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Routine Oral Health

Definition
Tooth polishing is the smoothing of all exposed tooth surfaces with a rubber cup, a brush, or by an air polisher driven by a slow-speed hand piece or water unit.

Purpose
According to the Journal of Periodontology an oral prophylaxis is the removal of plaque, calculus, and stains from the exposed and unexposed surfaces of the teeth by scaling and polishing as a means to prevent periodontal disease. A cleaning involves removing debris and extraneous matter from the teeth. Polishing makes the surfaces of teeth smooth. As a result of these procedures, the teeth are smooth and clean at the end of treatment.

Precautions
Historically polishing has been part of the oral prophylaxis appointment. Dental polishing was considered important for the removal of plaque and stain prior to a fluoride treatment to insure adequate uptake of fluoride in the enamel. Recent research by the American Dental Association has shown that polishing does not improve the uptake prior to a professionally applied fluoride treatment.
Air polishing is a technique for cleaning tooth surfaces efficiently removing stain and soft tissue deposits. The technique consists of directing a stream of air, water, and sodium bicarbonate particles at the tooth surface to be cleaned. Data suggests that an aerosol reduction device attached to the air polishing unit is effective in reducing the number of aerosol microorganisms generated during air polishing and that the air polisher is a safe unit to use.

Description
Dental polishing, or more commonly called coronal polishing, is performed when scaling has removed the hardened tartar buildup. The patient is assessed by the dentist and hygienist to determine whether coronal polishing is necessary. If it is deemed necessary, a coronal polishing will remove any stain build up not removed by the scaling procedure. The duration of a polishing appointment can vary, depending on the amount of plaque and tartar build up.

Aftercare
The patient is advised not to eat or drink for 30 minutes following a cleaning/polishing appointment, to allow sufficient time for fluoride uptake.

Results
The results of coronal polishing are smooth teeth free of tartar and plaque build up. The results with the air polisher are smooth teeth, above and below the gum tissue.

Dental Fillings
Dental fillings are used to restore teeth that have been damaged by tooth decay. The development of tooth-colored fillings has provided dentist and patients with a safer and more attractive alternative to silver amalgam fillings.
By precisely matching tooth-colored composite fillings with the natural color of your teeth, a skilled cosmetic dentist is able to provide you with white fillings that are virtually invisible. The removal of old amalgam fillings can provide patients with white fillings that provide a more pleasing, silver-free smile.

Tooth-colored Filling Benefits
When a new cavity needs filling, the vast majority of patients now choose tooth-colored composite fillings. White fillings are made of composite resin and serve to fill cavities just like silver amalgam fillings. However, white fillings are matched to the color of your teeth and are virtually invisible. Tooth-colored fillings have become more popular over the years. As the availability of white fillings has increased and the possible dangers associated with amalgam fillings have been publicized, more and more patients are having their cavities filled with beautifully white, tooth-colored fillings.

Dental Filling Side Effects
The dental fillings procedure is associated with few side effects and risks. Some patients may experience sensitivity to cold and hot foods, and pain when chewing for a few days after treatment.
Silver amalgam fillings contain about 50 percent mercury, a chemical that has been scientifically shown to be more toxic than lead, cadmium, or arsenic. The possibility of mercury leaking from amalgam fillings over time has prompted a movement toward mercury-free dentistry. The mercury in silver amalgam fillings is thought to leave the filling and enter the organs of the body in small amounts throughout life. Some medical practitioners believe this mercury is causing physical and psychological problems in patients. These include neurodegenerative diseases, birth defects, and mental disorders. The debate is ongoing but many patients are opting to remove their amalgam fillings in order to improve their appearance and ease their minds.

Removing and Replacing Old Metal Fillings
Many patients opt for the removal of their amalgam fillings. These patients want to enhance their cosmetic appearance by ridding their mouths of unsightly silver fillings and replacing them with tooth-colored composite fillings. This simple procedure is an easy way to make a big difference in your smile.

Dental Fillings Cost
The cost of dental fillings varies depending on the type of filling that is used and the extent of cleaning that is required. Visit our cost and financing page to learn cost estimates for fillings. In most cases, dental insurance will cover the cost of dental fillings. If a silver filling is chipped or cracked, dental insurance may pay for part of the cost of replacement.

 
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