Posts for: May, 2011
We pride ourselves on educating our patients regarding oral health and dental treatment. This is why we are providing you with these frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding root canals. Our belief is that by being informed about this important dental treatment, you will be more comfortable should you ever require a root canal.
Exactly what is root canal treatment?
A root canal treatment is an endodontic procedure (“endo” – inside: “dont” – tooth) in which the living pulp tissues are housed, including the nerves. When a severely decayed or damaged tooth begins to hurt, it is because the pulpal tissues are inflamed or infected, and the response of the nerves is varying degrees of pain — letting you know something is wrong. If the pulp is dead or dying it must be removed and the root canal of the tooth is filled and sealed to stop infection and to save the tooth.
Who typically performs them?
Endodontics is a specialty within dentistry that specifically deals with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of root canal issues affecting a tooth's root or nerve. While endodontists are dentists who specialize in root canal treatment, general dentists may also perform root canal treatment and are usually the dentists you will consult with when you first have tooth pain and who will refer you to an endodontist if necessary.
What are the symptoms of a root canal infection?
Root canal symptoms and the character of the pain may vary depending on the cause. For example, symptoms may be:
- Sharp, acute pain that is difficult to pinpoint
- Intense pain that occurs when biting down on the tooth or food
- Lingering pain after eating either hot or cold foods
- Dull ache and pressure
- Tenderness accompanied by swelling in the nearby gums
Does root canal treatment hurt?
A common misconception is that a root canal treatment is painful when, in actuality, it is quite the opposite. The pain associated with a root canal occurs prior to treatment and is relieved by it — not visa versa.
If you have tooth pain, you may or may not need a root canal treatment. Contact us today (before your symptoms get worse) and schedule an appointment to find out what's causing the problem. And to learn more about the signs, symptoms, and treatments for a root canal, read the article “Common Concerns About Root Canal Treatment.”
An important consideration prior to having any cosmetic dentistry is to understand both the pros and the cons of each particular dental procedure. And while porcelain laminate veneers are among the most aesthetic means of creating a beautiful, more pleasing smile, they are permanent and non-reversible and should be maintained properly.
On average, you can expect porcelain veneers to last anywhere between 7 and 20+ years. However, much of that depends whether or not you care for them properly in addition to the quality of the dental porcelain, the craftsmanship, and placement of them. How long your veneers last can also depend to some extent upon how you age. This is because the gum tissues attached to the living tooth that your veneers are cemented to may shrink or pull away from the tooth exposing its root surface. If this occurs, you should see your dentist for an evaluation, as it may require veneer replacement. Or, the issue might be resolved through some minor periodontal (gum) plastic surgery.
Porcelain veneers are a low maintenance solution for solving a multitude of cosmetic dental challenges, but they do require that you protect them during sports or vigorous activity. You should also wear an oral appliance or mouthguard (nightguard) to protect them from grinding or any other involuntary damage during sleep.
To learn more about porcelain veneers, continue reading the Dear Doctor article, “Porcelain Veneers.” If you are ready to see what cosmetic dentistry can do for you, contact us to schedule a consultation.
Oral sedation can be an ideal and safe solution for someone who suffers from fear and anxiety regarding dental appointments — the very reason we offer it to our patients. However, there are some things you need to do prior to and following your treatment for optimal oral sedation benefits and treatment results.
- Being completely honest about your health history and any medication you are taking is a critical aspect, as it lets us know that oral sedation medication is safe and will work for you. We also ask you to let us know about any over-the-counter (OTC) medications, remedies, or vitamins and/or supplements you are taking. The reason this is so vital is that some can negatively impact your treatment, recovery, and the effectiveness of the oral sedation medications.
- You should not eat or drink anything six hours prior to your appointment unless we instruct you otherwise.
- You should make arrangements to have someone drive you to and from your appointment, as it may not be safe for you to drive or operate any heavy machinery until the effects of oral sedation have worn off. It is important to note that this will vary depending on what medication is used, so do not assume your reaction/response will always be the same.
- Drink plenty of fluids (especially water) to stay hydrated after your appointment.
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a sub-specialty of dentistry devoted to the study of growth and development of the teeth and jaws and treatment of improper bites (malocclusions).
What causes improper bites?
Malocclusions result from irregularities in the positioning of teeth, disproportionate jaw relationships, or both.
Why have orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontic treatment is carried out primarily to improve the alignment and function of your teeth and bite. It also results in improved oral health, easier maintenance, a better smile, and enhanced self-confidence and esteem.
What is the first step?
What do we need in order to plan your orthodontic treatment?
- Molds (impressions) of your teeth to study your bite (study models).
- “Articulated models” placing your study models in a machine that replicates jaw movement.
- Specialized x-rays showing your teeth and how your jaws align.
- Photographs of your smile and position of your teeth.
- Computer imaging.
What are braces?
Orthodontic appliances, commonly known as braces, are small brackets that are placed on teeth, through which thin flexible wires are threaded. They are the parts that move the teeth.
How do they work?
The wires tend to straighten out to their undistorted forms moving the teeth with them. Since the tissues that attach the bone to the teeth are living, they are constantly changing and remodeling themselves. Harnessing these natural forces allows the movement of teeth. Light controlled forces acting through the wires cause new bone to be formed as the teeth move into new improved positions.
What are current options for orthodontic appliances?
- Fixed appliances, traditionally known as braces, include brackets bonded to the teeth. These may be either metal or clear brackets, which are less visible but more susceptible to breakage.
- Removable appliances, or clear aligners. These consist of a series of computer-generated clear plastic custom fitted trays that progressively move the teeth into better alignment.
Orthodontic treatment is an ingenious scientific discovery that has allowed the dental profession to precisely move teeth for better appearance as well as improved function. It harnesses the body's natural processes by which tissues normally remodel themselves to maintain a steady state, allowing your dental team to move your teeth into improved position for a lifetime of dental health and a great smile.
If you are unhappy with the appearance of your smile and would like to change it, we can help you determine what will work best, from a simple whitening to brighten your smile to a complete smile makeover — the possibilities are almost limitless! Consider a “Smile Design” customized just for you. One method of improving your smile is with porcelain veneers. Porcelain laminate veneer tooth restorations are thin layers of dental ceramic — a glass-like material created by dental laboratory technicians, the “artists” who exactly mimic natural teeth making them straighter, whiter, and brighter. They are used to replace worn, dull-looking stained enamel. In addition to making your teeth and smile whiter and brighter, veneers can even be used to change tooth shape and color, close small spaces, and reshape slightly crooked or mis-shapen teeth.
In order to determine if porcelain veneers are a viable solution to help you achieve the smile you have always longed for, consider the following questions:
- Do you want to permanently alter the appearance of your smile?
- Are you hoping to make improvements to your smile that don't take a very long time to complete?
- Are you looking for a way to improve your smile with minimal or even no removal of your natural tooth material?
- Would you like to have more evenly aligned teeth?
- Do you want to change the color of your teeth?
- Do you want whiter teeth and a brighter smile?
If the answer to one or more of these questions is yes and whitening or other treatments have not given you the smile you want, we can help you assess the feasibility of porcelain veneers as one of the many options to enhance and improve your smile. We can fully discuss all the benefits, risks, alternatives, and costs associated with improving your smile.
Call us to make an appointment for a Smile Design consultation and we can get started. If you would like to read more information about porcelain veneers, as well as see a few before and after photos, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Smile Design Enhanced With Porcelain Veneers.”