Teeth Polishing: Traditional vs. Prophy-Jet

Teeth Polishing: Traditional vs. Prophy-Jet

When you schedule professional dental cleanings, you expect hands-on treatment and cleaning techniques. But, what happens when dentists begin using instruments that no longer require contact with your teeth to do their job? The results may surprise you!

Today, more dentists are using Prophy-Jets, rather than traditional hand pieces to polish teeth. So, what is a Prophy-Jet and what are the benefits? Find out below!

What is a Prophy-Jet?

A Prophy-Jet is an air polishing prophylaxis system that uses air, water, and either sodium bicarbonate or a non-sodium powder to remove dental plaque, soft debris and stains whiles simultaneously polishing teeth. A Prophy-Jet is an alternative to traditional polishing equipment and differs in several ways:

  • No Contact: Traditional instruments use a rotating rubber cup to remove stains and soft deposits from teeth, whereas a Prophy-Jet sprays high-pressured water to do the same.
  • No Pastes: With a traditional polishing tool, dentists are forced to use abrasive pastes to remove stains and plaque. With a Prophy-Jet, a combination of water and baking soda is used to remove the same materials.
  • No Unnerving Noises: Traditional polishing systems make drill-like noises, causing some with dental anxiety to become uneasy. A Prophy-Jet is quieter, and is, therefore, less stress-inducing.

Benefits of the Prophy-Jet System

More and more dental practices are adopting the Prophy-Jet system over traditional methods. Key reasons for this are:

  • More Effective Cleanings: Prophy-Jets are more powerful, making it easier to remove soft deposits and stains from food, drinks, and/or smoking.
  • No Vibrations: Vibrations can be uncomfortable for patients, dentists and dental hygienists. Because Prophy-Jets don’t vibrate, patients and professionals are more comfortable during the teeth polishing procedure.
  • No Abrasive/Unpleasant Materials Used: Abrasive pastes used with traditional polishing systems can leave a sticky, unpleasant feeling and taste in patients’ mouths. A Prophy-Jet is a great alternative to eliminate these issues.

Prophy-Jets Play a Critical Role in Comprehensive Cleanings

While a Prophy-Jet on its own can’t produce the benefits of a full dental cleaning, it serves a critical role when used in combination with scaling and root planing. Typically, a Prophy-Jet is used to remove soft deposits (like plaque) from the teeth whereas scaling and root planing remove hard deposits (like calculus) from the surface of the teeth and along the gumline.

A Prophy-Jet isn’t capable of removing stains caused by genetics or trauma. However, it still helps to remove bacteria and other deposits from the mouth and keeping teeth looking great.

Additionally, a Prophy-Jet can be used to clean dental appliances like dentures, orthodontic retainers, mouthguards, and night guards. By simply bringing your appliance to the dentist, he or she can clean it for you to remove bacteria and debris you couldn’t at home.

Prophy-Jet: The Leading Alternative to Traditional Polishing

Just the sound of a traditional polishing hand piece is enough to make some apprehensive over a dental cleaning, but it doesn’t have to be this way – at least not when your dentist uses a Prophy-Jet to keep your smile looking great.

Of course, the most important thing to remember is that, Prophy-Jet or not, getting a checkup every 6 months is the best way to remove stains and keep your teeth looking great.

Foods that are staining your teeth

7 Surprising Foods That Are Staining 

Your Teeth

Wine, coffee and tea–it’s the trifecta of tooth-staining foods that almost everyone knows to avoid in order to protect their pearly whites. These beverages, however, are just the beginning of a long list of foods that can sabotage your smile, and chances are that many are flying undetected right under your very nose! From condiments to candy, put these sneaky offenders on your radar to keep tooth discoloration at bay.

Common Tooth-Staining Foods

1. Tomato-Based Meals

The high acidity level of tomatoes coupled with their bright red color can pack quite the punch on the enamel of your teeth. From your mom’s homemade spaghetti sauce or soup, or your favorite brand of ketchup, constant exposure to even the smallest of doses can be damaging.

2. Curries

As rich in color as they are in flavor, many spice blends rank high in staining power, due to brightly colored ingredients such as turmeric and saffron. Over time, their pigments can leave a yellowish tint on your teeth.

3. Dark Sauces

Whether it’s food infused with soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, or other dark liquid, you can bet that eating enough of it will also dim your smile. If it’s the base of your meal, there’s a definite risk to the enamel of your teeth, but even side dips can be just as harmful because they are often more concentrated.

4. Clear Soda

Dark sodas already get a lot of notoriety for discoloring teeth, but don’t switch to clear soda just yet! While its lighter color can make it seem like the better choice for those who love soda, it’s still high in sugars that can eat away at tooth enamel and leave them prone to staining.

5. Fruit Juices and Berries

Fruit is undeniably nutritious, and many juices now come with no sugar added, but fructose is still a form of sugar, and it is bad news for tooth enamel. In fact, the darker color of certain fruits and juices–such as blueberry or grape–can have a staining effect similar to wine.

6. Sports Drinks

Because their makers often do a masterful job of promoting rehydration and electrolyte replacement, it’s easy to overlook the sugar content and bright, fluorescent colors. Similar to soda and fruit juice, however, both the pigment and sugary nature of these drinks can leave your teeth less than white in no time.

7. Hard Candies and Popsicles

If they can turn your tongue into a rainbow of colors in a matter of seconds, just think of what they can do to your teeth! Even if consumed occasionally, prolonged sucking puts the surface of your teeth in direct contact with sugar, acid and dye–resulting in tooth decay as well as discoloration.

Tips To Prevent Tooth Staining

Cutting out many of these problem foods can go a long way in keeping your smile sparkling, but it may be unrealistic to avoid certain foods completely. Here’s how you can help protect your teeth from sugary, acidic and/or colorful food:

  • Eat thoroughly, but quickly to minimize any contact with the tooth’s surface
  • Use a straw to help bypass most of your teeth when drinking beverages
  • Drink plenty of water during and after meals to wash away food particles
  • Brush and floss your teeth after meals to help prevent stains from setting in
  • Use whitening toothpaste to help remove stains and keep teeth sparkling

Professional Treatment Options

In addition to practicing good hygiene and being more mindful about your diet choices, professional dental care can do wonders in keeping your smile bright. Seeing your dentist regularly for a cleaning and checkup can help prevent and detect tooth staining, and there are many cosmetic whitening procedures that can remedy existing discoloration, whether mild or severe. Schedule a visit with your dentist for the optimal treatment plan for you.

For fresher breath in the morning


5 Ways to Fresher Breath in the Morning

Love waking up to the smell of coffee? Think twice before you reach for a cup! Your daily dose of Joe — and other habits that can easily escape your notice — could be giving you a bad case of morning breath. But fear not! Bad breath, or “halitosis”, doesn’t have to ruin your day. Nip the problem in the (taste)buds by giving these simple tips a try:

1. Cut the caffeine.

Coffee isn’t the only beverage in town that can leave your breath less than fresh. Gulping down certain teas and energy drinks for a morning buzz may result in bad breath if they contain caffeine, which can inhibit the production of saliva. When the mouth is too dry, it allows oral bacteria, the main purveyor of halitosis, to flourish. To jumpstart the mind and body without this unpleasant side effect, turn to morning stretches and a refreshing smoothie or citrus-infused water instead. If you have to consume caffeinated beverages, be sure to hydrate with multiple glasses of water.

2. Stop smoking.

Besides putting you at risk for lung cancer, smoking cigarettes can stain your teeth and cause your breath to smell bad, dealing your oral health a double whammy. From the combustion of chemical additives to the tiny smoke particles left in your throat and lungs, it’s almost inevitable that your breath ends up tasting and smelling stale. If you feel the urge to take a puff in the morning, distract yourself by doing light chores, or going for a quick walk. Obviously, a smoking habit may cause a more chronic breath problem, so quitting cigarettes and other forms of tobacco is your best bet for a more permanent solution.

3. Don’t skip breakfast.

Pass on the coffee and cigarettes, but eat breakfast — and a nutritious one at that! After a long night’s sleep, your mouth could benefit from a boost in saliva production, and a good meal is the perfect way to do it. Grab an apple for its high water content and crunchiness, both of which can help cut down on odor-causing bacteria. Yogurt and eggs can also promote saliva production while giving you a healthy serving of calcium and vitamin D. Get creative, but be selective, as some of your favorite breakfast foods may include not-so-breath-friendly ingredients such as garlic or onions.

4. Do a better job of brushing and flossing.

You’re running late, but if there’s one thing you shouldn’t rush, it’s your morning dental routine. From stuck food particles to gingivitis and even nasty tonsil stones, it all adds up to one major case of halitosis if left unchecked. For mornings where standard brushing and flossing doesn’t seem to do the trick, get a deeper clean by scraping the gunk off your tongue and gargling with mouthwash. If you find yourself flying out the door and forgetting about your oral hygiene frequently, keep a travel-sized dental kit in your bag or at the office for convenience.

5. Check (and change) your sleeping habits.

More often than not, bad breath is noticeable the moment you wake up. The problem may not be what you eat or drink, or even how your brush and floss. Instead, it could be how you breathe during your sleep. Breathing orally throughout the night can quickly turn your mouth into a haven for oral bacteria, resulting in a parched sensation and an unpleasant odor. Depending on the severity of the situation, your dentist may recommend surgery, but something as simple as having a glass of water, sugar-free lozenge, or a humidifier on hand at night can help keep your mouth moist.

Let Your Dentist Have a Look

In some cases, morning breath that persists despite your efforts to remedy it may signal something more serious, from cavities and tooth infections, to diabetes and liver and kidney problems. Play it safe by seeing your dentist. He or she can help you determine and treat the root cause more efficiently, and provide you with a personalized treatment plan to rid yourself of the problem for good.

Holistic Treatment of TMJ

Holistic Treatment of TMJ

TMJ Disorder, It Doesn’t Have to Be a Hard Pill to Swallow
By Julia Kagan, DDS

Is TMD treatment a hard pill to swallow? In short the answer is that it doesn’t need to be. Once a diagnosis of TMJ Disorder is made there are many potential treatments and self care recommendations that assist you on your road to recovery and well being.

An oral appliance is the first line of defense against a jaw imbalance and a narrowed airway. It may be all you need to regain normal function and restored well being.

In addition to an oral appliance, physical therapy helps realign associated structures which have lost mobility. Nutritional counseling with a Functional Medicine doctor can further assess systemic concerns as you begin to unravel your condition. Postural training and adequate exercise or conditioning can develop core muscles that give you support to stay comfortable throughout your day.

Acupuncture allows your body the rest and relaxation it needs to initiate its natural healing capabilities. A brief amount of meditation can relax the nervous system to allow for calm and gentle breathing.

Natural remedies also help. A small amount of olive oil applied inside the nose before bedtime decrease air flow resistance allowing more oxygen to reach tissue cells. Magnesium oil is recommended for tense muscles, digestion and insomnia.

Which modalities are right for you? That all depends in the specific symptoms that you present with and what you and your health care practitioner decide are best suited for you on your journey to health and well-being.

There are alternatives to medication for your chronic pain. Whenyour body is in balance and well nourished, you breath, sleep and function properly. Minor physical adjustments and body awareness can make major shifts in the way that you feel on a daily basis.

Your best course of action begins with a good education.
Learn about your choices with a consultation at Stellar Dental Care.

Stellar Dental Hamburg Office Expansion

Stellar Dental, along with “Stellar Tooth” celebrated the opening of the expanded office in Hamburg with just finished renovations. They now have five offices, 22 doctors, serve more than 30,000 patients, and employ 150 people in Western New York.

Growing Stellar Dental Expands Hamburg office

By Megan Tomaszewski
HAMBURG SUN CORRESPONDENT

Finding a reliable dentist that you can not only trust with your teeth, but can afford, can be an arduous process. With insurance restrictions and varying fees and services across different practices, you may have to do a bit of searching around before finding one that fits your needs and budget. Fortunately, with the expansion of local business Stellar Dental, fewer and fewer people are getting caught up in that search.

Founded by Dianna Melman in 2009 in Williamsville, the company was formed on the idea of providing a convenient, comfortable dental experience while still maintaining the individual attention and precision that one could expect at a private practice. Stellar Dental, though, removes a lot of hassle by accepting all insurances and remaining open as late as 8 p.m., according to Stellar Dental general manager of operations Kevin Georger. “We’re really open to our patients’ needs,” Georger said. “One of the things that we’re proud of today is that with multiple locations, we can get people in right away.” In addition to its Williamsville office on Transit Road, Stellar Dental has locations in Hamburg on McKinley Parkway, Tonawanda on Sheridan Drive, Cheektowaga on Union Road, and recently opened their newest location at the former French Road McDonald’s in Cheektowaga on Sept. 8. The company also held a ribbon cutting for its Hamburg facility expansion, adding eight new operatory rooms, at the start of September, and did additional work at its Tonawanda and Williamsville locations over the summer. “The concept was to be very clean, very state-ofthe- art dentistry, and the recipe worked,” Georger said. “From 2009 to today, we’ve gone from 12 operatory rooms to almost 90.” Stellar also specializes in children’s dentistry at their Union Road location, providing a more “kid-friendly” experience to nervous patients. A reason behind the rapid expansion is the growing number of individuals seeking to join their team.

Stellar Dental currently employs 23 dentists, with those coming from their own local practices or right out of the University at Buffalo’s dental program. Overall, the company has approximately 150 staff members, with the Hamburg facility currently looking to bring on a fourth dentist and hygienist. Georger explained that a large draw has been Stellar’s commitment to “allowing dentists to be dentists” by making sure that things like credentialing and scheduling are handled for them. “We try to do everything for our doctors; we take care of everything else,” Georger said. In addition, he said employees are attracted to the cutting-edge technology that Stellar Dental uses, allowing them to address the specific needs and worries of each individual patient and lessening any of their dental anxieties. “The advancements in dental technology helps us a lot. It’s not as aggressive as it used to be,” Georger said. “When people come that haven’t been in for a while, I think they’re surprised. It’s like, ‘Hey, that wasn’t as bad as I thought.’”

It’s not just the technology that makes for a successful trip to the dentist, though, but rather the ones operating the machinery and making sure that the patient feels at ease. Though it’s a large dental company, its one that maintains a sense of familiarity and kindness with customers, according to Georger. “You see this large practice and you think we’re a big corporate entity, but we’re not,” Georger said. “We’re a local business giving back to the local community.”

Blood thinners

Taking Blood Thinners? Here’s What It Means for Your Oral Health

Thinking about holding off on dental work because you’re on blood thinners? As tempting as it may be to cancel a trip to the dentist for fear of complications, ultimately, you may end up compromising your oral health. Anti-coagulant medication will most certainly impact your dentist’s approach to your care, but many procedures can still be conducted safely and successfully. If you’re taking blood thinners due to a current or previous health condition, here’s what you need to know.

How Anti-Coagulants Work
Commonly prescribed anti-coagulants such as warfarin, dabigatran etexilate, or clopidogrel (more widely known by their respective brand names: “Coumadin”, “Pradaxa” and “Plavix”), and even over-the-counter aspirins and NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like “Advil”) help reduce the chance of a heart attack or stroke by keeping harmful clots from developing in blood vessels. Certain properties inhibit the release of the chemical thromboxane and other critical factors essential to the clotting process.

While this can be significantly beneficial for those with a coronary condition or history of coronary-related issues, heavy bleeding due to invasive surgical procedures is a serious risk, as are autoimmune reactions. Because of the probability for adverse side effects, it is critical that patients on anti-coagulants share their medical history with care providers prior to proceeding with any form of health treatment.

Dental Implications
Although caution must always be used when dealing with patients on blood thinners, the good news is that many such individuals undergo common (and even some complex) dental procedures everyday without suffering any significant complications. Of course, if blood thinners are only being taken temporarily, it may make more sense to hold off on dental work until you have fully recovered, but in most cases, it is safer to undergo care for non-invasive procedures such as teeth cleaning, fillings, and restoration work without halting your medication. Bruising and slightly longer healing times may be expected, but by applying additional post-treatment measures such as fibrin sponges, silk sutures, and medicinal gauzes, your dentist can keep excess bleeding well under control.

For more invasive procedures that require oral surgery, such as a wisdom tooth extraction, root canal or dental implant, a consultation between your dentist and physician will be required. Approach for treatment will largely depend on weighing the severity of your dental needs against the nature of your larger health condition, and whether it is safe to pause medication for the surgery. Oftentimes, diagnostic blood tests will be requested to help determine your eligibility for surgery.

Other Oral Risks
Anti-coagulants may also come with other oral health risks outside of the dentist’s office. It is not uncommon to experience bruising and/or bleeding of the gums due to brushing and flossing, and injuries to the mouth due to an accident or sports may result in heavier bleeding than normal. See your dentist for changes you may need to make to your personal hygiene and everyday routine in order to help protect your oral health.

Toothache trouble

Toothache Trouble? How to Make the Wait Less Painful
It can happen to anyone: the sudden onset of a throbbing toothache at the most inconvenient of times. Perhaps it arrives in the middle of the night, or worse, at the start of your weekend–when a whole lot of time and agony seem to stand between you and the next available dentist appointment.
You’ll live, of course, but there is no need to suffer so badly! With a little observation and resourcefulness, the wait for professional care can be a lot less excruciating.

Conduct a Self-Exam
Understanding what is causing your tooth to ache can help you identify the best solution for interim relief. While a cavity is the more probable culprit, other common reasons include:

• A damaged filling that has left a sensitive nerve exposed
• An abscessed tooth, which tends to feel more painful due to an infection of the root
• A jaw complication (“TMD”” or “TMJ”) resulting from excessive chewing or grinding
• Sinusitis, an inflammation of the nasal area often confused with tooth pain
You won’t know for sure what’s truly to blame until you see your dentist, but a quick assessment of your symptoms and the location of your discomfort may prove telling. For instance, extremely sharp, shooting pain and fever suggest an abscessed tooth is likely, whereas tenderness in the jaw area and a clicking sound is usually due to TMD.

How to Ease the Pain at Home
Countless tips are touted to zap your toothache as quickly as it started, but aside from visiting your dentist, there is no long lasting cure. For temporary relief however, here are a few tried-and-true measures you can take:
• Take a dose of store-bought pain medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
• Soak the problem tooth in clove oil to help dull the throbbing
• Avoid yawning or chewing, especially if you suspect your toothache is jaw-related
• Pass on extremely cold or hot foods that may cause acute pain in your tooth
• Wear a mouth guard while sleeping to prevent grinding down on the tooth
• Use an ice pack or cold compress near your problem tooth to minimize any swelling
Rinsing your mouth with water and salt, and stepping up your normal dental routine in general can also keep the problem from getting worse.
(Please note that these suggestions are for adults only. If your child suffers a toothache, consult with his or her pediatrician for safe treatment options.)

Long Term Preventative Care
Once your appointment is under way, use the time you have with your dentist to its fullest. He or she will be able to determine the cause and treat the toothache accordingly. After the problem has been treated, be sure to ask for a detailed explanation and recommendations to help you avoid a similar experience in the future.
Brushing, flossing and regular check-ups continue to play central roles in the world of preventative care, but based on your unique dental situation, additional procedures may be recommended as part of your treatment plan.

Baby teeth and Hygiene

Baby Teeth and Bad Hygiene: What’s There to Lose?

Wisdom Tooth Don’t fall for it, parents! Just because baby teeth are temporary doesn’t mean they don’t matter. Despite what naysayers and wishful thinkers might have you believe, forgetting to care for primary teeth comes at a steep price for your child.

If you’re questioning whether it’s worth wrangling your little one into a dental routine now, these facts prove that adopting good habits early on can pay off big time for your child’s oral health down the road.

1: Baby teeth help shape your child’s speech.
Forming and pronouncing words correctly depends largely on the presence and alignment of baby teeth. Premature loss of any primary teeth can result in speech impediments such as a slur or lisp, and negatively impact both a child’s ability to communicate and his or her self-esteem. Depending on the severity of the case, a speech pathologist may be required to help correct the problem(s).

2: Baby teeth facilitate proper chewing and eating.
In addition to efficiently breaking down solid foods, chewing correctly is important for other reasons. Tooth loss and/or alignment issues can cause unnecessary stress to the jaw and result in serious complications over time, and chewing problems can also interfere with the development of key facial muscles. Improper chewing can even contribute to a nutritional imbalance if poor oral health starts impacting food choices.

3: Baby teeth act as a placeholder for permanent teeth.
Permanent teeth will emerge, but how and where has a lot to do with your child’s first set of pearly whites. Each primary tooth reserves a spot for a permanent tooth, but the loss of this initial placeholder can cause shifting and result in harmful misalignments. Cosmetic issues aside, misaligned teeth can make brushing and flossing more difficult, result in crowded and/or impacted teeth, and contribute to jaw disorders such as TMJ.

4: Maintaining healthy baby teeth helps to instill effective dental habits.
Teaching the ins and outs of good oral hygiene can have a lifelong impact on your child. Introducing healthy dental habits early on can solidify the importance of preventative dental care, making it easier for him or her to stick with these habits throughout adulthood. This can mean a lifetime of optimal oral health, and significantly reduced chances for costly dental problems.

Dental Tips for Baby Teeth
Brushing and flossing may not be your child’s favorite activity, but introducing healthy habits the moment that first tooth appears can make it easier for both parent and child to stick to a routine.

While there is no set timeline for baby teeth to erupt, here are some general guidelines the American Dental Association provides for cleaning and caring for baby teeth:

• From birth (no teeth present): wipe gums clean with a moistened gauze or cloth
• Ages 0-3 (teeth present): brush twice daily with a tiny dab of fluoride toothpaste*
• Ages 3-6: brush twice a day, but use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste
• Any age when teeth touch each other: add flossing to your daily routine

Paying a visit to the pediatric dentist before your child’s first birthday, and getting regular checkups are also crucial to his or her oral health. Depending on your child’s individual situation, certain in-office treatments and/or instructions for at-home care may be recommended.

*Note: Fluoride toothpaste should be expectorated and not swallowed. If you feel your child will swallow the fluoride toothpaste it can be substituted with non-fluoride toothpaste.

chewing gum

A Bite Out Of History: Chewing Gum
Need help whitening your teeth? Want to quit smoking? Trying to lose weight? There’s a chewing gum for all of that and more. New types of chewing gum are introduced all the time, but did you ever wonder how it managed to gain such a grip on consumers? Believe it or not, people have had a love affair with gum for thousands of years. From humble beginnings to hundreds of varieties, here’s a look at how chewing gum rose to become the powerhouse product it is today.

How It Originated
Long before William Wrigley Jr. made a name for chewing gum, ancient civilizations were tapping into trees and other sources of resin and chewing on soft, rubbery substances both for enjoyment and medicinal purposes. Evidence indicates prehistoric Europeans would chew on birch bark tar quite possibly to help relieve toothaches, while Aztecs and Mayans would turn to gum from the chicle tree to appease their thirst or hunger. In North America, Native Americans favored spruce tree resin, and it became commercialized and sold in sticks by a colonist named John Bacon Curtis in 1848.
Eventually, scientist Thomas Adams succeeded in enhancing chicle with flavor, and his work would set off various trials to improve the ability to retain flavor ‚Äì with peppermint found to be particularly effective. Mr. Adams helped bring attention to chewing gum by introducing it to vending machines and selling it in the subways of New York in 1888, but chewing gum really took off when a soap industrialist named William Wrigley Jr. promoted it as an add-on to his products. From “Juicy Fruit” to “Doublemint” gum, Wrigley created one of the most successful chewing gum companies that ever existed, and many of his products remain popular today.

Gum Gets a Modern Makeover
After the turn of the century, chewing gum innovations accelerated due to deeper research and newfound discoveries. Bubble gum and other sweet flavors became a mainstay, and production further proliferated in the 1930’s and 1940’s, when synthetic rubbers made mass production easier than ever. Perhaps one of the biggest advancements came in the 1950’s, when sugarless chewing gum was first created by a dentist, Dr. Petrulis, and sold to William Wrigley Jr. The nation was becoming more health-conscious, and chewing gum products followed suit.

Today, chewing gum comes in countless varieties, and has grown even more popular due to its ability to:
• Freshen breath: almost all types of gum come flavored to help mask odors
• Keep teeth white: both chewing and active ingredients can fight tooth staining
• Fight plaque: sugar free, xylitol-based gum inhibits the growth of oral bacteria
• Aid in weight loss: many turn to gum as a low calorie treat instead of snacking
• Help quit smoking: nicotine gum is an effective substitute for cigarettes
• Supplement your diet: certain gums are fortified with vitamins and minerals

Several sugarless brands also come with a seal of approval from the American Dental Association, and are recommended by dentists to help fight tooth decay.

Choosing the Right Gum
Chewing gum is often purchased on impulse, but putting a little thought into the type of gum you choose can make a big difference to your oral health. Read the labels closely to ensure you have selected a sugarless variety that won’t harm your teeth, and then narrow down the field based on additional preferences ‚Äì from flavor to active ingredients and beyond. If you need help in choosing the right gum, or are unsure about the effectiveness of a particular brand you have chosen, simply call your dentist for guidance. Just like most things, chewing gum should be done in moderation chewing gum too frequently may lead to jaw muscle fatigue or more serious issues such as Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD, TMJ)

Root canals

In Defense of Root Canals: The Unsung Hero of Dental Care
Think you might need a root canal? It’s not the end of the world, nor is it as torturous as you might think! Even though a root canal is usually the last resort for decayed teeth, when compared with other alternatives, it’s quite practical and cost-effective. Put your fears to rest by discovering the truth about this much-maligned treatment, and find out why it’s considered by many dentists to be the unsung hero of dental care.

When and Why Root Canals Are Necessary
Left untreated, tooth decay can eventually result in bacteria infiltrating the very core of the tooth, infecting its sensitive nerve tissue (otherwise referred to as “root” or “pulp”). Once the pulp has been infected, a pocket of pus known as an abscess can form and wreak havoc beyond the problem tooth itself. From swelling of the mouth, jaw and face, to bone loss and even the spread of infection into the skin, the cost of delaying treatment can compound rather quickly.
If the problem is caught in time, a root canal may be possible, allowing the dentist to clear the infected pulp without having to sacrifice the whole tooth. Keeping your natural tooth not only helps maintain proper chewing and speech, but also it requires less time and money compared to a tooth removal and implant.

Signs You Need a Root Canal
If you experience any of these symptoms, you might need a root canal:
• Acute, shooting pain when pressure is applied to a tooth
• Noticeable darkening or discoloration of the tooth compared to neighboring teeth
• Lingering tooth sensitivity, particularly to extremely hot or cold foods
• A pimple on the gums that never seems to go away
• Swelling of the gums near the problem tooth
• Continuous pain or throbbing even when not chewing or using the tooth

See your dentist to know for sure, and let him or her know about your situation when scheduling an appointment to ensure you are seen as soon as possible. Like most dental problems, it’s best to be proactive. The sooner the dentist is able to diagnose and treat the infected area the better ‚Äî and it could decrease the amount of post procedure discomfort.
What to Expect During a Root Canal

The length of time for treatment can vary widely depending on the complexity of each patient’s situation, but it’s safe to say that multiple visits are required to complete a root canal. Anesthesia may be applied, but it is not always necessary since the nerve is already dead. The first phase of a root canal involves thoroughly ridding the tooth of any infection and decayed matter ‚ usually by drilling an access hole, flushing out the pulp, and applying medication to the tooth and surrounding gums. The dentist will then seal off the area completely, or in extreme cases, wait several days for the infection to clear before sealing off the tooth.

The second phase of treatment focuses on filling the tooth. To do this, a dentist normally uses sealer paste or a rubber-like compound to fill the empty nerve canal and interior of the tooth. After the tooth has been filled, a metal post is inserted into the tooth to further strengthen it.

Restoration, in which a crown is created to cap off the tooth, is the final step of treatment. Once the custom crown arrives, the dentist covers the tooth and shapes the crown to function as optimally as possible.

Post Treatment Care
As with any lengthy dental procedure, temporary tooth and gum sensitivity are to be expected, but should go away within a day or two. If the permanent crown has been applied, you can return back to your normal routine immediately.
Root canals have a very high success rate, but it’s important to remember that there is always a possibility for the filling to become infected. To avoid complications and additional root canals down the road, make oral hygiene a top priority and schedule regular visits to your dentist.