Posts for category: Dental Procedures
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the month of May? Balmy breezes? Sweet-smelling flowers? How about root canal treatment?
The last item might seem out of place…but for the last ten years, Root Canal Awareness week has been celebrated in May. So let’s take a closer look at this important—and often misunderstood—dental procedure.
What we commonly call a “root canal” is a special treatment that can save diseased teeth which might otherwise be lost. But the root canal itself is actually a set of hollow, branching passages deep inside the hard outer tissue of the tooth. The tiny “canals” contain the tooth’s soft pulp, including nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. These tissues help teeth grow during childhood but aren’t necessary in healthy adult teeth—and, what’s worse, they can become infected via deep cavity or a crack in the tooth’s outer layers.
When bacteria infect the pulp tissue, the inflammation often causes intense discomfort. In time, the harmful microorganisms can also pass through the tooth’s root and into the tissue of the jaw, resulting in a painful abscess. Eventually, if it isn’t treated, the tooth will likely be lost.
Root canal treatment is designed to remove the infection, relieve the pain…and save the tooth. It is usually performed under anesthesia for your comfort. To begin the procedure, a small hole is made in the tooth’s enamel to give access to the pulp; then, tiny instruments are used to remove the diseased tissue and disinfect the tooth. Finally, it is sealed up against re-infection. Following treatment, a cap (or crown) is often needed to restore the tooth’s full function and appearance.
Despite some rumors you may have heard, root canal treatment is neither very painful nor likely to cause other health problems. So if you come across these discredited ideas, remember that dentists and dental specialists called endodontists perform some 25 million root canal procedures every year—and this treatment method has been validated for decades.
Of course, like any medical procedure, root canal treatment is not 100% successful. While the procedure has a very high success rate, it’s possible that additional treatments will be needed in some cases. However, the alternative—extracting the tooth—has similar potential downsides; plus a replacement tooth will be needed to avoid the health and lifestyle troubles caused by missing teeth. But one thing is certain: Ignoring disease in the tooth’s soft tissues isn’t a good move, because the infection won’t go away on its own—and down the road it will only get worse.
So this May, while you’re taking time to smell the flowers, spare a thought for the often-misunderstood root canal. If you’d like more information on root canal treatment, please contact us or schedule a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “A Step-By-Step Guide to Root Canal Treatment” and “Root Canal Treatment: What You Need to Know.”
As dental procedures have evolved through research, understanding, and technological breakthroughs, the need to extract, or pull, teeth has been lessened. However, there are still instances in which your cosmetic dentist in the Ewa Beach and Kapolei area, Dr. Kern Agader, may still recommend an extraction. Although every situation is unique, the following signs are an indication that an extraction may be needed.
A toothache doesn't always mean you need an extraction, but you'll want to contact your Kapolei dentist any time you're experiencing dental pain that doesn't resolve within a couple days. Decay that goes untreated can advance into the inner parts of a tooth, which contains nerve endings that can cause lasting sensitivity and pain. Damage to the tooth can also cause pain to develop. If your tooth has cracked past the gum line into the roots, chewing or biting down can be very uncomfortable. In these cases, extraction may be necessary.
Tooth loss can accompany advanced gum disease, known as periodontitis, due to the breakdown of gum tissue and bone density. If you're diagnosed with periodontitis, your cosmetic dentist serving the Ewa Beach and Kapolei area may choose to extract teeth that are at risk for loss to prevent infection and promote healing.
When a person's teeth are too large for their mouth or have grown into the improper place, overcrowding may occur. This makes brushing difficult and is a hindrance to orthodontic procedures. For this reason, Dr. Agader may extract one or more teeth to help make room for the shifting caused by braces. These extractions are typically molars and won't be seen when you smile.
If you're in the Ewa Beach and Kapolei area, call Dental Perfections to make an appointment for a tooth extraction or any other dental procedure. We're conveniently located in Kapolei, Hawaii.
If you press your tongue against your teeth, unless something is badly wrong they won't budge. In fact, your teeth are subjected to a fair amount of pressure each day as you chew and eat, and yet they remain firmly in place.
But there's a deeper reality—your teeth do move! No, it's not a paradox—the gum and bone tissues that hold your teeth in place allow for slight, imperceptible changes in the teeth's position. Their natural ability to move is also the basis for orthodontics. Here are 3 more facts you may not know about your teeth's natural ability to move.
Teeth are always on the move. Teeth are held firmly within the jawbone by an elastic gum tissue called the periodontal ligament and a thin layer of bony-like material called cementum. In response to pressure changes, though, the bone dissolves on the side of the teeth in the direction of pressure and then rebuilds behind it, solidifying the teeth's new position, a process that happens quite slowly and incrementally. And it will happen for most of us—some studies indicate more than 70% of people will see significant changes in their bite as they age.
Orthodontics works with the process. Orthodontic appliances like braces or clear aligners apply targeted pressure in the direction the orthodontist intends the teeth to move—the natural movement process does the rest. In the case of braces, a thin metal wire is laced through brackets bonded to the front of the teeth and then anchored, typically to the back teeth. The orthodontist incrementally tightens the wire against its anchors over time, encouraging tooth movement in response to the pressure. Clear aligners are a series of removable trays worn in succession that gradually accomplish the same outcome.
Watch out for the rebound. That nice, straight smile you've gained through orthodontics might not stay that way. That's because the same mechanism for tooth movement could cause the teeth to move back to their former positions, especially right after treatment. To avoid this outcome, patients need to wear a retainer, an appliance that holds or "retains" the teeth in their new positions. Depending on their individual situations and age, patients may have to wear a retainer for a few months, years or from then on.
If you would like more information on orthodontic treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.”
Do you find yourself admiring other people's smiles, but when you look at your own, well, your reaction differs? In fact, you'd love to trade teeth with someone to get the white, flawless smile you've wanted for years. At Dental Perfections, in Kapolei, HI and serving the Ewa Beach area, your cosmetic dentist, Dr. Kern Agader, loves recreating smiles and elevating self-confidence. Why not explore your options for a wonderful new look?
Think about change
Change is the whole point of cosmetic dentistry. Change, enhancement, makeover--whatever way you want to express it, cosmetic dentistry in Kapolei, Makakilo and Ewa Beach can improve:
- The amount of gum tissue which shows when you smile
- Tooth color
- How straight your smile is
- Gaps, crowding, pits, chips, and cracks
- How you feel about yourself
- How those around you perceive your personality
It's true. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry has researched how a smile impacts interpersonal relationships. These experts find that a great looking smile tells other people you are more approachable, friendlier, smarter and more competent. In short, your teeth are a highly valuable personal asset.
So when you come to Dental Perfections for a makeover consultation, be prepared to talk to your dentist about specific changes for your smile. And, make sure those changes are realistic ones aimed at making your smile project the real you, not some image of what the world of celebrity says you should be.
Offered cosmetic treatments
Here's a list of some of the services Dr. Agader uses to craft those just-right smiles for patients of all ages. They include:
- Professional teeth whitening, the application of Opalescence at-home whitening. The kit safely bleaches stains created by tobacco, coffee, soy sauce, medications and the aging process. Results last and are absolutely stunning.
- Composite resin bonding, use of a glass and acrylic putty that repairs small flaws such as gaps, cracks and uneven tooth length. Polished and hardened with a curing light, the resin lasts for five to 10 years and looks perfectly seamless.
- Porcelain veneers, translucent shells of fine ceramic which permanently cover the front of chipped, discolored or misshapen teeth. Far less invasive than dental crowns, veneers last for up to twenty years with gentle at home care and in-office cleanings and check-ups.
- Six Month Smiles, tooth-colored braces perfect for older teens and adults who want cosmetic straightening of the teeth right in the front of their mouths. Less expensive and less time consuming than traditional braces or clear aligners, Six Month Smiles are on and off in 4 to nine months.
Show off a great smile
You can with a makeover from your cosmetic dentist, Dr. Agader. For more information or to book a consultation, call Dental Perfections serving the Kapolei, Makakilo and Ewa Beach, HI areas, at (808) 674-8895.
Your mouth is a lot like the Wild West — home to millions of bacteria and other microbes, some of which are definitely not “the good guys.” But your teeth are well-protected from these hostile forces and their acidic waste products: with enamel shielding the visible part of your tooth, your gums protect the parts you can’t see.
As effective as they are, though, your gums aren’t invincible: their greatest threat is periodontal (gum) disease. This bacterial infection arises from plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles accumulating on teeth due to inadequate brushing and flossing.
The infected tissues soon become inflamed (red and swollen), a natural defensive response from the immune system. The longer they’re inflamed, however, the more likely they’ll begin detaching from the teeth. The gums may eventually shrink back or recede from the teeth, often causing them to appear “longer” because more of the tooth is now exposed to view.
Gum recession doesn’t bode well for your teeth’s survival: the exposed tooth and underlying bone can become even more susceptible to infection and damage. In the end, you could lose your tooth and portions of the supporting bone.
Treatment depends on the severity of the gum recession. In mild to moderate cases, we may only need to perform the standard gum disease treatment of removing plaque and calculus from all gum and tooth surfaces (including below the gum line) with special instruments. This helps reduce the infection and allow the gums to heal and re-establish attachment with the tooth. In more advanced cases, though, the recession may be so extensive we’ll need to graft donor tissue to the area using one of a variety of surgical techniques.
Although the right treatment plan can help restore your gum health, there’s another approach that’s even better — preventing gum disease in the first place. You can reduce your disease risk by practicing daily brushing and flossing and visiting your dentist regularly or when you see symptoms like gum swelling or bleeding. Taking care of your gums won’t just save your smile — it might also save your teeth.
If you would like more information on diagnosing and treating gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Gum Recession.”