Posts for: July, 2016
Are you dreading a root canal? Your dentist in Appleton, Wisconsin, Dr. Jolanta Pajek, has two words for her patients at Modern Touch Dentistry: Don't worry! A root canal, which removes the pulp, or inner tissues, of a tooth that has become damaged or infected is one of the most common dental procedures practiced today. In fact, its history began in the 18th century, although a lot has changed since then.
A brief history
The root canal has a long history of trial and error. In the 1700's, a French physician named Pierre Fauchard was the first to recognize that the teeth had an internal structure of tissues that would come to be known as the endodontic, or "inner dental," portion. After that, many well-meaning scientists, doctors, and inventors attempted to find the best ways to relieve pain associated with these tissues. Unfortunately, these early attempts - arsenic, an instrument made from a watch spring, electric currents - made the process extremely uncomfortable, and the stories have somehow persisted over the centuries, making the root canal still one of the most feared dental procedures out there. However, dental technology, in all manners, has advanced since then, and your Appleton dentist is proud to provide a relatively quick and pain-free experience if and when you need a root canal.
The modern root canal
Today, the process of root canals is a fairly standard one. After identifying the tooth that needs repair, your Appleton dentist starts by ensuring that the affected tooth and the rest of the nearby areas are completely numb. The inner portions of the tooth are then accessed using a hand-held electronic tool. To help retain the tooth's viability, Dr. Pajek removes as little of the enamel as possible. The damaged tissues of the tooth are then carefully extracted, leaving the tooth essentially a "shell" that will need a filling to keep it strong. Interestingly, the material used to replace the damaged tissues, made from the rubber produced by trees in Malaysia, was first used in 1847 and continues to be the standard "filling" for root canals today. The final step is to attach a crown, a porcelain or metal tooth restoration, to seal the tooth off from any further damage. Your Appleton dentist may use a temporary crown while a permanent one is manufactured for you.
So if your Appleton, Wisconsin dentist, Dr. Jolanta Pajek, recommends a root canal for you, you don't have to worry about history repeating itself. At Modern Touch Dentistry, you're sure to have a comfortable experience that will change your mind about root canals.
When the multi-platinum recording artist, songwriter and TV personality Jason Derulo was recently asked about his ideal woman, his answer covered a remarkably broad spectrum. "There’s no specific thing," he said, "so I think it’s unfair to say what my ‘type’ is." But it turns out that there is one thing the So You Think You Can Dance judge considers essential: A beautiful smile.
"I’m not into messy teeth," Derulo said. "If the grill has spaces and different colors, it’s not my vibe."
As it turns out, he may be on to something: A number of surveys have indicated that a bright, healthy smile is often the first thing people notice when meeting someone new. Yet many are reluctant to open up that big grin because they aren’t satisfied with the way their teeth look. If you’re one of them, consider this: Modern cosmetic dentistry offers a variety of ways to improve your smile — and it may be easier and more affordable than you think.
For example, if your smile isn’t as bright as you would like it to be, teeth whitening is an effective and economical way to lighten it up. If you opt for in-office treatments, you can expect a lightening effect of up to 10 shades in a single one-hour treatment! Or, you can achieve the same effect in a week or two with a take-home kit we can custom-make for you. Either way, you’ll be safe and comfortable being treated under the supervision of a dental professional — and the results can be expected to last for up to two years, or perhaps more.
If your teeth have minor spacing irregularities, small chips or cracks, it may be possible to repair them in a single office visit via cosmetic bonding. In this process, a liquid composite resin is applied to the teeth and cured (hardened) with a special light. This high-tech material, which comes in colors to match your teeth, can be built up in layers and shaped with dental instruments to create a pleasing, natural effect.
If your smile needs more than just a touch-up, dental veneers may be the answer. These wafer-thin coverings, placed right on top of your natural teeth, can be made in a variety of shapes and colors — from a natural pearly luster to a brilliant "Hollywood white." Custom-made veneers typically involve the removal of a few millimeters of tooth enamel, making them a permanent — and irreversible — treatment. However, by making teeth look more even, closing up spaces and providing dazzling whiteness, veneers just might give you the smile you’ve always wanted.
If you would like more information about cosmetic dental treatments, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cosmetic Dentistry — A Time for Change.”
Losing a tooth from disease or accident can be traumatic. The good news, though, is that it can be replaced with a life-like replica that restores your smile. One of the most popular and durable solutions is a dental implant, which replaces not only the root of the tooth but the crown as well.
But there's a possible wrinkle with implants — for accurate placement there must be a sufficient amount of bone around it. This could be a problem if you've been missing the tooth for sometime: without the stimulus provided by a tooth as you chew, older bone cells aren't replaced at an adequate rate. The bone volume gradually diminishes, as up to 25% of its normal width can be lost during the first year after tooth loss. A traumatic injury can damage underlying bone to an even greater extent.
There is a possible solution, but it will require the services of other specialists, particularly a periodontist trained in gum and bone structure. The first step is a complete examination of the mouth to gauge the true extent of any bone loss. While x-rays play a crucial role, a CT scan in particular provides a three-dimensional view of the jaw and more detail on any bone loss.
With a more accurate bone loss picture, we can then set about actually creating new bone through grafting procedures. One such technique is called a ridge augmentation: after opening the gum tissues, we place the bone graft within a barrier membrane to protect it. Over time the bone will grow replacing both the grafting material and membrane structure.
Once we have enough regenerated bone, we can then perform dental implant surgery. There are two options: a “one-stage” procedure in which a temporary crown is placed on the implant immediately after surgery; or a “two-stage” in which we place the gum tissue over the implant to protect it as it heals and bone grows and attaches to it. In cases of pre-surgical bone grafting, it's usually best to go with the two-stage procedure for maximum protection while the bone strengthens around it.
Necessary preparation of the bone for a future dental implant takes time. But the extra effort will pay off with a new smile you'll be proud to display.