Posts for: June, 2017
One of the top concerns in public health today is exposure to the metallic element mercury within the environment. At abnormal levels, mercury can have a toxic effect on our nervous systems and cause other health problems.
These concerns over mercury have also increased attention on one material in dentistry that has included the metal in its makeup for over a century — dental amalgam for filling teeth. Amalgam is a metal alloy that can include, in addition to mercury, silver, tin, and copper. When first mixed dental amalgam is a moldable material used for fillings in prepared teeth. It then hardens into a durable restoration that can withstand biting forces.
While the use of amalgam has declined with the introduction of life-like colored fillings, it's still used for teeth like molars subject to high biting forces. With what we now know about the ill effects of mercury (which can make up to half of an amalgam mixture) is it safe to continue its use?
The American Dental Association has performed extensive research into amalgam safety. They've found that mercury is stabilized by the other metals in the amalgam. This prevents "free" molecules of mercury, the real source of harm to health, from escaping into the blood stream in the form of vapor. Although trace amounts of mercury vapor from the amalgam are released as a person chews, those levels are well below the threshold that could cause harm.
From a patient standpoint, the biggest drawback to dental amalgam isn't safety — it's the appearance of teeth it's used on. Silver fillings aren't considered attractive. And now there are viable filling alternatives that not only look like natural teeth but can withstand biting forces almost as well as amalgam. These materials include composite resins, mixtures of glass or quartz within resin, or glass and resin ionomers. Each of these has advantages and disadvantages depending on how and where they're applied.
After a thorough dental examination, we'll be able to advise you on what filling material will work best to produce the best result. And if we do suggest dental amalgam you can rest assured it will be a safe choice.
If you would like more information on the safety of dental amalgam, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Silver Fillings — Safe or Unsafe?”
Are you interested in getting dental veneers but feel like you need to learn a bit more first? We can help!
Are you feeling frustrated with the look of your smile? Are imperfections all you see when you look in the mirror? If you’ve said “yes”, then it might be time to talk to one of our Lawrenceville, GA, cosmetic dentists about dental veneers. Not sure what dental veneers are? Don’t worry; we’re here to explain.
Ever wished there was something that you could place over your teeth to improve how they look? Well, your wish has been granted. Dental veneers are made from a tooth-colored material (often porcelain) that is bonded to the front of your teeth to hide a myriad of imperfections. Hate those stains caused by trauma to your tooth or smoking for years? If teeth whitening isn’t cutting it, then it might be time to talk to our Lawrenceville dentists about getting veneers to instantly brighten your smile.
Even though cracks and chips may not affect how your teeth function, they certainly can put quite the damper on how your smile looks. Don’t worry; veneers can also hide these issues, as well as improve the shape of your teeth. Whether teeth grinding has worn down enamel or some teeth just aren’t the same length as the rest, veneers can even out your smile so that teeth are all the same shape and size.
Do you hate that your front teeth overlap one another? Have one tooth that is just a little bit crooked? You may assume that you’d have to wear braces in order to get the results you want, but if you don’t want to wait months to fix these problems, let dental veneers tackle it. Veneers can easily cover gaps between teeth, as well as offer a straighter smile for more minor misalignments.
Of course, before getting veneers it’s important to know that there is some tooth preparation required if you choose traditional veneers. Even though veneers are thin, we will still need to shave off some enamel from the front of your teeth so that veneers don’t look bulky or awkward when applied. While this preparation is minimal and doesn’t hurt, it’s important to note that enamel doesn’t grow back. Once enamel has been removed, your new restorations are for life.
Let the Center for Cosmetic and Sedation Dentistry in Lawrenceville, GA, provide you with the dental care your smile needs to look its best. If you want to know if your teeth could benefit from dental veneers, give us a call today.
It's no secret that many of Hollywood's brightest stars didn't start out with perfectly aligned, pearly-white teeth. And these days, plenty of celebs are willing to share their stories, showing how dentists help those megawatt smiles shine. In a recent interview with W magazine, Emma Stone, the stunning 28-year-old star of critically-acclaimed films like La La Land and Birdman, explained how orthodontic appliances helped her overcome problems caused by a harmful habit: persistent thumb sucking in childhood.
“I sucked my thumb until I was 11 years old,” she admitted, mischievously adding “It's still so soothing to do it.” Although it may have been comforting, the habit spelled trouble for her bite. “The roof of my mouth is so high-pitched that I had this huge overbite,” she said. “I got this gate when I was in second grade… I had braces, and then they put a gate.”
While her technical terminology isn't quite accurate, Stone is referring to a type of appliance worn in the mouth which dentists call a “tongue crib” or “thumb/finger appliance.” The purpose of these devices is to stop children from engaging in “parafunctional habits” — that is, behaviors like thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, which are unrelated to the normal function of the mouth and can cause serious bite problems. (Other parafunctional habits include nail biting, pencil chewing and teeth grinding.)
When kids develop the habit of regularly pushing the tongue against the front teeth (tongue thrusting) or sucking on an object placed inside the mouth (thumb sucking), the behavior can cause the front teeth to be pushed out of alignment. When the top teeth move forward, the condition is commonly referred to as an overbite. In some cases a more serious situation called an “open bite” may develop, which can be difficult to correct. Here, the top and bottom front teeth do not meet or overlap when the mouth is closed; instead, a vertical gap is left in between.
Orthodontic appliances are often recommended to stop harmful oral habits from causing further misalignment. Most appliances are designed with a block (or gate) that prevents the tongue or finger from pushing on the teeth; this is what the actress mentioned. Normally, when the appliance is worn for a period of months it can be expected to modify the child's behavior. Once the habit has been broken, other appliances like traditional braces or clear aligners can be used to bring the teeth into better alignment.
But in Stone's case, things didn't go so smoothly. “I'd take the gate down and suck my thumb underneath the mouth appliance,” she admitted, “because I was totally ignoring the rule to not suck your thumb while you're trying to straighten out your teeth.” That rule-breaking ended up costing the aspiring star lots of time: she spent a total of 7 years wearing braces.
Fortunately, things worked out for the best for Emma Stone: She now has a brilliant smile and a stellar career — plus a shiny new Golden Globe award! Does your child have a thumb sucking problem or another harmful oral habit? For more information about how to correct it, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “How Thumb Sucking Affects the Bite.”