Posts for: August, 2016
If you have sensitive teeth, you're not alone. Twelve percent of us have the problem, according to a study that appeared in the Journal of the American Dental Association. Dr. Philip Bauer, your Stamford and Greenwich, CT endodontist, explains what causes tooth sensitivity and shares a few tips that can help you deal with the problem.
What causes tooth sensitivity?
Sensitivity can occur due to:
- Tooth decay
- An infection or inflammation in the pulp at the center of a tooth
- A cracked or broken tooth
- Erosion of tooth enamel or the cementum that covers tooth roots due to vigorous brushing
- Gum disease
- Acid reflux
- Using abrasive toothpaste
- Eating or drinking acidic foods
Anything that breaks the protective seal provided by your enamel, whether it's tooth decay or brushing too hard, can cause symptoms. Your teeth consist of three layers: the pulp, the dentin and the enamel. When erosion or breaks affect the enamel, tiny tubes in the dentin are exposed. Sensations from hot, cold or sweet foods travel through these tubes to the pulp and are interrupted by your brain as pain. Pain can also occur when you open your mouth and cold air passes over your teeth and when you chew and brush your teeth.
How can I reduce sensitivity?
Using toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth can help reduce pain. If it continues, it's a good idea to visit your dentist or endodontist to determine if tooth decay or an infection in your pulp is to blame. A filling or root canal therapy can ease your pain in these cases. Crowns and inlays can help relieve tooth sensitivity caused by cracked or fractured teeth.
If enamel erosion is the cause of sensitivity, your Stamford and Greenwich dentist can offer fluoride gel treatment to help strengthen your enamel. Avoiding acidic foods and using mouthwash that contains enamel-strengthening fluoride can also help.
Your endodontist can help you overcome tooth sensitivity. Call Dr. Bauer, your Stamford and Greenwich, CT endodontist, at (203) 327-1613 to schedule an appointment.
As is the case with most celebs today, Beyonce is no stranger to sharing on social media… but she really got our attention with a video she recently posted on instagram. The clip shows the superstar songstress — along with her adorable three-year old daughter Blue Ivy — flossing their teeth! In the background, a vocalist (sounding remarkably like her husband Jay-Z) repeats the phrase “flossin’…flossin’…” as mom and daughter appear to take care of their dental hygiene in time with the beat: https://instagram.com/p/073CF1vw07/?taken-by=beyonce
We’re happy that this clip highlights the importance of helping kids get an early start on good oral hygiene. And, according to authorities like the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, age 3 is about the right time for kids to begin getting involved in the care of their own teeth.
Of course, parents should start paying attention to their kids’ oral hygiene long before age three. In fact, as soon as baby’s tiny teeth make their first appearance, the teeth and gums can be cleaned with a soft brush or cloth and a smear of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice. Around age 3, kids will develop the ability to spit out toothpaste. That’s when you can increase the amount of toothpaste a little, and start explaining to them how you clean all around the teeth on the top and bottom of the mouth. Depending on your child’s dexterity, age 3 might be a good time to let them have a try at brushing by themselves.
Ready to help your kids take the first steps to a lifetime of good dental checkups? Place a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste on a soft-bristled brush, and gently guide them as they clean in front, in back, on all surfaces of each tooth. At first, it’s a good idea to take turns brushing. That way, you can be sure they’re learning the right techniques and keeping their teeth plaque-free, while making the experience challenging and fun.
Most kids will need parental supervision and help with brushing until around age 6. As they develop better hand-eye coordination and the ability to follow through with the cleaning regimen, they can be left on their own more. But even the best may need some “brushing up” on their tooth-cleaning techniques from time to time.
What about flossing? While it’s an essential part of good oral hygiene, it does take a little more dexterity to do it properly. Flossing the gaps between teeth should be started when the teeth begin growing close to one another. Depending on how a child’s teeth are spaced, perhaps only the back ones will need to be flossed at first. Even after they learn to brush, kids may still need help flossing — but a floss holder (like the one Beyonce is using in the clip) can make the job a lot easier.
If you would like more information about maintaining your children’s oral hygiene, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Top 10 Oral Health Tips For Children” and “How to Help Your Child Develop the Best Habits for Oral Health.”
Root canal treatments are an essential part of dental care — countless teeth with deep decay would be lost each year without it. Now, this traditional dental care procedure is advancing to a new level of precision through lasers.
Root canal treatments have a simple goal: access a tooth's infected pulp and root canals, clean out the infected tissue and fill the empty pulp chamber and canals with a special filling. Once filled, the access is sealed and a porcelain crown later placed for additional protection against re-infection.
In the traditional procedure, we perform these steps manually with a dental drill and hand instruments. We may also need to remove a good portion of tooth structure, both healthy and infected tissue. A laser, on the other hand, is a highly focused beam of light with the ability to interact with healthy and infected tissues differently: destroying infected tissue while having no effect on nearby healthy tissue. The end result: we may be able to remove less healthy tissue with lasers than with the conventional procedure.
Lasers are also helpful with softening and precisely molding the filling material within each canal's particular shape. And, early reports seem to indicate a higher degree of comfort for patients (less drill noise and need for anesthesia), less bleeding and faster recovery times than the conventional approach.
But as a tool for root canal treatments, lasers do have a couple of disadvantages. While light travels in a straight line, root canals are rarely straight — conventional instruments with curved designs usually accommodate odd canal shapes better than a laser. Lasers can also raise temperatures within a tooth that can damage healthy tissue, both within the pulp and outward into the dentin.
Still, lasers for root canal treatments appear promising with some dentists using a combination of lasers and manual techniques to garner benefits from both approaches. While you won't see lasers replacing the traditional root canal treatment anytime soon, the future looks bright for more efficient ways to treat deep tooth decay.