Posts for: March, 2017
A root canal treatment is a highly effective way to save a deeply decayed tooth. Sometimes, though, complications make it difficult or even impossible to perform the traditional procedure. In those cases, we may need to use a different option.
Tooth decay becomes an imminent threat to a tooth's survival if it works its way into the pulp, the innermost layer of a tooth. It's only a short advancement from there into the roots by way of the root canals.
In a typical root canal treatment, we access the pulp by drilling a small hole in the biting surface of a back tooth or the back side of a front tooth. We remove all the tissue within the pulp and fill it and the root canals with a special filling to prevent re-infection. After sealing the access hole, we cap the tooth with a crown to further protect it.
Although root canal treatments have a high success rate, re-infection can still occur. Often, a second root canal will save the tooth from the new infection.
In some cases, though, using the traditional procedure might do more harm than good. It's possible we may find extra canals previously undetected branching out from the primary canal at the root end. Canals can calcify and narrow, making them extremely difficult to fill. Subsequent dental work may also prove troublesome: we would have to take the restoration apart, which could further weaken the tooth.
The alternative is a procedure known as an apicoectomy. Instead of accessing the pulp through the crown, we access the root end through the gum tissue. We then focus on removing infected tissue at the tooth's root end, along with a tiny amount of the root tip. We then place a small filling at the end of the root canal (essentially plugging it up) to prevent further infection. We may also perform grafting to encourage bone growth in any voids left by the procedure.
Endodontists, specialists in root canals, have the advanced training and specialized equipment to perform an apicoectomy. With their expertise, they may be able to save your tooth with this specialized procedure when a root canal treatment won't work.
If you would like more information on options for treating decayed teeth, 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 “Apicoectomy: A Surgical Option When Root Canal Treatment Fails.”
Discover how your smile’s appearance could greatly benefit from dental veneers.
Whether it’s a movie star or a sibling, there is probably someone in your life whose smile is so perfect that you can’t help but both envy and admire them. Of course, you don’t have to sit around green with envy. Our McDonough, GA, cosmetic dentist Dr. Robert Brooks can also help you achieve the perfect smile with porcelain veneers.
What are veneers?
Veneers are contact lens-thin porcelain shells that are made to look like natural tooth enamel. Each shell is custom made to fit over a tooth, so whether you decide to improve the appearance of one or all of your teeth, getting dental veneers can help.
What should I know about dental veneers before I get them?
Our McDonough, GA, dentist believes it’s important that every patient understands the full treatment process before they choose any cosmetic or restorative dentistry. Before getting dental veneers you should understand these things,
- Traditional veneers are only applied to the front of your teeth but some tooth enamel will need to be removed prior to placing them.
- Since only about 0.5mm of enamel will be removed this can usually be done with local anesthetic. Of course, once enamel has been removed, it will not grow back so it’s important that you understand that veneers are meant for life.
- Veneers can last up to 10 years or more before needing to be replaced. Brush and floss them daily and treat them just like natural teeth. Keep up with your professional dental cleanings to make sure your veneers remain healthy.
- Veneers are made from porcelain so they are stain-resistant; however, over time the resin may start to darken if you consume a lot of staining foods and drinks. Limit these items from your diet.
- Some tooth sensitivity is normal for a couple days after enamel has been removed and veneers have been placed. This sensitivity should go away after a few days.
- Talk to your dentist about whether no-prep veneers are an option. Unlike traditional veneers, no-prep veneers are very thin and won’t require enamel to be removed prior to application.
- Jaw clenchers, nail-biters and teeth grinders are more likely to damage dental veneers. Talk to us about ways to stop these behaviors to protect the integrity of your restorations.
Brooks Cosmetic & Family Dentistry in McDonough, GA, is here to give you the smile you’ve always wished you had. Don’t wait any longer to find out if porcelain veneers are right for you.
Is having good oral hygiene important to kissing? Who's better to answer that question than Vivica A. Fox? Among her other achievements, the versatile actress won the “Best Kiss” honor at the MTV Movie Awards, for a memorable scene with Will Smith in the 1996 blockbuster Independence Day. When Dear Doctor magazine asked her, Ms. Fox said that proper oral hygiene was indeed essential. Actually, she said:
"Ooooh, yes, yes, yes, Honey, 'cause Baby, if you kiss somebody with a dragon mouth, my God, it's the worst experience ever as an actor to try to act like you enjoy it!"
And even if you're not on stage, it's no fun to kiss someone whose oral hygiene isn't what it should be. So what's the best way to step up your game? Here's how Vivica does it:
“I visit my dentist every three months and get my teeth cleaned, I floss, I brush, I just spent two hundred bucks on an electronic toothbrush — I'm into dental hygiene for sure.”
Well, we might add that you don't need to spend tons of money on a toothbrush — after all, it's not the brush that keeps your mouth healthy, but the hand that holds it. And not everyone needs to come in as often every three months. But her tips are generally right on.
For proper at-home oral care, nothing beats brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, and flossing once a day. Brushing removes the sticky, bacteria-laden plaque that clings to your teeth and causes tooth decay and gum disease — not to mention malodorous breath. Don't forget to brush your tongue as well — it can also harbor those bad-breath bacteria.
While brushing is effective, it can't reach the tiny spaces in between teeth and under gums where plaque bacteria can hide. But floss can: That's what makes it so important to getting your mouth really clean.
Finally, regular professional checkups and cleanings are an essential part of good oral hygiene. Why? Because even the most dutiful brushing and flossing can't remove the hardened coating called tartar that eventually forms on tooth surfaces. Only a trained health care provider with the right dental tools can! And when you come in for a routine office visit, you'll also get a thorough checkup that can detect tooth decay, gum disease, and other threats to your oral health.
Bad breath isn't just a turn-off for kissing — It can indicate a possible problem in your mouth. So listen to what award-winning kisser Vivica Fox says: Paying attention to your oral hygiene can really pay off! For more information, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can read the entire interview with Vivica A. Fox in Dear Doctor's latest issue.