Does an amalgam filling or tooth-colored filling last indefinitely? You must know from experience that these dental restorations have a certain lifespan--typically seven to ten years, says the American Dental Association. That's why you need to see your dentists in Cheshire, CT, Dr. Larry Erwich and Dr. Elana Celliers, regularly to have your existing fillings inspected and replaced as needed. That way, your smile stays as healthy and attractive as possible.
Signs a filling needs replacing
Your dentist in Cheshire wants you aware of what's going on in your mouth. So besides flossing daily, brushing twice a day and eating a tooth-friendly diet, you should actually look at your teeth and note any changes in how they feel or function.
In other words, you can partner with Dr. Erwich and Dr. Celliers in optimizing your oral health. Here are signs which may indicate a dental filling requires replacement:
- You sustain a blow to the mouth. Besides tooth avulsion, tooth fracture results from oral trauma. Restorations such as porcelain crowns and dental fillings may be chipped, cracked, loosened or completely dislodged. So if you get hurt, see your dentist as soon as possible.
- Your tooth is highly sensitive to heat, cold or sugary foods. Although you may not see it, a crack in or around a filling may be developing, allowing bacteria to invade the space and exposing sensitive inner pulp.
- You have a throbbing toothache. Why would a filled tooth hurt? Possibly, the filling has deteriorated and a deep cavity has developed. Left untreated, it could become infected and need root canal therapy or even extraction.
- You have a very large, old filling. Your tooth is at risk for fracture and for decay occurring at the juncture between tooth enamel and the existing restoration. Your dentist may wish to replace it with composite resin or a full or partial crown to avoid further damage.
- Bruxism is a continual problem. You habitually grind and clench your teeth, putting pressure on your fillings. Your dentist will determine if a mouth guard would alleviate the stresses and if any fillings were compromised.
- You have metal fillings that show when you smile. Your dentist may replace them with composite resin.
Of course, the way to avoid replacing Cheshire fillings is not to have them in the first place. Dr. Erwich and Dr. Celliers are big proponents of preventive dentistry. That means they'd rather see you twice a year for prophylactic services such as:
- Oral examinations and digital X-rays as needed
- Hygienic cleanings to remove harmful plaque
- Fluoride treatments to strengthen enamel
- Plastic sealants on deeply ridged back teeth
Also, the team encourages diligent oral hygiene at home, smoking cessation, mouth guards for sports and a low-sugar/carbohydrate diet.
Come see us
If you question the integrity of any of your restorations, contact Dr. Erwich or Dr. Celliers for an appointment in Cheshire, CT. Call (203) 272-7044.
Professional teeth cleanings are the mainstay of good oral hygiene and dental health. It's not only that this preventive service removes harmful plaque and tartar, but teeth cleanings also allow your dentist, Dr. Larry Erwich or Dr. Elana Celliers, to stay abreast of how your teeth and gums are functioning. So you're wise to get your teeth cleaning regularly. Learn more about the benefits of semi-annual cleanings with your family dentist in Cheshire, CT.
Plaque and tartar are your enemies
This sounds a bit too strong, but research proves it. Your mouth contains bacteria, and a lot of them live in the residues that collect between your teeth and under your gums.
What's the big deal about some germs? Well, unfortunately, oral bacteria called Streptococcus mutans leads to tooth decay and gum disease--major causes of tooth loss among Americans of all ages. High levels of the strep germ are found in soft plaque which your toothbrush can miss. Hard tartar forms from neglected tartar, and it's so stubborn that only your hygienist can remove it with specialized hand tools.
What happens at a cleaning?
When you come to the dental office in Cheshire for teeth cleaning, your hygienist scrapes away the build-up of tartar and plaque. Also, using a small probe, she checks your gingival health by measuring your gum pockets, or spaces between the gums and tooth surfaces. Healthy pockets measure no deeper than three millimeters.
In addition, the hygienist takes digital X-rays as needed so the doctor can assess root and bone structure and see areas of hidden decay. Finally, she polishes your teeth with a rotary brush and mildly abrasive toothpaste. Your teeth will never feel cleaner!
The oral examination
After the teeth cleaning, your Cheshire dentist inspects your teeth and gums for signs of decay or gum disease. He or she also looks at tooth alignment and bite, assesses the condition of fillings and crowns and does a oral cancer screening. This simple visual inspection takes just a couple of minutes, but it is so important. There are almost 54,000 new cases of this deadly cancer diagnosed annually in the US, and early detection is key to cure.
Finally, Dr. Erwich or Dr. Celliers will present you with exam findings and a treatment plan appropriate to your needs. They even discuss your cosmetic dentistry needs, too--things such as tooth color, small enamel defects and more. Your smile goals are a vital part of your individualized treatment plan.
You can't be too clean
The old adage rings true when applied to your dental health. Please contact Dr. Erwich's team today to book your routine oral exam and teeth cleaning at his Cheshire, CT office. Phone (203) 272-7044.
For a bride, there is so much to remember when planning the wedding — invitations, a dress, flowers, the site, the caterers, the cake, the photographer — the list goes on and on. In the midst of all these things, don't let a very important piece of the plan be forgotten — your smile!
Your wedding will be celebrated every year on your anniversary and commemorated in beautiful photos at any time. It is a special occasion you, your family, and your friends will always remember. But how will you and your family look in those photos? You have an opportunity to get makeovers that will make your smiles shine radiantly, and not only in your album. Your makeover will improve your appearance, your self-confidence, and your oral health far into the future.
Start with a visit to your dentist to assess your current situation and discuss your goals and dreams. Each person's situation will be different. At a minimum you may need a professional cleaning to make sure that your teeth and gums are healthy. Get started on treating any cavities or gingivitis (gum inflammation). If you haven't already, now is a great time to establish healthy dental hygiene habits including proper daily brushing and flossing.
You may feel that your teeth are discolored and need to be whiter and brighter. Your upper and lower jaws may not meet properly for the most effective biting and chewing. Your teeth may be crowded or misshapen. All these things and more can be modified and repaired with today's dentistry.
Teeth can be whitened by bleaching in the dentist's office or with products that can be used at home under a dentist's supervision.
Orthodontia may be needed to repair your bite. Today orthodontia may be done either with traditional braces, or with clear aligners. Remember that this process works slowly, so start well in advance of your wedding day.
After your teeth are properly aligned, your dental team can work on subtle contouring, overall shape and color changes for individual teeth, using techniques such as porcelain laminate veneers. Temporary veneers can be made so that you can try out your new look before the final installation.
Wedding planning works best when started early. To make sure you, your new spouse, and your family look and feel their best, remember to include smile makeovers in your plan.
What does the term “two-implant overdentures” mean?
For more than a century, complete dentures were the only care option for edentulous (toothless) people. As a solution, these left a lot to be desired, particularly for the lower jaw. Now dental technology has developed a better alternative that combines two strategically placed dental implants and a traditional lower denture that has been modified to fit over the two implants — thus the term.
What are the problems with traditional dentures?
The problem is that when you lose teeth, the bone that supported the missing teeth begins to shrink away. This is known as resorption, and it is the reason that dentures fitted too soon after teeth are lost quickly become loose. Bone loss happens most rapidly during the first year and is four times greater in the lower jaw than in the upper.
Why not just use dental adhesives to hold dentures tightly to the lower jaw?
Zinc, a major ingredient in most dental adhesives, has been associated with neurological disorders and may be unsafe. In addition, dental adhesives are expensive and the cost of frequent usage adds up.
Besides dental adhesives, are other health problems associated with dentures?
Yes, edentulism has been related to poor nutrition. Many edentulous people switch to soft foods with high fat content because they find healthier foods like vegetables and proteins difficult to chew.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are replacements for the roots of teeth, the parts that are below the gumline and anchored in bone. They are usually covered with a crown that shows above the line of the gums.
What are the benefits of implants?
Most importantly, implants reduce the amount of bone resorption. Studies have shown about 75% less resorption in parts of the jaw with implants compared to areas without them. Since most of the bone loss occurs within the first year after tooth loss, it is important to place implants within this time period.
Is a complete set of dental implants a good solution for edentulism?
Yes, it can be a good solution, but it is not for everyone. Some patients, who have lost a great deal of bone support, need another solution for cosmetic reasons that offer more facial support like an implant overdenture. In addition, depending on their resources and insurance, some people require a less expensive solution.
Why does the two-implant overdenture work better for the lower jaw?
Based on differences in bone volume, density and other factors, we think that four to six implants are needed to retain an upper implant overdenture. Thus a two-implant overdenture is a good solution to consider for a lower jaw, but other options might be preferred for an upper jaw.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about dentures and implants. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Implant Overdentures for the Lower Jaw.”
We have noticed that there are two types of patients when it comes to enhancing a person's smile. One type, which we'll call the “Perfect Minded” patient, expects teeth that are completely regular in their arrangement and of maximum whiteness and brightness, often beyond the range of traditional guides for tooth color. They are looking for a perfect “Hollywood” smile. The other, the “Natural Minded” patient, is looking for a more natural look. This person expects a general sense of regularity and alignment of teeth with definite brightness, but not so much that the teeth are noticeable before and above other facial features. Which type are you?
The “Perfect Minded” Patient
While you expect maximum regularity and alignment of teeth along with maximum whiteness and brightness, the “perfect minded” patient requires a smile completely symmetrical (balanced from one side to the other). If we drew a vertical line down the center of your face (midline), it would fall directly between your front teeth and your smile would look just the same on each side of the line. You also expect your smile to be horizontally symmetric, so that it matches the curvature of your lower lip and the gum lines match from side to side.
The “Natural Minded” Patient
You are looking for a more subtle, natural look produced by including some minor irregularities in your look. Like the “Perfect Minded” individual, you still expect your teeth to be generally regular and well aligned but you also want to have some minor asymmetries (not matching) as you move farther back along your jaw to make your teeth look real. Your preference in tooth color is not a super shade of white, but for a tooth color that looks very natural for your facial skin and hair color.
There is no right or wrong here. What is important is to be sure to communicate your expectations to us before embarking on a program of smile redesign.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about Smile Design. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Great Expectations — Perceptions in Smile Design.”
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