Posts for: November, 2016
Although naturally resilient, your teeth still face some significant dangers. Tooth decay and gum disease, “enemies” within the mouth, can severely damage your teeth and eventually lead to their loss.
But there are also external dangers just as devastating — traumatic injuries that can happen in the blink of an eye. Fortunately, we can treat even the most serious of these injuries and increase the chances of an injured tooth’s survival.
Here are some of those common dental injuries:
Chipped or Fractured Teeth. This is a case where a part of the tooth has been broken but it’s still firmly rooted in the mouth. If small portions of the enamel or dentin (the next underlying layer of the tooth) have been chipped, we may be able to reattach them or fill the affected tooth area with a natural-colored filling (larger broken portions may require a complete crown). If the damage has injured or exposed the inner pulp, a root canal treatment might be in order to prevent infection and reduce pain.
Dislocated (Luxated) Teeth. A dislocation occurs when the impact moves the tooth in an abnormal way in the socket. We must first reposition the tooth and, if need be, stabilize it by splinting it to neighboring teeth. This type of injury may also require a root canal treatment.
Knocked out (Avulsed) Teeth. It’s quite possible to replant a knocked out tooth — if you act quickly. Without touching the root, the tooth should be rinsed with cold, clean water and then placed into the empty socket within five minutes of the injury. If placement isn’t possible, the tooth should be placed in a container with milk or with some of the injured person’s collected saliva (to keep the root from drying out), and sent with the injured person to treatment. We need to see the injured person as soon as possible to make sure the tooth is repositioned properly and take other measures to protect it. We’ll also need to monitor it for proper healing for awhile.
Although some injuries may be too severe to save a traumatized tooth, seeking immediate treatment certainly increases the chances for survival. If you or a family member experiences such an injury, keep calm and contact us immediately.
If you would like more information on treating dental injuries, 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 “Trauma & Nerve Damage to Teeth.”
A tooth-saving root canal can help you keep your smile intact if an infection or inflammation affects the pulp at the center of your tooth. Dr. Steve Yi, your El Paso, TX, dentist at El Paso Viva Dental, answers a few questions about root canals.
Why are root canals so important?
If you don't receive root canal treatment for your tooth, it will probably need to be extracted. Treatment also removes infections that can spread through your bloodstream to other parts of your body. Although a root canal might seem like a major procedure, it's one of the more common dental treatments. In fact, 41,000 people receive root canals every day, according to the American Association of Endodontists.
What signs and symptoms may indicate that I need a root canal?
You may need a root canal if you notice:
- Persistent Tooth Pain: If you experience the worst toothache of your life, you may need a root canal. The pain and throbbing may be severe and nearly constant. It may get worse when you eat or put any pressure on the tooth.
- Tooth Darkening: Inflammation and infection of the pulp can cause your tooth to change colors.
- Jaw or Head Pain: Pain can also spread from your tooth to your jaw or head.
- Swelling: The gums around your tooth and your jaw may swell if your tooth is infected.
- Increased Sensitivity: Eating or drinking hot or cold foods and beverages may increase your pain.
- A Pimple: A pimple-like bump that forms on your gum near the tooth may be a sign of infection. You may also develop a fever and swollen glands.
Aren't root canals painful?
Despite what you may have heard, root canals are no more painful than any other dental treatment. Before beginning the procedure, your dentist will give you a local anesthetic and make sure you are fully numb before proceeding. After he opens your tooth, he'll remove the pulp, use a tiny file to clean and shape your root canals, then fill the tooth with a rubber-like material. In most cases, you'll need to stabilize the tooth with a crown at the end of root canal treatment.
Do you think a root canal may be in your future? Call Dr. Steve Yi, your El Paso, TX dentist at El Paso Viva Dental, at (915) 751-1007 to schedule an appointment.
You might think David Copperfield leads a charmed life:Â He can escape from ropes, chains, and prison cells, make a Learjet or a railroad car disappear, and even appear to fly above the stage. But the illustrious illusionist will be the first to admit that making all that magic takes a lot of hard work. And he recently told Dear Doctor magazine that his brilliant smile has benefitted from plenty of behind-the-scenes dental work as well.
“When I was a kid, I had every kind of [treatment]. I had braces, I had headgear, I had rubber bands, and a retainer afterward,” Copperfield said. And then, just when his orthodontic treatment was finally complete, disaster struck. “I was at a mall, running down this concrete alleyway, and there was a little ledge… and I went BOOM!”
Copperfield’s two front teeth were badly injured by the impact. “My front teeth became nice little points,” he said. Yet, although they had lost a great deal of their structure, his dentist was able to restore those damaged teeth in a very natural-looking way. What kind of “magic” did the dentist use?
In Copperfield’s case, the teeth were repaired using crown restorations. Crowns (also called caps) are suitable when a tooth has lost part of its visible structure, but still has healthy roots beneath the gum line. To perform a crown restoration, the first step is to make a precise model of your teeth, often called an impression. This allows a replacement for the visible part of the tooth to be fabricated, and ensures it will fit precisely into your smile. In its exact shape and shade, a well-made crown matches your natural teeth so well that it’s virtually impossible to tell them apart. Subsequently, the crown restoration is permanently attached to the damaged tooth.
There’s a blend of technology and art in making high quality crowns — just as there is in some stage-crafted illusions. But the difference is that the replacement tooth is not just an illusion: It looks, functions and “feels” like your natural teeth… and with proper care it can last for many years to come.Â Besides crowns, there are several other types of tooth restorations that are suitable in different situations. We can recommend the right kind of “magic” for you.
If you would like more information about crowns, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Crowns & Bridgework” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”