Monday, April 30, 2012

Root Canal 101

Okay so what exactly occurs during a root canal procedure?
Here are 3 pictures to show you exactly what happens.
First you come in with a tooth that is hurting.

After all the proper determinations are made as to which tooth and why
a root canal procedure may be started.
The black space in the middle of the tooth is where the nerve lives.
We need to gain access to that space to remove the nerve tissue.
The long white object jutting out of the tooth is referred to as a file. 
We use files to clean, shape, and gauge length of the inside of the tooth.

After much cleaning, shaping, rinsing, medicating, etc. etc. the space that
used to house the nerve now houses a ruberized material.
The hope now is that the tooth will no longer be capable of  sending
signals to the brain that are interpreted as pain.

The tooth then can either have a filling placed into the hole used to 
access the nerve chamber or a crown could be placed.
You and your dentist will need to discuss what options are best for you.

Now, obviously this is the ideal, and complications can make root canals
more difficult to complete. But hopefully things go smoothly and you
are out of pain relatively quickly after the procedure is complete.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Oral cancer. CAUTION! May be disturbing.

This post is not for the faint of heart.
This is however, one of the most serious posts that I have ever done.

If you smoke or chew, please stop.
Oral cancer is very very real.
I realize that everyone knows someone that has smoked for
80 years and nothing has ever happened to them.
That is all well and good, until its you that it happens to.

These pictures are of a complete jaw bone removal due to oral cancer.
And yes, if the jaw bone comes out then the teeth must come with it.

Bottom Jaw.

After the jaw bone is removed a new one must be made.
It is fairly typical to make the new jaw out of Metal.
the new metal jaw is lined with one of your ribs that has been taken from you and bolted to the metal. Hopefully, later on some type of implants can be fastened to the metal jaw and you can get teeth back. Until that time you are on pretty much liquid.
X-ray of the new lower jaw.
Hope this scares anyone enough to lick the habit.

Monday, April 16, 2012

I don't have dental insurance.

Just going to get up on a little dental soap box for a second.

I have people come into my office all the time with a really bad toothache.
I ask these folks why it is that they didn't come in sooner.
The answer that I get, a lot of the time, is that they didn't have dental insurance.

Now, this answer does have its merits.
Dental insurance does in deed help with the cost of dental care.

However, there is another side the story.

Say you have a small cavity.
This cavity would cost, lets say, $100 to fix.
If you let that small cavity go however, you may need a root canal.
A root canal would cost about $500.
If you needed a crown after the root canal then we need to add another $800.

So what would have cost you $100 will now cost you $1,300.
You still have no insurance but now you do not have a choice to
fix the problem because it is killing you.

The far better solution would be to come in and get the
problem fixed when it is small.

Financial arrangements can easily be made to accommodate anyone
who may be struggling to come up with the funds.

Save time, money, pain, and multiple trips to the dental office.
If there is a problem PLEASE do not put it off.

Your teeth and your wallet will thank you.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

How hard will it be to pull out my wisdom teeth?

Anytime we tell someone that they need to take out their wisdom teeth
this is the question that we get most commonly asked.

The answer is that it varies tremendously.

How easy is it to deliver a baby?
Well, some women are in labor for 48 hours and
some babies get born in the car on the way to the hospital.
You never know.

Here is a case that we did the other day.

We will go through the 4 wisdom teeth. 

#1 Upper left on the screen was the easiest tooth of all. 
That's because we didn't even take it out. 
Its too far up and might not ever come in.
If it does we can deal with it then but its pretty high.

#2 Upper right on the screen was 2nd easiest.
That one took about 1 minute to remove.

#3 was a little tougher. About 10 minutes on that one.
One of the roots had a little hook on it so the pressure
needed to remove it was a little increased from the upper one.

#4 was the toughest. This tooth took 30 minutes to remove.
As we were removing the tooth it fractured. 
This simply means that there was much less tooth to grab onto.
We then removed the roots one at a time (3 of them).

So there you have it.
1 patient 4 wisdom teeth and 4 different difficulties of tooth removal.

So next time you want to ask your dentist how long it would
take to get your wisdom teeth out just realize that he may
be able to give you a rough estimate but that anything, good
or bad, is possible.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What are dental sealants?

A sealant is a protective covering that is placed over a tooth
so that it is harder for the bacteria to attack it and cause a cavity.
Material is flowed into all of the cracks and grooves to protect
them and then the material is cured to a hard state.
99% of the time the teeth that are
sealed are the 1st and 2nd adult molars.

These teeth come in at ages 6 and 12 respectively.

Any tooth can be sealed but it is typically these two teeth
because they are the most likely to get cavities and they
are the ones the the insurance companies will pay for.

You children don't need sealants but it sure does help.
Adults can get sealants on their back teeth but you will pay for it all yourself.

If you are interested, talk to your dentist.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How long until my tooth breaks?

This question is one that we get, probably, more often then any other.

Below is a picture from a patient that we saw for the 
first time yesterday. You will notice that towards the
top of the picture there is a chip out of the tooth.

The tooth has a large metal filling already and is in a weakened state.

How long this tooth will last till it suffers a more significant break is 
almost completely up to the patient.

If the patient went on an all yogurt diet then the tooth would last a long time.
If the patient had a corn-nut addiction it may last 12 hours.
There is really no way to tell.

Best thing to do is obviously to get it fixed.
But if you can't then the best thing is to make sure that you 
don't chomp down on anything really hard on the side until
you can get it fixed.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Switching off of soda? Should you go to sports drinks?

I have many patients who have developed bad oral habits over the years.
One of these bad habits is drinking lots of soda pop.
Soda is terrible on your teeth.
I try to get people to stop drinking the stuff as much as I can.
Some folks have decided that they will kick the soda habit by going to something
much more healthy for them.
The stuff they decide to drink instead is sports drinks (gatorade, poweraid, red bull, etc.)
They see the commercials and see professional athletes drinking this stuff and think that it must be good for them.
Not so fast. The following is a study from the university of Iowa. and the results may shock you.

“The University of Iowa researchers covered extracted teeth with nail polish. They left bare two patches on each tooth, one on the enamel and one on the root. Then they dunked the teeth in test tubes filled with regular Coke, Diet Coke, Gatorade, Red Bull, or 100% apple juice. Every five hours, the researchers refreshed the beverages. After 25 hours, they examined the teeth with a microscope. All of the beverages eroded the bare spots on the teeth. But different beverages had significantly different effects. On the enamel, Gatorade was significantly more corrosive than Red Bull and Coke. Red Bull and Coke, in turn, were significantly more corrosive than Diet Coke and apple juice. On the roots of the teeth, Gatorade was more corrosive than Red Bull. Coke, apple juice, and Diet Coke followed in that order.”
So there you have it. People switching from soda pop to sports drinks thinking that they are helping their teeth are actually doing MORE damage to their teeth then before. Be careful what people tell you is better for you. It just may be worse.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Can you even fix this?

Its funny what people will say sometimes.
This patient wasn't even sure that we could fix his tooth, at all!
Well, this tooth, and so many more like it, are 
very much savable with just a little help from your
friendly neighborhood Ogden Dentist.

Here is the before picture.
This patient needed work on the tooth in the middle of
the picture and the tooth on the right side of the picture.

We finished this up in about 40 minutes.
Both teeth required the use of filling material but neither
tooth needed to be numbed up at all.

Patient chose a lighter shade because the next 
step is to bleach the teeth.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

There is always on option.

Our patient had a tough decision on her hands.
She lost her side, front tooth. 
She wasn't a good candidate for implants so that was out.
She also had a bridge that already included her front teeth.
So what to do.

Fuzzy (sorry) picture of the missing tooth and the canine
tooth that we will be using.
The canine tooth has already been prepared so it 
appears a little shorter then it normally would.

Here are the new crowns that will soon be placed in the 
patient's mouth.
The crown is going to go over the canine and the other
tooth is just hanging off of the canine crown.

Here are the crowns in place.
So we were able to save the front teeth crowns and
still manage to replace her missing tooth without
doing an implant.