Posts for: November, 2015
Can you have healthy teeth and still have gum disease? Absolutely! And if you don’t believe us, just ask actor David Ramsey. The cast member of TV hits such as Dexter and Arrow said in a recent interview that up to the present day, he has never had a single cavity. Yet at a routine dental visit during his college years, Ramsey’s dentist pointed out how easily his gums bled during the exam. This was an early sign of periodontal (gum) disease, the dentist told him.
“I learned that just because you don’t have cavities, doesn’t mean you don’t have periodontal disease,” Ramsey said.
Apparently, Ramsey had always been very conscientious about brushing his teeth but he never flossed them.
“This isn’t just some strange phenomenon that exists just in my house — a lot of people who brush don’t really floss,” he noted.
Unfortunately, that’s true — and we’d certainly like to change it. So why is flossing so important?
Oral diseases such as tooth decay and periodontal disease often start when dental plaque, a bacteria-laden film that collects on teeth, is allowed to build up. These sticky deposits can harden into a substance called tartar or calculus, which is irritating to the gums and must be removed during a professional teeth cleaning.
Brushing teeth is one way to remove soft plaque, but it is not effective at reaching bacteria or food debris between teeth. That’s where flossing comes in. Floss can fit into spaces that your toothbrush never reaches. In fact, if you don’t floss, you’re leaving about a thirdÂ to half of your tooth surfaces unclean — and, as David Ramsey found out, that’s a path to periodontal disease.
Since then, however, Ramsey has become a meticulous flosser, and he proudly notes that the long-ago dental appointment “was the last we heard of any type of gum disease.”
Let that be the same for you! Just remember to brush and floss, eat a good diet low in sugar, and come in to the dental office for regular professional cleanings.
If you would like more information on flossing or periodontal disease, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Understanding Gum (Periodontal) Disease.”
Having a big, pearly-white smile has become so engrained into our culture that tooth whitening has become a hugely sought after cosmetic dental procedure. Quick and easy, professional tooth whitening can drastically change the look of your smile in just one appointment. However, sometimes preparations are needed before this simple appointment can take place. Your Billerica, MA dentist can not only whiten your teeth, but prepare them for this potentially life-altering procedure.
What should I do to prepare for my whitening procedure?
Before you make any decisions, a consultation with your dentist is never a bad idea. They may suggest that you have your teeth cleaned before the whitening procedure to ensure the best results. They will also talk to you about what to expect and about having realistic expectations for the end result. Ask your dentist to show you a shade guide so that you can discuss exactly how much lighter you would like your teeth will be after the procedure.
How does tooth whitening work?
Your teeth are comprised of two main layers. The enamel, or hard outer layer of the tooth, is the white surface of the tooth. This layer can have staining due to outside food or drink, smoking or drinking dark colored beverages, such as coffee or soda. Depending on severity, at-home kits or whitening toothpastes may help lighten the stains, but may not remove them completely. The dentin layer makes up the softer inside of the tooth, and lies beneath the enamel. Staining on this layer is usually due to trauma, aging or too much fluoride. These stains are much harder to treat than stains on the enamel, and are largely unaffected by whitening toothpastes or at-home kits.
When you have your teeth professionally whitened, your dentist will use strong whitening agents on your teeth, coupled with a special whitening light. Since these whitening agents can be supervised by the dentist, they are much stronger and more effective than the ones found in at-home kits. The whitening agents use a chemical reaction with the molecules in the staining to break the bonds that hold the stain together, giving the teeth a whiter appearance.
One Dental Care in Billerica, MA can guide you on your journey to a Hollywood smile. If you have questions about tooth whitening, or would like to schedule an appointment, call (978) 667-0691 today!
If a pain you’ve been feeling goes away, you might believe the problem that caused it is gone too. But that doesn’t mean it has, especially with a tooth. An excruciating toothache that suddenly stops should still be examined. Here’s why.
Tooth decay often works its way into a tooth’s innermost layer, the pulp, which contains bundles of nerves and other tissue. The infection attacks the nerves, which send pain signals to the brain. As the infection persists, though, the nerves will eventually die and will no longer be capable of sending pain signals — hence the “mysterious” end of your toothache.
Although the pain has stopped, the infection is very much active in the tooth and will continue to work its way through the root canals to the jaw. And ultimately, the pain will return as the infection invades the bone.
But there’s good news: a tooth in this condition can be saved with a procedure known as root canal therapy. We drill a small hole in the tooth to access the pulp, usually through the biting surface of back teeth or in the rear in front teeth. Once inside the pulp chamber, we clean out the infected and dead tissue. We then fill the empty pulp chamber and the root canals with a special filling and seal the access hole. In a few weeks the tooth receives a life-like crown to further protect it from re-infection and fracture years later.
A straightforward root canal treatment can be performed by a general dentist. If there are complications like a complex root canal network, however, then the skills and specialized equipment of an endodontist (a specialist in root canals) may be needed.
A root canal treatment resolves the real cause of a toothache that suddenly stopped, as well as puts an end to future pain and infection related to the tooth. More importantly, it can save your tooth and add many more years to its life.
If you would like more information on tooth pain, 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 “A Severe Toothache.”