Posts for category: Dental Procedures
One of the top concerns in public health today is exposure to the metallic element mercury within the environment. At abnormal levels, mercury can have a toxic effect on our nervous systems and cause other health problems.
These concerns over mercury have also increased attention on one material in dentistry that has included the metal in its makeup for over a century — dental amalgam for filling teeth. Amalgam is a metal alloy that can include, in addition to mercury, silver, tin, and copper. When first mixed dental amalgam is a moldable material used for fillings in prepared teeth. It then hardens into a durable restoration that can withstand biting forces.
While the use of amalgam has declined with the introduction of life-like colored fillings, it's still used for teeth like molars subject to high biting forces. With what we now know about the ill effects of mercury (which can make up to half of an amalgam mixture) is it safe to continue its use?
The American Dental Association has performed extensive research into amalgam safety. They've found that mercury is stabilized by the other metals in the amalgam. This prevents "free" molecules of mercury, the real source of harm to health, from escaping into the blood stream in the form of vapor. Although trace amounts of mercury vapor from the amalgam are released as a person chews, those levels are well below the threshold that could cause harm.
From a patient standpoint, the biggest drawback to dental amalgam isn't safety — it's the appearance of teeth it's used on. Silver fillings aren't considered attractive. And now there are viable filling alternatives that not only look like natural teeth but can withstand biting forces almost as well as amalgam. These materials include composite resins, mixtures of glass or quartz within resin, or glass and resin ionomers. Each of these has advantages and disadvantages depending on how and where they're applied.
After a thorough dental examination, we'll be able to advise you on what filling material will work best to produce the best result. And if we do suggest dental amalgam you can rest assured it will be a safe choice.
If you would like more information on the safety of dental amalgam, 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 “Silver Fillings — Safe or Unsafe?”
During his former career as a professional footballer (that's a soccer star to U.S. sports fans) David Beckham was known for his skill at “bending” a soccer ball. His ability to make the ball curve in mid-flight — to avoid a defender or score a goal — led scores of kids to try to “bend it like Beckham.” But just recently, while enjoying a vacation in Canada with his family, “Becks” tried snowboarding for the first time — and in the process, broke one of his front teeth.
Some fans worried that the missing tooth could be a “red card” for Beckham's current modeling career… but fortunately, he headed straight to the dental office as soon as he arrived back in England. Exactly what kind of treatment is needed for a broken tooth? It all depends where the break is and how badly the tooth is damaged.
For a minor crack or chip, cosmetic bonding may offer a quick and effective solution. In this procedure, a composite resin, in a color custom-made to match the tooth, is applied in liquid form and cured (hardened) with a special light. Several layers of bonding material can be applied to re-construct a larger area of missing tooth, and chips that have been saved can sometimes be reattached as well.
When more tooth structure is missing, dental veneers may be the preferred restorative option. Veneers are wafer-thin shells that are bonded to the front surface of the teeth. They can not only correct small chips or cracks, but can also improve the color, spacing, and shape of your teeth.
But if the damage exposes the soft inner pulp of the tooth, root canal treatment will be needed to save the tooth. In this procedure, the inflamed or infected pulp tissue is removed and the tooth sealed against re-infection; if a root canal is not done when needed, the tooth will have an increased risk for extraction in the future. Following a root canal, a tooth is often restored with a crown (cap), which can look good and function well for many years.
Sometimes, a tooth may be knocked completely out of its socket; or, a severely damaged tooth may need to be extracted (removed). In either situation, the best option for restoration is a dental implant. Here, a tiny screw-like device made of titanium metal is inserted into the jaw bone in a minor surgical procedure. Over time, it fuses with the living bone to form a solid anchorage. A lifelike crown is attached, which provides aesthetic appeal and full function for the replacement tooth.
So how's Beckham holding up? According to sources, “David is a trooper and didn't make a fuss. He took it all in his stride." Maybe next time he hits the slopes, he'll heed the advice of dental experts and wear a custom-made mouthguard…
If you have questions about restoring damaged teeth, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Trauma and Nerve Damage to Teeth” and “Children's Dental Concerns and Injuries.”
Academy Award-winning actress Kathy Bates knows how important it is to present your best face to the world — and one of the most important features of that face is a beaming smile. But there came a point when she noticed something was a little off. “I've always had good teeth, but it seemed to me as I was getting older that they weren't looking as good,” Kathy explained in a recent interview with Dear Doctor magazine.
That's when she decided it was time to take action. Kathy had orthodontic treatment when she was in her fifties, and she keeps her smile bright with tooth whitening treatments. She uses a kit provided by her dentist with a safe, effective whitening solution.
Of course, a bright, healthy smile looks great anywhere — whether you're on the red carpet or “off the grid.” And you don't have to be a Hollywood star to have professional whitening treatments. In fact, teeth whitening is one of the most popular and affordable cosmetic treatments modern dentistry offers.
The basic options for professional teeth whitening include in-office bleaching or take-home kits. Both types of dentist-supervised treatments offer a safe and effective means of getting a brighter smile; the main difference is how long they take to produce results. A single one-hour treatment in the office can make your teeth up to ten shades lighter — a big difference! To get that same lightening with at-home trays, it would take several days. On the plus side, the take-home kit is less expensive, and can achieve the same results in a bit more time.
It's important to note that not all teeth can be whitened with these treatments. Some teeth have intrinsic (internal) stains that aren't affected by external agents like bleaches. Also, teeth that have been restored (with bonding or veneers, for example) generally won't change color. And you can't necessarily whiten your teeth to any degree: Every tooth has a maximum whiteness, and adding more bleach won't lighten it beyond that level. Most people, however, find that teeth whitening treatments produce noticeable and pleasing results.
What about those off-the-shelf kits or in-the-mall kiosks? They might work… or they might not. But one thing's for sure: Without a dentist's supervision, you're on your own. That's the main reason why you should go with a pro if you're considering teeth whitening. We not only ensure that your treatment is safe — we can also give you a realistic idea of what results to expect, and we will make sure that other dental problems aren't keeping you from having a great-looking smile.
How often does Kathy Bates see her dentist for a checkup and cleaning? “I go about every four months,” she noted. “I'm pretty careful about it.” And if you've seen her smile, you can tell that it pays off. If you would like more information about teeth whitening, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Important Teeth Whitening Questions Answered” and “Teeth Whitening.”
With good oral hygiene, regular professional dental care, and a little luck, more and more Americans are keeping most or all of their natural teeth longer than ever before. But even with the best care, tooth loss can still happen to anyone. Although nothing can take the place of a natural tooth once it is lost, dental implants are the closest restoration to the real thing. Total Dental Care in Pekin, IL, recommends implants for healthy adults looking for a permanent replacement for missing teeth.
Dental Implants in Pekin, IL
Most dental restorations replace the crown portion of the tooth, which covers basic functions like chewing and talking, and improves the cosmetic appearance of your smile after tooth loss. Dental implants also restore the roots, which securely anchor the crown in place, and play the important role of preventing bone loss in the gums. Over time, as healthy bone tissue erodes it can lead to a number of oral and general health problems. After the implant, which is a small, titanium screw, fuses to the surrounding bone and stabilizes the cosmetic crown in place, just like the root of a natural tooth.
Are Dental Implants Right for Me?
In order to qualify for implants, you must be an adult in good general health with enough remaining bone density in the gums. The ability to commit to rigorous dental hygiene care at home and follow up appointments with your dentist is necessary in order to maintain your oral health, and prevent gum disease. Once in place, implants are indistinguishable from your natural teeth, and can restore both your smile, and the quality of life that you enjoyed before tooth loss.
Find a Dentist in Pekin, IL
For more information about dental implants and the smile restoration option that is best for you, contact Total Dental Care Ltd by calling (309) 347-7055 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Steven Dickey today.
Find out how getting dental implants in Pekin could significantly improve your oral health.
While tooth loss can be a frustrating experience, treating your tooth loss doesn’t have to be. Our Pekin, IL, dentists, Dr. Stephen Dickey, know that you have a lot of choices when it comes to getting dental treatments that fit your needs. Learn more about dental implants and how this simple restoration could be all you need to replace your missing teeth for life.
A dental implant consists of three different parts:
- The metal (usually titanium) post or screw
- The abutment
- A dental crown (or other dental restoration)
The metal post is the structure that will be taking over the role of your tooth roots. Once we’ve deemed you an ideal candidate for dental implants you will come back into our office for your first procedure. During this procedure, our Pekin general dentists will place the implant into the jawbone.
This implant is made from a biocompatible metal like titanium, which means the body will not reject it. Once the implant is placed into the pre-drilled hole in the bone we will give your mouth time to heal. This is when the magic happens.
What you won’t be able to see during the healing phase is that the bone and tissue, as they start to heal, will grow around the implant. This is known as osseointegration and it’s what makes a dental implant such a successful restoration for replacing missing teeth for the long term.
Once the implant and bone are one, we can now open up the gums to place the next piece of the implant over the metal post. This piece is known as an abutment. If you think about a dental crown for a second, you probably know that the tooth that is getting the crown will need to be filed down and shaped so the crown can fit over the tooth. An abutment is similar to a prepared tooth. It is designed to support a dental crown but it also serves to connect the implant with the restoration.
Once the gums have fully healed the dental crown can now be placed over the abutment to complete your new tooth. If you need to replace all or most of your teeth, multiple implants will be placed throughout the jawbone to support and stabilize partial and full dentures, as well.
Implants offer a variety of benefits that other tooth replacements just can’t. It can prevent bone loss, support the muscles of the face, prevent teeth from shifting and last the rest of your life.
Total Dental Care in Pekin, IL, is ready to give you back the smile you remember. While losing a tooth is upsetting, it doesn’t have to be like this forever. We offer so many different options to give you back your smile the way you want.