Dupont Dental - Your Washington DC Dentist

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learn about dental bridges

Understanding Dental Bridges

When a patient is missing one or more teeth, a dentist can fill the gap with a dental bridge. A dental bridge consists of two or more crowns placed on the teeth adjacent to the gap left by missing teeth. These teeth on either side, called abutment teeth, flank the false tooth or teeth placement between them called a pontic or pontics. Materials used to make pontics include porcelain, alloys, gold or a combination of those materials. The support for dental bridges comes from implants or natural teeth, depending on the patient’s oral situation.

Dental bridge benefits

Although dental implants are one of the most popular tooth replacement options today, they don’t work for everyone, and this is where dental bridges become a viable option. The benefits of dental bridges include:

  • Smile Restoration
  • Ability to chew and speak properly
  • Maintain face shape and structure
  • Help distribute bite force properly by filling in gaps from missing teeth
  • Keep remaining teeth in their proper position

Types of dental bridges

The type of dental bridge a patient receives depends on where they’re missing teeth in their mouth. Dentists use two main types of dental bridges including:

Traditional bridge – The dentist creates a crown for the tooth or implant on each side of missing tooth and places the fake tooth/pontic between them. This is the most common bridge used, and dentists use ceramics or porcelain fused to metal.

Cantilever bridge – When there are adjacent teeth only on a single side of a gap, the dentist can use a cantilever bridge. However, these bridges are less common today and don’t work well in the back of the mouth because of the force they place on other teeth.

Expectations with dental bridges

With proper care including good oral hygiene and regular dental visits, a dental bridge can last 5-15 years or longer. When the dentist replaces missing teeth with a dental bridge, it can make eating easier as patients don’t have to deal with gaps in their teeth and can properly chew their food. A dental bridge can improve speech in those who have endured missing teeth, especially when the bridge helps keep anterior teeth in their proper position.

Caring for a dental bridge

As previously mentioned, patients need to practice proper oral hygiene to keep the teeth and gums healthy and improve the success of the dental bridge. After receiving a dental bridge, the dentist or hygienist can show the patient how to brush and floss correctly around the device and how to detect any issues. When a patient is getting used to a new bridge, they may want to chew softer food and cut it up into manageable pieces until they’ve acclimated to the change. Maintaining regularly scheduled dental visits with professional cleanings and exams is the best way to care for a dental bridge and the entire mouth.

If you’re missing teeth, it’s important to consult a dentist and find a proper replacement as soon as possible to prevent teeth from shifting and avoid bone loss. Contact Dupont Dental today to find out more information about our restorative and cosmetic dentistry services.

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dental bonding benefits

Applications of Dental Bonding

For someone who wants a healthy and attractive smile, numerous cosmetic dental treatments can help. An especially effective and relatively easy dental treatment is dental bonding. Dental bonding uses special composite resins to improve the look of a person’s smile greatly, and the dentist can perform the treatment in one painless visit.

Understanding dental bonding

Also referred to as composite bonding or tooth bonding, dental bonding occurs when the dentist uses a special ceramic/composite resin on a patient’s tooth or teeth. The dentist paints the tooth-colored material on the teeth, and the patient can achieve a flawless looking smile.

Repairing minor tooth damage

Dentists commonly use dental bonding to repair minor tooth damage such as small cavities, cracks or chips. Dental bonding is a highly effective treatment for these minor cosmetic issues.

Treating tooth discoloration

When teeth whitening can’t provide suitable results on its own, the dentist can use dental bonding to treat tooth discoloration. The dental bonding material conceals stains on the teeth and can give a patient a clean, bright, beautiful smile.

Ideal candidates for dental bonding

Dental bonding works best for patients who have minor cosmetic dentistry issues that affect their smile. Patients with major dental issues such as missing or broken teeth require more involved cosmetic dentistry and restoration treatments to improve their smile. It’s important that patients have realistic expectations about the results of dental bonding.

Procedure for dental bonding

During dental bonding, the dentist cleans the tooth and then preps it for the composite/ceramic bonding material by scuffing the tooth surface slightly. The rougher surface helps the dental material adhere better. Before applying the bonding material, the dentist has ensured that it matches the color of the tooth receiving treatment. After the dentist paints the bonding material on the tooth, it’s allowed to dry and then receives a buff and polish, so it blends invisibly with the natural tooth.

Additional Options

Dental bonding isn’t an effective solution for all cosmetic dentistry issues, but it can work well for those with minor issues. When dental bonding isn’t enough to correct aesthetic issues, patients have a choice of porcelain veneers, dental crowns, fillings, inlays or onlays. For stains that are on the surface of teeth, in-office teeth whitening treatments can be highly effective and safe.

To learn more about dental bonding and other cosmetic dentistry procedures, contact our professional dental staff at Dupont Dental. Through our various cosmetic and restorative dental options, you can achieve a smile you’re proud to share.

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treatment for bad breath

Causes of and Treatments for Bad Breath

Chronic bad breath, or halitosis, can cause frustration, embarrassment, and concern for those suffering from it. Halitosis can be a symptom of a more severe dental problem, but the only way to know for sure if by consulting a dental professional who can perform a thorough oral exam. A dental professional can recommend treatment for bad breath and deal with any underlying causes, which can restore a patient’s confidence and ability to smile and speak without embarrassment.

Common causes of bad breath

Thankfully, in many cases of bad breath, all that’s needed to solve it is a thorough dental cleaning and restorative dental treatments that improve the overall health of gums and teeth. It’s important to discover the cause of the bad breath first before working on a solution, though. Common causes of bad breath include:

  • Odorous foods – One of the top causes of bad breath is having a diet of odorous foods such as garlic, onions and other potent flavors.
  • Food Residue – When a small particle of food become stuck between teeth, they can breed bacteria as they decay which leads to bad breath.
  • Decay – Without proper brushing and flossing, plaque and tartar can build up leading to cavities and decay, which give a distinct, unpleasant odor.
  • Dry mouth – Saliva carries away food particles and bacteria from your teeth and mouth regularly, and without it, bacteria build up in a dry mouth and causes halitosis.
  • Sinus or throat infection – Even though bad breath may come out the mouth, it doesn’t always originate there, and in some cases, bad breath indicates the development of an infection in the sinus or throat areas.

There are many other causes of bad breath including tooth abscesses or taking certain medications, and only a proper assessment from a health professional can pinpoint the exact issue.

Treating bad breath

Treating bad breath correctly depends on finding the cause. When poor oral hygiene is causing halitosis, fixing the issue involves improving a patient’s brushing and flossing routine and visiting the dentist for a professional cleaning and exam. If improper oral hygiene has caused tooth decay, then the dentist needs to remove the decay and treat with crowns or fillings to prevent further problems and remedy bad breath from decay. Prescription Mouthwash can alleviate chronic dry mouth and antibiotics can help clear up sinus or throat infections that lead to bad breath. Working with a dentist to find the best course of treatment for bad breath ensures that you find and deal with any underlying issues before they become more severe and costly.

No one needs to live with the discomfort and embarrassment of bad breath when there are a variety of ways to treat and eliminate it. Dupont Dental is dedicated to the great oral health of their patients and works to find the solution to any dental issues.

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Tips for healthy gums

Maintaining Healthy Gums

When most people think about dental health, they may focus mostly on preventing decay and cavities in their teeth, but having healthy gums is just as important as having healthy teeth. Healthy gums are vital for your overall well-being and dental health and quite often give early indications of a problem in your mouth. Bleeding and swollen gums are often a sign of gum disease, but other issues that require attention and treatment can also cause such irritation. Thankfully, there are ways to minimize the discomfort and potential damage to sore, painful gums.

Brushing correctly

Brushing your teeth too vigorously can damage the delicate tissue of your gums, so it’s important that you brush properly. Always choose a soft toothbrush with blunt end nylon bristles because the medium or hard bristled toothbrushes can damage enamel and lead to swollen, red gums. Whether you use an electric or manual toothbrush, move the brush with gentle, circular motions that massage the gums and clean teeth without furious scrubbing. Avoid back and forth motion as this can damage and irritate gums causing gum recession, soreness, and bleeding.

Flossing correctly

Flossing is an essential part of proper oral hygiene, and a step many people avoid or do incorrectly. Flossing removes plaque where your toothbrush can’t reach, and this is vital because built-up plaque can irritate gums and lead to more severe issues. When you floss, work gently to avoid causing bleeding swollen gums. Don’t force the floss between teeth, but slide it carefully up and down along the curve of each tooth.

Signs of unhealthy gums

Without practicing proper oral hygiene, you increase the risk of having gum disease. Gum disease has different severities from mild gingivitis to the most serious type called periodontitis. One of the main causes of gum disease is improper oral hygiene, which leads to the formation of plaque on the teeth from built up bacteria. The bacteria can lead to inflamed gums that are swollen, red and may bleed. Gingivitis isn’t always painful, but that doesn’t make it harmless. Early treatment of gingivitis helps reverse it and can restore good oral health. Without treatment, gingivitis can get worse, progress to periodontitis and even lead to tooth loss. There are several signs of unhealthy gums including:

  • Bleeding gums during and after brushing
  • Tender, swollen or red gums
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Deep pockets between gums and teeth
  • Gum recession
  • Shifted or loose teeth
  • Changes in bite or alignment of teeth
  • Change in fit of partial dentures or bridge

Tobacco use and gum health

It isn’t just smoking that’s bad for your gums and oral health; any tobacco use has detrimental effects on your dental and overall health. Smokers are at a higher risk to develop gum disease, and tobacco use can lead to bleeding, sensitive gums, and mouth sores.

Prevent gum issues

To prevent gum issues such as bleeding, swelling or soreness, maintain proper oral hygiene by brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Eating a well-balanced diet with ample calcium and Vitamin C can help minimize the potential for gum issues. Drink adequate water, especially after meals to help wash food particles from your teeth and prevent the development of bacteria that leads to plaque. If you’re a smoker or use other tobacco products, look into ways to quit to improve your oral and overall health. Relax and try to keep your stress levels low because high stress raises the hormone cortisol in your body, which can cause inflammation in your entire body, including your gums.

If you experience any swelling, bleeding or soreness in your gums, contact Dupont Dental to set up a professional dental exam and cleaning to help improve and protect your oral health.

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Prevent gum disease

Preventing and Reversing Gingivitis

Keeping your regular six-month cleaning and dental exam appointments is an essential part of good oral health as dental professionals remove plaque and tartar at each visit. However, without an effective oral health routine at home that includes twice daily brushing and daily flossing, there’s a higher risk of developing gum disease. Symptoms of gum disease, including the first level of gingivitis, can develop quickly—even between six-month cleanings.

Gingivitis explained

When bacteria in the mouth develop to the point of revealing obvious damage to oral tissues, this is known as gingivitis. Signs of damage include bad breath and tender and bleeding gums during brushing. If the oral bacteria are allowed to continue reproducing, gingivitis develops into periodontal/gum disease. During periodontal disease, oral bacteria reproduce so quickly; they damage gum tissues at a destructive level higher than seen during gingivitis.

Reversing gingivitis

Fortunately, it’s possible to reverse gingivitis before it develops into gum disease and doing so prevents the need for more expensive and time-consuming dental treatments. At the first sign of gingivitis, patients who haven’t been following a good oral health routine need to start doing so immediately. By brushing for at least two minutes twice a day, flossing daily, using an oral rinse and brushing the tongue, patients remove embedded bacteria and improve their oral health. Additional ways to reverse gingivitis is to increase water intake as a moist mouth supports the cleaning properties of saliva. Limiting snacks and minimizing intake of sugary foods and drink can also stop and reverse gingivitis.

Maintaining an oral health regimen

When patients start and maintain a regular oral health regimen, the symptoms of gingivitis should diminish within a week. Even when symptoms subside, it’s vital to continue to maintain oral health as it controls bacterial buildup and prevents gingivitis from returning. Regular dental visits and cleanings give patients a clean slate twice a year that they can take advantage of with continued daily brushing and floss to prevent problems.

Once patients have established an oral hygiene routine and commit themselves to following it, they discover that it’s worth the effort with the numerous benefits it provides their oral health. Early treatment and reversal of gingivitis prevent the development of gum disease that doesn’t go away on its own. If you’re experiencing any of the signs of gingivitis, contact Dupont Dental to schedule an appointment to help restore and maintain the health of your teeth and gums.

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Composite Filling Material

Advantages of Composite Fillings Over Amalgam Fillings

Dental fillings are a valuable treatment for tooth decay. For centuries, there wasn’t much change in the procedure of fillings as dentists removed decay and replaced it with a metal alloy. Although these metal alloy or amalgam fillings have proven highly effective, they’re not very aesthetically pleasing and have other disadvantages. Thankfully, today’s dentists have a more cosmetically appropriate treatment for treating tooth decay with composite, tooth-colored fillings that have the potential to leave older, amalgam style fillings in the past.

Amalgam filling disadvantages

While dentists still use amalgam fillings because of their lower cost compared to other materials, many patients are opting for composite fillings instead. Amalgam fillings don’t look like a natural tooth and over time can darken and stain the surrounding tooth structure. Unlike other decay treatment materials, amalgam doesn’t form a natural bond with tooth tissue, which means dentists have to remove more of the natural tooth to shape the surface and ensure adequate adhesion. Removing natural tooth material is especially detrimental in teeth that don’t have much remaining due to decay. Teeth treated with amalgam fillings can be more sensitive to temperature changes as the material responds to heat and cold more than other materials. This characteristic of amalgam means that the fillings can expand eventually and crack the tooth, which may require the placement of a dental crown.

Advantages of composite, tooth-colored fillings

Composite, tooth-colored fillings have none of the problems of amalgam fillings and have several advantages over metal fillings including:

  • Natural looking – Composite fillings blend in with surrounding tooth tissue and are inconspicuous even on front teeth.
  • Improved texture – Unlike amalgam fillings, composite fillings are easier for a cosmetic dentist to shape and sculpt into a realistic tooth surface appearance.
  • Better adhesion – Composite materials adhere naturally to tooth tissue, which means the dentist doesn’t have to remove as much existing tooth material during preparation.
  • Restored strength – Teeth treated with composite fillings receive restoration to almost their natural strength.
  • Potentially safer – Some patients have an allergic reaction to amalgam, while there have been no known allergic reactions to composite materials.
  • Affordable option – Compared to other tooth-colored filling materials such as porcelain, composite fillings are more affordable and offer a large improvement over metal fillings.

The only major disadvantage of composite fillings is that they may not last as long as amalgam fillings, but with the continuing improvements and innovations in composite materials, these tooth-colored fillings have the potential to last longer than past versions.

Dupont Dental is proud to offer composite fillings as part of our restorative dental services. With composite fillings, we restore the health of your teeth while preserving the pleasing appearance of your smile.

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eCigs and Oral Health

Are eCigarettes Better than Regular Cigarettes for your Oral Health?

Although eCigarettes have become a popular alternative to traditional cigarettes, their lack of smoke doesn’t mean that they’re any better for your teeth and gums than normal cigarettes. If you’re trying to improve your oral health, the best thing to do is to quit any nicotine or tobacco use, but if you’re using eCigarettes, there are some important facts you should know.

Unhealthy even without smoke

ECs or e-Cigarettes don’t give off traditional cigarette smoke. Instead, they deliver a mix of chemicals to users and an additional blend of aerosols. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research has started conducting research on ECs due to their rapid growth and popularity. The purpose of the research and study is to discover the physiological and biological effects of the chemical components in ECs. Until this research is complete, it’s not entirely understood how ECs specifically affect oral health.

How eCigarettess work

With a more technical name for electronic nicotine delivery systems, ECs heat a metal element using a battery charge. The metal element vaporizes a chemical mix of nicotine, formaldehyde and other unhealthy chemicals through water vapor that the gum tissues absorb easily.

Nicotine’s effect on oral health

Nicotine is extremely drying to oral tissues, which depletes saliva. Saliva is the oral cleanser in your mouth that removes bacteria and food particles and without enough of it, bacteria growth increases. A dry mouth without sufficient saliva increases the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. No matter how people introduce nicotine into their system, it constricts blood vessels in the mouth, which inhibits the oral tissues ability to heal properly. This is why dentists advise patients considering dental implants stop tobacco use or decrease usage significantly.

Further research required

With the current limited scientific evidence regarding ECs, there’s a strong concern that they could be detrimental to the health of smokers and nonsmokers. Further research into the effects of the ECs aerosol mixtures on tissues, cells, and the oral cavity will give better insight and evidence on the potentially harmful effects of these devices. Research is set to begin by February 2016 and will focus on the effects of the aerosol mixture instead of the effects of nicotine because researchers already know that information. By gauging the impact of the vaporized chemical delivery to oral tissues, lung tissues, and airway structures, researchers can gain a better understanding of the effects of long-term exposure to ECs.

No type of cigarette or tobacco use comes without risks, and the misconceptions that eCigarettes are somehow healthier can ruin your smile and overall health. If you’re a smoker, we want to make sure we help with your specific oral care needs so you can have a healthy mouth and improved smile. Contact Dupont Dental for information about our dental treatments and to learn more about the benefits of quitting tobacco and nicotine use.

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porcelain veneers candidate

Are you a good candidate for porcelain veneers?

Achieving a dramatic smile makeover is just one of the powers of porcelain veneers. Many popular TV and Movie stars have transformed their smiles with porcelain veneers and it helps them shine flawlessly on the red carpet. These thin shells of custom-crafted porcelain have many benefits as a cosmetic dentistry treatment and it’s important to understand what makes a good candidate for porcelain veneers and when an alternative cosmetic treatment might work better.

Good candidates for porcelain veneers

The only way to know for sure if you’re a good candidate for porcelain veneers is to schedule a consultation with an experienced cosmetic dentist. However, a majority of patients curious about porcelain veneers to improve their smile are good candidates for the procedure. Good candidates for porcelain veneers have a healthy mouth free of tooth decay and gum disease. Porcelain veneers conceal various aesthetic flaws in front teeth including:

  • Inconsistent size, shape, or length
  • Discoloration and/or staining
  • Chips or cracks
  • Small gaps between teeth
  • Slightly crooked teeth

For a dentist to fit you with porcelain veneers, you need to have realistic expectations of the procedure involved and understand that it’s not reversible. The procedure for porcelain veneers alters the shape of your teeth, which means they’ll always require porcelain veneers to look cosmetically appropriate. Prior to placement of veneers, the dentist removes enamel from your teeth surfaces and if a veneer wears out or comes off, your teeth won’t look or function as they should.

Achieving ideal results

With beautifully customized porcelain veneers, dentists have the ability to complement their patients’ surrounding natural teeth by matching the shape, color, size and texture. An experienced cosmetic dentist creates veneers that give their patients stunning smiles that appear healthy and natural without seeming artificial. Dentists carefully evaluate patients to ensure that porcelain veneers are a suitable option before they even begin treatment. When the patients follow up with good oral hygiene and regular exams, it helps porcelain veneers last for a decade or more in ideal conditions. For patients that don’t qualify for veneers, cosmetic dentists offer alternative options that can give patients the beautiful smile they’ve been looking for.

If you’re uncomfortable or embarrassed to smile, trust Dupont Dental to find a cosmetic treatment suitable for your needs. Along with porcelain veneers, we offer bonding, porcelain crowns, composite (tooth-colored) fillings, teeth whitening, and dental implants to improve and restore your healthy smile.

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White teeth at home

Tips for Whiter Teeth

Stains and discoloration on teeth can happen when people age, but many other causes have nothing to do with age, such as food, drinks, medications and even mouthwashes. Visiting the dentist for an in-office teeth whitening treatment is a safe, effective way to remove surface stains and brighten your smile, but there are also steps you can take at home to prevent discoloration and maintain a healthy mouth.

Foods for whiter teeth

Eating crunchy foods including apples, carrots, pears and celery trigger saliva production that helps wash away food debris from your teeth. You can also chew sugarless gum to trigger saliva, and it’s also a tooth-cleaning action. Saliva neutralizes the acid in your mouth that can cause tooth decay and cavities that discolor your teeth and damage oral health.

Whitening dental work

When you have existing veneers, fillings, crowns, bridges or bonding, store-bought tooth whitening products will not whiten the artificial teeth, which means they’ll be obvious against your whitened natural teeth. Whitening your entire smile when you have these types of dental treatments requires a visit to the dentist to investigate options for new dental work including bonding and veneers.

Preventing stains and discoloration

Avoiding and preventing stains and discoloration in the first place, is the best way to keep teeth white and healthy. Over time, the outer layer of tooth enamel wears away revealing the yellower dentin underneath. Whitening teeth too often can make them appear blue or translucent, so it’s important to know what substances can cause stains including tea, coffee, dark soda, fruit juices, red wine, blackberries, blueberries, and beets. Brush your teeth immediately after eating or drinking staining foods and if that’s not possible, rinse with water. Sports drinks are another oral health offender as they can erode tooth enamel with frequent, long-term use. If you consume sports drinks, don’t sip them for extended periods of time, and rinse with water when you’ve finished the drink.

Avoid tobacco use

Smoking and other tobacco products are horrible for your teeth and cause brown stains that may be impossible to remove with just brushing. The longer you use tobacco, the deeper the stains and smoking and tobacco use cause gingivitis, bad breath and increase the risk of many types of cancer. Do your oral and overall health a huge favor by looking into ways to quit smoking and other tobacco use.

Medication stains

Although medications are often necessary for maintaining a person’s health, they can lead to teeth stains and discoloration. Certain antibiotics, blood pressure medications, iron, antihistamines and excessive fluoride can cause tooth stains. Some antibacterial mouthwashes with particular ingredients can cause tooth stains, so consult with your dentist if he or she prescribes these. When bleaching isn’t enough to remove stains, dental bonding can help brighten teeth.

Daily oral care and dental visits

Maintaining good oral hygiene every day is a simple, easy way to prevent stains and discoloration while maintaining a healthy mouth. To further protect your shiny teeth, you can brush after every snack and meal as this prevents yellow teeth and stains, especially along the gum line. Traditional toothbrushes work, but sonic or electric toothbrush can provide superior cleaning and removal of surface stains and plaque from teeth. Visiting your dentist for regular checkups is also important, and the abrasion and polishing methods they use during professional cleanings helps remove many common tooth stains caused by food and drink.

For safe, fast and effective teeth cleaning, visit Dupont Dental for our in-office teeth whitening treatments.

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Beautiful Smile

Root Canals Help Save Your Natural Teeth

An important part of maintaining your beautiful smile is protecting your natural teeth with good oral hygiene and treating any oral health issues early. Endodontic treatments, often called root canals, help treat and save millions of patient’s teeth every year, which in turns saves your smile and improves your oral health.

Understanding what root canals treat

Within your teeth and beneath the enamel and dentin, there’s tooth pulp, which is a soft tissue. Within the pulp resides nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues that all help the tooth root grow during its development. Fully developed teeth can survive without the pulp because the teeth continue to receive nourishment from the surrounding tissues. Root canal treatments treat the area inside of the tooth and become necessary when the pulp suffers infection or inflammation from decay, faulty crowns, cracks, chips, trauma to the tooth or repeated dental procedures. Without treatment, the infection or inflammation can lead to pain and an abscess.

Saving your teeth with a root canal

When your dental professional who specializes in endodontic treatments performs a root canal, he or she removes the infected pulp and cleans and disinfects the inside of the affected tooth. The dentist then fills and seals the area with a rubber-like material and restores the tooth with a filling or crown for protection. Following a root canal treatment, the tooth functions like other natural teeth in your mouth. The procedure for a root canal usually only requires 1-2 visits and is similar to a routine filling procedure. When your dentist saves your natural tooth with the help of a root canal, you enjoy benefits including:

  • Natural tooth appearance
  • Normal, efficient chewing
  • Natural sensation and biting force
  • Protection of other teeth from strain or wear

While there are many options for tooth replacement, it’s best to retain your natural teeth whenever possible and when it doesn’t interfere with your overall oral health. Root canals/endodontic treatments can help save your natural teeth, so you retain your smile, eat the foods you enjoy, and reduce the need for continued dental work on the affected area. By continuing good oral hygiene and care, teeth treated with root canals can last a lifetime.

If your dentist believes you need a root canal, try not to worry as you remember that your dentist is working toward saving your natural teeth. Make sure you protect your beautiful smile with regular visits to Dupont Dental and by contacting our offices if you experience any dental discomfort.


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