Posts for: February, 2015
Protect and preserve your teeth by opting for root canal therapy.
While no one wants to deal with a damaged tooth, it happens to the best of us. If the damage is severe enough then you may need to visit your Stamford, CT dentist for root canal treatment. This is the best way to preserve the rest of your natural tooth and without it the only option you may have is to remove the tooth completely. Before accepting a tooth extraction, find out more about a root canal and how it could help you.
What is a root canal?
A root canal is a minimally invasive dental procedure that relieves tooth pain caused by infection or injury. The main goal of a root canal is to save as much of the natural tooth as possible and to prevent a tooth extraction.
Why do I need a root canal?
If you have a damaged tooth due to an infection, severe decay or a direct injury, then the pulp of the tooth may need to be removed. The pulp is the inner part of the tooth that contains blood vessels, nerves and tissue. Infections and injury can cause pulp inflammation, which can turn into an abscess if left untreated. In order to preserve the rest of your natural tooth and prevent further damage your Stamford, CT dentist will recommend a root canal.
What should I expect from my upcoming root canal?
During your root canal, we will drill through the hard layers of the tooth until we reach the soft inner part known as the pulp. We will remove the inflamed pulp and dead tissue and then disinfect the inside of the tooth and possibly treat the infection with antibiotics.
Once the inside of the tooth is free from infection and debris, we will seal the tooth with a rubber-like substance known as gutta-percha. From there, we will most likely need to place a dental crown over your tooth to restore full function and strength back into your smile; however, some teeth can be restored using only a filling.
Is a root canal painful?
First and foremost, this procedure is truly no different than getting a tooth filled. While there are many myths surrounding root canals the process is no more invasive than filling a cavity. Furthermore, most people with an infected or inflamed pulp are dealing with significant dental pain. The goal of a root canal is to treat the infection and eliminate the source of pain. So contrary to what you may have heard, root canal treatment actually gets rid of pain rather than causing it.
If you are experiencing a persistent toothache then you need to seek treatment right away. Contact your Stamford, CT dentist at Comprehensive Dental Group.
Metal braces for correcting teeth alignment have long been a fixture of adolescence. But although they're effective, they tend to put a crimp on a teenager's life with changes in diet and irritation and discomfort from the devices and regular adjustments. For many teens, though, these are minor compared to the change in their appearance that comes with traditional braces, and the embarrassment they may feel.
In recent years, there's been a growing use of another orthodontic device that reduces many of these inconveniences, especially regarding appearance. Known as the clear aligner, this transparent, “almost invisible” device can be taken out for eating, cleaning or important social events.
Clear aligners are a sequential set of clear trays made of polyurethane plastic that are generated for an individual patient using information derived from x-rays, photographs or models. Each tray in the sequence is slightly different from the previous one to account for the tooth movement achieved wearing the previous tray. The patient will wear a tray for about two weeks and then, if all looks well, move to the next tray. This process continues until the teeth arrive at the proper alignment, a period of about six to twenty-four months depending on the patient's initial condition and their progress.
Up until recently, aligners were a viable option for a limited category of patients, mainly adults. Recent advances have changed that. Aligners now include tiny “power ridges” that enable them to move teeth in more than one plane, something previous versions were unable to do. “Eruption tabs” can also be incorporated into aligner sets to hold the space for permanent teeth that haven't erupted yet — a must for many younger patients. We can also temporarily bond attachments to the teeth known as buttons (made with a composite that blends in with the natural tooth color) that give more leverage and stability to the aligner.
With these changes, clear aligners are now an effective choice for a wider group of patients, including many teens. Aligners are comfortable to wear, easy to care for, and for teens acutely conscious of their appearance, less obtrusive than traditional metal braces.
If you would like more information on clear aligners, 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 “Clear Aligners for Teens.”
When it comes to sensitive gums during pregnancy, Nancy O'Dell, the former co-anchor of Access Hollywood and new co-anchor of Entertainment Tonight, can speak from her own experience. In an interview with Dear Doctor magazine, she described the gum sensitivity she developed when pregnant with her daughter, Ashby. She said her dentist diagnosed her with pregnancy gingivitis, a condition that occurs during pregnancy and is the result of hormonal changes that increases blood flow to the gums. And based on her own experiences, Nancy shares this advice with mothers-to-be: use a softer bristled toothbrush, a gentle flossing and brushing technique and mild salt water rinses.
Before we continue we must share one important fact: our goal here is not to scare mothers-to-be, but rather to educate them on some of the common, real-world conditions that can occur during pregnancy. This is why we urge all mothers-to-be to contact us to schedule an appointment for a thorough examination as soon as they know they are pregnant to determine if any special dental care is necessary.
Periodontal (gum) disease can impact anyone; however, during pregnancy the tiny blood vessels of the gum tissues can become dilated (widened) in response to the elevated hormone levels of which progesterone is one example. This, in turn, causes the gum tissues to become more susceptible to the effects of plaque bacteria and their toxins. The warning signs of periodontal disease and pregnancy gingivitis include: swelling, redness, bleeding and sensitivity of the gum tissues. It is quite common during the second to eighth months of pregnancy.
Early gum disease, if left untreated, can progress to destructive periodontitis, which causes inflammation and infection of the supporting structures of the teeth. This can result in the eventual loss of teeth — again, if left untreated. Furthermore, there have been a variety of studies that show a positive link between preterm delivery and the presence of gum disease. There has also been a link between an increased rate of pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) and periodontal disease. Researchers feel this suggests that periodontal disease may cause stress to the blood vessels of the mother, placenta and fetus.
To learn more about this topic, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Pregnancy and Oral Health.” And if you want to read the entire feature article on Nancy O'Dell, continue reading “Nancy O'Dell.”