Posts for: March, 2016
If you have ever had a cavity, you are probably familiar with dental fillings. Fillings are one of the most popular dental procedures available. But do fillings really benefit your teeth? Find out more about dental fillings with help from your Salisbury, MD dentist.
What are dental fillings?
Dental fillings restore a tooth affected by a cavity to its normal functionality and appearance. When a cavity forms, your dentist removes the decay from the tooth, leaving part of the tooth missing. After cleaning and drying the tooth, composite materials fill the hole left behind.
Do I really need a filling?
Decay begins on the tooth’s outer enamel layer and eats away through the dentin layer until it reaches the tooth’s inner pulp chamber where the nerve lies. Decay which has reached the inner chamber requires a root canal. However, cavities which have not yet reached the inner pulp chamber can usually be repaired using a dental filling, keeping the tooth’s nerve intact. By filling the tooth, your dentist creates a seal, keeping decay-causing bacteria from entering into the tooth and preventing additional decay.
What are my options?
Your dentist fills your cavity using one of several materials. They include:
- Porcelain: These fillings, called inlays or onlays, bond to the tooth. A dental laboratory customizes inlays and onlays specifically for you. These fillings are generally used in cases of larger fillings which are small enough to not require a dental crown.
- Composite resin: Your dentist applies composite resin fillings directly to the tooth after color-matching the material to your natural tooth color. This provides a natural appearance. Composite resin fillings may not be suitable for larger fillings.
- Amalgam: Amalgam fillings are made from silver, durable and more affordable than other options. They are, however, more noticeable than porcelain or composite fillings due to their dark silver color.
- Gold: Gold fillings are long-lasting and effective. Generally considered the best material for fillings, gold is more expensive than other options. A dental laboratory creates gold fillings, requiring multiple visits with several weeks in between.
The best way to determine if a filling is right for you is to consult with your dentist during a regular dental examination and cleaning. For more information on dental fillings, please contact Dr. Kathleen M. Geipe, DDS, PA in Salisbury, MD. Call (410) 543-0599 to speak with an associate about scheduling your appointment.
It would seem the best time to turn your attention to orthodontic problems with your child is when their permanent teeth have come in around early puberty. In fact, you should be attentive much earlier at around 6 years of age.
Here are 3 reasons why an early orthodontic evaluation could be beneficial to your child’s dental health.
We may be able to detect the first signs of a malocclusion. Also known as a poor bite, it’s possible for an experienced dentist or orthodontist to notice the beginning of a malocclusion as the permanent teeth start coming in between ages 6 and 12. Crowding of teeth, abnormal space between teeth, crooked, protruding or missing teeth are all signs that the teeth are not or will not be coming in properly and some type of treatment will eventually be necessary to correct it.
We might spot problems with jaw or facial development. Not all malocclusions arise from faulty erupting teeth position: sometimes they’re caused by abnormal development of the jaw and facial structure. For example, an orthodontist can detect if the upper jaw is developing too narrowly, which can create a malocclusion known as a cross bite. The difference in the source of a malocclusion will determine what present or future treatment will be needed.
We can perform “interceptive” treatment. While braces won’t typically be undertaken until the permanent teeth have come in, there are other treatments that can “intercept” a growing problem to eliminate or lessen future treatment needs. Orthodontists may recommend appliances that help guide incoming teeth, coax impacted teeth to come in fully or expand portions of the upper jaw to normal dimensions.
As with other areas of health, the earlier orthodontic problems are found the better the chances of a successful and less interventional outcome. By having your child examined orthodontically you may be saving money and future difficulties.
If you would like more information on when to begin monitoring bite development in your child, 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 “Early Orthodontic Evaluation.”
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?”