Posts for: October, 2017

By Clark J Wright, DMD, PA
October 24, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root canal  

Find out if root canal treatment is on the horizon for you.root canal

Why is your tooth hurting so much? It can often feel like the whole world comes to a crashing halt when you are facing a toothache. Our Venice, FL, cosmetic dentist, Dr. Clark Wright, understands just how painful and miserable dental pain can be. Of course, you may be wondering whether or not this means that you need to get a root canal. Find out the telltale signs that a root canal is in your future and why dental pain should always be checked out.

What is the purpose of a root canal?

We know that when people hear the words “root canal” it often evokes negative images; however, this procedure could just end up preserving your natural smile.

Our Venice dentist may recommend that you get a root canal if a tooth has been so terribly affected by trauma, decay or an infection that the health of the nerves and dental pulp inside the tooth have been compromised. When this happens, the only option is to remove the pulp and clean out the tooth in order to protect it.

What happens if I don’t get a root canal?

If we have advised you that you need a root canal and you decide to delay it or not to get the treatment you need the problem will not resolve itself. If the dental pulp isn’t removed, the infection or damage will continue to spread until the tooth is no longer viable and will need to be extracted. At that point we will have to remove the tooth completely and then replace it with an artificial tooth such as a dental bridge or implant.

Instead of going through the hassle of having your tooth removed and replaced, it’s much simpler (not to mention more cost effective) to just have the tooth treated with root canal therapy in the first place.

What are the signs that I may need to come in for treatment?

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it’s important that you seek treatment right away:

  • Dental pain
  • Tooth sensitivity that lingers when exposed to hot or cold
  • Pain that gets worse when biting down or chewing
  • Darkening of the tooth
  • Swollen, tender gums around the affected tooth
  • The development of an abscess (a pimple-like growth that is a sign of infection)

If your smile is giving you warning signs, it’s best to heed those warnings. Call our Venice, FL, dental office right away at the first sign of trouble so we can treat the problem as soon as it happens.

By Clark J Wright, DMD, PA
October 23, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: teeth grinding  

“What can I do about my child's teeth grinding habit?”

It's a common question we get from many concerned parents. Their exasperation involves more than having to wake every night to the annoying sounds coming from their child's bedroom: they're also worried about any potential damage occurring to their teeth.

Teeth grinding and similar habits fall under the umbrella term “bruxism.” In basic terms, bruxism is the involuntary movement of the teeth and jaws not engaged in regular functions like chewing, speaking or swallowing. Bruxism is actually common among pre-adolescent children, considered by many healthcare professionals as normal behavior like thumb sucking.

It's not fully known why children grind their teeth, especially during sleep. Stress can play a part, but many believe it could also be related to immaturity on the part of the neuromuscular system that controls chewing. In some cases it could be linked to sudden arousals from sleep, particularly if the child is prone to airway obstruction causing sleep apnea. And there may be a link with certain medications, especially for hyperactivity disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Most children eventually outgrow the habit. If it persists, though, it can contribute to teeth problems. Teeth can withstand a lot of biting force, but when chronically exposed to the higher than normal forces produced during teeth grinding they can begin to wear. Sodas, fruit juices, sports drinks or similar acidic beverages complicate matters because they increase mouth acid that can soften enamel. And besides dental issues, teeth grinding can also cause jaw problems, ear pain and headaches.

If symptoms begin to appear, we can take steps to reduce the effect of teeth grinding, such as a mouth guard worn at night to reduce biting forces and protect against wear. We can also look at curbing consumption of acidic foods and beverages, addressing possible airway obstructions, changing medications or counseling for psychological stress.

As with thumb sucking, there's no cause for immediate alarm if your children grind their teeth. But if it continues on into their later childhood years or begins to affect their health and well-being, we'll need to intervene to prevent further harm.

If you would like more information on teeth grinding and similar habits, 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 “When Children Grind their Teeth.”

By Clark J Wright, DMD, PA
October 15, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: loose teeth  

Discovering a loose tooth can be exciting — if you're six, that is, and anticipating a windfall from the tooth fairy. If you're an adult, a loose tooth is a different story. You're in real danger of it becoming a lost tooth, and there won't be another one coming in to replace it.

Fortunately, that result isn't inevitable, but we have to take quick action if we're going to save your tooth. The first step is to find out why it's loose.

Tooth looseness occurs primarily because the gum and bone structures that hold teeth in place have been damaged in some way. Otherwise healthy teeth and gums can be injured in an accident or with dental habits like teeth grinding or clenching that increase the biting forces against teeth. The latter could require some intervention like a night guard to prevent teeth from grinding to reduce the abnormal biting force.

But disease is often the root cause for tooth looseness. Periodontal (gum) disease, a bacterial infection triggered by bacterial plaque, can inflame and weaken gum tissues, eventually causing bone loss followed by the gum tissue detaching from the teeth. In this weakened condition even normal biting forces could loosen a tooth.

If gum disease is the primary culprit, our treatment starts there. By aggressively removing plaque and calculus (tartar) from the tooth surfaces, including deep below the gum line around the root, the gum tissues become less inflamed and begin to heal. This in turn can strengthen their attachment to a loose tooth. In more advanced cases, we may need to surgically graft lost bone and gum tissue to rebuild the attachment.

We may also need to stabilize a loose tooth while we're performing these other treatments. The most common way is to join or splint a loose tooth to nearby stable teeth. There are varieties of splints: one type involves rigid dental material bonded across the enamel of the loose tooth and its neighbors. In another, we cut a small channel in the involved teeth, and then insert a metal splint, bonding it within the channel.

Whatever needs to be done, we need to do it promptly — if you notice a loose tooth, contact us as soon as possible. The earlier we begin treatment the more likely we'll save your loose tooth.

If you would like more information on treating loose teeth, 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 “Treatment for Loose Teeth.”

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