Most people have heard of a root canal. The idea of needing a root canal tends to create unneeded fear for its recipients. Most of a persons anxiety in relation to this procedure is caused by misinformation or a lack of knowledge of what to expect. The question is,”what is it and why do you need it?”.
Why Do You Need a Root Canal?
Let’s start by explaining why a root canal is needed. This procedure is needed when your tooth’s root becomes damaged either by injury or a deep cavity. The pulp (soft tissue inside the tooth) has become inflamed or diseased. At this point, a patient typically displays symptoms of pain and swelling. If this situation is not addressed, the tooth can become irreparable. However, that is not the only thing. A patient with an untreated infection, even in a tooth, will become more ill as time passes.
How Is A Root Canal Performed.
First of all, not all dentist will perform a root canal. If your family dentist does not perform that procedure, he will recommend an Endodontis (which is a dentist that specializes in root canals). During a procedure, the troubling tooth is numbed. An opening is made in the crown of the tooth where special tools are used to clean out the infected canals and root of the tooth. Once that is complete, your tooth is filled with a permanent material to ensure that your tooth remains free of contamination and infection. The final step fills the crown of your tooth with a temporary filling. The temporary filling will remain until a permanent filling or crown is used to replace it.
What Is The Alternative To A Root Canal?
The only alternative to a root canal is to pull the tooth. As a dentist, I always recommend working to keep all your pearly whites as they are not replaceable. It is a cheaper option but ultimately can cause you other dental issues as time moves on. For example, teeth shifting, eating, bone loss.
What Will Happen If I Don’t Treat My Periodontal Disease?
The prognosis for untreated Periodontal Disease does not have the best outcome. Periodontal Disease not only can affect your teeth and gums but research has found it can affect your overall health as well. As for your teeth, the beginning stages can cause painful chewing, bleeding gums and bad breath. Most people believe that if they don’t treat their Periodontal Disease, losing some teeth and having difficulty eating steak or corn on the cob would be their worst problem. However, that is far from the truth of what this untreated bacterial infection can do to you. As medicine continues to advance, scientist continue to find supporting evidence of the association between periodontal disease and systemic conditions. These conditions reach far beyond your teeth and can affect your health in a negative way.
Conditions Such As:
- cardiovascular disease (heart attack/stroke)
- type 2 diabetes
- adverse pregnancy outcomes
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- chronic kidney disease
- rheumatoid arthritis
- cognitive impairment
- metabolic syndrome
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal Disease is a bacterial infection under your gums. As with most infections, if you don’t treat it, it will only get worse. This infection works by breaking down your gums and detaching your gums from your teeth. Over time, once this infection has progressed and has gone untreated, tooth loss will be imminent.
Signs of Periodontal Disease
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums or longer appearing teeth
But there is good news! Periodontal Disease can be prevented and treated. I know you have been told all through your life that good oral hygiene is important for healthy teeth and gums. It is true! Regular brushing and flossing can mitigate your chances of gum disease. That however is only the first step. Regular dental check-ups and dental cleanings are important for maintaining a healthy smile.
How Does the Sun Help Your Teeth?
Vitamin D- “The Sunshine Vitamin”
What is the easiest and most natural way to get Vitamin D? Through your skin! Your body was designed to absorb Vitamin D when your skin is exposed to the sun. The more skin you expose, the larger amounts of Vitamin D your body can absorb. The time of day and the color of your skin can affect the amount of Vitamin D absorption. For time of day, the best time to suck up some of those sunshine rays is when the sun is high in the sky. As for skin color, the darker your skin, the less amount of vitamin D the body can absorb.
How Does this Help Your Teeth?
The body needs Vitamin D to absorb calcium. Without the proper amount of Vitamin D, your body will not be able to produce enough of the hormone calcitriol otherwise know as “the active vitamin D” needed to maintain good teeth and bones. When the body suffers from insufficient calcium absorption, the body must take calcium from its stores in your skeletal system. This is turn weakens existing bones and teeth.
How Do I Keep My Teeth and Bones Strong?
It’s simple really. Take a few minutes every day to just sit outside and enjoy the sun on your skin. It takes very little effort but the affects of vitamin D production extend far and beyond just Calcium absorption. If you are unable to make time for the sun, there are supplements available to help you. Experts recommend a daily intake of 600 IU of Vitamin D up to age 70. These vitamin D supplements are typically found at any pharmacy.
As always when it comes to your pearly whites, regular brushing and flossing on a daily basis is recommended. And don’t forget, regular visits to your dentist will help ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy.
Your wisdom teeth don’t make themselves known until you have nearly reached adulthood. Usually between the ages of 17-25. The name “Wisdom Teeth” was adopted as these teeth don’t arrive until you have reached, what is considered the “age of wisdom”.
Are Wisdom Teeth a Problem?
Wisdom teeth are not always an issue. Not everyone needs to have them removed. If your wisdom teeth are healthy and properly aligned, there is no reason for fuss at all. As a matter of fact, about 30 percent of people are missing one or more of their wisdom teeth.
Issues With Wisdom Teeth
Unfortunately, for many of us, the need to have one or more wisdom teeth removed during a lifetime is likely. It is estimated that 85 percent of all people will need to visit the oral surgeon sometime in their life in relation to a wisdom tooth/teeth. Often, wisdom teeth do not grow in properly. If a wisdom tooth does not make it to a normal position, it can cause problems with chewing, damage adjacent teeth or periodontal problems. Your dentist can make an assessment and recommend an oral surgeon if necessary.
What is an Impacted Wisdom Tooth
An impacted wisdom tooth is a tooth that becomes stuck under the gum or partially emerges from the gum. Impacted wisdom teeth unfortunately are a common occurrence. Depending on the person, they may or may not cause pain. When your wisdom tooth is trying to emerge, it can cause your gum to become inflamed and swollen. When emerging, they can also cause pain in your face, other teeth or ears.
Signs of an Emerging Wisdom Tooth
- Swelling of the gum in the back of your mouth
- Difficulty opening your jaw
- Bad breath
- A bad taste in the mouth
- Pain when you open your mouth
- Pain when chewing or biting
The best way to know if your wisdom teeth are a problem is by visiting your dentist. Regular check ups can avoid big problems later.
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Tough Brushing Tortures Teeth
Most dentists don’t go a day without seeing patients who are damaging their teeth and gums by brushing too hard. Some report that as many as two out of three patients brush their teeth too hard. This is a problem. A stiff-bristled toothbrush combined with overzealous brushing teeth can cause serious dental problems over time, including gum disease and tooth sensitivity.
People think that if they brush twice as hard, they will do twice as much good, In fact, overzealous brushing can cause significant damage to the periodontal tissues and bones that support the teeth. If you used the same amount of force and brush the side of your arm, you could take your skin off.
One way to avoid damaging your teeth and gums is to purchase a “soft” toothbrush featuring rounded bristles which are less abrasive to teeth. You should hold the brush between the thumb and forefinger, not with the fist. When brushing, do not `scrub’ the teeth with a horizontal, back-and-forth motion.
Instead, start at the gum line and angle the brush at a 45-degree angle. Brush both the teeth and the gums at the same time. Push hard enough to get the bristles under the gumline but not so hard that the bristles flare out. It’s also a wise move to limit the amount of toothpaste because it is abrasive.
The irony is that dentists want people to brush longer, not harder. Children and adults tend to spend less than one minute at a time brushing their teeth, even though removing plaque from the mouth requires at least two to five minutes of brushing at least twice a day. Remember: brush longer, not harder.
Home Remedies for Toothaches
Anyone who’s had the bad luck to be waylaid by a toothache knows that few experiences are more miserable. You want relief and you want it now. While home remedies may temporarily ease discomfort, the only way to get lasting toothache relief is to see a dentist.
Until you get professional help you may get some temporary relief using these toothache home remedies:
Rinse your mouth with warm water. Some toothaches are caused by trapped food particles. Use dental floss to remove anything wedged between teeth. This ensures a clean mouth and provides toothache relief.
Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Toothaches can often be eased with pain relievers. Consider applying ice to the affected area as an additional toothache remedy.
Apply an over-the-counter antiseptic containing benzocaine. This is a tried and true temporary toothache remedy.
Avoid very hot or very cold foods. Toothaches lead to sensitive teeth, so treat them gently.
Toothaches won’t just go away. Your ultimate toothache remedy will come from a dentist. Toothache remedies depend on the source of the problem; an X-ray will usually be used to check for decay or other dental problems. Then your dentist can perform the appropriate dental treatment, such as a tooth filling, tooth extraction or root canal.
Remember, toothache remedies can’t top prevention! The best way to stave off toothaches is to practice good oral hygiene, including regular flossing and brushing. Another great toothache remedy is your dental visit; it helps your dentist prevent and identify problems before they become serious.
Even Seniors Get Cavities
As we entered the new millennium, it was discovered that seniors were getting more dental cavities than children. Today, children and seniors are still the two highest at-risk groups for tooth decay. Aging puts us at greater risk for dental problems. The wearing away of tooth enamel, receding gums and loss of jawbone are signs that our mouths are aging along with our bodies.
Fortunately, there are now dental technologies and treatments to keep our smiles intact longer. That’s great news for seniors. The bad news is anyone with natural teeth can get dental cavities. And the longer we have our teeth, the more we expose them to the elements that can cause tooth decay.
Unfortunately, geriatric teeth are less able to handle the normal wear and tear of those in younger generations. There are several reasons why seniors may be prone to more dental cavities:
· Difficulty brushing & flossing
· Not enough fluoride
· Gum disease
· Dry mouth
· Poor diet
There are several ways seniors can stay cavity-free. A diet low in sugar and high in calcium promotes tooth health. Fluoride toothpastes, mouth rinses or tablets can help. Drinking water, sucking on sugar-free candy or chewing sugarless gum promotes saliva production and reduces dry mouth.
For seniors with mobility or dexterity problems, wrap tape or an elastic bandage around the toothbrush. If a wider grip is needed, try taping a tennis ball, sponge or rubber bicycle grip to the handle. An electric toothbrush may also be helpful for those who cannot maneuver a manual toothbrush easily. And daily flossing should not be forgotten, either — floss holders and waxed floss may make it easier for seniors to continue their oral hygiene routine.
Because of the special dental needs of seniors, regular dental visits are still essential. We use this time to check for the dental problems that affect older patients, including cavities, gum disease, root decay and oral cancer.
5 Ways to Stop Bleeding Gums
Keep seeing pink in the sink after you brush? Don’t fall for the popular belief that it’s normal and happens to everyone. Bleeding gums may be a sign of something that’s easily correctable – by brushing less vigorously or flossing every day. But it can also be a warning of something more serious, like periodontal disease or even diabetes. With stakes that high, the smart thing to do is to improve your oral hygiene routine. If your symptoms don’t improve after a couple of weeks, be sure to make an appointment with your dentist.
1. Brush twice a day. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste is an essential way to stop bleeding gums. Make sure you choose a brush head with soft nylon bristles and brush using gentle, circular motions that massage and clean the teeth and gums – back-and-forth motions can actually aggravate gum bleeding.
2. Floss every day. Flossing may be the most important thing you can do at home to prevent the plaque buildup that leads to gum bleeding. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist for tips on proper flossing.
3. Use a good mouthwash. Ask your dentist to recommend a good anti-bacterial mouthwash, which can help fight bleeding gums.
4. Keep your tongue clean. A “coated” tongue provides the perfect environment for the bacteria that promotes bleeding gums. Brush your tongue with a tongue cleaner or soft-bristled toothbrush using a front-to-back motion.
5. Eat a well-balanced diet. A diet filled with vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, and B vitamins will help you maintain healthy gums. Limit your snacking between meals, especially carbohydrates and sugars; these feed the dental plaque that causes bleeding gums.
Keep in mind, no matter how scrupulous you are about oral hygiene, a professional dental cleaning is the single most effective way to remove the plaque that causes bleeding gums – so be sure to see your dentist at least twice a year.
Soda Drinkers More Prone to Cavities
Dentists can usually spot a soda drinker. These patients are often prone to dental cavities and white spots on their teeth known as decalcifications, which are actually the start of new cavities.
A cavity is an infection caused by a combination of carbohydrate-containing foods or beverages and bacteria that live in our mouths. Sweetened soda contains a high amount of sugar, a carbohydrate that can promote cavities. Soda may be even more damaging to the teeth than other sugar containing beverages because it is acidic as well.
Before we drink a sugar-sweetened soda, the pH in our mouth is about 7.0, which is slightly more acidic than water. When the bacteria in our mouths are exposed to sugar, they metabolize it and produce acid. The acid causes the pH on the tooth surface to drop. At a pH of 5.2 or below, the acid begins to dissolve the hard enamel that forms the outer coating of our teeth. Over time this leads to erosion that causes cavities and painful toothaches!
A study examined the effect of several types of sweetened soda and mineral water on the teeth. Teeth exposed to cola, orange and lime soda had significantly more decalcification than those exposed to mineral water. Of all of the sodas tested, cola caused the most decalcification. Sweetened soda seems to damage teeth in two ways. The soda has a low PH and makes the mouth acidic, and the sugar content promotes tooth decay when it comes into contact with bacteria in the mouth.
The easiest way to prevent cavities is by brushing your teeth at least three times a day, especially after eating or drinking and before bed. Reducing the amount and frequency of eating sugary foods and beverages can decrease the risk of forming cavities.
If you have to have sweetened soda, it is better to drink it at one sitting than sip it throughout the day. Better yet, drink it through a straw in one sitting, to bypass the teeth altogether.