If you’re like many adults today, you have your share of cavities, most acquired during childhood. And, like many adults, you probably have some not-so-cherished memories of the drilling, and the stuffing, and the discomfort that can accompany getting a filling. Filling cavities in our teeth is important, but it can’t quite be called fun. And it’s not a sign of healthy teeth, either. Cavities signal tooth decay, but how can you keep that decay away? Call on dental sealants.
Do Dental Sealants Help Prevent Cavities?
Brushing your teeth and flossing daily removes most of the food and bacteria from your teeth. But not all of it. Especially on teeth in the back of your mouth — molars and premolars. These are the teeth that do most of the work, the grinding and chewing, when you eat. And the surface grooves and fissures —which all teeth have — are deeper on these teeth than on others, and harder to reach when you brush, especially for young children.
Dental sealants consist of a thin coating of liquid plastic that’s painted onto the chewing surface of molars and premolars. They serve as an extra barrier to help protect these hard-working teeth from decay. Sealants work much like the commercial packaging we find on perishable foods in a store. They keep food particles, bacteria, and plaque from settling into the hills and valleys of your tooth’s surface in the way that a package, be it a can or a bag, keeps dust and dirt out of the food on your grocer’s shelves.
Dental sealants are permanently bonded to a tooth’s surface. To apply a dental sealant, we first use an acidic solution to roughen the surface of the tooth so that the sealant solution will stick as well as possible. Once the acid is rinsed off, the sealant is carefully painted onto the surface of your tooth. As the sealant is applied, it flows into all the crevices in the tooth, some of which are thinner than a strand of human hair. The final step is hardening the sealant, called polymerizing, accomplished by shining a curing light on the tooth for a few minutes.
Their application takes little time — most often less than 45 minutes — and helps ensure that your tooth will be ready to keep out bacteria and food particles for years to come. And it’s usually painless, a plus for children who fear the dentist or people who have particularly sensitive teeth.
How Well Do Dental Sealants Do Their Job?
Keeping cavities out of teeth in order to avoid the need for a dental filling is one of the main jobs dental sealants are specifically designed to do. Although they are most often used on children’s teeth, sealants can work well for adults, too. The statistics are impressive:
According to the American Dental Association, sealants can not only prevent cavities, but they can also sometimes halt the progression of tooth decay that has not yet created a cavity.
Is The Cost of a Dental Sealant Worth It?
Typically, placing dental sealants will cost from $30 to $60 per tooth, depending on the teeth, your overall oral health, and the number of teeth to be sealed. Most dental insurance plans either don’t cover sealants at all, or offer minimal coverage. Nevertheless, even without dental insurance, sealants are likely to be less costly in the long run than handling tooth decay by putting in a filling.
The initial cost of filling a cavity is significantly more than the cost of a dental sealant. A filling can cost as much as $150 depending on the size of the filling needed and the type of filling desired. And cavities, and the need to fill them, are not uncommon. According to Zentist, a dental insurance website, on average:
42% of children age 2 to 11 have cavities in their primary teeth
59% of adolescents age 12 to 19 have cavities in their permanent teeth
92% of adults have at least one cavity
Even if cost isn’t an issue, time and inconvenience often are. At the least, like getting a dental sealant, filling a cavity means a visit to your dentist. But getting a filling takes longer, can be uncomfortable during the procedure, and may cause pain (from mild to severe) that keeps you from your normal activities for the rest of the day. Sealants can be applied rather quickly, compared to filling a cavity, and they usually cause no pain or discomfort. And, unlike replacing a filling, which requires re-drilling the tooth, if a seal is broken, for whatever reason, the sealant can easily be reapplied.
As with any oral health decision, the real first step to stopping cavities with dental sealants is to talk with your dentist. We at Lifetime Dental Health are here to help, right from the start. To talk to one of our dental professionals or to make your first appointment, contact us. We’ll be happy to help you stop cavities in their tracks, before they reach your pearly-whites.
Cavities in your teeth can be painful. A crooked tooth can make your smile less than perfect. And stained or discolored teeth can be embarrassing. Still, these dental situations are just annoyances compared to the loss of a tooth, or worse yet, several teeth. According to the American Dental Association, the average adult between 20 and 64 years of age has at least three decayed or missing teeth.
Missing teeth can change how you speak, make it difficult to eat, allow other teeth to get out of place, and even lead to tooth decay and additional tooth loss. That’s why replacing missing teeth is one of the most important dental corrections you can make to keep your teeth — in fact, your whole body — healthy. And one of the best ways to replace missing teeth is with a dental bridge.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A common way to connect two things — ideas, cultures, musical genres — is described as “bridging the gap.” It’s an idiom with a meaning that seems crystal clear. And one that applies perfectly to a common means of replacing missing teeth: a dental bridge. A dental bridge is just that — a device that bridges the gap between two (or more) missing teeth, by inserting the same number of artificial teeth (called “pontic teeth”) into the gap and connecting them to natural teeth (called “abutment teeth”). Dental bridges have been used regularly since the early 1900s and were by far the preferred way to replace teeth for decades. Today, four basic styles of dental bridges are available and affordable.
These are the most common type of dental bridge because, usually, if you lose a tooth or teeth you still have natural teeth on both sides of the gap. A traditional bridge uses these natural teeth to hold the “bridge” that replaces the missing teeth. The natural teeth are crowned, and the bridge is placed between them. It is then secured by cement to the crowns on the natural teeth. Most often made of porcelain fused to a metal base, these bridges are strong enough to withstand the force from chewing or biting, and therefore can be used to replace molars
This type of bridge is basically a specialized version of a traditional bridge that is used when only one side of the gap is next to a natural tooth. The bridge is attached to the single natural tooth in the same way as in a traditional bridge — cemented to a crown — but only on one end. Less stable than a bridge with two abutment teeth, these bridges are not sturdy enough to be used in the back of the mouth, where the force of chewing and biting could damage them
Also called a resin-bonded bridge, this is an adaptation of a traditional bridge, and is made of porcelain fused to metal, porcelain alone, or plastic supported by metal. Often preferred for replacing teeth in the front of the mouth, these bridges do not require that your natural teeth be crowned. Instead, they receive their support from metal or porcelain “wings” that are cemented to the backs of the adjacent teeth. Because of this, a Maryland bridge is only as strong as the bonding cement it’s attached with and, like the cantilever bridge, is not recommended to replace molars.
Considered the strongest, most stable bridge of the four types, an implant-supported bridge is just what the name implies: a bridge supported by implants installed in the jawbone. These bridges usually require a minimum of two surgeries, one to install the implants (each missing tooth is replaced with an individual implant) and one to place the bridge. In cases where an implant isn’t possible for a missing tooth, a pontic tooth is used instead and suspended between two implant-supported crowns. Due to the healing process after an implant, it can take several months for an implant-supported bridge procedure to be completed.
What Are The Benefits of a Dental Bridge?
Over and above simply filling an unsightly gap in your smile, there are a number of advantages to replacing missing teeth with a professional dental bridge. A bridge can keep the teeth surrounding the hole from shifting around, maintain your natural bite so you eat normally, and provide the same structure your lost teeth did to support your speech. It also makes it easier to manage a thorough and effective oral hygiene routine and leaves your mouth feeling as natural and as comfortable as it was before.
Dental bridges are usually rather small and lightweight, and ordinarily, getting used to a dental bridge is easy. They help you look like you did before tooth loss, by maintaining the natural shape of your face and, because of the availability of modern materials, they look the same in color and shape as your remaining natural teeth.
Caring for Dental Bridges
Of course, like your natural teeth, a dental bridge needs care and attention. It’s vital that all your natural teeth stay healthy and strong. The success of any dental bridge is dependent on what it’s attached to, be it implants, crowns, or natural teeth, so preventing problems, particularly in the abutment teeth, is critical.
Most dental bridges last at least five to seven years. But with good oral hygiene — flossing and brushing daily and getting regular professional dental cleanings and checkups — they can last ten years or longer. At Lifetime Dental Health, we can show you how to effectively care for your bridge and advise you on what foods are likely to cause problems.
Don’t go through life with missing teeth. It can compromise the teeth you still have, encouraging tooth decay, contributing to gum disease, and even causing the loss of more teeth. We can help! Whether you’ve lost a single tooth or several, contact us for a free consultation and learn how quickly you can enjoy a full set of teeth again.
Many patients want to see a whiter and brighter smile when they look in the mirror. Dingy and stained teeth can hold you back from feeling self-confident.
Whether you have a big event to attend like a school reunion or wedding, or just want a nicer-looking smile for your daily life, teeth whitening is a wonderful way to feel more fabulous.
“Regular” folks see movie stars with dazzling smiles and think they must be the only ones who can look so spectacular. It’s not the case.
Teeth whitening can make nearly anyone’s smile look just as stunning, and here at Lifetime Dental Health, we have in-office and at-home options that can vastly improve your smile.
Here’s what you need to know about teeth whitening and if you may be a good candidate. With some information, you can make a smart choice and see that gleaming smile you have always wanted.
How Do I Know if I’m a Good Candidate for Teeth Whitening?
If your teeth aren’t as white as you’d like them to be, that’s a start. If your teeth are stained, discolored, or just dull, teeth whitening can make them whiter and brighter.
Yellowish, orange-tinged, or even brownish teeth can be improved with teeth whitening. Grayish stains don’t always whiten up as much, but some improvement can be achieved.
Your teeth may not be stained terribly, but as we eat and age, color changes happen. A teeth whitening treatment can turn things around and give you that stellar smile you’ve been missing.
Those who may not be good candidates are people with periodontal disease or eroded enamel. People with sensitive teeth may not be able to tolerate the process. We’ll assess your situation during your consultation.
What Can Cause My Teeth to Stain or Become Discolored?
As mentioned above, time can be a culprit. As we get older, our teeth may start to discolor or lose their shine. But there are other things we do regularly that contribute to staining or discoloration.
What we eat and drink makes a real difference. Some foods and drinks can stain the enamel, and over time, the color won’t get “brushed off” as it seeps in.
Some foods and drinks to avoid or limit to prevent staining and discoloration include dark berries, chocolate, tomato-based soups and sauces, red wine, coffee, tea, and cola. Of course, moderation is key, so if you love your coffee, have a cup every once in a while.
Other things can cause staining or discoloration. Certain medications like tetracycline may have an unwanted effect on the teeth. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing this and to find out if there is something else you can take in its place if this is a concern for you.
Smoking is a big no-no for many reasons, one of them being aesthetic. Tobacco stains the teeth, so if you need another reason to kick the habit, there you go.
Fluorosis can be an issue too. When teeth are overexposed to fluoride early in life as the permanent teeth are forming, discoloration can endure.
Does Lifetime Dental Health Offer In-Office Whitening?
We offer in-office whitening at Lifetime Dental Health, and just one visit can do the trick. Unlike store-bought strips and trays you can get over-the-counter, our teeth whitening procedure works better, more efficiently, and the results last longer. Plus, we ensure your safety and comfort as we get your teeth multiple shades whiter. The process is painless and doesn’t take too long. You’ll walk out of your appointment with a beautiful smile that you’ll want to show everyone!
For those who prefer to do the whitening at home, we can supply you with trays which you can use comfortably in the privacy of your own home. This process will take longer, as you’ll need to wear them for several days (perhaps longer if you have sensitive teeth and can’t keep them on for a long stretch), but the results will be worth the effort.
How Long Will the Results of Teeth Whitening Last?
Every person’s results will be different. Some people have the same level of whiteness for as long as three years. Others see fading after a few months. Generally speaking, those who are diligent about their dental care and don’t consume foods or drinks that are known to stain will see longer-lasting results. When it’s time for a touch-up, you know who to turn to.
Are You Ready to See a Whiter Smile?
If you’re interested in teeth whitening, please feel free to contact us at Lifetime Dental Health so we can set you up with a consultation.
If you have any questions or concerns, we will be more than happy to address them. Your peace of mind and overall confidence in our team is important to us.
We look forward to seeing you soon and giving you a smile that could light up a room.
Tooth-colored fillings, or white fillings, restore a fractured or decayed tooth and appear very similar to the color and texture of your existing teeth. The most popular material used in tooth-colored fillings is composite resin in which a mixture of materials is used to create the final product. Not only is this a durable option, but it easily concealed so that your smile remains natural-looking.
When You Should Get Tooth-Colored Fillings
There are a variety of reasons that a person may benefit from tooth-colored fillings. The most popular reason is that the person is experiencing tooth decay and needs a filling or order to save the tooth and stop the spread of the decay. However, there are other reasons that a tooth-colored filling may be a great choice. Such reasons include:
Filling in gaps
Repairing chipped teeth
Making teeth straighter and even
No matter the reason, tooth-colored fillings are a quality choice that many dentists offer their patients both for long-lasting results and their aesthetic appeal.
Pros and Cons
Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to choosing tooth-colored fillings. Here, we will examine the pros and cons so that you may make the most informed decision about your smile.
Of course, one of the most apparent advantages of tooth-colored fillings is that it looks just like the rest of your teeth. It won’t be readily obvious that you’ve had any dental work done. You can easily use this type of filling for the front or back teeth without worrying about how it will impact your appearance.
Additionally, the bonding on the filling actually restores the tooth to 85-95% of its original strength. It is also beneficial that the filling hardens in a matter of seconds rather than days like some of the other filling options out there. Plus, if the filling is damaged, it is easily replaced.
While there are undoubtedly many advantages of tooth-colored fillings, there are a few cons that you should keep in mind. For instance, just like your regular teeth, consistent exposure to dark liquids will also stain the filling. This exposure may also degrade the filling over time. Unfortunately, tooth-colored fillings are generally less durable than the metal fillings, and can also be more expensive. Because tooth-colored fillings are typically viewed by insurance companies as a somewhat cosmetic procedure, there may be a surcharge added to your final bill.
Alternatives to Tooth-Colored Fillings
While tooth-colored fillings may be the ideal solution for some patients, they may simply not be an option for some people. The size, location, and severity of the damage on the teeth may play a role in which type of filling is best for you. Some alternatives include:
Gold Inlays: Gold inlays are durable, but typically cost more than white fillings. They also require two visits because of the tedious process of creating the inlays in a laboratory.
Dental Amalgam: Dental amalgams are the least expensive alternative, but are less durable than gold inlays. One of the biggest concerns about this option is that it uses 43-53% elemental mercury, which may pose some safety concerns.
Compomers: The composite of this type of filling is a little different than tooth-colored fillings, but can still offer an aesthetically appealing result. They aren’t as durable but release fluoride which may be ideal for certain areas of the mouth that are more prone to decay.
Silicate and Glass Ionomers: This may be an option for some patients, but should not be used on the back teeth because the material tends to be more brittle than other fillings.
Which Option is Right for You?
There are certainly many options to choose from when it comes to deciding which filling is right for you. However, this is a decision that is best made with your dentist. There are many variables that will come into play, including the type of damage, location of the teeth, as well as the patient’s financial situation. Your dentist will help you narrow down your options and make the right choice for your smile.
Why You Should Choose Lifetime Dental Health
At Lifetime Dental Health, we understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to dentistry. Some patients will benefit from specific procedures or products simply because of the details surrounding their situation. We work diligently to provide each patient with a customized approach to dentistry that suits their financial situation, current needs, and desired goals. It is our privilege to work with you to achieve the best outcome for your dental needs.
Our warm and friendly staff is ready to answer your questions and provide quality information that will help you throughout your dental procedures. Please reach out to us today to learn more about the services that we offer. Schedule your appointment today or give us a call at (614) 333-9442. We look forward to working with you!
We all have a thing or two about ourselves that we would like to change or improve. Some people may want longer hair, smaller feet, or maybe the perfect smile!
It is perfectly okay to want to make changes here and there to satisfy your personal wants.
Read on to learn about ways to achieve your dream smile with the help of cosmetic dentistry!
What is cosmetic dentistry?
The simplest way to define cosmetic dentistry is procedures that are used to enhance someone’s teeth to create a flawless smile. There are many procedures available for you to obtain the perfect smile; the method will vary for each person and depends on the work that is needed.
What are the benefits of cosmetic dentistry?
1. Prevents Future Dental Damage
The main benefit of cosmetic dentistry is that it can prevent future dental damage. Aside from improving the appearance of ones’ smile, ideally, the cosmetic procedures focus on improving the size, shape, position, alignment, and color of the patient’s teeth. Correcting or fixing these things ultimately eliminate additional dental work down the line, assuming the patient continues practicing preventative care.
2. Increases confidence
Your smile is generally the first thing that someone sees. Many people that do not have a smile that they are proud of, find themselves being self-conscious, and they try their best to avoid smiling or showing their teeth.
Increasing your self-confidence can often open new doors in your life.
3. Improved Health
Aside from repairing typical dental issues such as tooth decay and gum disease, cosmetic dentistry can also improve other health factors such as diabetes and kidney issues, to name a few.
It has been proven that most people who have poor oral hygiene often also suffer from other health issues such as diabetes and kidney issues, as mentioned above.
Once a cosmetic dental procedure has been completed, and your smile has been restored, you would be much more likely to continue a proper oral hygiene routine — ultimately improving your overall health.
What are the disadvantages to cosmetic dentistry?
Many cosmetic dental procedures can be costly for most people. The price varies depending on the work required and the procedure chosen.
Cosmetic dentistry is not unaffordable; in fact, ask us about payment plans to assist patients with financial need.
This disadvantage ties together with the previous one. Most dental insurance providers will not cover cosmetic procedures; this leaves the patient to pay out of pocket or reach out for financial assistance through the practice or even a financial institution. However, there are some dental procedures that are both cosmetic and beneficial for your overall health that can be covered by insurance.
What cosmetic dentistry options do I have?
There are many cosmetic dental treatments available. A few of the most common procedures are:
Bonding is similar to the veneer procedure. The difference primarily lies in the material used. Bonding is aimed at decayed, chipped, and even fractured teeth. The material composite resin (plastic) is used during the repair. The repair is completed in a single visit.
The disadvantage of choosing the bonding procedure is that the composite resin material that is used is not as durable as the natural tooth. So biting fingernails, eating ice, and chewing on other hard things can cause the material to chip.
The bonding procedure generally lasts two to four years before needing to be repaired; this timeframe also depends on how well the teeth are taken care of during that time. With proper care, bondings can last much longer.
Fillings are a way to repair a tooth that has been damaged by decay. A tooth is filled with either gold, silver (Amalgam), composite (plastic), or porcelain.
The filling used will depend on the type of damage done to the teeth.
Each filling has its advantages and disadvantages, ranging from cost, durability, and additional procedure time.
Crowns are also known as “caps.” They act as a cover that goes over a tooth. Crowns can be considered both a cosmetic procedure and non-cosmetic procedure, depending on the damage to the tooth or teeth. The idea is to restore the shape, size, and overall appearance of the tooth. There are also three different types of crowning options.
Each crown option has its own disadvantage, ranging from cost, fit, and fragility.
4. Dental implants
Dental implants are the replacement of the root of a tooth or teeth. A metal piece is placed into the bone socket. The metal piece is then covered by a type of crown, which acts as the new tooth.
One of the main disadvantages of dental implants is the cost. This procedure is one of the most expensive cosmetic dental procedures available. Another possible concern is that the procedure is a surgical procedure. Any surgical procedure carries some risks to the patient.
Veneers are primarily used when someone is experiencing issues with chipped teeth, teeth that are oddly shaped and even gaps between teeth. A very thin cover is placed over the tooth or teeth to obtain a more appealing look.
Since the enamel is removed during this procedure, one of the main disadvantages is that the tooth or teeth receiving the veneer may become extremely sensitive to hot and cold food and drinks.
Veneers are simply a way to make your teeth look better and do not prevent decay.
Bridges are meant to close or “bridge” the gap created by one or more missing teeth. These are also known as false teeth and often are anchored by crowns.
One of the main disadvantages of dental bridges is that the structure of the patient teeth can be changed after the bridge has been placed. Also, tooth decay can still present itself if the bridges are not fitted properly.
If you are thinking about investing in your smile with cosmetic dentistry contact us at Lifetime Dental, 614-333-9442. Our professional dental staff will be more than happy to assist you with any questions.