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Posts by Anna Bird

Should You Replace Your Old Silver Fillings?

Should you replace silver fillings?


In recent years, the dental health world has exploded with new technologies and techniques that have vastly

improved the lives and smiles of people all over the world. However, since these techniques and materials are still relatively new, there are many remnants of the old way of doing things hanging around. As an example, many people alive today still have their old silver fillings. Many dentists are starting to avoid filling cavities with silver fillings, but are OK with their patients keeping those silver fillings.

If you have silver fillings, you might be wondering if they’re still safe to have in your mouth. These types of fillings have a long, controversial past that’s worth examining.

The History of Silver Fillings

Silver fillings, also known as amalgam fillings, were first invented in 1819 by an English chemist. These fillings were made up of a variety of different materials, including mercury, silver and tin. Almost from the moment the first amalgam filling was used, there was controversy, centered mostly around the mercury content found in the fillings. Many people, including dentists, were concerned that the mercury in the fillings would cause major health problems in patients.

Are Silver Fillings Safe?

Because of the controversy surrounding silver fillings, there have been a huge number of studies performed examining the overall safety of using them in the human mouth. For the most part, the studies have ended with the consensus that silver fillings are still safe to use. However, there are still vocal counterparts that argue against the efficacy and health concerns related to amalgam fillings.

When They Need to be Replaced

Replacing your old silver fillings can be a touchy subject. Many dentists want to replace them as soon as they see them in their patients, and other dentists advice waiting until they become a problem. Both opinions hold their own merits. If you have silver fillings, its best to consult with your dentist and see what they say.

The typical reasons to remove silver fillings include:

  • Age – All fillings age over time and this aging process can weaken the fillings’ overall effectiveness at keeping the decay away. If your filling is loose, you can experience cavities in teeth that have already been filled.
  • Fractures – Amalgam fillings can lead to fractures and cracks in your teeth because of the amount of tooth removed during the filling process. If your dentist notices these fractures, they’ll likely want to replace the filling.
  • Cosmetic – There’s no way around it. Silver fillings just don’t look as good as the composite fillings. If you want fillings that match the color of your tooth, it’s time to get the old ones replaced.

Consult with Your Dentist

If you have silver fillings and are considering getting them replaced, it’s time to set up an appointment at our office and talk to us about your options. We’ll take a look at your old amalgam fillings and determine if there is any reason we should or shouldn’t replace them. Getting tooth colored fillings can greatly improve the look of your smile. Don’t wait to get your appointment set up today.

Reasons Why People Get Dental Veneers

Have you tried simple cosmetic treatments like teeth whitening and left feeling dissatisfied with the end result? Do you have imperfections like cracks or gaps in your teeth that you want to fix without invasive surgery? IF this sounds like your situation, you may want to consider getting dental veneers.

Cosmetic dentistry has advanced to the point that you can get these imperfections fixed without advanced and painful surgical procedures. Veneers are a simple and cost-effective way of fixing the minor imperfections and flaws on the surface of your teeth. If you’re interested in veneers, read on the learn more about them and how they can help your smile shine brighter.

What are Veneers?

First, it’s helpful if you know exactly what veneers are and how they help your smile look and feel better than ever before. Veneers are simply thin layers of material placed over your teeth to cover up the flaws. They’re typically made from porcelain, but they can also be made from composite resin. Veneers are becoming a more popular choice in people looking for a simple solution to their dental woes.

Reasons to Get Veneers

There are a ton of different reasons why you might need to get veneers. Some of these reasons include the following:

  • Chips and Cracks – If you have chips or cracks in your teeth, veneers can easily cover them up. The good thing about this is that veneers don’t only serve a cosmetic purpose. Veneers can also keep cracks and chips from getting worse over time.
  • Discoloration – Veneers can also help cover up mild to severe discoloration. Veneers are sometimes the only option for staining that can’t be fixed with simple tooth whitening solutions. Veneers offer a good alternative to tooth whitening and can achieve a much brighter look overall.
  • Gaps – If your teeth are misaligned, veneers can help with that, too. Misalignment often causes gaps in your teeth, which would typically take years to fix with orthodontics. Veneers can cover those gaps in the span of a couple hours, which is all the time it takes for your dentist to put them on.

There may also be other reasons for getting veneers based on your individual dental situation.

Consult Your Dentist

If you think veneers might be the right choice for you to improve the look of your smile, it’s worth it to look into getting a consultation from your local dentist in Denver. We can assess your individual situation and outline the pros and cons, if any, for getting veneers on your teeth. During your consultation, we’ll take a look at the shape of your teeth to determine if there is any reasons veneers won’t work for you. Then, we’ll outline the plan we should take specifically for you.

If you decide to go through with getting your veneers, we’ll schedule another appointment. During this appointment, the dentist will buff the front of your teeth to prepare them for receiving the veneers. This also serves to lower the surface of your teeth, which will then be replaced by the veneer. After that, the veneers will be placed, and you’ll be set to go!

Best Gifts for a Beautiful, Healthy Smile

best oral hygeine giftsIt’s that time of year when people are running around to finish up their holiday shopping. It’s a busy—sometimes stressful—season that is punctuated by time spent with family and friends.

As you shop for gifts, you’re likely thinking about what that person loves. Unfortunately, there is one thing that many people forget around the holiday season, and that’s their oral health. It’s easy to understand and forget during this time of year, when treats abound and your schedule stays packed, but it’s critical that you don’t forget your oral health. So, why not make a gift out of oral health?

Gifting your loved ones things that help them improve their oral health can be a thoughtful and fun idea that also has health benefits. Take a look at some of these ideas and incorporate them into your holiday shopping plans.

  • Toothbrush and Floss – These essential oral hygiene tools are important for everyone to have. Many people forget that they need to replace their toothbrushes on a regular basis. Toothbrushes and floss are perfect stocking stuffers and they’re incredibly affordable if you’re on a budget. You can’t go wrong with gifting a new toothbrush and floss.
  • Electric Toothbrush – Electric toothbrushes are becoming more popular as people realize how convenient and effective they are at cleaning your teeth. With an electric toothbrush, your loved ones can comprehensively clean their teeth more efficiently overall. They also provide helpful features like timers that help them ensure they’re brushing for a long enough duration.
  • Water Flosser – Water flossers are like electric toothbrushes in the fact that they are powered devices that help you more efficiently clean your teeth. Rather than twist the string floss around your fingers and shove them into your mouth, you can use a water flosser to get that food out of your teeth. Water flossers make it easier for your loved ones to floss, which is one of the most commonly forgotten oral hygiene processes.
  • Sugar Free Gum and Candy – If you have a sweet tooth in your life, you know just how much unhealthy and sugar-filled candy you can go through without problem. Sugar free gum and candy make perfect gifts for your sugar-addicted loved ones. They also make great stocking stuffers and are incredibly affordable.
  • A Trip to the Dentist – If your loved ones haven’t seen the dentist in a while, you might want to give them the gift of a dental checkup. While this may not seem like the most desirable gift, it may be just the push your loved one needs to get back into the dental chair and on the right track again. Set up an appointment with us, your dentist in Denver, to get them going again.

Your Loved Ones’ Oral Health Matters

Taking care of your own oral health is relatively simple, but when it comes to helping others, you may run into roadblocks. If you’re worried about your loved ones’ oral health, don’t hesitate to get them gifts that can help them get healthy again.

Everything You Need To Know About Bad Breath

bad breathMany life circumstances often require you to be in close quarters with other people, whether and event, meeting, interview, or conversation. If you have bad breath, it can really affect the situation and cause you a lot of embarrassment.

If you’re suffering from bad breath, you might be wondering what’s causing it and how you can fix it. Much like other dental problems, bad breath—clinically referred to as halitosis—can be caused by a wide variety of things.

Poor Dental Hygiene

One of the biggest causes of halitosis is poor oral hygiene or care. If you aren’t brushing and flossing your teeth well enough at regular intervals, the leftover food and associated plaque can start to stink.

Underlying Health Conditions

There are a umber of health issues that may also cause your breath to stink. Do you have a cold, sinus infection or pneumonia? Bad breath can also be a sign that you have diabetes, acid reflux or digestion problems.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth can be a big factor in the way your breath smells. Your saliva is a huge deterrent to the “bad” bacteria that wants to grow in your mouth. If you don’t produce as much saliva, that bad bacteria can grow better and cause smellier conditions.

Dental Health Problems 

Dental issues like gum disease, tooth abscesses, and cavities can cause halitosis. These things are often caused by the bad bacteria you want to avoid, which in turn increases the bad smell.

Smoking and Alcoholism

Smoking and alcohol abuse are common causes for bad bacteria, along with other tobacco products like chewing tobacco.

How to Treat It

If you deal with chronic bad breath, the first thing you should do is try and identify what may be causing it. Consider the causes listed above and see if there is anything there that you can easily identify and correct on your own. Things like upping your dental hygiene game and dropping the tobacco and alcohol consumption can eliminate bad breath almost immediately.

If you can’t easily identify the cause to your bad breath, it’s time to come in and see your dentist in Denver CO. Set up an appointment with your dentist wherever you are, sooner rather than later. The sooner you correct your halitosis, the quicker you can enjoy social interactions again and get your oral health back on track. Your dentist will perform a comprehensive examination of your mouth and may suggest you see a doctor if they suspect underlying medical issues.

After diagnosing a cause, your dentist or doctor will provide you a treatment plan. The way you treat your bad breath depends entirely on what’s causing it in the first place. If it’s an underlying medical condition, medication and fixing the problem can correct your halitosis. If it’s a cavity or abscess, dental procedures will help.

How to Prevent It

Preventing halitosis is just as important—if not more important—as treating it. If you never have to experience bad breath in the first place, all the better. Bad breath prevention can also come in many forms, but the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends a few things:

  • Preform regular dental hygiene.
  • See your dentist regularly.
  • Only eat sugarless gum and sugar free candy.
  • Drink water regularly to stimulate saliva production so your mouth stays moist.
  • Quit smoking and other tobacco-related hobbies.
  • Use over-the-counter mouthwash to kill the bacteria causing your bad breath. Be aware that mouthwash won’t solve your underlying issues; it will only temporarily mask the odor.

Why are Six Month Dental Check-Ups Important?

The Importance of Regular Dental Check UpsYou have probably heard that you need to go see the dentist every six months your entire life.  But why is it so important?

There may have been a time when you may not have heeded this advice. In fact, some patients think that because they practice good, daily at-home dental hygiene that visiting their dentist every six months is excessive and unnecessary.

This is a great mistake as regular dental visits and check-ups are essential in maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

Below are some reasons why it is important to get a six-month dental check-up:

Cleans Built-Up Tartar and Plaque

Even the astute oral health perfectionist using the best, most highly advanced toothbrushes will inadvertently miss some spots when cleaning his or her teeth. No toothbrush can reach into every crook and cranny between teeth. Flossing helps remove debris from between teeth that toothbrushes can’t. But even floss can miss some areas.

Over time the plaque that builds up on and between teeth hardens and sticks to teeth, resulting in an unpleasant brown staining of the teeth. This hardened plaque is called tartar. Only a dentist has the tools and equipment to remove tartar.

Tartar can easily build-up within six months. At the routine dental check-up and cleaning, patients will get their teeth cleaned and looking healthy. The patients will once again have their natural, beautiful smile to show off.

Finding and Treating Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

It is the first and foremost job of the dentist to preserve the health, appearance and proper functioning of their patient’s teeth and gums. The biggest culprits that pose the greatest risk against a patient’s oral health and overall wellbeing are tooth decay and gum disease.

Both tooth decay and gum disease are the result of poor at-home dental hygiene and infrequent dental office visits. Plaque build-up caused by the accumulation of food particles on tooth surfaces and between teeth, eat away at the tooth enamel. The same plaque can make its way to the gums, causing an infection of the gums that can worsen and cause destruction of the jaw bone, tooth roots, and gum tissue.

If either tooth decay or gum disease are not treated, the loss of teeth can occur.

Both conditions are easily and quickly stopped and reversed if proactive measures and early treatment are done.

At the six-month dental check-up and cleaning, the dentist will check for signs of tooth decay or gum disease. The dentist will then perform immediate treatment. At these routine office visits, the dentist will also look for possible areas where tooth decay and gum disease can form in the future.

When you visit the dentist every six months, you’re getting your teeth and gums checked for decay and disease and getting the preventative and early, proactive treatment needed to stop and reverse the damage to your smile.

Get Insight About Other Conditions

Your life can change a lot in six months: you could buy a house, get a new job, retire or begin to start a family. Biological and environmental changes can bring up new dental health condition or increase your chance of getting tooth decay or gum disease.

You may develop new or worsening health issues that affect the health of your mouth and vice versa. When you regularly see your dentist, you’ll have the opportunity to inform them of new medical or oral health issues as well as have your mouth examined for issues you may not have been aware of.

Regularly going into the dentist for a check-up and cleaning can be seen as a pain and an inconvenience, but the health of your teeth and gums depend on them. If it has been a while since your last dental office visit, contact us at LeDowns Dentistry In Denver today to schedule an appointment.

How Often Should You Be Replacing Your Toothbrush?

toothbrush An essential part of taking care of your dental health is having the right tools for the job. Much like you can’t build an entire house with only a handful of nails, you can’t fully take care of your teeth without any tools. One of the most important tools in your oral health lineup is your toothbrush. This simple item is the heavy lifter. It clears debris from your teeth, brushes away plaque and keeps your teeth shining bright. Without a toothbrush, you would suffer from more dental problems than you might realize.

Like other tools, a toothbrush can wear out after extended periods of use. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that their toothbrushes only last for a certain length. And once they reach the end of their life, they become more harmful than helpful. So, how often should you be replacing your toothbrush?

The Recommendation

The American Dental Association (ADA), recommends you replace your toothbrush at least once every three to four months. However, this can change based on your specific situations. If you’ve recently been sick, you should probably replace your toothbrush as soon as you get better so you’re not constantly putting those germs back in your mouth. If your bristles are frayed and worn before the three to four month mark, you should also probably replace your brush at that time, too. Pay attention to the condition of your toothbrush and make the decision as you see fit.

Maintain Your Toothbrush

While toothbrushes aren’t necessarily expensive, it can be annoying to have to go to the store every two weeks to buy a new toothbrush. This might need to happen if you aren’t properly maintaining your toothbrush. It’s important that you keep your toothbrush clean and in good overall condition so you don’t constantly have to replace it.

To maintain your toothbrush, rinse it with tap water after use and store it in a vertical position to let the bristles dry. Take note of how hard you brush. Hard brushing not only wears down your toothbrush’s bristles, it can also wear down your enamel quicker than normal.

Consider Upgrading Your Brush

When it comes time to replace your toothbrush, it’s also a good time to consider whether you want to upgrade to something with a little more power. Manual toothbrushes are the most common types of toothbrushes, but many people are making the switch to electric versions. Electric toothbrushes can provide a more comprehensive clean overall, making them worth the higher price. Some electric toothbrushes even include extra features that indicate when you’ve brushed long enough or warn you when you’re brushing too hard.

Work with Your Dentist

If you ever have concerns over choosing the right toothbrush for your teeth or for deciding when it’s time to replace your toothbrush, don’t be afraid to talk to us during your dental checkups! Our dentists can help you choose the right tool to take care of your oral health so you can easily work toward and maintain a healthy, bright smile.

Annual Trunk Or Treat Event

LeDowns Dentistry was happy to join the Green Valley Ranch community in their annual Trunk or Treat event held on October 28th.  There was a record number of kids enjoying a safe way to go Trick or Treating.  We handed out close to 400 packages of candy along with toothbrushes!  Monique was our “Tooth Bug” and Lindsey was our “Tooth Fairy”.  They got the kids along with parents dancing and talking about how to keep their pearly whites.  LeDowns Dentistry was able to meet many families in the area.  We look forward to being an integral part of the Green Valley Ranch community!  We can’t wait to participate again next year

View photos from the event and other current happenings on our Facebook page:



What Should You Do If a Filling Comes Out?

filling problems denver coThere’s something extremely disconcerting when you feel a filling come loose. While this isn’t necessarily a dental emergency, it can lead to some extra sensitivity on the exposed part of your tooth and make it easier for bacteria to get into hard-to-reach places.

What Causes Fillings to Fall Out?

There are a few simple things that can cause a filling to fall out.

The first is related to ongoing decay. It’s possible that decay could have worked its way in between the filling and your tooth, slowly eroding the structure around the filling. Eventually, the filling will not be as securely fitted as it once was.

Another likely cause for a lost filling is trauma of some kind. If your tooth is cracked or chipped, the filling may not fit as well anymore.

Finally, a filling may come out after a few years of constant clenching or grinding your teeth. (Although, technically this also falls into the “trauma” category.)

What Should You Do When It Falls Out?

If you haven’t accidentally swallowed the filling, take it out of your mouth. You don’t want to breath in those materials. You don’t need to save it for us, though, if it’s an old-fashioned gold filling we can understand you wanting to hang onto it yourself.

The very next step is to call us for an appointment.

Most of the time, this won’t be a dental emergency, and we’ll set up an appointment to take care of you as soon as possible.

However, if you are feeling pain or intense sensitivity, this definitely qualifies as an emergency and we will get you in for treatment immediately.

If you cannot make it into the office right away, there are some over-the-counter solutions that will cover exposed cavities. At this point, though, you should definitely avoid sticky and sugary foods. You can also use some over-the-counter pain medications (aspirin, Tylenol, etc.) to alleviate mild pain.

From this point on, though, be sure you are absolutely dedicated to great oral hygiene. This includes rinsing your mouth out with warm water after eating, and brushing after every meal.

What Will Happen at Your Appointment

Don’t wait to set up an appointment to get this fixed. We don’t want you going around with a gap in your teeth any longer than is absolutely necessary. We don’t want to give food particles a chance to get in there or bacteria to start setting up shop.

At your appointment, we’ll take an x-ray of the affected area and figure out the best procedure.

We may be able to simply restore the filling with newer materials and make sure it is secured in place. If you need a root canal, or if you lost the filling due to some kind of trauma, we may recommend a crown or cap to correct the situation.

If we determine that there just isn’t enough of the tooth structure left after the filling falls out, then we may even have to recommend an extraction.

Prevention is Always the Better Choice

Modern filling materials are designed to last. However, there are some things you can do to prevent accidental loss.

First, of course, is to maintain good oral care. This will help ensure that no bacteria can work its way between your filling and tooth.

Second, use mouth guards if you’re involved with any kind of sports or activities where you could potentially sustain some dental damage.

Finally, avoid chewing on hard candies and ice. That’s just asking for problems.

No Filling Lasts Forever

Every material used for filling cavities will eventually need to be replaced. They simply can’t last forever under the stresses we put them through.

As long as you’re coming in for your regular checkups, though, we can keep a close eye on them and make recommendations if we think it’s time for a replacement.

And, if you’re this proactive about these times of restorations and replacements, you won’t have to worry about ever feeling that disconcerting sensation of losing a filling.

How To Fix Old Dental Work

dental work repair in denverIt may have been more than 20 years since you’ve gotten dental work. You’ve gotten the work done such a long time ago that you may have forgotten that you have them. Suddenly, you experience sensitivity in one of your teeth. Tooth sensitivity or roughness  is a likely indicator that your filling or crown has worn off and needs to be redone. Maybe you haven’t been to the dentist in a while and the dentist sees staining or tooth decay under a bridge or a crown or around a filling.

The indicators alerting that your old dental work may need to be redone are often noticeable. If your old dental work has failed or is failing, what should you do? The first thing you should do is to contact your dentist and make an appointment as soon as possible. He or she will be able to diagnose the problem and repair or replace the old dental work.


Fillings are often on the grinding surface of molars which experience much wear and tear as well as pressure. Over time fillings can become loose. The edges can chip providing ideal spaces for staining and possible plaque growth. Sometimes the whole filling will come out. When this occurs, the newly exposed tooth pulp and nerves will make the tooth sensitive to hot and cold temperatures.

The repair of fillings is quick, simple and routine. The dentist will simply remove the remainder of the old filling, clean the tooth surface, make it rough and insert the new filling.


Crowns can be placed on any tooth. These are thin, tooth-like shells of porcelain or resin composite that is placed over a tooth that has had extensive cavity damage, yet is not damaged enough to be extracted.

Crowns are designed to fit snuggly over a tooth so that it looks and feels like a natural tooth. Over time, crowns can get loose over even fall off. Crowns that have gotten loose provide a great surface on which plaque, germs and tartar can thrive. The space between the crown and the tooth can lead to the formation of cavities if it goes a long time without being fixed.

Similar to repairing an old filling, the dentist will remove the old crown, clean the tooth and insert a new crown. The only difference is that the patient may need to wait for their crown to be made and return to the dentist to have the new crown inserted.

Dental offices that have an in-house dental lab may be able to get the patient fitted with a new crown that same day.


Bridges are a small string of attached crowns that replace multiple cavity damaged teeth. As with crowns, cavities can form on the tooth underneath the crown as the crown loosens over time. The anchor teeth (the ones on either side of the bridge) are of particular concern when there is sign of possible tooth decay underneath the crown. These teeth need to be strong to keep the bridge stable.

Typically, if one part of the bridge needs replacing, the entire bridge gets taken off and replaced with a new one.

Dental work won’t last forever and will fail, making replacement necessary.  Failure to replace old dental work can result in pain and discomfort, not to mention an increased chance of developing cavities and gum disease.  Fillings, crowns and bridges are the most commonly repaired dental  work.

Whether your old dental work has failed because of wear and tear or whether they have been damaged from trauma, it is important to contact us at LeDowns Dentistry right away to schedule an appointment to have it repaired.

Debunking the Teeth Whitening Products that Celebrities Endorsed

sourced from buzzfeed

sourced from buzzfeed (click for source)

A year or so ago, a number of celebrities began popping up on Instagram, showing off some new teeth whitening products that they were supposedly using to maintain their famous smiles. This is an at-home, light-based whitening kit, and a lot of well-known people snapped pictures of themselves holding the glowing devices next to their bright white smiles.

Just looking at the pictures, you might want to believe that this small, white circular device was solely to thank for the state of their smile.

Of course, deep down, a lot of us will just assume that these are obviously pictures that feature someone who has been paid to pose with a teeth whitener. After all, give a Kardashian a blue light to shine on her teeth, and it will still get shared by tens of thousands of people.

It may look a little overly-posed and fake to some people, but who can blame these celebs for doing it? Who wouldn’t want to make some good sponsorship money for a single selfie and some relevant hashtags?

It’s one thing top see a celebrity showing off their white teeth, but since their career depends on their appearance, they’re probably already paying a lot of money for a professionally bright smile.

A lot of celebrities and semi-celebrities have shared Instagram posts that touted the effects of one teeth whitening solution or another, but it was when Kim Kardashian West shared a picture of herself with a new blue-light device that people really started talking.

So, with the potential popularity from this kind of endorsement, it has to be asked whether or not these light-based whitening kits actually work.

The kit works very similar to a lot of other systems. You’re given some whitening gel, which you use to line some dental trays, and then pop them into your mouth and turn on the LED light. The reason for the light is to help the gel solution, which is why you are only supposed to have it on for 10 minutes (unlike many other current systems which require at least 30 minutes on your teeth).

After all, we often use lights in our own dental services. So, there must be something in these lights that help to accelerate the process? Right?

Well, not necessarily.

In order for the light to actually work, there must be something in the gel that actually reacts to it. This is called a “photocatalyst.”

In-office treatments – which are much more powerful that what you can buy over the counter – have these photocatalysts. Many of these systems that are showing up all over Instagram may not have them.

So, when you’re looking for an at-home, light-accelerated solution, make sure the chemical agent has a photocatalyst, such as ferrous gluconate, zinc oxide, or titanium dioxide.

If they’re big seller is “peroxide,” then they’re just trying to sound smart. Because LED light will have no impact on how the peroxide works on your teeth.

Once you’ve got a gel that has ingredients that actually react under specific light, be sure the system uses LED blue lights rather than ultra-violet treatments. UV lights carry too much risk and can damage your gums and lips.

There have also been some instances of people testing out these kits and finding that it made their teeth incredibly sensitive. So much so that they said it hurt to drink water. So, if you have sensitive teeth, you might want to give this a miss.

Of course, the best option is to always check with us before beginning any kind of at-home whitening regimen. We can advise you on cosmetic dental procedures and the best products and help you get a lasting smile.