Why Root Canals?

When most people hear the term root canal they immediately panic. The truth is if treated promptly a root canal is a great way to save a tooth and end your discomfort.

Common root canal symptoms include;

  • Pain, usually hot discomfort and sometimes can be intermittent or constant
  • Swollen, red tissue around the tooth
  • Throbbing or Pressure
  • Facial swelling
  • White draining lesion around the gum line of the tooth (looks like a pimple)

Why are root canals needed?

Teeth are very complex; the center of your tooth is called the pulp, which is filled with nerves and blood vessels.  The pulp can become inflamed or infected; from trauma, decay, cracks in your tooth, or just simply the nerve is dying in that tooth. Once pulp is inflamed or infected you may start to experience some of the above symptoms. The key is to catch these symptoms early as the inflammation or infection will not go away on its own. Antibiotics, if needed, may help to decrease the discomfort but is not a long term treatment. If you choose to ignore this toothache it will lead to more severe pain, tooth loss, and you’re also increasing the risk of it affecting your overall health as your body is fighting the infection.

What is the process?

Many people over think the process of a root canal but it is really pretty simple. Here at Parker River Dental when you come in for your appointment Dr. Davies will administer local anesthesia, this numbs the tooth and tissues around it so you won’t have pain or discomfort during the procedure. Once the area is numb, Dr. Davies will place a rubber dam over the tooth, clean out the tooth and remove the pulp. Once the canals of the tooth are cleaned out, the next step is to fill them back, we use a rubber material called gutta percha, followed by a composite (tooth colored) filling. This procedure is generally done in two appointments. A crown is usually recommended as a follow up 6-8 weeks later as the tooth becomes weak and more susceptible to fracturing once the pulp is removed.

If you experience any of the above symptoms please contact your dentist immediately, they will most likely take an X-ray to evaluate the tooth, bone, ligaments, and nerves. Here at Parker River Dental we have had patients fall sleep in our chair while root canal procedures are being done. The pain and fear associated with root canals is from the infection of the tooth. When the root canal is treated promptly most people never have to experience the severe pain that people associate with them.

Mindful Brushing

Do you multitask when brushing your teeth? “Research has shown that too much multitasking has the same effect on our IQ’s as a bong hit.” – Katrina Alcorn

I have been reading a book with my fitness challenge group called “Breathe Mama Breathe” by Shonda Moralis which focuses on everyday mindful moments.  I don’t think we realize how often our mind wonders and we lose focus on the present.  Most of us are guilty of being on autopilot and multitasking. As a hygienist I’m always interested when books incorporate dental topics. In chapter two Shonda discusses tooth brushing, and how most people struggle staying focused for the entire two minutes. She explains how she is guilty of “feeling compelled to walk around desperately looking to multitask.” When I was reading this I started laughing because I’m just as guilty in the morning opening my blinds, getting my lunch out of the fridge and as I talked to friends and patients I realized this is a common practice. I’m not sure if people do it out of habit, boredom or want to use their time wisely but we all need to stop and be more mindful of our brushing routine.

Tooth brushing is a great time to take two minutes for yourself and your thoughts. Challenge yourself to be present while brushing, hold your toothbrush lightly and enjoy the smell of your toothpaste and the tingle on your gums. Set a two minute timer if your toothbrush does not have one and focus on each individual section of your mouth.

I’m sharing this is because we all are so busy and feel that multitasking is the best way to get through the day, but the truth is sometimes we need to slow down and focus on one moment at a time.  If you’re a parent I highly recommend this book as a guide to help you feel more connected with yourself and your family.

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Enjoying Summer!

I hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful summer! I cannot believe today is August 1st.  One more month before school starts for most people. Summer is one of my favorite seasons as there is so much to do, windows are open, flip flops are on, and the sun is always shining!

Here are a few fun things I have done this summer!

We kicked off the summer with a family trip to Disney! It was my dad’s 60th, my parents 40th wedding anniversary, my sisters 30th and my son’s 1st trip. We had a spectacular time and I cannot wait to go again when my son is older. July has been filled with swimming, relaxing, York’s Wild Animal Kingdom and a couple weekend trips to Maine.

This past weekend was the Tough Mountain Challenge at Sunday River. We started running this race in 2013 with a group of 6 girls and now we have 14 people on our team. It is a fun, challenging race! This year was a newer longer 4.5 miles course with 20 obstacles. We push ourselves to the max and felt so accomplished after we complete the race. It is a weekend filled with friendship, laughter and fun! http://www.toughmountain.com * Here is the link if you think it is something you may want to challenge yourself to next year!

This past Monday we headed further north and went White Water Rafting with my family at Dead River Expeditions. We rafted the Kennebec River- with areas of intense rapids followed by swimming rapids and relaxing waters! We even enjoyed delicious homemade chocolate chips cookies as a snack while rafting! I have not been rafting in a few years and forgot how much fun it was. If you’re looking for a fun family adventure I would look into some rafting in West Forks, Maine. https://www.deadriverexpeditions.com

Can’t wait to see what August brings! What have you been doing all summer?

Bad Breath?

 

IMG_1957Have you ever noticed a horrible, not so fresh, feeling or taste in your mouth? The number of adults who experience halitosis, more commonly known as bad breath, at some point in their life is 50% according to the American Dental Association. In most cases bad breath is due to poor oral hygiene as well as a few other outside contributing factors, but it can be a sign of something more serious. The outside contributing factors include; Bacteria, Food and Beverage, Dry Mouth, Medications, and Smoking/ Tobacco products.

There are many natural bacteria that live in our mouths. When food is not properly removed from your oral cavity it breaks down increasing bacteria levels, causing the foul odor. There are certain foods which are naturally more potent to your breath as they get into your lungs and blood stream and linger in your exhale until they are completely expelled from your body; this includes onion, garlic, spices, coffee and alcohol.

Dry mouth (xerostomia) happens in those who do not produce enough saliva. Salivary flow is important because it’s what is responsible for continually washing food and bacteria particles out of your mouth. Some people also experience dry mouth from; sleeping with their mouths open, mouth breathers, problems with salivary glands, and from medications. Many of my patients get relief from Act Fluoride Rinse – Dry Mouth as well as ACT Dry Mouth Spray and Lozenges. If you have dry mouth make sure you keep the saliva flowing the best you can with an increase in water consumption, you can also try healthy foods in the morning that stimulate your saliva with lots of chewing (carrots, apples). Additional stimulants for salivary flow are chewing sugar free gum and sucking on sugar free candies.

There are many medications that have dry mouth as a common dental side effect, be sure to discuss this with your dentist and see what products they recommend for you. A few other medical conditions that can contribute to bad breath are; mouth infections, sinus infections, post nasal drip, acid reflux, diabetes, and some liver and kidney diseases.

Smoking and Tobacco, the habit many people struggle to quit. We all know smoking is not good for you and affects your entire body, including your oral cavity. It stains your teeth, irritates your gums, reduces your sense of taste, and causes bad breath. Most smokers are not usually aware of their bad breath as smoking affects their sense of smell. If you’re a smoker and trying to quit smoking- good for you, and keep up the good work! You are going to have better breath and an overall better quality of life. For those still smoking, I know it’s a hard habit to give up but try, not only for yourself but your loved ones.

How can you fight bad breath?  Most importantly have good oral hygiene. This includes making sure your brushing twice a day and cleaning between your teeth (floss or waterflosser) to remove all the bacteria causing your bad breath. Next, be sure to brush your tongue daily, if you stick your tongue out and notice a white or brown coating that is all bad breath bacteria lingering on your tongue. Mouthrinse can be used after eating to help kill bacteria or neutralize them to help mask bad breath until you are able to brush and floss. Mouthrinse can also be used as part of your daily oral hygiene routine to decrease bacteria levels. A few rinses I recommend are Act Flouride Rinse, Closys rinse (see blog post from September 22, 2017) and Listerine for certain patients who do not suffer from dry mouth or smoke.

If you have dentures, you can get mouthsores and suffer from bad breath as well. So remember to remove your dentures at night, rinse thoroughly and clean them before using them the next morning so food and bacteria are not trapped underneath. You should also visit the dentist for yearly oral screenings to evaluate your tissues and your dentures.

If you’re concerned about bad breath make an appointment to visit your dentist. Inform them of the symptoms you are having and the products you are using. If they feel that everything clinically is healthy they may refer you to your primary care physician.

References:

https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/bad-breath

https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/bad-breath/halitosis

https://www.activebeat.com/your-health/6-common-causes-of-halitosis/

 

Are Your Teeth Sensitive?

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Many people experience sensitive teeth overtime. Tooth sensitivity is a frequent dental concern, caused by exposed dentin, which is the inner layer of tooth structure. Dentin Hypersensitivity is most commonly associated with root exposure and areas where enamel is worn. Most people notice this sensitivity when enjoying cold drinks. Other triggers include; breathing in cold air, brushing teeth, and some foods. When the dentin is exposed, the outside trigger stimulates the nerves inside the tooth, resulting in a short, sharp pain.

What can you do about this? I would start by changing your daily toothpaste to Sensodyne toothpaste.  Sensodyne is OTC toothpaste that can be used at home in place of your daily toothpaste. In simple words, sensodyne works by filling in the exposed dentin tubules and desensitizes them. It usually takes about two weeks to notice results. There are two different sensodyne products I recommend depending on your symptoms; Sensodyne and Sensodyne Pro-enamel.

Sensodyne: * Relieves sensitivity

  • Short, Sharp Pain in response to tactile or thermal stimulants
  • Gingival Recession leading to exposed dentin
  • Changes in behavior to avoid discomfort – example includes: avoiding eating hot, cold or sweet items

When you are at the store or online you will notice there are many different Senodyne formulas on the market. I have included the descriptions to help you purchase the right one for you.

  • Sensodyne with Potassium nitrate works to soothe the nerve inside the tooth
  • Sensodyne Repair & Protect and Complete Protection has stannous fluoride which helps build a reparative layer over the exposed dentin to create a barrier against the outside triggers.

Pro-Enamel: * Strengthen & Protect enamel

  • Changes in tooth structure (rounded edges, dullness, yellowing or translucency)
  • An increased intake of dietary acids (including: some fruits, fruit juices, carbonated drinks, black coffee, tea, red wine and anything else that tastes sharp, like ketchup & salad dressing)
  • If you get cold sores or mouthsores – this toothpaste is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate Free
  • Strengthens weakened enamel
  • Limits enamel erosion during tooth brushing, due to its low abrasiveness

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity I would always encourage you to discuss with your dentist to make sure no other specific treatment needs are necessary. It’s important to also know that tooth whitening can also cause sensitivity which is different from Dentin Hypersensitivity. If you are having sensitivity from bleaching your teeth or from using whitening toothpaste discusses this with your dentist for more specific recommendations.

Does Your Smile Make You Happy?

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Many people are unhappy with their smile but are unsure what they can do about it. I have made a list of six possible treatment options that could be used to help improve your smile, all of which we do here at Parker River Dental.

  • Whitening- most people simply want whiter teeth! There are many ways of whitening your teeth from over the counter to In-office whitening. The results may vary depending on the current color/shade of your teeth. I would discuss options with your dentist and always be looking for the ADA seal of acceptance on any over the counter products.
  • Bonding- This is a simple treatment option where the dentist can restore the natural look of your tooth by attaching or “bonding” resin directly to it. This can change the shape and shade of your teeth.
  • Veneers- These are thin shells that are made of tooth-colored porcelain. They are designed to cover the front and sides of your teeth. Veneers do require you to remove some tooth enamel to accommodate the shell, and make them appear as natural teeth.
  • Crowns – As mentioned in my blog “Crowned in a day” (posted May 16, 2018), crowns are an excellent way to make teeth stronger, as well as cover discolored or miss shaped teeth. They can be used as a single tooth or connected with other crowns to create a bridge to help fill spaces of missing teeth.
  • Implants- Have become a common treatment to help replace missing teeth. They are made out of titanium and are surgically placed within the bone of the upper or lower jaw. They become a sturdy anchor to hold restorations, such as single unit crowns or multi-unit bridges to help restore your smile and proper occlusion for chewing.
  • Orthodontic Treatment- Braces are commonly seen on children, but also helpful for adults who suffer from malocclusion- crooked, crowded, misaligned teeth. (Refer to my blog: Wishing you could have straighter teeth?, posted February 21, 2018) Due to technology; traditional metal braces are no longer the only option for orthodontic treatment. Invisalign has become a popular way for many adults to help straighten out their smile.

If you’re unhappy with your smile, be sure to discuss treatment options with your dentist. You deserve to let those pearly whites shine! Remember; it has been stated that the act of smiling activates neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness.

~Happy July 4th~

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We hope everyone is having a safe, an awesome holiday and wearing their Red, White and Blue! We are closed this week, but wanted to share some fun historical facts about July 4th and its traditions as the birth of American Independence.

  • July 4th is also known as Independence Day.
  • On July 2, 1776 the continental congress voted in favor of independence, 2 days later on July 4th 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, the historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson.
  • It’s been a Federal Holiday Since 1941
  • Independence Day traditions date back to the 18th Century and the American Revolution. These traditions include Festivals, Fireworks, Parades, Concerts and Barbecues which most of us all still carry on today.
  • New York City has the largest Fireworks Display
  • 3 presidents have died on July 4th ( John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe)

 

Enjoy your day and family traditions!

Our office will re-open on Tuesday July 10th @ 8am