Root canals are performed to save teeth. In the United States, they save an estimated 24 million teeth every year. If the pulp (the soft tissue containing the blood vessels and nerves of your tooth) becomes infected or damaged, then a root canal procedure is carried out to remove the pulp. Being in need of a procedure is typically more painful than the actual root canal experience itself. Signs of infected pulp include swelling, sensitivity and pain when you bite down or push on your tooth.
Once the affected tissue is removed by your endodontist, a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of the dental pulp, you don't have to worry about the pain and discomfort stemming from infected pulp or about the infection getting worse. You will likely be able keep your natural tooth for the rest of your life, pending injury or other dental issues. Damaged pulp is replaced by a rubber like material called gutta percha. Once the procedure is complete, usually after one or two appointments, you can see your dentist to have your tooth restored with a crown or filling. You will be able to resume your everyday oral habits, such as chewing, smiling, brushing and flossing.
Numbing and Medication
According to the American Association of Endodontists, most patients feel little to no pain while a root canal is being performed. Before the procedure is done, the tooth and surrounding area are numbed to prevent the sensation of pain. For a few days after the treatment, expect some pain and sensitivity. Your endodontist will recommend over-the- counter pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen, or he will give you a prescription pain medication to ease any temporary discomfort. Pain that doesn't clear up after a few days or that returns months or even years after a treatment is not normal and could be a sign of a new infection. If this happens, let your dentist know right away.
Tell your dentist (and doctor) if you are pregnant. Even if you only think you might be pregnant, let your dental office know. Routine dental care can be done any time during pregnancy. Any urgent procedure can be done, as well. All elective dental procedures, however, should be postponed until after the delivery. Before you have your dental appointment, check with your obstetrician to see if she has any special precautions/instructions for you.
Tell your dentist the names and dosages of all drugs you are taking – including medications and prenatal vitamins prescribed by your doctor – as well as any specific medical advice your doctor has given you. Your dentist may need to alter your dental treatment plan based on this information.
Dental X-rays can be done during pregnancy. Your dentist will use extreme caution to safeguard you and your baby, such as shielding your abdomen and thyroid. Advances in technology have made X-rays much safer today than in past decades.
Don't skip your dental checkup appointment simply because you are pregnant. Now more than any other time, regular periodontal (gum) exams are very important, because pregnancy causes hormonal changes that put you at increased risk for periodontal disease and for tender gums that bleed easily – a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. Pay particular attention to any changes in your gums during pregnancy. If tenderness, bleeding or gum swelling occurs at any time during your pregnancy, talk with your dentist or periodontist as soon as possible.
Follow good oral hygiene practices to prevent and/or reduce oral health problems.
Toothache, also known as dental pain, is pain in the teeth and/or their supporting structures, caused by dental deseases or pain referred to the teeth by non-dental diseases. Common causes include inflammation of the pulp, usually in response to tooth decay, dental trauma, or other factors, dentin hypersensitivity (short, sharp pain, usually associated with exposed root surfaces), apical periodontitis (inflammation of the periodontal ligament and alveolar bone (around the root apex), dental abscesses (localized collections of pus, such as apical abscess, pericoronal abscess, and periodontal abscess), alveoral osteitis ("dry socket", a possible complication of tooth extraction, with loss of the blood clot and exposure of bone), acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (a gum infection, also called "trenchmouth"), temporomandibular disorder and others.
When a tooth has been knocked out, the nerves, blood vessels and supporting tissues are damaged, too. The nerves and blood vessels can't be repaired. That is why all avulsed teeth will need a root canal. However, the bone can reattach to the root of the tooth once it's put back into place.
The odds of saving a tooth are highest in young children, but adult teeth can be saved as well. Only permanent teeth should be re-implanted.
It is important to get to the dentist as quickly as possible after a tooth has been knocked out. It is also important to avoid damaging the tooth even more.
Follow these suggestions to improve the chances of saving your tooth:
1) Handle the tooth carefully. Try not to touch the root (the part of the tooth that was under the gum). It can be damaged easily.
2) If the tooth is dirty, hold it by the upper part (the crown) and rinse it with milk. If you don't have any milk, rinse it with water. Don't wipe it off with a washcloth, shirt or other fabric. This could damage the tooth.
3) Keep the tooth moist. Drop it into a glass of milk. If you can't do this, place the tooth in your mouth, between the cheek and gum. A young child may not be able to safely "store" the tooth in his or her mouth without swallowing it. Instead, have the child spit into a cup. Place the tooth in the cup with the saliva. If nothing else is available, place the tooth in a cup of water. The most important thing is to keep the tooth moist.
4) Try slipping the tooth back into its socket. In many cases, it will slip right in. Make sure it's facing the right way. Don't try to force it into the socket. If it doesn't go back into place easily and without pressure, then just keep it moist (in milk, saliva or water) and get to the dentist as soon as you can.
If the tooth is intact (not broken in pieces), it is always a good idea to try to save it.
Machine-spun cotton candy was invented in 1897 by the dentist William Morrison and confectioner John C. Wharton and first introduced to a wide audience at the 1904 World's Fair as "Fairy Floss" with great success, selling 68,655 boxes at 25¢ per box (equivalent to $6 per box today). Joseph Lascaux, a dentist from New Orleans, Louisiana, invented a similar cotton candy machine in 1921. In fact, the Lascaux patent named the sweet confection “cotton candy” and the "fairy floss" name faded away, although it retains this name in Australia. In the 1970s an automatic cotton candy machine was created which made the product and packaged it. This made it easier to produce and available to sell at carnivals, fairs, and stores in the 1970s and on.
While blenders and ice crushers are perfect for crunching ice cubes, teeth are not.
Many people habitually chew on ice, especially during the summer months. That’s when dentists' offices are crowded with patients suffering from gum injuries and broken teeth. The American Dental Association says avoiding chewing ice is a simple way to avoid tooth injuries.
For refreshment, instead of crushing big chunks of ice with the teeth, dentists recommend letting ice slivers melt in the mouth like candy. Dentists also recommend baby carrots or apple chunks to ice chewers who are seeking a crunch.
But anyone who has a persistent ice-chewing habit and finds it difficult to stop should let his or her dentist know.
Most mammals have a set of baby teeth that eventually fall out and are replaced by adult teeth, which they keep for their entire lives. Elephants are different, however. They go through six sets of large, brick-like teeth that grow in at the back of their mouths and slowly move to the front as they are worn down. The teeth then fall out and are replaced by fresh ones.
Consequently, elephants have no use for dentists, and have been known to laugh openly when they encounter dental hygienists on safari. There is evidence of elephants in the wild eating five hundred pounds of coconut macaroons in one day, without flossing.
Each set of elephant teeth that grows in is larger than the last. The final teeth are over eight inches long (21 cm) from front to back and weigh more than eight pounds (4 kg). When an elephant's final set of teeth falls out, the elephant slowly dies of malnutrition or starvation. This is a pretty poorly designed animal, if you ask me.
Old elephants will seek out wet, marshy areas where the plants are softer, so they can more easily eat them. However, in the end, this doesn't really help and they die anyway, much to the amusement of vacationing dental hygienists.
Many dentists agree that proper brushing takes at least two minutes. You can use a timer to make it a bit more fun. There are also electronic toothbrushes that have self-timers to help you get back on track. Though it is important to pay attention to how long you're brushing, it's even more important to make sure all surfaces are clean. Remember to brush using short strokes, moving back and forth against the teeth and gums, around the surface of every tooth. Use the tip of the brush to reach behind each front tooth on the top and bottom. In addition, don't forget flossing - it's just as important as brushing.
If you don't brush your teeth long enough, you may not be getting your teeth clean enough. If you leave behind bacteria on the teeth after brushing, it can lead to serious problems such as gingivitis or periodontitis.
Can too much brushing be detrimental?
It's not an issue of brushing for too long, it's an issue of applying too much pressure when brushing. Using too much pressure can cause abrasion of the enamel and of the gum tissue, which can lead to tooth sensitivity. Guarna recommends trying to use your non-dominant hand to brush - you may be amazed to realize just how much pressure you are applying.
Pulpitis is inflammation of dental pulp tissue. The pulp contains the blood vessels the nerves and connective tissue inside a tooth and provides the tooth’s blood and nutrients.
When the pulp becomes inflamed, pressure begins to build up in the pulp cavity, exerting pressure on the nerve of the tooth and the surrounding tissues. Pressure from inflammation can cause mild to extreme pain, depending upon the severity of the inflammation and the body's response. Unlike other parts of the body where pressure can dissipate through the surrounding soft tissues, the pulp cavity is very different. It is surrounded by dentin, a hard tissue that does not allow for pressure dissipation, so increased blood flow, a hallmark of inflammation, will cause pain.
If the teeth are denervated, this can lead to irreversible pulpitis, depending on the area, rate of infection, and length of injury. This is why people who have lost their dental innervation have a reduced healing ability and increased rate of tooth injury. Thus, as people age, their gradual loss of innervation leads to pulpitis.
Proper flossing removes plaque and food particles in places where a toothbrush cannot easily reach — under the gumline and between your teeth. Because plaque build-up can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, daily flossing is highly recommended.
To receive maximum benefits from flossing, use the following proper technique:
Starting with about 18 inches of floss, wind most of the floss around each middle finger, leaving an inch or two of floss to work withHolding the floss tautly between your thumbs and index fingers, slide it gently up-and-down between your teethGently curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure you go beneath the gumline. Never snap or force the floss, as this may cut or bruise delicate gum tissueUse clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to toothTo remove the floss, use the same back-and-forth motion to bring the floss up and away from the teeth.
There are two types of floss from which to choose:
Nylon (or multifilament) flossPTFE (monofilament) floss
Nylon floss is available waxed and unwaxed, and in a variety of flavors. Because this type of floss is composed of many strands of nylon, it may sometimes tear or shred, especially between teeth with tight contact points. While more expensive, single filament (PTFE) floss slides easily between teeth, even those with tight spaces between teeth, and is virtually shred-resistant. When used properly, both types of floss are excellent at removing plaque and debris.
In dentistry a veneer is a layer of material placed over a tooth, veneers improve the aesthitics of a smile and/or protect the tooth's surface from damage. There are two main types of material used to fabricate a veneer: composite and dental porcelain. A composite veneer may be directly placed (built-up in the mouth), or indirectly fabricated by a dental technician in a dental lab, and later bonded to the tooth, typically using a resin cement. In contrast, a porcelain veneer may only be indirectly fabricated. Veneers are a less intrusive option than crowns or braces. According to the British Dental Health Foundation, veneers can be used to close gaps or correct small misalignments. Patients also choose veneers as a comestic solution to enhance the brightness of their teeth and to straighten their smile, correcting issues like discoloration, fractures, or chips.