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How Long Will a Dental Filling Protect a Tooth?

November 25, 2014

Filed under: Reston Dentistry — Tags: , — tntadmin @ 7:53 pm

Young couple with bright, attractive smilesTogether, bacteria, plaque, and tartar are responsible for tooth decay, one of the most common oral health concerns. Tooth decay destroys healthy tooth enamel and leaves the damaged tooth weak and vulnerable to further complications. Restorative dentistry treatments rebuild lost structure and protect the tooth so that additional problems can be avoided. The most common treatment for tooth decay is a dental filling. A dental filling replaces lost enamel, blocks out harmful bacteria, and prevents further decay and infection. However, dental fillings do not last forever. Dr. Wayne Myles discusses the average dental fillings lifespan and what can be done when a filling is no longer structurally secure.

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Are You a Candidate for Inlays or Onlays?

July 25, 2014

Filed under: Reston Dentistry — Tags: , , , — tntadmin @ 8:48 pm

Blonde-haired woman smiling broadly, revealing her healthy teeth, perhaps made whole again by inlays or onlaysModern dentistry has introduced numerous new innovations, in addition to many impressive variations of tried and true treatments. For instance, the traditional dental filling has been greatly improved upon with the advent of inlays, onlays, and tooth colored, “white” fillings. In the case of inlays and onlays, like so many other dental treatments, their widespread usage can be attributed to the evolution of medical grade porcelain.

At Smile by Myles in Reston, inlays and onlays candidates are provided with a full education about the benefits and possible risks associated with these restorations so that they can make informed, confident decisions regarding their dental care. Are you a good candidate for an inlay or an onlay? The only way to know for sure is to meet with Dr. Wayne Myles at his cosmetic and general dentistry practice for a one-on-one, confidential consultation.

What Are Inlays and Onlays?

Inlays are porcelain restorations that are custom crafted to fit within the cusps (i.e., the indented top surfaces) of the teeth to replace missing tooth matter, usually after it has been removed due to decay or trauma. Like inlays, onlays are custom crafted from high-quality porcelain; however, they are designed to cover the entire top portion of the tooth, including the cusps.

For both inlays and onlays, Dr. Myles makes impressions of the teeth to be treated after any necessary work has been done to remove any damaged portions. These impressions are used to create porcelain restorations that fit precisely into or onto the teeth to rebuild their structure and make them appear whole again.

Candidacy for Inlays and Onlays

If you are a candidate for a conventional filling, you are almost certainly a candidate for an inlay or an onlay, as well. Also known as indirect fillings, inlays and onlays are meant to serve the same exact function of metal fillings – without, of course, the metal.

In terms of candidacy, the most important criterion is that there must be a sufficient amount of natural tooth structure remaining to support an inlay or onlay. This is important to any filling; if the remaining tooth structure is not strong enough to support the filling, it will remain susceptible to further damage, even if it is otherwise essentially healthy.

In cases in which inlays and onlays are not viable options due to more extensive damage having been done to a tooth, patients are generally better suited to dental crowns. Unlike inlays and onlays, dental crowns cover the entire visible surface area of a tooth, providing reinforcement for the remaining healthy tooth matter and protecting it from further harm.

For patients who are good candidates for inlays and onlays, proper expectations must be established. As with any type of filling, patients should be willing to avoid sticky and crunchy foods as much as possible and to commit themselves to good oral hygiene regimens. While inlays and onlays can last for a decade or longer with proper maintenance, they will eventually need to be replaced, as well.

Learn More about Inlays and Onlays

To learn more about inlays and onlays, please contact Smiles by Myles today.

How Cavities Form

February 25, 2014

Filed under: Reston Dentistry — Tags: , , — tntadmin @ 9:11 pm

Reston Cavities TreatmentCavities: you have probably been warned about them since you were a child, but adults are just as likely to develop them. Every day, Wayne Myles, DDS, and his team at Smiles by Myles offer treatment for cavities at their Reston office. But how exactly do cavities form? By understanding this dental health problem, you can better understand how to prevent them – and how to treat them if they develop.

How Do Cavities Form?

Everyone has bacteria in their mouths. These bacteria survive on the sugars that exist in the food we eat. It’s normally nothing dangerous – it’s just a part of everyday life. But if these bacteria are allowed to thrive and become overgrown, they can cause damage to your teeth in the form of decay and cavities.

When a person consumes an excess of sugary foods, while failing to brush and floss properly to clear away bacteria, they can form colonies around your teeth – you may know these bacteria colonies as plaque. In later stages, these plaque colonies can harden into another form called tartar, which is much more difficult to get rid off without the help of a dental professional.

As these bacteria colonies grow, they emit acids that can eat through the enamel of your tooth, forming a small hole that you will know as a cavity. While cavities start small, once the hole is formed bacteria can swarm inside and eat away at the tooth that much more quickly, causing more extensive damage that may be more difficult to treat.

How Can I Prevent Cavities?

A little bit of preventative action can go a long way in protecting yourself from having cavities form in the first place. The most important thing that anyone can do to prevent cavities is to brush and floss daily. Twice a day is sufficient, although the best scenario is to brush and floss after every meal. An antibacterial mouthwash is also effective in cleaning out bacteria that a toothbrush might have missed.

Some people are born with teeth full of deep natural crevices – prime real estate for bacteria to hide out and multiply. If your teeth fit this profile, your cosmetic dentist may recommend sealants. A sealant is a thin coating painted onto the surface of molars and premolars to protect against tooth decay-forming bacteria. Sealants are most often recommended to children, but adults who are more susceptible to cavities can also benefit greatly from the treatment. 

How Are Cavities Treated?

Even with the best preventative measures, cavities can still form. If your cavity is still small, your dentist will most likely recommend a filling. Today’s technology offers natural-looking tooth-colored fillings made of a composite resin to closely match the color and texture of your tooth, providing another option along with the standard metal alloy fillings.

If your tooth decay is more advanced, it may require a root canal or more extensive removal of the damaged enamel in order to correct the problem. In this case, a filling is not enough and dental crowns may be used to cap or replace the damaged teeth.

Learn More about Cavity Treatment Today

If you are suffering from tooth pain, or think you might have a cavity forming, don’t hesitate to seek treatment. Contact Dr. Myles at Smiles By Myles to schedule an appointment and learn more about cavity treatment options today.

Top Treatments for Tooth Decay

July 22, 2013

Filed under: Reston Dentistry — Tags: , , , , — tntadmin @ 9:50 pm

Top Treatments for Tooth DecayTooth decay is a very common dental health problem that is addressed on a daily basis at our practice. There are plenty of ways that we can address the loss of tooth structure and the restoration of overall dental health. When you meet with your cosmetic dentist, you will be able to go over these matters in greater detail.

In this post, we'd like to focus on the different sorts of treatments that may be used to address tooth decay. There's a whole lot more to it than just dental fillings, as you're about to find out.

About Tooth Decay and Its Causes

Tooth decay refers to the damage to overall tooth structure that occurs as a result of plaque build up on the teeth. The plaque is produced by the natural bacteria that occurs in the mouth. This bacteria eats food particles and creates the corrosive substance known as plaque.

Ideal Treatments for Tooth Decay

When it comes to treating tooth decay, the best option is always the most conservative one. Dentists always want their patients to maintain as much of their natural tooth structure as possible whenever possible. This proves to be best for the patient's dental health in the long run and allows them to avoid serious problems down the road.

With this in mind, let's look at the different dental restoration options from most conservative to most invasive. At the end of this brief list, we'll tell you what the best policy is when it comes to treating tooth decay.

Dental Fillings

One of the most common treatments for tooth decay, dental fillings are a restorative treatment that you've most likely heard of. In the past, metal dental fillings were the norm, though these days the use of composite/ceramic dental fillings is ideal for optimal care.

Inlays and Onlays

When dental fillings are not enough to address your tooth decay, then your cosmetic and restorative dentist will recommend the use of inlays and onlays. These are like larger versions of dental fillings, but they are able to restore more substantial sections of your tooth structure, such as the cusps (biting surfaces) of the teeth.

Dental Crowns

When tooth decay is very severe and inlays and onlays are no longer a good option for care, dental crowns are the best treatment to consider. These are caps that fit over the affected tooth in order to restore its strength, improve its appearance, and prevent discomfort and sensitivity associated with the tooth damage.

Prevention is Always the Best

It seems obvious, but we just can't state it enough: the best way to fight tooth decay is to make sure it doesn't happen. Preventative dentistry helps ensure that your dental health remains great for years and years to come. In order to prevent tooth decay, be sure to:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day
  • Floss every night
  • Visit your dentist for regular checkups twice a year

Ideally, you'll want to brush and floss after every meal in order to remove all food particles from the teeth.

Schedule an Appointment for Advanced Dental Care

If you would like to learn more about all of your options for restorative dental care, be sure to contact our Reston cosmetic dentistry center today. Our entire team looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve excellent dental health in the process.

Replacing Metal Fillings with Composite

February 21, 2013

Reston Dental FillingsFor many years, amalgam fillings were the standard in dentistry. While the potential health risks of having metal and mercury present in the mouth have long been debated, the fillings themselves did their jobs admirably well. They allowed millions of people around the world to preserve the healthy portions of their teeth after the removal of decayed and otherwise damaged tooth matter. While these metal fillings might not have been the most aesthetically pleasing restorations, they were certainly preferable to the loss of a tooth, not to mention the pain of further damage.

Fast forward to 2013.  Metal fillings, while still commonplace at many dental practices, are no longer the only restorative option. Modern composite fillings blend flawlessly in with the surrounding healthy tooth structure while allowing patients to avoid having conspicuous, unnatural-looking metal flashing every time they open their mouths. No longer do patients have to compromise aesthetics for their oral health.

But what about those patients who have been living for years, or even decades, with silver amalgam fillings? Fortunately, it is relatively easy to replace these outdated fillings with their tooth-colored counterparts. In fact, Reston cosmetic dentist Wayne Myles encourages his patients who have amalgam fillings to make the switch for the sake of their smiles and their oral and overall health.

If you have old metal fillings that you would like to have replaced with safe, natural-looking composite fillings, we encourage you to visit our cosmetic dentistry practice in Reston. Dental fillings made of safe, durable materials will help to make your smile healthier and more attractive.  For further information, contact Dr. Wayne Myles today.

Benefits of Replacing Metal Fillings with Composite Fillings

There are many benefits to replacing metal fillings with composite fillings. Composite fillings are:

  • Completely natural looking
  • Free of mercury and metal
  • As strong and durable as metal fillings
  • Less prone to contracting and expanding at certain temperatures than metal fillings
  • Able to withstand normal chewing pressure
  • Virtually undetectable to the naked eye

In certain cases, we may be able to replace your old metal restorative work with a custom-crafted, all-ceramic inlay or onlay. Inlays are customized to replace missing tooth matter within the cusps while onlays are designed to replace missing tooth matter that extends to the cusps.

At our practice in Reston, dental crowns made of the finest-grade porcelain are also available. In certain cases, it may be advisable to remove a metal filling and then cover the entire surface area of the tooth with a custom-crafted dental crown. This is particularly applicable if the tooth has become discolored or otherwise aesthetically flawed since the placement of the metal filling. Dr. Myles designs dental crowns so that they complement the surrounding natural teeth in terms of size, shape, color, and texture. The resulting crowns are virtually indistinguishable from the natural teeth.

Say Goodbye to Metal in Your Mouth

If you are interested in replacing your metal fillings with brand new, state-of-the-art restorations that restore both function and beauty to your mouth, please schedule an appointment at our Reston cosmetic dentistry practice today!

Have Questions? We’ve got the answers.