When a tooth becomes very sensitive and painful, that is one of the first signs that you should see a dentist for a thorough checkup and X-rays. Your dentist at Blue Ridge Dental Care in Raleigh, NC Dr. Ajamu Giscombe can repair and save that aching tooth with a treatment called root canal therapy. Learn when a root canal is necessary and what to expect at your appointment.
Root Canal Therapy
The outer covering of a healthy tooth is relatively strong and resilient, but over time it can become vulnerable to decay. When that happens, the only solution in many cases is root canal therapy. As the name suggests, the treatment targets the diseased and inflamed canals inside of the tooth. The procedure includes removal of bad nerve tissue, a complete cleansing of the inside of the tooth, then protecting the tooth with a crown. Root canal therapy is highly effective at allowing patients to keep their teeth and avoid dental extraction.
When Is a Root Canal Necessary?
Here are a few signs that you may need your Raleigh, NC dentist to perform a root canal treatment:
- Strong intense pain emanating from a tooth that causes headaches and jaw discomfort.
- Inability to eat or drink on one side of your mouth.
- Boils and other growths on the gumline near a tooth, which may indicate the presence of a dental abscess.
- Bad breath that persists after you thoroughly brush and rinse your teeth.
Root Canal Aftercare
After a root canal, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you won't have to deal with that toothache anymore. Avoid chewing on the newly repaired tooth for a few hour to give it time to heal. Contact your dentist if you have any concerns and schedule a follow-up appointment. Also, if you want to avoid root canals in the future, you have to make good oral hygiene a new habit.
Find Out if You Need This Treatment
Dr. Ajamu Giscombe heads up the dental team at Blue Ridge Dental Care in Raleigh, NC. He will check your X-rays and examine your tooth to see if you may need a root canal. Call his office at 919-781-3862 today to schedule a visit.
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.
Soon after the primary (baby) teeth begin to give way, the teeth a child will have the rest of their lives start erupting into the mouth. But while they’re permanent, they’re not as strong and developed as they will be in adulthood.
That’s why we treat young permanent teeth differently from older adult teeth. For example, a decayed adult tooth may need a root canal treatment; but this standard treatment would often be the wrong choice for a child’s tooth.
The reason why involves the pulp, the innermost layer of a tooth, which plays a critical role in early development. Young permanent teeth continue to grow in sync with the jaws and facial structure. Most of this growth is in the dentin, the layer between the enamel and pulp, which increases proportionally to the other layers as the tooth matures. The pulp generates this new dentin.
A root canal treatment completely removes the diseased tissue of the pulp. This isn’t a major issue for a mature tooth because it no longer needs to generate more dentin. But it can have long-term consequences for an immature tooth whose growth may become stunted and the roots not fully formed. The tooth may thus become brittle and darkened, and might eventually require removal.
Because of these potential consequences, a root canal treatment is a last resort for a young permanent tooth. But there are modified alternatives, depending on the degree of pulp exposure or infection. For example, if the pulp is intact, we may be able to remove as much soft decayed dentin as we can, place an antibacterial agent and then fill the tooth to seal it without disturbing the pulp. If the pulp is partially affected, we can remove that part and place substances that encourage dentin growth and repair.
Our main goal is to treat a young tooth with as little contact with the pulp as possible, so as not to diminish its capacity to generate new dentin. Avoiding a full root canal treatment if at all possible by using these and other techniques will help ensure the tooth continues to develop to full maturity.
If you would like more information on dental care 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 “Saving New Permanent Teeth after Injury.”