Chances are pretty good that you’ve heard of root canal treatment before, but do you actually know why it’s sometimes necessary? Whether our Mount Airy, NC, dentists Dr. Lynette Smith and Dr. G. Bennett Smith have recommended that you need this procedure or you are experiencing changes in your oral health that have you concerned, we are here to tell you more about the common warning signs that could be trying to tell you that you could benefit from this endodontic treatment.
Why is a root canal necessary?
Unfortunately, this simple procedure gets a pretty bad rap. There are jokes and horror stories made about how painful root canal treatment is, but you’ll be relieved to hear that this is a myth. Most people equate root canals with pain because they are already experiencing significant pain before getting the procedure; however, the goal of this endodontic procedure is to remove the source of the pain (not cause pain). By removing the infected or inflamed dental pulp we not only preserve the tooth but also remove the source of the toothache.
Do you need a root canal?
It’s impossible to know for sure that you need a root canal without our Mount Airy, NC, general dentists examining your teeth and running X-rays; however, there are some changes to your oral health that should not be ignored. It’s time to give us a call if you are experiencing any of these symptoms:
- A toothache
- Tooth sensitivity
- Tooth darkening
- Tender, swollen gums around the tooth
- A pimple-like growth on the gums (known as an abscess)
The classic symptom is a toothache. This toothache occurs because bacteria have been able to penetrate the outer layers of the tooth to infect the dental pulp inside. Once the pulp has been infected the only option is to remove it through root canal therapy and to clean out the inside of the tooth to prevent the bacteria from spreading.
Blue Ridge Dental offers comprehensive and compassionate dentistry in the Mount Airy, NC, area. If you need a toothache assessed or you just need to sit down and talk to us about your cosmetic dentistry options, we are happy to provide you with the care you and your smile deserves.
Your dentists in Mount Airy, NC, Dr. Lynette Smith and Dr. G. Bennett Smith, encourage you and your family to keep good oral hygiene habits. In short, they benefit your teeth, gums and your overall health, too. These habits begin at home and practiced routinely, help families have their best looking and functioning smiles. At Blue Ridge Dental, good oral hygiene forms the heart of great preventive care.
Why practice good oral hygiene
Without routine brushing and flossing at home and a tooth-friendly diet, expect two serious dental conditions to develop:
- Dental decay
- Periodontal (gum) disease
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research says that gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among American adults, followed by cavities and dental abscess. Tooth loss impacts smile appearance, bone structure and oral function. Additionally, research from several sources indicate links between periodontitis and health issues such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease and dementia.
At the heart of poor oral health is accumulation of sticky plaque and hard tartar, biofilms formed from food residues which collect on and between teeth and at the gum line. When not removed by flossing, brushing and professional cleanings by your dentists in Mount Airy, bacteria in the plaque and tartar secrete corrosive acids, causing decay and gum disease.
Guidelines for oral hygiene
Expect bright, long-lasting smiles when you and your loved ones:
- Brush twice a day for two minutes with a soft brush and fluoride toothpaste (as advised by the American Dental Association).
- Floss once a day using the product of your choice.
- Get six-month cleanings and check-ups with Dr. Smith
- Eat a diet low in sugar and high in fiber, calcium and low-fat protein.
- Drink several glasses of water a day to rinse tooth surfaces and to increase saliva which has antibacterial qualities.
- Change your toothbrush when it looks worn out, after a cold or the flu or within three months.
- Use mouthwash to freshen breath, reduce plaque and whiten teeth, depending on the ingredients.
If you have questions about oral hygiene, ask your dentist or hygienist at Blue Ridge Dental. He or she is happy to recommend floss, toothbrushes and specialty tools (especially for patients with restorations, tooth replacements or braces) suited to your unique needs and preferences.
Please contact Blue Ridge Dental in Mount Airy, NC if it's time for your routine cleaning and exam. The dentists and their staff wish to partner with your in maintaining your healthy smile. Call today: (336) 789-5306.
Both dentists and their patients work hard to preserve oral health and function. This comprises the heart of preventive dentistry. However, certain conditions require tooth extraction, unfortunate as that is. Mount Airy, NC dentists, Dr. Lynette Smith and Dr. G. Bennett Smith, perform extractions at Blue Ridge Dental. Read here about what conditions require this dental procedure.
Kinds of extraction
Dentists extract both primary and adult teeth. Sometimes an extraction is what professionals call simple--that is, the doctor grasps the tooth with a forceps and pulls it out of the socket. Other times, the extraction is surgical, requiring an incision of the gums and sometimes the surrounding bone, too, as in the case of impacted wisdom teeth.
Either way, your Mount Airy dentist will examine your tooth and surrounding tissues carefully and also take digital X-rays before recommending any type of extraction. He or she also will ensure that you are completely comfortable during the treatment. Usually, locally injected anesthetic is sufficient to numb the area and keep you pain-free.
Reasons for dental extraction
Your Mount Airy dentist cites several reasons for pulling a tooth. They include:
- Wisdom tooth impaction, when a third molar is encased in gum or bone, is at risk for infection and intrudes on neighboring teeth
- Serious tooth fracture above or below the gum line
- Deep decay and infection that travels into the jaw bone
- Retention of baby teeth into teen years and adulthood, impeding eruption of permanent teeth
- Tooth blocking cancer radiation treatment
- Blockage of orthodontic treatment
- Teeth are too large for the size of the jaw bone, resulting in overcrowding
Remember, that Dr. Smith considers extraction a last resort. If performed, the dentist will recommend replacing that tooth--in the case of decay or fracture, for instance--with a dental implant, partial denture or fixed bridge according to your individual needs.
Post extraction care
Most people recover quickly from extractions. The team at Blue Ridge Dental advises the following home care of your extraction site:
- Bite on sterile gauze for 30 minutes after the dentist sutures the site closed.
- Take analgesics for pain and antibiotics as prescribed.
- Consume a liquid diet on day one--clear soups and juices, popsicles, jello.
- Advance to a soft diet the next day--macaroni and cheese, yogurt, mashed potatoes.
- Apply ice if your jaw is swollen--10 minutes on and 10 minutes off.
- Do not smoke or drink from a straw for 48 hours as the suction can dislodge the newly formed blood clot.
- Return to Blue Ridge Dental for suture removal or for any unexplained pain or bleeding.
It's very important to preserve the blood clot at the extraction site. If it becomes dislodged, a condition called "dry socket" can happen. The American Dental Association says that while dry socket is relatively uncommon, if it does happen pain, impeded healing and infection may result.
Find out more
If you're facing dental extraction, don't worry. You're in the hands of a capable and compassionate team of professionals at Blue Ridge Dental. Call us with your questions: (336) 789-5306.
When you experience ongoing pain in the area near your ear, a clicking or popping sound from your jaw and stiffness or pain in the muscles on the side of your face, you may be suffering from TMD or temporomandibular disorders. TMD is a group of conditions that are associated with dysfunction or pain of the TMJ or the temporomandibular joint. At Blue Ridge Dental, your dentists in Mount Airy, North Carolina Drs. Lynette and G. Bennett Smith, can fully examine you and offer you TMD/TMJ treatment options.
About TMD/TMJ Treatment
The TMJ pain or stiffness can be caused by strain, disk problems, sore muscles or inflammation. Oftentimes, TMD is genetic or comes with age. Stress can also lead to the development of TMD/TMJ symptoms. One of the most common symptoms of TMD is clicking sounds. This is caused by the shifting of the disk inside the joint itself. The jaw can even get stuck in an open or closed position for those suffering from TMD. Our dentist in Mount Airy, North Carolina can examine you and determine what type of treatment options will suit your situation best.
For some simple changes such as diet may help. For other moist heat or ice may relieve inflammation or soreness. Muscle spasms can be treated with gentle stretching. Muscle relaxants and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications have been proven to be successful too. For more severe TMD cases, bridge work, orthodontics, cortisone injections or even surgery may be required. It’s important to try a variety of conservative treatments first before considering more serious ones. The Proper amount of time must be given to determine whether or not the treatment is in fact working.
Our dentists in Mount Airy, North Carolina can fully examine you and help you with your TMD/TMJ pain today. To schedule an appointment with our professional staff today, call 336-789-5306.
Getting that beautiful smile doesn’t have to be difficult. We can help!
Are you interested in finally getting the smile you’ve always wanted but still have so many questions left unanswered about getting cosmetic dentistry? Our Mount Airy, NC, dentists, Drs. Lynette and G. Bennett Smith, understand how important it is to figure out the best cosmetic dentistry to improve the look and feel of your smile, which is why we are here to help answer your most popular questions about cosmetic dentistry.
Q. What is cosmetic dentistry?
A. Cosmetic dentistry is a technique that allows us to be able to alter the look, color and overall appearance of one or more teeth to aesthetically enhance your smile. A lot of stock goes into the look of your smile. By changing the shape, color, length or size of your teeth, we can finally give you a more attractive appearance.
Q. Is teeth whitening safe?
A. A lot of people worry that bleaching gels could damage healthy teeth enamel. Luckily, professional teeth whitening is completely safe. If you are worried about whitening your teeth yourself then it’s time you turned to our Mount Airy cosmetic dentists who can safely and effectively whiten your smile. While teeth whitening can cause some minor tooth sensitivity, this is something that is well monitored and controlled when you choose to get in-office whitening over whitening your teeth yourself.
Q. Who is a good candidate for cosmetic dentistry?
A. Most people looking to enhance the look of their smile can often benefit from cosmetic dentistry if:
- They have healthy teeth and gums that are free of cavities and gum disease
- They maintain good oral hygiene
- They are dedicated to properly caring for their new restorations
- They are realistic about their treatment goals and what they want from cosmetic dentistry
A dental consultation is all that’s needed to help you determine whether your smile could benefit from cosmetic dentistry.
Q. What are some simple, non-invasive ways to improve your smile?
A. Some patients want to make minor adjustments to their smile and aren’t looking to have to undergo multiple procedures, surgeries or needles and drilling in order to achieve that ideal smile.
If this sounds like you then it might be time to consider dental bonding or teeth whitening. Bonding is a great way to mask minor chips, cracks, discolorations and gaps between teeth while teeth whitening can quickly remove stubborn surface stains in often just one treatment.
Do you still have questions about cosmetic dentistry? Do you want to find out if you’re the ideal candidate for one of our dental treatments? If so, call Blue Ridge Dental in Mount Airy, NC, today!
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