comes down to indirect filling versus direct filling, it’s all about what your tooth needs. Your dentist will help you determine which option is best for you when you head in for an exam.

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

Sep
5

Signs You May Need a Dental Filling

Posted in Fillings

Getting a filling isn’t exactly at the top of your list of favorite things.

But your tooth may need a filling sooner than you realize. Putting it off could leave you in severe pain or a painful dental bill, at the least.

Here are a few signs you need to see about getting your tooth filled before it needs a crown, root canal, or extraction.

Food and Temperature Sensitivity

If your tooth really zings in the presence of hot drinks, sticky sweets, or sour foods, then that’s a pretty sure sign you have an active cavity.

Dark Spots

A discolored spot that looks dark yellow, gray, brown, or even black could indicate decay. It is normal to have some stain that doesn’t contain a cavity, but if a spot is new or you’re in doubt, get it checked out.

Pain When Chewing

Do you find yourself favoring one side of your mouth over the other when you chew? If a tooth hurts when you chew on it, then that could mean it has a cavity or even a crack.

Rough Edges

Does floss catch and tear on the side of one particular tooth these days? Rough spots can sometimes be the sharp edges of a hole caused by decay.

Damaged or Missing Old Filling

If you already have a filling that’s suffered some wear and tear, it will likely need replacement. A damaged restoration can’t do its job and with time can allow cavity-causing bacteria to sneak into the tooth. The sooner you get the old filling replaced, the more minimal your treatment is likely to be.

Visit your local dentist if you notice any of these signs that you need a filling.

Posted on behalf of:
Crabapple Dental
12670 Crabapple Rd #110
Alpharetta, GA 30004
(678) 319-0123

Aug
20

Heard About SDF? Now Here’s the Truth

Silver diamine fluoride (abbreviated as “SDF”) has, for a little over the past year, been touted as a miracle cure for cavities.

But is it, though?

Benefits of Silver Diamine Fluoride

SDF has been approved by the FDA for use in treating extremely sensitive teeth. It’s also shown to have properties that stop bacteria in cavities, so some dentists use it off-label as an early treatment for tooth decay.

A Few Disclaimers

There are a few downsides/precautions to using SDF:

  • Although a clear fluid, SDF can stain clothes and skin
  • It takes at least two applications (a week apart) to get the anti-cavity effect
  • It tastes terrible (we’re just being honest!)
  • It will stain the decay black, not turn it white like the rest of tooth
  • Other teeth may get stained in the process
  • You can’t use SDF if you’re allergic to silver

SDF or a Filling?

At this point, not even SDF can completely replace the role that today’s fillings play.

If you have just a spot of decay, treating it a couple times with SDF may stop the infection from progressing. To restore lost tooth structure, however, you’d still have to get a dental filling.

Baby teeth should not be allowed to decay away, since cavities cause pain and even damage to adult teeth. But some children don’t handle major dental treatment very well. The same can be said of some elderly individuals with cavities on tooth roots.

SDF can make it easier to stop dangerous cavities in their tracks and prevent certain individuals from needing fillings.

To find out more about SDF and its dental applications in your area, contact your local family dentist.

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

Aug
2

Are There Risks of Getting Mercury Poisoning from a Dental Filling?

Posted in Fillings

Could something as simple as a dental filling cause mercury poisoning?

Here’s what you need to know.

What Is in Dental Fillings

Amalgam or silver fillings often contain some combination of these metals: silver, nickel, zinc, copper, tin, and mercury. Why the mercury?

Mercury helps mix the metals in a liquid form, allows the dentist to shape and pack the filling like a putty, and then it hardens everything into a lasting restoration.

Silver fillings are fast and cost-effective to make. But more of today’s restorations are made from mixes of resin and ceramic and don’t require any mercury. These fillings are tooth-colored and carry no risk of mercury poisoning, at all.

Is There Any Risk from Silver Fillings?

Having a metal filling in your mouth is not toxic. Even if you swallowed some of an amalgam filling it wouldn’t harm you. Inhaling mercury vapors is what causes trouble.

Very few vapors come off from an amalgam restoration. You are exposed to more mercury vapors from other environmental sources than from your dental work. Still, you may want to avoid silver fillings if you are already exposed to a lot of mercury, such as through your job.

Reduce Your Risk for Mercury Poisoning

Ongoing studies are investigating the risks of mercury-based metal fillings. But so far, the research shows no risk of poisoning.

If you have metal filling that’s in good shape, there’s no rush to replace it. Your dentist can remove an amalgam restoration if it’s broken, there is decay under it, or if you want a whiter smile.

Ask your dentist for a consultation to find out what your best restorative option is.

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

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

Dec
26

How Honey Affects Your Smile When Compared with Sugar

Honey is generally touted as the healthier option over table sugar. It contains less glucose, which our bodies quickly metabolize. Instead, it’s a more complex carbohydrate with multiple kinds of sugars in it. This makes it a little better for your blood sugar levels and your waistline.

But at the end of the day, sugar is… well, sugar.

What Sugar Does To Teeth

Cavity-causing bacteria feed on the carbohydrates you eat. In turn, they produce an acid waste that eats away tooth enamel, creating cavities. The simpler the carbs, the faster they digest them and turn them into acids. Not to mention, sugar in itself can be corrosive to teeth.

Whether the sugar comes in the form of honey or refined sugarcane crystals, it will take a toll on your teeth if it’s left there.

How Does Honey Play Into Dental Health?

Honey contains some naturally-occurring vitamins and anti-bacterial properties. It also has no need for preservatives. Honey seems to have some health benefits such as fighting infection and reducing inflammation.

Be warned, however. All the good stuff honey does is overshadowed by the fact that it can still cause your teeth to erode. You won’t get immediate benefits by slathering this sweet syrup on your teeth and gums overnight. That’s just a recipe for enamel wear, tooth decay, and more time in the dentist’s chair getting fillings, crowns, and other tooth restorations.

Choose honey over sugar if you like, but don’t use it so often as if it doesn’t matter. Brush well at least twice a day, floss at least once, and rinse your mouth with water after having any carb – honey or sugar. Schedule a visit with your local dentist to find out how your diet is affecting your smile.

Posted on behalf of:
Meridian Campus Family Dental
3201 Willamette DR NE
Lacey, WA 98516
(360) 200-5505

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

Sep
22

Are There Any Risks to Getting a Filling?

Posted in Fillings

Dental fillings have been at the heart of dentistry for ages.

Until recent years, dentistry was all about repairing damaged teeth. Nowadays, there’s more of a preventative focus which helps people avoid the need for restorative work, altogether.

But there’s still a good chance that you’ll need a few dental fillings in your lifetime.

If you face the possibility of having a tooth filled in the near future, you might be a little worried about the process.

Some of the risks of getting a dental filling include:

  • Sensitivity
  • Pain after the procedure
  • Retreatment
  • Complications with sedation

Sensitivity and Pain

The actual process of getting a filling shouldn’t hurt at all. Your dentist will give you an injection of local anesthesia to completely numb the treatment site.

After the numbing shot wears off, however, your tooth may be a tad achy and sensitive.

The good news is that this goes away on its own within a matter of a week or so.

Retreatment

Fillings rarely need to be redone once they’re in place. But they won’t last forever, either. While a tooth benefits from the protection of a filling, it’ll never be as strong as it originally was.

With time, all fillings need to be replaced. 

Sedation 

Most people don’t need dental sedation for a few little fillings. But if you do decide on sleep dentistry, just know that it has some inherent risks that filling procedures on their own do not.

A certified and well-trained dental team will make sure any sedation procedure you have is as safe as possible.

Find out more about the risks and benefits of dental fillings by scheduling an appointment with a dentist near you.

Posted on behalf of:
Dona W. Prince, DDS
4220 Sergeant Rd #100
Sioux City, IA 51106
(712) 274-2228

Aug
30

Why Is My Tooth So Sensitive After Getting a Filling?

Posted in Fillings

White resin tooth fillings are common today because they look nice and are kind to natural teeth. But if a filling is supposed to make your tooth feel better after getting a cavity, why is it so sensitive?

Your tooth houses a very secure and sterile environment. The inner chamber is filled with nerves and blood vessels. Wrapped around that are layers of dentin and enamel. Dentin has pores that allow the nerves in your tooth to pick up on temperature changes. Enamel is like insulation that keeps the sensation from being too strong.

When a cavity breaks through the protective enamel layer, it can open up your tooth to major sensitivity.

Fillings, in a way, do something similar. Your dentist has to drill away not just the decayed part of your tooth, but also a little more to help anchor the restoration.

Your tooth will have to adjust to the shock of having a large piece of itself replaced with a foreign material. For some time after you get your filling, your tooth may be unusually sensitive to things like:

  • Sugar
  • Cold temperatures
  • Air
  • Pressure

Give your tooth a week or so to see if it settles down. In response to the “leak,” your tooth’s dentin will build a thicker and more cushioned layer from the inside.

On occasion, persistent sensitivity can indicate a more serious problem. Your tooth simply may not respond well to the filling. Or, the restoration might have been insufficient, meaning you’d need a root canal or crown. Sensitivity could also indicate that your filling is too high and needs to be polished down a little more.

See your dentist if you feel the sensitivity means something’s wrong.

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

Jul
31

Are Sealants the Same Thing as Fillings?

Posted in Fillings

Have you ever had a sealant before? If not, it’s easy to see how it can be confused with a dental filling.

These treatments both look white and sit on top of a tooth. Sealants are usually cheaper, but their differences go far beyond cost alone.

Sealants: What They’re For

A sealant is a thin ribbon of resin that fills in deep grooves on the chewing surface of a tooth. Toothbrush bristles can’t always reach into those valleys, so sealing them off makes for an easier to clean surface.

Sealants are designed to prevent decay.

Fillings: The Reparative Treatment Phase

Whether tooth-colored or metal, all fillings do the same job of repairing a tooth once a cavity has already struck. You can’t slap a sealant over a filling because that would just trap the decay inside a tooth where it will keep growing.

Instead, you have to remove the damaged tooth material and replace it with a new structure.

Do You Need A Sealant Or A Filling?

It’s not as simple of a matter as walking into your dentist’s office and requesting a sealant. In fact, even your dentist can’t tell you what you need until he or she gets a good look inside your mouth.

Special tools, lasers, and x-rays all aid in diagnosing decay. If nothing harmful is discovered, your dentist will be happy to place as many preventive sealants as you need. But once a spot of decay breaks through the enamel, it’s too late – that tooth will need a filling.

While you’re at your dentist’s, find out more about other cavity-prevention strategies. Call today to schedule your visit.

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

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