Posts for: May, 2016
Has your tooth been injured, or is it severely decayed, or highly sensitive to temperature changes? Instead of extracting that tooth, your Boca Raton, FL dentist, Dr. Alfred Huber of Reserve Dental Group, may propose root canal treatment, or endodontic therapy. Often thought of as a painful, lengthy procedure, root canal therapy is really a comfortable, tooth-sparing, 2-visit process that keeps your tooth in place and functioning for years.
Why a Root Canal?
Named for the inner chamber in one of up to 4 tooth roots, root canal therapy removes diseased connective tissue, blood supply and nerves from the adult tooth. By x-ray and visual inspection, Dr. Huber can tell if a tooth will function well after this time-tested and reliable procedure. He always prefers saving a natural tooth rather than extracting to keep jaw and gums from receding and to keep surrounding teeth strong and in good alignment. Plus, nothing looks, feels or bites and chews quite like a real tooth.
The Root Canal Procedure
After numbing the area with a local anesthetic and protecting soft tissues with a rubber dam, Dr. Huber drills a small hole into the first of the root canals to be treated. He uses several small files to remove the diseased pulp and to clean and smooth the canal walls. He instills anti-microbial medication if necessary and fills the chamber with gutta-percha, a natural, rubbery sealant.
Dr. Huber then places a temporary filling or crown on the tooth and sends the patient home to heal. Over the counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen, along with a soft diet for a day or 2, usually is sufficient to control any discomfort.
In a week or so, the patient returns to Reserve Dental Group to receive a custom-made porcelain crown to cover the treated tooth. A Boca Raton root canal should last for many years of reliable service. Good at-home brushing and flossing supports gum and bone health as do 6-month check-ups and cleanings with Dr. Huber.
Is Your Tooth Symptomatic?
If you have symptoms of an ailing tooth, call Reserve Dental Group in Boca Raton, FL right away. You can count on Dr. Huber and his dedicated team for an accurate diagnosis and precise and caring treatment. Call (561) 852-7773 for an appointment.
A recent episode of “America’s Got Talent” featured an engaging 93-year-old strongman called The Mighty Atom Jr. The mature muscleman’s stunt: moving a full-sized car (laden with his octogenarian “kid brother,” his brother’s wife, plus Atom’s “lady friend”) using just his teeth. Grinning for host Howie Mandel, Atom proudly told the TV audience that his teeth were all his own; then he grasped a leather strap in his mouth, and successfully pulled the car from a standstill.
We’re pleased to see that the Atom has kept his natural teeth in good shape: He must have found time for brushing and flossing in between stunts. Needless to say, his “talent” isn’t one we’d recommend trying at home. But aside from pulling vehicles, teeth can also be chipped or fractured by more mundane (yet still risky) activities — playing sports, nibbling on pencils, or biting too hard on ice. What can you do if that happens to your teeth?
Fortunately, we have a number of ways to repair cracked or chipped teeth. One of the easiest and fastest is cosmetic bonding with tooth-colored resins. Bonding can be used to fill in small chips, cracks and discolorations in the teeth. The bonding material is a high-tech mixture of plastic and glass components that’s extremely lifelike, and can last for several years. Plus, it’s a procedure that can be done right in the office, with minimal preparation or discomfort. However, it may not be suitable for larger chips, and it isn’t the longest-lasting type of restoration.
When more of the tooth structure is missing, a crown (or cap) might be needed to restore the tooth’s appearance and function. This involves creating a replacement for the entire visible part of the tooth in a dental lab — or in some cases, right in the office. It typically involves making a model of the damaged tooth and its neighbors, then fabricating a replica, which will fit perfectly into the bite. Finally, the replacement crown is permanently cemented to the damaged tooth. A crown replacement can last for many years if the tooth’s roots are in good shape. But what if the roots have been dislodged?
In some cases it’s possible to re-implant a tooth that has been knocked out — especially if it has been carefully preserved, and receives immediate professional attention. But if a tooth can’t be saved (due to a deeply fractured root, for example) a dental implant offers today’s best option for tooth replacement. This procedure has a success rate of over 95 percent, and gives you a natural looking replacement tooth that can last for the rest of your life.
So what have we learned? If you take care of your teeth, like strongman Atom, they can last a long time — but if you need to move your car, go get the keys.
If you would like more information about tooth restoration, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Crowns & Bridgework.”
When designing your new smile, we have a lot of options for changing how individual teeth look: from whitening discolored teeth to replacing missing teeth with life-like dental implants. But the problem may not be how your teeth look — in fact, individually they may look perfect. If they’re not straight, though, your smile won’t be as attractive as it could be.
We can address a poor bite (malocclusion) through the dental specialty of orthodontics. By moving misaligned teeth we may be able to transform your smile without any other dental work, or it could serve as a more solid foundation for other cosmetic enhancements. To find out if orthodontics can make a difference for you, you should begin with an initial visit to your general dentist. A thorough dental examination will enable them to tell you if correcting your bite could be a good option for you. If it is, they’ll most likely refer you to an orthodontist, a specialist in treating malocclusions.
The orthodontist will also perform an evaluation and get as complete a picture as possible of your particular bite problems. This examination will also include checking jaw growth and development in younger patients, how the affected teeth align with other teeth, and if your current bite is having any effect on the jaw joints. This will provide a good overview of not only the malocclusion but how it affects the rest of your mouth.
With this detailed analysis, they can then advise you on the best course of treatment. Most malocclusions can be corrected with braces or, increasingly, clear aligner trays. In certain situations, though, more specialized approaches may be needed, such as isolating only certain teeth for movement.
While orthodontic treatment takes time and can be expensive, the end result can be amazing: an improved bite that not only enhances your appearance but improves function and long-term health. Along with other cosmetic enhancements to your teeth and gums, orthodontics can give you a new sense of confidence in your smile.
If you would like more information on improving your smile with orthodontic treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Magic of Orthodontics.”