Why We Prefer Composite Fillings
If you have the old-fashioned, silver amalgam fillings, you already know about one of their weaknesses: they stand out. You can see them in any picture that features an open-mouth smile, laughter, or even lively conversation. Thing of it is, amalgam fillings have other drawbacks that you may not be aware of. At the St. Petersburg Dental Center, we prefer composite fillings, and here’s why:
The Problems With Amalgam
Amalgam fillings are made from a mixture of zinc, copper, silver, tin, and mercury. Aside from the obvious aesthetic concerns of silver amalgam fillings, they also pose the following problems:
- They require extensive preparation, which means we have to remove more of the tooth’s surface
- They don’t bond directly with your tooth
- Some people experience allergic reactions to the mercury in each filling
- While it has not been proven, the mercury used in amalgam fillings could be toxic
The Perks of Composites
Composite fillings, on the other hand, are made from plastic and finely ground glass particles. Composites can be made to closely match the color of your teeth, so no one will know you have fillings! Other perks include:
- They bond directly to your tooth, which means less of the tooth’s surface needs to be removed
- Because they bond directly to your tooth, your tooth is actually strengthened by the composite filling
- They are heat-cured, which makes them stronger than amalgam fillings
- There are currently no concerns about the safety of the materials used
Not only is it our job to keep your teeth healthy; we want to keep you happy with your smile, as well. Composite fillings are just one way we do both. If you live in or near our offices in St. Petersburg or Feather Sound, Florida, contact us today to learn about the other ways we can make you love your smile.
Can Summer Fun Harm Your Teeth?
It’s summertime in Florida. When the afternoon storms subside, we take full advantage of living in the Sunshine State. We enjoy backyard barbecues, bike rides with the family, trips to our many amusement parks, and other activities that provide the opportunity to create memories with our friends and loved ones. This is all fantastic … unless you’re engaging in summer activities that are harming your teeth. What does a season have to do with your dental health?
It may have started when we were kids looking forward to a long, well-deserved summer break, but adults get just as excited about summer as the little ones do. Even as grown-ups with jobs and responsibilities, we tend to live with fewer rules during the summer. Some of these activities can ultimately hurt our smiles. Here are just a few examples:
- Unhealthy snacking — During the summer, we indulge in things we normally wouldn’t. We eat ice cream to stay cool, buy sugary cereals, and munch our way through bowls of chips when we’re socializing with the neighbors. The sugars and starches on these junk foods sit on our teeth and form plaque, which leads to tooth decay. The best plan is to keep your fridge and pantry stocked with fresh fruits and veggies in order to avoid binging on unhealthy snacks. If that’s simply not possible, be sure to brush your teeth soon after you finish eating to minimize the amount of time the sugars sit on your teeth.
- Skipping on the bedtime routine — When you or your kids have been out in the hot sun all day, you’re tired. When you’re summertime tired, it’s easy to bypass face washing, teeth brushing, and flossing in favor of a few extra minutes of sack time. Missing even a few days of a well-established routine can put you or your child back to square one. When school resumes in August, you’ll be having the same arguments as always as soon as it’s time for bed. Do yourself a favor and resist all temptation to skip out on your dental health regimen.
- Engaging in sports without a mouthguard — You know what won’t look good in your family vacation photos? A chipped tooth. If you engage in any rigorous activity during the summer, particularly an activity that involves contact, be sure to wear a mouthguard to protect your smile. Even a simple game of basketball with your kids can result in a fall that could not only harm your teeth, but cause great pain, as well.
The folks at the St. Petersburg Dental Center are here for you no matter what the season. If you happen to experience a summer-related dental emergency, remember that, with two offices and extended hours, we can help. In the meantime, enjoy your summer!
Busting the Most Common Dental Myths: Part 1
In some cases, myths have an almost sacred status: From Prometheus giving fire to humanity to Elvis being alive and well in a small Tennessee town, we believe these stories with all our hearts. This is also true of dental myths. No matter how unverified or unsubstantiated, these stories are passed on from person to person, much like the folklore that has entertained us for centuries. Thing of it is, some of these dental myths are not only wrong, they’re dangerous, as well. In the interest of setting the record straight, the folks at the St. Petersburg Dental Center are ready to bust some of the most common dental myths.
Myth #1 — Don’t Brush or Floss If Your Gums Are Bleeding
This one takes a direct hit to the hearts of dentists everywhere. The fact is, your gums are bleeding because you don’t properly brush or floss. If you notice light bleeding when you properly care for your teeth, you may be in the beginning stages of gum disease, known as gingivitis. At this point, your gum disease is reversible, so do NOT put off treatment.
Myth #2 — There Is No Need To Care For Baby Teeth
Unless you want a mouthful of overlapping, misaligned adult teeth. Here are the facts: Baby teeth guide the adult teeth into the proper positions. When the baby teeth rot to the point that extraction is required, the way the adult teeth erupt is anyone’s guess. An additional reason to care for baby teeth is to establish good dental health as early as possible; unless you want to fight with your kids every time they have to brush or floss, start caring for their teeth as soon as they begin to erupt.
Myth #3 — Whitening Damages Tooth Enamel
This common misconception may be a result of the tooth sensitivity that patients experience after a whitening treatment. This side effect is completely normal and passes within a couple of days if not earlier. The truth is that, under the care of a dental professional, teeth whitening is as safe as brushing your teeth. If you’ve been putting off whitening for fear of damaging your teeth, then wait no longer.
We hear so many other absurdities from our patients, which is why this is only part one of our Dental Mythbusting series. As you eagerly await the next installment, remember that the team at St. Petersburg Dental Center is here to help you discern between fact and fiction. With locations in St. Petersburg and Clearwater, Pinellas County residents should be well-versed in the truth.
The Perfect Fix For Almost Any Dental Flaw
They’re stained. They’re crooked. They look like fangs … very few of us are perfectly content with our smiles. Though other people probably don’t take notice, all we see when we look in the mirror is a row of ecru imperfections. We’d like to make changes, but cosmetic dental treatments are involved and costly … or are they? Lucky for you, we have a single solution for a number of your dental defects. What is it and how can you benefit?
The Elegance of Veneers
Dental veneers are ultra-thin porcelain shells that are crafted to cover the surface of your visible teeth. This conservative, non-invasive treatment is perfect for correcting:
- Gaps between teeth
- Rounded or squared teeth
- Overlapping teeth
- Shortened or elongated teeth
- Stained teeth
No other dental treatment can treat so many imperfections, making veneers a favorite of our patients.
Worried that a cure-all like veneers will involve a prolonged, invasive procedure? Prepare to be impressed, because veneers are actually one of the less-involved treatments we offer. While cases vary according to the original condition of the teeth, expect the following to take place when you commit to veneers:
- After we determine that your teeth and enamel are healthy enough for veneers, we will remove a thin layer of your enamel — about the same thickness as the veneers that will be placed — to prepare your teeth.
- After your teeth have been prepared, we will take an impression that will be used to create your customized veneers.
- When your veneers are ready, we will clean your teeth and score the surface to ensure that the bond between tooth and veneer is secure.
- Finally, a bonding solution will permanently adhere the veneers to your teeth. We will then polish your veneers so they reflect light (just like natural teeth) and shape them to provide look you desire.
There’s No Better Time
If you’re waiting for the perfect time to invest in yourself, then wait no longer. The time to take care of yourself and your smile is now, and we are ready to craft the look you’ve always dreamed of. The dentists at both our St. Petersburg and Clearwater offices are waiting for your call.
Yours in dental health,
The St. Petersburg Dental Center Team
No Need To Panic: We Offer Sedation Dentistry
From The Three Stooges to Seinfeld, dentists have been portrayed as masochistic mad men who love to inflict pain, either with bronze-age torture devices or outdated magazines. As far as St. Petersburg Dental Center is concerned, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, we’re so concerned with patient care and comfort that we offer sedation dentistry. If you experience anxiety or excessive pain during treatment, here are some options that just might put you at ease.
This simple injection will numb your mouth and gums, allowing us to perform a number of treatments — including extractions — without you feeling a thing. You will be awake and aware during your procedure, which means that you will be able to drive yourself back home or to work and resume your day. Any residual numbness will wear off within a few hours.
Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is mixed with oxygen and administered through a mask that is placed over your nose. While you will be awake during your procedure, you will feel calm and pain-free. The effects of the gas will subside a few minutes after treatment, allowing you to take care of your own transportation.
Administered intravenously, this type of sedation is ideal for those who experience anxiety during dental procedures. While you will be technically awake, it is not uncommon for those who undergo IV sedation to periodically drift off and awaken with no memory of the procedure. Unlike the other sedation options we offer, IV sedation will require a ride home.
If anxiety or fear of pain are keeping you from going to the dentist, you have nothing to fear! Not only do we provide outstanding, patient-centered dental care, we do so with sedation dentistry whenever necessary. If you’d like to experience what St. Petersburg Dental Care has to offer, contact our St. Petersburg or Clearwater location today. We look forward to seeing your smile.
Invisible Orthodontics? You Bet!
We have plenty of patients who would like to have a straighter smile, but they have bad associations with braces: the headgear, the rubber bands, the brackets that make your lips protrude … all induce nightmares of middle school. The good news is that orthodontics have come a long way since then. These days, both adults and teens with the most common orthodontic problems can enjoy treatment that no one has to know about. How? Click here to find out.
InvisalignⓇ Clear Aligners
InvisibleⓇ braces? Yes! Instead of brackets, bands, and archwires, Invisalign uses a series of clear plastic aligner trays to gently guide your teeth into the desired position. You’ll use a new set of aligner trays about every two weeks and see us every four to six weeks to make sure your smile is progressing as expected.
The most obvious benefit is that InvisalignⓇ is, well, invisible. No matter what your age, if you can avoid having “metal mouth” or “tinsel teeth,” you will. There are many other benefits to InvisalignⓇ, however, including:
- Abbreviated treatment. Invisalign users typically see results in six to 18 months.
- No eating restrictions. Simply remove your aligner trays any time you eat or drink (other than water) then replace them when you’ve finished.
- Easy care. There’s no need for floss threaders or other accoutrement when you can simply remove your aligner trays to brush and floss.
InvisalignⓇ is not for patients who lack the discipline to keep their aligner trays in for at least 22 hours a day. Patients must also be able to brush their teeth after every meal to avoid staining (which could prove to be difficult for kids and teenagers during the school year).
If you’ve been thinking of orthodontics but have avoided it due to previous conceptions, now’s the time to act. InvisalignⓇ will give you the straight teeth you’ve always wanted without the trappings of old-fashioned orthodontics. Call our St. Petersburg or Clearwater office today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to seeing you.
Whatever You Do, Replace That Tooth!
At St. Petersburg Dental Center, our doctors will do everything it takes to save a tooth. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, an extraction is necessary. This can be a worrisome time for patients: Will the missing tooth be obvious? How will others’ perceptions of them change when their smile changes? Are there reasonable replacement methods that will restore their smile? We’re happy to tell you that, not only are there replacement options for a missing tooth, but they are far more than cosmetic. If you lose even a single adult tooth, you should replace it as soon as possible. Here’s why:
- Your teeth need each other. When one tooth is missing from an arch, the remaining teeth begin to shift.
- Crooked teeth are sometimes harder to clean. If your teeth crowd when they shift, they can be more difficult to clean effectively. If you can’t clean between your teeth properly, then you increase your risk of decay, gum disease, and even further tooth loss.
- Crooked teeth can lead to misaligned bites. When the top and bottom teeth don’t come together as they should, chewing and even speaking can become more difficult.
- Misaligned bites can cause jaw problems. If your bite isn’t correctly aligned, your jaw will try to compensate. This can lead to ear aches, headaches, shoulder and neck pain, and even disorders of the temporomandibular (jaw) joints.
- When teeth are missing, so are the tooth roots that used to reside in the jaw. Without those roots firmly planted where they’re intended to be, your jaw bone can become compromised.
- The shape of your face could change (and not for the better). Weakened jaw bones and multiple missing teeth cause the sunken in look that is associated with old age.
Our favorite solution for tooth loss is dental implants. While there are others available, only implants are permanent and offer the appearance, stability, and function of natural teeth. If you’ve been missing a tooth or two but haven’t considered your replacement options, then act quickly. The faster you replace a tooth, the less likely you are to suffer from any of the aforementioned complications.
We hope you never need them, but both our Clearwater and St. Petersburg locations offer extractions, dental implants, and other restorative dentistry services. Contact one of our offices today to schedule an appointment and preserve the integrity of your smile.
Bring the Whole Family!
We know you get busy. Between your own job, household responsibilities, getting the kids to school, finding time to work out, and getting enough rest to function the next day, squeezing in your obligatory dental appointments can’t be easy. The struggle is real, but we’re here to help by making top-notch dental care convenient and accessible to your entire family. How do we do it? Click here to learn more.
- Multiple Locations — With offices located in both St. Petersburg and Clearwater, we’re close to home, work, and school.
- Extended Hours — Between our two locations, we have evening appointments and weekend appointments available for patients who work nontraditional schedules or simply don’t wish to take time off of work or school to visit the dentist.
- Fully Staffed Offices — Between our eight highly qualified doctors and our friendly and capable team members, there are plenty of people available to make sure all of your dental needs are met.
- Orthodontic Services — Whether it’s YOU who’d like to have straighter teeth with Invisalign or your child, we’ve got you covered. Orthodontic care can help your entire family enjoy beautifully aligned smiles.
- Dental Technology — The use of technology in our practice allows us to save you time and money. How? Digital dentistry offers precision like no other, so your treatments and procedures are completed accurately and expediently. When your treatments produce the desired results the first time around, there’s no need for you to return to the office. Fewer appointments = Less Time + More Money.
Everything we do is done with the patient in mind, including making it convenient for you and your family members to receive the best dentistry has to offer in a single practice. There’s no need to put off making an appointment when you can bring the whole family in to see us.
Team Member Spotlight On … Shelby
At St. Petersburg Dental Center, we’re lucky to have a full team of people at both locations who take pride in their work and put patients first. One of these people is the receptionist at our St. Petersburg location, Shelby. As the first person our patients see when they walk in, Shelby’s role is vital. It’s her friendly smile and accommodating manner that puts our patients at ease before an appointment.
Shelby has been with us since 2016. Originally interested in the hospitality industry, Shelby was a full-time student in search of a change. She found that change in dentistry. At first, Shelby was simply curious to find out if she’d be interested in a career in the dental industry, but now she is passionate about interacting with patients and having the opportunity to learn something new every day. She wants patients to know that there is no need to be scared or nervous. “All of our doctors and hygienists are very nice and gentle,” Shelby said.
When she’s not at work, Shelby enjoys being outdoors. She loves the beach, golfing, kayaking, and camping. Another passion of hers is riding horses. In fact, she showed in the World Championship Horse Show two years in a row. In addition to spending time outdoors (with or without horses), Shelby loves to spend time with her family and friends.
Shelby is just one of the many people who make our practice what it is. If you live in the St. Petersburg or Clearwater areas, find out firsthand why we’re the dental practice for you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our two locations.
How To Handle Dental Emergencies
Unless you exist in a bubble, accidents happen. A stumble in the grocery store parking lot could lead to a knocked-out tooth, opening a package with your teeth can crack or chip your teeth, and some emergencies (such as an abscess) have nothing to do with your lifestyle. The key is to know how to deal with these things when they happen so you can preserve the beauty of your smile. Continue reading to find out what to do when you have a dental emergency on your hands.
A Chipped or Broken Tooth
If you chip your tooth, collect any fragments that may have fallen out of your mouth. Rinse both your mouth and the tooth fragment in warm water. For best results, come see us immediately. Waiting can complicate the problem and cause great pain.
A Knocked-Out Tooth
If the tooth is dirty, rinse it, but do not remove any biological material that is left on the root. If possible, put the tooth back in the socket and call our office ASAP. If you can’t get your tooth back in the socket, don’t force it. Place the tooth in a glass of milk or slightly salted water to preserve it. The faster you are seen by a dentist, the greater your chances of saving the tooth.
Lost Filling or Crown
Ideally, you should replace the filling or crown with over-the-counter dental cement. If cement isn’t handy, then use toothpaste to form a temporary bond and then call our office. Whatever you do, don’t throw away the filling or crown.
An abscess occurs when the tissue surrounding your teeth becomes infected. Not only does an abscess cause pain, it can also lead to facial swelling. Resist the urge to touch the swollen area; rinse your mouth with salt water to help with the pain. As with any emergency, you’ll need to see your dentist sooner rather than later.
There are many other dental emergencies that occur, but these are the most common. Don’t ignore pain or try to fix a tooth on your own; doing so may cause further damage (which, in turn, could cause more pain and dental procedures in the future). Contact our St. Petersburg or Clearwater location and be sure to mention your emergency. Our dental teams are experts at helping you manage your pain and restoring your smile to its original beauty.