Archive for December, 2013

Root Canal Myths

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

Some people have great anxiety at the thought of receiving root canal treatment. Age-old horror stories and images brought to mind may scare you away from getting a procedure that your dentist says you need. In fact, sometimes it’s the only way to save a severely infected or damaged tooth. Dispelling some of the myths associated with root canal treatment may help you get over the fear of having a root canal.

Myth: The pain is excruciating.
It is likely that you are already experiencing pain with a tooth that requires root canal treatment. A damaged tooth, infected pulp, or an exposed root or nerve can all cause pain. So the idea that treatment is painful may be associated with the anxiety and discomfort caused by the tooth before the procedure is even performed. Today’s methods for root canal treatment are much improved over past years, and most people say they didn’t feel pain during the procedure and that they feel better afterwards.

Myth: Tooth extraction is a better choice.
Saving a tooth is almost always preferred over losing it to tooth extraction. It may be a quick fix and seem less painful, but extraction can lead to problems. There will be an unattractive gap in your smile, your teeth won’t function as well, neighboring teeth may shift, and resulting crooked teeth will be hard to clean.

Myth: A root canal requires a lot of dentist appointments.
Treatment can usually be completed in just one or two office visits. It depends on the severity of your case and the difficulty of the treatment.

Myth: Root canals cause future dental problems.
This procedure used to be done without placing a crown on top, and the original tooth would sometimes break because it became brittle from treatment. Now a dental crown is placed over the tooth, ensuring that the benefits of root canal treatment will be long-lasting.

Root canal dentist in Richmond Virginia

Dental Sealants Can Prevent Tooth Decay

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

Studies show that tooth decay in children is on the rise, so it’s not unusual for dental fillings and sometimes more extensive procedures to be necessary. Dentists report that some kids as young as two are diagnosed with 6 to 10 cavities at a time. With so many children falling victim to tooth decay, dental sealants have become an important preventative measure to help them avoid this problem.

Dental sealants were approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) over 35 years ago, so the idea is nothing new. Created from tooth-colored acrylic, sealants are applied to fill in a tooth’s grooves with a protective coating. This helps prevent tooth decay because it protects teeth from bacteria, sugars, and acids in the mouth.

Dentists usually apply sealants to permanent molars, which develop at about age 6 and continue erupting until age 13. The back teeth are the most difficult to clean, and the sealant is painted on the chewing part of the molar where decay occurs the most. Sealants may also be used on baby teeth, and on the grooves and pits in adult teeth.

Even for children, the procedure for getting sealants is painless. The teeth are thoroughly cleaned, and then sometimes an acidic solution is applied to prepare them for the sealant. After it is dry, the teeth are washed again and the sealant is painted on. The dentist will fill any pits, grooves, and crevices in the teeth. The sealant hardens when drying to form a protective covering over the teeth. The whole process only takes a few minutes.

Dental sealants usually last from 5 to 10 years. If they become chipped or worn during wear, sealants are easily replaced. This offers an effective solution to prevent the formation of cavities and other problems related to tooth decay. Consider dental sealants for patients of any age, but children especially can benefit from this choice.

Family dentist in Richmond VA

Myths and Facts about Porcelain Veneers

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

If you’re unhappy with your smile, porcelain veneers might be a solution that you’re considering. These thin shells are placed over your teeth to make them whiter, straighter, and more appealing. Here are some facts that address some of the myths about porcelain veneers to help you make a better choice.

Myth: Large portions of your teeth must be removed when applying veneers.
Fact: Only a very small layer of your teeth needs to be removed so that veneers can be bonded onto them. The amount removed is usually as thin as a contact lens.

Myth: Porcelain veneers do not look natural.
Fact: When properly attached to your teeth, veneers become part of your mouth structure and are virtually indistinguishable from your real teeth. They also feel like your natural teeth.

Myth: Getting veneers is very painful.
Fact: Preparing your teeth for veneers is not painful because the dentist usually uses a topical anesthetic to relieve any discomfort. Having a model made of your mouth and then having the veneers bonded to your teeth are painless steps in the process. You might experience increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods initially after getting veneers, but that sensation dissipates within a few days.

Myth: Veneers are so expensive that only the rich can afford them.
Fact: Many dentists offer porcelain veneers, so the costs have decreased as popularity has increased. Dental veneers are not just for celebrities.

Cosmetic dentist in Richmond Virginia

Do my Gums Have a Disease?

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

You have probably heard the term gum disease, but may be wondering what that really means. Do your gums actually have a disease? Is it contagious? Is there a vaccine against it? It’s time to learn the details about gum disease.

Unlike many diseases that you catch from other people or the environment, gum disease is more about not properly caring for your mouth. Your mouth is full of bacteria that combines with acid and forms plaque. Brushing and flossing helps remove that plaque, but the process just happens over and over again. If you don’t carefully and consistently perform dental hygiene tasks, gum disease can result.

The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis and is characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums. It can be taken care of with regular dental care and a visit to your dentist. If gingivitis is ignored, it will worsen to more severe gum disease called periodontitis. Infection, pain, severe tooth decay, and even tooth loss can result.

If you develop gum disease, see your dentist as soon as possible. Your condition may be reversible and your teeth may be saved with proper and immediate treatment. However, the best bet is to avoid gum disease completely. This is done by brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a soft brush and fluoride toothpaste. Floss daily and rinse with a mouthwash. All of these tasks will remove most of the bacteria lingering in your mouth and clinging to your teeth. Dental checkups every six months for thorough examinations and professional cleanings will also help keep your mouth in the best shape possible.

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