Posts for tag: tooth decay

By Clark J Wright, DMD, PA
November 22, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: 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.”

By Clark J Wright, DMD, PA
January 13, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: tooth decay   Root Canals  

When you're in the throes of pain due to a toothache, all that you can think of is how to get relief from it. A root canal is the only reliableroot canal way you can get rid of pain due to an infection or abscess while also keeping your original tooth intact. Learn more about how getting a root canal at the Venice, FL office of Dr. Clark Wright can reduce your tooth pain. 

Why a Root Canal?
Getting a root canal is the process of clearing a diseased tooth of the bad stuff (bacteria and inflamed pulp tissue), disinfecting it thoroughly, then refilling and covering it so that it won't get infected again. Your dentist may suggest a root canal as an alternative to extraction because it's best to keep your naturally rooted tooth whenever possible. You also save the expense of having to get a dental implant or other tooth replacement.

How Does a Root Canal Reduce Pain?
Some people think that a root canal causes pain, but it actually reduces pain. The source of the pain is the diseased tissue irritating your nerves—once that is removed, you'll get relief. Your Venice dentist will provide you with a sedation treatment that will also reduce the pain and help ensure that you have a comfortable experience during your appointment.

Root Canal Aftercare 
If you want to avoid future tooth pain and the need for a root canal in the future, take these aftercare tips:

  • Avoid eating or chewing on the tooth until it's been covered by a permanent crown.
  • Brush and floss regularly to ensure the health of the crown and your overall oral health.
  • See your dentist at the first sign of discomfort in the treated tooth or swelling.
  • Make an appointment three to six months after the root canal to check on the treated tooth.

Call for an Exam
Your Venice, FL dentist can tell you if you're a good candidate for root canal therapy. Call Dr. Clark Wright's office at (941) 493-5923 today to schedule an examination.

By Clark J Wright, DMD, PA
September 30, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: tooth decay   Root Canals  

If you have ever developed a toothache, you probably understand that it is a painful and unpleasant experience. In most cases, a root canalsudden toothache signifies that your tooth has become infected with decay and requires a root canal. A root canal can relieve your tooth pain and get you back to eating, drinking and chewing normally. Learn more about root canal therapy with Dr. Clark Wright in Venice, FL.

How does a root canal work? 
Patients require a root canal when tooth decay reaches far inside of the tooth to its inner pulp chamber, infecting the tooth’s nerve and tissues that lie within. A root canal focuses on removing the decayed tissue and nerve, then replacing it with filling materials to restore the stability and natural structure of the tooth. The root canal procedure usually lasts under an hour though a second appointment may become necessary if the tooth requires a dental crown.

Does a root canal hurt? 
Just like with other dental procedures, the first step in a root canal is to numb the work area. This means that not only are root canals not painful, but you cannot feel any pain at all due to the anesthetic.

Root Canal Therapy in Venice, FL 
During a root canal, your dentist will make a small entrance hole on the top of your infected tooth. Using specialized instruments, your dentist removes the decayed tissue and nerve from inside of the tooth, then scrubs and cleans it to ensure that no decay remains within. Your dentist then fills the tooth using a rubber-like material called gutta percha, which seals the tooth and protects it from outside elements. If necessary, a dental crown is placed on top of the tooth helping to stabilize and protect it against everyday use.

For more information on root canals, please contact Dr. Wright in Venice, FL. If you have tooth pain, call (941) 493-5923 to schedule your appointment for an examination with Dr. Wright as soon as possible.

By Clark J Wright, DMD, PA
March 06, 2016
Category: Oral Health

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 cavi­ties. 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.  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.”

By Clark J Wright, DMD, PA
February 20, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth decay  

Other than the common cold, tooth decay is the most prevalent disease in the world. And while a cavity or two may seem like a minor matter, tooth decay’s full destructive potential is anything but trivial. Without proper prevention and treatment, tooth decay can cause pain, tooth loss and, in rare cases, even death.

This common disease begins with bacteria in the mouth. Though these microscopic organisms’ presence is completely normal and at times beneficial, certain strains cause problems: they consume left over carbohydrates in the mouth like sugar and produce acid as a byproduct. The higher the levels of bacteria the higher the amount of acid, which disrupts the mouth’s normal neutral pH.

This is a problem because acid is the primary enemy of enamel, the teeth’s hard protective outer shell. Acid causes enamel to lose its mineral content (de-mineralization), eventually producing cavities. Saliva neutralizes acid that arises normally after we eat, but if the levels are too high for too long this process can be overwhelmed. The longer the enamel is exposed to acid, the more it softens and dissolves.

While tooth decay is a global epidemic, dental advances of the last century have made it highly preventable. The foundation for prevention is fluoride in toothpaste and effective oral hygiene — daily brushing and flossing to removing plaque, a thin film of food remnant on teeth that’s a feeding ground for bacteria, along with regular dental visits for more thorough cleaning and examination. This regular regimen should begin in infancy when teeth first appear in the mouth. For children especially, further prevention measures in the form of sealants or topical fluoride applications performed in the dentist office can provide added protection for those at higher risk.

You can also help your preventive measures by limiting sugar or other carbohydrates in your family’s diet, and eating more fresh vegetables, fruit and dairy products, especially as snacks. Doing so reduces food sources for bacteria, which will lower their multiplication and subsequently the amount of acid produced.

In this day and age, tooth decay isn’t a given. Keeping it at bay, though, requires a personal commitment to effective hygiene, lifestyle choices and regular dental care. Doing these things will help ensure you and your family’s teeth remain free from this all too common disease.

If you would like more information on preventing and treating tooth decay, 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 “Tooth Decay.”

Have a question?

Search through our library of dental topics, including articles, fun facts, celebrity interviews and more.



Click here to visit our review page!