You deserve to have teeth that are functional and beautiful all at once. Sometimes, because of damage caused by decay or tooth erosion, you may need a filling or bond to make your teeth look good — and work well — again.

The Evansville dentist office of Dr. Max Lingo uses tooth-colored materials to help rebuild and reshape smiles, one tooth at a time. These treatments can be used alone, in conjunction with other cosmetic dentistry services, or to make over your entire smile.

If you have a new cavity or simply want to replace all of your metal dental fillings, composite restorations are a great option. Dr. Lingo uses only composite resin in his office, which not only look great, but are better for your teeth. Less tooth preparation is needed, which keeps fillings smaller and leaves more tooth structure intact.

Composite resin is made from a mixture of fine glass particles and plastic. The composite filling is placed on the tooth, then a bright blue light is used to harden and shrink the soft material. Dr. Lingo’s office uses a careful color-matching process so that the finished product looks as if nothing has been put in your teeth at all.

Composite resin is great for both small and large fillings, especially teeth that are visible, and have an expected lifespan of at least five years.

If you’ve never had a filling, here’s what to expect. You probably will be given a local anesthetic to numb the area where the work will be done.

If you’re not comfortable with the idea of local anesthetic, sedation dentistry might be an option for you to consider. Sleep and sedation dentistry options allow patients to put their mind at ease and enjoy a comfortable dental procedure. Oral and inhalation sedation are perfect for just about anyone, and Dr. Lingo’s office offers two options:

Oral conscious sedation uses prescription sedatives that are taken before your appointment. Although you will feel very sleepy and relaxed, you will still be able to verbalize your wants and needs. Most people, however, report that they feel as if they are dreaming right through their visit and don’t remember a thing.

You’ll feel relaxed as your treatment ends and you head home to recover. Since it takes a few hours for medications to wear off, you’ll need to have a friend or family member drive you to and from your visit.

Inhalation sedation uses nitrous oxide gas to help create a relaxed sensation as you’re sitting through your dental procedure. The gas is easily adjusted, providing just the right amount of relaxation under Dr. Lingo’s care. It can be used for any procedure and is quickly reversible, so you can drive yourself back home or to work once your visit is over.

Once you’re comfortably under anesthesia, the dentist will cut through the enamel using a drill and remove the tooth decay and prepare the area for the filling.

If the area to be repaired is bigger, if the tooth is broken or chipped, for example, dental bonding might be used. Bonding is used to rebuild edges or areas of the teeth that are worn, chipped, or eroded. The process is very simple, and normally can be completed in just one visit after being established as a patient.

Much like a tooth-colored filling, bonding uses composite material that directly adheres to the tooth and blends in with the surrounding tooth structure. To ensure that the bonding material attaches properly to the tooth, your dentist will etch the surface with an acid gel.

Some people report sensitivity to cold, air, or pressure after they receive a filling, especially soon after the anesthetic wears off, but the sensitivity should be short-lived. According to Colgate.com, the most common reason for pain is that the filling is too high, a problem that can easily be fixed.

Dental fillings are designed to last a long time, but are eventually broken down by eating and drinking, or clenching and grinding your teeth. This habit is called bruxism, and can lead to worn teeth and damaged restorations.

Clenching the teeth or grinding teeth is often a way that people exhibit stress or anxiety. Some people do it unconsciously or while they sleep. Symptoms include sore jaw muscle, sensitive or loose teeth, headaches or earaches, pain through the neck and shoulders, and popping or clicking of the jaw.

The dental office of Dr. Max Lingo can fit you with a custom-made mouth guard to combat teeth grinding and clenching. The guard is a removable prosthesis that is worn at night (or during stressful times, such as rush hour). It protects the teeth from wearing against one another or severe tension of the jaw muscles.

Wearing a guard is one of the best preventive measures you can take to protect the future of your smile. It just takes one visit for an impression, and in a week or two you’ll have a custom-fitted appliance, ready to take home.

Something additional you may want to consider is replacing your old mercury fillings, more because of the way they look or their deterioration due to age than because they pose any type of health threat.

Mercury is used in dental amalgam fillings to bind together alloys of silver, tin and copper to make them strong and durable. Liquid mercury makes up about half of a dental filling. Although dental fillings release low levels of mercury vapor, the Food and Drug Administration has determined that dental amalgam fillings are safe for adults and children over the age of six.

According to the American Dental Association, dental amalgam has been used for fillings in the teeth of more than 100 million Americans, and is considered safe and effective.

When patients have their aging mercury fillings replaced at the dental office of Dr. Max Lingo, the office keeps environmental stewardship in mind. When replacing old silver-colored mercury fillings with new tooth-colored composite fillings, the Evansville, Indiana office of Dr. Max Lingo uses a special amalgam separator collects the mercury for proper, environmentally safe disposal.

Make an appointment for a consultation with the Evansville dentist office of Dr. Max Lingo when you’re considering your options for restoring your smile to the level and function and beauty you deserve. They will help you find the solution that’s best for you.

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