158 Main Street
Norfolk, MA 02056
Borgia, Anthony T D.D.S.
110 Long Pond Rd # 124
Plymouth, MA, 02360-2642
Alibhai, Karim Z D.D.S.
1666 Massachusetts Ave # 205
Lexington, MA, 02420-5313
Makkar, Sandra R D.D.S.
189 Surrey Ln
Danvers, MA, 1923
Sanchez, Lisa M D.D.S.
110 Long Pond Rd # 124
Plymouth, MA, 02360-2642
Technology now offers attractive options for cavity restorations in dental care. Called composites, these new tooth-colored fillings are excellent choices for front teeth and other repairs that might be visible. Composites duplicate the natural appearance of a tooth in restoring decayed teeth or repairing a defect.
Composites are made from a mixture of microscopic plastic and ceramic resin particles. Another type of tooth-colored filling is called a resin ionomer, which releases fluoride useful for preventing tooth decay.
The bonding process used in restoration provides strength to the tooth, making it more structurally sound. It also seals the tooth, decreasing the chance of sensitivity to hot and cold. Some composites made with materials releasing fluoride are ideal for treating root decay, a condition when gums recede, exposing tooth roots to more cavity-causing plaque. These fluoride-releasing materials also are useful for filling decayed baby teeth.
Following removal of the decayed area, a mild acid solution is used to prepare the tooth's surface for bonding. A bonding agent is then brushed over the surface. Next, several layers of the composite are applied. For a natural appearance, the dentist matches the color of the composite to the tooth.
Then, it is chemically hardened or cured with a special light and finally polished for a natural-looking finishing touch.
In a five-year clinical study, some of the resin materials demonstrated 100% effectiveness for adhesion and retention. Like other types of fillings, they may require periodic replacement. While the material is very durable, they may not perform quite as long as silver fillings or amalgams for their resistance to the rigors of grinding and chewing.
Scheduling regular dental exams is an important part of good oral hygiene. Your dentist will check your invisible fillings each time to ensure their performance.
By Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO
Problems with the way your teeth fit together occur in many different ways. Some bite problems cause discomfort or even pain, and that pain can masquerade as problems that you would not readily associate with your teeth. Some bite problems can cause major damage to your teeth without producing any obvious discomfort.
There are some pretty simple ways that anyone can detect TMJ when a problem with the bite is causing or at least contributing to pain or discomfort.
The clench test: With your mouth empty so there is nothing between your teeth to bite on, close your teeth together and squeeze hard. If clenching your teeth together causes any sign of discomfort in any tooth, you have a disharmony in your bite.
Teeth that are sensitive to cold often get that way from the extra pounding they take if any part of that tooth strikes before the rest of the teeth contact during closure. Use the clench test to see if the extra sensitivity is related to an uneven bite. Squeeze hard. If you can make any tooth hurt by empty mouth clenching, the bite is probably the main reason for the sensitivity. This is a good way to find out if a new filling or crown is "high." If it hurts when you clench, it is probably not in perfect harmony with a correct bite. You should be able to bite hard and grind your teeth together in all directions without feeling discomfort in any tooth if your bite is perfect. The exception to this is if you have advanced periodontal disease, you may have several teeth that can't accept firm biting, but even then, you should not normally feel pain in a single tooth when biting.
If biting hard causes pain or discomfort in the jaw joint, (you may feel it just in front of your ear), you can suspect a possible relationship between your bite and a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problem. It may be associated with a structural disorder in your TMJ, but more often the pain is coming from certain muscles that move your jaw joints to accommodate a bite that is not in harmony with your TMJs. Your dentist should be able to diagnose the exact source of the pain.
Look for severe wear on your teeth, as this is another sign that your bite is not in harmony. If you have worn all the enamel off the biting edges of your teeth, you will see a darker colored surface. This is dentin and it will wear down seven times faster than the much harder enamel that you've already worn through. So ask your dentist to evaluate what is causing so much wear. This wear can be especially damaging when it is on your front teeth, so if you notice your lower front teeth have worn down to dentin, have your bite checked. Better yet, don't wait till all the enamel is gone. Schedule a visit to your dentist office. Correcting your bite may stop or at least slow down the wear process.
By Peter E. Dawson, DDS