Posts for: August, 2021
We'd all like to avoid having a cavity in our lifetime, but poor oral hygiene, weak enamel, or even genetics can lead to tooth decay, and a filling is a necessary fix.
While the fillings of decades past were often gold or silver in color, making them highly noticeable, tooth-colored fillings are now available for a discreet, fully functional repair. At the St. Clair Shores, MI, office of dentist Dr. Steven Wainess, we offer fillings that match your natural tooth for a flawless look.
Why are tooth-colored fillings a great option for me?
Health- A filling is crucial for restoring the health of your tooth and mouth. After a cavity is removed and cleaned, the void needs to be filled to avoid bacterial growth, infection, and decay, which could spread to the surrounding teeth. A tooth-colored filling, made from glass ionomer, porcelain, or composite, seals the tooth to protect it from damage. Your dentist at our St. Clair Shores, MI, office can discuss the unique benefits of each material. Glass ionomer is generally the most affordable option, while porcelain is stain-resistant and composite requires less drilling of the tooth for a more comfortable procedure.
Durability- A tooth-colored filling is strong and long-lasting, so you can bite, chew, and brush just as you would with a natural tooth. Fillings are able to withstand everyday wear and tear so your tooth functions normally.
Appearance- Fillings of any available material are effective at protecting your tooth and evening its surface, but a tooth-colored filling does so attractively and inconspicuously. Once applied and cured, your filling will blend in with the surface and tint of your natural tooth for a flawless look.
Call Dr. Wainess, your dentist at our St. Clair Shores, MI, office today at (586) 293-1515 to learn more about tooth-colored fillings.
Losing teeth can make it more difficult to eat, not to mention the effect it can have on your smile. But that could be just the beginning of your problems. Missing teeth can contribute to extensive bone loss within your jaws and face. Here's why.
Bone is like any other living tissue—cells develop, function and eventually die, and new cells take their place. Forces generated during chewing stimulate this new growth, helping the jawbone maintain its normal volume and density.
But you lose this stimulus when you lose teeth. This can cause a slowdown in bone cell regrowth that can eventually diminish bone volume. And it can happen relatively quickly: you could lose a quarter or more of jawbone width around a missing tooth within a year.
As this loss continues, especially in cases of multiple missing teeth, the bone can eventually erode to its base level. This loss of dental function can make chewing more difficult, place more pressure on the remaining teeth and adversely affect facial appearance. It could also prevent an implant restoration to replace missing teeth.
Dentures and other forms of dental restoration can replace missing teeth, but not the chewing stimulus. Dentures in particular will accelerate bone loss, because they can irritate the bony gum ridges they rest upon.
Dental implants, on the other hand, can slow or even stop bone loss. Implants consist of a metal post, typically made of titanium, imbedded into the jawbone at the site of the missing tooth with a life-like crown attached. Titanium also has a strong affinity with bone so that bone cells naturally grow and adhere to the implant's surface. This can produce enough growth to slow, stop or even reverse bone loss.
This effect may also work when implants are combined with other restorations, including dentures. These enhanced dentures no longer rest on the gums, but connect to implants. This adds support and takes the pressure off of the bony ridge, as well as contributes to better bone health.
If you've lost a tooth, it's important to either replace it promptly or have a bone graft installed to help forestall any bone loss in the interim. And when it's time to replace those missing teeth, dental implants could provide you not only a life-like solution, but a way to protect your bone health.
If you would like more information on dental implants, 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 Hidden Consequences of Losing Teeth.”
If tooth pain is making it difficult for you to eat, brush, and simply get through the day, you may be in need of a root canal. A root canal is a procedure that restores the health of your tooth.
At the St. Clair Shores, MI, office of your dentist, Dr. Steven Wainess, we can alleviate the pain from your damaged tooth and have you feeling better in just a couple of days.
How do I know if I need a root canal?
Dental decay or damage ranges in severity, and sometimes a less invasive procedure can remedy the issue. However, signs including the following could indicate a root canal is needed:
- Intense pain while biting and chewing
- Severe decay
- Swollen, tender gums
- A severely cracked, chipped, or fractured tooth
- A deep cavity
- Extensive decay
- Darkened gum tissue or bumps on the gum
What is the procedure for a root canal?
Your dentist at our St. Clair Shores, MI, office will place you under anesthesia so you are comfortable for the procedure and then access the pulp of the affected tooth. The infected or decayed pulp will be removed before your dentist cleans and disinfects the void. To seal off your tooth and restore its shape, a filling or crown will be applied. A root canal protects the tooth from further decay, bacterial growth, or infection, and will restore the appearance of your tooth so it looks natural and healthy.
After your procedure, you may experience discomfort for a few days. Your dentist may prescribe an antibiotic to help with the healing process and avoiding hard or crunchy foods can help alleviate soreness.
If you have tooth pain, don't delay your care. Make an appointment with Dr. Wainess, your dentist in St. Clair Shores, MI, by calling (586) 293-1515.
It's normal to have occasional mouth dryness—that "cotton mouth" feeling when you first wake up or after eating a spicy meal. It soon dissipates, though, leaving you no worse for wear other than the memory of an unpleasant sensation.
For some, though, the unpleasant sensation becomes a chronic condition known as xerostomia, in which their mouth feels dry most of the time. And, it can have far-reaching consequences beyond a mere irritation if not treated.
Among the numerous causes for xerostomia, the most common appears to be over-the-counter and prescription medication. An estimated five hundred medications have dry mouth as a potential side-effect, from antihistamines to antidepressants. And because people over 65 are more likely to take medications, they also have a high occurrence of xerostomia.
A person with certain systemic diseases like Parkinson's Disease or undergoing radiation or chemotherapy for cancers of the head and neck may also encounter dry mouth. For example, an autoimmune disease called Sjögren's syndrome, primarily affecting postmenopausal women, can dry out the mouth's mucous membranes.
Chronic dry mouth isn't normal, and often a sign of a health problem that should be examined. And it can lead to more problems with your oral health. Because dry mouth is most likely a reduction in saliva, which helps buffer decay-causing acid and provides antibodies to fight bacteria, having less of this vital fluid can increase your risk for both tooth decay and gum disease.
So, what can you do if you're plagued by persistent dry mouth? If you suspect your medications may be a factor, talk with your doctor about whether one of them may be the underlying cause for your symptoms. You may be able to switch to an alternate medication without dry mouth side-effects.
You can also increase your water intake during the day, including drinking more before and after taking medication. And there are a number of products like the artificial sweetener xylitol found in gums and candies that can boost saliva. Your dentist may also be able to recommend products that increase saliva.
Above all, be sure you keep up daily brushing and flossing, as well as regular dental cleanings. Taking care of chronic dry mouth could help you avoid dental problems later.
If you would like more information on preventing and treating chronic dry mouth, 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 “Dry Mouth.”
A wise sage once said the largest room in the world is the "room for improvement." Indeed, many modern advances would never have happened if someone hadn't first asked, "How can I make this better?"
Dentures and bridges are a case in point. Both of these tooth replacement methods have a long, successful track record in restoring functional, life-like teeth. But a recent development has made them even better: the incorporation of dental implants.
Most people associate implants, metallic posts imbedded in the jawbone, with single tooth replacements. But a few strategically placed implants can connect to and support a full removable denture (or overdenture). We can also use them to permanently affix a full or partial bridge without altering any remaining teeth as with a regular bridge.
There are two great benefits to using implants in this way. The most obvious is that they provide greater support for restorations than the traditional means for securing them in place. But there's also a less obvious benefit: They help sustain and improve bone health.
When you lose teeth, there's a high probability of bone loss. The bone is constantly forming new cells to replace older cells that have dissolved. The forces generated during chewing travel up through the teeth and help stimulate new bone growth. When teeth go missing, though, that stimulus disappears.
As a result, new cell formation can't keep up with the loss of older cells, causing the volume and density of jawbone to diminish over time. And this gradual bone loss continues to occur even with dentures or bridges, which can't replicate the chewing stimulus. Even worse, dentures irritating the bony ridges of the jaw may actually accelerate bone loss.
But the titanium in dental implants attracts bone cells, which readily grow and adhere to the implant surface. They can stop the progression of bone loss, or even help stimulate more growth. That bone growth benefit is also applicable when incorporated with dentures or bridges.
If you're looking at a denture or bridge restoration, consider implant support. It may even be possible to retrofit your existing dentures for implants. It could give you a more secure restoration and healthier bone.
If you would like more information on implant-supported dentures and bridges, 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 “Overdentures & Fixed Dentures.”