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Posts for: April, 2020

By Art of Dentistry Danville
April 22, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: fillings  

For over a hundred years dental amalgam — a combination of silver, mercury, tin and other metals — has been an effective filling material for teeth damaged by decay. But it has one major drawback — its metallic appearance stands out in stark contrast to the natural color of teeth.

As an alternative, composite resin fillings can match the color, shape and texture of natural teeth. These materials and the techniques used to bond them are proving just as effective as and more aesthetically pleasing than dental amalgam.

Fillings help protect and preserve a decayed tooth. By first removing decayed tooth structure through drilling, the resulting void is filled with durable material that strengthens the tooth and provides it protection from further decay.

The ultimate goal for restoration is to return the tooth to as near normal form and function as possible. Dental amalgam serves well in terms of function, providing the tooth strength in the face of the daily biting forces it encounters. In contrast, composite resins excel in appearance, but haven’t always matched the durability of amalgam. They’re material construction has improved over time, though, as well as the techniques used to bond them to teeth.

Most of these bonding techniques incorporate layering. The first step is to seal the dentin (the porous, living tissue just below the enamel); we then build up the composite material layer by layer within the tooth using special bonding adhesive and curing lights. In some cases where a large volume of tooth structure must be replaced, the restoration is first formed on the tooth and then removed for curing before being cemented into the tooth or a separate restoration is formed by a dental lab.

The end result is a tooth which both looks and functions like a fully intact tooth. Though care must be taken not to subject composite resin restorations to undue forces (no cracking open nutshells, for example), your new filling should continue to serve you and look great for a long time to come.

If you would like more information on metal-free restorations, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Natural Beauty of Tooth Colored Fillings.”

Our mouths are used mainly for eating and communicating. Keeping it healthy is essential as we use it continuously and we expose our oral health to various activities daily. Establishing a proper oral health care routine is simple and a must to maintain our overall health and wellbeing. Besides routine visits to one of our dentists here at the Art of Dentistry Danville in Danville, VA, Dr. Jessica Owens or Dr. Zachary Hairston, you must also avoid the following bad oral care habits.

Bad Habits to Avoid and How They Affect Your Oral Health

There is a range of habits that are detrimental to your oral health. First, is the excessive consumption of sugar. Sugar can cause the bacteria in your mouth to increase and therefore produce plaque at a rapid rate. What happens then, is that the plaque could develop into tartar that’s extremely hard to get rid of. In turn, this could lead to gum and tooth decay if not removed well.

The second habit you should avoid is smoking. Aside from the fact that smoking causes discoloration of the teeth and bad breath, your salivary glands could likewise become inflamed. Additionally, smoking could negatively affect your jawbone density, cause oral cancer, and gum disease.

Another thing you should avoid is brushing your teeth rigorously. This could aggravate and cause the gums to regress and the tooth enamel to wear down prematurely. Clenching, grinding, or using your teeth as a tool should be avoided too. Grinding your teeth or using them as a multi-tool could chip, crack, or wear down enamel and make your teeth more susceptible to decay.

Clenching could likewise cause painful discomfort that could then lead to cracked chipped teeth and lockjaw. Moreover, crunching on ice can damage the tooth enamel as well, leaving it more vulnerable to decay and tooth sensitivity. In addition, biting your nails frequently could cause your teeth to chip and crack. The bacteria under the nails can also increase the risk of infection in your body, ultimately affecting your overall health.

For children, the most common bad habit that should be avoided is thumb sucking. Based on how a child sucks his thumb, the teeth could develop crookedly and cause malformation in the roof of the mouth.

The Basics of a Good Oral Care Routine

The following are easy ways to establish a proper oral health care routine:

  • Going to your dentist in Danville, VA, at recommended intervals for cleanings and oral exams.
  • Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing regularly.
  • Having a balanced diet and limit the consumption of junk foods.
  • Utilizing dental products that include fluoride (toothpaste, and/or mouthwash).
  • Drinking fluoridated water and using mouthwash.

Need More Oral Health Care Advice?

Dial (434) 792-0700 to set your appointment with one of our dentists, Dr. Jessica Owens or Dr. Zachary Hairston here at the Art of Dentistry Danville in Danville, VA.

By Art of Dentistry Danville
April 12, 2020
Category: Oral Health

Singer and actor Demi Lovato has a new claim to fame: formidable martial artist. When she is not in the recording studio, on stage or in front of the camera, Lovato can often be found keeping in shape at Jay Glazer's Hollywood (California) gym. Glazer, who is best known as a sports journalist, also runs conditioning programs for professional athletes and celebrities based on mixed martial arts. On March 6, Glazer got more than he bargained for when 5'3" Lovato stepped into the ring and knocked out his front tooth.

Glazer reportedly used super glue to put his tooth back together. Not a good idea! While it may not be convenient to drop everything and get to the dental office, it takes an expert to safely treat a damaged tooth. If you glue a broken tooth, you risk having to undergo major work to correct your temporary fix—it's no easy task to "unglue" a tooth, and the chemicals in the glue may damage living tooth tissue as well as the surrounding gum and bone.

Would you know what to do in a dental emergency? Here are some guidelines:

  • If you chip a tooth, save the missing piece if possible. We may be able to reattach it.
  • If your tooth is cracked, rinse your mouth with warm water, but don't wiggle the tooth around or bite down on it. If it's bleeding, hold clean gauze to the area and call our office.
  • If your tooth is knocked loose or is pushed deeper into the socket, don't force the tooth back into position on your own. Immediate attention is very important.
  • If your tooth is knocked out, there's a chance it can be reattached. Pick up the tooth while being careful not to touch the root. Then rinse it off and have either someone place into its socket, or place it against the inside of your cheek or in a glass of milk. Please call the office immediately or go to a hospital.

What's the best thing to do in an emergency? Call us right away, and DON'T super glue your tooth! You can prevent worse problems by letting a professional handle any dental issues. And if you've been living with a chipped, broken or missing tooth, call us to schedule an appointment for a consultation—there are several perfectly safe ways to restore your smile. Meanwhile, if you practice martial arts to keep in shape, think twice before getting into the ring with Demi Lovato!

To learn more, read the Dear Doctor articles “Trauma & Nerve Damage to Teeth” and “Saving New Permanent Teeth After Injury.”

By Art of Dentistry Danville
April 02, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: sedation dentistry  

Dental visit anxiety is a serious problem: Half of all Americans admit to some level of dental fear, while 15% avoid dental care altogether due to acute anxiety. The harm this can cause to dental health is incalculable.

But dentists have a number of sedation techniques that can relax anxious patients and allow them to receive the care they need. Although often used together, sedation is slightly different from anesthesia, which aims to deaden pain sensation. The aim of sedation is to calm the emotions and state of mind.

Sedation isn't a new approach: Physicians have used substances like root herbs or alcohol to relieve anxiety since ancient times. Modern dentistry also has a long history with sedation, dating from the early 1800s with the first use of nitrous oxide gas.

Modern dental sedation has expanded into an array of drugs and techniques to match varying levels of anxiety intensity. At the milder end of the scale are oral sedatives, taken an hour or so before a dental appointment to produce a calmer state. This may be enough for some patients, or it can be used in conjunction with nitrous oxide.

For those with more intense anxiety, dentists can turn to intravenous (IV) sedation. In this case, the sedative is delivered directly into the bloodstream through a small needle or catheter inserted in a vein. This causes a quicker and deeper reaction than oral sedatives.

Although similar to general anesthesia, IV sedation does differ in significant ways. Rather than unconsciousness, IV sedation places a patient in a “semi-awake” state that may still allow them respond to verbal commands. And although the patient's vital signs (heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, etc.) must be monitored, the patient doesn't need breathing assistance as with anesthesia.

There's one other benefit: The drugs used often have an amnesic effect, meaning the patient won't remember the treatment experience after recovery. This can be helpful in creating more pleasant memories of their dental experience, which could have its own sedative effect in the future.

Whether oral, gas or IV, sedatives are a safe and effective way to calm dental fears during treatment. That could help someone with anxiety maintain their oral health.

If you would like more information on reducing dental anxiety, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “IV Sedation in Dentistry.”