Root canal treatment is also known as endodontic treatment and is a great way to save a badly infected tooth. Quite often treatment will preserve the natural tooth for decades or even for life, but everybody is slightly different and the success of a root canal can be affected by various factors. These factors can include the following:
- It’s been found that having root canal treatment earlier rather than later can help prolong the life of the tooth. For example, having root canal treatment before the infection can spread from the tooth into the surrounding bone will be more effective.
- Success can also be down to the time taken to complete treatment. Once the root canal has been cleaned out it is often temporarily filled to make sure the bacteria have been eliminated, before being permanently restored with either a filling or a crown. It’s important to ensure you return to your dentist for follow-up treatments in a timely manner so the tooth can be permanently filled or crowned as soon as possible.
- Some teeth are easier to treat than others. The front teeth only have one root canal whereas back teeth have several. It can often be trickier to treat back teeth and to gain access to all the root canals so they can be thoroughly cleaned out.
Front teeth can sometimes be restored with a filling, but back teeth are generally restored with a crown. This is because the back teeth are subjected to much heavier forces during chewing, and teeth that have had root canal treatment can become more brittle over time, increasing the risk of fractures. Protecting the tooth with a crown helps ensure this will not happen.
Most people who have root canal treatment will find it extremely successful, and the tooth will be problem free for many years to come.
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Your dentist will want to take regular dental x-rays of your mouth, as these are used to show areas that are hidden from view. Dental x-rays help your dentist assess the condition of restorations such as crowns and bridges, and to check that any fillings are not leaking. They are able to show any tooth decay in between the teeth, and can be invaluable in diagnosing infections.
Some types of x-rays are more specialized and show the mouth in great detail, and these types of x-rays can be used to plan surgical procedures. Dental x-rays can be intraoral, meaning they are taken from inside the mouth, or they can be extraoral, meaning they are taken from outside the mouth. We have listed some of the most common types of dental x-rays below.
Intraoral Dental X-rays
Bite Wing X-Rays. These are taken to show the upper and lower teeth in one region of the mouth, right from the crown down to the level of the bone surrounding the tooth. They are useful for detecting tooth decay in between the teeth, for showing signs of gum disease, and for identifying crowns or fillings that are not fitting correctly.
Periapical X-Rays. These show the whole tooth, right from the crown of the tooth down to the tip of the roots. Each periapical x-ray will show all the teeth in one particular part of the mouth, and these are used to show if there are any abnormalities in the root of the tooth, and in the surrounding bone.
Extraoral Dental X-Rays
Panoramic X-Rays. These show the entire mouth, including all the upper and lower teeth in one single image. Panoramic x-rays are useful for showing teeth that might be impacted, or which are fully or partially emerged, and are also used to help diagnose tumors.
CT Scans. These show the mouth as a 3-D image, and are used to show fractures in the facial bones and to identify other problems such as tumors. They are commonly used for planning dental implant placement, or tricky tooth extractions.
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There are few things worse than going through life with holes in your mouth due to missing teeth. Traditionally, the only solution dentists offered was dentures. There is a newer technology available that has given hope to many people wanting to permanently restore their smiles in a natural-looking way.
Dental implants are surgically placed into your jaw bone. These durable titanium rods eventually fuse with your bone, literally becoming a permanent part of your body. Once the implants have healed, replacement teeth are placed on top to complete the restoration. The end result are teeth that look and feel like real ones. Implants do not have the problems often associated with dentures such as shifting, loosening, or affecting speech or diet.
If you are thinking about dental implants, it is important to find a dentist who is trained and experienced in this procedure. Not every dentist is skilled in implants, so do your research to find a suitable dentist who you trust. First, ask your general dentist for recommendations. Also ask friends, family, and coworkers for suggestions for dentists they know of who are qualified in dental implants.
Do your own research on the internet or phone book to find reputable dentists in your area. Then call or go by the dental offices. A visit to a dentist is always a good idea so that you can see first-hand what the office is like, meet the staff, learn about the dentist’s credentials, and see how the office is run. You not only want a dentist who is trained to perform implants, but also runs a caring and efficient office.
Once you find a dentist you are considering for your implants, make an appointment for a consultation. Ask all of the questions you might have, ask to see photographs, and get all of the details you need about treatment, costs, and recovery. If you are uncomfortable with any aspect of what you find out at your consultation, continue interviewing other dentists until you find the right one to meet your dental implant needs.
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Dental veneers provide a great way to easily and quickly improve your smile. They are a natural looking restoration that others probably won’t even know you have. People will just notice your beautiful, radiant, bright smile!
When you have unsightly stains, chips, gaps, or other cosmetic problems, veneers can hide all those imperfections and give you the smile you’ve always wanted. These thin porcelain shells are permanently attached directly to the fronts of your teeth. They offer a simple and painless way to transform your smile.
However, veneers are not the best solution for everyone. They are a good choice for patients with healthy teeth. Even though you might have aesthetic problems, your teeth must be healthy. Your dentist will need to treat and repair your dental issues before being able to attach veneers. You must have enough healthy tooth enamel for the veneers to be securely bonded to your teeth.
Keep in mind that veneers are meant to be a permanent restoration. Your teeth will be prepared and then the veneers will be bonded onto your teeth, so they cannot be removed. Once you’ve gotten veneers, there is no changing your mind. If you are not up for a permanent transformation to your smile, then veneers are not for you.
With proper care and checkups, dental veneers may last up to ten years before they might need to be replaced. If you have habits like chewing ice or knawing on pencils, veneers may not be a good choice. Although they are considered long-lasting, veneers can break when subjected to harsh use. They can be damaged just like your natural teeth. Another habit that may harm veneers is teeth grinding. Talk with your dentist about habits you have and make sure you have a thorough examination before deciding to get veneers.
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