Basic Dental Health
Fillings are done to remove decay, and replace the affected tooth structure. It is called a filling because a new replacement material fills the hole left by dental decay. Today, most teeth are treated with bonded tooth colored composite resin fillings. If detected early enough, most decay can be treated easily and painlessly. If not treated, decay can eventually lead to tooth pain and/or infection, and the tooth may need a root canal treatment or extraction.
Bonding involves adhering composite resin material that is matched to the color of the tooth. This is done to repair damage done to the tooth by decay, repair small chips and cracks, to alter the alignment of the tooth, close gaps between the teeth, or for cosmetic purposes. First the surface of the tooth is roughened in order to accept the bonding and hold it. A gel is applied to micro-etch the tooth surface, and a primer/bond agent is applied so the material adheres to the surface. Then the material itself is placed on the tooth and hardened with intense light. The composite resin material is shaped and polished to get a lustrous finish as a last step.
This is used to fill in narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. In some cases, the tooth structure has deep, fine grooves or pits which accumulate plaque. These teeth may develop decay not because the person doesn't brush, but because the pits and grooves are too narrow to allow even one toothbrush bristle into them. To prevent decay, the dentist or hygienist will brush on a coating that seals the grooves and pits, making it possible to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthy.
The gums, ligaments, and bone around the teeth form the foundation for ones teeth. All structures are also referred to as the periodontium. When the periodontium is not healthy, it jeopardizes the teeth just as a bad foundation would threaten the stability of a house. Signs of unhealthy periodontium (gum disease) may be as follows: gums that are red and bleed easily, persistent bad breath, gums that are pulled away from the tooth, loose teeth, and changes in the position or bite of the teeth. Any of these signs may mean something is wrong. With the proper care, however, it may be possible to return them to a healthy state. This is where appropriate gum treatments come in. If you're having a problem, it is important to be evaluated as soon as possible so we can take care of the problem right away. The treatment usually involves a deep cleaning or root planing done under a local anesthetic, sometimes along with local antibiotic agents. If the gum disease gets too severe it may need to be treated through surgery or extraction. This is why it is important to get it treated at the first sign of a problem.
This refers to a focused beam of X-Rays which produces an image, showing the structure through which it passed. This gives the familiar black and white images that doctors and dentists use to diagnose problems. X-rays are a necessary part of the diagnostic process, and to not utilize them could lead to undiagnosed disease. Without an X-ray of the whole tooth, and supporting bone and gum tissues, diagnostic information is missing and your dentist may be unable to detect infection or pathology that requires attention.
In our office we use digital radiography which allows us to take X-rays using a small fraction of radiation that conventional film radiographs require. And coupled with computer monitoring, digital x-ray technology allows us to enhance the images for better diagnosis of any dental concerns.