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There’s one sure thing about tooth decay: you can’t ignore it. In fact, the best outcomes result from finding it early and treating it before it enters the pulp in the center of the tooth, often a filling or similar treatment.
If it does advance to the pulp, you may need a root canal treatment to save the tooth. This is a moderately invasive procedure where we access the pulp and root canals, tiny passageways leading to the root and supporting bone. We then remove all the diseased tissue and fill the empty pulp chamber and root canals with a special filling. Later we’ll crown the tooth for added protection against future infection or fracture of the tooth.
But there’s also another less-invasive method than a root canal called pulp capping. It’s only appropriate to use, however, if the pulp has become exposed or almost exposed by decay, but hasn’t yet shown signs of disease.
Pulp capping can be either direct or indirect. We use direct pulp capping if the healthy pulp has been exposed by the disease process. We first isolate the tooth from the rest of the mouth to prevent contamination and then proceed to remove all of the tooth’s decayed dentin structure. We then apply a biocompatible material directly over the pulp to protect it from further decay and to facilitate healing. We then restore the tooth, usually with a filling, to its proper function and life-like appearance.
When the pulp is threatened by decay but not yet exposed, we may then use the indirect method. In this approach we first remove most of the decayed dentin, but leave a small amount next to the pulp to keep it covered. We then treat this remaining dentin with a material to help it heal and re-mineralize, followed by a temporary filling of the tooth. A few months later we’ll remove this filling and inspect the treated dentin. If it has regenerated sufficiently, we remove any remaining decay and permanently restore the tooth.
As we said, pulp capping is only used with patients with deep decay whose pulp tissue is healthy. But when we can use it we can avoid some of the permanent alterations that often come with a root canal treatment and still save the tooth.
If you would like more information on treatments for tooth decay, 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 “Pulp Capping: A Procedure that May Save a Decayed Tooth.”
Today our team is going to give you simple ways you can help treat and prevent common dental problems at home and with the help of your dentist.
Brush and floss
One of the simplest ways you can treat dental problems like decay and gum disease is brushing your teeth and flossing. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes in circular motions and floss daily in between teeth to remove plaque.
Visit the dentist
Going to the dentist for dental cleanings is a great way to help prevent problems in your teeth. Your dentist will be able to accurately assess your teeth, gums and jaws for any problems that could be treated without creating any further damage.
Increase your awareness
Knowing the symptoms of common dental problems can help you and your dentist have a better understanding of what you’re up against. To find out more information on symptoms of common dental symptoms, give your dentist a call.
No one wants to be faced with a dental problem or complication, but the good news is there are treatments to fix the problem. Don’t let your mouth suffer another minute! If you’re experiencing pain in your teeth or swollen gums, please give our office a call today at 703.754.5800.
Thanks to the many advances in dental care today, there are many teeth whitening options that can give you the bright, brilliant smile you are proud of. If you would like to know which treatment is best for you, we encourage you to call our office today and schedule an appointment with our friendly dentist. Until then, you can consider and try the following seven whitening tips:
- Try over-the-counter whitening systems: Yes, you can brighten your smile in the comfort of your own home. Isn’t that great? As you browse the oral hygiene isle at the store, there are many products that can help you do so, like whitening gel, whitening toothpaste, whitening kits, and whitening strips.
- Use home remedies: Many people believe that brushing their teeth with baking soda helps brighten their smile, so you are more than welcome to try that if you would like! You can also try eating healthier foods more often, like apples, carrots, pears, and celery.
- Take advantage of dental care: Dental care has many treatments that can help improve the appearance of your smile, like dental veneers, dental crowns, dental bonding, and professional whitening treatments. If you are interested in any of these dental treatments, please call our office and schedule an appointment regarding teeth whitening.
- Avoid drinking drinks that can stain your teeth: If you want the whitest smile possible, we recommend avoiding stain-potential drinks like coffee, tea, red wine, and soda. However, if you do need to drink these products, it’s best that you do so through a straw.
- Kick your smoking habit: Smoking completely discolors your teeth. The more you smoke, the more stains you’ll have, and the best way to avoid this occurrence is by kicking the habit. If you need help doing so, please feel free to talk to your dentist.
- Practice good oral hygiene: Your oral hygiene routine is extremely important, especially when trying to achieve and maintain a bright smile. So, brush your teeth every morning and every night, floss once a day, and rinse your mouth with beneficial mouthwash daily. These techniques will help you attain a healthy and attractive smile.
- Visit your dentist: Your six-month checkups are vital if you wish to have a brilliant and healthy smile. At your appointment, your dentist or hygienist will deeply clean, polish, and nourish your smile, giving you the best chance at having a healthy, successful, and attractive oral cavity.
Call our office today if you have any questions. We look forward to helping you achieve the bright smile you deserve!
As you talk, smile, laugh, and sing throughout the day, do you ever feel your denture slipping and sliding around in your mouth? If so, we have a few tips to help you successfully wear your appliance and improve your denture experience. Those five tips include:
No. 1: Eat soft foods
When you first begin using dentures, eating may be a little difficult, which is why we recommend eating the right foods and taking small, manageable bites. The best foods to eat with dentures are fish, cooked veggies, eggs, ice cream, and yogurt. Please do not eat chewy or sticky products, like caramel, taffy, or chewy meats. Once time passes and you become more comfortable with the appliance, you are more than welcome to start adding more chewy and firm foods to your diet.
No. 2: Use denture adhesives
Denture adhesives help the appliance stay in place, making them feel more secure and stable. When using the adhesive, please read the instructions carefully and only use a small amount. Please do not use the adhesive to fix poorly fitted or old dentures.
No. 3: Speak out loud
If you speak out loud in front of the mirror or while you read, it will help your tongue get used to the appliance. It will also train your tongue to move around the appliance without affecting your speech.
No. 4: Secure the denture
Sometimes the denture tends to slip when you talk, laugh, or smile. To keep this from happening, gently bite down on the appliance and swallow. This will put your denture in place before you open your mouth.
No. 5: Adjust your appliance
As the seasons change, your oral cavity will also change. If your oral bones and gums change throughout time, your denture may not fit properly anymore. When this happens, we strongly recommend coming into our dental office to get your denture adjusted. This will keep the denture in the best shape possible for your smile. Please do not try to adjust the denture yourself.
If you have any questions or if you would like to know more, call our office today and schedule an appointment with our friendly dentist! At Heritage Hunt Dental, we want you to have the best dental experience possible, and we are here to do everything we can do make that happen. We look forward to working with you!
Many people do not realize the importance of primary teeth, which are commonly called baby teeth. Not only are these teeth important for eating, appearance, and speech, but baby teeth guide the permanent teeth into their correct positions. This occurs because the permanent teeth develop under the baby teeth. Your child’s first primary tooth will grow in between six and twelve months of age. By the time they are three years old, all 20 primary teeth will have grown in.
The primary teeth usually stay in place until they are pushed out by permanent teeth. Your child’s baby teeth may begin to loosen and fall out by about age six. If a baby tooth is lost early, the surrounding teeth may drift into the empty space. The teeth in the opposite jaw may also move up or down to fill in the gap. This can cause the permanent teeth to come in crooked or crowded.
Once your child has a loose tooth, they may enjoy wiggling it around. This is perfectly fine and encouraged. However, if a tooth is not ready to come out, do not force it. Your child will likely be excited about losing teeth so that they can meet the tooth fairy. If you are lucky, he or she may even go to bed early for their first encounter with the tooth fairy.