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Archive for October, 2016

Restorative Dentistry: The Benefits of Tooth-colored Fillings

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

dentist 60611In the past, patients who needed to have cavities filled would have to get restorations made of amalgam, which left a noticeable dark blemish on their smiles. Now, your dentist can use tooth-colored composite materials that blend in more closely with the enamel of your teeth. These tooth-colored fillings have a number of benefits for patients.

Of course, a natural aesthetic is one of the primary advantages of tooth-colored fillings. The older amalgam restorations were quite unattractive and noticeable when the patient smiled. That is not the case with composite fillings, which are barely discernible from the biological enamel that surrounds the restoration.

Additionally, the composite materials actually form a bond with the tooth, which means that a tooth-colored filling ultimately gives the tooth more support. Furthermore, because the composite materials bond with enamel, the dentist will need to remove less healthy tooth material in order to accommodate the restoration.

A tooth-colored filling also is less susceptible to damage resulting from stress related to temperature changes. In contrast, amalgam is more likely to expand and contract with major temperature shifts, and that can cause damage to the restoration and the tooth.

When composite fillings were first introduced, the materials were not strong enough to restore cavities on the chewing surfaces of the large molars. However, the technology behind composite fillings has improved dramatically, and your dentist can now use these materials to fill a variety of cavities. However, it’s important to remember than in some instances, amalgam may be a more suitable material.

Patients who want to upgrade from old amalgam fillings to tooth-colored restorations may choose to have the amalgam fillings removed and replaced. In order to minimize the patient’s exposure to the mercury contained in the amalgam, proper safeguards must be taken in removing the old fillings. Don’t hesitate to ask your provider about this aspect of your care.

Tooth-colored fillings have a number of benefits for patients. To learn more about this treatment, contact our office and speak to one of our knowledgeable staff members.

What kind of bite issues can Invisalign correct?

Friday, October 14th, 2016

Invisalign clear braces ChicagoWhen you’re undergoing treatment to get a straighter smile, the positioning of your teeth may not be the only issue involved. Malocclusions (“bad bites”) can also be problematic and affect your smile’s appearance as well as your ability to chew and speak properly. If you have been interested in getting Invisalign clear braces to reposition your teeth, rest assured that this treatment can also help to address a variety of bite issues.

Invisalign can correct underbites, overbites, crossbites and open bites as well as fairly significant crowding. Of course, you want to choose the treatment method that is most likely to be successful in achieving your smile goals, so you should consult with a dentist to determine if Invisalign is likely to be effective in your specific case.

If the dentist determines that Invisalign is a good fit for you, you’ll gain a number of advantages over conventional braces. Invisalign clear braces are much more convenient than regular braces. The clear plastic trays that reposition the teeth can be removed at mealtime so the patient doesn’t have to give up any of his or her favorite foods. Just be sure to rinse thoroughly before you put the trays back in your mouth so that no food debris gets trapped next to your teeth where bacteria can feed on it and wreak havoc.

You can also remove the Invisalign trays to brush and floss your teeth, eliminating the need to clean around appliances that just get in the way.

Not to mention that Invisalign doesn’t intrude on your smile’s appearance during the course of your treatment, unlike the unsightly brackets and wires involved in standard braces. The trays are barely noticeable.

In return for this convenience, patients must be conscientious about wearing the trays for the recommended amount of time each day (around 22 hours) and switching out the trays on the schedule provided to you.

Invisalign can correct many bite issues, so if you need to address a malocclusion in addition to crooked teeth, call us today and set up an evaluation with one of our providers to see if this option may work for you.

How to Minimize Bite Stress

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

dentist 60604You may be doing damage to your smile and not even realize it if you’re clenching or grinding your teeth at night. This extra bite stress can cause premature wear and tear on your teeth, potentially making them more susceptible to breakage or tooth loss. When the enamel is worn, the more sensitive dentin is exposed, which can be painful for the patient. Bruxism can also contribute to jaw pain from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder and may cause the patient’s gums to begin receding.

If bruxism is not addressed, it can create the need for restorations and other interventions. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to safeguard your smile from the effects of this bite stress. If the issue is occurring during sleep, your dentist can custom-design a mouthguard that you can wear to prevent your upper and lower teeth from making contact throughout the night. This treatment is also likely to reduce facial pain that can also accompany bruxism.

Stress can also exacerbate bite stress if you’re subconsciously clenching your jaw throughout the day. This can increase wear and tear on your jaw joint and the muscles that support it and cause strain and discomfort. For this reason, stress management techniques may be a good complement to a custom mouthguard.

Some lifestyle changes may be helpful to reduce bite stress, as well. For example, avoiding chewing gum can help, as can limiting your consumption of alcohol and caffeine, both of which may increase the likelihood that you’ll grind or clench your teeth.

When you get a mouthguard that your dentist designs specifically for you, it’s much more comfortable than a one-size-fits-all model you might be able to buy off the shelf at a store. This increased comfort makes it more likely that you’ll actually wear the mouthguard so that you can benefit from minimal bite stress.

Are you experiencing signs of increased bite stress? Ask your provider about custom-fitted mouth guards and other potential treatments for bruxism to protect your smile. Contact our office at Ora Dental Studio today!