Posts for: April, 2018
A root canal is one of the most important and effective dental procedures for saving your teeth. However, this often-misunderstood treatment often gets a bad reputation due to the myths and rumors surrounding it. Find out more about root canals, when you may need one, and what you can expect during the procedure itself with Dr. Jeffrey Onik and Dr. Connie Onik at Willow Ridge Dental Group in Naperville, IL.
What is a root canal?
A root canal is a dental procedure which cures decay which has infected the tooth’s inner soft tissues and nerves. While dentists can correct a cavity which has not yet reached the soft tissues using a simple dental filling, a root canal to clean out the inside of the tooth and remove the diseased tissues becomes necessary. This process takes about an hour and requires the help of a local anesthetic to numb the work area so the patient does not experience pain or discomfort during their procedure. Root canals are an important dental tool to save your damaged and decayed tooth from extraction, which could leave a gap in your smile along with other side effects.
Do I need a root canal?
In many cases, severe decay causes a toothache, one of the most obvious signs you may need a root canal. However, a toothache only occurs once the nerve inside the tooth has become infected by decay. Before this happens, you may notice some other, less obvious symptoms. Some common signs of advanced decay include unexplained bad breath, tooth sensitivity, especially to hot and cold, visible holes or pits in your tooth, or black or brown staining on the surface of the tooth. Your dentist may also suggest a root canal to avoid these symptoms if decay is too far advanced to correct using a dental filling, but not yet so advanced that it causes any symptoms.
Root Canal Therapy in Naperville, IL
If you think you can benefit from a root canal, you can consult with your dentist to find out if this is the best course of treatment for you. Saving your tooth from extraction with a root canal begins with a simple phone call.
For more information on root canal therapy, please contact Dr. Jeffrey Onik and Dr. Connie Onik at Willow Ridge Dental Group in Naperville, IL. Call (630) 420-2800 to schedule your appointment with your dentist today!
Are bleeding gums something you should be concerned about? Dear Doctor magazine recently posed that question to Dr. Travis Stork, an emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors. He answered with two questions of his own: “If you started bleeding from your eyeball, would you seek medical attention?” Needless to say, most everyone would. “So,” he asked, “why is it that when we bleed all the time when we floss that we think it’s no big deal?” As it turns out, that’s an excellent question — and one that’s often misunderstood.
First of all, let’s clarify what we mean by “bleeding all the time.” As many as 90 percent of people occasionally experience bleeding gums when they clean their teeth — particularly if they don’t do it often, or are just starting a flossing routine. But if your gums bleed regularly when you brush or floss, it almost certainly means there’s a problem. Many think bleeding gums is a sign they are brushing too hard; this is possible, but unlikely. It’s much more probable that irritated and bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal (gum) disease.
How common is this malady? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, nearly half of allÂ Americans over age 30 have mild, moderate or severe gum disease — and that number increases to 70.1 percent for those over 65! Periodontal disease can occur when a bacteria-rich biofilm in the mouth (also called plaque) is allowed to build up on tooth and gum surfaces. Plaque causes the gums to become inflamed, as the immune system responds to the bacteria. Eventually, this can cause gum tissue to pull away from the teeth, forming bacteria-filled “pockets” under the gum surface. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious infection, and even tooth loss.
What should you do if your gums bleed regularly when brushing or flossing? The first step is to come in for a thorough examination. In combination with a regular oral exam (and possibly x-rays or other diagnostic tests), a simple (and painless) instrument called a periodontal probe can be used to determine how far any periodontal disease may have progressed. Armed with this information, we can determine the most effective way to fight the battle against gum disease.
Above all, don’t wait too long to come in for an exam! As Dr. Stork notes, bleeding gums are “a sign that things aren’t quite right.” Â If you would like more information about bleeding gums, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bleeding Gums.” You can read the entire interview with Dr. Travis Stork in Dear Doctor magazine.
While we often associate tooth decay with cavities forming in a tooth’s visible or biting surfaces, the occurrence of this all too common disease isn’t limited to those areas. Cavities can develop in any part of a tooth exposed to bacteria.
Gum recession, the shrinking back of the gums from the teeth, can cause such exposure in areas normally covered by the gums. Because these areas are usually more vulnerable to infection when exposed, cavities can develop at or right below the gum line. Because of their location it can be difficult to fill them or perform other treatments.
One way to make it less difficult is to perform a crown lengthening procedure. While the term sounds like we’re increasing the size of the tooth, we’re actually surgically altering the gums to access more of the affected tooth surface for treatment. It’s typically performed in a dental office with local anesthesia by a general dentist or a periodontist, a specialist in the gums.
During the procedure, the dentist starts by making small incisions in the gums to create a tissue “flap” that can be lifted out of the way. This exposes the underlying bone, which they then reshape to support the gum tissue once it’s re-situated in its new position. The dentist then sutures the gums back in place. Once the gums heal, the decayed area is ready for treatment.
Crown lengthening is also useful for other situations besides treating cavities. If a tooth has broken off at the gum line, for example, there may not be enough remaining structure to support a crown. Crown lengthening can make more of the underlying tooth available for the crown to “grab” onto. It’s also useful in some cases of “gummy smiles,” in which too much of the gum tissue is visible in proportion to the tooth size.
Because crown lengthening often involves removing some of the bone and is thus irreversible, you should discuss this procedure with your dentist in depth beforehand. It could be, though, this minor procedure might make it easier to preserve your teeth and even make them look more attractive.