Why do I need X-Rays?

X-Rays are a necessary part of regular dental checkups. They give us vital information that we can’t get from any other source.

  • Find cavities between the teeth

  • See tartar on the roots

  • Find worn-out fillings and cavity under fillings

  • Locate receding bone levels from periodontal disease.

Why should I floss my teeth?

Most cavities and periodontal disease begin between the teeth. While brushing is important, the bristles of your brush simply don’t reach between teeth. You must remove the plaque between your teeth at least once a day. That’s why your dentist recommends dental floss. All floss work almost the same way. Wind about 18 inches of floss around the middle fingers of each hand, leaving about five inches between your hands. Pinch the floss between your thumbs and index fingers and leave about one inch in between to work with. Gently guide the floss down between the teeth using a side to side motion. If your teeth are too tight to floss, or if it catches or tears, let your dentist know about it. These are problems that need to be fixed. If your gums are infected, they’ll bleed when you floss. That’s to be expected if you are just beginning to floss. After a week or so of regular flossing the bleeding should go away. See your dentist if it doesn’t.

What’s a cavity & how does it form?

Cavity is decay in the tooth. It is primarily caused by acids in the mouth. Plaque is the sticky film of food and bacteria that forms constantly on your teeth. It’s hard to see plaque without staining it. If you don’t remove the plaque every day, these bacteria produce acid that will eventually create a hole in your tooth. That is what a cavity is a small hole in the outer layer of your tooth.

Finding cavities is sometimes easy, but sometimes it is more difficult. For hard-to-find cavities, a dental explorer and X-rays are used. Cavities show up as dark spots. It’s far better to catch and restore decayed areas while they’re still small and in the enamel layer of the tooth. Once they’re in the softer dentin layer, they really grow quickly. If they make it to the pulp chamber, we have a whole new set of problems and a different treatment to discuss – root canal therapy.

What is a Root Canal?

The white outside portion of a tooth is called the enamel. Inside the enamel is another hard layer, the dentin. There’s a small chamber at the center of the dentin called the pulp chamber. Inside the pulp chamber is the tooth pulp, a soft tissue made up of nerves, arteries, and veins. The pulp extends from the pulp chamber all the way to the tip of the root, through a narrow channel called the root canal. When the nerve of a tooth becomes infected, root canal treatment can save the tooth. Germs causes infection in root canal and that builds up pus at the root tip. This can create a hole in the bone.
An infected tooth will never heal on its own, it only gets worse, and it will continue to be a source of infection that weakens your immune system. This can affect your entire body. This damage to the bone and the swelling inside the bone can also be excruciatingly painful, and even life-threatening. Years ago, an infected tooth would have to be extracted, but today, we can save your tooth with root canal treatment.

When do I need a crown?

Small cavities can be fixed with fillings because there is still plenty of healthy tooth structure. However that is not the case with large cavities. When there is a large cavity in the tooth or a previously filled large cavity starts breaking they should be fixed by a crown. Without a crown to strengthen it, the tooth can break. A crown strengthens a damaged tooth by covering and protecting it.

When do I need a bridge?

Like other things, teeth need each other for support. When one tooth is lost, the biting force changes on the teeth next to the space, and they begin to shift. When a tooth no longer has anything to chew against, it begins to extrude out of the socket. You can eventually end up losing the tooth. As your bite changes, it gets harder and harder to chew your food. This can cause damage to your jaw-joint the TMJ. It’s much harder to clean teeth that have shifted. Harmful plaque and tartar accumulate in these new hard-to-reach places, which can result in cavities, gum disease, and permanent bone loss. Like other bridges, a dental bridge uses abutments for support to hold it in place. Bridges are custom-crafted in a dental laboratory to precisely fit your teeth. A missing tooth really changes a person’s smile, but a bridge is a good way to get your smile back!