March 14th, 2018
Did you know there are as many types of dental fillings as there are flavors of ice cream? Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. Still, when you visit the dentist with a cavity, there are many filling options. Most of us just sit in the chair, open our mouths, and let the dentist work his or her magic. But have you ever stopped to consider what the dentist is filling and restoring your decayed or broken tooth with?
Five types of dental fillings
There are five basic kinds of dental filing material. The dentist decides which type to use based on the degree of the decay, the cost of the material, and the type of dental insurance you have.
- Dental amalgam, or silver fillings, have been used to fill cavities for more than 150 years. Dental amalgam is the most common type of dental filling. It's strong, durable, and less expensive than other types.
- Composite fillings, or white fillings, are popular because the color matches the rest of your teeth. Composite fillings are a combination of resin and plastic. They are more aesthetically pleasing than silver fillings, but are also less durable.
- Ceramic fillings are durable and visually appealing (tooth-colored), but they are expensive. They are made of porcelain and have been shown to be resistant to staining.
- Glass ionomers are typically used on children whose teeth are still changing. Constructed from glass and acrylic, glass ionomers are designed to last fewer than five years. The benefit of these dental fillings is that they release fluoride, which protects the changing tooth from further decay.
- Unless you’re a rock or movie star, gold fillings aren’t common. While a gold filling is durable, non-corrosive, and can last more than 15 years, it not only takes more than one dental visit to place, but, as you can imagine, it is expensive.
For more information about fillings, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. David Houpt, please give us a call at our convenient Silverdale, WA office!
March 7th, 2018
When it comes to keeping your smile looking its best, good oral hygiene is a must! Good oral health habits should start early and continue throughout your lifetime. Here, Dr. David Houpt and our team at David C. Houpt, DMD suggest five habits worth adopting that will help keep your teeth healthy:
- Brush and floss regularly. Brush gently at least twice a day, paying special attention to the gum line to rid your mouth of food and bacteria that may lurk in between your teeth. Floss at least once a day. Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if the bristles are frayed.
- Make regular visits to see Dr. David Houpt. Regular checkups (twice yearly) will help diagnose any dental problems early on when they can be more easily treated.
- Stop smoking. Did you know smokers are four times as likely as nonsmokers to develop periodontal (gum) disease? Tobacco, whether in the form of cigarettes, pipes, cigars, or chewable tobacco, increases oral and throat cancer risks, and raises the risk for candidiasis, an oral fungal infection. Smokeless tobacco contains sugar, which furthers your risk for cavities.
- Limit your alcohol intake. Heavy drinking dramatically increases the risk of developing mouth and throat cancers.
- Eat healthy. Avoid snacking on foods that contain high levels of sugar or starch. We encourage you to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are known to help stimulate the flow of saliva to re-mineralize tooth surfaces and neutralize cavity-causing bacteria.
To learn more about the habits you should practice in between your visits to David C. Houpt, DMD, or to schedule an appointment, please give us a call today!
February 28th, 2018
The average adult has 32 teeth, a combination of molars, canines, and incisors. By middle age, however, most adults are missing at least one tooth due to an injury, decay, or gum disease. Though many people choose to forgo tooth replacement, Dr. David Houpt and our team at David C. Houpt, DMD will tell you that every tooth is important. Each plays a vital role in the structure of the mouth and in relationship to the remaining teeth. Leaving the space where a tooth once stood can have serious consequences. There are many reasons why severely decayed or missing teeth should be replaced as quickly as possible.
- Speech: A missing tooth can negatively affect the way you speak, depending on its location.
- Bite changes: The loss of one or more teeth can cause the redistribution of bite pressure onto other teeth. Over time, this can cause the teeth to shift and move into the space the tooth once held.
- Gum disease: Shifting teeth can make it easier for plaque to accumulate in hard-to-reach places. This can increase the risk of gum disease, which can lead to additional tooth loss.
- Bone loss: The teeth are place-holders in the jaw. When one falls out and is not replaced, the bone that once surrounded it begins to deteriorate and wear down.
- Aesthetics: A missing tooth leaves a visible gap between the teeth and can be a source of embarrassment and insecurity.
Advancements in modern dentistry have made it easy to replace missing teeth using natural-looking and functioning prosthetics. Dental implants are permanent solutions for replacing missing teeth with the use of special rods that are anchored in the jaw bone. These implants serve as artificial tooth roots that fuse with the jaw over time. When cared for properly, most dental implants can be fitted to last a lifetime.
To learn more about dental implants, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. David Houpt, please give us a call at our convenient Silverdale, WA office!
February 21st, 2018
A dental sealant is a liquid that is applied to the teeth. The sealant hardens and provides a protective coating that is designed to reduce cavities and create a smoother tooth surface. Dental sealants are clear or white; they do not take away from the appearance of teeth. You can think about this treatment as being similar to varnish that protects a wood floor.
Sealants are not the same as fluoride treatments. The application is similar, but sealants are a semi-permanent protective coating. Dr. David Houpt and our staff recommend that sealant applications for children begin soon after molars erupt, first molars around the age of six, and second molars around the age of 12.
Having sealants applied is not uncomfortable at all. First, your child's teeth will be cleaned and dried. A gel is applied, which helps the sealant adhere to the tooth, and then is rinsed away. Your child's teeth are dried again and the sealant is applied. A few seconds of exposure to a light source may be used to cure the sealant and make it semi-permanent. Sealants should last for a long time, normally between five and ten years.
The coating on the surface of your child's teeth reduces the amount of acid contact. Normal acids in foods that are consumed can eat away at the surface of teeth. Bacteria also react to plaque formation and create more acid in the mouth. These small pits or weakened areas are prone to caries or cavity formation. Preventing cavities is a much better choice than drilling and filling damaged teeth.
A sealant also helps to smooth the chewing surfaces of your childn't teeth. The smoother surface is not as likely to retain small particles of food and bacteria. Your child's mouth stays cleaner and food is not left behind to form acids. The protective application can also be used on other teeth that have a rough surface, to protect the grooves or pits from decay.
After the sealant is applied, your child still needs to take proper care of his or her teeth. Regular brushing and flossing is required. Dr. David Houpt may recommend fluoride treatments to strengthen and protect your child's teeth further.
If you have any concerns about sealants, please discuss them with during your child's next appointment at David C. Houpt, DMD. We want your little one's teeth to stay healthy for life.