Teeth bleaching

smileIt seemed like such a good idea at the time… While a bright smile is great, take care when bleaching your teeth. It could make them extremely sensitive. We’ve seen more than a few patients who had such severe sensitivity their dentist thought they might even need a root canal. So, before bleaching, talk to your dental hygienist or dentist. They’ll probably advise you to start slowly to see what how it will effect your teeth.

Gum disease and heart disease

There have been numerous studies linking gum disease and heart disease. They are still not exactly clear on the relationship (does one cause the other? is one a symptom of the other? or…?). However, if you have gum disease, get it treated. Go to your dentist if you have sore or bleeding gums. Regular checkups will let your dentist keep an eye on your gums for the first sign of a problem. And, if you do have gum disease, it might not be a bad idea to get your heart checked, too. Just in case.

While it’s easy to find dietary guidelines for heart disease, there’s not so much for gum disease. Here’s an article on the Eating Well website that discusses the benefits of green tea for heart disease and for gum disease.

Do I Really Need A Root Canal?!

infectionWhile there are other posts that get into the causes and reasons for needing a root canal treatment, here I want to address a common misconception. When someone is in excruciating pain, they understand the need for a root canal treatment. But, if they have just a little discomfort or no pain at all, they think they can put it off. Not true!

Whatever the cause, you need a root canal because there’s an infection in your tooth. Infections are bad. You may not even notice it, but your body does. It’s expending energy trying to deal with that infection.

Eventually, one of two things will happen (or both). One, it will stay in your tooth and cause excruciating pain. The bacteria just keep multiplying but there’s no where to go. The pressure just keeps building until you get it treated.

Second, it goes outside the tooth. Initially, it will erode the bone. That’s typically what your dentist sees that prompts them to evaluate the need for a root canal treatment. You may also have pain and swelling in the gums. It could also get into your bloodstream and become a much more serious issue than a painful tooth.

Either way, you want to take care of that infection. And, since your nerve and blood vessels are either dead or dying, they can’t deliver an oral antibiotic inside the tooth. That leaves root canal treatment as your best way to get rid of the infection (the alternative is extracting the tooth).

But, you say, I took an antibiotic and I feel better. That’s because it took care of the infection outside your tooth. The cause of the infection remains which means it will be back!

Dress Up Your Pet Day

bambiAs if you need an excuse, today is dress up your pet day. As you can see from the photos of our staff and their pets, they don’t need an excuse either! But it can be an excuse to get a new outfit for your baby.

Dental health and pregnancy

pregnant womanWho knew?! It turns out fertility and dental health are connected. In the past few years, mounting research has indicated a link between poor oral health and preterm birth, low birth weight, and possibly pre-eclampsia (a dangerous pregnancy complication). One study in The Journal of the American Dental Association found that pregnant women with chronic gum disease were four to seven times more likely to deliver prematurely (before 37 weeks) than those with healthy gums; women in the group with more severe periodontal disease delivered even earlier (before 32 weeks).

So, get to your dentist before you get pregnant!

Patient root canal experience

Here’s what one patient had to say about her root canal treatment experience. We have other videos on our YouTube channel. Looks like it’s time to get more, too!

A brain on root canal treatment

thebrain-logoIf you haven’t seen the software Personal Brain, I hope you’re in for a treat. I’ve created a brain on endondontics. I’ve tried to cover all the common topics and issues. If there are any I missed, let me know.

And, have fun exploring the other brains on the site. There are some amazing examples of what you can do with the software. I use it myself in my role as practice manager and for all my personal stuff. For example, I know one day I want to write a book so I’ve started collecting ideas, stories, and more so I’ll have plenty of material to get started when I’m ready.

Science and art to endodontics

This is an interesting post by Dan Burrus entitled There is a science and an art to every profession. Dr. Conner, like the other endodontists in the area, has been trained in the science of root canal treatments. Through annual continuing education, she stays current in this science. Additionally, she has always striven to grow in the art of endodontics. She is passionate about accurate diagnosis and providing a great patient experience. It’s good to see this described so effectively by someone.

Before your root canal consult

Before you visit an endodontist for a possible root canal treatment, a few things would help in the diagnosis and treatment.

First, do not take any pain medications (aspirin, Ibuprofen, Advil, etc.) before your exam appointment. If you mask your symptoms, the doctor may not be able to isolate which tooth is causing the problems. Antibiotics can do this as well so timing of the exam with taking antibiotics is important.

Second, have a list of the medications you are taking. You don’t want those ugly adverse drug interactions happening.

man relaxing in chairFinally, if you are anxious, let the doctor know. There is no need to stress over this. While your mind may know it’s just like a long, boring filling, you can still be emotionally stressed. That can make it difficult to get numb. And, numbing is a good thing. So, your doctor can prescribe an anxiolytic. Chill….

Tooth pain only gets worse

woman wtih toothacheOne of the most common things I see in our Durham Endodontics practice is someone who has had aching or slight tooth pain for months (sometimes years). Then, presto, they are in excruciating pain and in need of emergency root canal treatment (it really can go from a pain level 2 to a 10 in just hours). Fortunately, for our patients, we keep time for emergency appointments every day.

However, one common problem — you’re in too much pain for the anesthetic to work. So, first we need to get the pain under control.

My advice is…don’t wait. Tooth pain only gets worse. Tooth decay or a nerve that is dying does not spontaneously heal itself. So, go to your dentist at the early stage of a toothache. Maybe, you won’t even need a root canal treatment. If you wait, at least we have those emergency appointments.