Posts for: May, 2017
If we could go back in time, we all probably have a few things we wish we could change. Recently, Dr. Travis Stork, emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors, shared one of his do-over dreams with Dear Doctor magazine: “If I [could have] gone back and told myself as a teenager what to do, I would have worn a mouthguard, not only to protect my teeth but also to help potentially reduce risk of concussion.”
What prompted this wish? The fact that as a teenage basketball player, Stork received an elbow to the mouth that caused his two front teeth to be knocked out of place. The teeth were put back in position, but they soon became darker and began to hurt. Eventually, both were successfully restored with dental crowns. Still, it was a painful (and costly) injury — and one that could have been avoided.
You might not realize it, but when it comes to dental injuries, basketball ranks among the riskier sports. Yet it’s far from the only one. In fact, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), there are some two dozen others — including baseball, hockey, surfing and bicycling — that carry a heightened risk of dental injury. Whenever you’re playing those sports, the ADA recommends you wear a high-quality mouth guard.
Mouthguards have come a long way since they were introduced as protective equipment for boxers in the early 1900’s. Today, three different types are widely available: stock “off-the-shelf” types that come in just a few sizes; mouth-formed “boil-and-bite” types that you adapt to the general contours of your mouth; and custom-made high-quality mouthguards that are made just for you at the dental office.
Of all three types, the dentist-made mouthguards are consistently found to be the most comfortable and best-fitting, and the ones that offer your teeth the greatest protection. What’s more, recent studies suggest that custom-fabricated mouthguards can provide an additional defense against concussion — in fact, they are twice as effective as the other types. That’s why you’ll see more and more professional athletes (and plenty of amateurs as well) sporting custom-made mouthguards at games and practices.
“I would have saved myself a lot of dental heartache if I had worn a mouthguard,” noted Dr. Stork. So take his advice: Wear a mouthguard whenever you play sports — unless you’d like to meet him (or one of his medical colleagues) in a professional capacity…
A cracked tooth, if left untreated, can result in serious complications which could lead to tooth loss. Luckily, there are several simple options to correct a cracked tooth, prevent further damage and restore the appearance of the tooth. Find out more about cracked teeth and their treatments with Dr. Philip Bauer with offices in Stamford and Greenwich, CT.
What is an endodontist?
An endodontist is a dentist who specializes in the soft, inner tissues, pulp and nerve of the tooth. The word endodontist comes from Greek, with “endo” meaning inside and “odont” meaning tooth. An endodontist undergoes several extra years of training and education to earn their title. Often, dentists without this specialization refer their patients to an endodontist for complex endodontic issues.
How can my endodontist help my cracked tooth?
Endodontic treatment, more widely referred to as root canal therapy, focuses on removing the decayed or damaged tissue from inside of the tooth to cure an infection while preserving the natural structure of the tooth. The only other option for this situation is to remove the tooth altogether, which comes with its own slew of side effects and problems.
Teeth can crack in several different ways. If the crack remains above the gum line, your endodontist can normally repair it. However, if the crack extends below the gum line onto the tooth’s roots, the chance of saving the tooth becomes slimmer. If left untreated, a cracked tooth could extend down the root until the entire tooth becomes split in half. Endodontic treatment to repair the split may help save a portion of the tooth. A dental crown placed over a treated cracked tooth helps protect it from further damage or becoming split.
Cracked Tooth Treatments in Stamford and Greenwich, CT
If you have a cracked tooth, your endodontist can help you determine the best treatment plan. Some treatments will require a simple root canal and dental crown, while others may require more in-depth procedures like endodontic surgery to repair a root fracture. For more information on cracked teeth and their treatments, please contact Dr. Philip Bauer with offices in Stamford and Greenwich, CT. Call (203) 327-1613 to schedule your appointment at the Stamford office or (203) 661-3277 to schedule your appointment at the Greenwich location today!
So, you've undergone a root canal treatment to save a decayed tooth. The tooth has a new lease on life — and the pain is gone too. But there's a reality you need to keep in mind — your tooth could become re-infected, putting you back in the same painful circumstance.
Root canal treatments are often necessary when decay works its way deep within a tooth, into the pulp. The excruciating pain a person feels is the infection attacking the bundle of nerves within the pulp tissue. If the infection isn't addressed promptly, it will continue to work its way to the root, eventually damaging the tooth beyond repair.
During a root canal treatment, we drill into the tooth to access the pulp chamber. After clearing it completely of its infected tissue, we then fill the chamber and root canals with a special filling and then seal off the access. A short time later we'll bond a crown over the tooth to protect it and to make it more attractive.
Most of the time, this preserves the tooth for many years. Occasionally, though, re-infection can occur. There are a number of reasons why: the first infection may have been more extensive than thought; the root canal network was more complex and some tinier canals weren't able to be identified; or the protective crown may once again get tooth decay contaminating the root canal.
If infection does reoccur it doesn't mean the tooth is lost. It's possible a second root canal treatment can successfully correct any problems, especially those that may not have been detected the first time. More complex cases might also require the services of an endodontist, a specialist in root canals. They're skilled in advanced techniques and have specialized equipment to handle even the most complicated root canal networks.
In the meantime, if you notice signs of re-infection like pain or swelling around a treated tooth, contact us promptly for an appointment. You should also contact us if the tooth is injured in an accident. The sooner we can treat your tooth, the more likely the second time will be more successful.
If you would like more information on preserving a tooth through root canal treatment, 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 “Root Canal Treatment: How long will it Last?”