Posts for category: Dental Procedures
One of the top concerns in public health today is exposure to the metallic element mercury within the environment. At abnormal levels, mercury can have a toxic effect on our nervous systems and cause other health problems.
These concerns over mercury have also increased attention on one material in dentistry that has included the metal in its makeup for over a century — dental amalgam for filling teeth. Amalgam is a metal alloy that can include, in addition to mercury, silver, tin, and copper. When first mixed dental amalgam is a moldable material used for fillings in prepared teeth. It then hardens into a durable restoration that can withstand biting forces.
While the use of amalgam has declined with the introduction of life-like colored fillings, it's still used for teeth like molars subject to high biting forces. With what we now know about the ill effects of mercury (which can make up to half of an amalgam mixture) is it safe to continue its use?
The American Dental Association has performed extensive research into amalgam safety. They've found that mercury is stabilized by the other metals in the amalgam. This prevents "free" molecules of mercury, the real source of harm to health, from escaping into the blood stream in the form of vapor. Although trace amounts of mercury vapor from the amalgam are released as a person chews, those levels are well below the threshold that could cause harm.
From a patient standpoint, the biggest drawback to dental amalgam isn't safety — it's the appearance of teeth it's used on. Silver fillings aren't considered attractive. And now there are viable filling alternatives that not only look like natural teeth but can withstand biting forces almost as well as amalgam. These materials include composite resins, mixtures of glass or quartz within resin, or glass and resin ionomers. Each of these has advantages and disadvantages depending on how and where they're applied.
After a thorough dental examination, we'll be able to advise you on what filling material will work best to produce the best result. And if we do suggest dental amalgam you can rest assured it will be a safe choice.
If you would like more information on the safety of dental amalgam, 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 “Silver Fillings — Safe or Unsafe?”
According to a research study published by the American Dental Association, over five million dental implants are placed every year. The number keeps growing as patients learn that implants come with a number of significant advantages over wearing denture devices. You may be a candidate for this beneficial restorative treatment if your goal is to replace one or more missing teeth. Let a dentist at Northside Family Dentistry in Macon, GA, check your smile to see if dental implants are the right solution.
How Dental Implants Restore Your Smile
The true definition of a restoration is something that completely renews and improves upon the original. A dental restoration should give your smile new strength and beauty. Dental implants provide that renewal when the problem is a lost or severely weakened tooth. An implant, made of biocompatible titanium, doesn’t just fill in the visible gap on top. It also fills in the gap that has been created below the gum line to ensure stability and permanence.
What Happens During a Dental Implant Procedure?
When you are in the process of getting a dental implant, make time for about two or three future dental appointments. An initial consultation will let you and your Macon dentist know if there is sufficient bone tissue to support an implant. After that has been confirmed, the next step is the surgical implantation of the tiny titanium device. After that, you’ll wait a few months to allow the implant time to become tightly entrenched in the jaw bone.
During the implant healing process, also called osseointegration, the bone tissue attaches to the screw-like ridges on the sides of the implant. After that, a dental abutment and permanent crown are attached to fill in the space above your gumline. You can help speed up the healing process by taking very good care of your teeth at home and eating healthy nutrient-rich foods. Continuing that level of care and seeing your dentist regularly will increase the chance that the implant will remain a part of your smile indefinitely.
Begin with a Consultation
The process of getting a dental implant starts with a consultation, which includes dental X-rays and a visual examination of your teeth. Call (478) 475-1976 today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Clinton Watson or Dr. Nicole Jackson at Northside Family Dentistry in Macon, GA.
When the multi-platinum recording artist, songwriter and TV personality Jason Derulo was recently asked about his ideal woman, his answer covered a remarkably broad spectrum. "There’s no specific thing," he said, "so I think it’s unfair to say what my ‘type’ is." But it turns out that there is one thing the So You Think You Can Dance judge considers essential: A beautiful smile.
"I’m not into messy teeth," Derulo said. "If the grill has spaces and different colors, it’s not my vibe."
As it turns out, he may be on to something: A number of surveys have indicated that a bright, healthy smile is often the first thing people notice when meeting someone new. Yet many are reluctant to open up that big grin because they aren’t satisfied with the way their teeth look. If you’re one of them, consider this: Modern cosmetic dentistry offers a variety of ways to improve your smile — and it may be easier and more affordable than you think.
For example, if your smile isn’t as bright as you would like it to be, teeth whitening is an effective and economical way to lighten it up. If you opt for in-office treatments, you can expect a lightening effect of up to 10 shades in a single one-hour treatment! Or, you can achieve the same effect in a week or two with a take-home kit we can custom-make for you. Either way, you’ll be safe and comfortable being treated under the supervision of a dental professional — and the results can be expected to last for up to two years, or perhaps more.
If your teeth have minor spacing irregularities, small chips or cracks, it may be possible to repair them in a single office visit via cosmetic bonding. In this process, a liquid composite resin is applied to the teeth and cured (hardened) with a special light. This high-tech material, which comes in colors to match your teeth, can be built up in layers and shaped with dental instruments to create a pleasing, natural effect.
If your smile needs more than just a touch-up, dental veneers may be the answer. These wafer-thin coverings, placed right on top of your natural teeth, can be made in a variety of shapes and colors — from a natural pearly luster to a brilliant "Hollywood white." Custom-made veneers typically involve the removal of a few millimeters of tooth enamel, making them a permanent — and irreversible — treatment. However, by making teeth look more even, closing up spaces and providing dazzling whiteness, veneers just might give you the smile you’ve always wanted.
If you would like more information about cosmetic dental treatments, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cosmetic Dentistry — A Time for Change.”
During your lifetime you’ll eat thousands of meals — and generate a lot of force from chewing over the years. But thanks to a support system of gum tissues and bone, your teeth can normally handle it.
What your teeth can’t handle, though, are higher than normal chewing forces on a continual basis. This can happen if you grind your teeth, which can produce 20-30 times the normal force. The habit often arises in adults because of high stress and often occurs during sleep.
These abnormal forces can stretch the periodontal ligaments that hold teeth in place, cause the teeth to become loose and at increased risk for loss. The best treatment strategy is to reduce clenching with, for example, muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatory drugs or lower the effects with a mouth guard that won’t allow the teeth to make solid contact during clenching.
Your teeth can also become loose even with normal chewing forces if you have advanced periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease arises from dental plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles left on teeth due to poor oral hygiene. As it builds up, it causes inflammation of the gum tissues resulting in bone loss and causing the gums to detach from the teeth, increasing pocket depth.
Our first step in this case is to treat the gum disease by removing plaque and calculus (tartar) from all tooth and gum surfaces. This includes infected areas below the gum line and around the roots, a circumstance that could require surgical access.
As treatment progresses in either of these scenarios the gum tissues heal and often regain their attachment to the teeth. But that can take time, so we may need to stabilize any loose teeth in the short term. The most common way is to splint them to other secure teeth. This is done by using a clear acrylic bonding material to join the loose teeth together with a strip of metal or other rigid material (like joining pickets in a fence).
When symptoms arise, quick action is the key to preventing lost teeth. If you notice swollen, painful or bleeding gums or especially loose teeth, don’t delay — contact us so we can begin treatment as soon as possible.
If you would like more information on the causes and treatments for loose teeth, 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 “Loose Teeth.”
It is hard to think of a single dental procedure that is more feared, hated, and misunderstood than root canal therapy. Whether your fear of root canals started with a joke or bit from a famous comedian on t.v. or in the movies, or from a second or third hand account from a friend or relative, misinformation about how root canals really work and how much pain you can expect to feel can get in the way of getting necessary dental treatment, and even put your oral health at risk. Our Macon, GA dentists, Dr. Clinton Watson and Dr. Nicole Jackson, offer root canal therapy and a range of cosmetic and general dentistry treatment options at Northside Family Dentistry.
Root Canal Therapy in Macon, GA
Despite its reputation, a root canal procedure is actually similar to getting a filling for a cavity. After applying a localized anesthetic, the dentist drills a small opening to clean the inside of the tooth of bacteria and damaged tissue and remove the root. Once the tooth has been treated and thoroughly cleaned, it is sealed and bonded. Most people agree that the sensation and levels of discomfort are comparable to getting a filling.
In fact, root canal therapy is actually one of the most effective treatments for the pain associated with an infected tooth.
When is Root Canal Therapy Needed?
Severe tooth decay, trauma or structural damage to a tooth from repeated treatment can allow bacteria to reach the pulp (nerve tissue inside each teeth), causing an infection or inflammation, which can be extremely painful and lead to permanent nerve damage. Your dentist will determine whether a root canal is necessary after performing a dental exam and an X-ray of the tooth.
Find a Dentist in Macon, GA
Fear does not have to get in the way of your oral health. For more information about root canal therapy, contact Northside Family Dentistry by calling (478) 475-1976 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Watson or Dr. Jackson today.