Reva Dental Blog

Category Archives: Decay Detection

Types of Dental Fillings and Treatment Procedure

What is a Filling and When are they Used?

A filling is a type of restorative dental treatment used to repair minimal to moderate tooth fractures, tooth decay or otherwise damaged surfaces of the teeth. Dental filling materials, which include composite, porcelain and silver amalgam, may also be used to even out tooth surfaces for better biting or chewing.

Enamel loss is a common component of tooth decay, and may result in discomfort and tooth sensitivity In many cases, sensitivity caused by enamel loss will be significantly improved or completely eliminated once an appropriate dental filling material is placed. But in some cases, depending on the extent of tooth decay or damage, the affected tooth may require additional or alternative procedures, including:

Dental Crowns: Teeth requiring more support than offered by a traditional filling may require a dental crown.

Root Canal Treatment: Infected, abscessed or nerve damaged teeth may require a root canal procedure.

Dental Implants and Dental Bridges: Irreparable tooth damage requiring tooth extraction may require an implant or bridge.

Dental Fillings Consultation and Treatment Planning

At Reva Dental, one of the more common oral health issues discovered during scheduled cleanings is decay. Your dentist will examine suspect teeth using a dental probe and caries detecting liquid, as well as taking an X-ray to determine the extent and exact location of the cavity and decay.

Once it is determined that a filling is needed, your dentist will advise you of your options for filling and sealing the cavity to prevent further decay and damage to the tooth. Based on your medical history, location of the cavity, aesthetic needs, biting force, durability, cost, number of visits necessary and your preference, your dentist will decide which filling option is best for you. These options include direct composite bonding (white filling), amalgam (silver filling), gold or porcelain inlays/onlays created by our dental laboratory.

Depending on what your best option is, your dentist will usually be able to complete your filling immediately. In preparation for treatment, the area surrounding the affected tooth will be anesthetised (numbed) using a local anesthetic.

Dental Fillings: The Procedure

The dentist begins the dental filling procedure by preparing the tooth and necessary surrounding areas in order to restore the damaged area. The decay or damage is removed with a dental hand-piece, and the area is cleansed to remove bacteria or debris before the restoration is completed.

The first step in performing a composite filling procedure involves isolation of the tooth. Tooth isolation is critical in a composite restoration, because it prevents moisture from interfering with the bonding process. The bonding procedure requires the placement of various adhesives followed by the composite material, which is then hardened with a special bonding light. The completed composite restoration is both functional and natural looking.

Dental Fillings Recovery and Aftercare

After the cavity has been filled, your dentist will discuss steps you can take to prevent decay from forming under or around the filling, or in other teeth. Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing with dental floss or an inter-dental brush once a day is advised. Keep appointments with your dentist for routine check-ups and teeth cleanings. Depending on your risk for caries, your dentist also may suggest sealants that can be placed over your molars to prevent the build-up of plaque and decay, as well as the use of fluoride mouth rinses as an additional preventive measure.

Also, since diet and nutrition affect oral health, it will be important to maintain a Balanced Diet and limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks, and snacks between meals.

Dental Filling Costs

Composite fillings are usually a bit more expensive than traditional amalgam fillings because they require a more sophisticated process, more expensive materials and additional office equipment. However composite materials are popular as they offer an aesthetic alternative to traditional amalgam materials. As such, people who have previously received amalgam fillings often return to their dentist to have them replaced with composite fillings.

The cost of your filling will depend on the number of tooth surfaces that need filling. For example, one tooth may have only one surface affected by decay or damage, while another tooth may have one or all surfaces affected by decay or damage.

On average, amalgam fillings are expected to last approximately 12 years, while composite fillings are expected to last five to seven years. This of course is dependent on your oral hygiene routine and and your commitment to continued dental visits.

You can see a full list of our treatment fees here.

Call Reva Dental on 056 7763786 to schedule your appointment. You may be eligible for a free check-up; see www.revadental.ie

Nutrition and Oral Health

It’s an idea we all know – eating healthy food creates healthy teeth. However, for ideal oral health it’s important to understand the process by which your diet can affect your oral health so that you can improve your diet and eating patterns with better oral health in mind.

Plaque and Acid Production

Oral bacteria can generally be kept in check by a healthy diet combined with regular and thorough dental care. When we eat or drink, natural bacteria and particles of food sit in the mouth and accumulate around the teeth, causing plaque to form. This is a constant process which eventually leads to the formation of dental caries, or cavities.

Some foods tend to start breaking down when they have been swallowed and reach the digestive tract, a good thing where oral health is concerned. However, other foods start to break down in the mouth itself – this encourages acid production by oral bacteria in the mouth and thereby hastens the destructive process to tooth structure. Saliva helps counteract the damage caused by these acids, as does regular brushing and fluoride; however it is best to minimise consumption of these types of foods where possible.

Carbohydrates are a good example of foods that break down in the mouth – they break down into simple sugars with the resultant acid production leading to plaque formation and greater likelihood of dental caries. Included in this category are sugary foods like sweets and soft drinks, as well as bread and most breakfast cereals.

Unhealthy Eating and Oral Health

Eating sugary and ‘junk’ foods promotes the acidic build-up in your mouth. However, food that is sticky or slow to dissolve is just as damaging if not more so.  For example, ‘healthier’ options, such as raisins, can be just as bad as sweets as they tend to stick to the teeth and can take a long time to flush completely down the digestive tract. Jellybeans actually dissolve faster than raisins in the mouth and are therefore not as destructive (although they are very high in sugar and therefore also to be avoided!). Similarly, muesli bars, crisps or biscuits tend to stay in the mouth, giving acid more time to damage tooth enamel and increasing the chance of plaque build-up. Recent research has also found that sports drinks are more erosive to tooth enamel than soft drinks, juice or cordial. Ultimately, poor general nutrition can create long-term problems for your teeth and can lead to serious dental problems such as periodontal disease.

When you eat is as important as what you eat.

Eating a meal increases saliva production, which helps to neutralise the destructive effects of bacteria. However, if damaging foods are eaten outside of meal times, the acids can stay on the teeth for up to 40 minutes. The more snacks you eat, the more opportunity for acidic plaque to build up. In other words, sugary food eaten as part of a main meal (such as dessert) will create less damage than snacking on sweets through the day.

Better Diet, Healthier Mouth

Water is a key ingredient in reducing the damage caused by plaque. Drinking water after a meal washes out the mouth and reduces the chance of bacteria taking hold. The fluoride added to our water supply has been overwhelmingly proven to reduce the formation of dental caries. However you should also use toothpaste with fluoride added or use a neutral fluoride-containing mouth rinse. A healthy diet is also crucial for good teeth and gums. Choose whole grain bread or rice over white and lots of vegetables and firm fruits, such as apples, fish, nuts and seeds for protein and anything that contains calcium, beneficial for stronger teeth, such as milk products.

Food that increases saliva production helps neutralise the effects of oral bacteria. Aged cheese can help buffer acid if eaten after a meal. Sugarless chewing gum containing xylitol has been shown to reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth.

And of course, brushing and flossing after each meal is your first and best defence against damaging bacteria and plaque.

Call Reva Dental on 056 776 3786 to schedule your appointment. You may be eligible for a free check-up; see www.revadental.ie

Problems with your Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are no different than other teeth, except that they are the last ones to grow into the mouth. Some people do not grow any wisdom teeth. Healthy and properly positioned wisdom teeth can be as useful as other teeth. However, they can cause problems if the teeth do not erupt into the mouth properly. At Reva Dental Kilkenny our highly trained clinicians treat any issues relating to wisdom teeth including extraction where necessary.

What is an impacted wisdom tooth?

The term that is used to describe wisdom teeth that don’t come through normally is ‘impacted wisdom teeth’. Two reasons for this are a lack of space, or other teeth being in the way. Impaction means that the tooth may be partially trapped by the jawbone, back teeth or gums. These teeth can grow sideways, emerge only part way from the gum or remain trapped beneath the gum and bone. Just because a tooth has not erupted doesn’t mean it is impacted. The persons teeth may be developing slowly and it may be too early to tell. Our dentists, with use of x-rays, can determine if your jaw size can accommodate up to four wisdom teeth and whether the teeth are growing properly.

Problems with wisdom teeth

For most people, wisdom teeth cause no problems at all, but some people can suffer problems such as inflammation of the surrounding gum, a higher risk of tooth decay, gum disease in other teeth, and possibly problems with teeth in later life. Removal of wisdom teeth is a fairly common procedure.

When should wisdom teeth be removed?

The National Institute of Clinical Excellence in the UK (NICE) recommends that only patients who have diseased wisdom teeth or other problems with their mouth should have their wisdom teeth removed. Your dentist or oral surgeon will be aware of the sort of disease or condition which would require you to have surgery. These conditions include:

• untreatable tooth decay

• damage to adjacent teeth

• abscesses

• recurrent infection of overlying gum

• cysts

• tumours

Removing the tooth

The extraction will be done by your dentist at Reva Dental or in certain difficult cases it may be referred to an oral surgeon. The decision is based on case specifics such as how deep the roots are and whether the teeth are erupted or impacted. Some wisdom teeth can be removed with ease in a few minutes, especially upper wisdom teeth. Lower wisdom teeth are usually more difficult and can take anything from 30 minutes to an hour. The procedure can be performed under local anaesthetic or under intravenous sedation. Where wisdom teeth are being removed in a hospital a general anaesthetic may be administered.

Before the operation

Pre-operative instructions are comprehensive and may include fasting instructions for a general anaesthetic. No food or drink for six hours before the operation and no smoking to reduce chance of infection and improve healing.

The operation

There are several methods that can be used to remove wisdom teeth. An extraction involves getting access to the tooth through the soft and sometimes hard tissue (bone), gently detaching the connective tissue between the tooth and bone, and removing the tooth.

After the operation

After a general anaesthetic or sedation expect to be out of action for least two days, avoiding driving and other complex tasks requiring full attention span. The first six to eight hours are usually uncomfortable and will require medication prescribed by the surgeon or strong over the counter pain medication. Swelling should be controlled by ice packs and bleeding with a pressure pack of folded gauze pads placed over the extraction site.  A soft diet is generally best for the first few days following the extraction. Teeth can be brushed the next day, but be careful to avoid the surgical area for the first few days. If you notice any unusual bleeding, swelling or pain in the days following the surgery call your dentist or oral surgeon immediately.

How to prevent a dry socket

Dry socket is the most common complication following a wisdom tooth extraction. This is a very painful condition which is often accompanied by a foul odour and bad taste. It occurs when the normal healing process is interrupted by an improperly formed blood clot or if a newly formed blood clot is dislodged too early. This results in the underlying bone being exposed. A blood clot is a necessary foundation for new tissue and bone to grow and heal over a two month time-frame. When the clot is lost, the cavity becomes dry and is unable to heal, resulting in a painful post operative complication. The condition is preventable via a few simple steps:

• Follow instructions of your dentist or oral surgeon carefully

• Avoid disturbing the wound for the first 24 hours

• Avoid drinking with a straw because the suction will interfere with blood clotting

• Avoid smoking because it can contaminate the extraction site and delay healing

• Avoid excessive mouth rinsing which may interfere with blood clotting

Call Reva Dental on (056) 7763786 to schedule your appointment. You may be eligible for a free check-up; see www.revadental.ie