Sometimes described as “silver-colored” fillings, these are made from a combination of metals that include mercury, silver, tin, and copper. Dental amalgam has been used for generations by dentists. Amalgam is very durable and more affordable that tooth-colored or gold fillings; however, tooth-colored materials are more natural looking. We normally suggest amalgam fillings for primary teeth.
Composite: Also known as “tooth-colored” fillings, these are a mixture of glass or quartz filler that provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small to mid-size fillings that need to withstand moderate pressure from chewing. They can be used on either front or back teeth.
Tooth decay begins when the outer layer of a tooth loses some of its minerals due to acid produced by bacteria in dental plaque breaking down the sugars that we eat. Fluoride protects teeth by helping to prevent the loss of these minerals and by restoring them with a fluoride-containing mineral that is more resistant to acid attacks. In other words, fluoride protects teeth by reducing demineralization and enhancing remineralization. Fluoride also works to hinder bacterial activity necessary for the formation of tooth decay.
A prophylaxis – commonly called a “prophy” – is a treatment involving the removal of the bacteria on all the teeth and just below the gumline. This is also known as a polishing, because by removing the bacteria (plaque, tartar, and bacteria that is not easily seen), the teeth look shiny. A prophy is typically performed twice per year, or every six months, to maintain healthy gums and teeth.
Oral Hygiene Instructions (“OHI”):
Our assistants will teach each patient how to properly brush and floss their teeth according to their age. They will also encourage your younger child to let their parent assist them.
What are dental sealants? Dental sealants are thin coatings that when painted on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars) can prevent cavities (tooth decay) for many years. Sealants protect the chewing surface from cavities by covering them with a protective shield that blocks out germs and food. Brushing and flossing is still required to prevent the in between cavities.
Dental X-rays are a useful diagnostic tool when helping your dentist detect damage and disease not visible during a regular dental exam. How often X-rays should be taken depends on your present oral health, your age, your risk for disease, and any signs and symptoms of oral disease. For example, children may require X-rays more often that adults because their teeth and jaws are still developing, and their teeth are more likely to be affected by tooth decay than those of adults.
Dental X-ray tools and techniques are designed to limit the body’s exposure to radiation and every precaution is taken to ensure that radiation exposure is As Low As Reasonably Achievable (the ALARA principle). A leaded apron and/or a leaded thyroid collar may be used to shield the abdomen and thyroid. Digital X-rays used today are significantly safer than in the past.
Crowns are placed when a tooth has had a nerve treatment, or there is very limited tooth structure left once the decay has been removed.
An extraction means to have a tooth removed, usually because of disease, trauma, or crowding.