Root Canal

Root Canals 101

What is a root canal? A root canal is a treatment to repair and save a badly damaged or infected tooth by removing the damaged area of the tooth (the pulp), cleaning and disinfecting it, and then filling and sealing it.

How do I know if I need a root canal?

If you have pain in a tooth, you may need a root canal. However, not all types of teeth pain means you will need one. Be wary of the following signs:

  • Serious teeth pain when eating or when you put pressure on the are
  • Lingering teeth pain and sensitivity to hot or cold
  • A small, pimple-like bump on the gums near the area of teeth pain
  • Darkening of the tooth
  • Tenderness or swelling in the gums near the area of teeth pain

How will my dentist know if a root canal is the best option?

Unlike other conditions, there is not a test that will come back positive or negative for a root canal. You need to pick an experienced dentist that you can trust. Your dentist will have to determine if the pulp inside the tooth is dead and what the best solution is.

How long can I wait before I get my root canal?

Once you find out you need a root canal, you should immediately start taking antibiotics prescribed by your dentist. The antibiotics are important because your tooth infection can spread to other parts of your body. Believe it or not, a tooth infection can kill you if you let it get out of hand! Once you are on the antibiotics, you should get the procedure done within a month or so.

What happens during the procedure?

Your dentist will give you local anesthetic to numb the area. During the procedure, he will remove the inflamed or infected pulp, clean out the inside of the tooth, and then fill and seal the space. Some dentists do the whole procedure in one sitting, while others require two or three appointments.

What happens after the procedure?

You shouldn’t bite or chew on the treated tooth until you have had it restored with a crown by your dentist, which should be done as soon as possible. You may experience some pain after the procedure, but your dentist can prescribe medication to ease the pain.

Toothbrush

Too Much Of A Good Thing

We all know that you need to brush your teeth consistently for healthy teeth and gums, but can you brush too much? The answer is yes! Brushing your teeth too often can lead to sensitive teeth and a receding gum line, often referred to as toothbrush abrasion.

Think about it – toothbrush bristles are rounded when you first buy it, but once you use it the bristles wear away to expose the sharp nylon fibers. These fibers can gradually scrape away your gums, exposing the sensitive root area. Receding gums can also lead to other dental problems such as cavities on the roots of the teeth, which may need treatments such as fillings, root canals and tooth extraction. However, having the proper toothbrush can help prevent these problems.

Some toothbrush manufacturers are better than others about rounding the bristles, so be sure to buy a toothbrush made by a respected brand. Even if you buy a high quality toothbrush, be aware that the bristles can wear down quickly and this will not be visible by the naked eye. We recommend replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months in order to avoid this problem.

In addition to your toothbrush, your technique can also contribute to toothbrush abrasion. Scrubbing your teeth hard is not necessary to remove plaque and can often do more harm than good. Apply just enough pressure to feel the bristles, but not so much that they are squished and become bent.

In conclusion, make sure you use a high quality toothbrush, replace it often, and use the proper technique to ensure healthy teeth and gums.

Dental Visit

Putting the “Wisdom” in Wisdom Teeth

Have you ever thought about why wisdom teeth are called wisdom teeth? Linguists generally concede that the name was given because wisdom teeth appear at a later age than other teeth. At this age, a person is “wiser” than when other teeth came in.

Wisdom teeth are the molars in the very back of your mouth that usually come in during people’s late teens or early twenties. Sometimes wisdom teeth can be a valuable asset to a healthy mouth, but more often than not, they come in misaligned.

When wisdom teeth come in misaligned, they could be positioned horizontally or angled incorrectly (toward/away other teeth or inward/outward). This alignment can crowd or damage your other teeth, jawbone, or nerves.

Another common problem with wisdom teeth is that they can be impacted. This means they only partially break through the gum because are enclosed within the soft tissue. This can create an opening where bacteria can surround the tooth and create an infection. This will result in pain, swelling, jaw stiffness, and general illness. If the teeth are partially erupted they are also prone to tooth decay and gum disease because the hard to reach location makes brushing difficult.

Your dentist will keep an eye on your wisdom and should periodically X-ray your mouth to view their alignment. If your dentist suspects problems may arise, he will probably refer you to an oral surgeon for extraction. This removal is easier in young people because the roots are not fully developed and the bone is less dense. The extraction should take place before problems develop in order to avoid a more painful and complicated procedure later.

Once you are referred to an oral surgeon, you need to go get an evaluation relatively quickly. The more your wisdom teeth come in, the harder the surgery will be. Your oral surgeon will likely conduct a consultation where he can evaluate your teeth to determine which ones need to be removed and how he will conduct the procedure. The words surgery and procedure may seem scary, but wisdom teeth surgery is not so bad! You will be put under anesthesia for the procedure and recovery is not too terrible. For the first day, you may experience bleeding, swelling of the cheeks, and an all-liquid diet. However, after a few days your facial swelling will go down and you can begin to consume a variety of foods. Your oral surgeon can give you more tips about how to care for your teeth after the procedure.

We hope you’ve learned a little more about wisdom teeth and feel a little better about potential surgery. Wisdom teeth are nothing to be afraid of!