Root canal treatments have suffered a bad rap over the years—and undeservedly. While we applaud root canal therapy for the millions of decayed teeth the procedure has saved, the worn-out cliché that it's painful still lingers on.
So, let's set the record straight: a root canal treatment doesn't cause pain, it most often relieves it. Let's look a little closer at what actually happens before, during and after this tooth-saving treatment.
Before: a tooth in crisis. Tooth decay can damage more than a tooth's outer enamel. This aggressive bacterial infection can work its way into a tooth's interior, destroying the nerves and blood vessels in the pulp, before moving on to the roots and supporting bone through the root canals. Untreated, this devastating process can lead to tooth loss. A root canal treatment, however, can stop the invading decay and save the tooth.
During: stopping the disease. The dentist first numbs the tooth and surrounding gum tissues with local anesthetic—the only thing you might normally feel during treatment is a slight pressure. They then drill into the tooth to access the inner pulp and root canals and remove all diseased tissue. Once the interior spaces of the tooth have been disinfected, the dentist then fills the empty pulp chamber and root canals with a pliable filling called gutta percha to prevent future infection.
After: preventing re-infection. With the filling complete, the dentist then seals the access hole. There may be some minor soreness for a few days, similar to the aftermath of a routine filling, which can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen. Sometime later, the dentist will normally finish the treatment with a new crown on the tooth. This accomplishes two things: It helps strengthen the tooth against stress fracturing and it provides another layer of protection against future decay.
Root canal treatments have an exceptional track record for giving diseased teeth a second chance. There's nothing to fear—and everything to gain for your troubled tooth.
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 “Root Canal Treatment: What You Need to Know.”
Some moviegoers have been known to crunch popcorn, bite their fingers or grab their neighbor’s hands during the intense scenes of a thriller. But for one fan, the on-screen action in the new superhero film Black Panther led to a different reaction.
Sophia Robb, an 18-year-old Californian, had to make an emergency visit to the orthodontic office because she snapped the steel wire on her retainer while watching a battle scene featuring her Hollywood crush, Michael B. Jordan. Her jaw-clenching mishap went viral and even prompted an unexpected reply from the actor himself!
Meanwhile, Sophia got her retainer fixed pronto—which was exactly the right thing to do. The retention phase is a very important part of orthodontic treatment: If you don’t wear a retainer, the beautiful new smile you’re enjoying could become crooked again. That’s because if the teeth are not held in their new positions, they will naturally begin to drift back into their former locations—and you may have to start treatment all over again…
While it’s much more common to lose a removable retainer than to damage one, it is possible for even sturdy retainers to wear out or break. This includes traditional plastic-and-wire types (also called Hawley retainers), clear plastic retainers that are molded to fit your teeth (sometimes called Essix retainers), and bonded retainers: the kind that consists of a wire that’s permanently attached to the back side of your teeth. So whichever kind you use, do what Sophia did if you feel that anything is amiss—have it looked at right away!
When Black Panther co-star Michael B. Jordan heard about the retainer mishap, he sent a message to the teen: “Since I feel partly responsible for breaking your retainers let me know if I can replace them.” His young fan was grateful for the offer—but even more thrilled to have a celebrity twitter follower.
If you have questions about orthodontic retainers, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers” and “Bonded Retainers.”
If you go to the dentist, or if you’ve ever been in Kindergarten, you know that flossing is important. You know that the routine helps prevent gum disease. You know that gum disease makes your teeth fall out. And we know that nobody wants the flossing lecture.
But… we still have a problem! Because more than half of adults in the U.S. have some stage of gum disease. So, since this September is National Gum Care month, we decided to do something a little different. Here’s our top five tips for making flossing fun for kids and adults.
- Find fancy floss. Yeah, we know it sounds silly, but if you can make your flossing experience more enjoyable with a great flavor of silky feeling string, we are all for it.
- Make it a family event. Get your family together to brush and floss together. Race each other, try to say tongue twisters, or play some funky music!
- Entertain yourself. We found a great kids podcast that lasts 2 minutes (the recommended brushing time.) But you could also find a song, a comedy or YouTube videos to enjoy only during the two times a day you choose to brush and floss.
- Water floss. If you just cannot deal with flossing, because yes, it is uncomfortable, have you heard of water flossing? It is a different option for flushing the buildup between your teeth. It is not cheap, but much less expensive than a new tooth!
- Reward yourself. Keep track and find a reward that will motivate you and your family to keep the habit going. Seven days in a row? Let’s go out for ice cream! And then brush and floss afterwards, of course.
Make Flossing Fun for Kids and Family at 1st Choice Dental
Another important step to preventing gum disease is visiting your dentist regularly. At 1st Choice Dental of Kennesaw and Woodstock, we want you to enjoy your visit. Make your appointment on our website today!
Resource: Learn How to Floss Your Teeth
Although techniques and materials have changed, dentists still follow basic principles for treating tooth decay that date from the late 19th Century. And for good reason: They work. These principles first developed by Dr. G.V. Black—the "father of modern dentistry"—are widely credited with saving millions of teeth over the last century.
One of the most important of these treatment protocols is something known as "extension for prevention." In basic terms, it means a dentist removes not only decayed tooth structure but also healthy structure vulnerable to decay. But although effective in saving teeth, practicing this principle can result in loss of otherwise healthy tissue, which can weaken the tooth.
But with new advances in dentistry, decay treatment is getting an overhaul. While Dr. Black's time-tested protocols remain foundational, dentists are finding new ways to preserve more of the tooth structure in a concept known as minimally invasive dentistry (MID).
Better diagnostic tools. Because tooth decay can ultimately infect and damage the tooth's interior, roots and supporting bone, the best way to preserve more of the tooth structure is to treat it as early as possible. Now, new diagnostic tools like digital x-rays, microscopic magnification and optical scanning are helping dentists detect and treat decay earlier, thus reducing how much tissue is removed.
Better prevention methods. Oral hygiene and regular dental care are our basic weapons in the war with tooth decay. In addition, utilizing topical fluoride in combination with a milk-derived product called CPP-ACP dentists can get more of the cavity-fighting organic compound into the tooth enamel to strengthen it against acid attack.
Better treatment techniques. Using air abrasion (a fine particle spray that works like a miniature sandblaster) and lasers, dentists can now remove decayed structure with less harm to healthy tissue than with a traditional dental drill. And new, stronger dental fillings like those made with composite resins require less structural removal to accommodate them.
With these innovative approaches, dentists aren't just saving teeth, they're preserving more of their structure. And that can improve your overall dental health for the long-term.
If you would like more information on minimally invasive dentistry, 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 “Minimally Invasive Dentistry: When Less Care is More.”
At 1st Choice Dental Care, you can get a crown in just one visit!
We strive to stay at the forefront of dental technology so that we can save you time. And we want your experience in our office to be pleasant and convenient. Our in-office CEREC program is just one way we do that. CEREC allows patients to get a crown in just one appointment!
The typical process for getting a new or replacement crown used to be a two-visit ordeal. First, the dentist would take an impression of your teeth. That impression was sent off to a lab, where they manufactured the tooth. In the meantime, you would have a temporary crown placed while you wait for the permanent one to be created. Then, you would return for a second visit so the dentist could place the permanent crown. The process could drag out for months!
Same-Day Dentistry with CEREC
But, with our 1st Choice Same-Day Crown CEREC machine and software, our dentist can manufacture a customized crown in the office! CEREC stands for two things: Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics or Ceramic Reconstruction. It uses 3D scanning and Computer-Aided Design technology (CAD) to create a customized crown while you wait. Imagine the time you are saving by simply choosing the right dentist.
The porcelain that CEREC uses feels, looks and acts natural. It is called eMax and it feels very similar to a natural tooth. It is also more durable and causes less irritation than metal-filled crowns. The material comes in 17 different colors and is easy to color match. Because CEREC uses 3D scanning technology, instead of old-fashioned molds, the crowns are more precise. They can also be adjusted in the office if needed. And, you can expect a faster recovery because CEREC crowns require less invasive preparation of the damaged tooth.
If you are interested in this program, contact us and make an appointment at 1st Choice Dental. CEREC Dentistry near you at our Woodstock office today.
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