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How Do I Know If My Tooth Is Fractured?

January 13, 2015

How Do I Know If My Tooth Is Fractured?

This tooth may feel totally normal to the tongue.  Notice the fractures on all four sides!

This tooth may feel totally normal to the tongue. Notice the fractures on all four sides!

Usually you will be able to feel if your tooth is fractured – but not always!

When the old silver amalgam restoration is removed the fractures can be seen extending across the tooth.

When the old silver amalgam restoration is removed the fractures can be seen extending across the tooth.

 

Very large, rough silver filling with fracture lines

Very large, rough silver filling with fracture lines

The tooth above may feel totally normal to the tongue, but notice the fractures on all four sides of this tooth!  The patient was experiencing slight pain with chewing. Unless the tooth fracture extends down the root of the tooth or into the nerve of the tooth – as it eventually will with time – this tooth can be saved with a new filling and a crown or cap.  See the same tooth after the filling was removed to the left.

A fractured tooth will often have one or more of these symptoms:

  • Erratic, fleeting pain during chewing – sometimes when pressure is applied to the tooth or when that pressure is released
  • Pain to temperature changes especially cold.
  • Pain or swelling or pocketing in the gums adjacent to the fracture
  • Rough or sharp areas

 

It is possible to have none of these symptoms and still have a fractured tooth!  If the tooth fracture has not yet extended close enough to the tooth nerve, you may not be able to feel that a problem exists.  In our office we will often take a photograph of your tooth so that you can also see what is going on.  Unfortunately, sometimes by the time there is significant pain, a fracture will cause the loss of the tooth.  If treated early, a crown or cap may be able to surround the fractured area of your tooth and prevent the biting forces that would have caused further fracturing.  A root canal may be needed as well if bacteria have penetrated into the nerve space of the tooth.

If you think your tooth may be fractured, ask your dentist!  Ask our office, we would be glad to help and it might just save the life of your tooth! Our Grand Junction, Colorado office would love to have you ‘LIKE’ us on Facebook! See www.facebook.com/juliegillisddspc

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS

Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health

 

 

Treating Tooth Cavities Without The Drill? Yes we can!

April 17, 2014

In September 2009 DMG America came out with a new product for dentists known as ICON

Our Treatment Assistant, Regina, shares these notes about this exciting new product for treating small areas of decay or decalcification without using the drill as would normally be done for dental fillings!

ICON carrier between two teeth.

ICON carrier between two teeth.

ICON stands for infiltration concept.

Dentists with the use of this new technology can treat incipient tooth decay upon discovery without the use of a dental drill!  Many cavities begin between teeth and in order to get to this decay, a dentist must drill away the healthy tooth structure over the top of the decay allowing the dentist to remove the decay and restore the tooth.  ICON stops the progression of tooth decay when treated in the early stages. This increases the life expectancy for the tooth and is minimally-invasive. Previously dentist had to “wait and watch” until the decay was big enough to justify drilling the tooth, sacrificing healthy tooth structure and then filling the area that was drilled away.

The special carrier is porous on one side only so only the tooth that needs to be conditioned (see green) is treated!

The special carrier is porous on one side only so only the tooth that needs to be conditioned (see green) is treated!

A curing light is used to fuse the infiltrate into the pores of the tooth. The weak area is effectively sealed from further progression of decay!

A curing light is used to fuse the infiltrate into the pores of the tooth. The weak area is effectively sealed from further progression of decay!

ICON works by placing a few solutions that spontaneous flows around the area being treated then hardened by a light which bonds the material to tooth. The area is then evaluated annually with bite-wing x-rays. A variation of this same ICON technique can be used to treat white spot lesions to stabilize demineralized enamel area, and give teeth the appearance of the surrounding healthy enamel.

Our office in Grand Junction, Colorado is very pleased to offer this service for our patients!  Our phone number is (970) 242-3635.  Learn more about our practice on our web site at www.juliegillisdds.com.  We would love to have you “LIKE” us on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/juliegillisddspc

Yours for better dental health, Regina and Julie Gillis, DDS

Small Cavity or Chipped Tooth? Your Best Fix is a Bonded, Tooth-Colored Restoration!

January 14, 2014

Bonded, Tooth-Colored Restorations –Still the Best Restoration for Small Cavities or Small Chips!

Small chip in tooth due to trauma can be easily restored.

Small chip in tooth due to trauma can be easily restored.

 

Tooth-colored composite material fills in the chip and is bonded  to the tooth.

Tooth-colored composite material fills in the chip and is bonded to the tooth.

Bonded, tooth-colored restorations also known as composite restorations have stood the test of time, and they are still the best restoration for small cavities! 

For years dentists placed amalgam or silver fillings composed primarily of a 50/50 blend of silver and mercury.  First, the dentist would remove the decay, then the dentist would deepen, widen, and undercut the opening into the tooth just so that the silver filling would not fall out of the tooth.  Bonded, tooth-colored restorations or composite fillings can bond to the tooth – even to a flat surface – so the dentist can place a very conservative restoration removing just the decayed and weakened tooth and preserving more of your healthy tooth structure.

 

 

 

 

Decay often starts in the grooves of teeth as this area is hard to keep clean and food and debris packs here.

Decay often starts in the grooves of teeth as this area is hard to keep clean and food and debris packs here.

 

Cavity is removed and tooth health is restored with a bonded, tooth-colored restoration.

Cavity is removed and tooth health is restored with a bonded, tooth-colored restoration.

Some dentists are still placing amalgams or silver/mercury fillings.  We have not used them in our office since about 1995 when I decided that I would not put in someone else’s mouth what I would not want in my own or my children’s mouthes.  Our office prefers bonded, tooth-colored composite fillings when a bonded restoration is the best solution.  Over time, amalgam or silver/mercury fillings act just like any metal and they expand and contract as the temperature of your mouth changes such as when you have a cold or hot drink.  This can cause fractures in the adjacent tooth structure requiring replacing the filling or restoration with an even larger, deeper filling, or with a crown.  Tooth-colored composite restorations are more technique sensitive to place and are generally more time consuming then the older amalgam or  silver/mercury fillings.  But isn’t it worth it? Aren’t your teeth worth it?  We haven’t even touched on the fact that the mercury found in all amalgam or silver fillings is a poison and who wants this in their tooth!

Very visible, stained restoration should either be replaced or polished.

Very visible, stained restoration should either be replaced or polished.

Our office wants you to have what is best for you and for your teeth!  If your tooth-colored restorations stain over time, it is sometimes possible to polish them. This will make them look significantly better, and allow the restoration to function well for much longer.

 

Most of the stain is removed and the restoration may last many more years.

Most of the stain is removed and the restoration may last many more years.

We decide to make the restoration last longer simply by polishing away the defective area!

We decide to make the restoration last longer simply by polishing away the defective area!

Our office would be happy to discuss with you options to restore your teeth or your children’s or loved one’s teeth.  Our goal is to treat you like we would want to be treated and to give you options about your dental care so you can make the right decisions for you! Please call our office to set up an appointment or to ask any questions that you might have. Our office is located in Grand Junction, Colorado.  Our phone number is (970) 242-3635.  You can email us at jgillis@juliegillisdds.com

Our office now has a Facebook page and we would love for you to ‘like’ us! On Facebook, find us at Julie M Gillis DDS PC.

As always, yours for better dental health,

 

Julie Gillis, DDS

Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health

 

 

 

X-rays Showing Decay and ‘Bad’ Fillings

March 12, 2013

Bad Dental Work?  Decay? Defective Fillings Can Cause Serious Problems!

Deep decay or cavity between the top teeth, small cavity starting between the lower teeth

Patients should expect their dentist to provide the highest quality dental care.  While patients aren’t expected to be able to read their own x-rays, I feel it may be helpful to show you some problems we sometimes see around defective dental work.  The very bright or white areas on these
x-rays are where silver dental fillings are present in teeth.  Because the fillings are a dense metal, they will show up on an x-ray as bright areas. What makes a dental filling defective? Roughness, ledges, improper shape, and/or anatomy that does not replicate a healthy tooth are all problems that can be caused AND prevented by your dentist. Dentists should evaluate all of your teeth with a thorough examination and x-rays to show problems between teeth.

Decay and defective restorations

Decay often begins around the edges of dental fillings or crowns where two materials come together – in this case, tooth enamel and metal. This can be evaluated with x-rays and an examination.
Bacteria seem to love to congregate around the edges of fillings or other restorations and this is where new decay will start.  If fillings are rough or defective the problems is worse! Bacteria also like places that are rough where food collects and where it is difficult to clean.  Because of this, all fillings should be smooth where they meet the tooth. This is also true for crowns.  Areas that are rough will be harder to keep clean and will hold more debris creating a food storage area for the bacteria that cause new decay, periodontal disease or bone loss, and gum disease.

Defective restorations/Recurrent decay

In the x-ray shown here, you can see bad dental work and other problems.  Note the fillings with overhangs or ledges of filling material that stick out beyond the tooth.  There are rough areas that will hold debris.  There are areas where new decay is starting below the existing filling. Decay will show up on an x-ray as a dark area below a filling or on the side of a tooth.  Broken pieces of filling can become wedged between two teeth making flossing difficult or impossible and below this you will see areas of bone loss.  This bone loss is the beginning of periodontal disease and it may be permanent.

What can be done?

Your dentist takes x-rays to evaluate areas like this and he or she will recommend treatment to remove and replace the defective restorations or fillings, treat the periodontal disease, and prescribe therapy to prevent further decay and bone loss.  It is now common to be able to keep your teeth for a lifetime!

Our office would be happy to answer your questions about issues like this.  We are located in Grand Junction, Colorado and believe that every person deserves the right to a comprehensive examination and treatment plan with options to restore health to their mouths. Our phone number is (970) 242-3635.  Please visit us on Facebook or call us if you have any questions or concerns.

Julie Gillis DDS

Restoring Smiles/Restoring health

1190 Bookcliff Ave. Suite 201, Grand Junction, CO 81501 USA
Julie M Gillis DDS Grand Junction, CO cosmetic, general, & restorative dentist. (970) 242-3635 (970) 242-8479 jgillis@juliegillisdds.com