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Welcome to our “Ask the Dentist” section. We have collected several frequently asked questions from people about dental care. Please feel free to email us with dental questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are sealants, and are they really necessary?
Sealants are a polymer resin that is brushed on the chewing surface of your child’s adult teeth. This polymer resin is bonded to the surface of the teeth with a light.
This is an excellent preventative measure as your child’s teeth have many grooves, referred to as pits and fissures) on the chewing surface.
Typically, food particles accumulate in these grooves creating lactic acid which begins to decay. This destroys the tooth enamel and leaves a cavity to be filled.
Sealants, however, act as a protective coating between the lactic acid and the tooth enamel. This procedure is relatively inexpensive and considerably less expensive than a filling a cavity.
Wouldn't it be easier to have a tooth extracted than have a root canal done?
Most people cringe at the mere mention of a root canal. However, with the quality of today’s anesthetics and techniques, the procedure is virtually pain free.
Inside the tooth there is living tissue. When a tooth receives trauma, such as a sports injury or tooth decay, the living tissue begins to die. As this tissue dies it decays and becomes infected. If left untreated this infection can travel into the jawbone. An extraction could be an immediate solution, however, there are many clinical reasons why one tooth extraction can lead to a domino effect of tooth loss in the future.
Root canals allow us to remove the dying tissue by creating an access hole through the top of the tooth. Once the inner tissue is removed the canal is filled, and the tooth will remain functional for many years to come.
Do I have any options, other than braces, for gapped or crooked teeth?
Without question, orthodontics will correct the problem, however, some people would rather not wear braces unless absolutely necessary. We’re proud to tell you braces are not your only option.
After a thorough orthodontic consultation, you may consider placing porcelain or composite veneers over the surface of your existing teeth. A porcelain or composite veneer is a tooth shield similar to a false finger nail. This tooth shield (or veneer) is fabricated by a dental laboratory using very durable and natural looking materials.
If necessary, the front surface of your natural teeth would be slightly adjusted to reduce some of the crooked corners and space may need to be created for your fabricated veneers.
The lab will design the custom size and shape for your teeth, then we will bond the veneers directly to the surface of your natural teeth.
The net effect is a very conservative procedure with stunning results.
What are the benefits of tooth colored fillings?
Silver had been the traditional filling of choice in America for about 115 years. It’s ease of use, durability and low cost made it a good choice for filling cavities. However, modern technology has brought materials into the dental industry that eliminates many of the problems with silver fillings.
Independent research has conducted experiments that indicate Amalgam fillings may leak harmful mercury into the body.
- X-rays. We are not able to x-ray through a tooth with a silver filling. Therefore, if you have tooth decay underneath your filling, we may not be able to detect it. Your only symptom that there is a problem may be when you have a toothache and by then saving the tooth can become impossible or quite expensive.
- Micro leakage. When a filling is placed inside a cavity, small amounts of bacteria may leak in between the silver and your tooth, which may lead to further tooth decay.
- Appearance. A tooth colored filling will blend in with your natural teeth.
Composite (tooth colored) fillings on the other hand are bonded to the inside walls of your teeth leaving very little opportunity for micro leakage and are definitely the filling of choice.
Does tooth bleaching actually work?
Yes, bleaching really works, however, results vary from patient to patient.
Just as your skin contains millions of pores your teeth contain millions of tubules. These tubules will eventually absorb particles that will in time cause your teeth to discolor. Smoking and coffee drinking accelerate this process. When a bleaching solution is applied to your teeth, the chemical is absorbed into these tubules and whitens your teeth.
There are many reasons why our custom fit bleaching system is more effective than the over-the-counter products. First of all, the over-the-counter trays are not customized to your teeth, therefore, there you have little control over where the bleaching solution ends up. Since the chemical is an irritant to the gums, over-the-counter solutions must be considerably weaker, making it less effective.
Our trays are customized to your teeth and prevent the chemicals from getting on your gums. Therefore, our bleaching solution is much stronger and more effective.
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