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Composite fillings are a mixture of glass or quartz filler in a resin medium that produces a tooth-colored filling. They are sometimes referred to as composites or filled resins. Composite fillings provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small-to-mid size restorations that need to withstand moderate chewing pressure.
Less tooth structure is removed when the dentist prepares the tooth, and this may result in a smaller filling than that of an amalgam. Composites can also be “bonded” or adhesively held in a cavity, often allowing the dentist to make a more conservative repair to the tooth.
The cost is moderate and depends on the size of the filling and the technique used by the dentist to place it in the prepared tooth. It generally takes longer to place a composite filling than what is required for an amalgam filling. Composite fillings require a cavity that can be kept clean and dry during filling and they are subject to stain and discoloration over time.
Used by dentists for more than a century, dental amalgam is the most thoroughly researched and tested restorative material among all those in use. It is durable, easy to use, highly resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive in comparison to other materials.
Dental amalgam is a stable alloy made by combining elemental mercury, silver, tin, copper and possibly other metallic elements. Although dental amalgam continues to be a safe, commonly used restorative material, some concern has been raised because of its mercury content. However, the mercury in amalgam combines with other metals to render it stable and safe for use in filling teeth. The major U.S. and international scientific and health bodies, including the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization, among others have been satisfied that dental amalgam is a safe, reliable and effective restorative material.
Because amalgam fillings can withstand very high chewing loads, they are particularly useful for restoring molars in the back of the mouth where chewing load is greatest. They are also useful in areas where a cavity preparation is difficult to keep dry during the filling replacement, such as in deep fillings below the gum line. Amalgam fillings, like other filling materials, are considered biocompatible—they are well tolerated by patients with only rare occurrences of allergic response.
Disadvantages of amalgam include possible short-term sensitivity to hot or cold after the filling is placed. The silver-colored filling is not as natural looking as one that is tooth-colored, especially when the restoration is near the front of the mouth, and shows when the patient laughs or speaks. And to prepare the tooth, the dentist may need to remove more tooth structure to accommodate an amalgam filling than for other types of fillings. We do not offer amalgam restorations at our facility.
A centric relation splint is a horse-shoe shaped, hard acrylic appliance worn on the biting surfaces of the teeth (similar to athletic mouth guard) to prevent bruxism, muscle soreness, excessive wear of the teeth and joint pain [see TMJ Dysfunction].
Bruxism is an abnormal grinding or clenching of the teeth causing excessive wear of the teeth and joint and or muscle pain.
Commonly referred to as a “cap,” a crown is a tooth shaped covering for a tooth that has been decayed, broken or otherwise compromised such as after Root Canal therapy. This covering is permanently cemented over all surfaces of the tooth to help prevent additional decay and to restore the full function of the tooth. A crown can be made of metal, porcelain or a combination thereof.
A bridge is a series of 2 or more crowns connected together. Usually a bridge spans the space where there is one or more missing teeth.
Root canal therapy is the removal of the pulp tissue, including the nerve, inside the root(s) of each tooth. The entire canal is cleaned and shape to provide access for the insertion of a biocompatible material that seals each root and keeps bacteria out.
Taking into account all the types and qualities of crowns and bridges made, the national average life time of a crown or bridge is 7-10 years. Your crown or bridge can last much longer if you practice good oral hygiene and nutrition, and you don’t have any abnormal function such as bruxism.
Yes, teeth whitening is safe. It does not remove the enamel from the teeth – only the surface stains and discoloration. The material is used to remove the discoloration is peroxide in a solution that holds the peroxide close to the surfaces of your teeth. This process often causes temporary sensitivity. We offer two different in house whitening procedures are well as take home whitening gels of varying strength.
Everyone is not a candidate for teeth whitening. If you are interested, consult with your hygienist.
Antibiotics taken before a one hour before a dental procedure should be a different kind than the one you are already taking. This “loading” or large dose is intended specifically to fight or prevent bacteria from gathering around the leaky valve in your heart.
Radiographs, commonly referred to as x-rays, are required for a number of reasons. Radiographs are primarily used to diagnose bone loss, abscesses, cavities, tumors, cists and other oral cavity disease. The reason for the number of radiographs is due mainly to the size of each film. Each film only covers a specific area of your mouth. Therefore, usually 16 to 18 are required to adequately diagnose the condition of your mouth. This large number is taken about every three to five years depending on the patient’s health history. Radiographs of the molar areas are generally taken once each year.
Deep cleaning is a procedure that is meant to clean the areas of the teeth at or below the gum line where there is plaque and tartar buildup. This build up contributes to the separation of the gum tissue from the roots of the teeth and causes “pocketing.” This is what is commonly called, gum disease. Root planing [deep cleaning] is done while the patient is numb and smooths the roots of the teeth to allow for healing and the reattachment of the gums to the roots of the teeth.
The Sonicare toothbrush is the newest generation of electric toothbrushes. The brush uses movement and vibration (sonic waves) to “bubble” the paste between the teeth and to remove plaque and stain. Studies have shown that, with extended use, your teeth will stay cleaner and with less stain.
For those patients who have a habit of scrubbing or brushing their teeth too hard, and thereby cause their gums to recede, the Sonicare toothbrush eliminates the need for strong hand/arm movements with a traditional toothbrush. This scrubbing can lead to recession, root sensitivity, decay, gum disease and the eventual need for grafting that recovers the exposed areas of the roots of the teeth. We offer the Sonicare DiamondClean and Sonicare For Kids.
Each dental insurance provider makes a unique contract with your employer or the person(s) through whom you are insured. Although many contracts are similar in nature, only the contract itself contains the details of what is covered or not covered. The information insurance supplies us is only a benefit summary.If you have any questions about your dental coverage, they should be addressed to the insurance company first. There you will find the most accurate information.
Once you have a treatment plan given to you by your dentist, this treatment plan can be submitted to your insurance carrier for their evaluation and predetermination of potential payment. Even with a predetermination, your insurance carrier will NOT guarantee payment. Treatment plans are based on an estimate your insurance supplies us. No payment may be guaranteed by dental office personnel. Dental office personnel can only provide your insurance carrier the information it needs to process a claim. All claims are sent to your insurance carrier on the day of your visit to our office. All pre-authorizations are done at the request of the patient or the insured.
Prophylaxis: a routine cleaning of the teeth where soft and hard deposits are removed from above the gumline and remaining plaque and stain are removed by polishing
Root planning and scaling (or deep scaling): removal of soft and hard deposits from below the gumline, usually performed with the use of local or topical anesthesia
Gross debridement: an initial cleaning that removes the majority of soft and hard deposits from above the gumline, needed in cases of very heavy hard deposits, follow-up visits are needed
Fine scaling: a follow-up cleaning to gross debridement, includes removal of all soft and hard deposits from above and below the gumline
Periodontal maintenance cleaning: done after root planning and scaling is completed, includes removal of hard and soft deposits from above and the below the gumline and re-measuring “pockets” or deep probing depths at each visit, usually done every 2-4 months
Periodontal probing: measuring the space between the gums and the teeth in millimeters
Fluoride: usually applied to patients’ teeth in gel or foam form, recommended for all patients less than 17 years of age and some high risk/cavity-prone adult patients, can help reverse demineralized areas (those with less enamel)
Desensitizing agents: a liquid or gel-like substance applied to area of extreme tooth sensitivity-especially in areas of gum recession
Topical anesthesia: application of a liquid or gel that numbs the gums only
Localized anesthesia: injection of one of the liquid anesthetics with or without epinephrine, which numbs the gums and the teeth
Sealants: a plastic-like material used to fill in the deep grooves of the teeth, usually the permanent molars, to decrease the chance of cavities forming