Wishing Everyone A Healthy And Safe St. Patrick’s Day 2020.
We are experiencing a turbulent and scary time as a global society. The development of the novel coronavirus (also known as covid-19) has upended many lives and changed others forever. Dental care can sometimes take a back seat in the medical community and in cases like this rightfully so. However, as we have noted many times before on this blog, your dental health is intimately connected to your overall health and immune system. A dental office might be one of the safest places to be during this crisis. On a normal day, dentists follow sanitary and disinfection protocols that match what we are recommending now for everyone else. Maintaining regular dental visits will bring normalcy to our lives in a time when things may not feel so normal.
Dental Health And The Coronavirus
-Maintain Regular Dental Hygiene At Home. Doubly important now to keep our immune systems working properly and keep oral bacteria at bay. Periodontal disease causes an immune response in our bodies due to reaction with bacteria and plaque. This will weaken our immune response but will also affect the cardiovascular system which can delay healing. This should include brushing, flossing, tongue scraping, along with listerine rinsing. Following completion of your at home regimen, wipe down the sink and faucet with bleach wipes to ensure you do not pass anything along to family members.
– Call Your Dentist If You Have Symptoms Of The Coronavirus. With our healthcare system overloaded, your dentist can be an educated person to discuss what may or may not be going on with your health. For many, first signs of any symptoms and they may panic. Main coronavirus symptoms include fever, difficulty breathing, and a dry cough. Be aware of the differences between influenza and even seasonal allergies. Generally a fever above 101 is cause for concern for coronavirus.
-Maintain Regular Dental Visits. If healthy and asymptomatic, it is recommended to continue treatment to stay healthy and oral disease free. This is especially important for dental hygiene visits and to receive regular examinations to avoid dental emergencies.
-Take Daily Vitamins and Extra Vitamin C. We tend to eat more comfort foods and carbohydrates during times of crisis. This can leave us without recieving the proper nutrition to keep up our health and immune systems in check. This can help ward off disease.
–Hand Washing Is More Important Than Ever. We have bad habits of touching our faces hundreds of times per day. If we keep our hands clean we will limit chances of passing any viruses or bacteria to ourselves. Proper hand washing techniques include using soap and hot water and for at least 20 seconds.
-Call Dentist Ahead. If you are nervous about sitting in a waiting room call ahead and let the dental staff know you are waiting in your car. The staff will call you when it is time to come in for your appointment. We try to keep everyone moving quickly but sometimes it is unavoidable to have people waiting in the waiting room even if it is just for a few minutes.
Coronavirus And Dentistry Conclusion
As previously mentioned this is a scary time for all of us as a society. We will get through this and we will try to maintain some level of normalcy. Our office is always available for any questions you might have. If you are feeling ill or have been out of the country recently please call ahead and let us know, so we can make a determination if we need to reschedule your appointment for the safety of our staff as well as other patients.
Root canal and pain go hand in hand in many people’s minds. Generally our fears and anxiety stem from others telling us their experiences and not from our own. A root canal (also referred to as RCT or root canal therapy) is a dental procedure where the damaged nerve (also called the pulp) of a tooth is removed. Following removal of the nerve, the canals of the tooth are cleaned and sterilized. Following this cleaning process the canals are filled and sealed permanently to avoid future dental infection. If treatment is not undertaken, the dental infection will affect the tooth along with surrounding oral structures (like gums and bone tissues) and a dental abscess can form in the area as the infection looks to escape.
The reason for the removal of the tooth’s nerve is because these nerves (along with associated blood vessels) is responsible with providing hydration and nutrients to our teeth. They also give us the ability to sense hot and cold.
Surveys over the years find that root canal therapy is considered the most feared of all dental procedures. These surveys also found people’s views on root canal therapy is based on what others have told them and not their own individual experiences. This leads to people believing mostly inaccurate stories about root canals. It is the fear of the unknown as I like to call it.
Myths Surrounding Root Canal Therapy
Myth #1 – Root Canal Therapy Is Painful
Root canal therapy does not directly cause pain, this therapy is designed to relieve it! With modern anesthetics, techniques, and technology, root canal therapy is no more painful than getting a simple filling. The major cause of root canal therapy pain is the infection that a patient may present with. An infected site will cause extreme pain that can be difficult to get under control initially.
Your dentist will make sure you are comfortably anesthetized and relaxed prior to beginning root canal therapy. The removal of the pain-causing infected pulp from your tooth will relieve any pressure that is built up causing some of that discomfort. After the infected tissues are cleaned out, your tooth will be sealed closed to keep out any further invading bacteria and repair the enamel of the tooth with a dental filling or a protective dental crown.
Myth #2 – Why Not Just Remove The Tooth?
A well trained dentist will always use tooth extraction as a “last resort” type dental treatment. Nothing functions as well as your own natural teeth, so tooth preservation whenever possible is always the best course of treatment. Root canal therapy allows you to keep your natural tooth. This prevents you from having to resort to other extensive dental treatments, such as dental bridges or dental implants, to help replace the lost tooth and restore your smile.
Myth #3 – Root Canal Therapy Is Only For Teeth Causing Pain
Sometimes a dental infection has become so severe that the tooth actually dies. You may no longer be feeling any pain but infection is still present and damaging your underlying bone structure. A lot of the pain and discomfort we feel when dental infection is present is pressure. A dental infection can sometimes cause a bump in the gum tissue where the infection can leak out relieving that pressure and allowing it to feel better even though it is not. Even at this point, root canal therapy can still save the tooth structure itself. This is one of the reasons for routine dental examinations and radiographs. These visits can let us see changes as they happen before they become bigger issues. Regular visits will actually save you money over the long haul but sometimes that is hard to understand.
Myth #4 – Root Canal Therapy Takes A Long Time
Most root canal therapy treatment can be completed in 1-2 visits. If there is no active, serious dental infection present they can sometimes be finished in just one appointment or you may have to return to complete the filling or crown procedure. The condition of your tooth following root canal therapy and the severity of infection dictate the treatment time needed. Sometimes a dental crown is not needed but is usually recommended as the tooth will become more brittle without the natural nutrients and blood flowing thru the tooth.
Myth #5 – Dental Infections Are Common Following Root Canal Therapy
A re infection of the tooth root can happen, but it is not very common. If dental infection returns to the tooth, further dental treatment will be needed. The newest dental materials and technques used to fill a tooth following root canal therapy have been specifically designed to significantly reduce the likelihood of developing another dental infection in that tooth.
Root Canal Therapy Myths Conclusion
Root canal therapy has developed a very bad reputation over the years. Rest assured with new techniques it can be a painless experience. If you are feeling dental anxiety speak to your dentist and they can offer you advice on how to best cope.
Orthodontics is not just for kids any more. Adults are getting in on the act to get a straighter smile. For some it may seem like a daunting task but the actual procedure can be quite easy if you know what to expect.
Initial Orthodontic Braces Consultation
If orthodontic braces are something you are thinking about it is best to speak to your dentist first to see what your options might be. Modern orthodontics has multiple options and one may be better for you over another. An educated patient is the best patient. Depending on the severity of your orthodontic case, your dentist may be able to treat you in their office or they may feel it is better for you to see an orthodontist. An orthodontist is a specialist in the world of dentistry.
The treatment will be very similar between the two. Initial consultation will include a complete intra and extra oral examination, necessary radiographs, photographs, and models of your teeth. Using all of this information your dentist can develop the proper treatment plan that best fits your needs. You will also tell your dentist exactly what you want to achieve during this treatment. This extra information will also help in developing the treatment plan.
Orthodontic Treatment Options
Treatment options include:
-Traditional Orthodontic Braces. These are your traditional braces used for many years which are on the outside (and sometimes on the inside) of your teeth. These are less esthetic but can do more than the more modern methods for severe cases. A major drawback to these besides esthetics is the ability to maintain dental hygiene. These braces will make it harder to keep the teeth clean during treatment. Something to consider if presented with this option and your dental hygiene is lacking.
–Invisalign or Clear Aligners. These have become quite popular especially among teenagers and adults. This type of orthodontics has the advantage of being far more esthetic and also giving you the ability to remove them on your own to maintain good dental hygiene. The drawbacks for them are they are not for everyone and they can be easily lost as they need to be removed for eating. This is especially important for children and teenagers.
Orthodontic Braces Procedure
If you have chosen the invisalign route, the actual procedure is quite simple. Following initial models and possibly 3d scans, your invisalign aligners will be made and you will change them out generally every 2 weeks with periodic visits back to dentist to ensure treatment is going as planned. In some cases, there may be the need for additional hardware to be used in conjunction with invialign aligners but not always.
For traditional orthodontics your dentist will begin by thoroughly cleaning and drying your teeth. Then they will apply a bonding material to your teeth in order to be able to attach the orthodontic bands and brackets. Once they are in place, they will install the arch wire into the brackets and use elastic to secure them in place. Generally the entire initial treatment takes between 1 – 2 hours. Though the actual installation of orthodontic brackets and wire itself is not painful, it is not uncommon to feel some level of discomfort afterward. Initially, your tongue and cheek will rub against the braces, which may cause some sensitivity, and your teeth may feel sore. Getting used to the braces will generally takes about 7-10 days.
Dental Hygiene Maintenance
This area is critical when undergoing orthodontic treatment. It does not matter how straight your teeth are when they are done if tooth decay and periodontal disease has taken hold of your straight smile. It will take a concerted effort between yourself and your dentist to stay on track. If you are undergoing orthodontic treatment or thinking about it speak to your dentist how to keep your oral hygiene so that you do not develop issues when treatment is complete.
Orthodontic Treatment Conclusion
Orthodontics is a great tool for cosmetic dentists to complete the transformation of someone’s smile. A well designed orthodontic treatment can give results that last for a lifetime of smiles. As always see your dentist regularly for dental examinations and cleanings.