Archive for October, 2014

The Debate About Amalgam Fillings

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

At one time, metal fillings were the only choice to repair tooth decay. Now, many dentists have switched to composite resin fillings, which match natural-tooth color so they don’t compromise the appearance of your smile. Tooth-colored fillings have gained popularity, and many dentists only offer this option. In recent years, there has been a strong push to eliminate amalgam fillings all together.

Amalgam fillings are made of several metals, with up to a 50 percent composition of mercury. It is widely known that mercury is toxic to the body. Some of the concern about amalgam fillings is the affect mercury has on the body, including:

  • Causing damage to the kidneys
  • Contributing to infertility
  • Impacting the nervous system
  • Interfering with the function of the thyroid and pituitary glands
  • Posing unknown risk to a fetus
  • Weakening the immune system

Because each person is different, you may have no reaction to the amalgam fillings. Over time, though, these restorations may change shape or crack, which can cause them to leak. If the fillings don’t hold up, the area may become susceptible to additional damage or decay.

At your checkup, have the dentist evaluate any old fillings to make sure they are still in good condition. You can also discuss the benefits of replacing amalgams with composite fillings. The newer restorations blend with your natural tooth coloring and require less removal of health tooth structure, which allows for a more conservative repair.

Replace your old filling at our Richmond VA dentists office.

Breaking Down Dental Visits

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you may not recall the process for a regular checkup. These visits are an important part of your oral health care. If you are in good dental health, your dentist will probably suggest twice-yearly visits. Individuals with gum disease or other oral health concerns may need to schedule more frequent appointments. Feel free to ask your dentist questions or raise concerns at the visit.

Your dental checkup will usually include:

  • Full Health History
    Because oral health affects your overall wellness, your dentist will want to have a complete picture of your whole situation. A member of the dental team will ask you questions and gather relevant details about your present status. Make sure to provide helpful information like current medications and any pressing issues.
  • X-Rays
    Typically, your dentist will take X-rays about once a year. These images provide a clear view of your teeth and gums. Often, X-rays will identify problems, like impacted teeth, cysts, abscesses, or decay between teeth that might otherwise go undiagnosed.
  • Complete Evaluation
    During your checkup, the dentist will perform a periodontal assessment, bite analysis, and tooth-by-tooth inspection. If the dentist discovers a problem, your provider will make treatment recommendations to address the issue and restore your oral health.
  • Thorough Cleaning
    If everything checks out, the hygienist will typically remove plaque and tartar build-up from your teeth. At this time, the hygienist may also polish and floss teeth to refresh your smile.

Schedule a visit to our Richmond dental office

Root Canal Therapy: The Warning Signs

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

When your tooth pulp that is located in the center of each of your teeth becomes damaged or infected, the best way to save the tooth is to have root canal therapy. This safe and effective treatment is not as painful as its reputation, and should not be avoided. Watching for signs that your tooth pulp has been compromised is an important step in saving your tooth, so that treatment may be performed before your condition becomes too advanced.

There are not always signs associated with a tooth that requires root canal therapy. Sometimes only examination, X-rays, and other tests will reveal problems. This is one reason regular dental visits are important. In other cases, symptoms are present to indicate pulp damage. Some typical signs include:

  • Pain that is often related to inflamed tooth pulp, which can be caused by deep decay, chipped or cracked teeth, repeated dental procedures, faulty crowns, infection, tooth grinding, or periodontitis. Inflammation increases pressure inside the pulp cavity and triggers the tooth’s nerves. The pain may be in the tooth itself, or it can be referred to other areas in your mouth. Pain when eating or sensitivity to hot or cold is also common.
  • Gum swelling near the damaged tooth
  • Facial swelling
  • Tooth loosening
  • Pus around the damaged tooth
  • Tooth discoloration, which usually occurs over a longer period of time. Discoloration can take weeks, months, or years to appear. This is another reason for regular dental checkups.

If you experience any of the symptoms above, or if your dentist identifies problems upon examination, it’s time to consider root canal therapy. Saving your natural tooth is almost always better than having to replace a lost tooth. Root canal therapy can help you keep your smile intact, as well as its function. Your natural sensations of a real tooth remain, as well as normal biting abilities. Don’t shy away from treatment; take care of tooth pulp problems when they arise.

Root canal dentist in Richmond VA

Smile Makeover Quick Fixes

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Not everyone has the advantage of a perfect smile. A smile makeover can help you transform your look into what you’d like it to be, and it doesn’t have to take a long time. You can walk away from just one appointment with a better smile. Here are some of the fast treatments using non-invasive techniques that are available.

Whitening teeth
If you’re considering making over your smile, one of the quickest and simplest places to start is teeth whitening. In as little as one hour in a professional setting, you can transform your look by brightening your smile more effectively than trying it at home. Whitening products sold for home use are not as strong as professional methods, so it takes a longer period of consistent use to brighten your teeth only a shade or two. Professional whitening uses stronger concentrations of bleaching agents and a special light to hasten the process, and achieves dramatic results.

Removing white spots
Unsightly white spots that you might see on your teeth are signs of demineralization under your tooth enamel. A smile makeover can include using resin infiltration, which is a non-invasive procedure that can effectively treat white spots. You can say goodbye to the spots in as little as thirty minutes of treatment time. Teeth whitening is not advised, as it can make white spots even more noticeable.

Reshaping teeth
Minor flaws like chipped, cracked, or misshapen teeth can be corrected with contouring. Small areas of your teeth can be shaved or tooth-colored resin can be applied to alter the length or shape of teeth. Tooth contouring can take as little as a half hour, and is great for those with healthy teeth that just need slight alterations for appearance purposes.

Repairing chips or gaps
Dental bonding is a simple procedure that hides gaps, chips, stains, or spacing problems. Tooth-colored resin is sculpted onto the tooth to provide a more appealing smile in only about an hour.

Smile makeover dentist in Richmond VA

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804.684.8517

6901 Patterson Ave.
(Patterson at Three Chopt)
Richmond , VA 23226

804.886.3316

10410 Ridgefield Pkwy
(Ridgefield at Pump)
Richmond, VA 23233


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Dear Dr. Brown,
I wanted to thank you and your entire staff for my recent dental experience at your Patterson office. Everyone exceeded my expectations in making my dental visits comfortable, from scheduling to the finish of my procedure. I truly felt everyone cared about me as an individual and took special steps to

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