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Archive for December 2015

Root Canal

Learn When a Root Canal Becomes Necessary

Practicing good oral hygiene is essential to keeping teeth and gums healthy, but sometimes even someone who takes very good care of their teeth can suffer serious cavities that need more treatment than a simple filling. To protect the health of the tooth and prevent further decay, the dentist may recommend a root canal as treatment for a cavity too large for a traditional filling.

Hearing the words “root canal” can make many patients feel anxious and worried, but the procedure is a common and important dental procedure that can help maintain a healthy mouth for a lifetime. Understanding what’s involved with a root canal may help ease the concerns of some patients as they realize that it’s a step toward avoiding dental issues that are more serious.

Symptoms that may require root canal treatment

Dentists perform root canals on teeth with serious decay and teeth that have become infected. The decay or infection requires that the dentist remove the tooth pulp to prevent the spread of bacteria that can damage other teeth and gums. Symptoms that may indicate the need for a root canal include:

  • Extended pain and sensitivity of tooth when in contact with cold or hot
  • Toothaches made worse with chewing or pressure
  • Tenderness and swelling in gums near tooth
  • Tooth discoloration

Even if a patient isn’t suffering the above symptoms, they may still have a decayed tooth because there aren’t always noticeable signs. Properly diagnosing a tooth in need of a root canal is a job for a skilled dental professional.

Catching the decay in time

For a root canal to be a viable treatment option, there must be enough healthy tooth left for the procedure. Root canals involve removing and replacing the pulp inside the tooth while preserving as much of the tooth as possible. When a tooth has suffered too much decay or infection, extraction may be the only option, so it’s vital to catch the problem early.

Benefits of root canal therapy

A root canal procedure cleans out the infected pulp inside the tooth and the nerves so patients won’t experience discomfort and sensitivity. When the dentist places the filling in the tooth and applies the dental crown, this protects and reinforces the previously decayed tooth.

If you’re dealing with any tooth pain or discomfort, it’s time to call and make an appointment with Dupont Dental. Addressing any decay early is essential for finding the best treatment and protecting your healthy smile.


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Dental Composite Fillings

Invisible Fillings: Why Composite Fillings are Awesome

In the past, dentists used various materials to fill cavities such as amalgam (metal), silver and even gold. Today, most dentists use composite resin fillings because of their natural tooth color and lack of discoloration that amalgam fillings can cause. Composite fillings are both cosmetically pleasing and durable and the most popular, safe choice for treating tooth decay.

Composite filling materials

Composite fillings consist of a tooth-colored glass and plastic mixture that matches the natural colors and texture of the existing tooth. Along with repairing decay, dentists place composite fillings for cosmetic improvements such as reshaping teeth or changing the color of teeth to match surrounding teeth.

Placing composite fillings

The procedure for placing a composite filling is relatively simple and usually performed in a single dental visit. After preparing the affected tooth by removing decay, the dentist begins placing the composite material in layers. The dentist hardens each layer with a specialized light, and when he or she completes the process, they shape the composite material to fit the tooth and look and feel natural. Polishing the composite filling prevents staining and improves its durability.

Worth the investment

Composite fillings may cost more than older, amalgam fillings, but they’re worth the investment for their improved appearance and ability to withstand temperature fluctuations better than silver fillings. Dental insurance should cover most of the filling procedure and as composite filling use improves and increases, it’s likely insurance will cover the full cost. Dentists work with their patients to make dental treatments affordable and protect the health of their teeth and gums.

Benefits of composite fillings

The main benefit of composite fillings is that they’re more aesthetically pleasing than amalgam fillings. The dentist can blend the shade of the composite material to match the natural tooth nearly identically. Composite fillings bond to the tooth and provide support to the tooth structure that remains. This bonding prevents breaking while insulating the tooth from sensitivity to temperature fluctuations.

Drawbacks of composite fillings

Composite fillings continue to improve in appearance and longevity, but there are some disadvantages. Composite fillings may become stained by coffee, tea and other foods that cause discoloration and this can change the shade of the filling. Dentists can help prevent this by placing a clear plastic coating over the composite. Composites hold up well in smaller cavities, but they may wear out sooner than amalgam fillings in larger cavities.

Dupont Dental proudly offers composite, tooth-colored fillings for our patients in need of restorations or cosmetic treatments.

Polymerisationslampe an 20090930 03” by PolitikanerOwn work (own picture). Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

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Man brushing his teeth

Men Are More Likely to Ignore Oral Health

A variety of survey and studies reveal that men are less likely than women to attend to their physical and oral health. Having good oral health is tied to overall good health, and it’s hard to believe that a common factor among those that don’t have regular dental checkups is that they’re men. It’s not unusual for a man to avoid the dentist for years until a problem arises, which may contribute to the fact that men can lose 5.4 teeth for non-smokers and 12 teeth for smokers by the age of 72. Without proper dental exams, men have a higher risk of developing oral cancer, throat cancer and gum disease. For men and the people that care about them, it’s essential that this trend is reversed immediately!

Gum disease and heart health

Men are more likely than women to suffer a heart attack and have a higher likelihood of being on medications that can lead to dry mouth, which increases their risk of developing gum disease. Research indicates a link between cardiovascular disease and gum disease and this can increase the risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack. That’s reason enough for men to visit the dentist regularly instead of waiting until they’re experiencing pain or other worrisome oral health issues.

Tobacco use

Men are affected by oral cancer and gum disease twice as often as women, and 95% of cases of oral cancer happen in people over 40. Tobacco use can increase the risk of oral cancer and gum disease. Without early diagnosis and treatment, oral cancer can lead to facial and oral disfigurement, chronic pain, loss of function and death. Anyone who uses tobacco should visit the dentist regularly for cleanings, exams and screenings for oral cancer.

Playing sports

Both men and women who play sports have an increased risk of suffering trauma to the face, mouth and teeth. Primarily male contact sports such a football and hockey are especially dangerous for oral health, and it’s vital that athletes wear a mouthguard to protect their teeth and gums.

Proper oral hygiene

Statistics show that many men only brush their teeth 1.9 times a day and some men even less than that. Practicing proper oral hygiene with twice daily brushing, daily flossing and seeing the dentist at least twice a year is the best way to protect teeth and gums and prevent oral health issues.

With all the advances in dental practices and treatments, there’s no reason for any man or woman to avoid visiting the dentist as often as they should. Contact Dupont Dental today to set up an exam and get back on the road to great oral health.


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Bleeding Gums

Causes of and Treatments for Bleeding Gums

When someone notices bleeding gums during brushing and flossing, it can be cause for concern. Not all reasons for bleeding gums require dental treatments, but it’s a good idea to visit the dentist for an evaluation that can find the cause and address it as necessary. One of the top reasons for bleeding gums is gum disease, which is why this symptom should never be ignored.

Causes of bleeding gums

Although gum disease is a common cause for bleeding gums, it’s not the only cause. Other causes of bleeding, tender gums include:

Brushing incorrectly

If someone brushes too vigorously and uses too hard a toothbrush, this can lead to sensitive, bleeding and swollen gums. It’s always best to use a toothbrush with soft bristles and to use gentle circular motions to clean the teeth and massage the gums. For those who use an electric toothbrush, it’s important not to press the brush head too hard into the teeth and gums, which can lead to irritated gums that can bleed and may eventually recede.

Flossing incorrectly

Flossing is an important part of oral hygiene because it removes plaque where a toothbrush can’t reach, but flossing wrong can cause irritation and bleeding. Instead of forcing floss between teeth, sliding it gently up and down and following the curve of each tooth is the best technique.

Gum disease and bleeding gums

Research indicates that a majority of people suffer from gingivitis, which is one of the early stages of gum disease. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss so it’s important to discover and treat it quickly before it can progress into periodontitis that can lead to tooth loss. Bleeding gums can be an early indication of gum disease and often happens when a person doesn’t have good oral hygiene. Without good oral hygiene practices, bacteria build up in the mouth, forms plaque on the teeth and can irritate and inflame gums to the point where they’re swollen, red and bleeding. Catching gum disease early makes it possible to reverse it with proper oral hygiene, but without treatment, gingivitis grows worse. Even without any discomfort, a person experiencing any of the following symptoms should consult a dental professional promptly.

  • Bleeding gums during or after brushing teeth
  • Bad taste in the mouth or bad breath consistently
  • Gum recession
  • Swollen, tender and red gums
  • Deep gum pockets between teeth and gums
  • Shifting or loose teeth
  • Change in bite or fit of partial dentures

If allowed to progress, gingivitis develops into periodontitis where the bones and gums holding teeth in place become unhealthy and compromised. Bacteria on the teeth release toxins that damage gums, cause infection and inflammation and degrade bone and gums. This can cause bleeding and swelling and eventually lead to tooth loss.

Preventing bleeding gums

The best way to prevent bleeding gums is by practicing good oral hygiene, which includes brushing twice daily and flossing at least once using the correct techniques. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is great for overall and oral health, especially when it includes proper amounts of calcium and Vitamin C for healthy teeth and gums. Drinking water during the day and after meals helps wash food off teeth and reduces bacteria formation. Avoiding or quitting tobacco use promotes better health in the body and mouth as tobacco inhibits the immune system and can lead to dry mouth. Stress can raise hormone levels that can lead to inflammation in the gums and rest of the body, so it’s important to find ways to relax and de-stress.

If you’re experiencing bleeding, tender or swollen gums, contact Dupont Dental immediately to set up an exam that can find the underlying cause and determine the best treatment.

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