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Preventive Dentistry
Nearly all Americans will experience some form of tooth decay in their lifetimes. Untreated tooth decay progressively erodes the infected tooth and causes more serious problems. Since bacteria cause tooth decay, forgoing treatment risks spread to neighboring teeth, multiplying dental health issues. It is very important to remove the decay, clean the area, and restore the tooth with a filling.

To ensure overall oral health, missing or damaged teeth need to be replaced or restored by a licensed dentist.

Composite Fillings
A dentist applies composite fillings after tooth decay has been removed and the remaining tooth is cleaned. Instead of traditional silver fillings, composite fillings consist of a clear crystalline substance that is applied in layers and hardened with extremely bright light. Composite fillings offer several advantages:

• They look better than traditional fillings
• Their application is less intensive, which reduces the risk of tooth fracture
• Composite fillings bond directly to the tooth surface
• They are environmentally friendly; they contain no mercury

Crowns
Crowns, or 'caps', are used for restoring severely decayed or fractured teeth. First, your dentist removes the damaged portion of the tooth. Then, a unique mold is taken and used to manufacture a crown out of gold or porcelain to fit the remaining healthy tooth perfectly. The crown is then fixed into place with special cement. Crowns provide the following benefits:

• They restore the tooth's original shape and size
• They help prevent decay from forming on the underlying tooth
• They add strength to the tooth's structure
• They are very durable

Crowns help prevent the need for root canals and tooth extraction by reducing the risk of tooth fracture and tooth decay.

Bridges
Bridges serve to replace one or more missing teeth. First, the teeth on either side of the missing tooth are prepared to receive crowns by a dentist. Then, a false tooth is attached between the two crowns. Once the crown-false tooth-crown combination is cemented into place, it 'bridges' the gap left by the missing tooth. Bridges offer several benefits:

• They look like new teeth
• They are a permanent, durable mouth fixture
• They prevent surrounding teeth from shifting to fill the gap
• They restore a more natural bite and chewing ability

For these reasons, bridges are a good investment compared to dentures. If a bridge is not possible, or the adjacent teeth don't need crowns, dental implants may be the best alternative.

Root Canal
In cases of severe damage or decay, the tooth's soft interior (housing the nerves and blood supply) may need to be removed. Root canals replace the infected interior –or 'pulp'- with a rubber-like substance that fills and seals the interior once it has been emptied. Following a root canal, the tooth must be crowned to prevent fracture. Root canal advantages include:

• Preventing tooth death and the need for extraction
• Relieving pain associated with tooth pulp infection
• Reducing discomfort caused by hot or cold liquids
• Stopping infection from spreading

A root canal can help prevent future tooth extraction and the need for more expensive bridge or tooth implant procedures.

Implants
Implants permanently replace missing teeth by surgical attachment to the jawbone. After the dental implant is installed, the dentist will attach an artificial tooth, effectively replacing the missing tooth. Because of required healing time, there is a delay between the implant surgery and the attachment of the artificial tooth. Dental implants provide several advantages over dentures and less permanent tooth replacement solutions:


• They are very durable, nearly undetectable, and the closest thing to real teeth
• They help prevent teeth from shifting to fill gaps
• They improve bite and chewing ability
• They prevent associated jaw joint issues
• They reduce the sunken look caused by missing teeth
• They can be used to anchor a bridge to natural teeth

While implants are more expensive than bridges and dentures, the long-term health benefits and a natural looking smile make them a smart long-term investment.
Tips to Make Brushing More Effective
Brushing two times per day is a great start for helping to keep your teeth clean, but if you are not brushing effectively, then those times of brushing may not be doing as much good as you thought it was. It takes making sure you brush each tooth's surface on all sides in order to make sure your teeth are getting the right kind of care. Plus, you also need to rinse, floss, and see us. If you want to get the most out of each time you brush, here are some tips to make sure that is possible. That way, when you come in to see us, we can report a healthy smile back to you.

Make Brushing Really Count

First, you need the right toothbrush. If your toothbrush is too hard, it can strip the enamel right off of your teeth when you brush. Ideally, you want a soft-bristled brush so that you get the teeth clean but do not harm them in the process. Second, you need to make sure you are holding the toothbrush at the right angle. The best clean comes from a toothbrush held at a 45-degree angle. This cleans the teeth, sweeps debris away from the gums, and leaves your teeth cleaner than if the toothbrush is held at a 90-degree angle. Third, pay attention to how long you brush each day. Many people do not brush for a full two-minutes each time, nor do they brush twice per day. It is not as effective to brush four times per day for a minute each, or once per day for four-minutes.

Want more tips to make brushing more effective at keeping your oral health top-notch? Call us. That's not only what we do, it is also our passion to educate our patients!

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