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There’s a fundamental point when doing a filling that I always try to get across to my patients…this is the importance of a good contact. Yes, in the business world, a good contact never hurts, but with regards to your mouth, a good contact takes on a different meaning.
I don’t know if you’ve encountered this, but I can attest to it myself…food getting lodged between your teeth can be quite annoying. I hear this often from patients. The reason food gets ‘impacted’ between your teeth is often because there is no ‘contact’ between the fillings that were done in your mouth.
What Does This mean?
Well, when you pass a piece of floss between your teeth (particularly the back ones), there should be some resistance in getting it through…and when you do get it through, you should hear a ‘snap’. This is considered a fundamental requirement of a filling in order for it to be deemed acceptable. Food will accumulate if there is no contact in between your teeth. If your oral hygiene is not ideal, then the food will breakdown into plaque. Plaque contains millions of bacteria (see blog: Periodontal Disease) and the bacteria will cause:
1) the gums to be red, swollen and bleed quite readily if touched…gingivitis.
2) decay (or caries) on the ‘sides’ of the teeth.
In addition to the above problems, having food caught in between your teeth can be quite annoying, especially if it’s meat! You end up being a slave to the area in terms of having to continually floss there to remove whatever accumulates. Not to mention, if the food is not removed, then it will break down and, in addition to causing the above mentioned problems, will also cause bad breath…halitosis.
Writing a blog about peoples fillings needing a ‘good contact’ may seem trivial, but at the same time, many patients think that they should have spaces in between their teeth. Some typical comments that I’ve heard are: “I can’t floss in between my teeth because they are too tight” and “Can you leave a space in between the teeth“.
I advise the patient to persevere with their flossing. I encourage them to use waxed floss as the wax will help to ease the floss through. The floss may shred initially, but in time, if they keep flossing, it will stop shredding.
Then I explain to them the reasons as to why you need to have a good contact…and not only in business!
About Dr. Axelrad
Practicing dentistry for over 23 years, Dr. Robert Axelrad owns and manages his own dental practice in the heart of Brampton, Ontario. Affectionately known as ‘Brampton’s Gentle Dentist‘, patients include children, adults and seniors. Dr. Axelrad recently moved his practice to its current, state-of-the-art dental office at Bestgate Professional Center in Brampton, Ontario, Canada in 2002 to accommodate his growing list of happy patients.