Spring Oaks Dental Blog

Benefits of Tooth Colored Fillings

Nobody ever really wants to get a dental filling. After all, they’re often only used to restore teeth damaged by decay, which means you didn’t take proper care of your teeth. But, as much as having cavities is bad news, it’s not exactly the end of the world. Besides, it’s not like anyone other than you and your dentist will know about it.

Types of Tooth Colored Fillings

Because of the advancements in dental technology, patients these days no longer have to worry about being seen with dental fillings. Composite and porcelain fillings are tooth colored fillings that have been in vogue for quite some time. Although they’re not as durable as amalgam and gold fillings, they can last for a very long time.

Composite (plastic) resins, for example, are very affordable and are ideal for small fillings. Meanwhile, porcelain fillings are best for large fillings, are very durable, and resist staining.

Of course, if the decay or fracture has done extensive damage already, the dentist may recommend either a crown or a cap. Also, in cases where the decay has reached the nerves, the dentist may recommend either root canal therapy or pulp capping.

Tooth-Colored Fillings Vs Amalgam and Gold Fillings

  • Treatment is quick – Getting a tooth-colored filling doesn’t take as much time as compared to amalgam and gold fillings. The process typically involves administering local anesthesia to numb the gums and teeth in the treatment area. Then, the dentist proceeds to place the tooth-colored filling, cure it to make sure it’s bonded properly and then polishing it to give it a nice, clean look. Overall, the process should take no more than an hour for treating two cavities.

 

  • It looks good – Of course, the main reason for getting a tooth colored filling is so that no one call tell that you’ve already had a cavity. Regardless of whatever you do, all anyone will ever see is you and your beautiful, while teeth.

 

  • Less tooth structure is removed – Unlike in silver or gold fillings where dentists have to remove a lot of natural tooth structure, dentists don’t have to remove as much with tooth-colored fillings because they actually bond to your natural teeth.

 

  • Mercury-free – A common concern among patients years ago was that amalgam and silver fillings contained some mercury. Although the amount of mercury in the fillings was too low and not considered dangerous, many patients still had concerns. As such, some didn’t even consider getting fillings at all and waited for the damage to be extensive enough to require a crown or a cap. However, none of that will be a problem anymore, thanks to tooth-colored fillings.

As you can see, tooth-colored fillings are currently the best option for those who want to maintain their smiles and not feel conscious about. But, of course, while tooth-colored fillings are awesome, the best way to maintain a bright and healthy smile is still to avoid cavities in the first place. To do that, you simply have to remember to eat a natural and healthy diet, brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once, and more importantly, don’t forget to visit your dentist at least once every six months.

How Do Sealants Protect Teeth?

The chewing surfaces of the premolars and molars or the back teeth have very rough grooves called pits and fissures that help grind food. However, those very same grooves are responsible for putting the back teeth at an increased risk for tooth decay. Even with regular brushing and flossing, the pits and fissures are very difficult to clean.

Because of this, dentists may recommend protecting the back teeth with dental sealants, which seal up the chewing surfaces and prevent tooth decay. Although dentists are more likely to recommend sealants to children and teenagers, adults too can benefit from the added protection provided by dental sealants.

Why Sealants?

Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings applied by dentists over teeth to protect it from the bacteria and acids that cause cavities. They can be applied to just about any teeth. However, they’re best applied to the molars and premolars because it contains many pits and fissures that are very difficult to clean.

Applying dental sealants to the surface of the back teeth makes them smoother and lowers their risk for caries and cavity formation. This means the mouth stays cleaner and thorough brushing and flossing can remove any small particles of food and bacteria left behind.

How Do Dentists Seal Teeth?

Sealing teeth is a very simple and painless procedure that involves two simple steps, which are:

  • Tooth preparation – There are actually six stages to sealing teeth, and the first three involve preparing the tooth for the sealants. The first stage involves cleaning the pits and fissures with a brush and pumice paste of any plaque and food debris. The dentist then uses a small air syringe to dry up the teeth and surround the teeth with cotton rolls to isolate them from the rest of the mouth.

 

After the teeth has been properly dried and isolated, the dentist then etches the surface of the tooth, rinses it off and leaves it to dry again.

 

  • Application – Once the tooth has dried after etching, the dentist then applies the sealant itself. It’s actually a liquid material that sets into a solid, plastic film onto the tooth. The dentist uses a brush to apply the liquid onto the surface and guide it into the small pits and fissures found on the molars and premolars. Certain sealants set by themselves in a few short seconds. However, most sealants will require a self-curing light to be applied for about 30 seconds to make sure that it is properly bonded to the tooth’s surface.

Overall, the process should only take a single visit, and patients can usually chew on the tooth again as soon as they walk out of the clinic. Sealants will usually last for years before the dentist recommends reapplication.

Of course, even though dental sealants are a very affordable and effective means of protecting teeth from tooth decay and gum disease, they are not a substitute for proper oral hygiene. Brushing twice a day, flossing at least once, and visiting the dentist regularly are still the best ways to prevent oral problems, with or without sealants.

Why Would I Need a Tooth Removed?

Ideally, you’ll want to keep your permanent set of teeth for as long as you live. But, that’s not always possible. There are cases wherein it may be necessary to have a tooth or two removed for the good of your oral health.

Why Can’t A Tooth Be Saved?
Accidents do happen and sometimes, we lose a tooth, or two, because of it. Even if the tooth doesn’t fall outright because of trauma, it can sometimes be too damaged to be repaired via filling or crown. In such cases, the only possible course of action is to extract the tooth to prevent further damage. A tooth with extensive decay will also have to be extracted as well.
Speaking of decay, teeth that have lost much of its supporting bone due to periodontal disease are also prime candidates for removal. The same goes for teeth that do not respond to root canal treatment.

It’s also not unusual for orthodontists to recommend having a few teeth removed before beginning treatment to achieve better results. For this same reason, wisdom teeth are also extracted because of their rather awkward position behind your molars.

How Are Teeth Extracted?
When it comes to teeth, there are two types of extractions: simple and surgical.
Simple tooth extractions are usually performed by general dentists. It’s often performed on teeth that can be seen in the mouth. As the name suggests, the process is very simple and will only require the use of a local anesthetic. The process typically involves loosening the tooth with an instrument called an elevator before removing the tooth forcibly using an instrument called a forceps.

Meanwhile, surgical extractions are much more complex and are often reserved for teeth that have broken off at the gum line or have yet to erupt. And, unlike simple extractions, these complicated procedures are performed by oral surgeons. However, they can also be done by general dentists, provided they have the necessary accreditation. Regardless, the process typically involves making a small cut into your gums so the tooth can be extracted. Sometimes, however, it may be necessary to remove some of the bone around the tooth first. In some cases, the tooth may have to be cut in half so it can be removed.
Although local anesthetics are sometimes enough, the dentist or surgeon may have to use intravenous anesthesia, or in worse cases, general anesthesia, for surgical extractions. In particular, general anesthesia is necessary for patients with specific medical or behavioral conditions, as well as young children.

Regardless of whether you’re going through a simple or surgical extraction, you can expect to feel pressure, but no pain. If you feel any kind of pain during the procedure, be sure to let the dentist or surgeon know immediately.

Extraction Is Not The End For Your Teeth
It’s only natural to feel reluctant about having teeth extracted. After all, an incomplete smile is never something anyone would love to wear. But even so, you can take comfort in the technology available today to have your missing tooth replaced.
If one of your teeth falls out as a result of trauma or will need to be extracted soon, be sure to take the time to sit down and discuss with your dentist about possible treatment options. You’ll want to fill in that gap in your smile as soon as you can to prevent any problems resulting from missing teeth.

Benefits of Invisalign Over Traditional Braces

If you’re thinking of getting braces or Invisalign to straighten your teeth, then you surely have lots of questions. Which of the two is more effective? Which is cheaper? Ultimately, you’ll want to base your decision on which treatment is most effective for your case, regardless of the cost. Costs are relative, anyway, and if the treatment ends up fixing your teeth for life, then your money will be well spent.

With Invisalign having become a popular alternative to traditional braces, the question now is, is Invisalign always the best choice?

Braces Vs Invisalign

Both treatment options are designed to help straighten teeth while also improving the aesthetics of your smile and your oral health. However, use of Invisalign first began only in 2000, so the treatment lacks the same history as braces.

That’s not to say that it is not as effective, though, as Invisalign, in many cases, can be much more effective than traditional braces.

Below are the notable benefits of Invisalign over traditional braces:

  • Fewer visits to the orthodontist / dentist. While a single visit to the dentist or orthodontist may not be as expensive, the cost can add up if you have to pay a visit as often as every six weeks, which is what you’d need to do with traditional braces. This is especially true if the treatment isn’t covered by dental insurance. On the other hand, you’ll receive several months’ worth of new aligners that you’ll only need to replace every two weeks yourself if you choose to go with Invisalign.

 

  • On a related note, Invisalign doesn’t have to be repaired, unlike traditional braces whenever a bracket or wire becomes loose. With Invisalign, you can easily replace lost, broken or damaged appliances with the next one you have on hand.
  • Easier teeth cleaning. One thing that most people hate when it comes to wearing traditional metal braces is how it makes keeping teeth clean much more difficult than normal. Although the orthodontist will happily demonstrate to you a more detailed method of brushing and flossing with braces, the added work can be annoying at times. Then, there’s also the fact that after the braces are removed, you’ll need to have professional cleaning done on your teeth to restore the full whiteness of your smile. You don’t have to deal with that with Clear Invisalign braces. Plus, the appliances can easily be removed so you can clean your teeth as you normally would. Then, you can simply re-insert the appliance before you go to bed or start your day.
  • Continue eating the foods you love. It’s no secret that you’ll have to sacrifice eating certain types of food for as long as you’re wearing traditional braces. Sometimes, patients even have to resort to eating soft foods for a week or two after getting wired tightened, which can make for quite the unpleasant experience. Fortunately, with Invisalign, you can easily remove the appliance when you’re eating, and just re-insert it as soon as you’re finished brushing your teeth.

Invisalign treatment is a much better investment in the long run. Make sure that you check with Spring Oaks Dental to see if you’re a good fit for this popular alternative to wearing traditional braces.

A Dental Bridge For Your Missing Teeth

You should never leave a missing tooth or two untreated and unchecked. The gaps left behind by missing teeth can cause the remaining teeth to shift into the empty spaces, causing malocclusions or a bad bite. Additionally, the gaps can also cause speech and chewing complications, as well as increase your risk of gum disease and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ).

A dental bridge, sometimes referred to as fixed removal dentures, is an oral appliance that can help solve all your problems regarding your missing teeth.

How Do Dental Bridges Work?

Dental bridges, as the name suggests, bridge the space left behind by the missing teeth. They are cemented to the natural teeth and/or implants, which are now referred to as abutments, surrounding the gap. Afterward, the pontic, or the replacement tooth, is attached to the crowns that are used to cover and strengthen the anchors or abutments.

Dental bridges are available in a wide variety of materials. Your dentist can help you decide which material suits your budget and particular case best.

Are They Better Than Dentures?

While they’re not necessarily better than dentures, dental bridges offer quite a few significant advantages over them, including:

  • Because dental bridges are fixed permanently into your mouth, you don’t have to worry about your prosthetic teeth falling out accidentally. And, since they won’t move around inside your mouth, they’re just much more comfortable to “wear”. Patients also often report being able to adjust almost immediately as soon as the bridges are placed inside their mouth.

 

  • The process of creating and inserting dental bridges is rather simple and will rarely take longer than two appointments.

 

  • Because they don’t take too long to place, dental bridges can help prevent further problems caused by tooth loss. Meaning that you no longer have to worry about your teeth shifting around your mouth and moving out of alignment. More importantly, bridges make sure that your jawbone is kept intact and protected from atrophy as soon as possible.

 

  • Dental bridges can last for as long as ten years, if not longer. During that time, the dental bridge will look and feel just like your real teeth. They’ll help you chew your food properly and speak without any problems. Also, being able to smile freely can do wonders for your self-esteem and self-confidence.

Proper Care and Maintenance

While bridges and crowns can last for a very long time, that’s not to say they won’t fall out or become loose. However, such problems usually happen only if you have poor oral hygiene and neglect your oral health.

As such, the most important step you can take to make sure that your bridge lasts for as long as it’s intended is to take good care of your teeth and gums. This includes brushing twice a day and flossing daily. Of course, you shouldn’t forget to see your dentist regularly for dental checkups and professional cleanings as well. Also, even though they’re quite durable, bridges can be damaged if you frequently chew on hard foods such as ice, fingernails and other hard objects.

Why Dentures are so Important to Your Oral Health

We only have one set of permanent teeth and once they are gone, we can only replace them with temporary, albeit durable, substitute options available at the dentist.

Dentures are considered one of the most popular tooth replacement options available today. The others being dental bridges and dental implants. Although fairly effective, dentures are not without their faults. For example, lots of people choose dental bridges and dental implants over dentures whenever they can. Why? Because they worry that the dentures will look fake, will hurt, not allow them to eat certain types of food, will change the way they walk, or will suddenly slip out of their mouths while they’re eating or talking. Although not unwarranted, such worries are easily fixed by wearing the right of dentures. Of course, it’s also better to take proper care of the dentures at home, and have it maintained regularly by a skilled dentist.

The Different Benefits of Getting Dentures

There are plenty of advantages to getting dentures, including the following:

  • Improved self-confidence – The main point of getting dentures is to fill out all the empty spaces in your mouth. By doing so, dentures can help you regain the confidence that you once lost right around the same time you lost your teeth.

 

  • Little to no diet restrictions – Contrary to popular belief, dentures are durable enough to withstand almost as much punishment as regular teeth. What this means is that you won’t really be giving up your favorite food once you do get dentures. Better yet, you’d be able to eat them again now that all of your teeth are present!

 

  • No more speaking problems – It’s no secret that missing teeth can affect how you talk. Not to mention how you’re less likely to talk because of how conscious you are about your smile. Although it may take some time getting used to wearing dentures, they can eventually help fix all of your speaking problems.

Then there’s also the fact that replacing missing teeth can significantly help improve your appearance and oral health. The latter because the space left behind by missing teeth can easily become the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, causing cavities, gum disease and tooth decay. Not to mention food can easily become stuck or trapped in those spaces, causing bad breath and even more bacteria in your mouth. The former, because leaving missing teeth as is can eventually cause the facial muscles to sag, making you look older.

Although these benefits aren’t unique to dentures, it’s worth mentioning that dentures are the cheaper tooth replacement option. This is especially true when compared to the costs of getting dental implants. Besides, as mentioned earlier, modern dentures are much more natural looking and much more comfortable to wear than ever before.

Of course, the main benefit here is still a set of fully functioning set of teeth that look and feel so much like the real thing.

So, if you’re missing more than a couple of teeth and want to enjoy a complete smile again, be sure to visit your dentist today to know more about dentures and how they can help you!

Steps to Help Treat Gum Disease

The term gum disease or periodontal disease is often used to describe the bacterial growth inside the mouth. The word “periodontal” literally means “around the tooth.”

If left treatment, bacteria in the mouth is fully capable of destroying the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth, leading to a various of dental problems.

The root cause of it all is plaque, a sticky substance that’s always forming on your teeth. Both regular brushing and flossing help reduce dental plaque. However, if oral care is neglected and plaque is left to accumulate for too long, the plaque can harden and become tartar in as little as 24 hours. Once the plaque hardens and becomes tartar, it can bond so tightly to the teeth that it can only be removed via professional cleaning at the dentist’s office.

Prevention
It’s important to take note that gum disease is only treatable in its early stages, and once it’s progressed too far, the symptoms can only be managed via a combination of periodic cleanings and paying extra attention to oral care at home.
That being said, the best way to treat gum disease is by preventing it in the first place. The best way to do this is to brush teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once. It would also help to ask for a demonstration from your dentist to learn the proper technique. This is especially important with flossing as if done properly, it can help remove plaque from between the teeth and under the gumline, which is something that brushing alone can’t do.
Speaking of dentists, frequent dental checkups also play a key role in preventing gum disease. Having teeth periodically cleaned and checked by a dental health professional helps increase the chances gum disease being caught early on and treated before it worsens.

Treatment
If, however, gum disease has advanced to periodontitis, the goal of the treatment shifts from prevention to controlling the infection and halting any further progress. Typically, the treatment involves making healthier lifestyle choices, especially in regards to food, as well as an added emphasis on brushing and flossing. The dentist may also recommend a non-surgical procedure to help control the growth of the harmful bacteria. Often, the standard treatment is scaling and root planning, which is a type of intensive deep cleaning that involves scraping the plaque and tartar from above and below the gumline. Afterwards, rough spots, which is usually where germs tend to collect, are removed and smoothed out.
Do keep in mind that treatment methods aren’t universal. This means that not all treatment methods are as effective for every patient. As such, dentists carefully plan the course of treatment depending on the progression of the disease, and if available, any feedback from earlier treatments. Your oral health care provider will work closely with you in making sure that your treatment methods are best suited for your particular case.

Regardless of the course of treatment, the goal remains the same, and that is, to reduce swelling, minimize the risk of infection, stop further damage and more importantly, restore oral health.
It’s important that you, as a patient, listen to what your dentist or periodontist says to increase the likelihood of the treatment being successful.

What Is The Importance Of A Night Guard?

What Is The Importance Of A Night Guard?

Do you experience headaches, jaw pain, ear aches and neck pain regularly? If so, you’re probably one of the many people who’re suffering from bruxism, and not know about it.

Commonly referred to as teeth clenching or grinding, bruxism is a condition that occurs often exclusively when you’re asleep. Albeit, it can sometimes also happen when you’re awake. Although it might be a relatively new term for you, bruxism is actually a common sleep disorder that affects plenty of adults, as well as a number of children.

What Exactly Is Bruxism?
Bruxism is the technical term used to describe the grinding of your teeth. This is often done unconsciously, so most people probably don’t have any idea that they’re doing it. Regardless, it is not to be taken lightly, as bruxism, if left unaddressed, can lead to countless problems, including the following:

  • Headaches
  • Tooth pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Chipped teeth, fractures, loose teeth
  • Earaches
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • TMJ Disorder

The involuntary grinding of your teeth tends to overwork your jaw muscles, and may be the reason why you wake up feeling sore, especially in your jaws. Also, all that grinding can lead to muscle tenderness in your jaw, teeth and neck and can all contribute to your headaches. In worse cases, the constant grinding of your teeth can cause so much stress on your teeth that it can lead to infection and damage to your tooth nerve, which will require extensive, not to mention, expensive restorative treatment to fix. Accelerated tooth loss, gum recession, and TMJ disorders are also among the many other complications that could be caused by bruxism.

How Night Guards Can Help
There are plenty of ways to help you manage bruxism, but the simplest and often, the most effective solution is to use a mouth guard or a night guard.

Night guards are oral devices worn at night that help protect your teeth from the damage caused by grinding. At the same time, wearing a night guard has also been proven to help prevent patients from grinding their teeth altogether. Also, because it reduces the strain of all that grinding on your teeth and jaws, you most likely won’t be experiencing headaches and any pain or discomfort from your jaw or teeth once you start wearing these oral devices.

Don’t worry. Getting a night guard is easy, and won’t take much of your time. You simply have to visit a dentist, who will take an impression of your teeth, send them to a lab, and after some time, you’ll get a night guard that’s specifically designed for you and your mouth.

From waking up feeling groggy and in pain, wearing night guards could very well be the key to help make sure that you wake up feeling refreshed the next time around.

Visit Your Dentist Today
Teeth grinding is not an easy habit to kick, especially since you probably don’t know that you’re actually doing it. However, if you’re experiencing any of the signs and symptoms mentioned above, it might be a good idea to reach out to Spring Oaks Dental to talk about bruxism and possibly getting a night guard to help you get a good night’s sleep.

What You Need to Know About EPIC Laser Teeth Whitening

What You Need to Know About EPIC Laser Teeth Whitening

Are you getting tired of dealing with your less than perfect smile? Are you looking for a way to get a brighter, healthier smile that you’d be proud to beam to anybody? If so, then look no more than the EPIC laser teeth whitening system.
If you’re curious, here are things that you need to know about the EPIC laser treatment.

• It’s fast. The EPIC laser treatment is an in-office whitening procedure that can whiten yellow teeth after just one procedure, or in as little as 20 minutes!

• It’s effective. Years of stain build-up are no problem with the EPIC laser treatment. Regardless of whether it’s caused by tobacco, food and beverages, patients are sure to notice their smile becoming much brighter right after the procedure.

• It’s easy. Not only is the appointment short, but you don’t have to worry about using inconvenient and uncomfortable nightly trays just to achieve a brighter smile. The EPIC laser whitening treatment all happens at the dentist’s office and takes up as little as 20 minutes of your time!

How Does It Work?
The dentist applies a hydrogen peroxide-based whitening gel to your teeth, which is then activated by a laser. For those with sensitive teeth, be sure to let the dentist know so they can control the level of laser energy and make the experience much more comfortable.

The EPIC treatment process will take up no longer than 20 minutes of your time on average. In that time, the laser works hard to lighten dark, yellowed and discolored enamel.

Immediately after the procedure, you can look at the mirror and enjoy a brighter, whiter smile!

What Are You Waiting For?
Fast, easy, effective and convenient, the EPIC laser teeth whitening system is all that you can ask for in a tooth whitening procedure and more! Book an appointment today and be one-step closer to having the beaming smile that you’ve always dreamed of! Call Spring Oaks Dental at 832-510-3834. For more information visit our website at www.springoaksdental.com.

Why Invisalign is Well Worth the Investment

Why Invisalign is Well Worth the Investment

Invisalign has become a popular alternative to the traditional braces in the past few years. But, as those who’ve considered Invisalign know all too well, the treatment can be more expensive, which begs the question, is Invisalign truly worth the investment?

Below are some of the advantages of Invisalign that you can educate yourself with so as to help you make an informed choice.

• Fewer orthodontic visits. A visit to the orthodontist can be expensive, especially if it’s not covered by dental insurance. Traditional braces require you to visit the orthodontist every six weeks or so to get the wires tightened. In some cases, visits are required as often as every three weeks. Meanwhile, with Invisalign, you’re given aligners worth several months that you can replace at home every two weeks, drastically cutting down on your time and money spent on visits to the orthodontist.

• No need for repairs. Traditional braces rely on the use of brackets or wires to straighten teeth. Although quite durable, they can sometimes become loose, or in worse cases, get lost. This isn’t something you worry about with Invisalign, as the aligners can easily be replaced with the next one in your series.

• Hassle-free oral care. Do you know anybody who’s had braces, or currently have them? If so, ask them how they keep their teeth clean and they’ll tell you just how bad it is. Although the orthodontist will show you a more detailed method of brushing teeth with braces, do you really need the added hassle? Plus, you also have to learn how to floss around the wiring too, and there’s also the increased risk for gum disease and tooth decay. On top of it all, you’ll need a professional cleaning done to restore the full whiteness of your smile at the end of the treatment process. Meanwhile, with Invisalign braces, you simply have to remove the appliance and clean your teeth as you normally would. Then, all you need to do is place it back on your mouth before you start the day or go to bed, it’s that simple.

Simply A More Comfortable Experience Overall
Along with fewer visits, no repairs and hassle-free oral care, choosing Invisalign treatment over traditional braces also means that you don’t have to worry about avoiding certain types of food. You simply just have to remove the dental appliance from your mouth and keep it safe whenever you’re eating. Plus, the materials used are practically invisible, so you don’t have to worry about feeling conscious every time you smile.
Put simply, Invisalign offers a more comfortable experience overall compared to traditional braces.

Check with Your Orthodontist Today
With a number of advantages over the traditional braces, Invisalign could very well be well worth the investment. Also, if the cost is your main concern, don’t be afraid to talk to Dr. Klein about possible payment options through Care Credit™. Be sure to contact Spring Oaks Dental today to see if your smile is a good candidate for Invisalign braces. Call 832-510-3834 or visit the website at www.springoaksdental.com.