October 21st, 2015
Did you know there are as many types of dental fillings as there are flavors of ice cream? Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. Still, when you visit the dentist with a cavity, there are many filling options. Most of us just sit in the chair, open our mouths, and let the dentist work his or her magic. But have you ever stopped to consider what the dentist is filling and restoring your decayed or broken tooth with?
Five types of dental fillings
There are five basic kinds of dental filing material. The dentist decides which type to use based on the degree of the decay, the cost of the material, and the type of dental insurance you have.
- Dental amalgam, or silver fillings, have been used to fill cavities for more than 150 years. Dental amalgam is the most common type of dental filling. It's strong, durable, and less expensive than other types.
- Composite fillings, or white fillings, are popular because the color matches the rest of your teeth. Composite fillings are a combination of resin and plastic. They are more aesthetically pleasing than silver fillings, but are also less durable.
- Ceramic fillings are durable and visually appealing (tooth-colored), but they are expensive. They are made of porcelain and have been shown to be resistant to staining.
- Glass ionomers are typically used on children whose teeth are still changing. Constructed from glass and acrylic, glass ionomers are designed to last fewer than five years. The benefit of these dental fillings is that they release fluoride, which protects the changing tooth from further decay.
- Unless you’re a rock or movie star, gold fillings aren’t common. While a gold filling is durable, non-corrosive, and can last more than 15 years, it not only takes more than one dental visit to place, but, as you can imagine, it is expensive.
For more information about fillings, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Laura Hannon, please give us a call at our convenient Portage, IN office!
October 14th, 2015
Sure, you brush your teeth and floss regularly, so you might think you’re off the hook when it comes to the dental chair. However, it’s just as important for adults to get regular dental exams as it is for kids. Cavities are common among adults, with 92% of people aged 18 to 64 having had cavities in their permanent teeth, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
How cavities form
Our mouths are teeming with hundreds of types of bacteria. Some are helpful and maintain good health, while others are harmful. Certain types of bacteria process the sugars in food and release acid in return. Although minor decay can be naturally reversed by your body, Dr. Laura Hannon and our team at Smile Brightly will tell you that eventually the acid wears away the enamel and creates small holes in the surface of teeth.
Cavity prevention for adults
Some people are naturally more prone to cavities than others. However, making a few lifestyle changes can dramatically reduce your likelihood of developing cavities.
- Food choices. Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables increases saliva production, and reduces cavity risk. It is also important to avoid foods that get stuck in the ridges of your teeth. Candy, cookies, and chips should be eaten sparingly.
- Beverages. Most people know that drinking soda contributes to tooth decay. However, fruit juices and energy drinks also contain large amounts of sugar. Whenever possible, replace these sugary beverages with tea or water, which rinses your mouth and prevents decay.
- Fluoridated water. Fluoride is a naturally-occurring chemical that facilitates enamel growth. Most municipal water supplies are fortified with fluoride, so drinking tap water is a great way to keep teeth healthy. People with well water may use fluoridated toothpaste or other supplemental forms of fluoride to decrease cavity risk.
- Brush teeth and floss frequently. Gently brushing teeth several times a day removes the harmful bacteria that cause cavities to develop. If possible, brush your teeth after each meal or when drinking sugary beverages. Flossing regularly removes small particles that get trapped between teeth, which further decreases tooth decay.
One of the most important steps in cavity prevention is visiting your dentist at least twice a year. Consistent dental exams ensure that cavities are caught early, before they cause major damage to your teeth.
For more information about avoiding cavities, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Laura Hannon, please give us a call at our convenient Portage, IN office!
October 7th, 2015
Dr. Laura Hannon, as well as our team at Smile Brightly, would like to give those patients with flex spend, health savings, or insurance benefits a friendly end of the year reminder that it’s high time to schedule your dental visits so you optimize your benefit.
Now is the time to reserve your appointment with us. Space is limited and we tend to get busy around the holidays, so don’t wait to give us a call at our convenient Portage, IN office!
September 30th, 2015
Great question! Yes, in fact, tooth decay is preventable! Decay, which is caused by sugars left in your child’s mouth, can turn into an acid, which in turn can break down his or her teeth. Children are at high risk for tooth decay for a simple reason: many children and adolescents tend to be lax in their oral hygiene habits.
So, how can your child prevent tooth decay?
- Start early. After the age of two, brush your child’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day. And, if possible, clean between the teeth with dental floss at least once a day, preferably before they go to bed.
- Don’t allow your little ones to eat after cleaning teeth at bedtime, as salivary flow decreases while they sleep and their teeth become vulnerable to cavities.
- Do not allow your little ones to nibble food or sip drinks continuously, and keep in mind that a low-sugar diet also helps keep tooth decay at bay. Allow time between meals for saliva to neutralize acids and repair the teeth.
- Drinking water frequently throughout the day can also reduce the possibility of new cavities forming.
- Dental sealants can also protect your children’s teeth from cavities. Sealants, which are applied to the chewing surfaces of molars, act as a shield between the tooth and harmful bacteria.
Finally, make sure your child visits Smile Brightly approximately every six months for a checkup and routine cleaning! Please give us a call at our Portage, IN office.