Root Canal: What to Expect

If you’ve been told that you need a root canal, it’s natural to feel anxious. Root canals have a long-held reputation for being painful and uncomfortable. The good news is, the techniques for root canals have improved greatly over the years. Today, root canals are a straight forward procedure that don’t involve severe pain or extensive discomfort. Knowing what to expect can help relieve anxiety and fear. Here’s what you should know if you have an upcoming root canal scheduled. 

Why It’s Necessary

A deep cavity can infect the soft tissue inside your teeth, known as pulp. The pulp contains nerves and blood vessels and can cause significant problems if it becomes inflamed and infected. Because the pulp contains sensitive nerves, it’s common to experience pain that doesn’t recede with over-the-counter pain medication. The pain can make it difficult to chew and talk properly. Unless you intervene, the infection can spread and compromise the bone and other crucial structures of your bite, not to mention the pain and swelling will get worse.

What the Procedure Entails

The goal of a root canal is to save the natural tooth. Your dentist will anesthetize the area so that you have a comfortable experience and don’t feel any pain. The dentist will gain entry into your tooth, remove the pulp, clean and disinfect the tooth, and then seal it. The tooth will continue to be nourished from surrounding tissue. That way your natural tooth stays in tact. Once the pulp is removed, the infection will be eradicated and the swelling and pain will go away. The dentist will take a mould to create a crown. In the meantime you will have a temporary crown. Unlike in the past, root canals can be completed in one or two appointments.

What Aftercare Is Like

It’s normal for the area to feel tender for the first few days. The dentist will recommend a pain reliever as needed. Some patients find that they don’t need one. It depends on the condition of your tooth at the time of treatment. If the tooth was severely infected, it may take a few days for the pain and swelling to subside. It’s crucial for you to follow your dentist’s after care instructions. Additionally, you’ll want to wait until the numbness wears off before eating anything. This will keep you from accidentally biting your cheek. You’ll also brush and floss as you normally would.

For more information about what you can expect during a root canal, talk to a dentist like those at Crystal Smiles.

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Wisdom Teeth Extraction: What You Need To Know

If your dentist just informed you that you need to have oral surgery to remove your wisdom teeth, you may be little nervous about it. But knowing what to expect before you have it will help to relieve some of the anxiety. 

Here are the facts about wisdom teeth extraction:

What are wisdom teeth?:  Most people get their wisdom teeth between the ages of 17 and 25. They are the set of your third molars and they are located in the back portion of your mouth. The dentist is able to visualize them on your x-rays.

Why do I need to have my wisdom teeth removed?:  There are a few reasons why this type of surgery is performed. Wisdom teeth extraction is necessary if the teeth are impacted. This means they may have come in abnormally, they could have come in at an angle instead of straight, or they could be trapped under the gum or cause pressure to the other teeth in your mouth. All of these scenarios could also be causing you some discomfort.

Your wisdom teeth are also so far back that brushing them with a toothbrush is almost impossible. You could have cavities in this area or even some gum disease. There is also the possibility that your wisdom teeth will just not fit in your mouth. Your mouth may be on the smaller size and simply not have any space for additional teeth.

Is there anything that I need to do prior to surgery?:  You will need to inform your dentist of any medications that you are taking. He will likely give you the choice of whether to be totally put to sleep for the surgery or if you just want a numbing agent. Ask any questions that you may have at this time.

What does the surgical procedure consist of?: Your dentist may have to cut the inside of your mouth for the wisdom teeth extraction so that he can remove the teeth. The whole procedure should take approximately 45 minutes to one hour. Prior to this he will give you an anesthetic. Novocaine injections are used to numb the mouth area or an IV medication will sedate you completely until shortly after the surgery. Nitrous oxide through a mask will help you to become drowsy and more relaxed.

After the wisdom teeth extraction is complete the dentist will stitch up the area and apply gauze to absorb the blood. There will be some swelling due to the trauma. The stitches will dissolve on their own after a few days and the swelling should decrease significantly.

For more information, talk with a dentist or other office that offers wisdom teeth removal, such as wisdom teeth removal by Sidney Centre Family Dentistry.

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Dental Health Tips For College Students

Taking charge of your oral health is one more task of adulthood you need to be prepared for as you head off to college. The last thing you want is to suffer a dental emergency while way from home for the first time. The following tips will help you stay on top of your dental care.

Tip #1: Ask about coverage

Although a parent’s health insurance covers you in college, this isn’t necessarily true of dental coverage. Before heading off to college, have your parents check the coverage. Not only should you verify that you will continue to have coverage, but you also need to see if there is a dentist near your school that takes your policy. If you won’t have coverage through your parents, look for a low-cost student policy. Student services at your campus may be able to recommend some insurers.

Tip #2: Take advantage of breaks

Schedule a regular check-up with your hometown dentist before heading to school in the fall. This puts you on schedule to have your next check-up and cleaning right around spring break, when you can make the trip home again. By keeping these appointments with you regular dentist you will only need a dentist near your school in the event of an emergency. Keeping up appointments with your existing dentist is even more important if you are in the middle of a major treatment, like orthodontics.

Tip #3: Study wisely

Late night study sessions can be hard on your teeth. The sugars in some caffeinated beverages can lead to cavities. Dark beverages, like coffee, can stain your teeth. You can help prevent a cavities by rinsing your mouth with clear water or mouthwash after each beverage. Also, make sure you brush before crashing or heading to class, even if you pulled an all nighter.

Tip #4: Act when needed

Don’t be tempted to ignore issues until you visit home on a break. If you feel any type of pain, or notice a problem like bleeding gums, schedule an appointment with a dentist near school. Student health services can help you find one, if necessary. Late teens and early 20s is when the wisdom teeth come in, which can lead to major pain or even an infection if they become impacted or don’t erupt fully. Other issues could be a cavity or cracked tooth, which could lead to the loss of the tooth or a painful abscess if not treated. Contact a dentist from a company like Barrhaven Robinson Dental Care if you have any concerns.

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How To Get Used To Your New Braces More Quickly

Wearing braces can be somewhat uncomfortable at first. When you get home from the orthodontist, your mouth can feel sore and have a tight pressure that is annoying and difficult to ignore. Getting used to your braces can take some time, but there are ways to make the process easier.

Use orthodontic wax

Your orthodontist will likely send you home with some orthodontics wax to rub on your braces to help ease the friction on your gums and inner cheeks. Make sure to use this in the first few days and weeks of getting your braces to help prevent abrasion and help prevent mouth sores. If you are using your orthodontic wax regularly and experience new or worsening mouth sores, contact your orthodontist so they can check your braces to see if any metal wires are jutting out and rubbing against your tender flesh.

In addition to using orthodontic wax, you may want to invest in a lip balm or beeswax-based ointment to rub on your lips and the corners of your mouth. Since your braces will cause your mouth to stretch when you talk and smile for a few days, a moisturizing and healing balm will help keep your lips supple and soft.

Be mindful of your inner cheek

Braces take up new territory in your mouth, and you may bite the inside of your cheek often as a result until your tongue and teeth learn to work with your braces. To help prevent biting your inner cheek, which can cause painful mouth sores, try to avoid eating foods that require a lot of chewing. This includes many meats, candies, gum, and vegetables. Stick to soft foods, such as mashed potatoes, soup, and pudding until your mouth gets used to your braces.

Don’t overcompensate when you talk

You may feel like you have a foreign object in your mouth for a few weeks, but don’t let this impede how you talk. Talk like you normally do, even if it sounds strange at first (it’s common for certain sounds, such as saying “s” or “th,” to sound odd for a bit) so you can get your mouth and tongue used to working with your braces. If you overcompensate when you speak while wearing your braces, this may become a permanent habit that can be hard to get rid of later. Don’t forget to smile–over 70% of teenagers have had braces at some point in their lives–and show off those beautiful metallic teeth of yours.

Getting braces is not the end of the world, and you will get used to them eventually. Try these 3 tips so you can focus more on your smile and less on what’s on your teeth.

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Signs You Might Be Grinding Your Teeth At Night

Grinding or clenching your teeth at night is a terrible habit to get into, since it can lead to cracked teeth, premature tooth decay, and TMJ pain. However, since you’re sleeping when you engage in this habit, it’s not always easy to tell if you do it. Of course, you could have partner or friend watch you and tell you if you’re grinding your teeth, but this is not always an option if you live alone. Luckily, there are other signs to watch out for. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you might be grinding your teeth at night.

Pain in your teeth or jaw upon wakening.

Maybe you feel a dull ache somewhere in your jaw when you first awake, or perhaps you have a sharper, more localized pain that seems to be coming from a tooth. You should certainly have any long-lasting tooth pain checked out by a dentist since it may indicate an abscess or tooth decay, but when the pain only lasts for a little bit each morning, it is often due to tooth grinding at night.

Dull headaches.

Grinding your teeth puts a lot of stress on the muscles in your jaw and neck. This pressure can radiate up into your head, leading to dull, throbbing headaches. Keep in mind that headaches have many possible causes. If you are suffering from them frequently, it is wise to visit your doctor, as you’ll want to rule out more sinister causes like a brain tumor or sinus issues. If your doctor finds no definite explanation for your headaches, however, there is a good chance they are caused by your tooth grinding—especially if you notice them more in the mornings.

Loose-Feeling Teeth

Do your teeth feel like the wiggle around just a little in their sockets? This is probably not your imagination at work. It’s likely that grinding your teeth has loosened some of them just slightly. If you take measures to stop grinding (as described below), your teeth should stop wiggling as the ligaments that hold them in place tighten back up. Note that if your wiggly teeth are also accompanied by painful, gaping, and bleeding gums, they are likely caused by gum diseases—not tooth grinding—and you should seek immediate dental care since you may risk losing your teeth without treatment.

Some patients notice symptoms of tooth grinding more when they have been under a lot of stress. This indicates that you’re probably grinding your teeth at night when you’re stressed, but not when you’re more relaxed. Engaging in some stress-reducing techniques, such as meditation or yoga, may help reduce the number of mornings you wake up sore. If these measures do not provide relief within a few weeks, visit your dentist (like those at Impression Dental). He or she can fit you with a nighttime mouth guard to prevent you from grinding your teeth.

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Dealing With Sharp Broken Teeth Until You Can Get To The Dentist

Whether it is a crown that has slipped out of place or a fractured tooth, the edges of a damaged tooth can be painfully sharp. You may be left avoiding eating, drinking, or even speaking for fear that your tongue will graze the knife-like edge and render great pain. While a trip to a professional dentist, like those at Lifestyle Dental Care, in these situations will be necessary, you have to be able to deal with sharp edges in your mouth until you can make it to the dentist’s chair, which may be a few days away. Here are a few simple ideas you can use to help you prevent a sore, swollen tongue that has been slashed open by a razor-edged dental issue.

Cover the Damaged Tooth with What You Have Available

Sometimes the simplest solution will be to keep the damaged edges of your tooth covered to avoid injuring your own mouth and tongue. This can usually be accomplished with things like paraffin wax, temporary dental filling, or even chewing gum in a pinch. Just make sure your damaged tooth is as clean as possible and use your preferred substance to coat the sharp edges that have been exposed.

Dental filling material will last temporarily, but will start to disintegrate after a few hours. Further, some claim that the substance makes food taste strange. Chewing gum is often stubborn about sticking to surfaces for very long as well. Therefore, paraffin wax is often the better choice, as it can mold to conform to your tooth, is flavorless, and will be more likely to stay situated for longer periods of time—even while eating and drinking.

Wear a Mouth Guard While You Sleep

You may not want to sleep with a foreign substance in your mouth, but chances are, without some form of protection, a sharp tooth will pierce your tongue or cheek while you sleep. This is where a mouth guard of just about any kind will be a huge help. Mouth guards are found in sports supply stores and even health and medical sections at retailers for people who need them to help with snoring.

A damaged tooth can be a big worry all on its own, but when you have a damaged tooth that is dangerous to the rest of the soft tissues in your mouth, it can be an even bigger concern. It is always a good idea to talk openly with your dentist about how you can avoid injuring yourself due to a damaged tooth until you can make it into the office. 

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Causes and Treatments for An Off-Bite

Do you have unexplained headaches and jaw pain? If your bite is off, it can cause you to have a variety of problems. Luckily, there are some different treatments a dentist can use to correct the issues with your bite and relieve your discomfort.

Problems caused by an off-bite

When your teeth don’t sit against one another how they should, it can cause your entire jaw to be aligned wrong. This can cause you to experience pain and it can even lead to the development of TMJ, also known as lockjaw. TMJ is a very painful condition with symptoms that include headaches, teeth clenching, stiff facial muscles, and more.

Reoccurring headaches can come often until you get your bite corrected. The jaw will be pulling in areas where it should be sitting comfortably and this will cause stress and tension on specific parts of the jaw for extended periods of time.

When your jaw is misaligned, your teeth will be rubbing in the wrong areas. This means that the pointy corners of your teeth used to tear apart food properly will wear down over time. Once the sharp points of your teeth wear down, the protective layer of enamel will be gone and this will leave you more prone to cavities and tooth decay.

Treatments for an off-bite

Reshaping your teeth – If your teeth are shaped in a manner that’s causing your bite to be off, then the dentist can reshape your teeth so your jaw falls into correct alignment. Some of your teeth may also require crowns for this process to be done correctly.

Wearing a night guard – A night guard is an appliance you will wear while you sleep. It will hold your mouth in a certain position and this can help align your jaw over time.

Repairing your teeth – If you have a problem with some of your teeth, such as a few of them being missing or broken, replacing or building up these teeth can allow your jaw to once again sit correctly.

Wearing braces or retainers – Sometimes an off-bite is caused by crooked teeth. This is something braces or a retainer may be able to correct.

If your bite is off, it’s a good idea to go in to see your dentist immediately so you can begin a treatment to correct the issue before it gets worse. Oracare Dental offers oral surgery and other treatments mentioned above, as do many other dental establishments, so don’t hesitate to start the path to resolve your problems by getting in touch with one today.

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