Dental Procedure Articles
If you’ve been told that you need to undergo gum surgery, you might be a little nervous—or very nervous—about what’s ahead. But, by having an understanding of what happens during this procedure, and what to expect after it, you can feel a bit more at ease. So, to give you a general overview of what’s involved in gum surgery, we’ve compiled some helpful information below. When Is Gum Surgery Necessary? Typically, gum surgery might be required to treat gum disease when other, less invasive treatments haven’t worked or the disease has already progressed too far for other treatments to be effective. Your dentist might recommend seeing a periodontist for gum surgery if gum disease has become so severe that tissues and bones around the gums have been impacted, or if the gums have separated from your teeth, leaving behind pockets where infections can develop. It’s important to receive the appropriate treatments, such as scaling and root planing, as well as surgery, to restore the health of your gums. Without healthy gums, you risk losing your teeth! There Are Different Types of Gum Surgery The type of gum surgery that you’ll need will depend on factors like how far the gum disease has progressed. Here is a list of some of the common procedures that your periodontist might prescribe: Flap Surgery – If you’ve developed deep pockets with plaque, tartar, and bacteria, the periodontist may recommend flap surgery, which is also known as pocket reduction. Basically, the surgeon will create an incision to lift your gums and deeply clean underneath them, as well as smooth the bone if needed. Then, to ensure your gums will no longer have pockets, they’ll be stitched so they can properly cover your teeth. Bone or Tissue Graft – If the gum disease has advanced to the point that the bone around a tooth’s root has become damaged, a bone graft might be needed to add new bone to the area so you can reduce the risk of losing the tooth. On the other hand, if your gums are receding, your periodontist might use a tissue graft to replace tissue that’s been lost, and to cover a tooth’s roots if they’ve been exposed because of gum loss. Guided Tissue Regeneration – If gum disease has caused the bone that supports a tooth to become severely damaged or destroyed, you might need a procedure known as regeneration. Your periodontist will start by folding back the gums and cleaning out any bacteria. Then, tissue-stimulating proteins, membranes, or a bone graft will be set in place to help ensure the gums won’t grow where there should be bone. The area is allowed to heal so that tissue and bone can regrow properly. How to Prepare for, and Recover from, Gum Surgery Your periodontist will give you instructions on any steps you need to take before the procedure. Then, he or she might use a local anesthetic so you don’t feel anything during the gum surgery, or you might be partially or completely sedated. This helps ensure you’ll be comfortable from start to finish. Once the procedure is complete, you’ll receive instructions on how to have a smooth recovery. You may also be given a prescription for pain medication to take at home while you heal. And, if you received stitches, your periodontist will also advise you on when to have them removed. Keep in mind, too, that you might be required to eat only soft foods after you’ve undergone gum surgery. An antiseptic mouthwash may also be prescribed. Just be sure to follow your periodontist’s instructions closely to reduce the odds of complications while your mouth heals. At follow-up appointments, your periodontist will examine your mouth to ensure everything is healing well. During these exams, discuss any symptoms you’re experiencing, such as increased sensitivity, to be sure everything is normal and you don’t need additional care. After your mouth has totally healed, your teeth and gums should look and feel better than they did before the procedure. At that point, it’s up to you to follow a strict oral hygiene routine at home, and to continue receiving professional level care. Doing so may help you avoid developing the same gum issues in the future. Make Gum Surgery More Affordable with the Right Dental Insurance! Gum surgery can certainly be stressful, not only on your mind, but also on your wallet. To help ease your fears about out-of-pocket costs, consider enrolling in a high-quality, reliable dental insurance plan like one of the many options offered by Spirit Dental. With the right coverage, you’ll be able to afford gum treatments so you can maintain a healthy mouth and strong teeth. And you also won’t ever need to miss out on professional cleanings (you can get three cleanings per year with Spirit!), which can also help keep gingivitis and gum disease at bay. Sources: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321168#types-of-surgery https://oralb.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/gums/gum-surgery-types-what-to-expect https://www.periojackson.com/periodontal-care/flap-procedure https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw146255 https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/gum-disease-treatments https://sdperio.com/gum-surgery-explained/ https://www.perio.org/consumer/gum-disease-regenerative-procedure
The “dreaded” root canal is now a simple procedure, thanks to advanced technology and materials. When it comes to a root canal, people tend to frown at the idea of it; however, a root canal is a wonderful and necessary remedy to help salvage a tooth. In fact, a root canal is usually no more painful or challenging than a traditional tooth filling. Why Root Canals Are Indicated Some of the most common issues requiring a root canal include: 1. Dental Caries When caught early, a cavity can often be treated with a small dental filling. However, if you let the decay becomes more severe, it can often cause caries to enter the pulp, causing the pulp to become infected with bacteria. 2. Dental Trauma Blunt trauma can cause a tooth to become dead (necrotic) and discolored. 3. Repeated Dental Treatment When a filling frequently needs replacement, it causes the pulp to get inflamed or infected. 4. Fractures If a tooth fractures from biting into hard food, and the fracture extends into the pulp, the tooth could need a root canal. Signs You May Need a Root Canal Common signs you may need a root canal include: • Severe, persistent pain while eating or sleeping. • A dental abscess on the gum below the infected tooth. • Swelling. • Temperature sensitivity to heat and cold foods and drinks. • Cracked or fractured tooth. • Gum sensitivity. • Tooth discoloration (black or gray). The Root Canal Process A root canal involves removing the pulp of the tooth, which is made up of nerves, blood vessels, and tissue. You will require an X-ray to confirm decay is in the pulp. The pulp chamber and canals are then cleaned, disinfected, and filled to prevent bacteria from entering. The dentist may also put a temporary filling to avoid contamination by saliva, food, and plaque. You may be prescribed an oral antibiotic. Often, you will need a crown in a separate procedure to complete the treatment and preserve the tooth. It is common to experience some swelling and soreness once the local anesthesia wears off. You can take over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen as needed. You should avoid chewing while numb to avoid biting your cheek, lip, or tongue, and skip biting into hard foods and ice to reduce further injury to the tooth. You will have to follow up with your regular dentist for a permanent crown or filling to help support the tooth. Alternative Treatment to a Root Canal If you decide you don’t want a root canal, other treatment options include a tooth extraction. You can then replace the extracted tooth with an implant, bridge, or removable partial appliance to restore function and prevent teeth-shifting. Preventing a Root Canal To keep your teeth and gums healthy, you should maintain good oral hygiene habits such as daily brushing and flossing. You should limit the frequency of sugar in your diet to reduce your chances of developing tooth decay. If you play sports, wear a mouthguard to prevent dental trauma. If your dental treatment plans include smaller fillings, having the procedure done quickly can limit the potential of having the cavities get deeper and possibly requiring a root canal. Costs of a Root Canal Costs vary depending on which tooth needs treatment, your dental insurance, and if you are seeing a general dentist or an endodontist (a specialist in root canal treatment). Molars are often more expensive and more difficult to treat than anterior teeth. Most dental plans will cover a portion of a root canal. Generally, you can expect to pay up to $2,000 for root canal therapy. Dr. Erica Anand is a pediatric dentist in private practice focused on preventative dentistry including SDF, SMART fillings, and myofunctional therapy. She also writes professionally in the dental industry, working with marketing and consulting firms. Her extensive education includes treating children with special needs, dental phobias, and oral rehabilitation under general anesthesia. She maintains memberships of the American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and New York State Dental Association, and is an American Board of Pediatric Dentistry Candidate. Learn more about Dr. Erica Anand on her website.
Getting your teeth cleaned professionally on a regular basis, such as once or twice a year, is highly recommended. But you already knew that, right? And you’ve no doubt heard about the many benefits that can come from a cleaning at your dentist’s office. This simple procedure can thoroughly remove plaque and tartar -- in fact, you can only remove tartar with a professional cleaning, as you can’t brush it off at home! Plus, it can help you keep your gums healthy, clean, and strong. Yet, there are some rumors out there, claiming that dental cleanings might damage your pearly whites. Is that true? We get to the bottom of this question below so you can rest assured you’re making the right decisions to keep your teeth and gums healthy. A Concern About Enamel Keeping your enamel intact is a key component to maintaining healthy teeth, as it’s the protective layer on the outside of every tooth. But some people are concerned that the scraping that happens during a dental cleaning might be able to wear away the enamel, making teeth more prone to damage and decay. Valid argument? Thankfully, no. Even the scraping that occurs during a dental cleaning, when done by a professional, will not adversely affect the enamel on your chompers. The scraping that you hear and feel during your cleaning is nothing more than the hygienist using a special tool to remove plaque and tartar that have accumulated on your teeth. Once all of that nasty stuff is removed from the surface, your teeth will feel smoother. What’s That Sensitivity About? Some people are also concerned about the effects of dental cleanings because they tend to experience tooth sensitivity afterwards. But, again, this is nothing to worry about, and it’s totally normal and temporary. What causes your pearly whites to be a little more sensitive than usual after a cleaning? Well, it basically has to do with the removal of tartar using special tools. Areas that used to be covered by a lot of tartar and plaque might be more exposed and, therefore, more sensitive after everything has been scraped off. And your gums might even be sensitive and bleed a bit as a result of the tools that are used during the cleaning. Also, if you require a longer cleaning, a deeper cleaning, or multiple cleanings because of a lot of tartar along the gum line, your mouth might be even more sensitive and sore as a result. This, too, is usually considered normal and temporary. Tip: Talk to your dentist if you experience sensitivity after a dental cleaning, and be gentle at home while brushing so you can help your gums heal. If your teeth and/or gums are still sensitive days or weeks after a cleaning, your dentist can figure out why, so let him or her know about your symptoms and how long they last. Deep Cleaning the Gums: It Also Won’t Damage Teeth What if your dentist tells you that you need to undergo a deep cleaning known as scaling and root planing? Will this do any harm to your teeth? Again, the answer is simple: no. Scaling and root planing is recommended to patients who have been diagnosed with gum disease. Basically, plaque and tartar are scraped off the surface of teeth, like during a standard cleaning, but the hygienist will also go ahead and clean beneath the gum line too. That’s followed by root planing, which involves smoothing out the roots of the teeth so your gums can heal and reattach themselves to your chompers. As you can imagine, you might have some pain and sensitivity after this type of cleaning, but it doesn’t mean any damage was done. Your mouth just needs to heal, and your dentist can give you tips on how to take care of your teeth and gums until they’re all better. Trust Your Dental Hygienist! A professional hygienist knows how to properly perform scaling and polishing during a dental cleaning. This common procedure shouldn’t cause any damage to your teeth or gums. So don’t worry, and be sure to schedule those appointments for cleanings and checkups to help keep your smile healthy and bright. Sources: https://oasisdiscussions.ca/2019/04/26/myth-buster-series-can-a-cleaning-at-the-dentists-damage-tooth-enamel/ https://www.oatlandsdentalweybridge.com/will-the-hygienist-remove-the-enamel-from-my-teeth/ https://www.vice.com/en/article/wjgnxb/is-a-dental-deep-cleaning-ever-really-necessary https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/tooth-sensitivity/sensitive-teeth-after-cleaning https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/s/scaling-and-root-planing https://www.colgate.com.au/colgate-sensitive-pro-relief https://www.reboldental.com/why-are-your-teeth-sensitive-after-a-teeth-cleaning/
A dental fluoride treatment is one of the safest ways to protect our teeth from cavities. It is also one of the simplest ways. The many benefits of fluoride treatment include strengthening tooth enamel and remineralizing the structure of the tooth to prevent cavities. People are can have more cavities if they have poor oral hygiene, a high-sugar diet, or medications that make the teeth susceptible to breaking down. Here are four reasons why a fluoride treatment can be beneficial for you. 1. Fluoride Treatment Helps Fight Tooth Decay Our teeth are exposed to sugars every day through what we eat and drink. It is a common misconception that cavities are only caused only by sweets such as candy and beverages including soda and juice. While these high-sugar-content foods can cause cavities, a majority of cavities are caused by refined sugars and processed white flour carbohydrates. Most diets consist of a high frequency of pastas, breads, crackers, cereal, and desserts, exposing the teeth to sugars around the clock. Cavities are caused by bacteria in our mouth breaking down the sugars from our meals to create an acid. This acid weakens or demineralizes the enamel surface and eventually causes a small hole, otherwise known as a cavity. The minerals in our saliva help buffer these acids to prevent the breakdown of the enamel. This process is called remineralization. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps increase the remineralization process and prevent tooth decay. For those of us with poor or high-carbohydrate diets, a fluoride treatment is not only beneficial, but also necessary. 2. Professional Fluoride Treatments Are for the Entire Family Fluoride treatments are beneficial for both young people and adults. Since fluoride helps remineralize teeth, it is a great adjunct to brushing and flossing to help prevent cavities in any high-risk patient. This can include a child with a sweet tooth, a special needs patient, or an elderly patient with dry mouth. A fluoride treatment is not just for children—ask your dentist about getting a professional fluoride treatment to also help alleviate dental sensitivity. Often, as we age, we see recession near our gums where small parts of the root surface are exposed. This type of sensitivity can be uncomfortable while eating and drinking, and a fluoride treatment can improve this condition. 3. Protect Your Teeth While You Whiten! Teeth whitening is a common dental treatment to help brighten smiles and improve self-esteem. Unfortunately, many people experience discomfort while whitening because of post-sensitivity. Many dentists will recommend pre- and post-professional fluoride treatments to help reduce post-whitening sensitivity. They will also help coat your teeth in vitamins to help nourish them and protect your mouth from dehydration, which can raise your risk for tooth decay. 4. You Can Eat and Drink Right Away! A professional fluoride treatment is so simple that you can eat and drink immediately after your application. This is because newer fluoride treatments are done using a fluoride varnish, which is a paint that adheres to your teeth for several hours. Fluoride Treatments Are Quick and Cost-Effective The process of a fluoride treatment involves the application of fluoride in the form of a varnish, gel, or foam. The fluoride is applied directly into the tooth to form and serve as a protective layer. You can help restore your teeth to optimal health by avoiding hot foods or rinsing for a short period of time. A fluoride treatment can benefit people of all ages. If you are in orthodontic treatment, have poor oral hygiene and are prone to cavities, or are undergoing any type of radiation treatment, consider reaching out to your dentist as soon as possible to schedule a fluoride treatment to prevent your teeth from developing any cavities. Dr. Erica Anand is a pediatric dentist in private practice focused on preventative dentistry including SDF, SMART fillings, and myofunctional therapy. She also writes professionally in the dental industry, working with marketing and consulting firms. Her extensive education includes treating children with special needs, dental phobias, and oral rehabilitation under general anesthesia. She maintains memberships of the American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and New York State Dental Association, and is an American Board of Pediatric Dentistry Candidate. Learn more about Dr. Erica Anand on her website.
Veneers are a really popular dental treatment that can make your teeth look perfect. But, what exactly are veneers? And what do they generally cost? We’ve got you covered with some helpful information below. What Are Veneers? There are many scenarios in which your dentist might recommend veneers as a treatment to improve the look of your smile. For example, if your teeth are too worn, if you’ve chipped a tooth or broken it, if your pearly whites are uneven or there are gaps between them, or even if your chompers are discolored, veneers might be a great solution. Veneers, which are applied to the front of the teeth, look totally natural. They’re thin and customized to suit your mouth, and they can effectively change the size, shape, and color of your teeth. Plus, because porcelain veneers, in particular, are long-lasting (they might last longer than 10 years!) and resistant to stains, they can help keep your smile bright as well. Porcelain vs. resin composite veneers When it comes to veneers, there are a couple of materials that you can choose from: porcelain and resin composite. Your dentist will discuss the pros and cons of each of these options to help you decide which one is right for you, but here’s a basic breakdown of some of the differences: When it comes to resisting stains, and being less likely to become damaged, porcelain veneers are the better choice. The nice thing about resin composite is that less enamel might need to be removed before the veneer is set in place, and your dentist may be able to get it all done in one appointment, rather than the two or three appointments that porcelain veneers generally require. In terms of price, porcelain is more expensive. It might also be harder to fix, if that’s ever necessary. However, porcelain tends to last longer than resin composite (10-15 years for porcelain versus 5-7 years for resin composite). What Do Veneers Typically Cost? If you’ve thought about getting veneers, one thing to consider is their cost. Although the price will vary based on several factors, such as the professional that you’re using, where you’re located, the material that’s used, and how many teeth your dentist will be working on, you can expect that this procedure will be on the expensive end. The average price range for veneers is anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000. And that’s per tooth! But, as we mentioned above, the price will depend on factors like the material that the veneer is made of. So, to further break it down, consider the following: On average, a porcelain veneer for one tooth might cost anywhere from $925 to $2,500. On average, a resin composite veneer for one tooth might cost anywhere from $250 to $1,500. Will dental insurance help cover the cost of veneers? The answer to this question will depend on the dental plan that you have, and whether or not it covers restorative and cosmetic procedures. For example, your insurance might want to know if you’re getting veneers for a medical, rather than purely cosmetic, reason. If it’s only because you want your teeth to look good, and veneers aren’t medically necessary, your insurance might not help cover the cost. Check out the many options available from Spirit Dental to see if you can get support when undergoing this pricey treatment. Think Veneers Are Right for You? Overall, veneers are a fabulous option when it comes to perfecting the look of your teeth. If it’s a celebrity smile that you want, veneers might be the right way to go. Plus, they could be a good alternative to crowns. But they aren’t right for everyone, so your dentist will need to evaluate you and provide guidance. And it’s also important to keep in mind that this can be an expensive cosmetic treatment, so having the right insurance is wise. Sources: https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/veneers#1 https://www.aspendental.com/dental-services/cosmetic-dentistry/dental-veneers https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/veneers/how-long-do-veneers-last https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/dental-veneers https://www.yourdentistryguide.com/veneer-procedure/
When it comes to replacing missing teeth, two popular remedies are dentures and implants. But which one is right for you? Here’s a look at some of their pros and cons to help you decide. Dentures: The Non-Permanent Solution Removable dentures can easily be placed in the mouth, and then removed when they need to be cleaned. They aren’t permanently fixed into the jaw, and they shouldn’t be worn 24/7. However, they can be extremely helpful when it comes to eating and speaking because they effectively replace missing teeth when worn correctly. Whether you need a partial or full set of dentures, it’s important to follow your dentist’s instructions for caring for them. Doing so will help you keep them in tip-top shape, and keep your mouth as healthy as possible too. You might, for example, have to take them out every night before bed, place them in a solution to thoroughly clean them, and then reinsert them in the morning. What do dentures look like? Well, they have a plastic base that’s designed to look like your gums, and they feature false teeth that are made to look like real teeth. When fitted properly, they should feel comfortable and you shouldn’t have any trouble getting them into position. Some drawbacks to consider: It can take some time to get used to wearing dentures, even when it comes to using denture adhesive to prevent them from shifting. But if your dentures aren’t comfortable or stable, don’t hesitate to let your dentist know. Some simple adjustments can help you avoid soreness and discomfort. And ensuring your dentures are fitted just right can also help prevent oral health problems like decay and infections. Another thing to consider is that dentures might not fit your mouth the same way as you get older because your mouth can change with age. So, even after those initial adjustments to get them to fit just right, you might end up needing additional tweaks down the road to keep them feeling comfortable. Finally, dentures are susceptible to breaking, chipping, or cracking. If they’re damaged in any way, your dentist can work on repairing them, or you might need to get brand new dentures. Note: Don’t want to deal with removable dentures? You might be a good candidate for permanent dentures, which are actually set in place with implants. Are dentures the right solution for you? If your jaw isn’t strong or healthy enough for dental implants, dentures might be the best solution for your missing teeth. What about cost? In terms of how much they cost compared to implants, dentures tend to be less pricey. So, if you can’t afford implants, dentures might be the way to go. Implants: They’re Just Like Real Teeth Dental implants are one of the most popular solutions for missing teeth, whether you need to replace just one tooth or many teeth. Unlike dentures that can be removed, these are permanently set into the jaw, so they look, feel, and function just like real teeth. The great thing about implants is that they’re stable and secure, and they can last a long time. They might even support the health of your jaw by helping to prevent it from shrinking. Once your implant is in place, you’ll be able to eat and speak as you would with natural teeth. Plus, you can take care of an implant just like you would your other chompers by simply brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist for checkups and cleanings. Some drawbacks to consider: To get implants, you need to undergo a surgical procedure that typically involves multiple steps. Therefore, it can take time (we’re talking weeks or even months!). Generally, the steps include: Performing a bone graft, if necessary, to prepare your jaw for the implant. Placing the implant, which is a metal post, into your jawbone, and then putting a temporary crown on top. Giving your body time to heal so that the implant will be nice and secure. Placing an abutment and a permanent crown on the implant to make it look just like a natural tooth. Note: Along the way, your dentist will give you medications to help ease any pain you might experience until you’re totally healed. Are implants the right solution for you? Again, if your jaw isn’t healthy enough for the surgical procedure that’s necessary to insert an implant, your dentist might recommend another solution, such as dentures. Your dentist will also take your overall health into consideration when determining if it would be safe for you to undergo the implant procedure. For example, if you have a medical condition that may affect your ability to heal, dentures might be a better solution. Implants are usually much more expensive than dentures. If you don’t have the right dental insurance that covers major services and implants, you could end up spending thousands of dollars out of pocket. Ouch! No Matter What, It’s Best to Replace Missing Teeth Even if you’re only missing one tooth, getting it replaced is a smart move. Beyond impacting your confidence, missing teeth might also affect your ability to chew and speak. And when you leave that gap behind, the nearby teeth might end up shifting too, and that may cause your bite to change. Plus, the health and strength of your jaw might deteriorate over time if you’re missing teeth. Yikes! If you’re ready to replace teeth that you’ve lost, dentures and implants are two solutions that are definitely worth looking at. The best way to know which option is right for you, though, is by consulting with a dentist. And having the right insurance can help you save money at every step until your smile is restored. Sources: https://www.wcdentalarts.com/dental-implants-vs-dentures-whats-right-for-you/ https://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Publications/Files/ADA_PatientSmart_Tooth_Replacement.ashx https://www.dentalassociates.com/dental-topics/permanent-dentures https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/dental-implant-surgery/about/pac-20384622