Posts for: December, 2017
Tooth-colored fillings don't just restore teeth damaged by tooth decay but also provide several important advantages. Centralia, WA, dentists Drs. Steven Ash and Brian Roberts of Ash & Roberts, DDS explain how you benefit when you receive the fillings.
What are tooth-colored fillings?
Tooth-colored fillings blend in with the natural color of your teeth, making your fillings practically invisible. They're made of composite resin, a substance created by mixing durable plastic resin with powdered glass. Composite resin is available in a variety of shades to ensure that your dental work isn't noticeable.
What are the advantages of tooth-colored fillings?
Tooth-colored fillings not only look better but are also better for your teeth. When you have a cavity, some of the healthy tooth structure surrounding the decayed area must be removed in order to prepare the tooth for the filling. Although the filling process prevents decay from worsening and spreading, it also weakens your tooth slightly. Tooth-colored fillings only require the removal of a small amount of healthy tooth structure, unlike silver amalgam fillings. Removing the smallest amount of tooth structure possible is the key to strong teeth.
Composite resin doesn't just fill the hole in your tooth, but actually strengthens it. The material bonds to your tooth just seconds after it's applied in our Centralia office. Tooth-colored fillings also reduce the risk that your tooth will crack. Silver amalgam fillings constantly expand and contract when you eat or drink hot or cold foods and beverages. Unfortunately, the continual expansion and contraction can eventually cause a crack to form in your tooth. Cracks increase the risk of a broken tooth or a new cavity in the tooth. Because composite resin doesn't expand or contract when exposed to temperature changes, it's an excellent choice for fillings.
Tooth-colored fillings offer an excellent way to restore and protect your teeth. If you have a toothache or it's been a while since your last dental exam, call Centralia, WA, dentists Drs. Steven Ash and Brian Roberts of Ash & Roberts, DDS at (360) 736-8380 to schedule your appointment.
There are a variety of methods for treating periodontal (gum) disease depending on its severity — from routine office cleanings to periodontal surgery. But the goal behind all of them remains the same: remove bacterial plaque and calculus (tartar), the root cause for gum disease, from all tooth and gum surfaces.
The traditional method for doing this is called scaling in which we use special hand instruments (scalers) to mechanically remove plaque and calculus. Scaling and a similar procedure called root planing (the root surfaces are “planed” smooth of plaque to aid tissue reattachment) require quite a bit of skill and experience. They're also time-consuming: full treatment can take several sessions, depending on how extensive the infection has spread.
In recent years, we've also seen a new method emerge for removing plaque: lasers. Commonly used in other aspects of healthcare, lasers utilize a focused beam of light to destroy and remove diseased or unhealthy tissue while, according to studies and firsthand accounts, minimizing healthy tissue destruction to a better degree than traditional techniques. Procedure and healing times are likewise reduced.
Because of these beneficial characteristics, we are seeing their use in gum disease treatment, especially for removing diseased and inflamed tissues below the gum line and decreasing sub-gingival (“below the gums”) bacteria.
Dentists who have used lasers in this way do report less tissue damage, bleeding and post-treatment discomfort than traditional treatments. But because research is just beginning, there's not enough evidence to say laser treatment is preferably better than conventional treatment for gum disease.
At this point, lasers can be an effective addition to conventional gum disease treatment for certain people, especially those in the early stages of the disease. As we continue to study this technology, though, the day may come when lasers are the preferred way to stop gum disease from ruining your dental health.
If you would like more information on treating gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Lasers Versus Traditional Cleanings for Treating Gum Disease.”
Your mouth is a lot like the Wild West — home to millions of bacteria and other microbes, some of which are definitely not “the good guys.” But your teeth are well-protected from these hostile forces and their acidic waste products: with enamel shielding the visible part of your tooth, your gums protect the parts you can’t see.
As effective as they are, though, your gums aren’t invincible: their greatest threat is periodontal (gum) disease. This bacterial infection arises from plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles accumulating on teeth due to inadequate brushing and flossing.
The infected tissues soon become inflamed (red and swollen), a natural defensive response from the immune system. The longer they’re inflamed, however, the more likely they’ll begin detaching from the teeth. The gums may eventually shrink back or recede from the teeth, often causing them to appear “longer” because more of the tooth is now exposed to view.
Gum recession doesn’t bode well for your teeth’s survival: the exposed tooth and underlying bone can become even more susceptible to infection and damage. In the end, you could lose your tooth and portions of the supporting bone.
Treatment depends on the severity of the gum recession. In mild to moderate cases, we may only need to perform the standard gum disease treatment of removing plaque and calculus from all gum and tooth surfaces (including below the gum line) with special instruments. This helps reduce the infection and allow the gums to heal and re-establish attachment with the tooth. In more advanced cases, though, the recession may be so extensive we’ll need to graft donor tissue to the area using one of a variety of surgical techniques.
Although the right treatment plan can help restore your gum health, there’s another approach that’s even better — preventing gum disease in the first place. You can reduce your disease risk by practicing daily brushing and flossing and visiting your dentist regularly or when you see symptoms like gum swelling or bleeding. Taking care of your gums won’t just save your smile — it might also save your teeth.
If you would like more information on diagnosing and treating gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Gum Recession.”