Until recently silver amalgam were the material most often used to restore decayed portions of your teeth, especially back teeth. Unfortunately, silver fillings can really darken a smile, and amalgam, by its very nature, can cause damage to your tooth in the long run.
Amalgam fillings absorb moisture and expand and contract with heat and cold. So as the filling ages, it can fracture your tooth; we'll then need to place a crown on your tooth to save it. Also, silver often undergo metal fatigue, corroding and leaking over time. This destroys the protective seal of the filling and allows new decay to develop underneath it. This leakage can give a gray appearance to the entire tooth.
NEW TOOTH-COLORED OPTIONS
Dental research has resulted in the development of new tooth-colored materials that are not only durable and long lasting, but attractive as well. These materials, porcelain and composite resin, provide an attractive, natural look while at the same time restoring strength and durability to your tooth.
Both porcelain and composure resin are bonded directly to the tooth, restoring it to near its original strength and function. Both can be custom-colored to precisely match your teeth, so when porcelain or resin fillings are placed, they're extremely natural looking. This can really make a difference in your appearance, especially if the restoration is visible when you smile.
MORE ADVANTAGES OF WHITE RESTORATIONS
When we place an amalgam filling, we have to remove extra healthy tooth structure, just so the filling will stay in place. When we restore your tooth with composite resin, we only need to remove the decayed portion, because the bond anchors the material tightly in place. This means you retain more healthy tooth structure. Also because white fillings are bonded to tour tooth, they add strength to the tooth.
So if you're looking for an attractive and effective option for restoring one or more decayed teeth, be sure to ask us about the latest choices in white restorative materials.
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Until Recently, our only option when taking a dental X-ray was the exposure of a small film packet, which then took between five and ten minutes to develop. Now, the digital era has brought us an exciting new technology called digital radiography.
THE ADVANTAGE OF DIGITAL RADIOGRAPHY
Digital radiography has many advantages over traditional dental X-rays:
- We can view images instantly.
- There's up to 90 percent less radiation.
- We can enhance images in a variety of ways to improve viewing.
- Images can be stored electronically for instant retrieval in the future, if needed
- We avoid the chemicals used in the traditional developing process
HOW DIGITAL RADIOGRAPHY WORKS
With digital radiography, we use a small sensor connected directly to a computer instead of a film packet. Taking X-rays is faster because the sensor is merely moved from tooth to tooth; we don't need to reload a film positioner for each image. Its also faster because the X-rays are available immediately on the computer monitor. Because the digital X-ray exposure is shorter than taking conventional X-rays, the amount of X-ray radiation is reduced by up to 90 percent.
Digital X-rays, allow us to see details and make adjustments that are a tremendous help in our diagnosis. We can also save images in our computer system for instant retrieval at a later date.
Digital radiography is an advanced technology that speeds treatment and helps us make the most accurate and efficient diagnosis of your dental condition
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The American Cancer Society estimates that oral cancer strikes tens of thousands of Americans each year. Only about 56 percent of those diagnosed with oral cancer will survive more than five years.
The reason these statistics are so grim is that oral cancer is often detected in its later stages. But when it's detected early, before the disease spreads to destroy healthy tissue, the chances of survival are greatly improved
HOW DO WE DETECT ORAL CANCER?
Because early detection is vital to surviving oral cancer, we will perform a thorough oral cancer screening each time we see you in our office for an exam.
We'll feel for lumps or abnormal tissue changes on your neck and inside your mouth. We'll also thoroughly examine the soft tissue in your mouth, especially the most frequent oral cancer sites: your tongue, the floor of your mouth, your soft palate, your lips, and your gums.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Come see us at least twice a year for your regular checkups, and let us know if you notice any of these warning signs: a sore that does not heal or the bleeds easily; a red, white, or otherwise discolored patch or lump in or around your mouth; an area that seems to have thickened, raised, or become hardened; a rough patch of tissue; difficulty chewing or swallowing; or a chronic sore throat or hoarseness.
Its vital that you not ignore a mouth sore just because it doesn't hurt. Most pre cancerous and cancerous lesions are completely painless.
You can also minimize your chances of developing oral cancer by making some lifestyle changes. Don't smoke or use chewing tobacco, avoid excessive alcohol usage, and make sure you're eating plenty of fruits and vegetables each day.
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The diagnosis of periodontal disease and cavities, along with the evaluation of your bite, are important parts of a dental examination. We want you to understand how we diagnose oral health condition so we can work together to maintain and improve your oral health.
HOW DO WE DIAGNOSE PERIODONTAL DISEASE?
Since you may have no symptoms with periodontal disease, we perform a thorough examination with a periodontal probe and x-rays.
With periodontal disease, the bone level falls, and the gums pull away from the tooth, forming a pocket. We use a probe to take measurements from the bottom of the picket where it's attached to the tooth, to the top of the gums. A probe reading of more than 3 millimeters is a sign of periodontal disease. Bleeding, which sometimes happens when we measure your gums, is also a sign of infection.
Healthy gums fit tight against the teeth. There aren't any pockets, and they don't bleed.
In early and moderate periodontal disease, the gums are red and swollen with infection, especially the gums between the teeth. This is where periodontal disease usually starts.
X-rays tell us a lot about periodontal disease. In a healthy mouth, the bone comes up high around the necks of the teeth, and its even throughout the mouth. In advance periodontal disease, the bone level is much lower and the bone levels are uneven.
X-rays also show us tartar on the teeth. Finding tartar, which is hardened and mineralized plaque, is important because periodontal disease is caused by the accumulation of plaque.
HOW DO WE DIAGNOSE CAVITIES?
Like periodontal disease, cavities are caused by plaque. The bacteria in plaque produce acid, which destroys the enamel of your teeth and causes cavities.
Fighting cavities is sometimes easy, but sometimes it's not. For hard-to-find cavities, we use a dental explorer and x-rays.
We check the top and sides of your teeth with a dental explorer. To look for cavities between teeth, we use x-rays. Metal fillings and crowns show up as bright white, and cavities show up as dark spots.
It's far better to catch and restore cavities while they're still small and in the enamel layer of the tooth. Once they're in the softer dentin layer, they can grow quickly. If decay makes it to the pulp chamber, infection can grow inside the tooth and may lead to the need for root canal therapy.
HOW DO WE DIAGNOSE BITE PROBLEMS?
During your checkup, we'll also inspect your bite. A healthy bite allows all of your teeth to hit simultaneously and evenly when your jaw joint is seated into its proper position at the base of your skull. In this position, your chewing muscles are also contracting evenly
Bite problems can cause difficulties with your jaw joint, the TMJ. They can also cause bruxism, which is tooth grinding and clenching, and abfraction, which is the loss of tooth structure that forms notching near the gumline.
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