Posts for: December, 2012
Hearing the news that you need a root canal often causes anxiety for most people given all the bad press this procedure has received (e.g., “I'd rather have a root canal than...”). However, the truth is that root canal treatment relieves pain; it doesn't cause it. And it is typically highly successful. The real pain occurs for most people when decay is left untreated or the nerve in a tooth under a very large filling becomes infected and dies.
For these reasons, we have put together the following list of questions you should consider asking prior to having a root canal or endodontic (“endo” – inside: “dontic” – tooth) treatment.
- Am I a good candidate for root canal treatment?
- Does it hurt to have a root canal?
- What can I expect if I do not have a root canal treatment?
- Are there any other treatment options for me given my situation? If so, what are they?
- Do you do root canal treatment or should I see a specialist?
- How long will the entire process take from my first appointment until my root canal treatment has healed?
- Will the pain I am in immediately subside after a root canal or will it take some time?
- Will I need or receive any type of sedation while having the treatment?
- Are there any risks associated with root canal treatment? If so, what are they?
- How long can I expect my natural tooth to last after root canal treatment?
- What could happen to cause a root canal to require a second treatment?
- How much will my root canal cost?
- Will my insurance cover all or a portion of the cost?
- Will the tooth be as strong after root canal treatment, or will it need a crown?
- Will there be any special maintenance required on an ongoing basis after I have a root canal?
To learn more about root canals, continue reading the Dear Doctor article, “I'd Rather Have A Root Canal.” Or if you feel you may need a root canal or other dental procedure, contact us today to schedule a consultation.
When speaking about veneers in dentistry, many people wonder what they are really made from and how they produce such natural results. The answer is dental porcelain...and yes, it really is a type of porcelain or glass. Even though they are made of porcelain, not all porcelains are the same. This is one reason there can be such a wide price range when comparing porcelain veneer pricing from one dentist to another. For example, the quality of the dental porcelain used and the expertise of the dental lab artisans greatly impact the price of a veneer — just like other pieces of fine art, pricing depends upon the materials used and the artistry of the person creating them.
Dental porcelains are used to create veneers because of their near ideal optical properties in mimicking natural teeth in shine, opacity, and translucence. And when you combine these facts with the artistry of the lab technician and your dentist skill's in placing the veneers, you begin to understand how veneers are virtually undetectable in cosmetically-enhanced teeth. Another reason for using dental porcelain is that they can be made in many colors, shades and translucencies to enhance the optical properties and natural beauty of whiter, brighter, and visually appealing teeth. However, do not let the word porcelain, fool you when it comes to durability. While veneers are not as strong as natural teeth they are not so fragile that you should worry about breaking or damaging them with normal wear and tear. However, you should avoid biting into extremely hard substances; using your veneers as a tool in lieu of scissors, tweezers, or pliers (you should not use your natural teeth as a tool either!); and twisting your veneers when biting into harder substances.
For a bride, there is so much to remember when planning the wedding — invitations, a dress, flowers, the site, the caterers, the cake, the photographer — the list goes on and on. In the midst of all these things, don't let a very important piece of the plan be forgotten — your smile!
Your wedding will be celebrated every year on your anniversary and commemorated in beautiful photos at any time. It is a special occasion you, your family, and your friends will always remember. But how will you and your family look in those photos? You have an opportunity to get makeovers that will make your smiles shine radiantly, and not only in your album. Your makeover will improve your appearance, your self-confidence, and your oral health far into the future.
Start with a visit to your dentist to assess your current situation and discuss your goals and dreams. Each person's situation will be different. At a minimum you may need a professional cleaning to make sure that your teeth and gums are healthy. Get started on treating any cavities or gingivitis (gum inflammation). If you haven't already, now is a great time to establish healthy dental hygiene habits including proper daily brushing and flossing.
You may feel that your teeth are discolored and need to be whiter and brighter. Your upper and lower jaws may not meet properly for the most effective biting and chewing. Your teeth may be crowded or misshapen. All these things and more can be modified and repaired with today's dentistry.
Teeth can be whitened by bleaching in the dentist's office or with products that can be used at home under a dentist's supervision.
Orthodontia may be needed to repair your bite. Today orthodontia may be done either with traditional braces, or with clear aligners. Remember that this process works slowly, so start well in advance of your wedding day.
After your teeth are properly aligned, your dental team can work on subtle contouring, overall shape and color changes for individual teeth, using techniques such as porcelain laminate veneers. Temporary veneers can be made so that you can try out your new look before the final installation.
Wedding planning works best when started early. To make sure you, your new spouse, and your family look and feel their best, remember to include smile makeovers in your plan.
Modern dental implants not only help you maintain your normal chewing ability and speech patterns after you have lost a tooth or teeth — they also keep you looking younger. How do they do this? Read on.
Do lost teeth cause tooth-supporting bone to “melt” away? Yes. Of course, the bone does not actually melt. Bone is a living tissue, and under normal conditions it constantly dissolves and rebuilds. Stimulation by the small stresses from the contact of upper and lower teeth — something that normally happens hundreds of times each day — keeps these two forces in balance. When a tooth is missing, the bone that normally surrounds and supports the tooth (called alveolar bone) no longer receives the stimulation that causes it to rebuild, and it begins to diminish over time.
What happens if you don't replace missing teeth? The first year after a tooth is lost, the width of the bone that once surrounded the tooth decreases by 25 percent. Over the years, gradually increasing bone loss results in sunken cheeks and lips, making you look older. Gum tissue also decreases, affecting your ability to chew and speak.
What happens if you lose all your teeth? For people who have lost all their teeth, called edentulous, the effects are severe. After the alveolar bone is lost, the bone beneath it, called basal bone, also begins to be resorbed, eventually causing the lower part of the face to partially collapse.
Do partial or full dentures prevent bone loss? Unfortunately, just the contrary is true. A removable denture pressing on a person's gum increases bone loss because the pressures from biting are not transferred into the internal structure of the bone but instead are compressive, which damages the bone over time. This is why dentures begin to fit poorly after they have been worn for a while. This problem can be reduced by anchoring dentures with strategically placed dental implants.
What is a dental implant? A dental implant is a tooth-root replacement that is made of titanium. This metal is able to osseointegrate, or fuse with the bone. For a single tooth replacement, a crown that looks and functions like natural tooth is attached to the titanium implant. As mentioned above, implants can also be used to anchor dentures.
Does an implant prevent bone loss? Yes. When dental implants fuse to the jaw bone, they stabilize the bone. They also provide tooth-to-tooth stimulation that was formerly supplied by the natural tooth.
How long do dental implants last? Dental implants have been shown to last at least 10 years. For most people, implants will last the rest of their lives.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about tooth loss and dental implants. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Hidden Consequences of Losing Teeth.”