Root canals often get a bum rap. Although the procedure saves millions of teeth every year, it's often erroneously portrayed as an unpleasant experience. And if that wasn't enough, a long-discredited medical theory has found new life on the internet asserting root canals are a health danger.
First off, root canals play an immensely important role in treating teeth with advanced decay. If not promptly treated, a cavity can turn into a major infection of the interior tooth pulp and root canals, and ultimately the supporting bone. Teeth with this level of decay are not long for this world.
A root canal treatment stops this disease process in its tracks. After numbing the tooth and surrounding gums, we drill a small hole into the tooth's interior and then remove all of the infected tissue within the pulp and root canals. After disinfecting these areas, we fill them with a rubber-like substance called gutta percha.
After sealing off the access hole—and later capping the tooth with a life-like crown—the tooth is secure from further decay. And, by the way, the procedure doesn't hurt, thanks to local anesthesia. If anything, any pain caused by the decay attacking the tooth's nerves has now been alleviated.
So, what about the idea floating on the Web that root canals are dangerous? The "root" for this conjecture is a theory by Weston Price, an early 20th Century dentist, that leaving a "dead" body part in the body leads to various health problems (including cancer). That would include a root-canaled tooth, which has had the living tissue in the pulp removed.
There's just one problem—Weston's theory was fully investigated in the 1950s and overwhelmingly discredited. The supposed cancer threat was also reviewed in a 2013 study, which found no link between root canals and increased cancer risk. In fact, dental patients who had undergone several root canals had a diminished risk.
Like all other health procedures, root canals have some risks of complication. But those complications are far from life-threatening—it's tooth-saving benefits are often worth the risk. So, fear not if your dentist says you need a root canal. It won't hurt and it won't endanger your health—and it could save your tooth.
If you would like more information on root canal therapy, 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 “Root Canal Safety.”
The few teeth your one or two year old has will eventually fall out in a few years—so, why be concerned about tooth decay this early? Actually, you should: Fighting tooth decay should always be a priority, even at this early age.
Even though primary teeth are short-lived, they make a huge impact on future dental health. These early teeth help guide the eruption of permanent teeth—if lost prematurely to decay, the later teeth may come in misaligned and create a poor bite. Preserving them could help you avoid later orthodontic treatment.
Fortunately, you can help prevent decay in your child's primary teeth. Here's how.
Practice oral hygiene even before teeth. You should begin daily oral hygiene, the principal defense against tooth decay, even before their first teeth emerge. You can reduce harmful bacteria in their mouths by wiping their gums with a clean cloth after nursing. When teeth appear, begin brushing with just a smear of toothpaste.
Limit sugar consumption. Because decay-causing bacteria thrive on sugar, reduce your child's intake in snacks and beverages. For example, don't put them down for bed with a bottle filled with a sugary liquid like juice, sweetened drinks or even formula or breast milk. If you do give them a night-time bottle, fill it only with water.
Avoid bacterial transfer. Your child's immature immune system can't handle the same level of bacteria as in your mouth. So, reduce the chances of bacterial transfer that may cause tooth decay by avoiding kissing on the mouth or sharing eating or drinking utensils with your infant.
Begin dental visits early. Even though they may have few teeth by their first birthday, it's still a good time to begin your child's regular dental visits. Your dentist may be able to diagnose decay early (and treat for maximum effectiveness), as well as provide sealants, topical fluoride and other measures for preventing decay.
Tooth decay at an early age could impact your child's future dental health. Taking steps now to reduce it could help ensure they have healthy teeth and gums later in life.
If you would like more information on dental care for children, 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 “Do Babies Get Tooth Decay?”
So, when should you begin taking measures to prevent tooth decay in your child's teeth? When their teeth first begin to show? When all of their primary (baby) teeth are in? Or, wait until their permanent teeth begin erupting?
Actually, tooth decay can be a problem as early as two months of age, before a child's first tooth even comes in. In essence, then, dental disease prevention should be on your radar soon after your child is born. Here's what you can do to prevent the damage of tooth decay to their teeth now and its impact on their dental health in the future.
Start oral hygiene during nursing. Brushing and flossing are lifetime habits that reduce the risk of dental disease. When your children are young, you'll have to perform these tasks for them, ultimately training them to perform them on their own. But even earlier, before their first tooth, you'll want to clean their gums after feedings with a wet cloth to reduce disease-causing bacteria.
Initiate dental visits by age 1. It's appropriate on or before their first birthday, when most children already have a few primary teeth, to begin regular dental visits for cleanings and checkups. Seeing the dentist every six months at an early age will help your child stay well ahead of tooth decay. And starting visits early increases the likelihood it will become a regular part of their lives into adulthood.
Protect against decay. You and your dentist are partners in protecting your child from dental disease. Besides daily oral hygiene, you can also help by providing a dental-friendly diet, and especially restricting sugary snacks and avoiding sweetened liquids in bedtime bottles (including breast milk or formula). In addition to routine care, your dentist can also provide other measures to fight decay, like sealants or topical fluoride.
It's also important for you to set an example for your child to follow. Children soak up what's important to their parents—in this case, watching you take care of your teeth and seeing the dentist as a friend and ally against dental disease. That's your end goal: preventing dental disease now, and instilling the value of dental care that will last your child a lifetime.
If you would like more information on helping your child avoid tooth decay, 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 “Taking the Stress Out of Dentistry for Kids.”
Find out what this common dental restoration can do for your smile.
If you or a family member have been told that you need a dental crown, or you’re simply curious to learn more about the dental restorations and treatments our Fayetteville, GA, dentist Dr. Jeff Kendrick offers, you’ve come to the right place. Here at Heritage Dental Associates, we provide our patients with a wide range of restorative dentistry including crowns. These restorations are great for preserving and re-strengthening weak, decayed, or damaged teeth. Here are just some of the benefits:
A Lifelike Restoration
As your Fayetteville, GA, family dentist, we know that nothing is more important than receiving a dental restoration that looks like a real tooth. When you turn to the team at Heritage Dental Associates, this is exactly what you’ll get. The dental crowns we offer are often made from porcelain, which is not only incredibly durable but also mimics the look of real tooth enamel. It even offers a similar light reflection to real teeth so once your crown is fitted and placed it will blend right in.
Improve Your Appearance
When you have a tooth that is discolored or misshapen it throws your whole smile off. This is another reason crowns are beneficial for a person’s smile. If you have a damaged tooth, chances are good that it also looks less than ideal. A crown can restore the tooth’s appearance once more so that you have that perfect smile.
Preserve Your Natural Smile
One of the main purposes of a dental crown is to cover and protect a tooth that is weak or damaged to prevent further injury to the tooth. A crown will also restore chewing and speaking to improve your bite so you don’t have any issues. Whenever possible, it is important to preserve your natural smile, and crowns are one way to do that.
Built to Last
Dental crowns that are made from porcelain are quite resilient, which means that they can easily withstand the powerful chewing forces of your jaws. You can easily bite and chew with confidence knowing that your crown is up for the challenge. With the proper care, a crown can last 15 years or longer!
If you are dealing with a damaged tooth, or if you have questions about the restorative services our Fayetteville, GA, family dentist Dr. Kendrick offers here at Heritage Dental Associates, simply call our practice at (770) 460-9795 to schedule your next visit.
Porcelain veneers offer an easy way to renew your smile. Veneers are extremely thin covers placed over the front surface of teeth with cosmetic issues, such as cracks, chips or discolorations. Veneers can even improve the appearance of teeth that are crooked or oddly shaped. Dr. Jeffery Kendrick can renew your smile with porcelain veneers at Heritage Dental Associates in Fayetteville, GA.
Benefits of Porcelain Veneers
Renewing your smile with porcelain veneers has numerous benefits. One advantage of veneers is that they are extremely versatile and can improve the appearance of teeth with a wide range of issues, such as:
- Crooked teeth
- Stained or discolored teeth
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Slight gaps between teeth
- Oddly-shaped teeth
Another benefit of porcelain veneers is that they are custom made so you can be confident they will fit perfectly in place. Additionally, veneers can be made from a variety of materials, but a major benefit of choosing porcelain is that it looks so much like tooth enamel. Once in place, the porcelain veneers look completely natural. Finally, veneers are permanently cemented in place so you can enjoy your favorite foods without worrying about the veneers coming loose.
Getting Porcelain Veneers
Getting custom porcelain veneers involves a few simple steps. The first is explaining what you don’t like about your smile, such as a chipped tooth, so the dentist can determine if veneers are the best option for addressing your concerns. Once it is decided that you’ll be renewing your smile with porcelain veneers, the next step is to prepare the teeth that will be getting them. A small amount of enamel will be removed from each tooth to make room for the veneer to rest on top.
After preparing your teeth a mold will be taken of them. The mold is sent to a dental lab that will use it to create your custom veneers. You will receive a temporary set of veneers while your custom ones are being fabricated. When the custom veneers are complete, they’ll be sent to the dentist’s office where they will be permanently cemented on your teeth. The skilled dentist at our office in Fayetteville can determine if veneers will work for your smile.
You can transform and renew your smile with porcelain veneers, which look and function like natural teeth. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Kendrick to discuss renewing your smile with porcelain veneers by calling Heritage Dental Associates in Fayetteville, GA, at (770) 460-9795.
This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.