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Fillings are done to remove decay and replace the affected tooth structure. It is called a filling because a material fills the cavity that decay has left. Our office no longer promotes old-fashioned silver (mercury) fillings as a standard treatment modality.  Instead, most teeth are able to be treated with bonded tooth colored composite resin fillings which leaves a patient with a natural looking result . Caught early enough, cavities can be treated easily and painlessly. Many of our patients choose to have their fillings treated with the additional use of nitrous oxide analgesia (laughing gas) making the experience a pleasant one.  If not treated, decay can lead to tooth pain and/or infection, and the tooth would then require more extensive treatment such as root canal therapy or extraction.

Bonding involves adhering composite resin material that is matched to the color of the tooth.  It is also utilized for smaller fractures on  the front portions of a tooth. This is done to repair damage done to the tooth by decay, to alter the alignment of the tooth, close gaps between the teeth, or for cosmetic purposes. First, the surface of the tooth is roughened in order to accept the bonding and hold it. A gel is applied to micro etch the tooth surface, and a primer/bond agent is applied so the material adheres to the surface. Then the material itself is placed on the tooth and hardened with an intense and safe light. The composite resin material is shaped and polished to get a lustrous finish as a last step. In most instances, bonding procedures do not require getting a patient anesthetized (numb).  Additionally, there is no need to wait any time to eat or drink after bonding procedures are performed.

Sealants are used to fill in narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing.  In some cases, the tooth structure has fine grooves or pits which accumulate plaque, not because the child doesn't brush, but because the grooves are too narrow to allow even one bristle into them. These will develop cavities over time, and you don't want that for your child. So the dentist or hygienist will brush on a coating that seals the grooves and pits, making it possible to brush off all the plaque and keep their teeth healthy. You and your child will be shown how to check to make sure their sealants are protecting his or her teeth.

The gums, ligaments, and bone around the teeth form the foundation for one's teeth. All structures are also referred to as the periodontium. When the periodontium is not healthy, it jeopardizes the teeth just as a bad foundation would threaten the stability of a house. Signs of unhealthy periodontium (gum disease) may be as follows: gums that are red and bleed easily, persistent bad breath, gums that are pulled away from the tooth, loose teeth, and changes in the position or bite of the teeth. Any of these signs may mean something is wrong. With the proper care, however, it may be possible to return them to a healthy state. This is where appropriate gum treatments come in. If you're having a problem, come in and see the doctors and hygienists so we can take care of it right away. The treatment usually involves a deep cleaning or root planing done under a local anesthetic, along with local antibiotic agents. Many of our patients choose to have periodontal treatments performed with the additional use of nitrous oxide analgesia (laughing gas) making the experience a pleasant one.  If the gum disease gets too severe, you may need to be treated (after being evaluated by Dr. Spector, Dr. Kim or Dr. Wojtasiewicz) by a periodontist or oral surgeon through surgery or extraction. This is why it is important to be treated at the first sign of a problem.

Root canal treatment (also referred to as root canal therapy or endodontic therapy) is necessary when a cavity is allowed, through neglect, to reach all the way to the nerve within the tooth. However, remember that regular cleanings and checkups prevent and detect problems early to help avoid this from happening. Sometimes deep restorations or trauma to a tooth may cause the nerve to be damaged to the point it needs root canal therapy. Once this occurs, the nerve (also called the pulp) becomes infected, and can even extend through the root tip and begin to eat away at the surrounding bone (this is an abscess). By the time the pulp is infected, it must be treated, and cannot heal on its own. It can even weaken the entire immune system. This is dangerous, not to mention very painful. Symptoms that the pulp has become infected may include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain to biting or pressure, and a bad taste in the mouth. Sometimes, no symptoms are apparent and the person is unaware of any problem until a checkup.

A root canal is then performed to clean out the infected tooth pulp, and disinfect the canals of the tooth. The only other treatment would be to extract the tooth. Once the infection is resolved, the canal(s) are filled in to prevent any further infection. Usually a core build-up and crown is recommended for restoring a tooth that has had root canal therapy.