by admin on October 24, 2012

When you have a cavity in a tooth, the most common treatment option is a filling. Fillings are also placed on teeth that have been damaged in other ways including those that have been worn down due to nail biting or grinding, or those that have been chipped.

Your dentist will evaluate your need for a filling. Once it’s determined that a filling is the best treatment option, the dentist will discuss with you the various filling options that make sense for the damaged tooth. A number of filling options are available, and their differences center on the types of material used for each. Some are made with combinations of metals that can withstand a lot of chewing action. Others aren’t as strong and are good choices for small-sized cavities or cavities that appear in between teeth.

The most common type of dental filling and the type that’s been in use the longest is the amalgam filling. Its combination of metal elements including tin, silver, mercury, copper and others creates a dental amalgam that’s inexpensive to produce, extremely durable and easy to work with. It’s usually the perfect choice for filling cavities in molars because its silver color is not very noticeable and because it can withstand much chewing.

A composite filling is the color of a tooth therefore, it’s less noticeable. Made by mixing quartz or glass filler into a resin medium, this filling is perfect for smaller cavities and those cavities located in frontal teeth. The material is less durable than an amalgam filling, but it can withstand moderate chewing. Composite fillings cost more and they can be bonded onto the tooth.

An ionomer filling is a good choice when a cavity is located on a root surface. Made with glass powders and acrylic acids, the end result is a translucent filling that can also release fluoride.

What we dread most about the filling procedure is a toss-up between the shot of local anesthesia and the high-pitched telltale whine of the drill that is used to clean out and shape the cavity. Both can make a person shrink with fear and unfortunately, both are necessary. The various types of fillings each require a unique preparation process including use of different tools. When the filling is in place and properly affixed to the affected tooth, the final step is to polish the material.

It’s common to feel sensitivity in the area of the filling for a week or two after the procedure. Temperature, pressure, sweets and air can all cause the area to feel sensitive and avoiding these can be challenging, but try. If these feelings don’t go away, you should make another appointment with your dentist. If you can, pay attention to the discomfort you’re experiencing so you can accurately describe it to the dentist. The description will help the dentist decide how to proceed.

Most fillings will need to be replaced at some point because they will either fall out, or weaken, or discolor or crack. When one is ready to be replaced, talk with the dentist to learn the best option for replacing that filling.

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Root Canal Treatments

by admin on August 23, 2012

When tooth decay progress deep inside the innermost layer of a tooth, the pulp can become infected. Sometimes the infection becomes so severe that an abscess forms. Other times infection doesn’t happen, but still the pulp becomes inflamed. Decay isn’t the only reason that pulp can become inflamed or infected. It can also result from a serious mouth injury or trauma. Regardless of the cause, the only way to remedy the situation, and save the tooth, is by undergoing a dental treatment called a root canal.

If a root canal is needed but not performed, it’s likely that the infection, if there is one, will spread. An even more significant consequence is that the tooth might have to be extracted. Some people decide to skip this dental treatment, thinking that a tooth that has undergone a root canal will ultimately have to be extracted anyway. But this isn’t true. It may be weaker but it will function again, either because it’ll be covered with a crown or filled with a composite material. If cared for properly, the procedure can result in lifelong success. Therefore, it’s always better to undergo the root canal procedure. No matter how much a root canal costs, it will be less expensive than a dental implant or bridge.

A root canal is a major procedure involving several steps. The first step is the most important one – delivery of a local anesthesia. If determined necessary, the patient may be sedated. Once the patient is prepared, the dentist uses a special tool to cut through the crown. The cut that is made has to extend down to the pulp chamber. The dentist will take an x-ray to help measure the canals. The dentist will next clean out the affected pulp and the infection using a tool called an endodontic file. An antiseptic is also delivered to help with the infection.

After the dentist has completed the canal cleaning stage, the canal is filled with a substance called gutta-percha. This filling will be permanent and will help ensure that the canals do not become reinfected or contaminated again. With the canals clean and filled, work to repair the hole that was cut through the tooth begins. The hole is filled temporarily and that filling remains in place while a crown is created for the affected tooth. When the crown is ready, it is fitted, adjusted and then permanently attached to the tooth.

There will be some amount of pain after the procedure, but that should go away once the infection has cleared. Pain medication will help during this time.

Unfortunately, sometimes the infection is not completely removed during a root canal. When this happens it’s necessary to repeat the procedure. Other issues can also cause reinfection. Besides repeating the treatment steps, extra time and effort is needed because all of the restorative work must first be removed. This makes the procedure more expensive and time-consuming the second time around, but it must happen or the patient risks losing the tooth permanently.

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August 20, 2012

Gingivitis is a mild form of periodontal disease. Its presence is indicated by a redness and/or swelling of the gum area. Those who have gingivitis usually have gums that bleed easily, too. Gums generally bleed when slight pressure is applied such as after brushing or flossing. A change in the color of the gums is […]

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Fluoride and Your Teeth

August 16, 2012

Fluoride plays an important role in keeping teeth healthy by helping to prevent tooth decay. That’s why fluoride is added to many toothpastes and why fluoride treatment has become a routine part of dental cleanings. Fluoride is actually derived from fluorine, a prevalent element found within the Earth’s crust. Fortunately, most people get the fluoride […]

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Cleaning Your Teeth and Gums – Flossing

August 13, 2012

Brushing your teeth properly is an effective way of removing plaque, that sticky white substance that grows in between and along the bottom of teeth and along the gum line. But rarely will tooth brushing alone remove all plaque, no matter how good a job you do. To ensure you remove every bit of plaque […]

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Cleaning Your Teeth and Gums – Tooth Brushing

August 11, 2012

Removing plaque from your teeth and gums is what proper dental care is all about. Daily, you can handle this task on your own by brushing right and flossing. Twice a year, however, you should let a professional take a look inside your mouth. When it comes to brushing your teeth, you’re probably going through […]

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Nervous about goint to the Dentist?

August 10, 2012

Why is it that so many people become scared at the thought of going to the dentist? Some degree of fear is understandable, but when that fear turns into dread, a person might actually have a phobia. When people put off going to the dentist because they are so afraid of what may or may […]

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Everything You Need to Know About Cavities – Part II

July 30, 2012

Part I introduced you to the key players involved in tooth decay and touched on the importance of maintaining a neutral pH level inside the mouth. This next part will elaborate on pH balance, the different types of cavities and what you can do to prevent tooth decay. You’d never have to worry about tooth […]

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Everything You Need to Know About Cavities – Part I

July 30, 2012

The pain definitely tells us when we have cavities, but few of us understand why we get them. You likely know that poor dental hygiene causes cavities, but do you understand why not brushing or flossing causes cavities? In order to understand all that’s involved in the making of a cavity, you’ve got to first […]

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