Preventive dental care is all the things you do (or should do) to take care of your teeth and gums: brushing, flossing, eating a healthy diet, and seeing your dentist regularly to help avoid dental disease.
The ADA recommends the following steps for good dental health:
– Brush your teeth twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.
– Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed.
– Clean between teeth daily with floss or an interdental cleaner.
– Eat a balanced diet, and limit soft drinks and between-meal snacks.
– Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams.
Root canal treatment is necessary when the pulp (soft tissue inside your teeth containing blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue) becomes inflamed or diseased. During root canal treatment, your dentist or endodontist (a dentist who specializes in treating the insides of teeth) removes the diseased pulp. The pulp chamber and root canal(s) of the tooth are then cleaned and sealed. If the infected pulp is not removed, pain and swelling can result, and your tooth may have to be removed.
Causes of an infected pulp could include:
– A deep cavity
– Repeated dental procedures
– A cracked or broken tooth
– Injury to the tooth (even if there’s not a visible crack or chip)
– If you continue to care for your teeth and gums your restored tooth could last a lifetime. However, regular checkups are necessary; a tooth without its nerve can still develop cavities or gum disease. Most of the time, a root canal is a relatively simple procedure with little or no discomfort involving one to three visits. Best of all, it can save your tooth and your smile.
An extraction means to have a tooth removed, usually because of disease, trauma or crowding.
If you need an extraction, your dentist will first numb the area to lessen any discomfort. After the extraction, your dentist will advise you of what post extraction regimen to follow. In most cases a small amount of bleeding is normal. Your mouth will slowly fill in the bone where the tooth root was through the formation of a blood clot.
Here are some tips to follow to make recovery easier:
– Avoid anything that might prevent normal healing.
– Don’t smoke or rinse your mouth vigorously.
– Avoid drinking through a straw for 24 hours.
– Follow the diet your dentist suggests.
For the first few days, if you must rinse, rinse your mouth gently. If you experience swelling, apply a cold cloth or an ice bag and call your dentist right away. Ask your dentist about pain medication. You can brush and floss the other teeth as usual. But don’t clean the teeth next to where the tooth was removed.
Remember, when having an extraction, today’s modern procedures and follow up care (as recommended by your dentist) are there for your benefit and comfort.
If you are self-conscious because you have missing teeth, wear dentures that are uncomfortable or don’t want to have good tooth structure removed to make a bridge, talk to your dentist to see if dental implants are an option for you.
Dental implants are a popular and effective way to replace missing teeth and are designed to blend in with your other teeth. They are an excellent long-term option for restoring your smile. In fact, the development and use of implants is one of the biggest advances in dentistry in the past 40 years. Dental implants are made up of titanium and other materials that are compatible with the human body. They are posts that are surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw, where they function as a sturdy anchor for replacement teeth.