Posts for: January, 2017
If there was an “Unsung Hero” award for dental procedures, the root canal treatment would win hands-down. Much aligned in popular culture, today’s root canal treatment is actually a valuable tool for saving teeth that would otherwise be lost. And contrary to popular belief, root canal treatments don’t cause pain — they relieve it.
To help you understand its true worth, here are some common questions and answers about the root canal treatment.
What problem does a root canal treatment fix?
A root canal treatment stops a bacterial infection that has invaded the innermost part of a tooth — the pulp — and is advancing toward the end of the root through small passageways known as root canals. Most people first notice the problem as a sharp pain in the affected tooth that may suddenly dissipate in a few days. The infection has attacked the inner pulp tissue, rich in nerve fibers; when the nerve fibers die they stop sending pain signals. The infection, however, hasn’t died: as it advances, you may then begin to experience pain when you bite down or when you encounter hot foods. You may also notice tenderness and swelling in nearby gums.
How does the procedure stop the infection?
A root canal treatment removes all the infected or dead tissue and cleanses the pulp chamber. We enter the pulp chamber through a small access hole created in the tooth’s biting surface. After tissue removal, we then “shape” and prepare the empty chamber and root canals (often with the aid of microscopic equipment) to be filled with a special filling. After filling, the tooth is then sealed to prevent re-infection (most often, we need to install a permanent crown at a subsequent visit for maximum protection).
How much pain can I expect during and after the procedure?
During the procedure, none — the tooth and surrounding gums are fully anesthetized before we begin the procedure. Afterward, you may experience mild discomfort for a few days that can be relieved with over-the-counter medications like aspirin or ibuprofen.
What’s the ultimate value for a root canal treatment?
The procedure can save a tooth severely damaged by the infection. Even covered by an artificial crown, a living tooth continuing to exist and function normally within the mouth is usually more conducive for optimum oral health than an artificial tooth replacement.
If you would like more information on root canal treatments, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Common Concerns About Root Canal Treatment.”
Everyone has to face the music at some time — even John Lydon, former lead singer of The Sex Pistols, arguably England’s best known punk rock band. The 59-year old musician was once better known by his stage name, Johnny Rotten — a brash reference to the visibly degraded state of his teeth. But in the decades since his band broke up, Lydon’s lifelong deficiency in dental hygiene had begun to cause him serious problems.
In recent years, Lydon has had several dental surgeries — including one to resolve two serious abscesses in his mouth, which left him with stitches in his gums and a temporary speech impediment. Photos show that he also had missing teeth, which, sources say, he opted to replace with dental implants.
For Lydon (and many others in the same situation) that’s likely to be an excellent choice. Dental implants are the gold standard for tooth replacement today, for some very good reasons. The most natural-looking of all tooth replacements, implants also have a higher success rate than any other method: over 95 percent. They can be used to replace one tooth, several teeth, or an entire arch (top or bottom row) of teeth. And with only routine care, they can last for the rest of your life.
Like natural teeth, dental implants get support from the bone in your jaw. The implant itself — a screw-like titanium post — is inserted into the jaw in a minor surgical operation. The lifelike, visible part of the tooth — the crown — is attached to the implant by a sturdy connector called an abutment. In time, the titanium metal of the implant actually becomes fused with the living bone tissue. This not only provides a solid anchorage for the prosthetic, but it also prevents bone loss at the site of the missing tooth — which is something neither bridgework nor dentures can do.
It’s true that implants may have a higher initial cost than other tooth replacement methods; in the long run, however, they may prove more economical. Over time, the cost of repeated dental treatments and periodic replacement of shorter-lived tooth restorations (not to mention lost time and discomfort) can easily exceed the expense of implants.
That’s a lesson John Lydon has learned. “A lot of ill health came from neglecting my teeth,” he told a newspaper reporter. “I felt sick all the time, and I decided to do something about it… I’ve had all kinds of abscesses, jaw surgery. It costs money and is very painful. So Johnny says: ‘Get your brush!’”
We couldn’t agree more. But if brushing isn’t enough, it may be time to consider dental implants. If you would like more information about dental implants, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implants” and “Save a Tooth or Get an Implant?”
Do you want a healthy smile? Then it’s time you followed these helpful tips and became the boss of your own oral health.
Okay, so we know you’ve been brushing and flossing your teeth for a while now. Perhaps you think you know everything there is to know about caring for your smile, but do you really? You may be surprised how much our Greenwich and Stamford, CT dentist, Dr. Philip Bauer, can teach you about how to effectively give your smile the best clean possible.
Have the Right Tools for the Jobs
Yes, the products you use could determine how clean you get your teeth and gums. Opt for an ADA-approved toothbrush that has soft, rounded bristles. You will want to replace the toothbrush or toothbrush head about every three to four months, or as soon as bristles begin to splay out.
You will also want to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, which can help to promote strong, healthy enamel and even remineralize enamel that has eroded.
Get a Better Clean
When it comes to brushing your teeth our Greenwich and Stamford general dentist gives some helpful techniques that will give you a deep down clean you will notice right away:
- Place bristles at a 45-degree angle toward the gumline.
- Remember not to apply too much pressure to your teeth, which can damage enamel.
- Brush the front surface of your teeth with a circular motion. When it comes to brushing the inside surfaces of your teeth you will want to turn the brush vertically and brush up and down. Make sure you are also brushing along the gumline to remove plaque buildup.
- It’s always a good idea to watch yourself in the mirror to make sure that you don’t miss a tooth.
- Remember that your toothbrush is only equipped to brush one or two teeth at the same time so make sure that you are taking your time when it comes to cleaning each one. It should take at least 2 minutes to brush your teeth.
- The last step should be to brush your tongue to remove nasty bacteria that can lead to bad breath.
Floss for Life
Never be stingy when it comes to how much floss you use. Opt for at least 18 inches of floss and wind it around your middle fingers. Gently glide the floss in between each tooth in a sawing motion. Wrap it around the tooth and make sure that the floss also reaches the gumline. Remember to floss between each tooth (even back teeth) with a new, clean section of floss. If you haven’t flossed in a while you may notice that your gums bleed or are sore. This will go away the more often you floss. You should be flossing at least once a day. The more regularly you floss the better!
Don’t forget that an important component to getting a clean, healthy smile is to also visit our Stamford family dentist twice a year. Turn to Philip J. Bauer, DMD & Associates in Greenwich and Stamford, CT to get the care you need to maintain the very best smile.