Fillings are placed in teeth damaged by trauma or tooth decay. It is called a filling because the new material fills in the cavity caused by decay. Most teeth can be filled with tooth colored composite resin fillings. Caught early enough, cavities can be treated easily and painlessly. If not treated, tooth decay leads to tooth pain and infection requiring more extensive treatment to restore health and in some cases decay can lead to tooth loss.
Bonding refers specifically to the process of adhering to the tooth surface esthetic composite resin material selected to match the color of the natural tooth. Bonding can repair damage done to the tooth by decay, alter the alignment of the tooth, close gaps between the teeth, change the shape and color of the teeth, and treat other cosmetic or functional needs.
The process is simple. First the surface of the tooth is modified. A gel is applied to micro etch the tooth surface. A thin layer of bonding agent (adhesvie) is applied to the surface. The bonding composite material is then placed on the tooth and light cured. The composite resin material is then shaped and polished to achieve a lustrous, natural appearance.
Sealants are a preventive treatment used mostly on the back teeth. In many teeth, the occlusal or chewing surface has fine grooves or pits where plaque accumulates. These grooves are too narrow to allow even one bristle of a toothbrush into them. These grooves can develop cavities over time. The dentist brushes on a coating that fills in and seals the grooves and pits, making it easy to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthy.
NON-SURGICAL GUM TREATMENTS
The gums, ligaments, and bone around the teeth, referred to as the periodontium, form the foundation for teeth. When the periodontium is not healthy, it jeopardizes the teeth just as a bad foundation would threaten the stability of a house. Signs of an unhealthy periodontium (gum disease) include gums that are red and bleed easily, persistent bad breath, gums that are pulled away from the tooth, loose teeth, and changes in the position or bite of the teeth.
With the proper care, it may be possible to return the periodontium to good health. The treatment usually involves a deep cleaning or root planing performed under a local anesthetic. When indicated, antibiotics are placed directly into affected areas at the same time. If the gum disease gets too severe then the mouth may need to be treated through surgery or extraction of teeth. Early treatment can prevent tooth loss from periodontal disease.
Radiographs (x-rays) are a necessary part of the diagnostic process. Without these familiar black and white images, dental diseases often progress undetected. A complete set of radiographs showing all the teeth and supporting bone is essential to the diagnostic process. Without adequately diagnostic radiographs, it is not possible for your dentist to completely and accurately diagnose all possible infections or pathologies that may require further attention.
In our office digital radiography allows us to make images of your teeth using 50-70% less radiation versus conventional imaging techniques. Coupled with computer monitoring, digital x-ray technology allows us to enhance the images for better diagnosis of dental diseases.