Kissimmee Family Dentistry

No Root Canal? What’s the Worst that Could Happen?

No Root CanalHave you ever wondered: “Do I have to have root canal therapy?   What’s the worst that can happen if I don’t?”

We are glad you asked! Having a root canal may seem like an intimidating and painful experience, so we are not surprised when some patients are hesitant to go through with it.

But, the fact of the matter is that: root canal treatments save natural teeth. And saving your natural teeth is the most important thing we do as oral health professionals.

Still not convinced? Here are some more compelling reasons to follow through with that root canal treatment:

  • An infected root won’t get better on its own. The pain may go away after some time, but that is not because the infection is gone, it is because the nerves are no longer working properly due to that infection.
  • Abscesses and Systemic Infections: Left untreated, an infected tooth can spread to the gums, causing a serious abscess in the jaw that requires emergency treatment. In rare cases, that could spread even further, creating a systemic (whole body) infection, which has the potential to be life threatening.
  • The role that natural teeth play in the overall health of your body during its lifetime is something that we are learning more about every day. This important role cannot be overstated. A lost, permanent tooth may not seem like a big deal to you now, but it creates a domino effect of health problems down the road. For example, a missing tooth causes nearby teeth to shift, exposing them to more decay and more tooth loss down the road. This can affect your ability to maintain a healthy diet and, in turn, affect the quality and even the span of your life.
  • Money: Even if aesthetics don’t matter to you, a lost tooth will probably cost you more money in the long run than a root canal will, now. When a tooth is missing, the jaw underneath that site atrophies. This makes it more expensive to perform restorative procedures such as dental implants in the future, as they will require more extensive prep-work such as bone grafting.

The bottom line is that your natural teeth are best. Endodontic therapy is typically the best way to save a natural tooth. It is also the most commonly used procedure, that we as oral health professionals have to help you keep your natural teeth for life.

Considering the Costs of Dental Implants

costs of Dental ImplantsWhen compared to the costs of other tooth replacement options, boy do dental implants seem expensive! Yet you may be surprised to learn that, in the long run, dental implants can be more affordable than their traditional counterparts. Understanding this procedure and the factors that determine the costs can help you decide if dental implants are a good investment for you!

What is a Dental Implant? A dental implant is a permanent replacement for lost teeth. It is made of an artificial tooth firmly held in place by a tooth root made of titanium (which is biocompatible) that is surgically placed into your jaw. Dental implants help stabilize the jaw and the bone around it to avoid future bone loss and maintain the shape of your jaw. They never have to be removed and feel more natural and comfortable than dentures. And unlike bridges or crowns, which are cemented in, the chances of slippage or shifting are eliminated. With implants, talking and eating become worry free.

Steps In a Dental Implant Procedure. We will first use extensive imaging to determine bone health, height, and thickness to assess your bone and teeth structure carefully. The surgery itself is done in our office in separate stages. First, the implant is surgically placed into your jawbone, completely hidden within your gum tissue. Once the implant has integrated into your bone, a healing process of about 4 to 6 months, the next stage is the placement of the abutment, or the post that penetrates the gum and will connect the replacement tooth to the implant. The final stage involves attaching your artificial tooth (made from impressions of your natural tooth) to the abutment. If more than one tooth is being replaced, a removable bridge is used, as it is more affordable than implanting each tooth separately. For a bridge, it takes only one implant on either side to span an area holding several teeth. The bridge snaps into place for a more permanent and natural fit than dentures.

Factors That Affect the Cost. While dental implant surgery is a safe and routine option, it is a complex procedure that takes time and expertise to be done effectively. There are many factors that will influence the final costs including what X-ray and CT scans are necessary to evaluate and assess the implant area and the brand and material of the post, abutment and artificial teeth. However, the biggest cost factor is the complexity of the surgery itself. For example, how many teeth are we replacing and what is the location? Will additional procedures, such as bone grafting or sinus elevation be required? We do our best to make sure that your estimate includes all of the possible costs of each of the steps of your procedure.

While dental implants may seem expensive, they are often more affordable in the long run than traditional restoration methods such as crowns and bridges, which are more vulnerable to damage and usually require repairs or replacement every few years.

Dental implants are known to have a 95% success rate when completed by professionals with the right experience and training, such as us! Because dental implants offer a permanent solution, are natural and comfortable, and require little maintenance, they are a cost effective choice for most of our patients.

Five Foods for Healthy Teeth

We all know that foods high in sugar and acid are bad for teeth, but did you know that some foods are actually good for them? Incorporating these dental friendly foods into your family meals can both fight tooth decay and prevent gum disease. Here are five oral health friendly foods!food tips for healthy teeth

Almonds, Brazil Nuts, and Sesame Seeds. These foods contain phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and most importantly, calcium. Dietary calcium is not only good for your bones, it may actually contribute to tooth remineralization and fight tooth decay. Make sure to get the unhulled variety of sesame seeds, which are incredibly high in calcium.

Strawberries, Kiwi, and Citrus Fruits. These fruits have the highest concentration of Vitamin C, which helps to increase collagen in gum tissue and prevents gum disease.

Onions. Toss some raw onion on your salad or eat them on your hamburgers. Onions contain powerful bacteria fighters because of their sulfer-containing compounds and are natural cavity fighters.

Shitake Mushrooms. Recent studies show a natural sugar found in shitakes, called lenithan, specifically targets the bacteria which causes gingivitis (gum inflammation) and tooth decay while leaving non-harmful bacteria alone.

Apples and Celery. Water rich fruits and vegetables stimulate saliva production, which rinses teeth of bacteria. With their high fiber content, they act as natural tooth brushes, scrubbing your teeth as you chew, removing plaque and bacteria that may otherwise build up.

These simple everyday foods are great choices for snacks or to add to meals your family already enjoys. Put onions or shitakes as toppings on your pizza. Serve celery and apples with peanut butter and make a smoothie with your strawberries and kiwi. Nuts can be eaten as a snack on their own or try them as nut butter spread on toast. You can even throw nuts and sesame seeds in a stir fry for added texture and flavor as well as the nutritional benefit.

Green Tea. Besides these five teeth healthy foods, you can even get a boost for your oral health by drinking this powerhouse liquid! Green tea contains “catechins” that actually fight inflammation and control bacterial infections. One Japanese study found that regular green tea drinkers had less incidence of periodontal disease compared with people who drank the tea irregularly. So try drinking green tea instead of that second cup of coffee or have a refreshing green iced-tea on a hot afternoon.

Besides brushing and flossing, what you eat can make a difference to your oral health. It’s nice to know you can eat foods that taste good and be doing something good for your teeth at the same time. Now that’s something we can all smile about!

Veneers: Be The Architect of Your Own Smile

Partnering with your dentist and choosing the shade and other aesthetics of your new smile!


 

Have you ever wanted to be the architect of your own smile?   Do you look in the mirror and pinpoint exactly what you’d change about your teeth, if you could? Veneers are your opportunity to do, just that!

There are certain qualities a veneer candidate’s mouth must possess. These qualities are as follows:

  • Good overall health
  • Absent signs of tooth decay and/or gum disease
  • Not a habitual teeth grinder
  • Properly aligned bite, teeth are more or less in normal positions
  • Sufficient tooth enamel in order to support the veneer

After you have become an approved veneer candidate, we will become partners in designing your ideal smile! Veneer qualities can be described as: durable, hard, strong, translucent and glassy. Most people may not know this but veneers actually are fairly translucent and act like a contact lens would on your eye. This translucence allows for the natural tooth color to come through, yet that the lab technician can bake your approved hue into your set of veneers can enhance the shade. There are three aspects to the shade selection process.

  • Color Tone – the natural tones of teeth are: red, blue and yellow
  • Chroma – the intensity of the hue
  • Value – the darkness or lightness of the hue

You will still be able to eat hard food (such as an apple) and maintenance of your new veneers will not differ from your current tooth care routine. Brush and floss as normal, simply avoiding abrasive toothpastes. A good home care regimen will insure your veneers lifespan.

If you’re thinking about veneers you should call us so we can help you decide if this cosmetic service is right for you! It’s never too late to get the smile you’ve always dreamed of.

Are You a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

Are You a Good Candidate for Dental ImplantsIt’s estimated that 125 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. If you are one of them, you may be considering dental implants for tooth replacement. We think it’s important for you to know what factors make a person a good candidate for such a procedure. Here are a few things to consider.

Most People Are Good Candidates. Dental implants can replace one, several, or all of your teeth. They can be used in place of bridges or dentures. Good candidates have healthy gums and are old enough so that their jawbone has stopped growing. You should also have enough bone to support and anchor the implants. Even if you have lost bone in your jaw, however, you may still be a good candidate for implants. In fact, dental implants may be recommended to prevent further bone loss. In these situations, bone can actually be rebuilt with grafting procedures as part of the implant process.

Evaluation. Successful implantation starts with a thorough evaluation of your jaw, teeth, mouth and overall health. You will receive a mouth X-ray and possibly a Computed Tomography (CT) scan. This will help us identify areas of bone loss and carefully see the shape of your sinuses and nerve location to make accurate assessments for your treatment. We will also do a thorough medical evaluation, as your overall health and history plays a big role in how well your implant will heal and fuse to the bone.

People At Risk of Poor Outcomes. Uncontrolled diabetes, cancer, radiation to the jaws, smoking, alcoholism, or uncontrolled gum disease are all risk factors that can adversely affect your outcome. You may still be a good candidate with one of these diseases, but we’ll want to thoroughly assess your situation and work with you and your doctor to increase your overall health and functioning. People who take certain medications, such as steroids or drugs that suppress the immune system may not be suitable candidates, either. And people with certain habits, such as people who severely grind or clench their teeth may put too much pressure on the implants, causing long term damage.

Overall, dental implants have a very high rate of success and patients tell us how happy they are with the outcome. If you are considering implants, we can complete a careful examination to determine what options are best suited for you. Call us today to make that appointment!

Children’s Teeth Timeline

Childrens-Teeth-TimelineDo you know when your child should be expecting their first new teeth as a baby? How about when they should be loosing those baby teeth? As with many things in development, every child is different and has a different time frame for each stage, but we’ll give you a general idea of when you can expect these different stages to occur: from the appearance of baby teeth to the arrival of permanent adult teeth.

BABY TEETH

4 to 7 months:

Usually the two front lower teeth begin to be exposed. Gums may become red and swollen where the teeth are cutting through.

Fun Fact: Lower teeth usually come in before the upper teeth.

8 to 12 months:

Upper middle teeth tend to come in next (it is common for girls to get their baby teeth before boys!)

9 to 16 months:

Teeth on both sides of the middle teeth begin to come in, for both the top and bottom.

Did You Know: Teeth usually erupt in pairs! One on the right, one on the left!

12 to 19 months:

Molars come in on the top and bottom about the same time.

16 to 23 months:

Canines (sharp, pointed teeth) begin to emerge.

Tooth Truths: Baby teeth are usually brighter and whiter than permanent teeth, and are much smaller.

2 to 3 years:

Second molars come in, and by now your child should almost completely have a full set of 20 teeth! By 4 years old, jaw and facial bones continue to grow to allow more space for the incoming permanent teeth. 

NOTE: If your baby does not show signs of bottom teeth by 18 months, mention it to your doctor. Do not be alarmed, every child is different and some don’t begin showing teeth until after their first birthday, and catch up without any problems. 

LOOSING TEETH/ADULT TEETH

6 to 12 years:

Children begin loosing teeth, they can be lost in any order, but it is common to lose them in the same order they came in, starting with the front middle, gradually going back further in the mouth.

12 years:

Once your child has lost all of their baby teeth, their mouth now consists of 28 permanent teeth. Four wisdom teeth will begin to appear between 17 to 21 years old, however 85% of people end up having their wisdom teeth removed, so don’t get used to them for too long!

 

Teeth Whitening- What You Should Know

Teeth-Whitening-What-You-Should-KnowTeeth whitening can lead to a brighter smile and a more confident you. Whether your teeth have been stained from drinking coffee and tea, or you are just looking to make your teeth a few shades lighter to match your new tan, teeth whitening is a great way to start with a fresh “you.”

When it comes to choosing your options of obtaining a brighter, whiter smile, there are a few options. We offer “in office” whitening (could be a single session, some could require multiple appointments), using bleaching or gels. Then there are alternative, “at-home” treatments, which include over the counter strips, gels, and other options. Each option has its benefits, whether it is convenience, price, time, longevity of brightness, quality, the list goes on and on. There is no perfect formula to obtain the ideal brightness of teeth. You definitely will get what you pay for. Although more expensive, in-office treatments will boast the highest results, but not everyone wants to dedicate the time or money. The benefits of an at-home remedy are that they are more wallet friendly, and can be done on your own schedule for merely minutes a day, as frequently as you desire.

What you should to know:

Regardless of which approach you take to making your smile brighter, there are a few things you need to know about dental health when it comes to teeth whitening.  Your teeth (more than likely) will be sensitive. The sensitivity should only last a short while after bleaching, but some of the at-home strips do seem to leave a lingering feeling, especially when exposing your teeth to extremely cold, or extremely hot food and drinks. If your teeth continue to be sensitive for multiple hours or even days, it is recommended to avoid using those whitening products and consult us for the best alternative. In addition to tooth sensitivity, the gums may also become slightly irritated when exposed to the peroxide in the gels and bleaches. We generally use a rubber “dam” to protect patient’s gums from contact, but the at-home kits are usually one size fits all and may involve contact to the gums.

All in all, as with most things, there are general side affects, and will affect everyone differently. Be cautious and observant when considering whitening options. Read all instructions carefully and understand that some products will offer results quicker than others, and one product may work well for one person, but not for others.

Contact our office today to find out what the best whitening option is for you!

Are Dental Implants Worth It

Are Dental implants worth itWhat’s involved in a dental implant? Do they hurt? Can anyone get them? There are a lot of questions surrounding dental implants but one thing is certain; they’ve been reconstructing smiles for over 35 years with amazing results. But what’s the fuss surrounding dental implants and are they really worth it? Lets answer some question to help you decide for yourself.

Can anyone get a dental implant? Anyone who is healthy enough to get a dental implant can get one as long as they have enough bone to hold the implant. This is where bone grafting comes in for those who have been told their jawbone won’t hold an implant. Keeping up with regular oral hygiene is also an important factor and heavy smokers may be told it’s not a safe option.

What exactly is a dental implant? A dental implant replaces your tooth root with a metal rod. It provides a solid structure on which to place a new tooth that is made to match your real teeth. Dental implants not only improve the overall look of your smile but they’re durable, convenient, and easy to take care of.

What are the steps to getting a dental implant? As your doctor, we will want to develop an individualized treatment plan that focuses on your specific needs. Once we have agreed on a treatment plan, the next step will be the placement of the implant in your jaw. The implant is made of titanium and once placed the jawbone will actually begin to grow around it. In about six to twelve weeks the implant will have completely bonded to your jaw and it will be time to attach a small post that connects your new tooth to the implant. We create a mold of your bite that allows us to create your new tooth. This replacement tooth is then attached to the post and the implant process is complete!

Lastly, how painful are dental implants and are they difficult to take care of? Most patients have said they experienced very little discomfort when receiving their implant. Many have even said the process is much less painful than a tooth extraction. Mild pain that may occur for a few days after you receive your implant can be treated with over-the-counter pain medication. Dental implants require the same care as your real teeth but generally they are much easier to clean and you don’t have to worry about cavities.

We hope this answers some of the questions surrounding dental implants. If you’re missing a tooth or teeth, give us a call to ask more about the procedure. We’ve seen many patients leave happy and comfortable with their improved smile!

Is Periodontal Disease Contagious? And other questions…

Is-Periodontal-Disease-ContagiousIn our practice, we hear many great questions about periodontal disease and gums in general. So, to help educate our patients better, we have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions for you here:

Q: Is periodontal disease contagious?

A: Yes and no. The disease, which is an inflammatory response to bacteria under the gums, itself is not contagious. However, that bacteria can be spread through saliva, which could in turn cause periodontal disease in another person. To be safe, don’t share utensils or toothbrushes in your house.

Q: Can children get periodontal disease?

A: No. Periodontal disease has only very rarely been found in children and adolescents. However, it’s never too soon to adopt good healthy gum habits! Teach your kids to brush twice and floss once every day.

Q: Do I need antibiotics to get rid of the bacteria?

A: Possibly. A number of factors go into our determination about whether a patient needs topical antibiotic treatment after a periodontal cleaning. If you do need it, it will be applied under the gums during treatment.

Q: Are diabetes and periodontal disease related?

A: Yes, periodontal disease is a common complication of diabetes, most likely because diabetes makes a person more prone to infection. New evidence also shows that good periodontal health may have a positive effect on blood sugar levels as well!

Q: What about heart disease?

A: This is less clear, however several studies have shown that gum disease may increase the risk of heart disease as well.

As always, we are here to help. If you have additional questions that don’t appear on this list, give us a call!

It’s Alive! Your Tooth, That Is!

It's AlivePeople often wonder, “How does a tooth get to the point of infection?”

It’s a common misconception that teeth are not alive. That belief leads to confusion about how teeth become infected. Because you can’t “feel” the part that you can see (the crown), many people think that their teeth are not alive. Yet, the opposite is true. Most of the material that makes up your teeth is, in fact, made of living cells. Since the material is alive, it makes a great hosting site for bacterial infections!

Similar to hair and fingernails, there is a part of your teeth that is not alive – it is the outermost part, called “enamel”. This is the hard, white part that you can see. It is made of calcium phosphate, a very hard mineral that is perfect for breaking down food when you eat. Underneath that enamel, however, is where all of the live action happens!

Starting on the outside and working our way in, we find dentin (alive), and then the pulp cavity and root canal, through which nerves and blood vessels flow.

Generally speaking, if the enamel is intact, bacteria cannot get through to the pulp to cause problems. However, if there is a crack in the outer part of the tooth due to injury or decay, this creates a pathway for bacteria to enter into the innermost part of the tooth (the pulp cavity and canal) causing infection of the living tissue.

That is when endodontic treatment becomes essential! The only way to remove the infected material is manually, by accessing the canal itself, irrigating and then filling, or closing off access, to the inside of the tooth again.