Tooth decay is one of the most common infectious diseases known to man. (Only the common cold is more prevalent.) Decay or caries occurs when the teeth are attacked by acid, which is introduced to the mouth in one of two ways: 1) Through the consumption of foods or acidic drinks like soda pop, fruit juice, etc. or 2) Through the breakdown of the sugars and starches in our diet by the naturally occurring bacteria in our mouths.
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More and more patients are requesting tooth-colored fillings instead of silver amalgam, and Mitchell Dental Spa encourages the use of natural resin material to fill cavities. These new fillings blend beautifully with your teeth, and tooth-colored fillings do not contain mercury.
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When the decay and old filling (if present) take up more than 50% of the upper portion of the tooth, a crown or cap is necessary— there is not enough tooth left to structurally support a filling.
A crown necessitates a two-visit procedure for the patient (unlike fillings which are a single visit procedure). Two visits are necessary with crowns, since the new tooth top (or crown) is fabricated by an outside dental laboratory (though a few dentists do have in an in-house lab). The outside dental laboratory takes about 1.5-2.0 weeks to fabricate the crown out of porcelain or gold, after which the patient needs to return to the dentist to have this placed.
Sometimes the tooth is so compromised, due to cracks, breakage, or decay, that retention to what is left of the tooth, can become an issue. In these cases, a buildup under the crown is indicated to provide a solid foundation for the crown to sit on. This is a separate and additional procedure to the crown and is highly recommended when necessary, since it can dramatically increase the lifetime of the crown (since the fit and retention are enhanced).
Bridges or implants are suggested when a patient is missing a tooth. A crown (or crowns) is placed on each side of the area missing a tooth (or teeth) and then a tooth top (or pontic) is suspended over the area that is absent the tooth (or teeth). The pontic is then attached to the adjacent crowns, forming a bridge.
A bridge can be somewhat less expensive than an implant and is indicated when the adjacent teeth are already compromised, due to decay or large restorations present. An implant is preferable if the adjacent teeth do not require any dental work.
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is your jaw joint. Everyone has two of these: a left and right. TMJ syndrome or TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder) is a medical problem related to the function of the jaw joint. This typically manifests itself as a popping, clicking, or rustling in the jaw joint and can be accompanied by jaw joint or muscle pain, a jaw that locks in position or is difficult to open, headaches, fullness or ringing in the ears, and even numbness in the face and fingertips.
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Oral cancer strikes about 35,000 Americans a year, and someone dies from oral cancer every hour of every day. This makes the death rate for oral cancer higher than that of more frequently discussed cancers like cervical cancer and Hodgkins’s lymphoma.
The death rate for oral cancer is so high, not because it is so difficult to detect, but because it is usually found in the later, advanced stages of development. Oftentimes the cancer is only discovered after it has metastasized to another location like the lymph nodes in the neck. And late detection has a definite downside: The survival rate after 5 years is only 50%.
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Lasers have been used in dentistry since the 1990’s, but are presently only utilized by a minority of dentists. No laser system has yet received the American Dental Association's (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. The seal assures dentists that the product or device meets ADA standards of safety and efficacy---among other things. The ADA, however, is cautiously optimistic about the future of laser technology.
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Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times a night.
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