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Posts for: November, 2011

By Artistic & Family Dental
November 27, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: oral health   root canal  

Test yourself on your knowledge of this dental procedure.

  1. A root canal is
    1. A canal shaped structure in the root of your tooth
    2. A blood vessel carrying blood from your gum to your tooth
    3. An instrument used by your dentist in performing dental surgery
  2. Which of these are symptoms of root canal infection?
    1. Sharp, acute and intense pain, which is difficult to pinpoint
    2. Sharp pain when biting down on your tooth or on food
    3. Lingering pain after eating hot or cold foods
    4. Dull ache and pressure
    5. Tenderness (accompanied by swelling) in the nearby gums
    6. All the above
  3. If you don't feel any pain you do not have a root canal infection.
    1. True
    2. False
  4. Root canal treatment is a very painful experience.
    1. True
    2. False
  5. Root canal treatment is called endodontic therapy. What does this word mean?
    1. Bringing the end of your problems
    2. Inside your tooth
    3. Fighting gum disease
  6. You need root canal treatment if
    1. The inside or pulp of your tooth becomes inflamed or infected
    2. Your tooth needs to be gently moved in order to correct your bite
    3. Acid erosion is damaging your tooth
  7. During root canal treatment the canals in your teeth are cleaned out and sealed off.
    1. True
    2. False
  8. Who is qualified to perform root canal treatment?
    1. General dentists
    2. Endodontists
    3. Both of the above
Answers
  1. a. A root canal is a canal shaped space within the root of a tooth that holds the tooth's pulp — which contains the tooth's nerves and blood vessels.
  2. f. — all of the above
  3. False. It is possible to have an infection that has stopped hurting but is still present and causing damage.
  4. False. Root canal treatment doesn't cause pain, it relieves it.
  5. b. The word comes from roots meaning “inside” and “tooth.”
  6. a.
  7. True. A small opening is made in the chewing surface of your tooth to gain access to the pulp. Dead and dying tissue is removed and the pulp is cleaned and disinfected. The canals are shaped and then sealed with filling materials to prevent future infection.
  8. c. All general dentists have received training in endodontic treatment and can perform most endodontic procedures. They often refer people needing complicated root canal treatment to endodontists, who have had specialized training in endodontic diagnosis and treatment.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about root canal treatment. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Common Concerns about Root Canal Treatment.”

By Artistic & Family Dental
November 20, 2011
Category: Oral Health

Periodontal or gum disease is an often silent disease that can cause significant damage to the health of your teeth and body. The reason it is so often classified as a silent disease is because it is chronic or longstanding and often without any symptoms or pain that most people associate with a disease until it may be too late.

If you think you may have gum disease, here is what to look for:

  • Bleeding gums — probably one of the most common and overlooked early warning signs that most people ignore is thinking that the bleeding is being caused by brushing their teeth too hard. The truth is that you would have to brush extremely hard to cause healthy gum tissues to bleed.
  • Bad breath — something everyone has experienced; however, it can also be a warning sign of periodontal disease. This is especially true for people who hate or refuse to floss their teeth, thereby trapping literally billions of bacteria where they love to collect in the protected areas between the teeth.
  • Redness, swelling, and/or receding gums — all signs of gum disease often accompanied by sensitivity of the gum tissues around the teeth.
  • Chronic inflammation — long-standing gum inflammation is a sign that your gum tissues are not healing properly. Periodontal disease exhibits periods with bursts of activity followed by periods where the body tries to recover.
  • Loose and/or moving teeth — that seem to be drifting into a new position, are visible signs that you are highly likely to have periodontal disease.
  • Abscess formation — late stage gum disease is characterized by painful, swollen, red pockets of pus, which denotes an acute localized periodontal infection.

If you have any of these signs, you need to make an appointment for a thorough evaluation. Otherwise, you could end up losing your teeth to the second most common disease known to man after tooth decay. To learn more about gum disease, continue reading, “Warning Signs of Periodontal (Gum) Disease.” Or, contact us today to schedule an appointment.


By Artistic & Family Dental
November 13, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures

If you cringe at the appearance of your less than pearly whites when you look in the mirror, you are not alone. A frequently requested cosmetic procedure, teeth whitening is a very successful and relatively inexpensive way to enhance your smile. We can determine which whitening treatment will work best for you after performing a basic oral examination in our office. When will it work and when won't it? Here's some background:

Teeth most commonly become stained or discolored due to surface (extrinsic) changes, the most common of which are dietary and smoking. Foods including red wine, coffee, and tea can cause extrinsic staining. Teeth can also commonly become discolored or stained due to intrinsic (internal) reasons, such as changes in the structure of enamel or dentin or by incorporation of chromogenic (color generating) material into tooth tissue during formation or after eruption.

  1. Toothpastes that claim to whiten teeth are only effective in removing plaque and other surface stains. Although most of these products contain mild abrasives that remove the plaque, they aren't capable of changing the underlying color of stained teeth.
  2. Tooth polishing by your dentist or dental hygienist is effective in removing superficial staining, but will not change tooth color.
  3. Teeth whitening systems work by bleaching, generally with the use of hydrogen peroxide. Using bleaching gels in custom made trays or whitening strips can be done at home, but is slow and the changes are gradual. We can perform quicker and more effective “power bleaching” in our dental office when precautions can be taken to ensure safety due to the higher concentrations of bleaching gels used. Teeth with intrinsic (internal) staining may need internal bleaching to whiten them and this can only be done in the dental office.
  4. Teeth whitening results fade over time, but optimally last from six months to two years. Taking care of your newly whitened teeth by avoiding the foods, beverages, and habits that cause staining will help them remain whiter for longer.
  5. If you have had previous cosmetic dentistry performed, including the placement of composite restorations, porcelain veneers, or crowns, teeth whitening may not be for you. Bleaching agents have little to no effect at all on the materials used to create these restorative products.

If you would like to discuss whitening your teeth with us, call today to make an appointment. To learn more about the various teeth whitening procedures, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Teeth Whitening: Brighter, Lighter, Whiter…”


By Artistic & Family Dental
November 06, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures

Some of the most popular smile enhancers on the market today are both over-the-counter (OTC) and professional teeth whitening products. And while studies indicate that bleaching can successfully achieve noticeable increases in whitening of stained teeth, there are some facts you need to know about these products and the results that they can deliver.

  • Nearly all bleaching products contain the same basic ingredient, carbamide peroxide or its breakdown product, hydrogen peroxide. However, the products our office uses to professionally whiten your teeth are much stronger without compromising the health and safety of your teeth, gums, and mouth.
  • OTC bleaches typically contain no more that 10% carbamide peroxide while professional bleaches can contain between 15% and 35%. And to make professional bleaching even more effective, we may use them in combination with specialized lights or lasers.
  • Bleaching is NOT a permanent solution and thus results will diminish over time. The “fade rate” begins to occur 6 to 12 months after treatment.
  • While you can't avoid the fading process, you can extend your bleaching results by avoiding foods and drinks that stain your teeth, such as red wine, red (tomato-based) sauces, coffee, tea, sodas/colas, and blueberries to name a few.
  • Another method for extending your results is to use a straw when drinking beverages that can stain your teeth so that the liquid does not come in contact with your teeth.
  • If you have visible crowns and/or veneers mixed with your natural front teeth, it may be quite difficult for you to bleach your natural teeth so that they perfectly match your veneers or crowns. Remember, tooth whitening is not effective on crowns, veneers, bridgework, or any type of artificial tooth.
  • One of the most common side effects of whitening teeth is tooth sensitivity and irritation of the gum tissues. They both are usually temporary and often occur when you start bleaching; however, they generally subside after a few days.

Overall, bleaching your teeth is an effective way to brighten your smile with minimal side effects. If it is something you are interested in pursuing, talk it over with us first — even if you plan to use OTC products — so that you have a clear understanding about your specific options and projected outcomes. Or, learn more by reading the Dear Doctor article, “Teeth Whitening: Brighter, Lighter, Whiter....”