Fillings | Bonding | Sealants | Non-Surgical Gum Treatments | X-Rays

 

FILLINGS
Fillings are done to remove decay and replace the affected tooth structure. They are called fillings because a new material fills the hole that decay left. These days most teeth are treated with bonded tooth- colored composite fillings. Caught early enough, cavities can be treated easily and painlessly. If not treated, decay can lead tooth pain and/or infection, and the affected tooth may require root canal treatment or an extraction.

 

BONDING
Bonding involves adhering composite material matched to the color of the tooth to the front of the tooth. This is done to repair damage done to the tooth by decay, to alter the alignment of the tooth, close gaps, or for cosmetic purposes. Teeth may be whitened drastically or slightly with bonding depending on the patient’s desires.

 

SEALANTS
These are used to fill in narrow groves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. In some cases, the tooth structure has fine grooves or pits which accumulate plaque, not because of poor brushing, but because the bristles of the toothbrush cannot reach inside these areas. Cavities may develop over time. A clear coating is brushed on the tooth to seal these areas and prevent decay. Sealants are recommended for both children and adults. Many insurance plans will cover them for children.

 

NON-SURGICAL GUM TREATMENTS
The gums, ligaments, and bone around the teeth form the foundation of the tooth. All structures are referred to as the periodontium. When the periodontium is not healthy, it jeopardizes the teeth, just as a bad foundation would threaten the stability of a house. Signs of unhealthy gums may be as follows: gums that are red and bleed easily, persistent bad breath, gums that are pulled away from the tooth, loose teeth, and changes in the position or bite of the teeth. Any of these signs may indicate that treatment is needed. With proper care, done early, it may be possible to return the gums and teeth to a healthy state. Treatment usually involves a deep cleaning or root planing sometimes using local antibiotic agents. In severe cases, extractions may be required, or referral to a gum specialist (periodontist) for further care.

 

X-RAYS
This is a focused beam of particles through bone which produces an image on special film, showing the structure through which it passed. This gives the familiar black and white images dentists use to diagnose problems. X-rays are a necessary part of the diagnostic process. An x-ray of the whole tooth, supporting bone and gum tissues is required to properly diagnose infection or decay.

In our office we use digital radiography, which allows us to take x-rays using 50 to 70% less radiation versus conventional x-rays. Along with computer monitoring, digital x-ray technology allows us to enhance the images on the screen for more accurate diagnoses of dental problems.

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