Underneath those good looks, a tooth-colored filling is very tough.
The Strong, Virtually Invisible Way to Repair a Tooth
If you need a filling for a tooth that is decayed, broken or worn—or it’s time to replace an unattractive metal filling—a tooth-colored filling is an excellent choice. Sometimes called a white or natural filling, it will match your natural teeth so well, it’s hard to see the difference. Made of a special resin that chemically bonds to your tooth to keep it strong, a tooth-colored filling doesn’t conduct heat or cold or darken the way a metal filling can. No wonder tooth-colored fillings are the most widely used fillings today.
Our experienced dentists, using state-of-the-art technology, will speed the process and keep discomfort to a minimum. Once the decay or damage is cleared away, the filling material is put in place, carefully shaped to resemble your natural tooth, and then cured with a special light. Finally, your new filling is smoothed and polished. It will feel so real you’ll soon forget it’s there.
We offer a number of payment options. We also work with nearly all insurance plans and offer a dental discount program for patients without insurance.
How do you handle a chipped or fractured tooth?
There are different types of tooth fractures. Chipped teeth are minor fractures. Moderate fractures include damage to the enamel, tissue, and/or pulp. Severe fractures usually mean that a tooth has been traumatized to the point that it cannot be recovered.
If you fracture a tooth, rinse your mouth with warm water and use an ice pack or cold compress to reduce swelling. Take ibuprofen, not aspirin, for pain. Your dentist can smooth out minor fractures with a sandpaper disc. Alternatively, restorative procedures may be needed to fix the tooth. If you wear dentures and a tooth breaks or chips, wear your spare dentures until you can visit your dentist. If you do not have a spare set or cannot get to the dentist’s office soon, use cyanoacrylate (heavy-duty, quick-drying “super” glue) to glue the tooth or the piece of the tooth back into place. Remember—this is only a temporary measure until your dentist can properly repair your tooth and should only be used for dentures! Never attempt to glue a natural tooth or part of a natural tooth back into place!
Why is it important to fix baby teeth that have decay?
It is very important to maintain baby teeth because these teeth hold space for the future eruption of permanent teeth. If a baby tooth decays or is removed too early, the space necessary for the permanent tooth is lost and can only be regained through orthodontic treatment. Infected baby teeth also can cause permanent teeth to develop improperly, resulting in permanent enamel defects and weaker teeth.
What is tooth decay and what causes it?
Tooth decay, also known as caries or cavities, is an oral disease that affects many people. Unlike other diseases, however, caries is not life-threatening and is highly preventable, though it affects most people to some degree during their lifetime.
Natural bacteria live in your mouth and form plaque. The plaque interacts with deposits left on your teeth from sugary and starchy foods and produces acids. These acids damage tooth enamel over time by dissolving, or demineralizing enamel, which weakens the teeth and leads to tooth decay.
Foods containing carbohydrates (starches and sugars), such as soda pop, candy, ice cream, milk, and cake, and even some fruits, vegetables, and juices, may contribute to tooth decay.
How to improve your oral health
Many people ring in a new year by making health-related resolutions to improve their lives, but how many of those lifestyle changes are kept past January? The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), a professional association of more than 35,000 general dentists dedicated to staying up to date in the profession through continuing education, has compiled some easy-to-keep oral health tips that consumers can work into their everyday routines and continue to perform throughout the year.
“Oral health means more than just an attractive smile,” says AGD spokesperson Raymond Martin, DDS, MAGD. “Poor oral health and untreated oral diseases and conditions can have a significant impact on quality of life. And, in many cases, the condition of the mouth mirrors the condition of the body as a whole.”
- Floss every day. It’s the single most important factor in preventing gum disease, which affects more than 50 percent of adults. Spend two to three minutes flossing at least once a day. Not flossing because it irritates your gums? The more often you floss, the tougher your gums will become.
- Brush your teeth for at least two to three minutes twice daily. If you’re not sure whether you’re brushing long enough, simply brush for the length of an entire song on the radio.
- Change your toothbrush or toothbrush head (if you’re using an electric toothbrush) before the bristles become splayed and frayed, or every three to four months. Not only are old toothbrushes ineffective, they may harbor harmful bacteria that can cause infections, such as gingivitis and gum disease.
- Drink sugary beverages through a straw. This will minimize the amount of time that the sugars are in contact with your teeth, which can minimize the risk of developing cavities.
- Replace carbonated beverages, which cause enamel erosion and cavities, with water, milk, tea, or coffee.
- Chew sugarless gum that contains xylitol after meals and snacks. This will help cleanse your mouth and prevent the bacteria associated with cavities from attaching to your teeth. Even better, gum will increase your saliva production and reduce bad breath!
- Wait one hour to brush your teeth after consuming highly acidic food or drinks, like wine, coffee, citrus fruits, and soft drinks. Otherwise, you run the risk of wearing away the enamel on your teeth.
“One last reminder to patients is that they should make an appointment to see their general dentist every six months,” adds Dr. Martin. “More than 90 percent of all systemic diseases have oral manifestations, meaning that your dentist could be the first health care provider to diagnose a health problem.”
What is plaque?
Plaque is a sticky layer of material containing bacteria that accumulates on teeth, including where toothbrushes can’t reach. Many of the foods you eat cause the bacteria in your mouth to produce acids. Sugary foods are obvious sources of plaque, but there are others that you might not realize can cause harm. Starches—such as bread, crackers, and cereal—also cause acids to form. Plaque also produces substances that irritate the gums, making them red, sensitive, and susceptible to bleeding. This can lead to gum disease, in which gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets that fill with bacteria and pus. If the gums are not treated, the bone around the teeth can be destroyed and teeth may become loose or have to be removed.
Hygiene tips for a stellar smile
- Brush with the radio on – dentists recommend brushing for the entire length of a song.
- Use fluoridated, antimicrobial toothpastes and mouth rinses. They help to make the tooth structure resistant to decay.
- Keep oral hygiene products at work. Studies show that the chance of a person using them during the day will increase 65 percent.
- Talk to your dentist about new products you’re using, as all products are not suited for all people.
- Skip the caffeine. Avoiding caffeine before a dental appointment can make you less anxious.
- Communicate. Use hand signals to inform the dentist that you are uncomfortable, and talk to your dentist about your specific fears.
What can I do about sensitive teeth?
Tooth sensitivity can be reduced by using a desensitizing toothpaste; having your dentist apply sealants and other desensitizing and filling materials, including fluoride; and decreasing the intake of acid-containing foods. Using tartar-control toothpaste will sometimes cause teeth to be sensitive as well as drinking soft drinks throughout the day, so these habits should be avoided.
Avoid using hard-bristled toothbrushes and brushing your teeth too hard, which can wear down the tooth’s surface and expose sensitive spots. The way to find out if you’re brushing your teeth too hard is to take a good look at your toothbrush. If the bristles are pointing in multiple directions, you’re brushing too hard.
What is a dental amalgam?
When your dentist determines that you have a cavity in a tooth, he or she will tell you that you need a filling. But what exactly will your dentist use to fill the hole after the decay has been removed? Dental amalgam is the most widely used and researched material for fillings. It has been used to restore the teeth of more than 100 million Americans over the past 150 years.
Dental amalgam is a mix of metal (also known as an alloy) that is made by combining mercury, silver, tin, copper, and sometimes other metallic elements.
Is mercury in dental amalgam safe?
Although dental amalgam continues to be a safe, commonly used restorative material, there have been some concerns because it contains mercury. However, because the mercury in amalgam is combined with other metals, it is safe for use in filling teeth. Major U.S. and international scientific and health organizations, including the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the World Health Organization, are satisfied that dental amalgam is a safe, reliable, and effective restorative material.
If you are concerned about amalgam, talk to your dentist. Dentists can use other materials to fill a tooth, such as composite resin, porcelain, and gold. Your dentist will advise you about the most practical, safest option for your situation.