Posts for: April, 2018
Does your tooth or gum look or feel a little different lately? Subtle, and not-so-subtle, changes often occur in teeth in need of root canals. Our Waukesha, WI, dentist, Dr. Robert Wyler, discusses a few things you may notice if you could benefit from root canal therapy.
You have a nagging pain in your tooth
Because tooth pain can occur due to a variety of reasons, it's important to make an appointment in our Waukesha office as soon as you notice it. Pain can be caused by a cavity, a crack or fracture in a tooth, grinding, gum disease, or an inflammation or infection in the pulp at the center of a tooth.
If an inflammation or infection is the cause, you'll need a root canal. During the therapy, your pulp is removed, the root canals are cleaned and shaped, and rods are added to stabilize the tooth. After the tooth drains, you'll receive a rubber-based filling and later a crown to protect the tooth.
You're sick and your tooth won't stop hurting
It may be a coincidence that you don't feel well when your tooth hurts, or you may have developed a bacterial infection called an abscess. Abscesses may cause severe pain, facial swelling, fever, swollen lymph glands, pus around your tooth, or a pimple-like bump on your gum. The infections are dental emergencies and require treatment with antibiotics, in addition to root canal therapy.
Your toothache miraculously got better
A toothache that suddenly goes away isn't a good sign. Pain may stop if the nerve in the tooth dies, but that doesn't mean that your infection has disappeared. In fact, if you don't receive treatment, you can become very sick. The bacteria from the infection can even travel to your heart or brain.
Your tooth has darkened
A change in the appearance of a tooth can be an external sign of an internal problem. It's always a good idea to schedule an appointment if you notice that a tooth has darkened.
You recently experienced trauma to your tooth
A root canal may be needed if your tooth was injured, particularly if it became loose or was knocked out, then re-implanted. Injuries to teeth are also dental emergencies and should be treated as soon as possible.
Do you think your teeth may need a root canal? Call our Waukesha, WI, dentist, Dr. Wyler, at (262) 784-5757 to schedule an appointment.
Can you have healthy teeth and still have gum disease? Absolutely! And if you don’t believe us, just ask actor David Ramsey. The cast member of TV hits such as Dexter and Arrow said in a recent interview that up to the present day, he has never had a single cavity. Yet at a routine dental visit during his college years, Ramsey’s dentist pointed out how easily his gums bled during the exam. This was an early sign of periodontal (gum) disease, the dentist told him.
“I learned that just because you don’t have cavities, doesn’t mean you don’t have periodontal disease,” Ramsey said.
Apparently, Ramsey had always been very conscientious about brushing his teeth but he never flossed them.
“This isn’t just some strange phenomenon that exists just in my house — a lot of people who brush don’t really floss,” he noted.
Unfortunately, that’s true — and we’d certainly like to change it. So why is flossing so important?
Oral diseases such as tooth decay and periodontal disease often start when dental plaque, a bacteria-laden film that collects on teeth, is allowed to build up. These sticky deposits can harden into a substance called tartar or calculus, which is irritating to the gums and must be removed during a professional teeth cleaning.
Brushing teeth is one way to remove soft plaque, but it is not effective at reaching bacteria or food debris between teeth. That’s where flossing comes in. Floss can fit into spaces that your toothbrush never reaches. In fact, if you don’t floss, you’re leaving about a thirdÂ to half of your tooth surfaces unclean — and, as David Ramsey found out, that’s a path to periodontal disease.
Since then, however, Ramsey has become a meticulous flosser, and he proudly notes that the long-ago dental appointment “was the last we heard of any type of gum disease.”
Let that be the same for you! Just remember to brush and floss, eat a good diet low in sugar, and come in to the dental office for regular professional cleanings.
If you would like more information on flossing or periodontal disease, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Understanding Gum (Periodontal) Disease.”
The most important part of dental health maintenance isn’t what your dentist does—it’s what you do every day when you brush and floss your teeth. And all you really need is a multi-tufted, soft bristle toothbrush, toothpaste, a roll of dental floss—plus a little effort from your hands and fingers.
Of course, manual power isn’t your only option—an electric or battery-powered toothbrush is a convenient and, for people with strength or dexterity issues, a necessary way to remove disease-causing plaque from tooth surfaces. You have a similar option with flossing—a water flosser.
Although water flossers (or oral irrigators) have been around since the early 1960s, they’ve become more efficient and less expensive in recent years. A water flosser delivers a pulsating stream of pressurized water between the teeth through a handheld device that resembles a power toothbrush, but with a special tip. The water action loosens plaque and then flushes it away.
While the convenience these devices provide over traditional flossing is a major selling point, they’re also quite beneficial for people with special challenges keeping plaque from accumulating between teeth. People wearing braces or other orthodontic devices, for example, may find it much more difficult to effectively maneuver thread floss around their hardware. Water flossing can be an effective alternative.
But is water flossing a good method for removing between-teeth plaque? If performed properly, yes. A 2008 study, for example, reviewed orthodontic patients who used water flossing compared to those only brushing. The study found that those using water flossing were able to remove five times as much plaque as the non-flossing group.
If you’re considering water flossing over traditional flossing thread, talk with your dental hygienist. He or she can give you advice on purchasing a water flosser, as well as how to use the device for optimum performance. It could be a great and more convenient way to keep plaque from between your teeth and harming your dental health.
If you would like more information on water flossing, 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 “Cleaning between Your Teeth: How Water Flossing can help.”