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Posted by on Jan 11, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Root Canal Retreatment: What to Expect

Most of the time, a root canal (also called endodontic therapy), in conjunction with a crown, can last a lifetime. Occasionally, however, the root canal treatment fails and it must be retreated. This retreatment is generally done by a root canal specialist, or endodontist. If you find that your endodontically treated tooth needs to be treated again, here is what you can expect from the procedure.

Removal of Old Filling Material

If you’ve had a root canal done within the past decade or two, your canals were most likely filled with a rubbery material called gutta percha. After your endodontist drills an access hole in the biting surface of your tooth, he or she will place a solvent in your tooth to begin loosening up the gutta percha. A series of small drills and files will be used to remove the old material from your canals so they can be thoroughly cleaned.

If your root canal is older, you might have thin strips of metal called silver points in your canals. These are no longer used, because they tend to corrode over time, but they were a popular root canal filling material in years and decades past. If you have silver points in place and you need to have your endodontic treatment redone, an ultrasonic machine will often be used to loosen them enough to allow them to slide out. Care will be taken to avoid breaking them, but in some cases the silver is corroded enough that they break off inside of the canal. This may or may not lead to the necessity of an additional procedure later.

Widening and Shaping of the Canals

Once the old material is removed, the endodontist will widen and shape your canals more than they were in the original procedure. Sometimes, a root canal retreatment is done because there is an additional canal that was not found during the first treatment. Your specialist will use a surgical microscope to search for additional canals if this is suspected to be the issue. Most of the time, these hidden canals are found in molars, but occasionally there will be an extra canal in a bicuspid tooth.

The endodontist will use tiny files and reamers to widen the canals, just like your dentist did during the first root canal treatment.

Refilling the Canals

In some cases, a temporary antiseptic canal filling will be placed for up to several weeks before the permanent canal filling can be placed. This might be necessary if you have a draining abscess or infection, and it will allow your infection to heal. (If your endodontist gives you a prescription for antibiotics, be sure to take all of them as directed to allow the healing to take place.)

Once there is no more draining infection, your endodontist will refill the canals with new gutta percha filling material. Tiny flexible cones of the gutta percha will be slid into your canals, then heated so they melt and fill every bit of space. Liquid gutta percha is often also injected to continue filling the canals. You might detect a slight burning smell, but you will not feel anything; the nerve in your tooth is gone and the heat will not affect your gums or the other teeth in the vicinity.

When your retreatment is complete, you’ll be referred back to your general dentist to have your final restoration done. Often, this will just require filling the hole that was drilled in the crown. Occasionally a new crown might be needed. Be sure to get this taken care of promptly to avoid cracking or fracturing either the crown or the natural tooth.

To learn more about root canal retreatment procedures by speaking with an endodontist, go to sites like this one.

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Posted by on Aug 17, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Lasers Are No Longer A Tool Of The Future – They Are Now In Your Dental Office

Depending on your age, you may be able to remember a time that lasers only appeared on Saturday morning cartoons, or on science fiction television shows. This is no longer the case; lasers are now being used in many different areas of your daily living, and they can now be found in your dental office. Laser dentistry offers your dentist a way to perform precise and effective treatments, and offers you more safety and comfort. Understanding how dental lasers work will give you more appreciation for the many procedures they can be used for.

Why Use Dental Lasers?

Although many dentists are now just starting to use Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation (Laser) technology in their practice, dental lasers are nothing new. Lasers have been used in the field of dentistry since 1994. Instead of using a hard cutting surface such as a drill bit, lasers work by delivering energy in the form of light.

Laser light can then be used as a cutting instrument, as well as a tissue vaporizer. It can also be used as a heat source, a curing tool, or even a whitening agent. Dentist like lasers because they not only make many of their jobs easier, but they also provide a higher degree of comfort to their patients.

Procedures that are performed with dental lasers cause less pain than other traditional methods. This means certain procedures can often be performed without anesthesia, eliminating the need for needles and other pain management methods many patients find uncomfortable. By minimizing bleeding and swelling during certain treatments, recovery time is faster and discomfort is minimized. 

Because lasers do not emit the loud noises other dental tools can, patients have less dental anxiety when lasers are being used. Because of the speed and accuracy of lasers, patients spend less time in the dental chair.

What Are The Types Of Dental Lasers?

There are three basic types of dental lasers. They are:

Hard Tissue Lasers – These lasers are designed to be able to cut through bone and tooth materials. This makes them perfect for shaping teeth for various dental procedures. 

Soft Tissue Lasers – Also called dental diode lasers or Nd:YAG, these are created on a different wavelength than the hard tissue lasers. Soft tissue lasers are designed to penetrate the soft tissues of your mouth, while being able to seal blood vessels and nerve endings. 

Optical Coherence Tomography – A non-invasive type of laser that allows your dentist to see the inside of your teeth.

In addition to the separate lasers, there is dental laser technology on the market, which gives your dentist the ability to use the types of laser energy they need from one tool.

What Can Dental Lasers Be Used For?

By using one or more of these tools your dentist will be able to provide a wide array of procedures. Here are some examples of these procedures:

  • Lasers can be used for various periodontal treatments
  • These tools can be used to scale your teeth to remove the calcified plaque and calculus all the way down to the root plane, which is deeper than any other non-invasive tool.
  • Soft tissue lasers can actually help reduce bacterial growth related to periodontal diseases when used in conjunction with other types of treatment.
  • Lasers may also be used to help find your next cavity. They are able to do this by reading the by-products decay produces. 
  • Lasers may be able to seal your tooth tubules, which in turn will reduce the sensitivity of your teeth.
  • Your dentist will be able to use lasers to help to reshape your gum tissue, as well as related bone to expose healthier tooth structure. This process is most commonly known as crown lengthening. 
  • Dental lasers can be used to clip the frenulum, or the folds of tissue, of those who are tongue tied. 
  • Your dentist may also use lasers as a painless, suture-free way to remove benign tumors from various areas of your mouth.
  • Even if you do not have any dental issues, your dentist may choose to use a laser to assist with the bleaching process when they are helping you to have whiter teeth.

Make an appointment with your dentist for more info about all of the ways they are now using lasers in their dental office. You may be surprised to find out that lasers are no longer something of the future; their time has arrived. 

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Posted by on Aug 4, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Suffering From Migraine Headaches? Your Orthodontist May Be Able To Help

Do you suffer from migraine headaches? Have you taken measures to lower your stress, changed your diet, and learned how to avoid most sensory stimuli in order to thwart off those migraines, yet still find yourself overcome with frequent bouts of intense pain? If so, read on to learn how an orthodontist may be able to help.

About Malocclusions 

Ideally, your molars should sit flush against each other and your top front teeth should rest ever-so-slightly in front of your front bottom teeth. Unfortunately, very few people are blessed with perfect teeth alignment. When the teeth aren’t lined up perfectly, the condition is known as malocclusion. While most malocclusions are slight, don’t pose any risks, and don’t require treatment, others are severe and could lead to a variety of problems — including migraine headaches.

How Malocclusions Cause Migraines

When your teeth aren’t properly aligned, your jaw joints and masticatory muscles need to work a lot harder to perform ordinary tasks like chewing and speaking. Over time, your jaw joints can become strained and your jaw muscles can grow fatigued.

Worse yet, people with malocclusions tend to compensate for their crooked alignment by forcing their teeth into unnatural positions when they chew or speak, thus adding more strain on the jaw and worsening the problem. The constant state of stress a severe malocclusion creates can act as a trigger for migraine headaches.

Treatment Options For Malocclusions

In order to treat migraine headaches caused by a malocclusion, you must focus on correcting your bite alignment. There are several different reasons why your teeth may not be aligned properly, ranging from large or extra teeth overcrowding the mouth to irregular shaped teeth preventing a flush bite. In rare cases, malocclusions are the result of a birth defect in which the actual jaw bones are too large or not large enough to support the teeth. The severity of your malocclusion and its underlying cause will determine the correct course of treatment.

For those with overcrowded teeth, the problem may be as easy to fix as a simple tooth extraction. Freeing up a little space by removing a tooth will allow the remaining teeth to relax into their natural position, thus eliminating stress on the jaw. For malocclusion sufferers with a single irregularly-shaped tooth, that tooth can generally be reshaped with a special tool that grinds the enamel down. 

People who have moderately severe malocclusions may need to wear a dental appliance designed to gradually correct their bite, such as braces or a temporary anchorage device (TAD). These devices can be removed once the desired teeth alignment is achieved.

Finally, those whose malocclusion is caused by a deformity of the jaw bones may need surgery to shave down the bones or stretch and strengthen them.

Knowing If You Have A Malocclusion

Just because you don’t have an obvious overbite or under-bite doesn’t mean that you don’t have a malocclusion. In order to know for sure, you’ll need to visit an orthodontist. Your orthodontist can monitor your bite with electromyography (EMG) imaging and a computerized motion sensor to determine the precise location your jaw should sit in order to achieve the least amount of joint and muscle strain. From there, you’ll work with your orthodontist to design a treatment option that best suits your needs.

If you’re suffering from migraine headaches and have had little success with common treatment methods, it’s time to schedule an appointment with an orthodontist at a clinic like Crest Hill Family Dental. He or she can determine whether or not a malocclusion may be contributing to your headaches, and then perform measures to correct the alignment of your teeth if a malocclusion is present. 

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Posted by on Jul 16, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Understanding And Caring For Your Child’s Hypocalcified Teeth

If your child loses his or her baby teeth only to have adult teeth grow in with white, brown, or yellow patches, they may have teeth that are hypocalcified. While many dentists are not exactly sure what triggers this condition, it can lead to some abnormal tooth growth and require some special care. In order to remove the discoloration, your child may need some more extensive dental work done after the teeth have reached adult size. 

What exactly are hypocalcified teeth?

Every tooth has an external protective layer known as enamel. Usually, enamel is extremely hard– it prevents bacteria from damaging the inner pulp of the teeth. This hardness comes from minerals like calcium phosphate, which make enamel the hardest and most durable substance in your body. When teeth are hypocalcified, these minerals are less concentrated in places, because the enamel has not formed normally due to a lack of ameloblasts. These “patches” of uneven mineralization can lead to discoloration. In severe cases, the patches can also lack the characteristic hardness of enamel, making the tooth more susceptible to decay. Some hypocalcified teeth may also have abnormal shapes or sizes. 

Do hypocalcified teeth require special care or treatment?

If you notice that your child has brown or yellow spots on their teeth right when the permanent teeth replace the primary teeth, it’s time to talk to a pediatric dentist. Sometimes, hypocalcification will need a higher level of attention, as soft areas can lead to rapid tooth decay. Other times, the problem may be slight and be more of a cosmetic concern than a dental health problem.

Cosmetic Hypocalcification

If the spots only affect tooth appearance, the dentist may suggest bleaching, which can improve the appearance of the spots. However, if the discoloration is persistent, the dark-colored areas can be removed and filled. But it’s important to wait to fill or cap discolored teeth until your child is a teenager; teeth continue to grow throughout childhood, so cosmetic correction is most effective after the teeth have reached adult size and shape.

Slight Hypocalcificaton

In the case of soft or thin enamel, your dentist may decide to act sooner. Soft or misshapen teeth can make teeth cleaning at home more difficult. If the quality of the enamel is only slightly affected, you dentist may suggest

  • limiting acidic foods and sugary treats, especially those that dissolve enamel. Candies like suckers and drinks like sodas should be a very rare part of your child’s diet.
  • a strict brushing and flossing routine, as misshapen teeth can be harder to clean. 
  • a diet rich in calcium, including leafy greens. When the body is deficient in calcium, it will start to break down calcium stored in the teeth, which can further weaken the enamel.

Severe Hypocalcification

However, if the enamel is too soft to prolong treatment, the dentist will probably suggest removing the problem areas or providing protection for the them until the teeth are large enough to have a permanent treatment. Depending on the size of the calcified area and how badly the tooth is misshapen, you dentist might suggest a stainless steel cap to protect the enamel into teen years. If the soft areas are smaller, fillings can be effective, but they may need to be replaced later. After the teeth have grown, a permanent cap or crown can help prevent further decay into adulthood.

It’s important to note that hypocalcification of any severity can also cause tooth sensitivity– enamel usually protects the more sensitive dentin and pulp of the teeth from intense flavors and temperature changes. Sealing the teeth with resin or capping the teeth can help to alleviate this problem if it majorly affects your child’s ability to enjoy food. For more information, contact a local dental clinic like Dental Associates PC

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Posted by on Jul 6, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Dealing With A Dry Mouth? Tips To Ease Your Discomfort

If you have been struggling with a persistent dry mouth, you may find yourself reaching out to your dentist to find a way to ease the symptoms. The clinical name for dry mouth is xerostomia. The symptoms occur due to a lack of saliva production, which is usually caused by an underlying health condition, such as diabetes or hypothyroidism. Persistent dry mouth can lead to problems with swallowing, unquenchable thirst and general discomfort. Here are a few tips to help you deal with your symptoms while you wait for the dentist, and a look at what your dentist may be able to do for you.

Reduce Your Intake of Sugar

Not only is sugar harmful for your teeth, but its negative effects can be intensified when you’re suffering from dry mouth. Since your mouth doesn’t have sufficient saliva to combat the problem, it can allow the sugar to run rampant on your teeth, causing more decay. If you eat anything with sugar, follow it up with some water and brush your teeth quickly.

Stay Hydrated

If your body is dehydrated, it’s going to increase the severity of your dry mouth symptoms. Make a point to drink as much water as possible daily – at least eight glasses. This helps to maintain your hydration levels. If you are severely dehydrated, your doctor may suggest an electrolyte solution to help restore your body’s necessary hydration.

Invest in Sugar-Free Gum

Chewing gum helps to stimulate saliva production naturally. If you chew gum throughout the day, it will help ease your dry mouth symptoms. Just make sure you’re chewing sugar-free gum; otherwise you’re risking the development of cavities from the sugar.

Use Mouthwash Regularly

Prescription mouthwash products are used to restore the moisture levels in your mouth until your salivary glands can do the job on their own. Your dentist can recommend a mouthwash that’s good for moisture retention until your appointment.

Run a Humidifier

Humidifiers and vaporizers increase the moisture in the air by creating moist vapor from warm water. If the air in your home is dry, this can make your dry mouth symptoms worse. By adding a humidifier to each of the large rooms in the house, you can increase the ambient moisture in the air, which could help to reduce the dryness in your mouth.

Meet With Your Dentist

If these steps don’t resolve your dry mouth condition, you’ll want to talk with a dentist at a clinic such as Dentistry For Children & Adolescents. He or she can do a thorough exam to determine the root cause of your dry mouth symptoms. If it is due to a medical condition such as diabetes, you’ll have to get treatment for the condition in order to see complete relief.

He or she may also ask about the medications that you’re taking, because some medications can cause dry mouth. If the issue is caused by a medication, your dentist may suggest asking your physician about an alternative.

There are some prescription medications designed to stimulate the natural production of saliva in your mouth. These medications can help ease your symptoms until such time as you can deal with the direct cause. In addition, your dentist may also recommend a regimen of certain mouth rinses or dietary changes.

As you can see, dry mouth isn’t something you should just have to live with. Instead, with a proactive dentist and the tips in this article, you can deal with your symptoms, identify the cause and eliminate the problem altogether. Talk with your dentist today about your dry mouth symptoms to see if he or she can help you identify the cause. While you’re waiting for your appointment, the other tips here may provide some temporary relief.

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Posted by on Jun 18, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Baby Tooth Damage Or Premature Extraction: Saving Space For The Adult Teeth

If you have a young school-aged son or daughter, then you very likely have many concerns about the way your child is developing. Part of this development process involves the proper formation of the adult teeth and the loss of the baby teeth. Sometimes, accidents, injuries, and poor oral care can cause baby tooth problems that prevent them from properly saving a space for the adult tooth forming below. Fortunately, your child’s pediatric dentist can make sure that the adult teeth are still able to come in strong, healthy, and in the right position. Find out how this happens by reading on.

Placement of Stainless Steel Crowns

In some cases, children brush their teeth quickly or forget to brush the back teeth. When this happens, food bits force their way into the fine, but deep crevices that line the flat edges of the molars. When food is not removed, cavities form. Unfortunately, the teeth as a whole will retain over 5,000 pounds per square inch of pressure as you bite. Around 160 pounds of pressure is placed on each of the molars alone. This kind of pressure can easily crack a tooth that is already weak.

To prevent a cavity-ridden molar from breaking or to strengthen one that has already cracked, your child’s dentist will secure a stainless steel dental crown.

The Crown Process

As previously stated, the baby teeth are meant to be placeholders for the adult teeth that will emerge later on. This means that your child’s dentist does not need to think about aesthetics when saving a tooth, and thus an inexpensive metal version is created. First, your child is treated for cavities. In most cases, lidocaine will need to be injected beforehand if the tooth also need to to be shaped. If the tooth is broken, then the dentist may use a shot-free laser removal process to release decay. This will minimize pain and reduce the need for a local anesthetic shot that can be frightening to a child.

After the cavity is removed, enamel is removed if there is a need. The dentist will use a pre-fabricated metal cap, and the smallest possible crown will be used that just touches the teeth on the right and left sides of the molar to retain space. The crown is shaped to fit the tooth and bite properly, dental cement is spread on the underside, and it is slipped on the tooth.

After the crown is secured, the pediatric dentist may also use plastic sealants on the other molars to protect them from cavities for up to 10 years, or until the adult teeth come in. This helps to prevent future cavity and crown issues. 

Space Maintaining Devices

If your child has endured a serious accident and one of the baby teeth has been knocked out completely, then it is possible that the baby or adult teeth near the gap will migrate into the space. The teeth do this as biting pressure and stress force the teeth to move little by little to the side. Eventually, the hole fills in and the adult tooth in the gums has no opening to emerge. This can cause the tooth to slip either in front or behind the other teeth where tissue resistance is minimal. Your son or daughter’s dentist may decide to place a space saver or maintainer in the mouth to stop this from happening.

Device Options

Space maintainers can be made and used for many different purposes and reasons. In the case of a missing baby tooth, a fixed or cemented device is needed. If only a single tooth is missing, then a crown and loop device will be used. A connector or crown is placed on the tooth next to the space and a metal ring, circle, or rounded-oval is attached to the connector. The ring sits close to the gums and butts up against the tooth on the other side of the gap. An open space in the middle allows the adult tooth to come in.

If your child is missing one of the first molars, then added support is needed to make sure the space does not close. In this instance, a distal shoe is utilized where a metal prong is stuck directly into the gums. The ring and metal connector will look much the same as the crown and loop device.

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