Are Your Fillings Hurting Your Teeth?

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Do you ever get tired of looking at those unsightly silver fillings in your teeth? Besides looking terrible, has anyone ever told you what they do to your remaining tooth structure?

Silver (Amalgam) fillings are composed of a mixture of metals, the most controversial and toxic being Mercury. When this type tucson dentalof restorative material is placed in the mouth, it is not bonded to the tooth, but rather packed into the tooth like a putty. Because there is no chemical bond to provide retention, often times, unnecessary tooth structure must be removed in order to provide for mechanical retention. In other words, more tooth structure may have to be removed in the form of grooves and undercuts to hold in the restorative material.

Have you ever thought of what happens when you go from eating something hot to drinking something cold? These type of fillings have been known to expand and contract causing micro or macro fractures in the teeth. This means that one may suffer from a fractured tooth due to the stresses that these types of fillings may cause. Furthermore, the expansion and contraction of these fillings can lead to separation from the surrounding tooth structure. Leaving microscopic gaps between the filling and the tooth can lead to infiltration of bacteria. Ninety-five percent of the time these type of restorations are removed, decay is found lurking beneath. Why can’t we catch this decay sooner? Because of the metal, x-rays are unable to penetrate through, therefore, decay will not be seen radiographically until it has destroyed enough surrounding tooth structure to be visualized.

Why is the tooth blackish/gray? Have you noticed that silver fillings turn your tooth dark in comparison to teeth without these amalgam fillings? This is a direct result of the metals leaching from the restoration and staining the tooth and sometimes even the surrounding gum tissue. In the case of the latter, this is known as an amalgam tattoo. Unfortunately, once the gum tissue is stained, there is no removing the discoloration. In the case of a stained tooth due to an amalgam restoration, some of that discolored tooth structure will be removed upon removal of the silver filling. Many times it is difficult to remove all of the discolored tooth structure, in which case, there are alternative cosmetic procedures available to address these concerns.

So why are these restorations still used? Well they are becoming less and less popular as the public becomes more knowledgeable about ingredients and types of dental materials available. Amalgam fillings are quick and easy restorations to place. They are not as technique sensitivity as bonded restorations. The American Dental Association deems them to be a safe dental material leading to minimal mercury release. We’ve covered the amount of tooth structure lost when placing an amalgam filling, micro and macro fractures, mercury release and metal staining of surrounding hard and soft tissue. With dental technology so advanced and offering so many better choices in restorative materials, you be the judge of what you want in your mouth. After all, you have to live with it!

Ready to get rid of your silver fillings?  Then call Dr. Riley today.  Your Tucson general dentist with a cosmetic flair.  520-297-9069

7 Risk Factors That Promote Tooth Decay

posted in: Tooth Decay 0
Tucson dentist
Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is a process that happens when acidic waste products created by oral bacteria cause damage to the hard tissues of a tooth called enamel. If this process remains unchecked, a point can be reached where enough enamel is finally lost that hole or a cavity forms on the tooth.

Here are 7 lifestyles or risk factors that will increase your chances of getting tooth decay.

1.  Lack of proper oral hygiene

Brushing only once a day, especially if morning only, is a large risk factor in getting tooth decay.  If you don’t clean your teeth after eating and drinking, plaque builds up, eroding your teeth.

Plaque is a soft, sticky, and colorless deposit that is continually forming on our teeth and gums. Often undetected, plaque attacks the teeth and gums with the acid it produces from bacteria in your mouth.  This acid attack breaks down the tooth’s enamel, causing tooth sensitivity and ending with varying degrees of tooth decay.

2.  Tooth position

Crowded or rotated teeth are harder to clean and properly remove plaque.  This causes cavities or tooth decay.

3.  Frequent snacking or sipping throughout the day

If you frequently snack or sip sodas, acid has more time to attack your teeth and wear them down
Allowing teeth to be worn down into softer dentin due to bruxism or malocclusion.

4.  Eating disorders

Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia can lead to significant tooth decay. Stomach acid from vomiting washes over the teeth and erodes the enamel.  As the enamel erodes your teeth are less protected and more subject the the effects of plaque and cavity causing bacteria.

5.  Xerostomia or dry mouth

Dry mouth or Xerostomia is caused by a lack of saliva. Saliva has an important role in preventing tooth decay in that  it washes away food and plaque from your teeth.

6.  Broken down fillings or restorations
Over the years, dental fillings can become weak and begin to breakdown.  This can create places that harbor bacteria and increased plaque.

7.  Bottled water
Fluoride is often added to public water supplies.  This has helped decrease tooth decay by offering protective minerals for tooth enamel. But today, many people drink bottled or filtered water that doesn’t contain fluoride.

Having healthy, strong teeth is important.  Consider which of these common lifestyles are proving detrimental to your overall oral health and take positive steps to eliminate them.

We can help at Arizona Dental Medicine.  Call us today to set an appointment for a dental checkup to make sure that you don’t have tooth decay going on.