Posts for tag: tooth decay
“Less is more” is a truism for much of life. It’s also an important feature of an emerging approach to treating tooth decay known as minimally invasive dentistry (MID).
MID updates another revolution in dental care that occurred in the early 1900s. Treating decay took a quantum leap thanks to techniques developed by Dr. G. V. Black, considered the father of modern dentistry. Dr. Black’s approach (known as “extension for prevention”) involved not only removing decayed tooth structure, but also adjacent areas deemed vulnerable to decay, which made them easier to clean. On the downside, though, it also created larger than normal fillings.
As the practice prevailed through much of the Twentieth Century another weakness became apparent—the approach could not guarantee a treated tooth would not experience decay again. This became the real impetus toward MID—to find more comprehensive ways to treat decay with as little impact on the tooth structure as possible.
These efforts received a real boost from emerging technology. This was especially true in diagnostics with the rise of new devices like intraoral cameras and techniques like laser fluorescence that can enable dentists to detect decay much earlier. It’s now possible to catch the disease at an earlier stage before substantial damage to the tooth occurs.
MID has also led to new treatments that preserve more of the tooth structure. Traditional drilling is increasingly giving way to air abrasion, the use of a fine particle stream of aluminum oxide, glass beads or baking soda directed precisely at decayed structure and minimizing damage to healthy structure. We’re also using new filling materials like composite resin for restorations after treatment that are strong yet still life-like and attractive.
We also can’t forget the role of the twin daily hygiene practices brushing and flossing to remove bacterial plaque, the main source of dental disease. And regular dental cleanings and checkups round out the MID approach, helping to ensure that decay doesn’t get too far. The end result of this revolutionary approach: your teeth can experience less impact from treatment and remain healthier and more attractive in the long-run.
If you would like more information on minimally invasive dental care, 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 “Minimally Invasive Dentistry: When Less Care is more.”
Do you think you might need a root canal? Dr. Gregory Hysong and Dr. Lynda LePore, your Silver Spring, MD, dentists at Colesville Dentistry, share some signs you may need a root canal and explain how the treatment can help you.
Signs and symptoms
You may need a root canal if you experience any of these signs and symptoms:
- Severe pain in a tooth
- Pain that increases when you chew or put pressure on a tooth
- Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures that continues even after you stop eating or drinking
- Darkening of a tooth
- Swelling gums
If your problem is caused by a dental abscess, you may also notice:
- A pimple on the gum near the tooth
- Swollen lymph nodes
Abscesses are particularly dangerous because the bacteria in the pulp can find its way into your bloodstream. If it reaches your brain or heart, it could trigger a stroke or heart attack.
What causes the problem?
Root canals are used to relieve infections and inflammation in tooth pulp. The pulp is located in the center of a tooth and contains connective tissue, nerves and blood vessels. It can become inflamed due to:
- Tooth trauma caused by an accident or blow to your face
- Severe decay
- A crack that provides a convenient pathway for bacteria to enter your tooth
- Repeated dental procedures on the tooth
What happens during a root canal?
Removing the infected or inflamed pulp not only relieves your symptoms but also saves your tooth. Your Silver Spring dentist drills into your tooth to expose the pulp, then removes it from the center of the tooth and the root canals that extend from the top of your tooth into the roots. After the pulp is removed, your dentist cleans and shapes the canals using tiny files.
They may also add small posts that will support the crown that will be added to the tooth at the completion of the procedure. At the conclusion of your first visit, you'll receive a temporary filling. When you return in about a week, the tooth will be permanently filled and sealed with a durable, rubber-like material.
Are you concerned about a painful tooth? Call Dr. Hysong and Dr. LePore, your Silver Spring, MD, dentists at Colesville Dentistry, at (301) 384-6000 to schedule an appointment.
Cavities can happen even before a baby has his first piece of candy. This was the difficult lesson actor David Ramsey of the TV shows Arrow and Dexter learned when his son DJ’s teeth were first emerging.
“His first teeth came in weak,” Ramsey recalled in a recent interview. “They had brown spots on them and they were brittle.” Those brown spots, he said, quickly turned into caviÂties. How did this happen?
Ramsey said DJ’s dentist suspected it had to do with the child’s feedings — not what he was being fed but how. DJ was often nursed to sleep, “so there were pools of breast milk that he could go to sleep with in his mouth,” Ramsey explained.
While breastfeeding offers an infant many health benefits, problems can occur when the natural sugars in breast milk are left in contact with teeth for long periods.Â Sugar feeds decay-causing oral bacteria, and these bacteria in turn release tooth-eroding acids. The softer teeth of a young child are particularly vulnerable to these acids; the end result can be tooth decay.
This condition, technically known as “early child caries,” is referred to in laymen’s terms as “baby bottle tooth decay.” However, it can result from nighttime feedings by bottle or breast. The best way to prevent this problem is to avoid nursing babies to sleep at night once they reach the teething stage; a bottle-fed baby should not be allowed to fall asleep with anything but water in their bottle or “sippy cup.”
Here are some other basics of infant dental care that every parent should know:
- Wipe your baby’s newly emerging teeth with a clean, moist washcloth after feedings.
- Brush teeth that have completely grown in with a soft-bristled, child-size toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice.
- Start regular dental checkups by the first birthday.
Fortunately, Ramsey reports that his son is doing very well after an extended period of professional dental treatments and parental vigilance.
“It took a number of months, but his teeth are much, much better,” he said. “Right now we’re still helping him and we’re still really on top of the teeth situation.”
If you would like more information on dental care for babies and toddlers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Age One Dental Visit” and “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”