Posts for: October, 2017
Baby (primary) teeth look and function much like their permanent counterparts. Besides having a visible crown, they also have roots that maintain contact with the jawbone.
But there are some differences, the biggest one being the normal process whereby primary tooth roots dissolve or, in dental terms, resorb. Root resorption eventually leads to the tooth coming loose to make way for the permanent tooth.
Adult tooth roots can also resorb — but it's decidedly not normal. If adult root resorption isn't promptly treated, it could also lead to tooth loss — but there won't be an incoming tooth to take its place.
Although it can begin inside a tooth, adult root resorption usually begins on the outside. One type, external cervical resorption (ECR), begins around the neck-like area of the tooth not far below the gum line. Its initial signs are small pink spots where the tooth enamel has eroded; those pink cells within the space are doing the damage.
We don't fully understand the mechanism behind ECR, but there are some factors that often contribute. People with periodontal ligament damage or trauma, sometimes due to too much force applied during orthodontic treatment, have a high risk of ECR. Some bleaching techniques for staining inside a tooth may also be a factor.
The key to treating ECR is to detect it as early as possible before it does too much root damage. Regular checkups with x-rays play a pivotal role in early detection. Advanced stages of ECR might require more advanced diagnostics like a cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) scan to fully assess the damage.
If the lesion is small, we can surgically remove the cells causing the damage and fill the site with a tooth-colored filling. If ECR has spread toward the pulp, the tooth's inner nerve center, we may also need to perform a root canal treatment.
Either of these methods intends to save the tooth, but there is a point where the damage is too great and it's best to remove the tooth and replace it with a life-like dental implant or other restoration. That's why it requires vigilance through regular, semi-annual dental visits to detect the early signs of root resorption before it's too late.
If you would like more information on adult tooth root resorption, 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 Resorption.”
Sometimes the first root canal isn’t as successful as it should be. Find out when retreatment is necessary.
A root canal is a procedure in which our Stamford and Greenwich, CT, endodontist, Dr. Philip Bauer, has to enter the inside of the tooth to remove an infected or inflamed dental pulp. There are many ways a dental pulp can become damaged, whether from infection, severe decay or trauma to the tooth. In most cases, successful root canal treatment can be accomplished according to the requirement of the tooth. There are certain circumstances that may arise months or even years after your initial treatment that may warrant root canal retreatment.
While root canals are often very successful, there are certain issues that can arise that may require our root canal dentist in Stamford and Greenwich to go back inside the tooth to fully treat the issue. If you have very narrow root canals it’s possible that one of them wasn’t properly treated, which means that some of the infection still lies inside the tooth.
Sometimes the dental crown isn’t placed as soon after treatment as it should be or the crown is faulty and allows saliva inside the tooth, which can contaminate it. In some situations, new decay takes over and affects the root canals despite the previous treatment. New injuries to the tooth such as a crack or fracture can also leave the root canals prone to infection.
What happens during root canal retreatment?
For this procedure to be successful, we will need to open up the tooth to remove the material used to fill the canals of the tooth during your original therapy. We will also inspect the canals to look for signs of new decay or an infection that will need to be treated prior to sealing up the tooth.
Once the tooth is disinfected and the canals have been filled once more, we will place a temporary filling over the tooth to seal out bacteria. You will then come back into our office after your dental crown is made so that it can be placed over the restored tooth to protect it from further issues.
If you suspect that a tooth that has received root canal treatment may require additional care then it’s the perfect time to schedule an evaluation with our Stamford and Greenwich, CT, endodontic specialist.
Sports and energy drinks — two different types of popular beverages. But though different they have one thing in common: they can both wreak havoc on your tooth enamel.
That's because each contains high concentrations of acid. And acid is tooth enamel's mortal enemy — prolonged exposure with it causes the minerals in enamel to soften and erode, a process called de-mineralization.
Demineralization becomes even more pronounced when the mouth's pH levels fall below 4.0 into the acidic range. A sampling of various brands of sports and energy drinks reveal mean pH levels below even that threshold. Energy drinks are especially harmful to enamel because the type of acid they contain is more concentrated.
So, what can you do to minimize this threat to your dental health? The optimal thing to do is avoid such beverages altogether, especially energy drinks. If you currently re-hydrate after hard work or exercise with sports drinks, consider switching to water, nature's hydrator.
If you do, however, continue to drink these beverages, then follow a few precautions to lessen the acidic levels in your mouth:
Wait until mealtimes. Saliva is your body's way of neutralizing acid in your mouth, but it takes about 30 to 60 minutes for it to fully buffer acid. If you're sipping between meals on acidic beverages, saliva can't keep up. So, wait until you eat or limit your sipping time on a drink.
Rinse with water. Since water's pH is neutral, swishing some in your mouth right after drinking a sports or energy drink will help reduce acidity.
Wait an hour to brush. Your enamel will begin demineralizing as soon as it encounters acid. If you brush right away you could be sloughing off miniscule amounts of softened minerals. By waiting an hour you give your saliva time to buffer and help re-mineralize the enamel.
Although popular, especially among teenagers and young adults, overindulgence in sports and energy drinks could damage your teeth and increase your risk for tooth decay. With a little moderation and common sense, you can keep your enamel strong and healthy.
If you would like more information on the effects of sports and energy drinks on dental health, 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 “Think Before you Drink.”