What are dental implants?
What are the advantages of dental implants?
- Improved appearance – Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth. And because they are designed to fuse with bone, they become permanent.
- Improved speech - With poor-fitting dentures, the teeth can slip within the mouth causing you to mumble or slur your words. Dental implants allow you to speak without the worry that your teeth might slip.
- Improved comfort - because they become part of you, implants eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures.
- Easier eating - Loose dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat a wider variety of foods with confidence and without pain.
- Improved self-esteem - Dental implants can give you back your smile, and help you feel better about yourself.
- Improved oral health - Dental implants don’t require reducing other teeth, as a tooth-supported fixed bridge does. Because nearby teeth are not altered to support the implant, more of your own teeth are left intact, improving your long-term oral health. Individual implants also allow easier access between teeth, improving oral hygiene.
- Durability - Implants are very durable and will last many years. With good care, many implants last a lifetime.
- Convenience - Removable dentures are just that-removable. Dental implants can be used to secure removable dentures and to eliminate the need for messy adhesives to keep your dentures in place.
How should I care for my teeth with fillings?
To maintain your fillings, you should follow good oral hygiene practices – visiting your dentist regularly for cleanings, brushing with a fluoride-containing toothpaste, and flossing at least once daily. If your dentist suspects that a filling might be cracked or is “leaking” (when the sides of the filling don’t fit tightly against the tooth, this allows debris and saliva to seep down between the filling and the tooth, which can lead to decay), he or she will take X-rays to assess the situation. If your tooth is extremely sensitive, if you feel a sharp edge, if you notice a crack in the filling, or if a piece of the filling is missing, call your dentist for an appointment.
What are the advantages of dental bonding?
Bonding is one of the easiest and least expensive cosmetic (“appearance-changing”) dental procedures. Veneers and crowns are other types of tooth coverings. However, these tooth coverings must be made in a dental lab. You would need to return to your dentist’s office to have these coverings put on your teeth. Bonding usually can be done in one office visit unless several teeth need to be fixed. Another advantage, compared with veneers and crowns, is that the least amount of tooth enamel is removed. (Enamel is the hard surface layer of your teeth.) Also, unless dental bonding is being used to fill a cavity, anesthesia is usually not required.
How long does bonding material last?
How long bonding materials last depends on how much bonding was done and your oral habits. Typically, however, bonding material lasts from 3 years to about 10 years before needing to be touched up or replaced.
If my tooth doesn’t hurt and my filling is still in place, why would the filling need to be replaced?
Constant pressure from chewing, grinding, or clenching can cause dental fillings to wear away, chip, or crack. Although you may not be able to tell that your filling is wearing down, your dentist can identify weaknesses in your restorations during a regular checkup. If the seal between the tooth enamel and the filling breaks down, food particles and decay-causing bacteria can work their way under the filling. You then run the risk of developing additional decay in that tooth. Decay that is left untreated can progress to infect the dental pulp and may cause an abscess. If the filling is large or the recurrent decay is extensive, there may not be enough tooth structure remaining to support a replacement filling. In these cases, your dentist may need to replace the filling with a crown.
What causes a filling to simply fall out?
New restorations that fall out are probably the result of improper cavity preparation, contamination of the preparation prior to placement of the restoration, or a fracture of the restoration from bite or chewing trauma. Older restorations will generally be lost due to decay or fracturing of the remaining tooth.
What causes dental phobia and anxiety?
- Fear of pain – Fear of pain is a very common reason for avoiding the dentist. This fear usually stems from an early dental experience that was unpleasant or painful or from dental “pain and horror” stories told by others. Thanks to the many advances in dentistry made over the years, most of today’s dental procedures are considerably less painful or even pain free.
- Fear of injections or fear the injection won’t work – Many people are terrified of needles, especially when inserted into their mouth. Beyond this fear, others fear that the anesthesia hasn’t yet taken effect or wasn’t a large enough dose to knock out any pain before the dental procedure begins.
- Fear of anesthetic side effects – Some people fear the potential side effects of anesthesia such as dizziness, feeling faint, or nausea. Others don’t like the numbness or “fat lip” associated with local anesthetics.
- Feelings of helplessness and loss of control – It’s common for people to feel these emotions considering the situation – sitting in a dental chair with your mouth wide open, unable to see what’s going on.
- Embarrassment and loss of personal space – Many people feel uncomfortable about the physical closeness of the dentist or hygienist to their face. Others may feel self-conscious about the appearance of their teeth or possible mouth odors.
Should I talk to my dentist about my dental phobia?
Absolutely! In fact, if your dentist doesn’t take your fear seriously, find another dentist. The key to coping with dental anxiety is to discuss your fears with your dentist. Once your dentist knows what your fears are, he or she will be better able to work with you to determine the best ways to make you less anxious and more comfortable. If lack of control is one of your main stressors, actively participating in a discussion with your dentist about your own treatment can ease your tension. Ask your dentist to explain what’s happening at every stage of the procedure. This way you can mentally prepare for what’s to come. Another helpful strategy is to establish a signal – such as raising your hand – when you want the dentist to immediately stop. Use this signal whenever you are uncomfortable, need to rinse your mouth, or simply need to catch your breath.