July 02, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

Tooth-Colored Fillings, Composite fillings, Porcelain Fillings

Many people are concerned about the “silver” fillings in their mouths. This concern can sometimes hold people from social situations. Whether your wish to achieve a more natural-looking smile, or you need to have some failing fillings replaced, you have some options. Fortunately, this can be achieved with tooth-colored fillings. Tooth-colored fillings is a great cosmetic dentistry tool. 

White, tooth-colored filling, composite filling

Why White, Tooth-Colored Fillings? 

A beautiful filling is done by using "white" fillings instead of amalgam fillings. White fillings are technically called "tooth-colored" because they can reflect the color and translucency of natural teeth. In addition, white “tooth-colored” fillings bond with the tooth, an advantage not offered by amalgam fillings. The bond prevents leakage of germs and saliva and makes the filling last longer. White “tooth-colored fillings are made of either a composite (plastic) resin or porcelain.

Composite Fillings

When using composite filling, Dr. Elseweifi would prepare the tooth for bonding. He would then place a bonding material and cure with a special light. Dr. Elseweifi then picks the proper composite filling that matches the natural color of your teeth. He then places the composite filling in layers and cures it using the light. The filling is then polished.

Porcelain Fillings Porcelain filling, porcelain onlay

Porcelain fillings are usually used when a big part of the tooth is missing or broken. They are also called porcelain inlays or porcelain onlays. You can look at them as partial crowns. Porcelain fillings are fabricated in the dental lab and usually need two appointments. After removing decay and preparing the tooth, Dr. Elseweifi would take an impression for the tooth and surrounding teeth. He would then cover the tooth with a temporary. In the second appointment, Dr. Elseweifi would try the custom-made porcelain filling and bond it to the tooth.

Is Amalgam Still Used?

The answer is yes. There are situations where amalgam is the best filling material. In contrast to white “tooth-colored” fillings, amalgam fillings are less technique sensitive. Amalgam is a goof filling material for children. It is also the best in situations where the teeth cannot be kept dry while placing a filling. For example, patients with special needs may not be able to cooperate, which makes placing a good composite filling hard or even impossible. 

By Bucktown Dental Associates
June 28, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   bacteria  

Bacteria are bad… right? They can cause diseases like pneumonia, strep throat, and tooth decay. They are the reason we wash our hands with soap (or antibacterial gels) and cook (or refrigerate) our food. Yet it turns out that bacteria are also necessary to keep our bodies healthy — and new research is showing just how important these tiny microorganisms are to our well-being. Here are five facts you should know about bacteria.

The bacteria in our bodies outnumber our cells by a factor of 10 to 1. An estimated 100 trillion bacteria live inside the average human — but because they’re so small, they make up only 1-3 percent of our body mass.

The collection of bacteria we harbor is called our “microbiome.” Like the groundbreaking study of human DNA called the Human Genome Project, recent research is leading to a “map” of our bacterial makeup. This revolutionary study is called — you guessed it — the Human Microbiome Project.

No two people have exactly the same microbiome. But in general, the bacteria that live in a particular spot on the body (the mouth, for example) play the same roles in different individuals. Research has also shown that a healthy microbiome looks very different from a diseased microbiome.

In terms of bacteria, the mouth is one of the best-understood areas of the body. It has long been known that tooth decay can result when “bad” oral bacteria begin to outnumber their “good” counterparts. Now we are gaining a better understanding of how certain lifestyle factors — like cigarette smoking — may influence the bacterial balance in the mouth.

Understanding the microbiome may lead to new treatments for disease. Researchers hope that one day, certain serious diseases could be controlled by bacterial “transplants” that re-balance an individual’s microbiome. Maintaining a healthy microbiome could also help prevent many diseases.

So by all means, don’t stop brushing your teeth or washing your hands — this helps control bacteria that could harm you — but do remember that not all bacteria are harmful. One day, an infusion of bacteria might just cure your illness.

By Bucktown Dental Associates
June 13, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: celebrity smiles   braces  

Have you started orthodontic treatment recently? Are you having a little trouble getting used to your braces? If so, you are not alone: Everybody goes through an adjustment period during which they momentarily wonder if they’ll really ever get used to this. Don’t worry — you will! And we’ve never heard anyone say, on the day their braces come off and their new smile is revealed, that they aren’t glad they went the distance. Just ask Houston Rockets all-star center Dwight Howard, who discussed his own orthodontic treatment in a recent interview.

“I’m sure I was no different than anyone else who has ever had braces,” he told Mediaplanet. “At first I hated them so much… That changed once I got used to them and I actually grew to love them.” What’s Howard’s advice? “Do exactly what your orthodontist says and know that the outcome is well worth it in the end.” We couldn’t agree more! Here are some tips for wearing braces comfortably:

  • Hard & Chewy Foods: If you love fresh fruits and vegetables, that’s great; there’s no reason to give them up, just the really hard ones. You don’t want to bite into an apple or carrot or any other hard foods like bagels and pizza that have any “size” to them. Small pieces may be ok as long as they can’t bend your wires. Chewy, sticky candy should really be avoided completely. Same with soda, sports drinks and so-called energy drinks because they contain acids that promote tooth decay and can cause a lot of damage around the braces.
  • Effective Oral Hygiene: Keeping your teeth clean is more important than ever, but also more challenging than ever. It’s easy for food to get stuck under wires and around brackets, but failing to remove it can cause tooth decay, gum irritation and soreness. Therefore, the cleaner your teeth and your braces are, the healthier you will be. Use interdental cleaning brushes and/or a floss-threader to get behind your wires. A mouthrinse can also help strengthen teeth and keep bacteria in check. If you have any questions about how to clean between your teeth, please ask for a demonstration at your next visit.
  • Pain Relief: Some soreness at the beginning of orthodontic treatment is normal. To relieve it, you can use an over-the-counter pain reliever and/or a warm washcloth or heating pad placed on the outside of the jaw. If brackets or wires are rubbing against the inside of your cheeks or lips, try applying wax to these areas of your braces. If this does not offer enough relief, we may be able to trim the end of a poking wire. Call us if you need help with this.

Our goal is to make your orthodontic treatment as comfortable as possible on the way to achieving your all-star smile. If you have questions about adjusting to braces, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Caring for Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment.”

By Bucktown Dental Associates
May 29, 2015
Category: Oral Health

For most people, raising kids is an expensive proposition. (A recent estimate by the U.S. Department of Agriculture puts the average tab at almost a quarter of a million dollars before they turn 18.) But if you’ve been keeping up with parenting news lately, you may have come across an even more jaw-dropping fact: According to a survey by the Sunstar group, a maker of oral hygiene products, when the tooth fairy makes a pickup in New York City, she (or her parental surrogate) leaves an average of $13.25 per tooth!

That compares to $9.69 per tooth in Los Angeles, $5.85 in Chicago and $5.02 in Boston — and it’s a far higher rate than most other polls have shown. But it brings up a good question: What's a baby tooth really worth? Ask a dentist, and you may get an answer that surprises you: A lot more than that!

A child’s primary (baby) teeth usually begin coming in around the age of 6 to 9 months, and start making their exits about the time a child reaches six years; by the age of 10 – 13, they’re usually all gone. But even though they will not last forever, baby teeth are far from disposable — and they deserve the same conscientious care as adult teeth. Here’s why:

Primary teeth play the same important roles in kids’ mouths as permanent teeth do in the mouths of adults: they allow kids to bite and chew effectively, speak normally and smile brightly. Their proper functioning allows children to get good nutrition and develop positive social interactions as they grow toward adolescence — and those are things it’s difficult to put a price tag on.

But that’s not all baby teeth are good for. Each one of those little pearly-whites serves as a guide for the permanent tooth that will succeed it: It holds a space open in the jaw and doesn’t let go until the grown-up tooth is ready to erupt (emerge) from beneath the gums. If primary teeth are lost too soon, due to disease, decay or accidents, bite problems (malocclusions) can develop.

A malocclusion (“mal” – bad; “occlusion” – bite) can result when permanent teeth don’t erupt in their proper locations. “Crowding” is a common type of malocclusion that can occur when baby teeth have been lost prematurely. The new, permanent teeth may come in too close together because neighboring teeth have shifted into the gap left by the prematurely lost tooth, creating an obstruction for the incoming teeth. In other cases, the permanent teeth may emerge in rotated or misplaced positions.

Bite problems make teeth harder to clean and thus more prone to disease; they may also cause embarrassment and social difficulties. The good news is that it’s generally possible to fix malocclusion: orthodontists do it every day. The bad news: It will almost certainly cost more than $13.25 per tooth. Alternatively, baby teeth in danger of being lost too soon can often be saved via root canal treatment or other procedures.

We’re not advocating giving big money to toddlers — but we do want to make a point: The tooth fairy’s payout: a few dollars. A lifetime of good checkups and bright smiles: incalculable.

If you have questions or concerns about baby teeth, please call our office to schedule a consultation.

May 19, 2015
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

The main objective of dental treatment is to save teeth. However, tooth extraction is sometimes necessary. When a tooth is extracted, the bone and gum surrounding the extracted tooth often shrink very quickly.

What Happens after Tooth Extraction?

About 40% of alveolar height and 60% of alveolar width is lost within 6 months after tooth. The bone shrinkage causes collapse of the alveolar ridge, loss of width and height of bone, and a defect that may interfere with future tooth replacement by a bridge or a dental implant.

  • If a bridge is planned, the defect often causes esthetic failure and compromises the final results.
  • If a dental implant is planned, it is best to place the implant at the time of tooth extraction (immediate implant placement). Otherwise, the bone shrinks, causing a defect in width and height of the alveolar ridge. This can prevent tooth replacement with a dental implant. Often these cases require bone grafting (ridge augmentation) before an implant is placed. These problems can be prevented by a procedure called socket preservation or ridge preservation.
                                            Socket preservation after tooth extraction  

What is Socket Preservation?

Socket preservation or ridge preservation is a procedure to reduce bone shrinkage after tooth extraction. Reducing bone shrinkage preserves the alveolar ridge. Socket preservation at the time of tooth extraction can save you the need to have a more invasive procedure in the future to rebuild the lost bone structure around the extracted tooth.

How is Socket Preservation Done?

The tooth is carefully and atrumatically extracted. The socket is filled with a bone graft or a bone substitute. The graft is covered by a membrane, which is sutured in place. The bone graft is remodeled and replaced by the patient’ own bone. Both the bone graft and membrane allow the extraction socket to heal with little if any bone shrinkage. This saves the patient from the need for extensive ridge augmentation to facilitate restorative dentistry. The following post operative was actually taken immediately after the tooth was extracted. Notice that the socket looks full of bone.  

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