Archive for January, 2013

3 Signs You May Need A Root Canal

A root canal is a procedure that protects a compromised tooth against further injury or decay by the removal of the living tissue, or pulp, within the tooth. The resulting empty chamber is filled with a special type of latex, and the tooth is capped by a realistic-looking crown that preserves the ability to bite and chew. Although the decision about whether a root canal is necessary should be made by a dentist, it is important to be aware of these common signs that indicate dental distress:

 

  1. Tooth Fracture

An injury that breaks or chips a tooth may have exposed its inner pulp chamber, leaving it vulnerable to infection. Seeking dental care immediately after trauma to the mouth can help prevent further damage to the blood vessels and nerves in the affected tooth, as a dentist can sanitize the wound and provide the necessary restorative work to seal the pulp chamber. However, a root canal may be the optimal solution for a tooth that has suffered extensive injury.

 

  1. Extreme Sensitivity or Pain

If a particular tooth hurts when it is touched or is especially sensitive to temperature extremes, the underlying nerve may be inflamed. Although this condition does not always necessitate a root canal, it should be evaluated by a dentist in order to rule out the possibility of an infection that could otherwise lead to the eventual loss of the tooth.

 

  1. Localized Swelling

An infection within the pulp chamber of a tooth may lead to swelling of the gums around the affected tooth. There may also be foul-tasting liquid draining from the area. In order to prevent serious infection of the jawbone, face, or blood, such an abscess must be treated as quickly as possible by a dentist.

If you have noticed any of the above symptoms and are concerned that a root canal may be in order, contact John Carson, DDS by calling (520) 514-7203. Our office serves the residents of Tucson with restorative and cosmetic dental treatments to promote healthy and attractive smiles.

Learn More About Oral Care With These Links

Our recent articles have discussed when a root canal may be necessary and how to maintain the results of a tooth whitening treatment. For more information on these and other dental topics, visit the following resources or call John Carson, DDS at (520) 514-7203:

  • This Colgate.com article explains the major reasons for undergoing a root canal and describes the steps of the procedure.
  • Root canals are generally performed as a result of a tooth infection, or abscess. Learn about the symptoms of a dental abscess and why it should be treated as soon as possible in this article.
  • Discover the causes and symptoms of periodontal disease, as well as how it can be prevented, on this page from CDC.gov.

Watch This Video to Learn More About Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a common condition that results from improper oral care. The detailed animation in this video provides a close-up look at the stages and consequences of periodontal disease.

Healthy gums, or gingiva, do not bleed or hurt during a dental exam and are strongly connected to the teeth. However, when tartar builds up on the teeth, the gums become inflamed and bleed easily—two major symptoms of gingivitis. Fortunately, this condition is easily treatable, unlike periodontitis, which involves the destruction of connective dental tissue and may result in devastating complications such as tooth loss, atherosclerosis, and heart disease.

John Carson, DDS offers preventive dental care as well as active treatment for periodontal disease. Call (520) 514-7203 to schedule an appointment at our office in Tucson.

Maintaining Your Teeth After Whitening

Taking good care of your smile is something to be proud of, which is why many people highlight their healthy teeth with a professional whitening treatment. To get the best results, remember to do the following after whitening your teeth:

Avoid Foods and Beverages that Stain Teeth

Many daily habits—such as having a morning cup of coffee, eating a snack of chocolate or berries, or relaxing with an evening glass of wine—can quickly stain teeth, negating your whitening efforts. Try to limit dark-colored foods, and rinse your mouth or brush your teeth afterward if you do indulge. Drinking soda, tea, and coffee through a straw will also help you keep your front teeth glistening white.

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Brushing at least twice each day removes stain-causing compounds before they have a chance to permeate your teeth, and flossing daily minimizes your risk of tartar buildup. Every few days, switch to a whitening toothpaste to scrub away any discoloration that has begun to accumulate.  

Abstain from Tobacco Use

Among the many other reasons to stop using tobacco are the ugly brown stains it leaves on teeth. For this reason, having your smile professionally whitened can be great motivation to quit smoking or chewing tobacco, as you want your results to last as long as possible.

Schedule Whitening Touch-Ups

Even if you take care to follow the above guidelines, your teeth will still become dull over time, which is why occasional whitening touch-ups are recommended. A dentist can help you determine how often you should undergo such treatments in order to maintain the smile you desire.

To learn about your professional teeth whitening options, contact John Carson, DDS at (520) 514-7203. We offer both fast treatments in our Tucson office and gradual at-home whitening for your convenience.