Root Canals

Root canals can be scary, but they can help restore the health of your mouth.

Inside every tooth is dental pulp, or where all the nerves and blood vessels are stored.  This pulp can become infected due to tooth decay.  This can occur when a tooth has a deep cavity or a crack in it, allowing bacteria to enter the tooth and kill off the dental pulp.  When this occurs, the only way to save the tooth is to remove the infected pulp, take antibiotics, and the cavity or crack is filled and covered with a crown. For more information about root canals and what they entail, please visit the American Dental Association.

Sweets and Dental Decay

Sweets and dental decay can lead to cavities.

Dental decay comes from bacteria in your mouth that produce acids.  These acids can cause holes in your dental enamel, which is a cavity.  Cavities are able to create more serious problems in your mouth like infection that can lead to the need to take more serious action such as tooth extractions.  Sugars from candy, sweet foods, and chocolate can help accelerate the decay in your teeth.  But the decay can be easily prevented by brushing your teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing once daily, and visiting your dentist on a regular basis.  Eating a balanced diet and eating nutritious, low sugar foods can also give extra help in preventing dental decay.

Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are protective barriers against decay.

Dental sealants are protective barriers applied to the premolars and molars of the teeth.  Sealants are made of a plastic resin that bond to a tooth’s depressions and grooves to help create a barrier for the hard to reach places from plaque and acid.  Sealants are normally given at an early age to children to protect their teeth and then are reapplied later on when the sealants have been worn down.  However, sealants take many years to wear down enough that they need replacing.  Sealants do not mean that brushing can be ignored, but are a supplement to regular brushing and flossing as well as twice-yearly dental cleanings for keeping a healthy mouth.

Oral Cancer and Its Prevention

Oral cancer can be easily prevented.

Oral cancer is caused by abnormal cell growth in your mouth.  These cells can present themselves as red or white spots or sores on your lips, gums, inner cheek, tongue, and palate.  Finding and removing these cells, as well as reducing the use of alcohol or tobacco, are the most effective ways to prevent these cancerous cells from starting or spreading.  On average, only half of those diagnosed with oral cancer will survive for more than five years.  Even though there are risk factors that can induce this cancer, about 25% of people have no risk factors present. More and more oral cancers are a result of the HPV virus.  This type of cancer can be prevented with a simple vaccine.  Oral cancer presents serious risks to your health, and it is important that you should have an oral exam twice a year to help prevent oral cancer.  For more information on oral cancer and ways to prevent it, please visit this page by the American Dental Association on oral cancer.

Dental X-Rays

Dental x-rays are found to be safer than the sun.

Many people worry about the safety of dental x-rays and the radiation that they receive during the x-ray exposure time.  The truth about dental x-rays is that they produce much less radiation than the sun does every year.  In fact, bitewing x-rays, which are given every year, expose you to about 80 times less radiation than the sun.  The x-rays given in the dental office are used to check the mouth for cavities, bone infections, periodontal disease, and abscesses. Many oral health issues cannot be detected by looking or feeling a person’s mouth.  By the time your dentist can see or feel the problem, it is going to be a much larger problem than if the dentist had taken the x-ray and caught the problem early.