Getting to the Root of Dental Fillings and How Long They Last

beautiful girl at the dentist. Dental fillings - Image

The question “how long do dental fillings last?” is often on the minds of patients getting one. We have some answers.

Fillings have long been an essential part of dentistry, helping to save infected or damaged teeth that might otherwise be lost — and they’ve been around for hundreds of years. We don’t need to go into the history of dental fillings in this blog, except to thankfully say that since the practice began in the early 1800s, mercury is no longer the main material used to fill holes in teeth, and, in fact, is being phased out altogether

One piece of research says that fillings were being done at the dawn of humanity, 13,000 years ago, when early humans walked the Earth and did crude, rudimentary fillings on each other when there were problems with their teeth. 

Developments in modern dentistry mean, however, that today you can expect your dentist to use a number of materials to close over cavities, and they include everything from a silver amalgam or mix, also containing copper, tin and zinc, to porcelain, composite resin, gold and more. The idea is to fill the cavity with a strong and durable material so that the tooth’s integrity is maintained and is not at risk of further infection of degradation if it was chipped or cracked. 

The Procedure for Having a Filling

An infected or broken tooth needs to be cleaned out before a filling can be added, and before that can happen, a local anaesthetic is given so that the area is numb and the patient doesn’t feel anything. Then, it’s a case of using an instrument to clean the space and ensure no debris is left that could cause problems later on. 

The type of instrument will depend on the dentist and what they use, and is typically either a drill or an abrasion device that uses pressurised jets of air to do the job — much like the way sandblasters clean walls and other places — and they do the work of a drill without the oftentimes harsh sensations of drills that can make some patients uncomfortable. Certain types of laser can also be used in the cleaning process. 

When decayed material has been removed and the dentist is satisfied nothing is left, it’s time to prepare the cavity for the filling. It’s vital that nothing is left, including bacteria, because an infection could erupt under the new filling. If the cavity is deep and near the root, a liner that’s made from composite resin or another kind of material may first be added; this will also help to protect the nerve. Then, the filling material will be placed in the cavity and the dentist will ensure it’s properly fitted and also polish it so that there are no rough edges. 

How Long Do Dental Fillings Last?

Dental fillings are subject to a lot of wear, as the teeth they’re in grind up food in preparation for digestion. So it’s not all that surprising to learn that fillings don’t actually last forever, as anyone who has ever had one and had if fall out after some time knows all too well. Generally, those made of a mix of materials (the previously mentioned amalgam) are the longest-lasting, as the different elements combine to form a robust overall filling. 

So depending on your filling type, you might find that one is starting to become loose after around five years, and you’ll need a return trip to the dentist to have it seen to. Amalgams can, however, last anywhere from 10 to 15 years, and if you’re lucky, you might never have a problem with one. Some people, but certainly not all, have fillings that stay in for the rest of their lives. 

Whatever the case, it’s not a big problem — in terms of time, money or effort — for your dentist to rectify a failing filling so that you’re good to go for another few years, or far longer.  

If you’re having difficulties with a filling, contact The James Clinic and our experienced dentists will examine you and offer you the best filling solution so that you’ll get one that lasts. Get in touch now

What to Do If You Have Severe Pain after Root Canal Treatment

What to Do If You Have Severe Pain after Root Canal Treatment

Severe pain after root canal treatment can be a sign that all is not right.

Root canals are an important dental treatment, as they save teeth that might otherwise have to be extracted due to infections that have entered through the roots and into the pulp chamber and put its health in peril. Although this procedure has sometimes had a bad reputation among patients because they’ve heard terror-tales of fierce pain involved, the truth is that today’s modern dentistry techniques ensure there’s little or no pain at all and it’s all over fairly quickly. It’s certainly no more uncomfortable than having a filling. 

But what if you have severe pain after root canal treatment? The procedure is designed to be safe and relatively pain-free, and you’d expect that any pain you’d experience would be during it, in the dentist’s chair. Sometimes, however, patients can have mild or even severe pain after root canal treatment, and it’s important to pay attention to it so that it doesn’t develop into something worse. Here’s what, generally, you should be aware of.

Some Pain or Discomfort May Be Normal

As a root canal is an invasive procedure — going into the tooth and nerve to remove the infected pulp and fill the chamber with a rubbery material and then seal it to prevent bacteria from entering again — it’s important to bear in mind that the site may be tender or sensitive for a few days. It’s possible you might feel little or nothing, though, but most patients tend to have a little and temporary sensitivity in the area. You may be prescribed painkillers to deal with any residual pain, so you may not feel all that much anyway. 

If you’re wondering what might be causing any pain you’re experiencing after root canal treatment, it can be due to a number of factors. These include tissue around the root canal site that has become inflamed because of the work and the nerves in the tissue can signal pain until the inflammation dies down. There might also be some tissue damage in the area due to the instruments that were used to carry out the root canal, and it can take a few days, at least, for it to heal. None of this is anything to worry about, and soon you’ll be back to normal with no pain at all. 

Reasons for Severe Pain after Root Canal Treatment

Most root canals are successful and it’s relatively rare for them to fail — this is a chief reason for severe pain after root canal treatment, and it can be alarming for the patient. It can happen because the pulp chamber, which was sealed with that rubbery material we mentioned, starts to leak or that the sealant erodes over time. It’s possible that were was another canal in the tooth that wasn’t evident at the time of treatment, and this needs to be treated too. There could also be a crack or cracks in the tooth, or it may just be because the patient doesn’t practice good dental hygiene and problems like infections develop as a result. 

If you’re experiencing severe pain after root canal treatment, it’s likely you’ve already been prescribed pain medication — something like ibuprofen is commonly used, and a prescription is not required. But if you find it’s not working and you’re not getting any relief, you should contact your dental clinic immediately, as something could be wrong with your tooth and you may need additional treatment. In the meantime, try to avoid chewing in the area with the affected tooth so you don’t further inflame the area.

Get the best root canal treatment at The James Clinic’s top-class surgeries in Ireland, where you can expect high levels of care and attention before, during and after the procedure. Contact us now and make an initial appointment to discuss your case.

Dental Implants: Can You Smoke After Getting Them?

Dental Implants Can You Smoke after Getting Them

Dental implants are designed to be tough and long-lasting, but certain things can interfere with their success.

Dental implants are the ideal solution for failing teeth or those that have been extracted, either recently or a long time ago, and there’s a big gap left between your teeth. They’re strong, durable and use a number of materials to place them in your mouth and hopefully keep them there. But not everyone is a candidate for dental implants, and even if you are and go ahead and have one or more, they can fail — and there are a number of reasons, including smoking. 

Then there’s the matter of dental implant cost. It’s among the most costly dental procedures you can have, and while this may be off-putting to some people who would love to have dental implants, the good news is that some dental practices, including ours, have payment plans that make it extremely affordable to have this desirable procedure done. Now, you can spread the dental implant cost over a year or more so your finances are not strained. 

But can you smoke with dental implants? Before we get to that, we need to look at what might prevent you from getting them in the first place. The procedure involves placing a screw into your jawbone and an abutment on top of it and then a crown that looks like your existing tooth (or teeth). For all of this to be a success, you need good oral and general health, but not everyone has it. At the most fundamental level, you need sufficient jawbone to anchor the implant, and if it’s lacking in the area, it might not be possible to go ahead. 

Other conditions that might mean you’re not suitable for dental implants include:

  • Smoking, as it means lowered circulation and, therefore, reduced blood flow to the potential implant site — a good blood supply is necessary to support post-implant healing and ongoing support of the implant;
  • Poor oral hygiene because by not looking after your teeth, by brushing and flossing regularly, you could be putting your mouth at risk of bacterial build-up and subsequent infections;
  • Inexperienced dental surgeons: this is a complex procedure and one not best left to novices. 

Can You Smoke with Dental Implants?

Smoking is never a good idea, whether you’re getting dental implants or not. It’s not so much the nicotine that’s the problem, however addictive it is, but everything else that’s found in burning tobacco — thousands of toxic chemicals, at least 70 of which are known to cause various cancers in the human body. And along with leading to poor circulation, it also results in less oxygen binding with red blood cells, so you don’t have the amount you should be getting.

From a dental perspective, smoking can lead to a myriad of problems — most especially the stark fact that smokers have double the risk of gum disease compared to non-smokers, and the more and the longer you smoke, the higher the risk. Clearly, this will be problematic for dental implants, dramatically increasing the possibility that they will fail. 

Other dental issues caused by smoking include loose teeth, tender and swollen gums, sensitive teeth and a tendency to bleed when brushing your teeth. Smoking is not only one of the worst things you can do for your general health but your oral health too. If you’re a smoker and are either considering having a dental implant or have stopped smoking while you had one, there’s never a better time to give up than now. There’s the added benefit of not having teeth stained yellow or brown by the tar in tobacco smoke. 

And altogether, you stand a good chance of your dental implants achieving an up to 95% success rate over 10 years. 

For advice about dental implants and whether you might be a good candidate for one or more, contact The James Clinic and make an appointment with one of our friendly dentists, who are highly experienced in dental implantation; our staff can tell you more about spreading the cost of dental implants with our interest-free financing. 


How Composite Bonding Can Repair Your Teeth and Give You Back a Great Smile

All You Need to Know About Composite Bonding

The restoration of damaged teeth is only a dental visit away, with composite bonding.

Getting the perfect smile need not involve invasive procedures such as having crowns or veneers, where parts of your teeth are removed to make space for them, when you can have the minimally invasive and more affordable option of composite bonding. It’s an ideal solution for people with chipped or broken teeth, or perhaps some that are badly stained, quickly restoring them to the way they used to be.

With composite bonding now widely available at many dental clinics around Ireland as part of their cosmetic dentistry services, including our three, it’s no longer necessary to go around with damaged, discoloured or disfigured teeth. Plus, it can be used to fill in gapped teeth, especially those at the front of the mouth that can make some people conscious of their appearance — a little composite bonding and the gap disappears and you have great-looking teeth.

It’s likely, though, that most people are not familiar with composite bonding and what it does — the name is not, after all, all that clear. So let’s take a look at what composite bonding is, how it works and if it could be a remedy to your tooth problems or concerns.

What Is Composite Bonding?

Essentially, composite bonding involves using a type of material, composite resin, which is placed onto a tooth to fill spaces due to chips or gaps and makes it look straight and aligned with other teeth. It’s a relatively fast cosmetic dentistry procedure and all it takes is one visit. As an effective solution to dental problems, composite bonding has actually been around for quite a long time, first appearing more than 50 years ago. We’ve come a long way with dental techniques since then, and these days, using composite bonding is routine and incredibly safe.

Having composite bonding usually involves the dentist removing part of the enamel on the surface of a tooth and then working out the best way to shape the composite resin to the tooth to restore it and get the best aesthetic effect. A bonding agent is then placed on the area, and the composite resin is added and allowed to cure with the aid of a dental curing light. Afterwards, the dentist will polish the tooth so that it looks its best, and possibly the surrounding teeth too.

As you can imagine with such a detailed procedure, a high level of skill and experience is required when doing composite bonding on a tooth. This is why it’s important that your dental clinic has long experience in the area and that its dentists are able to carry out the procedure to the highest of standards — if in doubt or you just don’t know, just ask your clinic or seek online for reviews from former patients who have had composite bonding done.

Is Composite Bonding Right for You?

Although cosmetic bonding is suitable for fixing teeth in a great many cases, it’s not always the best answer, and sometimes may not be possible at all. It’s especially the case where patients have an overbite and also an underbite — where the upper and lower teeth overlap each other, and it can either be moderate, covering some of the teeth, or severe, when nearly all of the upper or lower teeth are hidden. In such situations, and with crooked smiles, composite bonding is not going to achieve much in anything in terms of correcting the problem.

Mostly, composite bonding is for patients who have generally healthy teeth and are not suffering from any particular dental problems. It’s a cosmetic dentistry solution to minor aesthetic issues, and if that’s you, you may well be a candidate for composite bonding to resolve your issue.

If you do have it done, you can look forward to lasting results, and no special aftercare is really needed — apart from a good oral hygiene routine.

Got chips, cracks or gaps in your teeth and wondering how to restore them to their former glory? The James Clinic has lots of experience in cosmetic dentistry, including composite bonding, and our highly skilled dentists are ready to help you now. Contact us today to find out more. 

Whitening and Pregnancy: What to Expect

Whitening and Pregnancy What to Expect

A new baby is on the way — but is a smile makeover with teeth whitening while pregnant also on the cards?

Every woman wants to look her best, and especially during the most important times of her life — and that doesn’t only mean her wedding day but also when she’s pregnant and about to give birth. Just because you’re going through nine months that at times can be uncomfortable, or even when you’re ill because of morning sickness, doesn’t mean you can’t also take care of your appearance. So what about teeth whitening and pregnancy — is it going to negatively affect your developing fetus if you have it done?

First, let’s look at what teeth whitening is, and if it’s effective in making your teeth so much brighter, and if it’s safe. If you’re looking for the best kinds of teeth whitening, it’s best to avoid the type of DIY kits you may have seen in the shops; your dentist may have a professional one that you can use in the comfort of your own home over the course of several weeks. Teeth whitening bleaches the teeth, but it won’t make them dazzlingly white — instead, you can expect the current colour of your teeth to lighten by a number of shades.

If it’s celebrity-white you’re after for your teeth, you might want to consider having some crowns or veneers fitted. These will give you the kind of teeth you may have been dreaming of, as they’ll all be in perfect alignment and incredibly white. You can now get a smile makeover in Ireland in as little as a day, thanks to the introduction of new computer-aided technology that scans teeth and makes crowns and veneers during a visit to the dentist, which are then fitted.

Is Teeth Whitening During Pregnancy Safe?

Whether you’re pregnant or not, it’s important to avoid having your teeth whitened at places other than dental clinics, and if you see beauty salons offering such a service, it’s probably illegal — don’t even consider it because the staff will most likely have no qualifications to carry out such a procedure. That’s because of the chemicals used in the whitening process that can affect the gums or the teeth themselves if they’re sensitive. It’s also possible that some home teeth whitening kits can damage the tooth enamel.

We are protected to some extent, however, as several years ago, new European Union legislation came into force banning tooth whitening products that have more than 6% hydrogen peroxide — the bleaching agent — in them. It means that if you buy a teeth whitening kit in the shops, it can only contain a maximum 0.1% hydrogen peroxide, but dentists can use up to 6% at their clinics.

There’s almost no research into how teeth whitening may affect pregnant women and the child they’re carrying; and indeed, in some countries, such as the UK, it’s against the law to have it done. If you’re planning a pregnancy and have been thinking about having your teeth whitened, it may be best to do it before you get pregnant or wait until after your baby arrives.

How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?

If you have teeth whitening done, before or after pregnancy, you may wonder how long the results will last. The answer is that it depends — on your oral care but also your diet. If you drink a lot of tea and coffee, for example, you can expect your newly whitened teeth to go shades darker fairly soon; the same is true for red wine and cigarettes, which badly stain the teeth.

But if you take care of your teeth and regularly brush them, teeth whitening can last anywhere from a few months up to a year or more. It doesn’t, however, work on dentures or fillings, or crowns and veneers, as these materials are impervious to the whitening agent.

Above all, if you think you might soon be pregnant, or already are, or have given birth and are breastfeeding, it’s always best to speak to a medical professional — in this case, your dentist — before having any procedure, including teeth whitening, done.

If you’re looking for a smile makeover in Ireland but not sure if you want crowns or veneers or a professional teeth whitening kit that you can use at home, contact The James Clinic today and our friendly dentists will be happy to advise. Get in touch now