Blog

Flossing Teeth

Five Reasons Why Flossing is Fundamental

Flossing may have a bad reputation, but its benefits are numerous and its role in your oral health is key. Simply brushing your teeth leaves two sides completely untouched, but flossing allows you to reach those sides and keep plaque build up from happening in some of the hardest to reach places.

Flossing Keeps Plaque Out

Flossing is the best way to prevent plaque build-up from happening between your teeth. Plaque is a kind of residue created by bacteria in your mouth after they consume bits of food and drink that are left behind after you eat. It is a soft film that builds up on your teeth, that is home to many harmful bacteria. The plaque will eventually harden into tartar if left to sit on the teeth. Plaque can be removed by daily brushing and flossing but if it is left to harden into tartar it can only be removed by a dental professional, costing you time and money and a trip to the dentist’s office. The plaque is especially harmful as it is acidic and will eat away at the surface of your teeth, causing cavities to form. When left untreated for a long period of time, the cavities can worsen, resulting in major tooth pain and may even necessitate the tooth be removed!

Flossing Covers Where Your Toothbrush Can’t

Toothbrushes are fantastic at removing plaque from three of the five sides of your tooth, the front, back, and chewing surface. That leaves two surfaces that are yet to be cleaned – this is where floss comes in. Flossing should become a major part of your daily routine. Flossing often seems tedious and time-consuming, but with tools like a dental floss holder or even a dental pick, the process becomes incredibly easy. You no longer have to figure out how much dental floss or dental tape to use, just pick up and go! These tools allow you to simply begin flossing, going through your entire mouth start to finish without worrying about the floss slipping or how to get in weird angles.

Not flossing can cost you big time

If you leave the plaque hidden between your teeth it is only a matter of time before it sinks below the gums. Gingivitis is a form of gum disease that creates inflammation and redness in your gums right around the teeth. Gingivitis, thankfully, is easily prevented simply by maintaining good oral hygiene. Brush at least twice a day, and floss daily. This can help you prevent, and with your dentist‘s help, maybe even reverse gingivitis. When left untreated, gingivitis evolves into a more serious form of gum disease: periodontal disease. This disease is often referred to as gum disease. It causes the inner layer of the gums and bone to pull away from the teeth and form pockets. These small pockets can get small bits of food stuck in them, and become infected with bacteria. The bacteria and the toxins the bacteria produce can enter your bloodstream causing all kinds of havoc throughout your body. It can also destabilize the jaw bone and you can actually lose a tooth all because of not flossing! According to the ADA (American Dental Association), gingivitis and periodontal disease are the leading causes of tooth loss in adults. Flossing each day will not only save you your teeth but save you money too!

Flossing helps you look younger!

Gum disease and the associated bone loss and potential tooth loss associated with it, will change how your face is shaped and give you an older appearance. Keeping your teeth clean and healthy will give you a youthful smile and face shape. Floss at least once a day and you will not only look younger but you will be able to keep your smile for a long time. Flossing should be a fundamental part of your daily routine. The benefits of flossing once a day are well worth the few minutes it takes to clean your teeth. Flossing helps you fight against plaque build up and keeps your teeth and mouth healthy and happy. For more information or for tips on how to floss, speak with your dentist at your next visit and they will be happy to show you proper flossing and brushing technique.

Why choose a dental implant over a bridge?

The decision of what to do when looking to replace a tooth often comes down to wondering what the difference is between a bridge and an implant. Your dentist will be your best resource in determining a good option for you, but replacing the tooth is the best option for your long term oral health. Implants have a reputation of being costly, but they offer a decades-long solution to a missing tooth and are as close as you can get to getting your natural tooth back. Bridges are sometimes cheaper, but they often are a lower quality option.

As if it was never gone!

A dental implant replaces the missing tooth in both form and function. A small metal post is set into the jaw bone, and a crown, generally made of porcelain, is fitted on top of the post. The jaw bone will actually grow around the post, anchoring it securely in your jaw as a natural tooth. The porcelain crown is colored to match your natural tooth color and retains the same durability and strength as a natural tooth. Unlike bridges, there is no slippage or squeaks, and there is no risk of jaw decay, as the jaw bone grows around the implant. In order to be fit for a bridge, you actually have to lose a portion of the healthy teeth surrounding the gap. Then the bridge is fitted over the gap, which is simply covered up by the bridge. Bridges work for people whose jaw is not strong enough or thick enough to carry an implant, but a dental implant gives the best and most reliable option. The implant procedure is generally done over a few sessions, starting with a consultation. The jaw is prepared to accept the implant and may require a bone graft if the jaw is not strong enough or not thick enough. Then, the metal post is placed in the jaw. After the sometimes months-long healing process, the crown is placed and the implant is done!

An investment in your health

The process to get an implant can sometimes take months of healing, however, you get decades or a lifetime of use from the implant. Bridges often must be replaced as the teeth around the gap shift, causing gaps to form. With the implant, however, you retain your natural smile and never have to worry about it again. You aren’t just investing in your smile but in your ability to speak clearly and eat without undue trouble. The health of your mouth is demonstrative of the health of your body. The better you can keep your oral health, the healthier you are overall and the less susceptible you are to getting a number of mouth and gum diseases.

You keep your smile

A dental bridge can be a good option for some, but you do not fill the gap left and your remaining teeth will shift position over time. This can dramatically change your smile and even the appearance of your face. A dental implant prevents that from ever happening. The titanium post will root into the jaw, just like the roots of your natural teeth. This preserves your jaw bone and prevents any jaw loss or decay. Implants offer a great option for both replacing a missing tooth and keeping your natural smile. They allow you to keep your natural bite, and you can feel secure that you are able to live your life just like before when you had your natural tooth.
Dental Implant Patient

How a Dental Implant is Placed and Why You Want One

Choosing to get a dental implant is an important decision. Knowing how the procedure is generally done and what a typical treatment plan entails can help you to make the best decision you can. In brief, the treatment plan involves replacing the tooth roots with a metal post, typically aluminum, that resembles a screw. Attached to that are an abutment and a crown, and it functions essentially as a natural tooth. Dental implants are a great alternative to dentures or bridgework., which may slip or click. There are a number of factors that change how the surgery is performed. These factors include the type of implant that is going to be used, the condition of the jawbone and how much available bone tissue is present and how soft it is. Your doctor will work with you to make a detailed treatment plan that covers all the specific in’s and out’s of your personalized treatment plan. A dental implant is an excellent option for patients that are missing one or more teeth, as well as having the needed amount of bone structure for the implant to be set in. Having healthy oral tissues is a must, as well as a willingness to commit to a potentially multi-month-long process of healing and recovery. However, a dental implant is a lifelong investment, as unlike conventional dentures and bridgework, they do not need to be replaced every five to ten years. There can be no slippage or clicking with a dental implant, as it fuses directly to the jawbone, just like a natural tooth root.

Preparing for the Surgery

The entire dental implant surgery process often requires more than one surgical procedures, so a thorough evaluation by your dentist is necessary and required to prepare for the process. This evaluation can include any of the following:
  • A comprehensive dental exam in which you get x-rays taken and models of your teeth and mouth are made.
  • A treatment plan in which all the factors going into your specific treatment is laid out and considered by your dentist.
  • Input from dental specialists to assess if a bone graft or other preparatory measures are needed.
Tell your dentist about all medications you are currently taking, including any over-the-counter drugs and supplements you take. Also, be certain that your dentist knows of any preexisting  medical conditions you may have, so they can account for them during the course of treatment. Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics before the surgery to prevent infection. During the surgery, you may have multiple options for anesthesia which can include options such as a local anesthesia, sedation, or general anesthesia. Be sure to discuss with your dentist which option you feel most comfortable with. Keep in mind that If you choose to go with general anesthesia, be sure to plan to have someone take you home after the surgery so you can spend the rest of the day resting.

How the Surgery is Performed

Typically, a dental implant surgery is an outpatient surgery performed in a few stages. The first step is to remove the damaged tooth or teeth if still present in the jaw. The patient’s jawbone is then made ready for the surgery. This may involve getting a bone graft if the patient’s jaw is too thin, or not hard enough. A bone graft may be necessary because the chewing exerts powerful forces on your jaw and mouth, and if your jaw cannot support the implant, it will very likely fail. A bone graft, generally taken from another part of the body, may require additional months recovery as they wait to have it heal. The next step is to place the metal post of the implant into the jaw. This requires an additional visit if you needed to get a bone graft. Following this is a healing period that may take many months. It is because of this healing period that dental implants are only recommended for patients in good health. The healing process is for the jaw to grow around the implant to secure it into place, just like a natural tooth root is secure in your jaw bone. The length of this process varies depending on the patient. Next, the oral surgeon will place what is called an abutment. An abutment is the part of the implant which allows the crown of your new tooth to be attached to the implant. In some cases, if the jaw is strong enough and the implant is very stable the abutment can be attached at the same time as the implant is placed. Finally, after the soft tissue heals the creation of the new tooth begin after molds of your jaw and teeth are taken. Once the crown is ready, it is placed and now have a brand new tooth! The process takes many months, most of which are devoted to recovery and healing. It is very common to experience significant swelling and discomfort in the area of the surgery. Symptoms can include swelling of the face and of the gum tissue, bruising of the same areas, pain at the implant site, and minor bleeding. Your dentist may prescribe you pain medication to help manage your pain. If the swelling worsens or there is any other problem after the surgery contact your oral surgeon. You may also have to stick with soft foods for a while as your jaw recovers, but the investment is worth it. You now have a new tooth, that can relieve you of all the hassle that comes with dentures and bridgework.

Why Do I Want an Implant?

An implant is not like a denture or bridgework. It is a replacement tooth. While the surgery may be involved, the return means a lifetime of use. It will look and function exactly as a natural tooth does, and won’t require special cleaning or often for you to remove it as some denture types require. Practicing good dental hygiene means that your implant will last many decades. Refrain from smoking, which is especially damaging to the mouth, and practice excellent oral hygiene. Use a soft-bristled brush and brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. Avoid damaging your teeth by not chewing on hard materials, like ice or hard candy. See your dentist at least twice a year for a checkup and your teeth will last a lifetime.
Dental Implant

What is the Real Cost of a Dental Implant?

Dental implants are the only second best to natural teeth. If you are missing one or more teeth, a dental implant can replace your tooth and preserve your jaw and face, returning your natural smile. Speak with your dentist to determine what treatment plan is best for you, but if you are in good health, have healthy oral tissues and are missing one or multiple teeth, dental implants are a great solution for you. Dental implants offer a permanent solution to missing teeth.   permanently to the jaw, protecting your existing teeth, preserving the existing tissue and stimulating more bone growth. They also do not require reducing the amount of healthy tooth on surrounding teeth like how bridgework requires. Despite the potential need for multiple office visits and the sometimes large upfront costs, a dental implant is the best solution to fully replacing one or more missing or lost teeth, as they last for a lifetime, unlike bridges or dentures which often need to be replaced every five to ten years. If your dentures keep slipping, if they click constantly, if they prevent you from speaking like how you used to, if you are embarrassed by having to remove them to clean them, if you are frustrated over having to deal with messy pastes and adhesives, if you are tired of not seeing your natural smile anymore, then consider dental implants. According to WebMd.com, dental implants come with a ninety-eight percent success rate. With proper care of your oral health, an implant can last your lifetime. Because a bridge or denture needs more replacements, it means more visits to the dentist’s office, more dealing with sometimes obstinate insurance, more money spent to upkeep your oral health, and ultimately more headaches and inconveniences. If you ignore a missing tooth for too long it can dramatically change the look of your face. A missing tooth can actually result in bone loss, which will severely impact your bite and can likely causing pain when chewing. It can also result in wearing down and damaging your other healthy teeth. A dental implant is so like a natural tooth that you may even forget it is there. Because it is anchored into the jaw, you won’t experience any slippage during eating or talking, and you’ll never have to remove dentures for cleaning or use adhesives to keep them in place. A dental implant is like having your missing tooth back.

What is the process like?

Understanding the process of what a typical placement of a dental implant looks like can help you make a decision if the process is right for you.
  • The first step is an assessment by your dentist to determine whether or not your jaw has enough bone structure to support the implant. If there is not enough available structure or if your jaw is too soft you may require a bone graft to be performed in order for the site to be strengthened and not fail when the implant is installed.
    • A bone graft is a procedure in which some bone tissue is taken from one part of the body and then grafted onto another part of the body. Commonly this area is the hip. This will strengthen the graft site and if this procedure is needed, it will require you spend some months recovering in order to allow for recovery as your jawbone to grow before the implant can be placed.
  • The next step is to install the actual implant itself. The implant is a screw-like metal rod, generally made from aluminum. The surgery is an outpatient surgery done with a type of anesthesia. There are a few forms to choose from, such as local, sedation or a general anesthesia. Each one has different recovery times, so be sure to have somebody to take you home so you can spend the day resting.
  • After a period of recovery, the abutment will be placed. The abutment is the part of the implant on which the crown will sit. Some cases the abutment can be placed at the same time as the implant.
  • Next, you will have to spend several months healing and recovering. In this recovery time, you are getting the bone to grow around the implant to secure in place. This is what gives an implant its longevity and its strength. After the months spent healing, you will have a mold taken of your jaw and mouth and a crown created.
  • Congratulations! You have a new tooth!

Let’s talk dollars

Authoritydental.org estimates that a single tooth implant can cost between $1,000 to $3,000, with the abutment and crown adding possibly $500 to $3000 dollars to the total cost of between $1,500 to $6,000 for the restoration of a tooth and the return of your smile. Keep in mind that this is the out-of-pocket price for the treatment plan without the help of implant insurance or dental plans and includes the cost of surgery, and all other associated costs, like consultation and anesthesia. What you actually pay in the end can be higher or lower depending on the exact circumstances and specifics of your treatment plan. While these costs seem high, you should still check with your dentist and your insurance to see what your actual expenses would be, which can significantly reduce the price of the procedure to more manageable levels. Keep in mind that this is a lifetime investment in your oral health, not just a cosmetic desicion. You use your mouth every day to speak with your loved ones, and to eat delicious food and drink. You’re not just paying for a new tooth, but a new ability to enjoy life. When it comes to your overall health, it begins with your mouth. Poor oral health can lead to a whole slew of disease and conditions, so making sure you maintain good oral health is key to living a long and happy life.
Dental Crowns

Dental Crowns: Zirconia vs PFM (Porcelain)

Sometimes it starts with an innocent bite of hard candy, or perhaps a mouth injury, or just plain old tooth decay, but it always seems to come down to one thing: needing a crown to protect the tooth. Many face this decision every day and must choose from a lot of options. When you need a dental crown, you often discover you have more options than you expected. Often the differences between the options can be quite confusing, or hard to understand. Today there are a number of options available for people looking for a crown. Gone are the days where you could choose between a metal crown and a low-durability porcelain one. You no longer have to sacrifice aesthetic and beauty considerations for durability and strength. If you’re like the average patient today, you want to preserve your natural smile, and traditional porcelains may be too expensive to consider. Zirconia dental crowns offer a cheaper alternative that looks great and lasts for a long time.

What is a PFM Dental Crown?

PFM dental crowns, which is short for porcelain-fused-to-metal, are a type of crown that has a metal base which covers the remainder of the tooth. Then there are added layers of porcelain which are attached to the metal base. PFM dental crowns often leave a metal ring at the bottom of the crown that is quite noticeable, even to lay people. This metal ring is can become exposed when the gums recede. Additionally, The porcelain used can degrade over time, which can give the tooth a dull color inconsistent with the other natural teeth. Aesthetics is a big thing to consider when getting a crown on your teeth. PFM crowns rarely fully deliver in aesthetics. They are generally used for when a crown needs to withstand a lot of pressure or tension that often comes with chewing. Porcelain-fused-to-metal restorations have been used for over 50 years. They have been proven to last a long time, but the porcelain covering may fail, causing the breakage of a large piece of ceramic from the metal substructure. The entire crown may need replacement if the break is too large. Many dentists trust PFM crowns due to their proven track record, however, zirconia-based crowns are becoming more and more popular among patients.

Why choose a Zirconia Dental Crown?

A zirconia crown is the best answer to the problems presented when getting a crown for your back teeth, which do the majority of the chewing. They offer incredible strength and delightfully beautiful aesthetic, often even at a fraction of the cost. Zirconia is a much more durable material than even the metals used in conventional PFM crowns. This eliminates the worry about the crown becoming worn out or breaking over time. There are also other health considerations: the alloys and metals that are present in PFM crowns may cause an allergic reaction in some patients. According to dentaleconomics.com, the metals in the alloys used by PFM crowns can “result in gum tissue that is purplish in appearance, and some patients experience irritation and/or gingival recession”. Zirconia, however, is an extremely safe alternative material, as zirconia works well with the natural chemistry present in your mouth. Tissue in the mouth doesn’t pull away from the zirconia crown, and the gums often appear healthy and pink. Teeth with a PFM crown look somewhat dull in appearance, unlike zirconia and other ceramics. PFM crowns often require more of the healthy tooth to be removed for the crown to have adhered, but because zirconia crowns are so strong, a thinner dental crown can be used. A thinner dental crown means less tooth removal.

What is Zirconia, and why is it better?

Zirconia is a type of ceramic that is very hard and very durable. It is made up of zirconium oxide, and a stabilizer that gives it its strength. It is the hardest known ceramic in the industry and is one of the newer and better ceramics being used. The process of getting a Zirconia crown generally takes only one visit, compared to the multiple visits other porcelains require. In the first visit, the dentist will take an impression of the tooth. Next, a ‘core’ made of zirconia is then milled while in a soft state. Then, it is hardened in a furnace where it shrinks in size and reaches its highest durability. Zirconia is among the most durable material available to dentists, and this means it will last a very long time and endure the stress of chewing easily without breaking or fracturing. Then, the core is often layered with a more natural looking tooth tissue-like porcelain before being cemented in place by the dentist. Finally, any adjustments needed can easily be adjusted by the dentist on the same day as the impressions were taken, with a final cementing taking place once the dentist is sure the fit is perfect for the patient. And, because most dental offices can scan, mill, and cement the implant all in-house, they often charge a lower price for a zirconia dental crown than for other types of porcelain that would take multiple days at a separate lab to process. Another great benefit of zirconia dental crowns is that it can all be done in one session. Zirconia does not allow as much light to pass through it as other porcelains do. However, it still makes a great option for back teeth. Most dentists tend to prefer to use alternate porcelains for front teeth. As more developments continue in the creation of quality zirconia, the overall aesthetic appearance will improve, and can quite possibly be making aesthetics a non-issue. Zirconia gives the benefit of a natural looking smile, with the great combination of a long-lasting material to help prevent further damage to the tooth.

How do I care for Zirconia dental crowns?

Zirconia dental crowns are cared for much like normal teeth. They requiring brushing at least twice a day, as well as flossing at least once a day. Use a toothpaste containing fluoride and a soft-bristle brush. Brush in short strokes, being sure to cover every tooth surface, the chewing surface, the front, and back. Also, brush your tongue to help prevent bad breath.
Dental Implants Illustration

Why choose a Dental Implant?

It is not uncommon for a patient to require a replacement for a missing tooth. Whether through an accident, or a tooth that had to be pulled, the average American will require at least one replacement tooth in their lifetime. That said, there are so many options to choose from when it comes to a good replacement for your teeth. With so many options, it can be quite confusing to decide which works best for you. Getting the tooth replaced can make the difference between restoring or even improving your natural smile to suffering from overcrowding, bone loss and a greater risk of tooth decay and gum disease. This article will cover some of the options you can consider when talking to your dentist.

What is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant is a small titanium post that is surgically placed into either jaw. A replacement tooth, generally made out of porcelain or zirconium, is affixed to the post. Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth, several missing teeth or even whole jaw dentures. The titania post functions a lot like a natural tooth’s root, anchoring the tooth in place and keeping your natural smile intact. Implants have a number of advantages over other kinds of replacement options. They are the most similar to your natural teeth, with no slippage, or chattering. The titanium post, which is body safe and has no negative effects on your mouth’s tissues, actually encourages the bone to grow around it. This means that there is no change to your jaw or face shape, like with other forms of replacements. There are generally three steps for treatment. First, the implant is placed in the jawbone. Some patients may experience some swelling and tenderness in the area affected, so your dentist may prescribe pain medication. A diet of soft foods is often recommended post-surgery. Second, the area must be left to heal on its own. This process takes time, but it means that your implant will last far longer than any alternative. The healing varies from person to person, and it is because of this process that it is recommended that only people in good health and have adequate bone to support the implant receive them. Finally, the custom-made replacement is made in a laboratory, and on another visit the dentist will fit the replacement on the implant posts. Because these custom replacements can take some time to make, you may receive a temporary replacement while you wait for the new one to be made. In the end, dental implants can last years, or even decades, and are the best option for replacing teeth. No adjacent teeth are damaged, and it helps prevent bone loss. There are a number of cheaper options that often don’t last as long, or are more uncomfortable than implants. Often these require replacements or to damage neighboring teeth. Let’s explore these other options.

Removable Dentures

A removable denture is a type of denture that can be easily taken out of the mouth, so it can be cleaned. There are two types of dentures: Partial ones only replace a small number of teeth, while full dentures can often replace a whole set of teeth. Dentures generally feature the replacement teeth attached to a plastic base, matching the color of the gums. This plastic often covers a metal framework that gives the denture its structure. The denture may also come with a metal clasp that is used to affix the denture to the teeth. Many dentures may feel tight or awkward at first, but over time and use, most patients get used to them. Keep in mind that many dentures must be work all day and be removed only for cleaning. Also, be careful of biting down on an uncomfortable denture or trying to force a denture into place. Additionally, your mouth and jaw will naturally change and shift as you age, causing your dentures to no longer work as well as it first did. It is not uncommon to need to adjust, replace or fix it, requiring multiple visits to the dentist.

Resin-bonded Bridge

A resin-bonded bridge, or sometimes referred to as a Maryland Bridge, is used to replace missing front teeth, that don’t endure the strong forces associated with chewing that back teeth endure. This type of bridge has two wings on each side that attach to healthy teeth adjacent to the missing one. Unlike regular bridges, a  resin-bonded bridge does not require preparing the teeth by grinding down the healthy teeth.  Unfortunately, they often do not last as long as other bridges, or nearly as long as dental implants.

Fixed Bridges

Fixed bridges are a kind of restoration generally used when multiple teeth are missing. The fixed bridge is cemented into place. Once bonded, it can only be removed by a dentist. The bridge consists of two ends, or crowns, which cover the attachment teeth on either end of the bridge. Between the two crowns, is what is called a pontic, or bridge, that replaces the missing tooth. Placing a bridge can take multiple visits to the dentist. To begin, the dentist will need to prepare the teeth that will receive the crowns. These teeth generally have some part of them removed to allow for the attachment of the bridge. The dentist will then take an impression of your teeth and send it off to a lab where the bridge is made. The bridge is made out of metal, ceramics, and a glass-ceramic combination. You’ll receive a temporary bridge to cover the exposed teeth while you wait for the permanent one to be made. During the follow-up visits, the bridge is fitted, adjusted, and cemented into place. Fixed bridges affect the teeth next to the bridge and can cause them to become irritated. They also may require extra effort to clean under the pontic. The bone underneath the pontic may naturally recede, causing a change in your teeth and face structure.

Why should I get a composite filling instead of an amalgam filling?

When you need to get a cavity filled, your doctor may present you with a number of options. It can be confusing and intimidating to have to choose between the two or more different types of fillings that can be used. In this article we will discuss two of the most common types of fillings, a composite filling and an amalgam filling.

What is the difference between the two?

An amalgam is a kind of filling material that has been used for more than 150 years. It is a mixture of metals: liquid mercury, and a powdered allow composted of silver, tin, and copper. The mercury is used to bind together the other metals to form the amalgam. About fifty percent of the amalgam is mercury by weight. A composite filling is a resin made from plastic and glass. The resin is tooth-colored and is used to help restore small to medium sized cavities or decay in teeth. The fillings are able to withstand the pressure and constant stress of chewing. They can be used on the front or back teeth, and, for people who prefer their fillings to look more natural, they are an excellent choice.

How are the fillings applied?

For the amalgam, the dentist will mix the powdered alloy with the liquid mercury to form the amalgam putty, after the tooth has been drilled to remove any decay. The softened putty is then placed and shaped in the cavity to where it rapidly hardens to form a filling. A composite filling is placed after drilling the decayed part of the tooth, then thoroughly cleaning the tooth, before finally drying the area to be filled. The composite is then placed in successive layers and hardened using a special light. The process continues in this way until the cavity is filled. Finally, the composite is polished to help prevent staining and early wear. The composite will then bond with the remaining structure of the tooth. This helps to prevent further breaking, and to also insulate the teeth from excessive temperature changes. Because composites preserve your natural smile, they have a clear advantage over amalgam fillings. The process can often be done in a single visit. Your dentist can even match the shade of your natural tooth by blending the composites. If the patient fears excessive staining, then a  clear plastic coating can be applied. Composites do tend to wear out sooner in large cavities, but they hold up just as well in small cavities. The amalgam does offer a strong and long-lasting filling that is less likely to break, and is also the least expensive type of filling material. But, it does carry with it some risks: The elemental mercury present in over 50% of the amalgam filling may release low levels of mercury vapor that can be inhaled. Mercury can accumulate in the body, causing damage to the brain and kidneys. According to the FDA website: “High levels of mercury vapor exposure are associated with adverse effects in the brain and the kidneys”. Dental amalgam fillings are generally considered safe for adults and children older than 6, as the amount of mercury vapor accumulated is not enough to damage vital organs. There are some disadvantages to composite fillings. They tend to cost more and may not be covered by all insurances, so be sure to check with your provider. However, as composites improve, more insurance companies may  increase their coverage of composites.

What makes composite fillings a better choice

Your smile is your signature, and many people want to preserve the signature they were born with, or have spent hundreds of dollars on perfecting. Don’t let a single cavity undo all that work! Composite fillings offer two big advantages over amalgam fillings: you get to retain your natural smile, and they do not contain any elemental mercury. Composite fillings are a fantastic choice for keeping your smile looking natural and healthy. While the mercury present in amalgam fillings might not be harmful, you may still be allergic to any of the other metals present in the filling. Also, the effects of the mercury vapor on fetus development and children breastfeeding has not been adequately researched for there to be enough data to make an informed recommendation.

The secret best option

Even those of us who keep up with their regular oral hygiene routine may develop a cavity. That is why it is important to maintain a regular oral health routine to help ensure your teeth remain strong and healthy throughout your lifetime. Here are some of the best practices to maintain your oral health:
  • Brush twice a day, or more if eating sweet or sticky foods.
  • Brush with short, even strokes, being sure to reach every tooth surface. Don’t push hard when brushing, your teeth don’t need to be handled roughly.
  • Use a fluoridated toothpaste to help rebuild your tooth enamel. Check the label before purchasing a toothpaste to make sure that it is fluoridated. Fluoride helps rebuild the enamel of your teeth, repairing small cracks and decay!
  • Floss at least once a day to help remove plaque build up from between the teeth.
  • Avoid damaging foods, like sugary drinks, or hard candy.
  • Avoid habits that help destroy your teeth, like smoking.
  • Visit the dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups at least once every six months.
Follow these simple rules and you can be sure to preserve your smile for your entire life. Always be sure to consult your dentist when you are unsure about what steps to take to improve your oral health. Even if you have not taken care of your oral health in the past, each day you do adds up overtime. Oral health is a long-term project. When considering what type of filling to get from your dentist, consider the information presented in this article and talk with your dentist. They may have a recommendation that can make the decision making process easier.
Dental Fillings

Why Switch to White Composite Fillings?

If you currently have silver amalgam fillings and want to change the filling, you may wonder what a white composite filling offers. Whether it is because you dislike the metal color of the filling, and like many people prefer the natural color of your tooth, a white composite filling is a good choice as an alternative. They are tooth-colored and can be blended by your dentist to match the look of your tooth. In this article, we’ll look at the different types of fillings available and why you might consider going with a white, or composite filling instead.

What is a composite filling? What is an amalgam?

White fillings, also known as composite fillings, are made of a variety of materials, often either resin, with some being made from a ceramic or glass ionomer material. White composite fillings are becoming more and more popular as having a beautiful smile is the most important thing for many patients. White composites offer a better aesthetic and are less invasive than silver amalgam fillings. A silver amalgam filling is made up of an alloy of the metals mercury, silver, copper, tin and zinc which is used to fill cavities. These are often referred to as simply amalgam fillings. This kind of filling has been used by dentists for more than 100 years to fill and preserve decayed teeth. Silver amalgam fillings are very durable, typically lasting 10 to 15 years and they are strong enough to withstand chewing forces and pressures. They also can be less expensive than some other filling materials, but they do not match the tooth’s natural color, putting them at a substantial disadvantage. Silver amalgam fillings and white composite fillings each have different methods of application. Silver amalgam fillings require the dentist to create a mixture of liquid mercury and various other metals. The mixture is then applied to the tooth, where it quickly sets. White composite fillings are applied differently, in a series of layers alternatively hardened before the next layer is applied. A special high intensity light is used to “cure” or hardens the layer. After the layering process  the dentist will then shape and contour the composite material to the shape of your natural tooth before finally trimming and polishing the final restoration.

What is the process of getting a tooth filled?

A filling always begins with a cavity. A cavity is a hole in the tooth caused by the buildup of plaque on the tooth. After a dentist identifies the decay on the tooth, they will then often have to fill the cavity to prevent further decay, or repair a damaged tooth. To treat a cavity, the dentist will first remove the decayed portion of the tooth and then fill the cavity with a filling material. Doing this  will help to prevent the spread of more decay and restores the teeth so they can be used to do their job of chewing and breaking down edible materials. Fillings can also be used to repair cracked or broken teeth, or teeth that have been worn down through bad tooth habits, like nail biting or tooth grinding. The dentist will first apply a local anesthetic in order to numb the area around the tooth. Next, the dentist will use a tool, such as a drill, or air abrasion instrument, or even a laser, to remove the decayed area. The choice of tool depends on the dentist’s skill and training, as well as the location and extent of the cavity and the availability of the equipment. After the drilling, the dentist will check to see if all the decay was removed by probing the site. Satisfied there is no more remaining decay, the dentist will clean the space of germs and debris and then prepare it for filling. Finally, after the filling the dentist will finish and polish the tooth.

What are the benefits of a composite filling?

White composite fillings offer many advantages, the strongest being able to matching the natural color of your teeth. Most people have spent good money on making sure they have a healthy smile. Why would you ruin it with a silver amalgam filling, when you can preserve your smile with a white composite filling? White composite fillings also bond to your tooth structure, which helps to create a stronger support for the filling. They also are extremely versatile. They are used to repair worn, chipped, or broken teeth in addition to filling a cavity. They also spare healthy tooth structure, as less of the structure will need to be removed in order for the cavity to be drilled and set. While composite fillings may require a slightly longer visit, because of the setting process, they offer huge advantages. Some other white fillings also exist on the market, like the previously mentioned glass ionomer. A glass ionomer filling is made of acrylic and a specific type of glass. The glass ionomer will actually release fluoride, which helps protect the tooth from further decay. However, glass ionomer has a short durability, lasting five or fewer years, but newer methods are being developed to prolong their lifespan

Why should I not get a silver amalgam filling?

Silver amalgam fillings may be available at a low cost, but they come with some pretty hefty disadvantages. First, they are not aesthetically pleasing as many people prefer to have their natural tooth color preserve where possible. They also discolor the surrounding tooth structure, often creating a grayish hue. Silver amalgam fillings will also require more destruction of the tooth by the dentist, as healthy parts of the tooth may have to be removed in order for there to be enough room for the use of the amalgam. Silver amalgam fillings are made with elemental mercury, and therefore it carries with it some risk. The mercury used in the filing can decay and become a vapor, that when inhaled in high amounts, can lead to major damage to the brain and kidneys. However, the FDA has found no link between the silver amalgam fillings and health problems, and considers them safe for adults and children over 6. Additionally, for only a small percentage of people, the elemental mercury used in silver amalgam fillings may cause an allergic reaction. As for infants and fetuses, there simply isn’t enough data available for the FDA to make an accurate evaluation on the effect of silver amalgam fillings on their health. The FDA has recently made a statement saying “Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses” and “Pregnant women and persons who may have a health condition that makes them more sensitive to mercury exposure, including individuals with existing high levels of mercury bioburden, should not avoid seeking dental care, but should discuss options with their health practitioner.” When considering silver amalgam fillings, talk with your doctor to make sure that  you have considered all your options, and listen to their recommendation. Consider a white composite filling next time your doctor informs you that you need to have a filling to help preserve your wonderful smile.
Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic Dentistry Explained

Cosmetic dentistry, sometimes known as esthetic dentistry, is a type of dentistal practice that focuses on achieving positive results with the overall appearance of your teeth. A cosmetic dentist creates beautiful smiles, by helping patients maintain the function, health and appearance of their teeth over their lifetime. There are many different procedures of cosmetic dentistry, each with a specific focus on what they do. In this article we’ll explore some of those types and what they can do to improve the appearance of your teeth. Your cosmetic dentist will work with you to develop a treatment plan that works with your budget and is of an appropriate timeline. Speak with your cosmetic dentist at your next visit about what services they offer for improve the appearance of your teeth, or help restore damaged or missing teeth.

Types of Cosmetic Dentistry

Braces

Braces help a patient who has crooked teeth or a misaligned bite, like an overbite or underbite. There are a variety of treatments and types of braces and retainers which can help correct teeth alignment. It is also possible to need only a removable retainer to correct your smile. Braces help improve the look of your smile, and help keep your teeth aligned so you don’t have slippage or uneven tooth wear from chewing. Braces are also custom build for each patient. They work by applying continuous pressure to your teeth to slowly change them in a specific direction by changing the alignment of the teeth anchored into the bone. Most braces are made up of brackets that are bonded directly to the teeth with a dental adhesive. Brackets then hold arch wires that provide the tension to move the teeth. Brackets can be made from a variety of materials: stainless steel, tooth-colored ceramic or plastic which can help hide the appearance of the bracers. New “mini-braces” may be an option for you, as they are much smaller than traditional braces. Brackets can also be cemented to the back of the teeth to help hide them from view. Talk with your cosmetic dentist to see what option of bracers can help you get your perfect smile.

Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are used when to repair a tooth that has mild to moderate decay or when there is not enough tooth structure to support a filling. The difference between the two is whether or not there is damage to the tooth cusps. If there is no damage, then an inlay is placed directly onto the tooth surface and shaped around the remainder of the tooth. If there is damage to the cusp, then an onlay is used to cover the entire tooth. Inlays and onlays are generally made in a dental laboratory from a composite resin material, and attached with an adhesive dental cement. They are a great option for when you need to provide greater support to your teeth and restore their shape while avoiding further decay or deterioration.

Dental Veneers

Dental veneers are thin pieces of a strong material, made generally of medical-grade ceramic, that are applied directly to the front of the teeth by a cosmetic dentist using a strong adhesive. Each set of veneers are made specifically for each patient and are made to resemble your natural smile. They have the advantage of looking extremely realistic, and are a permanent way to get a great smile. Dental veneers can resolve a number of cosmetic issues, like crooked teeth with sizable gaps, or cracked or damaged teeth. But, because each veneer is custom made, they come with a significant cost that can range in the hundreds to thousands of dollars. Dental veneers are perfect for those who are looking for a perfect smile, or want to restore their smile to its natural beauty. When preparing the tooth for the veneers, about half a millimeter of enamel is removed from the outer surface of the tooth. Then a mold of your tooth is taken. The mold is then used to create your custom veneer. It may take a number of weeks for the veneers to be developed in a dental laboratory. Once made, the dentist can bond the veneers to your teeth. After they are bonded to your teeth, a follow up visit may be necessary to check to see how your gums respond to the placement of the veneers. Consider the type of material the veneer will be made out of, generally either resin or porcelain Porcelain veneers resist stains and reflect light better than resin. Talk with your cosmetic dentist to see which kind veneers are a good option for you, and how they can help you get the smile you’re looking for.

Teeth Whitening

After the teeth have been cleaned of plaque and tartar, teeth whitening can be done to help restore their natural appearance. Teeth can become discolored and worn from food and drink, or from medication or personal habits like smoking. Teeth whitening is one of the most basic and simplest of cosmetic dentistry procedures, you can even do it in your own home! You can request that the dentist apply a teeth whitener after your six month cleanings, and it will often be combined with a flouride paste that they apply. Or, you can use whitestrips, teeth whitening toothpaste, or washes to get the same effect at home. Generally, this is the cheapest way to get a better looking smile and works perfectly for people who just want to lighten up their smile.

Composite Bonding

Composite bonding refers to the repair of decayed, damaged, or discolored teeth with a substance that resembles the natural color of tooth enamel. Composite bonding is a great alternative to silver fillings, as they allow you to retain the original color of the tooth and repair the damage that might be present on the tooth. A cosmetic dentist will begin by removing the tooth decay before applying the composite to the tooth. Then they will sculpt it to the right shape before “curing” it with a high-intensity light. Each bonding session generally takes between thirty minutes to an hour, and can cost only a few hundred dollars Composite bonding, or simply “bonding”, is one of the least expensive cosmetic procedures for patients with damage or decayed teeth. It is a great alternative to consider if you need a filling, but don’t want a silver filling.
Family Brushing Teeth

What is Family Dentistry?

A busy family needs to have a dentist that works with their lives. Where a pediatric dentist specializes in child dental health, a family dentist provides dental care for all stages of life. This means your children can have the same dentist throughout their life, and you and your child’s dental needs can be met at the same office. A family dentist is a perfect fit for busy families that value being able to meet all the various needs of their family without having to go to multiple offices. In this article, we’ll explore what advantages a family dentist offers, and what to consider when looking for the right family dentist.

The Difference between Family Care and Traditional Care

Traditional care with a general dentist is one of the most common dental practices in America. General dentists can treat your whole family and can be your primary care dentist. They often have training in specialized areas, such as root canal therapy or orthodontics. But, a family dentist practice often has multiple specialists in house, offering a convenient all-in-one solution to your family’s dental needs. Whether you need new braces for your teen, or a pediatric dentist for your child, or an endodontist to treat root and pulp, family dentist practices offer all of these services in house. The all-in-one nature of a family dentist also means you can schedule appointments together, reducing the need to stagger appointments or to wait multiple days to get everyone seen. Each practice has their own method of scheduling, and it’s a good idea to ask when looking for a family dental group.

The Benefits of a Family Dentist

A family dentist offers a lot of the benefits of a general dentists, but with some differences. Family dentists accept patients of all ages, whereas a general dentist might have age restrictions. These restrictions could be in place because the dentist might not have extensive training in pediatric dentistry. Children’s teeth require specialists to ensure that they are well cared for and their permanent teeth come in healthy. A family dentist is able to provide your family with the care they need no matter their ages. It makes it much more convenient than having to schedule your own appointments at one dentists and then your child’s appointments at a pediatric dentist clear across town. Often times a family dental group will have many in-house specialists that will provide specialized services such as teeth whitening, crowns, dentures, and more. Having all your dental needs taken care of in the same place keeps the whole family more comfortable. Instead of having to switch dentists when your child starts to need braces, you can keep going to the same family dentist. Many children are afraid of going to the dentist, and keeping everything the same as they grow up can help make them feel comfortable and safe. A family dentist is also able to reduce the time you spend at the dentist office waiting for your whole family to be seen. With a number of in house specialists, the likelihood of everyone getting an appointment together goes way up!

How to Find a Family Dentist

The first thing most people research when finding a new dentist is their location. To be sure, having a dentist conveniently located is important, but there are other factors you should consider when looking for a good dentist. Consider what needs your family has while you look. If you have children, making sure the family dentist has a great pediatric dentistry practice is very important. You’ll also want to consider what services they will provide for your own dental care. Keep in mind any existing oral health issues, and be sure there is a specialist in house to provide care for those issues. It is also good to lay out some criteria for your search. Many people consider the education, price and atmosphere of the office. It is important to be sure the dentists are keeping abreast of the latest developments and have the specialized training that you will need. Today, most dental groups offer advanced procedures and technology to help care for your dental needs. For example, digital x-rays use less radiation and are safer than traditional x-rays. Generally, advanced technology used in the office is less invasive, making a better visit for patients and children that may be uneasy or frightened of going to the dentist. It is important to make sure there is a pediatric dentist on site to manage your children’s dental health. A pediatric dentist is the branch of dentistry that specializes in caring for children’s oral health from birth through adolescence. They can also serve as educational resources to help teach your children how to maintain good dental health throughout their lives. Like adults, visits should occur every six months after the presence of the first tooth, or by a child’s first birthday. It is also important to check with your insurance carrier and to research treatment plans ahead of time. If you expect to have to have a costly procedure done, be sure to ask about payment plans, or what insurance will cover when you visit the dentist. Many dental practices will advertise that they offer treatment for the whole family, but you will need to determine if they are a general practice or a family group. Just because they use “family” in their practice tile doesn’t mean they are a family dentist. Use the resources offered by the American Dental Association to help you in your search. These organizations can help you narrow your search by what specialists you would need, distance from your home, and things like insurance terms and more. Once you have a list of potential dental groups, schedule consultations to visit the office to see if it matches your needs. Is the office clean and does the atmosphere make you feel safe? Are the staff friendly and helpful? Do they offer all the services that you will need? These are all important questions to answer as you find your family their perfect family dentist.