Posts for: January, 2016
If you've been told you need a root canal, you might be a little apprehensive. Root canals have an undeserved bad reputation of being painful when in fact, their whole purpose is to relieve pain caused by damage inside the tooth. Beyond that, a root canal keeps the rest of your dental health in check. Here, Dr. Richard Ta, your dentist in Freemont, CA, explains why root canals save not only one of your teeth, but your entire smile.
Why pulling teeth isn't always the best option
In past decades, extracting (pulling) a hopelessly damaged or decayed tooth might have seemed like the best option to arrest the spread of infection and pain. However, this was before the dental industry advanced to the point of understanding that keeping as many of the natural teeth as possible is integral to the health and longevity of the other teeth. This is because the entire structure of the mouth - the jawbone included - rely on the presence of a full set of teeth. The roots of each tooth stimulate the jawbone to continue its growth, and each tooth relies on its neighbor to keep it where it needs to be. When teeth are missing, the jawbone recedes and the other teeth are left "stranded" in the mouth. They begin shifting in an attempt to "find" the missing tooth next to them. These two problems together put you at risk for more tooth loss.
Why root canals are tooth-saving
If the roots of the tooth are still intact, root canals are the preferred method of restoring a tooth for dentists like Dr. Ta in Freemont, CA. While the visible part of the tooth - the crown - needs work, the structures below it are still functional. By clearing away infection inside the tooth, reinforcing it with a strong rubber material, and then protecting it with a porcelain restoration, your Freemont dentist is making sure your natural teeth have a fighting chance.
Don't fear root canals - they're used to keep your smile functional and healthy! If you're in need of a root canal, or any other dental procedure, contact the dental office of Dr. Richard Ta in Freemont, CA.
Taking care of your child’s teeth is a high priority, not only for their health now but for the future too. And that means dealing with their teeth’s most common and formidable enemy, tooth decay.
Your focus, of course, should be on preventing decay through good oral hygiene practices, a healthy diet low in foods with added sugar and regular office visits for cleaning and checkups. But some children at higher risk or who’ve already encountered tooth decay may also need a little extra help in the form of dental sealants.
The most common use of sealants addresses a weakness in young teeth that disease-causing bacteria exploit. Deep grooves known as pits and fissures form within the biting surfaces of developing back teeth and in the rear of front teeth.Â It’s very difficult to reach these areas with daily brushing, so some plaque may be left behind (hence the importance of semi-annual office cleanings).
Inside the mouth, these pits and fissures are in a warm and moist environment and are a haven for bacteria that feed on plaque and produce high levels of acid as a by-product. The acid softens enamel to eventually create a hole, or a “cavity” in the tooth. Children’s young enamel is highly susceptible to this process — it hasn’t developed enough strength to resist the adverse effects of acid.
A “pit and fissure” sealant made of resin fills in the grooves in the teeth to inhibit the buildup of plaque — a kind of “mini” filling. It’s an added layer of protection that complements other prevention efforts. But applying them isn’t an automatic practice — we only recommend it for children at high risk, especially where decay is beginning or it appears the conditions are conducive for it. When needed, though, it can be quite effective in preventing decay or minimizing its effects.
The best way to know if your child could benefit from a sealant is to have them undergo a complete dental exam. From there we can advise you on whether a sealant application is an important investment in their current and future health.
If you would like more information on dental disease prevention for children, 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 “Sealants for Children.”
Can you have healthy teeth and still have gum disease? Absolutely! And if you don’t believe us, just ask actor David Ramsey. The cast member of TV hits such as Dexter and Arrow said in a recent interview that up to the present day, he has never had a single cavity. Yet at a routine dental visit during his college years, Ramsey’s dentist pointed out how easily his gums bled during the exam. This was an early sign of periodontal (gum) disease, the dentist told him.
“I learned that just because you don’t have cavities, doesn’t mean you don’t have periodontal disease,” Ramsey said.
Apparently, Ramsey had always been very conscientious about brushing his teeth but he never flossed them.
“This isn’t just some strange phenomenon that exists just in my house — a lot of people who brush don’t really floss,” he noted.
Unfortunately, that’s true — and we’d certainly like to change it. So why is flossing so important?
Oral diseases such as tooth decay and periodontal disease often start when dental plaque, a bacteria-laden film that collects on teeth, is allowed to build up. These sticky deposits can harden into a substance called tartar or calculus, which is irritating to the gums and must be removed during a professional teeth cleaning.
Brushing teeth is one way to remove soft plaque, but it is not effective at reaching bacteria or food debris between teeth. That’s where flossing comes in. Floss can fit into spaces that your toothbrush never reaches. In fact, if you don’t floss, you’re leaving about a thirdÂ to half of your tooth surfaces unclean — and, as David Ramsey found out, that’s a path to periodontal disease.
Since then, however, Ramsey has become a meticulous flosser, and he proudly notes that the long-ago dental appointment “was the last we heard of any type of gum disease.”
Let that be the same for you! Just remember to brush and floss, eat a good diet low in sugar, and come in to the dental office for regular professional cleanings.
If you would like more information on flossing or periodontal disease, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Understanding Gum (Periodontal) Disease.”