Our Blog – West Mississauga Dental
A standard dental procedure that may cause fear or worry in patients is the root canal treatment. Despite its negative reputation, a root canal is a relatively comfortable and straightforward procedure that can save an irreversibly damaged tooth.
What is root canal treatment?
A root canal is a dental procedure that involves removing the infected nerves and blood vessels from the inner part of the tooth and filling it in with filling material. This procedure is sometimes necessary to save a tooth that has experienced trauma.
When does a tooth need a root canal?
When does a tooth need a root canal?
The inner part of the tooth, called the pulp, is made up of living tissues, nerves and blood vessels. If a tooth experiences a trauma, the living tissues can become infected and start to die. Once this process begins, the tooth needs to be treated with either a root canal or it will need to be removed. Leaving an infected tooth in the mouth without addressing it can lead to pain, severe infection and is harmful to the overall health of the body.
Examples of trauma that can lead to a tooth needing a root canal:
- A deep cavity or filling that reaches close to or into the pulp of the tooth.
- Physical trauma to the tooth. Even if the injury does not cause the tooth to break, a hard blow to a tooth may cause it to abscess and die.
- A broken or cracked tooth.
- Repeated dental treatment on a tooth.
Signs you might need a root canal:
- A “gum boil” or a pimple formed on the gum above a tooth. This is a sign of infection draining from the abscessed tooth.
- Darkening of a tooth after an injury.
- Severe tooth pain. If the infection is draining (gumboil) it is possible not to have pain.
- Pain when chewing or when having hot foods or drinks.
- Swelling of the face.
Why choose a root canal over having a tooth removed?
Saving your natural teeth will help to preserve your smile, bite and ability to chew and speak properly. Missing teeth can cause many problems including shifting of remaining teeth and jaw pain. Options for replacing missing teeth, such as implants, may be a more expensive option compared to a root canal treatment.
What does a root canal treatment involve?
- Exam and radiographs (x-rays) by the dentist to determine the problem and if root canal treatment is needed.
- Local anesthetic. This numbs the area, ensuring the procedure will be very comfortable.
- Removing the infected pulp, blood vessels, and nerves and cleaning out in the infection.
- A dental material called gutta-percha is used to seal up the root canals and filling material is used to fill the tooth.
This is all done in one or more appointments and is usually done in-office by the dentist. For more complicated cases, such as curved roots of teeth, a referral to a root canal specialist may be necessary. A root canal specialist is called an Endodontist, they are dentists with additional education and training.
If you think you might need a root canal, seek dental treatment right away. Dental infections can be serious if left untreated.
What Is Tooth Sensitivity?
One of the most common issues addressed by dental professionals is pain from sensitive teeth. Some individuals may have sensitivity affecting all or most of their teeth. Additionally, the problem could be localized to one or more particular areas. Often, the sensitivity is to cold foods or drinks, however, teeth may also be sensitive to sweets, acidic foods or hot foods or drinks. While cold sensitivity is quite common, sensitivity to heat or hot things may indicate a more serious problem.
The discomfort felt by those with sensitive teeth can range from mild sensitivity to very painful and debilitating. Those with extremely sensitive teeth may have to restrict what they eat and drink and may even experience pain when breathing in colder outdoor temperatures.
Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
Gum recession– When gums recede, the root of the tooth becomes exposed. Unlike the strong, enamel-covered upper portion of a tooth, roots are primarily made of dentin. Dentin is softer and more porous and is made up of tiny tubules filled with fluid. While eating something cold, hot, sweet or acidic, the fluid in the tubules sends a signal to the nerve of the tooth which results in the feeling of pain or discomfort.
Dental erosion– If you have dental erosion and have lost all or some of the protective layer of enamel, this can result in sensitivity. Erosion may be caused by diets high in acidic foods and drinks, acid reflux or eating disorders.
Grinding/bruxism– Those who clench or grind their teeth may experience increased tooth sensitivity. However, in advanced cases of grinding, the enamel is worn off the biting surfaces of teeth, and the dentin is exposed.
Decay– Cavities can cause sensitive teeth, as a result, increased sensitivity to sweets may indicate a cavity.
Tooth whitening– Any type of whitening products can cause short-term sensitivity. However, the sensitivity usually goes away after the whitening treatment is stopped.
Treating Tooth Sensitivity
Visit a dentist– It is essential to find the cause of the sensitivity and rule out decay or any other serious dental problems.
Excellent oral hygiene– Keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy is essential in treating or preventing sensitive teeth. So make sure to remove plaque thoroughly by daily brushing and flossing.
Soft-bristled toothbrush– Choose a soft or ultra-soft toothbrush. Avoid medium or firm toothbrushes as these are too hard and cause damage to the teeth and gums. Additionally, avoid brushing aggressively.
Desensitizing toothpaste– There are toothpaste and mouthrinses designed to treat sensitive teeth. Some toothpaste work by calming the nerve of the tooth, while others create a shield around the tooth to block the dentinal tubules. It may take some trial and error to find the right toothpaste that will work for you, so try a few brands for at least a month to see the results.
Varnishes– These are applied by a dental professional. There are different types of varnishes used by dental professionals that will seal and protect the sensitive areas.
Biteplate/nightguard– If clenching or grinding your teeth, you may need to wear a protective appliance overnight. These devices protect teeth from excessive wear and help prevent associated sensitivity.
Limit acidic foods and drinks– Sensitive teeth may be caused by a diet high in acids. If having acidic drinks like pop or juice, try to limit them to meal-times and drink through a straw if possible. Rinse mouth out with water after eating or drinking anything acidic.
While not all tooth sensitivity is severe, it is essential to visit a dentist to get a proper diagnosis of what is causing the discomfort. If you are experiencing sensitive teeth, don’t suffer, visit your dentist. Call us now: 905-785-0669
What Is Xerostomia?
Xerostomia, or dry mouth, is a reduction in salivary flow or production. It is a common complaint heard by dental professionals, especially from the aging population, but people of any age can experience it.
Causes of Xerostomia:
Medications– this is the most frequent cause of dry mouth. Accordingly, many medications list dry mouth as a possible side effect and use of multiple medications of course further increase the risk of developing it.
Sjorgen’s syndrome– an auto-immune disorder which affects moisture-producing glands of the body, resulting in dry mouth and dry eyes.
Chemotherapy– cancer treatment that can cause acute toxicity affecting salivary glands, but usually resolves after treatment ends.
Radiation treatment to head and neck- cancer treatment that can cause acute toxicity affecting salivary glands but may result in permanent tissue damage.
Hormonal changes– some women experience dry mouth during pregnancy or menopause.
Lifestyle factors– smoking, alcohol use, marijuana use, uncontrolled diabetes or high blood pressure may result in dry mouth.
Aging– although not a normal part of aging, dry mouth is more often experienced by the aging population. This is because of increased risk of developing age-related health conditions and increased likelihood of taking multiple medications.
A visit to a health care provider is a good starting point. This can help to identify any health conditions that could be leading to dry mouth. Modifying any lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol or illicit drug use may be considered.
There are saliva substitute products on the market that help to keep tissues moisturized and can reduce discomfort. Sprays, gels, lozenges, mouthrinses, and toothpaste are available for those with dry mouth.
Having excellent oral hygiene can help prevent oral issues that are common with dry mouth. Brushing and flossing thoroughly every day will remove bacteria that can cause cavities and bad breath. Using products containing fluoride can help to protect against tooth decay.
Use of sugar-free gum or mints may help stimulate saliva production.
Making sure to drink enough water and sip it throughout the day will provide relief of dry mouth. Sauces and gravies added to food can help individuals to swallow comfortably.
Regular dental visits are very important for those suffering from dry mouth. Early identification and treatment of any dental issues will be more cost-effective and help avoid larger problems in the future.
If you are suffering from dry mouth, talk to your healthcare provider and dental professional to discuss your options.
What Is Bone Grafting?
Bone grafting is a dental procedure used to build new bone in areas that are missing teeth. Bone is able to repair and regenerate if given the right conditions to do so. Bone grafting is like adding the frame work that allows your body to deposit new bone in an area. This is usually done to restore the level of bone needed to place a dental implant.
A dental implant is an artificial tooth supported by a titanium post which is securely placed in the jawbone. In order for an implant to be successful, it is very important to have enough bone in the area to support it.
If you are considering an implant, the area will be assessed to see if there is enough bone. If needed, a bone graft is done to prepare the area to ensure your dental implant is well-supported and will last for years to come.
Types Of Grafts
Autograft= tissue from another site on the same individual receiving the graft.
Allograft= tissue donated from a human cadaver.
Xenograft= tissue from an animal source.
Alloplastic=synthesized bone graft
Bone grafting is a relatively simple procedure that is done under local anesthetic. There are additional sedation options available if needed.
An incision is made in the area receiving the bone graft and in the donor site (if applicable). Then the grafting material is added, and sutures are used to close the area. Following the procedure, you may experience some minor discomfort in the surgical areas. If post-surgery instructions are followed, and medication is taken as indicated, there is very little recovery time.
If a tooth is extracted with the intention of having an implant placed, a procedure can be done at the time of extraction called “socket preservation.” With no intervention, the bone around a tooth begins to deteriorate almost immediately after a tooth is removed. Socket preservation can make sure the bone stays intact until the implant is placed.
In some cases, only a small amount of bone is needed, and the grafting can be done at the same time as the implant placement. The best treatment plan for you will be determined by your dental professional.
Implants are becoming more common and are considered the gold standard in replacing missing teeth. Bone grafting allows more people to be successful candidates for implants.
Contact us if you think you need a bone graft or could benefit from bone grafting.
What Is A Dental Exam?
Dental exams and dental checkups are terms that are commonly used interchangeably. However, a dental checkup usually refers to a routine check to monitor oral health. A dental exam is also referred to as a complete oral exam or comprehensive exam. A dental exam or complete oral exam is a much more detailed process. A complete oral exam involves the charting of many factors in the mouth. This creates a baseline of oral health against which all dental checkups are compared.
What Do Complete Dental Exams Include?
A complete oral exam or dental exam is like taking a detailed snapshot of your oral health. This snapshot of information will then be used to look for negative or positive changes in oral health. These type of comprehensive exams are done every couple of years to every five years.
This type of exam involves taking photographs of the teeth, gums, and the mouth in general. It also includes taking x-rays of teeth to look for things such as jawbone loss or bone loss in the mouth. X-rays also show sign of dental infection or decay. They may also be used to show the development of teeth in children and young adults.
Your dental professional will also chart some teeth you have and the type of dental restorations present on the teeth if applicable. Other information about each tooth is recorded as well. Things such as gum recession, rotations, attrition levels, abrasion levels, bleeding points, root exposure, and deep areas in the gums are also recorded.
Screening for oral cancer and checking of the soft tissues in the mouth are also completed to note health or any irregularities.
What Do Dental Checkups Include?
A dental checkup, on the other hand, is done a couple of times a year. The dental check-up looks for changes in oral health when compared to baseline data from the complete oral exam. Routine x-rays and dental checkups help to detect subtle or major changes in bone loss, gum levels, deep areas between the gums and teeth, etc. These type of monitoring exams help to personalize a treatment plan that is suited for you specifically.
It is important to remember that most minor dental issues may not be accompanied with pain. By the time you feel pain, the dental issue may have increased in severity so much that major dental work may be needed. Routine dental exams and checkups help to prevent these issues by monitoring oral health continuously.
If it has been a while since your last dental exam or if you have never had a dental exam, contact us to schedule your appointment.
What Is An Implant-Supported Denture?
Unlike a traditional denture that sits or rests on top of the gums, an implant-supported denture is secured to dental implants. A denture that is secured by dental implants offers an extremely stable and reliable fit compared to a traditional denture.
Why Is A Denture Needed?
A denture is needed to eat and speak properly when there are not enough teeth left in the mouth. A partial denture is used when one or a few teeth are missing. A complete or full denture is needed when all the teeth in the top or bottom of the mouth are missing.
Benefits of An Implant-Supported Denture
Ask anyone who has worn a traditional denture, and they will probably mention some of their frustrations. Traditional dentures offer a good fit when they are first worn, but over time the quality of the fit decreases. Implant-supported dentures offer a solution to the issues that wearers of traditional dentures experience.
Preservation of Jawbone:
One reason that traditional dentures become ill-fitting or loose is due to bone loss in the jaw. When bone loss occurs, the gums reduce in size and shape, resulting in poor fitment. Dental implants fuse to the jawbone and provide stimuli to the jawbone just like a natural tooth. An implant-supported denture transfers stimuli necessary for bone preservation when eating and chewing. Traditional dentures do not provide the same stimuli as an implant-supported denture.
Stop Avoiding Your Favourite Foods:
Many denture wearers often avoid eating certain foods because their dentures slip or become loose when chewing. Foods like corn on the cob and steak can be eaten normally with a dental implant or implant-supported denture.
Wearers of traditional dentures may avoid smiling as often due to fear of their denture becoming loose or falling out. A denture that is supported by implants helps to avoid this issue.
If you are unsure whether you should choose an implant-supported denture or a traditional denture, talk to your dentist. Your dentist will be able to explain the many benefits of an implant-supported denture and show you how your quality of life will be improved.
Call us at 905-785-0669 to schedule your consultation now.
Teeth Whitening Tips
The use of professional and over-the-counter teeth whitening products is on the rise. Visit the health section of almost any store and you are presented with a wall of teeth whitening products. Since anyone can pick up any product for over-the-counter use, sometimes the products are not used properly. When you obtain professional teeth whitening products for your dentist, they are always accompanied with usage instructions. Follow the whitening tips included here to improve your results and comfort while whitening your teeth.
Teeth Whitening Preparation
Before whitening your teeth, it is recommended that you have a dental check-up or exam first. Whitening or bleaching your teeth while there is dental decay or cavities present results in discomfort. Patients generally experience mild to severe pain or sensitivity if they whiten their teeth while active decay is present. A thorough dental exam will check for areas of decay that should be fixed before whitening is started.
A professional dental cleaning is also important before starting whitening treatment. Many whitening products rely on the use of a liquid or gel that makes contact with the teeth to be effective. When there is soft or hardened dental plaque build-up, the whitening product is not able to make proper contact with the teeth. A dental cleaning will remove plaque build-up and expose the tooth to the whitening product more effectively. Whitening may not be recommended for patients who have a history of sensitive teeth if they have just had a teeth cleaning.
Like mentioned above, sometimes teeth whitening must be delayed after a dental cleaning. Patients with a history of sensitivity may experience increased sensitivity temporarily after a cleaning. Use of a sensitivity toothpaste or desensitizing toothpaste after a dental cleaning is recommended. The ingredients in the sensitivity toothpaste will help to strengthen the tooth and reduce sensitivity. Use of a sensitivity toothpaste is also recommended before starting whitening and after whitening is completed. The sensitivity toothpaste helps to reduce the effects of sensitivity experienced by some patients after whitening their teeth.
Teeth Whitening Precautions
While whitening teeth and after whitening teeth, things such as wine, coffee, cigarettes and acidic foods should be avoided. Acidic foods and drinks will increase the amount of sensitivity during and after teeth whitening. Try to avoid excessively cold items as well for a few days after teeth whitening.
It is important to note that only some patients experience sensitivity or discomfort when whitening their teeth. If you have a history of sensitivity or experience sensitive teeth after whitening them, follow these tips and you will be able to achieve good results while minimizing any potential sensitivity or discomfort.
What is Saliva?
Saliva is a clear liquid that is comprised of water and other essential substances necessary for oral health. It is produced by several glands that are located in the mouth.
Benefits of Saliva
Saliva plays an integral role in helping our bodies to digest food and to help protect our teeth and keep them strong. Here are a few the functions that saliva provides:
- Lubricates the hard and soft tissues of the mouth
- Helps to remineralize teeth after eating acidic foods
- Facilitates chewing and aids in the tasting of food
- Prevents unpleasant breath
- Flushes away leftover food after eating
- Fights bad bacteria that live in the mouth
Impact on Oral Health
When there is adequate salivary flow in the mouth and a regular oral care routine, the right conditions are present for good oral health. If salivary flow diminishes, especially for a prolonged time, the risk of developing dental decay or cavities increases. Without proper salivary flow, leftover food debris will not be flushed away. Foods that have a soft and sticky type of consistency can linger in the mouth between teeth or in the grooves of teeth. These foods provide an easy source for bad bacteria in the mouth.
A constant lack of saliva will also cause the mouth to become dry, a condition that is referred to as xerostomia. Having a constantly dry mouth will result in bad breath and a parched feeling in the mouth, along with increasing the risk of developing dental decay.
What Can Be Done?
It is important to understand that the cause of a dry mouth or reduced saliva flow can be numerous. Changes in health, certain diseases, certain medications, aging naturally and salivary gland issues are common causes of reduced salivary flow. If the cause is due to the medications you are taking, your doctor may be able to adjust your dosage or prescribe another type of medication to help. If the cause is not related to medications, there are over-the-counter products that can be used to help keep the mouth properly lubricated and moist. Increasing your fluid intake and avoiding foods that act as diuretics will also help.
If you feel like you have dry mouth symptoms that persist for more than a few days, let your dentist know.