Third Grade~Xrays, Mouthrinse, Tooth Decay, Amalgam & Composites
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Dental Radiographs (Xrays)

Radiographic or X-ray examinations provide your dentist with an important tool that shows the condition of your teeth, its roots, jaw placement and the overall composition of your facial bones.

X-rays can help your dentist determine the presence or degree of periodontal disease, abscesses and many abnormal growths, such as cysts and tumors. X-rays also can show the exact location of impacted and unerupted teeth. They can pinpoint the location of cavities and other signs of disease that may not be possible to detect through a visual examination.
Your radiographic schedule is based on the dentist's assessment of your individual needs, including whether you're a new patient or a follow-up patient, adult or child. In most cases, new patients require a full set of mouth X-rays to evaluate oral health status, including any underlying signs of gum disease and for future comparison. Follow-up patients may require X- rays to monitor their gum condition or their chance of tooth decay.

Typically, most dental patients have "periapical" or "bitewing" radiographs taken. These require patients to hold or bite down on a piece of plastic with X-ray film in the center. Bitewing X-rays typically determine the presence of decay in between teeth, while periapical X-rays show root structure, bone levels, cysts and abscesses.

Sometimes, you may need both kinds of Xrays, because what is apparent through one type of X-ray often is not visible on another. The panoramic X-ray will give your dentist a general and comprehensive view of your entire mouth on a single film, which a periapical or bitewing X-ray can not show. On the other hand, periapical or bitewing X- rays show a highly-detailed image of a smaller area, making it easier for your dentist to see decay or cavities between your teeth. X-rays are not prescribed indiscriminately. Your dentist has a need for the different information that each radiograph can provide to formulate a diagnosis.

Mouth rinses

Whether you have bad breath, want to fight cavities or prevent the buildup of plaque, the sticky material that contains germs and can lead to oral diseases, mouth rinses serve a variety of purposes. Though they may leave your mouth with a clean, fresh taste, some rinses can be harmful, hiding bad breath and unpleasant taste that are signs of periodontal diseases which cause inflammation and degeneration of the supporting structures of the teeth, tooth decay or some other disease. Most rinses are effective oral antiseptics that freshen the mouth and curb bad breath for up to three hours. Their success in preventing tooth decay, gingivitis (inflammation of the gingival gum tissue) and periodontal disease is limited.

Tooth Decay: A Preventable Disease

Tooth decay is the disease known as caries or cavities. Unlike some diseases, caries is not life threatening and is highly preventable, though it affects most people to some degree during their lifetime. Tooth decay occurs when your teeth are frequently exposed to foods containing carbohydrates (starches and sugars) like soda pop, candy, ice cream, milk, cakes, and even fruits, vegetables and juices. Natural bacteria live in your mouth and forms plaque. The plaque interacts with deposits left on your teeth from sugary and starchy foods to produce acids. These acids damage tooth enamel over time by dissolving, or demineralizing, the mineral structure of teeth, producing tooth decay and weakening the teeth.

How are cavities prevented?

The acids formed by plaque can be counteracted by simple saliva in your mouth, which acts as a buffer and remineralizing agent. Dentists often recommend chewing sugarless gum to stimulate your flow of saliva. However, though it is the body's natural defense against cavities, saliva alone is not sufficient to combat tooth decay. 

The best way to prevent caries is to brush and floss regularly. To rebuild the early damage caused by plaque bacteria, we use fluoride, a natural substance which helps to remineralize the tooth structure. Fluoride is added to toothpaste to fight cavities and clean teeth. The most common source of fluoride is in the water we drink. Fluoride is added to most community water supplies and to many bottled and canned beverages.

Who is at risk for cavities?

Because we all carry bacteria in our mouths, everyone is at risk for cavities. Those with a diet high in carbohydrates and sugary foods and those who live in communities without fluoridated water are likely candidates for cavities. And because the area around a restored portion of a tooth is a good breeding ground for bacteria, those with a lot of fillings have a higher chance of developing tooth decay. Children and senior citizens are the two groups at highest risk for cavities.

What can I do to help protect my teeth ?

  • Cut down on sweets and between-meal snacks. Remember, it's these sugary and starchy treats that put your teeth at extra risk.

  • Brush after every meal and floss daily. Cavities most often begin in hard-to-clean areas between teeth and in the fissures and pits--the edges in the tooth crown and gaps between teeth. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush inside, outside and between your teeth and on the top of your tongue. Be sure the bristles are firm, not bent, and replace the toothbrush after a few weeks to safeguard against reinfecting your mouth with old bacteria than can collect on the brush. Finally, because caries is a transmittable disease, toothbrushes should never be shared, especially with your children.

  • See your dentist at least every six months for checkups and professional cleanings. Because caries can be difficult to detect a thorough dental examination is very important. If you get a painful toothache, if your teeth are very sensitive to hot or cold foods, or if you notice signs of decay like white spots, tooth discolorations or cavities, make an appointment right away. If a cavity is left untreated, you could get an infection or even get the cavity so bad that it cannot be fixed and the tooth may have to be removed.

Dental Amalgams (Silver fillings)

Dental amalgam or silver filling is a mixture of mercury, and an alloy of silver, tin and copper. Mercury makes up about 45-50 percent of the compound. Mercury is used to bind the metals together and to provide a strong, hard durable filling. Mercury in dental amalgam is not poisonous. When mercury is combined with other materials in dental amalgam, its chemical nature changes, so it is essentially harmless. In fact, it is less than what patients are exposed to in food, air, and water. It has a 150-year proven track record and is still one of the safest, durable and least expensive materials to a fill a cavity. It is estimated that more than 1 billion amalgam restorations (fillings) are placed annually. Patients prefer dental amalgam to other alternatives because of its safety, cost-effectiveness, and ability to be placed in the tooth cavity quickly.Alternatives to amalgam, such as cast gold restorations, porcelain, and composite resins are more costly. Gold and porcelain restorations take longer to make and can require two appointments. Composite resins, or white fillings, are esthetically appealing, but require a longer time to place the restoration. It should also be known that these materials, with the exception of gold, are not as durable as amalgam.

Composite resins (White or Tooth colored fillings)

A composite resin is a tooth-colored plastic mixture filled with glass (silicon dioxide). Over the last several years, composites have been significantly improved and can be successfully placed in the back teeth as well the front teeth. Composites are not only used for restoring decay, but are also used for cosmetic improvements of the smile by changing the color of the teeth or reshaping disfigured teeth.How is a composite placed?

After preparing the tooth, the dentist places the composite in layers, using a light specialized to harden each layer. When the process is finished, the dentist will shape the composite to fit the tooth. The dentist then polishes the composite to prevent staining and early wear. It takes the dentist about 10-20 minutes longer to place a composite than a silver filling. Placement time depends on the size and location of the cavity. The larger the size, the longer it will take.Good looks are the main advantage, since dentists can blend shades to create a color nearly identical to that of the actual tooth. Composites bond to the tooth to support the remaining tooth structure, which helps to prevent breakage and insulate the tooth from excessive temperature changes. Disadvantages include post-operative sensitivity. Also, the shade of the composite can change slightly if the patient drinks tea, coffee or other staining foods. The dentist can put a clear plastic coating over the composite to prevent the color from changing if a patient is particularly concerned about tooth color. Composites tend to wear out sooner than silver fillings in larger cavities, although they hold up as well in small cavities.Composites last 7-10 years, which is comparable to silver fillings except in very large restorations, where silver fillings last longer than composites.

Contact

Academy of Dentistry International®
3813 Gordon Creek Drive
Hicksville, Ohio 43526 U. S. A.
Tel: + 01(419) 542-0101
Fax: +01(419) 542-0992
Email:info@adint.org