Posts for: November, 2017
More than likely your great-grandparents, grandparents and even your parents had a common dental experience: when one of their teeth developed a cavity, their dentist removed the decayed portion (and maybe a little more) through drilling and then filled the cavity. In other words, treatment was mainly reactive—fix the problem when it occurred, then fix it again if it reoccurred.
You may have had similar experiences—but the chances are good your dentist’s approach is now quite different. Today’s tooth decay treatment is much more proactive: address first the issues that cause tooth decay, and if it does occur treat it with an eye on preventing it in the future.
This approach depends on maintaining equilibrium between two sets of competing factors that influence how your teeth may encounter tooth decay. This is known as the caries balance (caries being another name for tooth decay). On one side are factors that increase the risk of decay, known by the acronym BAD: Bad Bacteria that produce acid that dissolves the minerals in tooth enamel; Absence of Saliva, the body’s natural acid neutralizer; and Dietary Habits, especially foods with added sugars that feed bacteria, and acid that further weakens enamel.
There are also factors that decrease the risk of tooth decay, known by the acronym SAFE: Saliva and Sealants, which focuses on methods to boost low salivary flow and cover chewing surfaces prone to decay with sealant materials; Antimicrobials, rinses or other substances that reduce bad bacteria populations and encourage the growth of beneficial strains; Fluoride, increased intake or topical applications of this known enamel-strengthening chemical; and Effective Diet, reducing the amount and frequency of sugary or acidic foods and replacing them with more dental-friendly choices.
In effect, we employ a variety of techniques and materials that inhibit BAD factors and support SAFE ones. The foundation for prevention, though, remains the same as it was for past family generations—practice effective oral hygiene by brushing and flossing daily and regular dental cleanings and checkups to keep bacterial plaque from accumulating and growing. Your own diligent daily care rounds out this more effective way that could change your family history of tooth decay for you and future generations.
According to survey data by the American Association of Endodontists, over 60% of Americans surveyed expressed anxiety over and a desire to avoid undergoing root canal therapy at all costs. The good news is that more people - almost 70% - said they feared losing a natural tooth over a number of presumably unpleasant but common occurrences in adult life, like paying taxes, coming down with the flu, or speaking in public. Like many people, you may view root canal therapy as a traumatic dental procedure to be avoided at all costs. But if you are suffering from significant tooth decay or an infection, not only will a root canal alleviate the pain, it can also save your tooth. Dr. Moutaz Abdeen, a dentist in Alexandria, VA, offers root canal therapy and a range of preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dental services.
Root Canal Therapy in Alexandria, VA
Intense and ongoing toothaches are the most common sign of tooth decay or infection. A root canal becomes necessary when the nerves and tissue inside a tooth (also known as the pulp) become damaged or infected. Pulp can be exposed to bacteria through a deep cavity, or trauma from an accident or sports injury.
A root canal consists of drilling a small hole in the tooth, and removing the root and damaged nerves. Once the tooth has been cleaned and cleared of bacteria, it is sealed and bonded. Most people who undergo root canal therapy find the procedure similar to getting a cavity filled.
When is a Root Canal Necessary?
Schedule an appointment with your dentist if you are experiencing:
- Significant hot and cold sensitivity
- Signs of infection
- Dark stains or discolorations
- Tenderness/swelling around the gums
Find a Dentist in Alexandria, VA
You don't have to wait until you're in pain or something goes wrong to go to the dentist. Preventive dental care is the best way to avoid oral health problems that will require more intensive treatment down the road. For more information, contact our office by calling (703) 671-0626 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Abdeen today.