Care After Root Canal

Woman at the dentistry

Our patients often tell us that the phrase root canal causes feelings of fear. While it is true that no one enjoys dental procedures, the root canal has a reputation for being a painful and painful treatment.

In the past, much of the fear surrounding a root canal had merit. At this time numbing the area around the root canal was difficult. If a root canal is necessary, it is because the tooth and surrounding space contain dead nerves and blood vessels. The lack of nerves and blood vessels leaves nothing to transport the medication beyond the immediate site. Fortunately, dental advancements make preparing the root canal site more straightforward and the pain relief more efficient.

The root canal procedure is not complicated. We begin with anesthetic injections and once your mouth is numb, our dentist drills into the afflicted tooth and removes decaying pulp and any infected tissues. After cleaning your tooth, the empty area inside of your tooth receives a spongy substance called gutta–percha. The dentist permanently seals your tooth and may opt to put a crown on the tooth for protection.

Once your root canal is complete, you can focus on your recovery. Our Northridge dentist recommends that root canal patients plan to have some downtime following the procedure. The bare minimum our office suggests is to schedule the whole day off from work and other responsibilities. If you are able to have more time to rest and recuperate, it would be to your advantage.

In addition to resting, we suggest that our root canal patients use ice packs to help minimize facial swelling and to help relieve any pain. You will likely want to have over-the-counter pain medication on hand, but you may receive a prescription for stronger pain relief medication. Often, this is not necessary because many patients report a great deal of pain relief because the decaying and infected tissues and abscesses are gone. We also suggest that you have a supply of soft foods to eat for a day or two after your root canal. Additionally, avoid anything sticky or chewy while recovering from your root canal procedure.

While complications are infrequent after a root canal, please contact our office right away if you have excessive bleeding, fever, or extreme pain.

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Types of Dental Bridges

Beautiful woman with a whiten perfect smile

If you are missing one or more teeth, there are a few dental restoration options available to you. There are dental implants and there are also dental bridges. Average adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have three decayed or missing teeth. There are four types bridges that are used today that help bridge gaps and improve your smile.

 

The first type of bridge is a traditional bridge, which is the most popular. These are made up of one or more fake teeth and are held in place by a dental crown. The crowns are cemented onto the teeth adjacent to your missing teeth or tooth for support. These bridges are great for patients who have natural teeth on both sides of the gap created by the missing tooth or teeth. These bridges are even strong enough to replace molars.

 

Cantilever bridges are also another option for replacing teeth. However, with this bridge the fake teeth are supported with a crown only on one side rather than both sides. If there’s only one natural tooth next to the gap, a bridge can still be used. Much like the traditional method, the adjacent tooth will need to be prepared by removing its enamel.

 

A more conservative option is a Maryland bridge. These bridges consist of false teeth held together by porcelain or metal frameworks. The framework is bonded to the backs of the two teeth adjacent to the missing tooth. Since there is no crown used during this method, the adjacent teeth do not need to be filed down. Of note, the strength of the bridge is limited by the strength of the resin that holds it in place. It’s important to take special care of this type of bridge since the strength of it is limited.

 

There’s also implant-supported bridges to replace teeth. These can be used if you have more than one missing teeth. Instead of using crowns or frameworks, these bridges are supported by dental implants. There is usually one implant placed for each missing tooth. The series of implants holds the bridge in place. If it’s not possible to place one implant for every lost tooth, the bridge may be suspended between two-implant supported crowns.

 

Talk to our Northridge dentist about improving your smile. We can examine your teeth and gums and choose the best restoration option possible. If you have one or more missing teeth, there are multiple options available to you. We can improve your smile and make it look as natural as possible. Schedule a consultation with us today.

How are Lasers Used in Dentistry?

Dental assistant smiling at camera

Lasers use narrow, concentrated beams of light energy, which can be used to shape, remove or vaporize tissue. Since 1990, they have been used in a variety of dental treatments. When used in place of traditional dental drills, lasers can reduce pain, anxiety and the need for anesthesia. They can also quickly cauterize tissues, which helps reduce bleeding and swelling.

You might be a candidate for laser dentistry if you have:

1. Tooth decay
The decayed tissue can be removed using a laser, and the enamel can be prepared for the filling placement.

2. Periodontal disease
Lasers can be used to destroy the bacteria that cause gum disease and reshape the gum tissue around the teeth.

3. Oral sores
Lasers can be used to reduce the pain of canker sores and cold sores and speed healing.

4. Dental fillings
The composite resin of dental fillings or bonding can be cured using dental lasers.

5. Teeth whitening
A dental laser can activate teeth whitening ingredients and speed teeth whitening procedures.

While dental lasers are a versatile and effective tool in modern dentistry, they are not necessarily appropriate for every procedure. We can help you decide if they are right for you.

Call our office today to schedule your next appointment with our dentist in Northridge.

When Should Dental Crowns be Used?

Woman at the dentistryCrowns provide important backup for teeth that may fail structurally or visually. Made of metal or porcelain, these “caps” (as they’re also known) are placed over teeth with cracks, discoloring, or damage caused by advanced decay. This way, full functionality is returned to the tooth along with the natural look you desire.

You and your dentist should decide together if your tooth warrants a crown. Some dentists push crowns as a certain kind of fix-all, which is not entirely accurate. There are some failings in teeth that are better served by other products, so it’s important to know the exact situations that call for crowns.

Our dental crowns dentist in Northridge always finishes root canal treatment with a crown. Any tooth that receives a root canal is clinically dead inside the mouth, once the nerve and pulp have been removed. But a crown seals the pulp substitute inside the tooth and ensures you keep your full bite force.

Likewise, a crown is the finishing touch on a dental implant procedure. The replacement factor in implantology is always the titanium root in the jaw. But the crown is the visible portion, and protects the integrity and lifespan of the procedure.

For more about uses of dental crowns, contact your Northridge dentist.

 

How are Tooth Colored Fillings Different?

Happy patient

Tooth-colored fillings, or composite fillings as they’re also known, were meant to bring a visual component to tooth restoration. Metallic fillings don’t blend with tooth enamel, and amalgam fillings raise concerns about mercury levels. While tooth-colored composites have their drawbacks, their net strength is one of pleasant naturalism.

The drawbacks of tooth-colored dental fillings are less problematic in smaller restorations, where less bite force is required. But with recent improvements in the composite, these fillings have a bright lifespan—especially in patients with a lower decay rate.

Two of the materials commonly found in composites—plastic resin and silica filler—are naturally compatible with dentin, which is the tooth layer just beneath the enamel. This bonding agency is not possible with metallic or amalgam fillings, which merely form a protective layer for the tooth.

One negative of this bonding process is the potential for the composite to shrink, whereas an amalgam filling is more or less self-sealing.

But overall, tooth-colored composites create a shield against temperature changes in the tooth. Again, aesthetics are the top draw of these fillings. Our Northridge cosmetic dentist can blend shades to create a nearly-identical color for your filling.

What is E4D Technology?

Dental assistant smiling at cameraE4D is a new system that lets our dentist scan teeth and make restorations at our office. By choosing E4D Technology instead of conventional restorations, patients enjoy more convenience and have less time to wait for results. Here is more about E4D in its scanning and milling phases.

Laser Scanning With E4D

Traditional bite impressions are time consuming and can be unpleasant for patients. E4D can create a 3-D model of the teeth with a laser scanning tool that is fast and accurate. Right after the images are made, our dentist can view them on an office computer and refine restoration designs as necessary.

On-Site Milling

The designs made from E4D laser images can be milled from raw materials while patients wait. Porcelain crowns, veneers, inlays, and onlays can be made accurately using this process, resulting in incredibly lifelike and comfortable results. With E4D, patients need only one appointment to get these restorations rather than the two or more visits that conventional restorations require.

E4D optimizes the preparation and production process associated with several restorations. Like conventional porcelain restorations, E4D restorations can last for many years with proper care. Patients can schedule a consultation with our dentist in Northridge to find out if they are candidates for E4D.

Options for Treatment of Sleep Apnea

Woman annoyed by the snoring of her partner in her bedThe first line of defense against sleep apnea is usually CPAP, short for continuous positive airway pressure. This is obtained via a pressurizer that regulates airflow when the patient is hooked up to it with a mask. Mask technology changes rapidly, which means there are always several options to choose from. This is good, since the first mask isn’t always the best fit. Depending on what kind of breather or sleeper you are, you may have difficulty getting a CPAP mask that supplies accurate data.

Sleep apnea sufferers who don’t respond to CPAP treatment may qualify for oral appliance therapy, or OAT. This is just a mouthguard worn while sleeping to hold the jaw forward and keep the airway clear. It must be prescription and custom-fit, as just buying an over-the-counter sports mouthguard may not provide the treatment you need.

Before OAT or even CPAP treatments for sleep apnea, you can try to change up your lifestyle. Obesity is the leading contributor to sleep apnea, due to the high concentration of fat cells in the neck. Watching what you eat and getting regular exercise can take a lot of the pressure off your airway.

Ask our sleep apnea dentist in Northridge about other treatments, such as automatic positive airway pressure (APAP) and bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP).

How Often Do You Need Dental X-Rays Taken?

Examining radiography

Regularity of dental x-rays has been a trending topic over the last few years. It wasn’t too long ago that dentists recommended all patients receive annual bitewing x-rays. This was largely due to something that might be called the “whole mouth” theory, by which bitewing x-rays expand views of the mouth and allow dentists to better view and speculate on every spot and fissure.

 

However, concerns about radiation exposure have led many experts to start advising against annual x-rays—despite the incredibly low dosage found in bitewing x-rays. Some dentists advise their patients that since the cost of the annual x-ray is typically picked up by insurance, they have nothing to lose by getting it. The anti-radiation movement argues against this, obviously.

 

The best advice by our Northridge dentists is that new patients should submit to a bitewing x-ray. This establishes a baseline for your file, and enables the dentist to compare the results to your overall dental history.

 

For repeat patients and those with stellar dental records, annual x-rays are probably not necessary.

 

For more about dental x-rays and problems they can expose, talk to our expert in dental x-rays in Northridge.

Importance of Dental Exam and Cleaning

Happy patient

Teeth do not clean themselves, and you can only clean them yourself up to a point. Brushing and flossing can keep the worst bacteria at bay, but problems are inevitable if you go too long without a professional cleaning. Only a dentist can remove the biofilm buildup, known as tartar, which collects on teeth over time.

If you allow tartar to erode the enamel on your teeth, serious periodontal problems are that much harder to avoid. Gum disease, like gingivitis and advanced periodontitis, can eventually cause the teeth to separate from the gums and even loosen and fall out. A dental exam and cleaning can diagnose any gum disease you have, and reverse it if it’s early enough.

At your exam, your dentist checks your head and neck for any sign of cancer or malformation. Cysts in the jaw or swollen lymph nodes are often discovered by dentists in routine exams. Oral cancer screenings are included in the process.

Regular exams are essential if you want your teeth to stay clean, your gums to stay healthy, and your overall health to flourish. Contact your Northridge dentist to schedule an appointment today.

Do All Wisdom Teeth Need to be Extracted?

Happy patient

Many patients benefit from having their wisdom teeth removed, but not all patients require it. With that said, wisdom teeth can cause serious problems and should be removed when warning signs arise. Below is more about this issue and what problematic wisdom teeth can cause.

When Wisdom Teeth Do Not Cause Problems

Some patients have plenty of room in their mouth for wisdom teeth, so overcrowding is unlikely to occur. Even some impacted wisdom teeth cause no problems, especially when they have only just emerged. In any case, the potential for problems from specific wisdom teeth should be determined through an exam by our Northridge dentist.

What Problems Can Happen from Wisdom Teeth?

Besides overcrowding, which can cause orthodontic problems, wisdom teeth can be highly prone to decay and can cause gum disease if they are impacted. This is mainly because crannies tend to develop around these teeth, allowing food and bacteria to settle there. Pericoronitis, an infection of gum tissue overhanging wisdom teeth, can also develop.

Wisdom teeth do not necessarily need to be removed unless they cause problems or are deemed risky after an exam. By scheduling a consultation with our expert in wisdom teeth extraction in Northridge, patients can learn more about the issues that wisdom teeth can cause.