Humans Have Been Utilizing Dental Fillings for Over 13,000 Years

Decayed or decaying teeth can lead to severe pain, making it difficult to chew. If left untreated, the decay is likely to worsen which can cause even more pain and increases potential for infection. This could result in a root canal or even extraction.

It’s not surprising that there has been evidence dating back thousands of years of humans using organic residue to fill cracked, broken or worn-down teeth. According to an archaeological team in Italy, in 2017 they discovered evidence of decayed teeth that were manipulated, using an organic residue filling dating back between 12,600 and 13,040 years ago.

The theory is that humans were shifting away from being hunter/gatherers as understanding for agriculture became more available. This shift resulted in a shift in diet as well, with an increase in carbohydrates that is theorized to have led to more teeth and mouth problems.

We’ve been doing Composite Fillings for over 30 years, and our practices have definitely come a long way compared to our early human ancestors. Fillings 13,000 years ago were found to resemble a “tar-like hydrocarbon mixture” that was accompanied by plant fragments and even hair! Luckily, we’ve moved away from hair-based fillings, and our dental fillings are made of tooth colored, composite resin that protect the tooth from infection and further decay.

Here’s a video from the American Dental Association that explains composite fillings:

Our process for placing a composite dental filling is as follows:

  • The tooth is isolated from saliva to keep it dry.
  • The infected part of the tooth is removed.
  • The composite resin is placed in layers over the opening.
  • A special light is used to harden each layer of composite resin material.
  • After the tooth is filled, the composite resin is shaped to resemble a real tooth.

If you think you need a dental filling, or want to know your treatment options for a decaying, cracked, broken or worn down tooth, contact us today to make an appointment.

5 Foods to Eat for a Healthier Mouth & Stronger Teeth

When it comes to tooth decay, your tooth enamel is your greatest defense. The enamel is the hard, outer surface of the tooth and is the hardest mineral substance in your body. While the enamel is the mouth’s natural defense against decay, your diet is what determines how strong your enamel is.

While there are a variety of treatments to address eroded enamel, the best treatment is preventative in nature. In addition to regular dental cleanings and checkups, avoiding acidic foods, alcohol, caffeine and foods high in starches and sugars is a step in the right direction. In addition to avoiding these foods, there are foods you should incorporate more of into your diet.

While there are many mouth-healthy foods to consider, here are five that can help improve the health of your mouth and increase the strength of your enamel:

Water

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), 75% of the US population has access to fluoridated water (water containing fluoride). This is important because fluoride is especially important for improving the strength of your enamel, providing a stronger defense against acids. Additionally, water helps to combat dry mouth, and with greater saliva production your mouth can naturally reduce plaque buildup.

Dairy

Dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt are low in sugar and rich in calcium which is an important mineral in building strong, healthy teeth. Additionally, the protein found in dairy is also important for your teeth. However, not everyone can tolerate the lactose found in dairy, but there are other foods that offer a strong source of calcium such as canned seafood, soy/rice/almond milk and green vegetables.

Lean Protein

The ADA suggests phosphorous-rich foods for stronger teeth and some of the best sources of phosphorus come from lean meat such as poultry, fish and eggs. However, for those who don’t eat meat or fish, there are alternatives such as beans, nuts and dairy products which offer the protein and phosphorus needed to strengthen your teeth.

Nuts

The vitamins and minerals contained in nuts are great for your teeth. In addition to being a meat-substitute high in phosphorus and protein, many nuts are also high in calcium, folic acid, magnesium and vitamin D. Beyond the nutritional value, nuts also stimulate saliva production which is important for a healthy mouth. And finally, nuts are high in fiber, so eating them can help to clean the teeth.

High-Fiber Foods

Foods high in fiber require a lot of chewing. This is good because it creates saliva which is important for a healthy mouth and teeth, and as you chew, the food sort of brushes and scrubs your teeth. This does NOT replace your need to brush, but it does help you maintain your mouth health during the day. Specifically, leafy greens and vegetables are a great source of fiber that require a fair amount of chewing.

If you’re concerned about your tooth enamel or decay, contact us today to set up an appointment.

What to Expect from Dental Bonding for Fixing Chipped, Cracked or Stained Teeth

The most common way we treat chips, cracks, stains and gaps in your teeth is with dental bonding. First and foremost, dental bonding is typically a procedure that doesn’t hurt and doesn’t usually require anesthesia. This is because we often utilize dental bonding on an area of the tooth that has little to no sensitivity. There are some cases where the procedure may result in some slight discomfort, but this is not common.

We begin a dental bonding procedure by preparing your tooth with an etching solution. Next we add the bonding which is an application of a plastic resin that is intended to match the color of the tooth that is receiving the bonding.

We then shape the resin to align with that natural contour of your smile. From there the resin is hardened with a curing wand. The procedure can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. However, if you have multiple teeth that need bonding, you may have to make multiple visits depending on how close together each of the teeth are.

Check out the video below from the American Dental Association to see what an actual procedure looks like:

After the procedure, be on the lookout for any sharp edges or if your teeth don’t quite feel right when you bite down. These issues can be easily addressed to improve the overall comfort of the bonding.

The resin that is used for the bonding is strong, but there is potential for discoloration over time. We advise you to minimize tea, coffee, smoking and to abstain from these activities especially in the first few days following the procedure.

To keep your bonding looking and feeling good, make sure to have regular teeth cleanings and to consult your dentist if you come across any issues with the bonded tooth or teeth.

If you have any further questions about bonding, or if you would like to set up an appointment to discuss  fix a chipped tooth, request an appointment today.