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How to Find Dental Coverage for Dentures

dental coverage for dentures

Getting dentures is not a simple procedure. In fact, it involves a great deal of dental work. Most individual and group insurance does not cover this restorative procedure, even if it is necessary in order to take the place of missing or decayed teeth. Because the procedure can be expensive, it is definitely worth your while to do everything you can to find affordable dental coverage for your dentures.

Do Your Homework

Take some time to learn the basics about dental insurance. In general, there are two types: preventive and restorative. Preventive refers to check-ups, cleanings, and other care that is designed to maintain the health of your teeth and gums. Restorative, on the other hand, describes such interventions as endodontics, periodontics, orthodontics and implants. Getting dentures falls into this category.

Ask the Important Question

Now that you have a layperson’s knowledge about dental insurance, you need to learn specifically about your own coverage. Unfortunately, many patients know little or nothing about the details of their plan, especially when it comes to what procedures will be covered and to what extent. Now that you know you need dentures, you should ask your insurer’s member services department if they will be covered. Usually, dentures fall under the umbrella of “major care.” If you are fortunate, your plan might pay for up to 50% of the cost.

What if I’m Not Covered?

If your current plan falls short, you might have to do some scrambling. If your coverage is furnished by your employer, ask when the next open enrollment window is and see if there are other companies who provide better dental coverage for dentures. If so, seriously consider switching. Talk to your employer and learn about all of your options. Even if you must buy your own individual coverage, you may save money in the long run. 

How Technology Can Help

Another valuable avenue you can pursue as you seek as much information as possible about sources of dental coverage is the Internet. With the help of search engines like Yahoo! And Google, you can search the worldwide web to learn about companies both large and small. Often, consumers have taken the time to post reviews which, while they must be taken with a grain of salt, can furnish information and insight.

Don’t Forget About Human Interaction

While obtaining resources online can be an excellent method to expand your knowledge and to figure out what questions to ask, there truly is nothing like face-to-face or phone-to-phone conversation when it comes to getting the facts and understanding them. That is why your next step should be to speak to a local insurance agent or helpful representative about the various options available to you. Explain specifically that you need to get dentures and are looking for dental coverage that will pay as much as possible of the cost. Together, you might find that your best option is an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) and that you will need to choose a dentist within the HMO’s network to provide your care. On the other hand, you might choose a PPO (preferred Provider Organization), which allows you to have more freedom of choice when it comes to who will provide your dentures.

Before You Sign on the Dotted Line

If you think you have found the plan that’s right for you, take as much time as you need to investigate all of its fine print. Remember, this will be your dental coverage for at least the next year and it must make sense for your overall care, not just for your denture procedure. Be very clear in your understanding of all out-of-pocket expenses and up-front costs. The more you know now, the less likely is the chance for nasty surprises later.

One More Vital Question to Ask

Before you commit yourself to any dental insurance, you should also investigate one final method of helping to cover the costs of your dentures. Dental discount plans like the Careington 500 Series plan are an increasingly popular alternative to traditional dental insurance. They are gaining traction because they are enabling patients to save a great deal of money for a very low monthly price. They are able to do this because large groups of dentists agree to provide patients with high-quality, lower-priced services, including dentures.

Having your teeth extracted and then being fitted for dentures is a major procedure. It is costly and time-consuming, and you absolutely should feel good about the dentist who gives you your new dentures. Learning all you can about your dental coverage and saving as much money as possible will go a long way toward making getting dentures much easier.

For more information, please call Dr. Jeffrey Fester in Roswell, GA, 770.587.4202 to schedule a free consultation.

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Risks and Benefits of Cosmetic Dental Surgery

Cosmetic dentistry doesn’t have to require taking out a second mortgage on your house. If you really want to improve your smile, there are several affordable dental options. Perfect teeth are not just for the rich and famous. After a few short procedures, you can come out looking like a star yourself for much less money.

Risks

The decision to go forward with a full-mouth makeover is risky because of the cost and the potential for botched results, but the field has improved so much that results are highly guaranteed. The process of covering your teeth with porcelain veneers costs several thousand dollars, and while the results might be stunning, many people don’t think a perfect smile is worth that much. The trick is to go for a combination of several lesser procedures.

More Affordable Options

Some people have found the affordable combination of replacement fillings, tooth whitening and tooth shaping to be highly successful. Old fillings, especially on the front teeth, can detract from your appearance. Old white fillings can become stained and visible on your teeth. Metal fillings, particularly silver, can cause the teeth to look darker from inside since teeth are somewhat translucent. These can look unattractive, especially if your teeth are pointed or uneven.

A dentist can first bleach the teeth and then file them into a more attractive shape. Old discolored or metal fillings can be replaced with new, better-matching ones. This unconventional smile enhancement could cost as little as $1,000 or less at a cheap dentist with a discount plan. Explore different combinations and assess what your own mouth needs. Sometimes it might take only one or two small procedures before your smile is picture-perfect.

Coverage

Insurance companies often won’t cover cosmetic procedures, but there are several affordable dental plans on the market that might help you out by providing a discount on your procedure list. Don’t let exorbitant costs keep you from considering the smile you want. These options can make it much more accessible.
For more information, please call Dr. Jeffrey Fester in Roswell, GA, 770.587.4202 to schedule a free consultation.
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How to Fix Broken Teeth – When To Seek Repairs

Just the thought of oral care is often enough to make some patients avoid the dentist altogether. Others do not keep regular appointments because they do not know how to obtain affordable dental coverage. While avoiding regular oral maintenance can eventually lead to serious problems, immediate dental coverage is even more important if you suddenly experience a broken tooth.

Minor Fractures

  • Chips and “Craze Lines” – These are mild cracks in your outer enamel.  Your dentist can file and polish any of these rough spots that you see or have been feeling with your tongue.
  • Crack(s) Down to the Nerve – Don’t be fooled if the pieces appear intact for the time being. Your dentist may give your tooth filling(s) and a grounding to stabilize it. If the nerve is damaged, you may also need a root canal1.
  • Broken Cusps – These are breaks in the pointed chewing surfaces of your teeth. Often, these do not require treatment at all. If they do, your dentist may give you an inlay or crown2 to maintain the tooth’s shape and integrity.

More Serious Fractures

  • Severe Fracture with Exposed Nerve – Signs of this are a good deal of pain and bleeding. Your dentist will treat this with a root canal, topped off with a crown or filling.
  • Vertical Fracture – This is when your tooth splits vertically into two pieces, causing damage to the root. Your back molars have more than one root, so if the break occurs in one of these teeth, your dentist may be able to crown it after performing a root canal. If none of the roots can be saved, your tooth will have to be extracted.
  • Root to Surface Fracture – These fractures work their way up to the chewing surface. Because the area often becomes infected, these breaks are painful and frequently result in extraction.

When Should I Visit the Dentist For My Broken Tooth?

You should head to the dentist if you notice twinges of pain when consuming food and drinks that are very hot or very cold, or if you have severe, lingering pain in the tooth, a potential sign of nerve damage.

Situations When Teeth Can Crack or Fracture

  • A fall or hit in the mouth
  • Biting down very hard on something
  • Weakening of enamel by tooth decay

Some fractures result in intense pain, but others have symptoms which are less acute. Regardless of the severity of your pain, broken teeth need to be fixed in a timely manner, and without breaking the bank! An affordable discount plan can help provide you the emergency dental coverage you need.

Why Do I Have to Visit the Dentist?

Your dentist can determine if a cavity has caused or exacerbated the break, and treat the decay before it spreads further. He or she can also diagnose any damage to the nerve inside your tooth, damage that will require more severe treatment and cause you great pain if ignored.

Why Do I Need Dental Coverage for a Broken Tooth?

As you can see, fixes for broken teeth run the gamut from a quick polish to root canal to extraction. As you might imagine, there is a very wide spectrum of prices you could pay for various treatments. A quick polish and filing may only cost you a few extra dollars, while other procedures could easily the thousand-dollar threshold if you do not have dental coverage.

When you realize that you have a cracked or fractured tooth, one of the first thoughts you may have is, “How can I make this affordable?” Fortunately, you do not need to tackle this expense on your own. There are excellent discount dental plans that can provide the affordable dental care you need. Don’t suffer in silence with a cracked or broken tooth. If you have a broken tooth, you may want to investigate cheap dental coverage today. With the money you save, you will have good reason to smile.

1 Root Canal: This endodontic therapy involves removal of a tooth’s inner pulp tissue to prevent further damage or infection. After the pulp is taken out, the dentist cuts out the nerve and cleans out the inside of the tooth. He or she then fills the root cavity with a solid substance and seals the area. Though this procedure is commonly thought to be very painful, if properly performed you will feel little. Many dentists use local anesthesia during root canals and prescribe pain relievers afterward. Discount plans often provide dental coverage of this expensive procedure, saving patients hundreds of dollars.

2 Crown: A crown, which will cap or encase your remaining tooth, often greatly increases the likelihood of a successful, long lasting root canal. A crown is often necessary to maintain the shape and effectiveness of a tooth treated with a root canal. It will help the tooth to function properly without breaking. The crown process begins with a tooth impression. The impression is then sent to a lab expert, who will fabricate a crown to match your enamel. At a later visit, your dentist will insert and cement it in place. Many crowns will last ten years or more, and may need to be replaced overtime.

For more information, please call Dr. Jeffrey Fester in Roswell, GA, 770.587.4202 to schedule a free consultation.

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Failed Root Canal

The Second Time Around: Possible Retreatment or Surgery

A  root canal can fail for several reasons. If the bacteria were not completely removed from the canals, they can grow and cause pain. Bacteria can also get inside a tooth if a permanent filling was not placed soon enough. Temporary fillings or poorly placed permanent fillings can break down or leak. This allows bacteria back into the canal.

Sometimes the problem is not in the root canal that was filled, but in another canal that the dentist did not find. The bacteria in this unfilled canal will grow and cause pain.

A repeat root canal treatment tends to be more involved and take more time than the first one. Your dentist must remove the crown, post and core, and filling material before doing the second root canal. Some people who need another treatment may have infections that are difficult to destroy. Because they take more time and can be complicated, second root canals also usually cost more.

Sometimes a second root canal can be hard to do. For example, it may be too risky to remove a post and core. The post that is in the tooth may be cemented or set in very tightly. If that is the case, the tooth may be injured in the process. So your dentist may decide to do endodontic surgery instead.

This surgery allows the dentist to get inside a tooth’s root from the bottom of the tooth, rather than the top. Your dentist will not touch the crown of the tooth. The retreatment of the root canal will occur through the bottom of the root.

Endodontic surgery is done in the dentist’s office. An endodontist, general dentist or oral surgeon can perform this procedure. First, you will receive a shot to numb the area. Then your dentist will make a small cut (incision) in the gum near the base of the tooth. He or she will clean out the infected tissue around the tip (apex) of the root and shave off the tip. This procedure is called an apicoectomy. The endodontist will clean the inside of the canal from the root end, and then put a filling in the end of the root. The incision is then stitched.

Endodontic surgery is successful about 85% of the time. If the surgery does not get rid of the infection, the tooth will have to be extracted.

For more information, please call Dr. Jeffrey Fester in Roswell, GA, 770.587.4202 to schedule a free consultation.

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Gingivitis

Signs and SymptomsEarly stage of Gingivitis

What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis — an inflammation of the gums — is the initial stage of gum disease and the easiest to treat. The direct cause of gingivitis is plaque – the soft, sticky, colorless film of bacteria that forms constantly on the teeth and gums.

If the plaque is not removed by daily brushing and flossing, it produces toxins (poisons) that can irritate the gum tissue, causing gingivitis. At this early stage in gum disease, damage can be reversed, since the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place are not yet affected. Left untreated, however, gingivitis can become periodontitisand cause permanent damage to your teeth and jaw.

Gingivitis.

How do I Know if I Have Gingivitis?
Classic signs and symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen, tender gums that may bleed when you brush. Another sign of gum disease is gums that have receded or pulled away from your teeth, giving your teeth an elongated appearance. Gum disease can cause pockets to form between the teeth and gums, where plaque and food debris collect. Some people may experience recurring bad breath or a bad taste in their mouth, even if the disease is not advanced.

How can I Prevent Gingivitis?
Good oral hygiene is essential. Professional cleanings are also extremely important because once plaque has hardened and built up, or become tartar, only a dentist or dental hygienist can remove it.

You can help stop gingivitis before it develops by:

  • Proper brushing and flossing to remove plaque and debris and control tartar buildup
  • Eating right to ensure proper nutrition for your jawbone and teeth
  • Avoiding cigarettes and other forms of tobacco
  • Scheduling regular checkups with your dentist

Please call Dr. Jeffrey Fester in Roswell, GA, 770.587.4202 to schedule a free consultation.

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Dental Crowns and Tooth Bridges

Dental Crowns and Tooth Bridges?

What are Dental Crowns and Tooth Bridges?
Both crowns and most bridges are fixed prosthetic devices. Unlike removable devices such as dentures, which you can take out and clean daily, crowns and bridges are cemented onto existing teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist.

How do Crowns Work?
A crown is used to entirely cover or “cap” a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape or alignment. A crown can also be placed on top of an implant to provide a tooth-like shape and structure for function. Porcelain or ceramic crowns can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. Other materials include gold and metal alloys, acrylic and ceramic. These alloys are generally stronger than porcelain and may be recommended for back teeth. Porcelain bonded to a metal shell is often used because it is both strong and attractive.

Your dentist may recommend a crown to:

  • Replace a large filling when there isn’t enough tooth remaining
  • Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
  • Restore a fractured tooth
  • Attach a bridge
  • Cover a dental implant
  • Cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
  • Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment

How do Bridges Work?
A bridge may be recommended if you’re missing one or more teeth. Gaps left by missing teeth eventually cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

Bridges are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth. They span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These teeth, called abutments, serve as anchors for the bridge. A replacement tooth, called a pontic, is attached to the crowns that cover the abutments. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges. Your dentist can help you decide which to use, based on the location of the missing tooth (or teeth), its function, aesthetic considerations and cost. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to the color of your natural teeth.

How are Crowns and Bridges Made?
Before either a crown or a bridge can be made, the tooth (or teeth) must be reduced in size so that the crown or bridge will fit over it properly. After reducing the tooth/teeth, your dentist will take an impression to provide an exact mold for the crown or bridge. If porcelain is to be used, your dentist will determine the correct shade for the crown or bridge to match the color of your existing teeth.

Using this impression, a dental lab then makes your crown or bridge, in the material your dentist specifies. A temporary crown or bridge will be put in place to cover the prepared tooth while the permanent crown or bridge is being made. When the permanent crown or bridge is ready, the temporary crown or bridge is removed, and the new crown or bridge is cemented over your prepared tooth or teeth.

How Long do Crowns and Bridges Last?
While crowns and bridges can last a lifetime, they do sometimes come loose or fall out. The most important step you can take to ensure the longevity of your crown or bridge is to practice good oral hygiene. A bridge can lose its support if the teeth or bone holding it in place are damaged by dental disease. Keep your gums and teeth healthy byBrushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing daily. Also see your dentist and hygienist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings.

To prevent damage to your new crown or bridge, avoid chewing hard foods, ice or other hard objects.

Crowns
Porcelain Gold
Full porcelain fused to metal. Full cast goldcrown.
Bridges
Space Bridge Cemented
Teeth around the space are prepared. The bridge is mounted and adjusted for fit and comfort. The bridge is cemented into position.

Please call Dr. Jeffrey Fester in Roswell, GA, 770.587.4202 to schedule a free consultation.

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Fillings

Determining If You Need a Filling

Your dentist may use several methods to determine if you have tooth decay, including:

  • Observation — Some discolored spots on your teeth may indicate decay, but not all of them. Your dentist may use an explorer, a metal instrument with a sharp tip, to probe for possible decay. Healthy tooth enamel is hard and will resist pressure by the explorer. Decayed enamel is softer. The instrument will stick in it slightly. Explorers must be used with caution. Pressing too hard with an explorer can damage a healthy tooth.
  • Cavity-detecting dye — This can be rinsed over your tooth. It will stick to decayed areas and rinse cleanly from healthy ones.
  • X-rays — X-rays can help your dentist see decay that doesn’t show on the surface. However, X-rays are often not accurate in detecting smaller cavities on occlusal (top) surfaces. Current fillings or other restorations also may block the view of decay.
  • Laser fluorescence cavity detection aids — These small wands measure changes caused by caries (tooth decay). They are especially useful for pit and fissure areas.

Decay is not the only reason you may need a filling. Other reasons include:

  • Cracked or broken teeth
  • Teeth that are worn from unusual use, such as:
    • Nail-biting
    • Tooth grinding (bruxism)
    • Using your teeth to open things

Steps to a Filling

When you visit your dentist to get a filling, you may be given local anesthesia to numb the area if necessary. Next, your dentist will remove decay from the tooth, using hand instruments or a drill. Air abrasion and lasers also can be used to remove decay.

A drill, which dentists call a handpiece, uses metal cones called burs to cut through the enamel and remove the decay. Burs come in many shapes and sizes. Your dentist will choose the ones that are right for the size and location of your decay.

At first, your dentist will use a high speed drill (the one with the familiar whining sound) to remove the decay and unsupported enamel of the tooth. Once the drill reaches thedentin, or second layer of the tooth, the dentist may use a lower speed drill. That’s because dentin is softer than enamel.

Once all the decay is removed, your dentist will shape the space to prepare it for the filling. Different types of fillings require different shaping procedures to make sure they will stay in place. Your dentist may put in a base or a liner to protect the tooth’s pulp(where the nerves are). The base or liner can be made of composite resin, glass ionomer, zinc oxide and eugenol, or another material.

Some of these materials release fluoride to protect the tooth from further decay.

If your dentist is placing a bonded filling, he or she will etch (prepare) the tooth with an acid gel before placing the filling. Etching makes tiny holes in the tooth’s enamel surface. This allows the filling to bond tightly to the tooth. Bonded fillings can reduce the risk of leakage or decay under the filling. That’s because the etched surface of the tooth and the filling material form a mechanical bond. Bonding is generally done with composite fillings.

Certain types of fillings get hardened by a special light. With these fillings, your dentist will stop several times to shine a bright light on the resin. This cures (hardens) the material and makes it strong.

Finally, after the filling is placed, your dentist will use burs to finish and polish the tooth.

After a Filling

Some people feel sensitivity after they receive a filling. The tooth may be sensitive to pressure, air, sweet foods or cold. Composite fillings often cause sensitivity, but other types of filling materials can, too.

In most cases, the sensitivity will subside over one to two weeks. Until then, try to avoid anything that causes it. If your tooth is extremely sensitive or your sensitivity does not decrease after two weeks, contact your dentist’s office.

It’s important to let your dentist know about any sensitivity you are feeling. The next time you need a filling, he or she may be able to use a different material and make changes to reduce sensitivity. People vary in their response to different materials. Your dentist has no way of predicting if your tooth will react to a particular material.

When you talk to your dentist about the sensitivity, try to describe it as precisely as possible. This information will help decide what should be done next. Your dentist may take out the filling and put in a new one. He or she may add a base, liner or desensitizing agent on the tooth as well. If the filling was very deep, you could need aroot canal treatment to solve the problem.

Besides sensitivity, some people feel discomfort when they bite down. There are two types of pain, each with a different cause.

  • The first type occurs when you bite, and worsens over time. This is caused by a filling that is too high and interferes with your bite. Once your anesthetic wears off, you would notice this right away. Contact your dentist. You will need to return to the office to have the filling reshaped.
  • The second type of discomfort is a very sharp shock that appears only when your teeth touch. This is called galvanic shock. It is caused by two metals (one in the newly filled tooth and one in the tooth it’s touching) producing an electric current in your mouth. This would happen, for example, if you had a new amalgam filling in a bottom tooth and had a gold crown in the tooth above it.

Your dentist polishes the filling after it is placed, but occasionally sharp edges may remain. You can’t detect this at first because of the anesthesia. If you find one, contact your dentist and arrange to have it smoothed as soon as possible to avoid injury to your tongue or mouth.

Temporary Fillings

You may receive a temporary filling (usually white, off-white or gray) if:

  • Your treatment requires more than one appointment.
  • Your dentist wants to wait a short period of time for the tooth to heal.
  • You have a deep cavity and the pulp (containing the nerve and blood vessels) becomes exposed during treatment.
  • You need emergency dental treatment.

A temporary filling may make your tooth feel better. This is because the filling seals the tooth, protecting the pulp from bacteria and reducing sensitivity.

Temporary fillings often contain eugenol, an ingredient in over-the-counter toothache remedies. Eugenol is also a component of oil of cloves, which people use for toothache pain.

Temporary fillings are not meant to last. Usually, they fall out, fracture or wear out within a month or two. If you get a temporary filling, make sure you visit your dentist to get a permanent one. If you don’t, your tooth could become infected or you could have other problems.

Why Replace a Filling?

Fillings don’t last forever. They can become discolored. Composite, tooth-colored fillings pick up stains, and yellow or darken over time. When you chew, your teeth and any fillings in them are subjected to tremendous pressures. Even if no other problems develop, some fillings will wear out over time and will need to be replaced. A filling will need to be replaced earlier if it falls out, leaks or cracks.

Food debris and bacteria can seep down under a filling that is cracked or leaking. Since you can’t clean there, the bacteria feed on the food debris and form the acid that causes tooth decay. Decay under a filling can become extensive before you notice it or it causes you pain. This is why you should have your fillings checked regularly and get them replaced when problems are found.

Fillings That Fall Out
Fillings can fall out for several reasons:

  • You bite down too hard on a tooth that has a large filling, and break the filling or the tooth.
  • The filling material that was used cannot withstand the forces placed upon it. For example, if you have broken a large piece of your front tooth, a porcelain (tooth-colored) crown is probably a good treatment choice. In some cases, a dentist may place a composite filling instead. This may look good or acceptable. However, if the composite is too large, a strong biting motion may break the plastic material.
  • The cavity is contaminated with saliva when the filling is placed. For composite resins, this will disrupt the bonding of the material. As a result, the bond will not stick well to the tooth and it may fall out.

Cracked Fillings
Both amalgam and composite fillings can crack, either soon after they are placed or after the fillings have been in place for some time.

Cracks can occur soon after a filling is placed if the filling is higher than the rest of the tooth surface, and must bear most of the force of biting. Cracks also can occur over time, as the forces from chewing and biting affect the filling.

Small cracks also can occur at the edges of a filling. These usually are caused by wear over time. These cracks often can be repaired.

Leaking Fillings
A filling is said to be leaking when the side of the filling doesn’t fit tightly against the tooth. Debris and saliva can seep down between the filling and the tooth. This can lead to decay, discoloration or sensitivity.

Both amalgam and composite fillings can leak. An amalgam filling sometimes leaks slightly after it is placed. You would notice this as sensitivity to cold. This sensitivity decreases for the next two to three weeks. Then it disappears altogether. Over that period, the amalgam filling naturally corrodes. The corrosion seals the edges of the filling and stops any leaks.

A composite filling could be contaminated with saliva. This would weaken the bond between the filling and the tooth and allow for leaks. Other times, there may be small gaps where the tooth and filling meet. These gaps are caused by shrinkage when your dentist places the filling. Sensitivity after receiving a composite filling may disappear over time. If it doesn’t, the filling may need to be replaced.

Fillings also can leak as a result of wear over time. These fillings should be replaced.

Worn-Out Fillings
Some fillings can last for 15 years or longer. Others, however, will have to be replaced in as little as five years. Your dentist can determine if your fillings are worn enough that they need to be replaced.

Clenching and Grinding
If you clench or grind your teeth, you may have more problems with your fillings. The forces placed on your teeth can lead to tooth sensitivity and extra wear on your fillings. Clenching or grinding also can cause your teeth and fillings to crack or develop small craze lines. These are fine cracks you can see if you shine a light on your tooth.

Keeping Your Fillings
Although some fillings can last for many years, the average life of an amalgam filling is about 12 years. Composite fillings may not last this long.

Your dentist will examine your fillings at your checkup visits. You may need X-rays if your dentist thinks a filling might be cracked or leaking, or to see whether decay is occurring under the filling. Make an appointment with your dentist:

  • If a tooth is sensitive
  • If you see a crack
  • If part of a filling appears to be missing

You should visit your dentist regularly for cleanings, brush with a fluoride toothpaste, and floss once a day. If you have many fillings or very large fillings, your dentist may prescribe a fluoride gel you can use at home. The fluoride will help strengthen the enamel of your teeth and help to prevent future cavities. Your dentist or hygienist also can apply a fluoride varnish around the edges of these teeth at your checkup visits.

Replacing a Filling
Before removing your old filling, your dentist will discuss treatment options with you. It is often possible to repair an old filling instead of removing it and replacing it completely. However, if the entire filling has to be replaced, the dentist may reevaluate what filling material to use. Talk with your dentist about how you would like the filling to look. Then he or she can select the material that is best for you.

Please call Dr. Jeffrey Fester in Roswell, GA, 770.587.4202 to schedule a free consultation.

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Severe Pain

Any injury to the gums or teeth can be very painful. In some cases, however, the cause of severe dental pain is not obvious. For example, pain that comes on suddenly may be caused by particles of food that got lodged in a cavity and have started to irritate the nerve inside the tooth. If you lose a filling or a crown, the nerve inside the tooth may be exposed, and you may feel severe pain when air or hot or cold substances touch the uncovered part of the tooth.

Pain that becomes more severe over a period of time is commonly caused by debris lodged under the gum. Popcorn is a common offender. Because the hard cellulose fibers of the popcorn kernel don’t break down, it can remain stuck between your gum and your tooth. The longer a food particle stays trapped between the gum and tooth, the greater the chance the gum will become irritated and infected and the pain will get worse. If you develop an infection, called an abscess, it can become a serious health problem if left untreated.

Pain when you bite or chew, especially if it is accompanied by a foul odor and a bad taste, can be a sign of an abscess that needs immediate treatment.

What You Can Do

First, call your dentist and make an appointment – Dr. Jeffrey Fester in Roswell, GA, 770.587.4202

In the meantime, here are a few steps you can take at home to try to relieve some of the pain:

  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). However, be aware that you need to see your dentist. If you mask the pain with a painkiller and ignore it, the infection can spread and could become life threatening.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm water every hour or as needed to ease the pain.
  • If the pain is caused by debris lodged in a cavity, washing the area may relieve the problem.
  • Floss your teeth, then run a toothpick around the gum line. This may remove debris that’s lodged under the gum.
  • If you’ve lost a filling or crown, dip a cotton swab in clove oil and apply it to the exposed part of the tooth. Clove oil, available in pharmacies and supermarkets, works well to relieve tooth pain. You also can use a topical anesthetic, such as Anbesol, also available in pharmacies and supermarkets.
  • Putting an ice pack on your face over the area that hurts also may relieve the pain. Apply the ice for 10 to 20 minutes of every hour, as necessary.
  • If you will be traveling in an airplane, the change in pressure when the plane takes off or lands may make you feel more uncomfortable. You should get dental treatment before traveling by air.

What Your Dentist Will Do

Even when dental problems cause a lot of pain, the problems — and the treatments — often are relatively simple if you seek help right away.

If you have a cavity, your dentist will clean out any debris, remove the decayed part of the tooth, and place a filling. Once the inner part of the tooth is protected, the pain will usually disappear immediately.

If your problem is related to debris under your gums, your dentist will use special instruments to remove the debris. If you have an infection, you may be given a prescription for antibiotics and pain medicine. If an antibiotic is prescribed, it is important that you take it as directed until you have finished all the medication.

An abscess in the tooth or gum may require more extensive treatment, such as drainage of the abscess, root canal treatment or tooth extraction.

Please call Dr. Jeffrey Fester in Roswell, GA, 770.587.4202 to schedule a free consultation.

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Lodged Foreign Bodies

Lodged Foreign Bodies??

Small pieces of food ? especially things like popcorn hulls ? can get under your gums. If these pieces aren’t removed, the area can get irritated, and even infected.

What You Can Do

If you feel something wedged under the gum, try using dental floss to remove it. If this doesn’t help, take a toothpick and gently run it around the gum line. Be careful that you don’t hurt your gum with the toothpick or accidentally push anything deeper under your gum.

What Your Dentist Will Do

If you can’t remove a foreign body yourself, see your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist has special that allow him or her to see into your mouth and find whatever is trapped under your gum. Your dentist will check for infection.

Please call Dr. Jeffrey Fester in Roswell, GA, 770.587.4202 to schedule a free consultation.

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Newer Technologies Find Tooth Decay Early

Sometimes it’s all too obvious that you have tooth decay: You’re in pain or you can see a dark spot on your tooth. But in other cases, you may not even know there’s a problem until you see your dentist.

That’s because your dentist often can find early changes in your teeth that happen before a cavity develops. At first, the tooth structure softens. Sometime, a white spot appears.

How can your dentist find these early changes in your teeth that could lead to cavities? The traditional ways are to use X-rays or to examine your teeth and use an explorer, a metal tool that ends in a point. If the explorer “sticks” in a tooth, there may be early damage to the tooth structure.

Now, newer technologies are on the market and are being used by some dentists. Do these devices really do a better job than a pair of experienced eyes, an explorer and an X-ray? And if your dentist finds a sign of early decay, does it need to be treated right away?

Digital Imaging Fiber-Optic Trans-Illumination (DIFOTI)®

DIFOTI technology uses computers to collect images of your teeth while a light is shined behind them. Softened (demineralized) tooth areas can appear darker than healthy areas, so dentists can use the images to help them find early problems. The technique is similar to X-ray but does not use radiation.

Collecting images with DIFOTI takes more time than with X-rays because the camera has to be placed accurately on each tooth to collect the image. The technology is relatively simple to use, but the images must still be interpreted by a dentist, which leaves room for differences of opinion.

Digital Imaging: DIAGNOdent®

DIAGNOdent uses a laser to collect information. A handheld laser probe is shined on each tooth. The laser beam is absorbed by each tooth and then leaves the tooth again as fluorescent light. Solid tooth structure gives off very little fluorescent light, but damaged parts of a tooth and bacteria give off more. Information from each tooth is transmitted to a control unit, which looks something like a digital clock radio.

Studies have found that this technique helps diagnose early decay in the underlayer of the tooth (the dentin) whbefore a cavity develops in the outer, visible layer (enamel). DIAGNOdent can also be used to follow a suspicious tooth or teeth over time and see if the values change. Its manufacturer claims the device is 90% accurate.

Quantitative Light-Induced Fluorescence (QLF)™

Of these three technologies, QLF is the newest. It uses a light source, camera, fluorescent dye and computer software. The camera acquires images of each tooth, and the software analyzes the images and provides information about possible mineral loss.

The technology can detect early decay in primary (baby) and permanent teeth, as well as early decay that is close to fillings, crowns or orthodontic hardware.

QLF is useful for finding caries in people at high risk of decay and for confirming that teeth are healthy in people at low risk. However, it can miss early decay in high-risk people and can identify low-risk people as having decay when they really don’t.

Please call Dr. Jeffrey Fester in Roswell, GA, 770.587.4202 to schedule a free consultation.