A cost effective method to make dental repairs, dental bonding makes the tooth look new again without causing too much damage.
This is a cosmetic procedure wherein a tooth-colored composite material is used. This material is applied to the portion of the tooth that needs repair. Once it is applied, it is then sculpted, hardened and then polished into the desired shape. Ideal for small dentistry repairs like chipping or fixing of broken tooth or for closing gaps between the teeth. Sometimes, dental bonding is also used in filling cavities.
A gentle phosphoric acid is applied to the surface of the teeth which helps to roughen the surface. Bonding materials only stay of rough surfaces. Once the surface becomes rough, the material is placed on the tooth. A special light, which provides the required heat to dry the material, is then used. Once it dries, the material is then polished till it becomes smooth and gives a natural shine.
A very easy procedure, dental bonding typically requires only one dental visit and the entire process can be accomplished in 30 to 60 minutes per tooth.
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In the early days, an instrument also well known as the explorer was used to detect cavities. This instrument was used to poke around the tooth. Whenever, the instrument got stuck in the tooth, the doctors realised the presence of a cavity.
Lasers for Tooth Cavity Detection
Today, people are using a diode laser, to detect tooth decays. This is a high tech solution for detecting and removing cavities.
The laser helps the dentist to determine if there is decay in the tooth. The dentist can then choose to observe the tooth or advise that the cavity be removed and the tooth filled.
When a healthy tooth is exposed to the diode laser, it doesn’t glow or shine, as the reading on the digital display is low. On the other hand when a decayed tooth is exposed, a glow proportional to the amount of decay is displayed.
The diode laser doesn’t always work with teeth that already have fillings. It works well with other teeth, and enables detection of cavities. Note also that the diode laser does not replace X-rays; it detects decay in grooves on the chewing surface, while bitewing X-rays can find decay between and inside teeth.
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First and foremost factor prior to determining treatment for dry mouth is to find out the cause of dry mouth. There are 3 key factors to focus on when treating dry mouth:
- medical conditions
- increase in saliva flow
- preventing decay
Causes of Dry Mouth
- certain drugs that are used to treat depression, anxiety, pain or allergies or Parkinson’s disease can be responsible for making your mouth go dry. In such situations, the solution can be either to change dosage or change the drug.
- If the medical condition cannot be changed for e.g if the saliva gland has been damaged because of treatments like radiation etc then the treatment will focus of increasing the saliva.
Dry mouth results
Saliva is a natural mouth cleanser. It not only helps in digesting food but also makes it easy for chewing and swallowing food. Lack of saliva can result in tooth decay and gum disease. Hence if you have the problem of dry mouth, it is better to be cautious and ensure that adequate care and treatments are taken to prevent dryness.
Following are some of the measures you can take to prevent dry mouth:
- Brush regularly – at least twice a day
- Floss everyday
- Use tooth pastes that contain fluoride
- Visit your dentist regularly and make sure you clean your teeth
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A drill-less technique used by dentists to remove tooth decay and to perform other procedures is called air abrasion.
Air Abrasion in Dentistry10
An instrument like a mini sandblaster is used to spray away decay. During the process of air abrasion, a gentle stream of particles is aimed at the decayed portion of the tooth. These particles are silica, aluminium oxide and baking soda. They are propelled towards the tooth surface using compressed air. As soon as these particles strike the surface of the decayed tooth, the decayed particles give way and are sucked using a thin tube.
Air abrasion is extremely safe. When using an abrasion, the dentist however needs to make sure that he wears a mask to protect his eyes from the spray. A rubber sheet that fits the surrounding of the teeth is placed to ensure protection of other teeth.
Using air abrasion provides the following advantages:
- generates no heat, pressure, or vibration
- leaves more of the healthy tooth tissue behind
- reduces the risk of fracturing and chipping of the tooth
- reduces the need for anesthesia
- increases the life span of the filling
- simple and easy procedure
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Dental bridges are used to create one or more missing teeth. A bridge is made up of two or more crowns for the for teeth on either side of a gap. They are generally made of materials like gold, alloys, porcelain and a combination of such materials.
Bridges help in the following:
- Prevents drifting of position of teeth
- Helps replace missing teeth
- Maintain the shape of your face
FAQ regarding bridges
How long do bridges last?
Usually bridges last for around 15 years. However with regular dental checkups bridges do last long.
Will it be difficult to eat with a Dental Bridge?
During the initial few days there tends to be a light discomfort when you have a new dental bridge. Once you get accustomed, you do not even realise the difference between a bridge and a normal teeth.
How much do dental bridges cost?
The cost of dental bridges varies depending on the type of bridge selected.
Will dental bridges affect my speech?
Wearing dental bridges will only help you speak well, than when you speak with missing teeth.
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A filling is provided when you visit the dentist for a tooth decay. This is indirect mostly when the decay or old filling is removed. The procedure involves taking an impression of the tooth being repaired. This impression is then sent to the lab which will make the filling indirect. This temporary filling is placed to protect the teeth undergoing treatment. When the permanent filling is developed, this temporary filling is removed, tooth cleaned and the permanent one is cemented in place. We have two kinds of fillings – indirect and direct.
There are basically two types of indirect fillings:
Inlays are like fillings within the cusps or bumps on the chewing surface of the tooth.Inlays last up to 30 years and are made of various materials like resin, porcelain or gold. They are better than traditional fillings but do have a tendency to weaken tooth structure.
Outlays also called partial crowns are more extensive. They cover more than one cusps. Outlays are also durable and last long
Note that there are also direct inlays and outlays that follow similar processes and procedures as the indirect. The difference is that the direct inlays and onlays are made in the dental office and can be fixed in one visit.
The type of inlay or onlay used depends on how sound is your tooth structure remains and also based on any cosmetic concerns.
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Highly durable and lasts 10 to 15 years and doesn’t corrode easily. Gold cast fillings are expensive and most parents dislike its aesthetics. However, it has been seen that a galvanic shock can sometimes occur when metal interact with saliva.
Less expensive than gold fillings, this has a durability of 10 to 15 years. It is strong and can withstand chewing forces. There are few drawbacks, the color doesn’t match that of the teeth and since a large amount of space is required to hold them, a lot of healthy parts of the teeth need to be scrapped out.
Tooth Colored Composites
The color and shade of these composite fillings is very close to the natural teeth.Highly suitable even to the front teeth, they actually chemically bond to the teeth. Can be used to repair chipped, broken or worn out teeth. However, they tend to wear out easily with a durability of 5 years. They are also susceptible to wear and tear especially when used to chew on hard substances.
Made of porcelain Ceramics are more resistant to stains. This material generally lasts more than 15 years and can cost as much as gold.
Glass ionomer is made of acrylic and a specific type of glass material. This material is most commonly used for fillings below the gum line and for fillings in young children. Weaker than composite resin, they are more prone to wear and usually have a durability lasting 5 years.
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Temporary Fillings are required in cases where more than one dental visit is required to treat tooth decays, to treat root canals and allow the nerve to settle down prior to final treatment. Temporary fillings as the word suggests are not meant to last. They wear out in time, hence it is important that the filling is replaced by a permanent one. If not, they can infect the tooth further.
Temporary Tooth Fillings
Kinds of fillings available:
Today there are several materials used in fillings. Gold, Silver Amalgam – which consists of mercury mixed with silver, tin, zinc and copper, plastic, materials like composite resin are all used in fillings. Materials like glass ionomer that is those that contain glass particles are also used. Ionomer is similar to composite resin that is used in fillings.
Taking care of tooth fillings:
A good oral hygiene is important to maintain your fillings.Following are some of the tips to take adequate care:
Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings brush using a fluoride toothpaste, floss regularly use an antibacterial mouthwash
In case of cracks or chipping of fillings, make sure you visit the doctor. As this can cause debris and saliva to seep down the filling and tooth which can lead to further decay.
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The shape of your gums may be such that it causes you to be unhappy with your smile. Sometimes gums rest too low or too high. Gum Contouring also called gum reshaping or tissue sculpting is a delicate dental procedure to even out an uneven gum line, thus providing you with the perfect smile.
It is commonly noticed that gums may sometimes cover a large portion of your teeth can make your teeth look small. This usually happens as a result of your genetics or due to a particular health problem or drugs.
On the other hand, gums that are too high, make your teeth appear long. This is due to gum recession a condition that pulls back a tooth thus exposing the root.Gum recession may be a sign of periodontal disease, the deterioration of the supporting structures of the teeth.
Gum contouring, is a cosmetic procedure when it is done to help reshape gums and improve your smile.It is not considered cosmetic when it is done to add gum tissue in recessions and to trim overgrown tissue that has covered part of the tooth crown.
Gum contouring is generally performed by general dentists and periodontists (gum specialists).
These wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials also known as dental veneers, are designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your appearance. They are like shells used to cover front of the teeth changing their color, shape, size, or length. There are developed using two materials namely, porcelain and resin composite materials.Resin veneers are comparatively thinner and hence require less of the tooth’s surface to be removed prior to placement. Porcelain veneers on the other hand are more stain resistant and can better impersonate the light reflecting property of natural teeth.
Veneers generally last between 5 and 10 years and thereafter would need to be replaced.
Veneers are helpful in fixing the following problems:
● Discolored teeth
Tooth that undergo a root canal treatment, generally lose color. Stains from drugs like tetracycline or large number of resin fillings also cause discoloration. This can be averted using dental veneers.
● Worn out teeth
Age causes wear and tear to the teeth which can be rectified using dental veneers.
● Chipping/Breaking of teeth
Accidents can result in teeth breakage which can be corrected using dental veneers.
● Other irregularities
Misalignments, uneven teeth, or irregularly shaped teeth with gaps can all be rectified using dental veneers.