How to Deal with Losing a Filling

woman embarrassedDental fillings are an incredibly common type of dental restoration used to treat cavities and decay. In fact, nearly 91% of Americans between 20 and 64 have at least one dental filling. While dental fillings are strong and can last for many, many years, there are still some things that can cause a dental filling to become loose or fall out. Here’s what to do if that happens.

Don’t Wait, Call

Before you do anything else you should call your dentist in Sacramento. Many times our dental office will be able to see you the same day or the next day. At the appointment, you can expect to have a thorough exam of the area so your dental team can assess the damage. This allows us the opportunity to determine the best way to fix it.

What to Expect

Sometimes your dentist may recommend replacing the filling with another one. This is typically what happens if the filling was small and the damage didn’t really affect the tooth. Other times a filling just won’t get the job done and a dental crown may be recommended. Dental crowns cap the entire tooth and provide greater protection.  

Do Your Part

If you lose a filling there are important steps you should take in order to protect your tooth and ease any discomfort.

  • Clean the area. When a filling falls out, your tooth is left with a small hole that food and bacteria can get wedged into. If left there, it could lead to more damage. Rinse with salt water or gently brush the area after eating.
  • Reduce the pain. Using pain reliever can help minimize any sensitivity and increase comfort. There are also temporary fillers available at many pharmacies. Look for one that contains zinc oxide and place it in the gap, but only temporarily.

Avoid the Problem in the First Place

While very common, there are ways you can avoid losing a filling… including choosing your snacks wisely. Many lost or loose fillings are the result of sticky foods or hidden popcorn kernels, so be sure to eat these in moderation and use caution. Tooth grinding or clenching is also a common cause of lost fillings. Make sure to use a nightguard if you grind your teeth in your sleep to protect both your dental restorations as well as your jaw health. Lastly, seeing your Sacramento dentist every six months can help catch any loose fillings before they have a chance to fall out when you least expect it.

We’re always welcoming new patients at our dental office in Sacramento and are here to help with any dental concern. If you’ve lost a filling or suspect you may need one, we welcome you to give us a call to schedule an appointment today.

The Truth You Need to Know About Whitening Toothpaste

woman holds toothpasteEveryone dreams of having a brilliant white smile. But the truth is, not all of us are blessed with a dazzlingly bright, superstar smile. In an attempt to transform our grins, we often turn to whitening toothpastes. In fact, nearly $100 million was spent on just two brands of whitening toothpastes in 2017 alone. But there’s something the team at our Sacramento dental office thinks you should know about whitening toothpastes.

Whitening Toothpastes Work…

With all the whitening toothpastes available, the good news is many have been proven to be effective at actually whitening teeth. However, whitening toothpaste typically only works to remove surface stains,  and only if used regularly twice a day for several weeks. Additionally, whitening toothpastes do have some risks associated with them. The same abrasive ingredients that makes whitening toothpaste effective at scrubbing away stains can also cause teeth to appear darker. How can that be? If whitening toothpaste is used too often or the brushing technique is too rough, the abrasive consistency can actually wear away tooth enamel and make the inner tooth (dentin) more visible. This dentin is usually dark in color and the more visible it is, the darker the tooth looks. So make sure to use whitening toothpaste as instructed and choose one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

…But Not All The Time

Whitening toothpastes are usually only effective at removing surface stains. This means that if your staining is deeper, your whitening toothpaste may not be doing much for you. But don’t worry, you don’t need to live with a smile you don’t like. There are plenty of cosmetic dentistry solutions that can transform your look, such as dental veneers or professional smile whitening. Veneers are thin pieces of custom-crafted and custom-colored ceramic that are fused to the front of teeth, effectively covering up any imperfections you don’t like. Professional smile whitening is a stronger whitening solution applied by your dentist and tends to be more effective (and faster!) than a whitening toothpaste or even whitening strips.

Other Ways to Whiten Your Teeth

Besides a professional smile whitening or other cosmetic dentistry treatment from your dentist in Sacramento, there are other ways you can work on getting a whiter smile including:  

  • Rinsing with water after drinking your morning coffee or tea
  • Quitting smoking or using chewing tobacco  
  • Eat apples, celery, or cheese. These foods help to keep stains away by gently scrubbing teeth.

If you’ve tried every whitening toothpaste available to you and you’re still not quite happy with the results, call our dental office in Sacramento to schedule an appointment. We’ll work with you to determine the best way to whiten your smile safely and effectively.

Top 7 Ways to Show Your Smile Some Love

love smileAt our dental office in Sacramento, we love helping our patients get a smile they’re proud of. But visits to our office twice a year are only part of what you can do to make sure you’re showing your smile the love it needs to stay healthy. If you want to get and maintain a smile you’re happy with, check out the top 7 ways to care for your smile.

 

  • Brush, brush, brush. This may seem like a no-brainer, but we have to say it. Brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush is one of the most important things you can do to keep your mouth free of decay causing bacteria.  

 

  • Floss everyday. We get asked often if flossing is really that important. The short answer: Yes! If you don’t floss, you miss cleaning 35% of each tooth. Food particles and bacteria love to hide in between teeth, and you don’t floss, it’s left there and can lead to cavities.  

 

  • Kick the tobacco habit. About 80% of those with oral cancer use tobacco. Whether it’s chewing tobacco or smoking cigarettes, if you want to keep your mouth healthy, you should try to quit.

 

  • Ease up on dark-colored drinks. We’re talking about drinks like coffee, tea, and red wine. These colorful beverages can stain teeth. Usually a professional whitening can reverse that, but other times, the staining seeps into the enamel requiring a more advanced cosmetic dentistry treatment to mask it.

 

  • Drink more water. If we could have our patients drink only one thing, it’d be water. Not only is it free of sugars and coloring, it helps neutralize acid that contributes to cavities.

 

  • Resolve dental problems early and quickly. If you suspect a dental problem, don’t let it go, especially if you’re in pain. Early resolution of many dental concerns can reduce the likelihood that you’ll need more advanced treatment or that a more serious issue will arise.

 

  • See your dentist in Sacramento twice a year. Ok we already covered the importance of this one, but it’s worth repeating. Getting a dental cleaning and checkup every six months is the best way to ensure no serious problems are creeping up and to remove plaque build up.

 

If you’re looking for a dentist, have a dental concern, or you’d like to talk about other ways to get a smile you love, schedule an appointment at our Sacramento dental office today.

3 Things You Should Know About Whitening Your Teeth with Baking Soda

baking sodaBaking soda is a common item found in many households and has a variety of uses besides its obvious purpose — baking food. People use it to keep smells in the fridge at bay, to minimize pet odor, and even to clean carpets and clothes. For many years, baking soda has also been used to whiten teeth. But does it actually work, is it safe, and should you do it? Our dental office in Sacramento has the answers.

Does it Work?

Let’s start with the question everyone wants to know the answer to: does baking soda actually whiten teeth? Good news, it does! Baking soda has a natural, mild abrasive texture that can scrub away surface stains and allow teeth to become a purer white. Mix equal parts baking soda with water, apply to a toothbrush, brush normally and voila!, you have a brighter, whiter smile.

Does it Always Work?

While baking soda can help remove minor discoloration and staining, it’s not incredibly effective at erasing deeper stains. Some people who try to get a whiter smile through the use of baking soda are unhappy with the results. If this happens, there are several alternatives available. In-office professional whitening treatments can whiten your smile by several shades, and at-home kits provide a convenient option. If neither one of those options work, veneers or other forms of cosmetic dentistry may be the answer. Talk with your dentist in Sacramento to determine which solution is best for you.

There Are Disadvantages

Baking soda may be an attractive tooth whitening treatment to many — it’s cheap, it’s natural, and it’s easy. But there are some precautions you should take into consideration before jumping into a baking soda tooth whitening routine. First and foremost, brushing with baking soda can cause damage to the tooth enamel if you brush too hard. This could result in increased sensitivity and a greater risk for decay. Additionally, if used with braces or on teeth that have dental restorations, there is a chance the baking soda can weaken the adhesive. Due to its abrasive nature, baking soda users often complain of gum discomfort as well.

If you’re looking to get a whiter smile and want to explore your options, give our Sacramento dental office a call to schedule an appointment today. We’ll review the type of staining you have, what shade of white you’d like to achieve, the best way to get you a bright, white smile that you’ll be proud to show off.

Your Smile May Be Aging You

agingWhen we hit a certain age, we tend to place more focus on our appearance and take preventive measures to keep up a youthful look. We exercise, eat right, protect our skin with sunscreen, and visit the salon to dye our hair or undergo cosmetic procedures. But what about your smile?

At our dental office in Sacramento, we want all of our patients to be confident with their appearance at every age. And we’re dedicated to doing everything we can to help with that. While we can’t help with hair or exercise, we help with one really important feature — your smile.

When it comes to your smile, there are some things that can make you look older than you really are (and who wants that?). But thankfully there are several options available to combat any trouble you may be having. Here are some common concerns we hear, and their solutions.

Discoloration of Teeth

Whether you enjoy a cup of coffee every morning, or a glass of red wine each night, everyday foods and drinks, or even dated dental work, can cause your teeth to become less than your ideal shade of white. This can make others subconsciously tack years onto your age. Consider professional tooth whitening for an extra boost of brightness, or replace old, metal fillings and crowns with tooth-colored restorations.

Gum Recession

When gums recede, more of the tooth becomes visible, making it look longer. Unfortunately, longer teeth are also associated with a higher age, hence the phrase ‘long in the tooth.’ Gum recession is usually caused by rough brushing, grinding, gum disease, or even genetics. But don’t worry, there are several ways to fix it. If caught early, a simple change in your brushing technique may be enough. If it’s more progressed, a deeper cleaning known as scaling and root planing, or gum grafting may be appropriate. Your dentist in Sacramento will discuss the best option for you.

Facial Collapse

When teeth are missing, they may be replaced with a denture or partial. Both are great options to get your smile functioning again. But sometimes, an ill-fitting denture or a long time spent without one, can cause your facial muscles to droop or sag. When your jaw bone isn’t stimulated through forces like chewing, it can actually begin to deteriorate, causing facial muscles like the chin to sink and your face to appear older. Make sure your denture is giving your bone enough stimulation or consider permanent dental implants as a replacement.

If you’re concerned about your smile’s appearance, our Sacramento dental office can help. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment. We’ll discuss your smile goals and determine the best way to reach them.