Posts for: April, 2018
While the sport of golf may not look too dangerous from the sidelines, players know it can sometimes lead to mishaps. There are accidents involving golf carts and clubs, painful muscle and back injuries, and even the threat of lightning strikes on the greens. Yet it wasn’t any of these things that caused professional golfer Danielle Kang’s broken tooth on the opening day of the LPGA Singapore tournament.
“I was eating and it broke,” explained Kang. “My dentist told me, I've chipped another one before, and he said, you don't break it at that moment. It's been broken and it just chips off.” Fortunately, the winner of the 2017 Women’s PGA championship got immediate dental treatment, and went right back on the course to play a solid round, shooting 68.
Kang’s unlucky “chip shot” is far from a rare occurrence. In fact, chipped, fractured and broken teeth are among the most common dental injuries. The cause can be crunching too hard on a piece of ice or hard candy, a sudden accident or a blow to the face, or a tooth that’s weakened by decay or repetitive stress from a habit like nail biting. Feeling a broken tooth in your mouth can cause surprise and worry—but luckily, dentists have many ways of restoring the tooth’s appearance and function.
Exactly how a broken tooth is treated depends on how much of its structure is missing, and whether the soft tissue deep inside of it has been compromised. When a fracture exposes the tooth’s soft pulp it can easily become infected, which may lead to serious problems. In this situation, a root canal or extraction will likely be needed. This involves carefully removing the infected pulp tissue and disinfecting and sealing the “canals” (hollow spaces inside the tooth) to prevent further infection. The tooth can then be restored, often with a crown (cap) to replace the entire visible part. A timely root canal procedure can often save a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted (removed).
For less serious chips, dental veneers may be an option. Made of durable and lifelike porcelain, veneers are translucent shells that go over the front surfaces of teeth. They can cover minor to moderate chips and cracks, and even correct size and spacing irregularities and discoloration. Veneers can be custom-made in a dental laboratory from a model of your teeth, and are cemented to teeth for a long-lasting and natural-looking restoration.
Minor chips can often be remedied via dental bonding. Here, layers of tooth-colored resin are applied to the surfaces being restored. The resin is shaped to fill in the missing structure and hardened by a special light. While not as long-lasting as other restoration methods, bonding is a relatively simple and inexpensive technique that can often be completed in just one office visit.
If you have questions about restoring chipped teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Veneers” and “Artistic Repair of Chipped Teeth With Composite Resin.”
You have a throbbing, discolored tooth. You're considering extraction, but is that your best choice? The American Association of Endodontists, specialists in root canal therapy, says there are numerous arguments against dental extraction, with bone loss and gum recession being just two of them. A great alternative may be a root canal, a restorative treatment which Dr. Rujal Parikh, your Stockton and Manteca, CA, dentist often recommends to his patients.
What is root canal therapy?
This in-office restorative treatment removes the pulp from a tooth's interior chamber and root canals--hence, the name. Usually performed in two one-hour treatments at Central Valley Dentist with the benefit of local anesthetic, root canal therapy extends the life and usefulness of a tooth compromised by:
- Oral injury, as in a motor vehicle or sports accident
- Chip or deep fracture
- Multiple and failing fillings
- A dental abscess, or infection
Visual examination and X-rays confirm the need for root canal therapy. If you qualify, Dr. Parikh will numb your tooth and drill a small hole into the first of up to 4 root canals. Then, using small metal files, he'll clean and debride the canal, smooth its walls, disinfect it and then seal it with biocompatible gutta-percha and a temporary filling. After complete healing, your Stockton and Manteca dentist places a sparkling porcelain crown.
Do you need a root canal?
Some people do need one but show no obvious symptoms. Other patients are very uncomfortable, showing signs of:
- Throbbing toothache pain
- A red pimple at the gum line
- Bad breath unrelieved by usual oral hygiene
- A large crack or chip
- Pain when biting or chewing
- Lingering dental sensitivity to heat or cold
- Bad-tasting drainage
- Jaw swelling
Also, some teeth simply weaken with age (wear and tear) or repeated filling procedures. A damaged or loose crown may necessitate root canal therapy.
Are these procedures successful?
Generally, root canal treatments at Central Valley Dentist are highly successful. Patients experience relief of their pain and other symptoms, and they avoid harmful smile gaps. Most teeth restored in this way stay in place for decades.
Find out more
If you are concerned about the health of a tooth, please contact Central Valley Dentist for an appointment. Root canal therapy could spare your tooth. In Manteca, CA, call (209) 825-1030, and in Stockton, CA, phone (209) 955-1800.
The most important part of dental health maintenance isn’t what your dentist does—it’s what you do every day when you brush and floss your teeth. And all you really need is a multi-tufted, soft bristle toothbrush, toothpaste, a roll of dental floss—plus a little effort from your hands and fingers.
Of course, manual power isn’t your only option—an electric or battery-powered toothbrush is a convenient and, for people with strength or dexterity issues, a necessary way to remove disease-causing plaque from tooth surfaces. You have a similar option with flossing—a water flosser.
Although water flossers (or oral irrigators) have been around since the early 1960s, they’ve become more efficient and less expensive in recent years. A water flosser delivers a pulsating stream of pressurized water between the teeth through a handheld device that resembles a power toothbrush, but with a special tip. The water action loosens plaque and then flushes it away.
While the convenience these devices provide over traditional flossing is a major selling point, they’re also quite beneficial for people with special challenges keeping plaque from accumulating between teeth. People wearing braces or other orthodontic devices, for example, may find it much more difficult to effectively maneuver thread floss around their hardware. Water flossing can be an effective alternative.
But is water flossing a good method for removing between-teeth plaque? If performed properly, yes. A 2008 study, for example, reviewed orthodontic patients who used water flossing compared to those only brushing. The study found that those using water flossing were able to remove five times as much plaque as the non-flossing group.
If you’re considering water flossing over traditional flossing thread, talk with your dental hygienist. He or she can give you advice on purchasing a water flosser, as well as how to use the device for optimum performance. It could be a great and more convenient way to keep plaque from between your teeth and harming your dental health.
If you would like more information on water flossing, 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 “Cleaning between Your Teeth: How Water Flossing can help.”