Posts for: January, 2016
Your Macon, GA dentist offers fillings that protect teeth and offer aesthetic benefits, as well.
If you’ve ever dealt with tooth decay, then chances are good that Dr. Clinton Watson and Dr. Nichole Jackson, your Macon, GA dentists at Northside Family Dentistry, placed a dental filling in your tooth. There are a variety of different kinds of fillings out there, and each one offers its own unique benefit for your smile. Composite resins have become a very popular dental filling as they offer both strength and aesthetics.
What are dental fillings?
Dental fillings are used to restore the decayed parts of a tooth. Getting a dental filling is usually the last step after your Macon dentist has removed the decaying portions of enamel and cleaned out the cavity. The filling material is then used to replace the cavity and help restore the shape of your tooth.
Why are dental fillings necessary?
It’s important that bacteria and decay aren’t able to break through tooth enamel. To prevent this from happening to your tooth again, Dr, Watson or Dr. Jackson will fill your tooth, which repairs and it seals out any further decay.
What are the different kinds of dental fillings?
There are several different kinds of dental fillings: gold, silver, composite and porcelain. While gold and silver fillings boast a long lifespan because of their strength and resilience, composite resin fillings have become the most popular dental filling because they actually match the color of your tooth.
How do you get a dental filling?
The patient is usually given local anesthesia before your Macon dentist drills away the decayed parts of enamel from your tooth. Once this is complete, they will begin to apply the composite filling in layers. After molding each layer, a laser is used to harden it before applying a new layer of resin. Your dentist will continue to mold and harden the resin until they have completely restored the damaged parts of your tooth.
A surefire way to make sure you’re not dealing with tooth decay is to see your Macon, GA dentist every six months for routine exams. If it’s time for you bi-annual cleaning, then it’s time to schedule an appointment with Dr. Clinton Watson and Dr. Nichole Jackson at Northside Family Dentistry.
Fans of the primetime TV show The Middle were delighted to see that high school senior Sue, played by Eden Sher, finally got her braces off at the start of Season 6. But since this popular sitcom wouldn’t be complete without some slapstick comedy, this happy event is not without its trials and tribulations: The episode ends with Sue’s whole family diving into a dumpster in search of the teen’s lost retainer. Sue finds it in the garbage and immediately pops it in her mouth. But wait — it doesn’t fit, it’s not even hers!
If you think this scenario is far-fetched, guess again. OK, maybe the part about Sue not washing the retainer upon reclaiming it was just a gag (literally and figuratively), but lost retainers are all too common. Unfortunately, they’re also expensive to replace — so they need to be handled with care. What’s the best way to do that? Retainers should be brushed daily with a soft toothbrush and liquid soap (dish soap works well), and then placed immediately back in your mouth or into the case that came with the retainer. When you are eating a meal at a restaurant, do not wrap your retainer in a napkin and leave it on the table — this is a great way to lose it! Instead, take the case with you, and keep the retainer in it while you’re eating. When you get home, brush your teeth and then put the retainer back in your mouth.
If you do lose your retainer though, let us know right away. Retention is the last step of your orthodontic treatment, and it’s extremely important. You’ve worked hard to get a beautiful smile, and no one wants to see that effort wasted. Yet if you neglect to wear your retainer as instructed, your teeth are likely to shift out of position. Why does this happen?
As you’ve seen firsthand, teeth aren’t rigidly fixed in the jaw — they can be moved in response to light and continuous force. That’s what orthodontic appliances do: apply the right amount of force in a carefully controlled manner. But there are other forces at work on your teeth that can move them in less predictable ways. For example, normal biting and chewing can, over time, cause your teeth to shift position. To get teeth to stay where they’ve been moved orthodontically, new bone needs to form around them and anchor them where they are. That will happen over time, but only if they are held in place with a retainer. That’s why it is so important to wear yours as directed — and notify us immediately if it gets lost.
And if ever you do have to dig your retainer out of a dumpster… be sure to wash it before putting in in your mouth!
If you would like more information on retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers” and “Why Orthodontic Retainers?”
While tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease destroy more teeth than any other causes, both of these diseases are largely preventable with proper oral hygiene and dental treatment. It’s more than possible, then, to enjoy a lifetime of healthy, disease-free teeth.
But even with healthy teeth, the effects of aging will cause tooth wear over time. And although we can’t prevent the aging process from occurring altogether, there are steps we can take not to accelerate the process.
Most tissues, including bone and teeth, have a growth cycle in which older cells are broken down (known as catabolism), removed and replaced by newer cells (anabolism). As we develop during childhood, the growth phase exceeds breakdown; when we reach adulthood, the two phases come into equilibrium. But as we age, breakdown will gradually overtake growth. This aging effect results in, among other outcomes, tooth wear.
“Normal” wear appears to be greatest — and most visible — along the biting surfaces of the teeth. The forces generated when we bite or chew causes enamel to erode over time. Unfortunately, you can accelerate this process through bad oral habits: clenching or grinding teeth, often times at night while you sleep, as well as habitually chewing on hard objects like nails or pencils.
Normal forces generated when we bite or chew are actually beneficial for dental health — they help stimulate bone growth. But when they exceed their normal range as when we clench or grind our teeth, they can increase tooth wear and cause other problems such as diminished function or changes in appearance, such as a shortened facial height.
To slow the rate of wear, it’s important to modify any behaviors that may be contributing to it. In many cases an occlusal night guard worn while you sleep helps prevent teeth clenching. You may also need assistance with stress management, a major trigger for these kinds of habits, through biofeedback therapy or counseling.
If you’ve already encountered excessive wear, bonding techniques using colored composite resin, veneers or crowns that attach directly to the teeth can restore lost function and rejuvenate the appearance and color of your teeth. We can perform a “smile analysis” to determine if one of these techniques is right for you to help you regain a more youthful and attractive smile.
If you would like more information on aging and tooth wear, 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 “How and Why Teeth Wear.”