Tooth decay often occurs on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. These surfaces have pits and grooves that trap plaque and bits of food. The pits and grooves are hard to keep clean, because toothbrush bristles cannot reach into them. That is how decay starts in the grooves and a cavity forms.
How do sealants work? The sealant is a plastic material (resin) applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. The resin flows into the pits and grooves in the teeth. Once the pits and grooves are covered, food and plaque cannot get in. The sealant forms a barrier against acid attacks.
Teeth grinding can be caused not just by stress and anxiety but by sleep disorders, an abnormal bite or teeth that are missing or crooked. The symptoms of teeth grinding include:
- Dull headache
- Jaw soreness
- Teeth that are painful or loose
- Fractured teeth
Custom fit nightguards are made to protect teeth and jaw joints during sleep.
When it comes to protecting your mouth, a mouthguard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of your standard equipment from an early age. While collision and contact sports, such as boxing, are higher-risk sports for the mouth, any athlete may experience a dental injury in non-contact activities too, such as gymnastics and skating.
Mouthguards, also called mouth protectors, help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face or jaw. They typically cover the upper teeth and are a great way to protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining.
Dental X-rays are a useful diagnostic tool when helping your dentist detect damage and disease not visible during a regular dental exam. How often X-rays should be taken depends on your present oral health, your age, your risk for disease, and any signs and symptoms of oral disease.
If you are a new patient, the dentist may recommend X-rays to determine the present status of your oral health and have a baseline to help identify changes that may occur later. A new set of X-rays may be needed to help your dentist detect any new cavities, determine the status of your gum health or evaluate the growth and development of your teeth. If a previous dentist has any radiographs of you, your new dentist may ask you for copies of them. Ask both dentists to help you with forwarding your X-rays.
Dental X-ray exams are safe; however, they do require very low levels of radiation exposure, which makes the risk of potentially harmful effects very small. Dental X-ray tools and techniques are designed to limit the body’s exposure to radiation and every precaution is taken to ensure that radiation exposure is As Low As Reasonable Achievable (the ALARA principle). A leaded apron minimizes exposure to the abdomen and may be used when it will not interfere with acquisition of the dental radiograph. Also, a leaded thyroid collar can protect the thyroid from radiation, and should also be used whenever possible.
Composite (Tooth-colored) – tooth-colored fillings, provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small to mid-size fillings that need to withstand moderate pressure from the constant stress of chewing. The can be used on either front or back teeth. They are a good choice for people who prefer that their fillings look more natural.
Amalgam (Silver colored) – Dental amalgam is made from a combination of metals that include mercury, silver, tin, and copper. Dental amalgam has been used for more and 100 years because it lasts a long time and is less expensive than other cavity-filling materials such as tooth-colored composites or gold fillings. One disadvantage of amalgam is that these types of fillings are not natural looking, especially when the filling is near the front of the mouth, where it may show when you laugh or speak.
Inlays/Onlays – This type of dental filling is usually considered the most durable, lasting 20 years or more, but it is also the most costly. Inlays or onlays can be done at one office visit using a CEREC machine that fabricates it during your scheduled appointment.
Information provided by ADA MouthHealthy.org