Category: Cosmetic Dentistry

The Changing Face of Fillings

Take a look at new alternatives to traditional metal fillings
New developments in materials and techniques are improving the appearance and performance of dental fillings.

For the vast majority of Americans, tooth decay is a fact of life. A study published in 2015 by the Centers for Disease Control showed that 42 percent of children have at least one cavity (medically known as a dental caries). And it gets worse with age – By the time we reach 65, all but 4 percent of us has experienced a cavity and (hopefully) a filling of the damaged area.

History

The first recorded filling of teeth occurred in Europe in the early 1800s. 20th-century advancements took the artistry of filling teeth from its infancy to the host of advanced options available to today’s dental patients. From the soft metals in the early days, to the amalgams developed during 1900s, to modern porcelain and composite resin fillings used today, the techniques for repairing tooth loss are continuing to evolve.

Amalgams are the most widely used filling substance world-wide, despite growing concerns over radiant health risks associated with Mercury that many contain. In the U.S., metals have generally lost their luster as a surface material for damaged areas. This is partially due to those Mercury concerns, but also because amalgams darken over time and become more noticeable. The aesthetically-oriented nature of U.S. dentistry is driving numerous research efforts focused on improving the delivery, performance and appearance of fillings.

New Developments

Modern composites are applied to damaged teeth as a fluid substance, and then ‘cured’ to hardness with ultraviolet light. New UV light activators allow a more complete repair of deeper cavities in teeth, and the addition of reinforced silica fibers to acrylic-based composites is reducing the shrinkage of fillers during the curing phase.  Lithium disilicate glass-ceramic composite shows promise for its strength, durability and chemical properties that match the natural coloration of teeth.

Beyond traditional fillings, Meyer & Johns patients have many more choices for repairing damaged teeth, with options that include onlays, crowns and veneers. These options are especially important for filling cavities or damage on highly-visible front teeth. If you think you have a cavity, schedule an appointment today – we’ll find the problem, and offer a solution that will look and feel great!

Tooth Enamel: Tips for keeping yours healthy

What Is Enamel, and Why Is It Important?

Enamel is the smooth, hard exterior surface of your teeth. It protects the interior dentin, which is softer and contains nerves and blood vessels. Tooth enamel is translucent, allowing the color of the interior dentin to show through. An easy way to think of it is like a suit of armor, protecting the dentin and pulp of your teeth within from the ravages of decay.

Needless to say, it’s pretty important to your overall dental health.

How Does Tooth Enamel Erode?

There are many threats to the health of your tooth enamel.
Your tooth enamel is targeted for damage by many common foods, beverages and medicines.

The biggest contributors to enamel erosion may not be what you’d expect. Acidic foods are one of the biggest culprits, as they can weaken enamel and leave it vulnerable to bacteria that cause tooth decay.

A surprising (and therefore potentially dangerous) contributor to erosion is dry mouth. Saliva protects your enamel by naturally controlling the growth of tooth-attacking bacteria. When your mouth is dry, these bacteria can grow unchecked and cause long-term damage.

Of course, many other factors can work against your enamel, from acid reflux to prescription medications, drug supplements and even over-brushing your teeth.

How Should You Care for Enamel?

Comprehensive oral health must include enamel care. Some tips for keeping it strong include:

  • Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, as stiff brushes can actually wear away your enamel
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day, particularly after meals high in acid (this includes many fruits!) or sugar.
  • If you can’t brush your teeth immediately after meals, give your mouth at least a good rinsing with water to reduce the acidity.

And of course, visit Dr. Meyers or Dr. Johns at least twice a year for professional cleaning and a full exam to catch any enamel issues early.

Can Enamel Be Repaired?

Unfortunately, enamel loss is permanent. But even thought it won’t grow back, there are many cosmetic dentistry procedures that can help to mitigate its loss. Bonding, veneers, and crowns are all safe, long-lasting solutions to problems associated with enamel loss and damage.

Worried about your enamel or have other dental concerns? Contact us today and we’ll happily discuss what Meyer & Johns can do for you.

 

What Exactly is a Veneer?

Dental veneers can dramatically improve your smile

Dental veneers are thin layers of porcelain applied to your teeth. They are custom fit in order to perfect your smile, and can potentially last decades when treated well. Although veneers certainly can make a smile truly dazzling, not everyone is a good candidate for them, and other restorative options may be more viable options for many individuals.

Function

Veneers are made from porcelain to match the color, functionality, and durability of natural teeth. They can be crafted to adjust small gaps or twists in teeth in addition to other small alignment imperfections.

An added benefit of veneers is that, unlike natural tooth enamel, they are impervious to staining, which means that they will retain their bright white color even for smokers or heavy coffee drinkers, for instance.

Application

The dentist removes a thin layer of enamel from each tooth to prepare it for the veneer adhesive. This durable, light-cured compound is very durable and tightly binds veneer to tooth. The veneers themselves must be created for your individual teeth in a lab, so there is a small wait time.

Maintenance

Caring for veneers is the same as caring for your natural teeth, with regular brushing and flossing. Regular, non-abrasive toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush will take care of them for the most part. They will need to be inspected and polished as a part of your regular dental exams, but should require no special care unless they begin to break or wear down.

Keep in Mind

Although veneers are very long-lived, they are not always permanent. They can chip, break, or wear down to the point of needing replacement. Since the application process requires removal of a thin layer of your natural enamel, natural teeth are no longer viable without a veneer to protect them. Replacement is necessary in these cases.

If you’d like to improve your smile, contact Meyer & Johns today to make an appointment. We would be pleased to discuss with you the best options for you as an individual, both in terms of dental health and cosmetic options.

Why Whiten?

Teeth whitening makes a difference

A bright, dazzling smile can do wonders for your attitude and confidence, but many of us don’t have perfectly pearly whites without a little help. Fortunately, Meyer & Johns can provide all the right ways to help your smile stand out.

Why Aren’t My Teeth Whiter?

There are many reasons why your teeth may not be as bright as you’d like, but the most common causes are external. Contributors to less-than-bright smiles include:

  • Food and Drink – Some foods (most notably red wine, coffee, and tea) can stain your teeth because of their intense pigmentation.
  • Tobacco – Both tar and nicotine can take a toll on your enamel.
  • Aging – As your enamel becomes thinner with time, the dentin, yellower than enamel, begins to show through.
  • Injury – Teeth that have been injured may darken in response to trauma.

Whitening Options

There are essentially three options for tooth whitening:

  • Whitening Toothpastes – Pastes can sometimes improve teeth by a shade, but are generally better for maintenance than for achieving new results.
  • Over-the-Counter Whitening Products – These use the same peroxide-based whitening agents that are used in dental offices, but at lower concentrations, and lower efficacy. They generally require several applications over a week or more to make a noticeable difference.
  • In-Office Whitening Products – Specially activated, professionally applied whitening compounds can really make a difference in your teeth after even just a single treatment. Hands-down the surest way to whiten your smile.

Other Options

In some cases, veneers or composite bonding may be a more suitable option, depending on your unique case. For example, bleaching won’t change the color of any fillings you may have, which could lead to uneven tooth coloration.

Whatever your situation, the best first step toward the unstoppable confidence of a brilliant smile is to come talk to Meyer & Johns. We’d be happy to take a look at your teeth and work with you to discover an individualized approach to achieve your best possible results.