Posts for: December, 2017
Find out when you should turn to an endodontist for dental care.
It goes without saying that everyone is trying to maintain good oral health. Of course, issues can arise that require professional dental care in order to prevent further problems. Not sure whether your problems warrant a trip to our Greenwich and Stamford, CT, endodontist, Dr. Philip Bauer? Then let’s find out!
What is an endodontist?
An endodontist is a dentist who has received specialized training so that they are able to preserve and save damaged or diseased teeth. Chances are good that you know what root canal therapy is, but just in case you don’t this procedure is used to remove a infected or inflamed dental pulp (a structure within the tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels) and preserve enough of the tooth’s structure that it doesn’t need to be extracted. Our end goal is to make sure that you maintain a healthy, full and natural smile for the rest of your life.
When should I visit an endodontist?
We know that no one likes having to make an emergency visit to see their dentist; however, sometimes it’s necessary for preserving your smile. If you are dealing with any of these symptoms then you need to call our Greenwich and Stamford endodontic specialist right away:
- Dental pain
- Tooth sensitivity
- Increased pain when chewing or biting
- Gum swelling and tenderness
During your endodontic evaluation we will examine the tooth and run X-rays to check for signs of an infection or trauma that could warrant root canal therapy. The characteristics of your toothache can be rather telling. If you notice sudden or severe dental pain, if the pain gets worse when putting pressure on the tooth or if you notice prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks, then this certainly warrants an immediate trip to our office.
Of course, you can also benefit from visiting an endodontist if you are an adult who is dealing with tooth loss and wants to find out if dental implants are the best restoration for replacing missing teeth. Untreated tooth loss can lead to further complications for your smile so the sooner you get a dental restoration to replace your missing teeth the better.
If you need to talk to an endodontic specialist in Stamford or Greenwich, CT, then look no further than Dr. Bauer. You can all our office to schedule an appointment with us today.
Primary (baby) teeth don't last long. But despite their short life span, they do a number of important things, like enabling a child to eat solid food. But perhaps their most important long-term function is “paving” the way for their permanent replacements.
If one is lost prematurely, though, the permanent tooth might not come in properly aligned. That's why if a primary tooth is in danger of loss due to decay or injury, we'll do our best to save it.
But that could get a little tricky if the infected or damaged part of the tooth is the innermost pulp. If it were an adult tooth, the best course might be a root canal treatment: access the pulp, clear out the diseased tissue, and then fill the space with a special filling. But with a primary tooth (or a young permanent tooth for that matter) that may not be advisable.
That's because the pulp plays a more important role in a child's tooth than an adult's. Its nerves and other tissues stimulate dentin growth; a full root canal could disrupt that growth and weaken the tooth in the long run.
With a child's tooth, we proceed carefully depending on how infected or damaged the pulp might be. If it's only slightly exposed or not at all, we try then to remove as much decayed tooth material outside the pulp as necessary, then apply antibacterial agents or dentin growth stimulators.
If we do have pulp exposure, we'll try to remove only as much of the affected pulp as necessary through a procedure called a pulpotomy. This technique will only be used if the remaining pulp looks healthy or restorable to health.
If not, we may need to perform a pulpectomy to remove the entire pulp. Most like a typical root canal, it's a last resort: without the pulp, dentin growth could be stunted and the tooth won't develop as healthy as it should.
Of course, the best approach is to prevent teeth from developing such problems in the first place. So, be sure to practice effective daily hygiene with your child and keep up regular dental visits beginning at age one.
If you would like more information on treating decayed primary teeth, 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 for Children's Teeth.”
If you’re undergoing your first root canal treatment, it’s understandable if you’re apprehensive. So, let’s cut to the chase about your biggest fear: a root canal treatment doesn’t cause pain, it relieves it — and saves your tooth too.
You need this procedure because decay has spread deep into your tooth’s inner pulp. The infection has already attacked the nerves bundled within the pulp chamber, the source of the pain that led you to us in the first place.
The real concern, though, is the infection continuing to travel through the canals of the tooth root. If that happens, you’re in danger of not only losing the tooth, but also losing surrounding bone, adjacent teeth or damaging other important structures close by. Our goal is simple: remove the infected pulp tissue and seal the empty chamber and root canals from further infection with a special filling.
We begin by numbing the tooth with local anesthesia — you won’t feel anything but slight pressure as we work. After placing a dental dam — a thin sheet of rubber or vinyl — around the affected tooth to maintain a clean work area, we drill a small hole through the biting surface of a back tooth or in the rear surface of a front tooth. We’ll use this hole to access the pulp, where we’ll first remove all the dead and diseased tissue from the chamber. We’ll then disinfect the chamber and root canals with antiseptic and antibacterial solutions.
After some shaping, we’ll fill the chamber and canals, usually with gutta-percha that’s malleable when heated and can be compressed into and against the walls of the root canals to completely seal them. We’ll then seal the access hole.
You may have a few days of mild discomfort afterward, which can be managed generally with pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen. Later, we’ll permanently restore the tooth using filling to seal the root canal inside the tooth followed by a custom crown that’s fit over and bonded to the tooth. This will further minimize chances of a re-infection.
If we’ve recommended a root canal, then we think your tooth should be saved instead of extracted. The procedure will end the pain you’ve been suffering and give your tooth a new lease on life.
If you would like more information on 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 “A Step-By-Step Guide to Root Canal Treatment.”