Root Canal Therapy Procedure

Root Canal Therapy Procedure - 4th Street Family Dentistry

Root Canal Therapy Procedure

For many people, the term root canal is scary. Plenty of folks believe that the treatment is extremely invasive and painful, but that is far from the truth. As we all know, most dental procedures are preventive, designed to treat issues and prevent them from becoming more severe down the road. Similarly, root canal therapy is known as one of the best and most effective dental treatments out there.

Root canal therapy is endodontic, meaning it treats the inside of the tooth. To get a good idea of what root canal therapy is, you’ll first have to get a better understanding of a tooth’s inner workings. With a good defense, however, you may never have to know what a root canal is. This includes practicing a consistent and thorough oral hygiene routine and visiting 4th Street Family Dentistry every six months to prevent any dental issues from progressing and becoming severe.

What is a Root Canal?

The teeth are made of three layers; enamel, the outermost protective layer, dentin, a hard layer below it, and soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp, which is located right in the middle of the tooth, contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues. It extends from the crown of the tooth down to the tip of the roots inside the root canal.

It connects the nerves and blood vessels in the tooth to the ones in the jaw right below the tip of the tooth root. The pulp is crucial during the developmental stages as it aids in the tooth’s growth and development and supplies nutrients needed to sustain its growth. Once the tooth is fully mature, however, it can easily survive without the pulp. Root canal therapy essentially removes pulp that has been infected from the root canal. This saves the tooth and surrounding teeth from further degradation. But how does the pulp become infected?

It can happen in two ways, deep tooth decay or a fracture that creates an opening for bacteria to enter the pulp. All the best dentists in St. Petersburg, FL, recommend brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing for a good reason. If you don’t, bacteria in the mouth will feed on food debris and form plaque. 

Plaque is acidic, and it strips the enamel of minerals, resulting in tiny holes or openings. The cavities will eat into the enamel and dentin if they aren’t treated. Over time, the bacteria enters the pulp causing an infection. If you have dental decay, contact a St. Pete dentist near you to prevent it from progressing to something more severe like dental decay.

Root Canal Treatment Procedure

Once bacteria have breached the pulp and it becomes inflamed, an emergency root canal therapy in St. Petersburg becomes a necessity. If you don’t seek treatment from a dentist in St. Pete soon enough, the infection can spread to the surrounding nerves, bones, and other teeth. Root canal therapy removes the infected pulp from the root canal and fills the space with a rubbery filling material.

The treatment usually consists of two steps, the root canal therapy itself and other dental procedures to restore the function of the tooth. First, your St. Petersburg, FL dentist, Dr. Leeson will take an x-ray of the tooth to see the shape of the root canals and to determine if the surrounding bone shows any sign of infection. A local anesthetic will be applied to numb the area around the tooth and to make you more relaxed and at ease during the procedure.

Your dentist will then place a rubber sheet around the tooth to keep the area free from saliva and to prevent the bacteria in your mouth from entering the tooth. Once this is done, the dentist will drill a small access hole into the tooth using a dental drill. The pulp, along with the decayed nerve tissue, is removed from the root canal. A series of root canal files of increasing diameter will be inserted into the access hole and used to scrape and scrub the sides of the root canals while water or sodium hypochlorite is used for flushing away the debris.

Post Treatment

Some dentists in St. Petersburg prefer to wait a week before sealing the root canal, especially if the pulp was infected. In that case, they may put medication inside the root canal to clear up the infection before sealing it. In the meantime, a temporary filling is placed to keep out contaminants like saliva and food. Once the infection is cleared, the now hollow root canal is sealed with a soft, rubbery material.

Depending on your smile, you may have to undergo further dental treatments to restore 100% functionality. Our friend Dr. Ben Kacos, an endodontist in Shreveport, LA, says most dentists recommend a buildup to fill the hole in the middle where the access is made and a crown to protect the exterior of the tooth. You may experience some pain and discomfort for 3-4 days after the treatment, which is completely normal. If over the counter pain relievers do not work and you are in pain for five or more days after the root canal therapy, contact your emergency dentist in St. Pete immediately. 

Root canal therapy is a treatment designed to save the tooth, the surrounding teeth, and bone and to restore functionality. If you are suffering from deep tooth decay or had an injury to the teeth and are looking for a dentist for treatment, we’ve got your back. Contact 4th Street Family Dentistry for a consultation today.

5 Simple Ways to Prevent Cavities

ways to prevent cavities

5 Simple Ways to Prevent Cavities

All you hear is, brushing and flossing will help keep cavities away. Yet, you find one in four adults in America with tooth decay while half the teenage population either have or had cavities. Having a good oral regimen can prevent cavities and help maintain both teeth and gums. Brian Leeson DMD from 4th Street Family Dentistry discusses the measures individuals can take to keep cavities away:

Know your risk of developing cavities

Your dentist can help you determine your cavity risk level by conducting a thorough dental exam. The exam will analyze the current state of your oral health and its risk to cavities. As you continuously go to your dentist for regular visits, they will be able to detect bacteria forming immediately and suggest preventative dentistry measures to take to fight the cavity. This can be changing your oral regimen and or diet. 

Brush regularly 

Brushing cannot be emphasized enough when it comes to fighting cavities and tooth decay. Your mouth is home to millions of bacteria that are looking to pounce at the opportunity to multiply and lead to decay. You need to brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes to ensure you keep the bacteria at bay while also getting rid of harmful bacteria.

Dr. Green, a dentist in Parker CO, adds that When brushing, you want to use a toothbrush with soft bristles. This is so it doesn’t harm your gums. Brush with gentle circular motions and go from one end to the other. Once you are done with your teeth, be sure to also brush your tongue because bacteria can build upon it.

Focus on your diet

It may be hard to go without your daily cup of tea or coffee but you may have to. Coffee and tea are both acidic which are not good for the teeth. Acidic food is as bad as sugary foods. Both increase the risk of cavities so you need to control your diet and limit consumption of both. As you reduce your intake, you should consider drinking more water. Water consumption helps flush bacteria out of the mouth while also distribute the nutrients properly. 

Develop a habit of flossing

Flossing isn’t fun but it does keep your teeth and gums healthy. Most people think that brushing is enough but there are parts of the teeth you can’t reach with the brush, specifically between the teeth. Floss lets you clean out any food particle stuck between teeth and in the outer part of the gums. You don’t have to floss after every meal but try to do it at least once a day. 

Quit smoking

Smoking and tobacco are known to cause numerous diseases which include mouth cancer. Smoking leads to bad oral hygiene and makes your mouth more susceptible to bacteria leading to cavities. If you want to take care of your mouth and you smoke, quitting would be the first step. 

For anyone looking to improve their oral health in St. Petersburg, FL, contact 4th Street Family Dentistry. The team consists of experienced dentists and dental assistants that can help treat and prevent cavities and help you achieve the picture-perfect smile you’ve always wanted.

How to Prevent Tooth Decay

how to prevent tooth decay

How to Prevent Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is also referred to as caries or dental cavities. It describes permanent damage to the hard outer surface of your teeth that results in holes or tiny openings. Research shows that nine in ten adults in the U.S. have ever had cavities, so this makes tooth decay one of the most common health problems people of all ages face. Should you, therefore, resign to having this problem as part of your reality? Our dental care experts at 4th Street Family Dentistry in St. Petersburg FL don’t think so and urge you to implement the following recommendations to keep tooth decay at bay.

Brush Properly, Regularly and Using the Right Toothbrush

The simplest things, like brushing correctly and frequently, can have the most profound positive effect on your dental and overall health.

Dr. Brian Leeson, a dentist in St. Petersburg FL, explains that there are millions of microbes in your mouth. These microbes feed on the remains of what you eat or drink. As the bacteria feeds, it creates an acidic biofilm (plaque) that sticks on your teeth. If you don’t brush regularly (at least two times every day), dental plaque will allow bacteria to remain in contact with your teeth for longer and tooth decay will progress rapidly.

It is therefore important for you to brush correctly using the right toothbrush (a soft-bristled one) using fluoride toothpaste for a minimum of two times each day. This way the plaque-formation process can be halted.

Floss Every Day

Brushing is often inadequate in cleaning the spaces between your teeth. An interdental cleaner, such as dental floss, is necessary to get rid of the food debris trapped in these tiny spaces between your teeth. When done correctly, flossing can prevent cavities since bacteria will not have any food to feed on and grow.

Cut Back on Acidic and Sugary Drinks

We have already mentioned that bacteria feeds on the residues of what you put in your mouth. Acidic and sugary drinks are the worst culprits in terms of allowing bacteria colonies to multiply rapidly.

For this reason, St. Pete dentists recommend that you reduce the amount of sugary or acidic drinks you consume. These substances include soda, citrus juice, and alcohol. Such a step will save your teeth from being attacked by the acids in those drinks or the acidic residues left behind.

Eat Healthy

Proper nutrition is important in keeping tooth decay and other dental health problems at bay. For example, the vitamins and minerals that are contained in vegetables, fruits, dairy, and other food groups will provide the nutrients needed to mineralize your teeth. This means your teeth are more likely to fight off any infections that develop.

In the same vein, emergency dentists in St. Petersburg advise that you refrain from snacking frequently between meals. This is especially true if you like sugary snacks. Those snacks keep sugar on your teeth and that results in acidic damage to the surface of those teeth.

Visit Your Dentist

It is very important for you to visit your dentist in St. Petersburg FL regularly for dental cleanings and checkups.

A comprehensive exam by a St. Pete dentist will rate your tooth decay risk. That assessment will determine how frequently you need to visit 4th Street Family Dentistry. For example, if an existing medical condition increases your risk for tooth decay, Dr. Brian Leeson may recommend you come in every three or four months. If, however, your risk for cavities is low, then the frequency of visiting a general dentist in St. Petersburg FL will be lower.

The other advantage of visiting the dentist regularly is that the hygienist will have an opportunity to advise you on how to tweak your brushing and flossing techniques. This would be in light of any potential problem areas that are observed during the professional dental cleanings. Acting on the advice given will result in a reduced risk for tooth decay.

Get Dental Sealants

Another key way to reduce the chance of developing tooth decay is by getting dental sealants placed on the chewing surfaces of your back teeth. The sealant forms a protective shield that prevents acids and bacteria from damaging the teeth. Dr. Beth Herko, a dentist in New Providence NJ, says that while dental sealants are very common among kids, people of all ages, including adults, can benefit from them.

Use Mouthwash

If you are particularly prone to tooth decay, the St. Pete dentist may recommend an antimicrobial mouthwash. You can use this on a daily basis to keep bacterial activity minimal in your mouth. Even without a specific recommendation, you can buy an antibacterial over-the-counter mouthwash. Use this to rinse your mouth at home after brushing and flossing.

Chew Sugar-Free Gum

Sugar-free gum is helpful in fighting to keep cavities at bay. This gum helps increase the production of saliva in your mouth, thereby neutralizing any acids quickly. Saliva also regulates the pH levels in your mouth. This means that it gets harder for bacteria to thrive there. Buy sugarless gum that has the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of approval. 

You don’t have to fight tooth decay on your own. We are here to help, so don’t hesitate to contact 4th Street Family Dentistry to schedule an appointment for a complete evaluation. Your healthy smile is just a call away!