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Posts for: October, 2020

By Art of Dentistry Danville
October 29, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures

Remembered fondly by fans as the wacky but loveable Carlton on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Alfonso Ribeiro is currently in his fifth year hosting America's Funniest Videos. It's the perfect gig for the 48-year-old actor, who loves to laugh and make others laugh as well. This is quite the opposite experience from one he had a few years ago that he remembers all too well: a severely decayed tooth.

After seeing his dentist for an intense toothache, Ribeiro learned he had advanced tooth decay and would need root canal treatment. Ribeiro wasn't thrilled by the news. Like many of us, he thought the procedure would be unpleasant. But he found afterward that not only was the root canal painless, his toothache had vanished.

More importantly, the root canal treatment saved his tooth, as it has for millions of others over the last century. If you're facing a situation similar to Alfonso Ribeiro's, here's a quick look at the procedure that could rescue your endangered tooth.

Getting ready. In preparation for root canal therapy, the tooth and surrounding gums are numbed, often first with a swab of local anesthesia to deaden the surface area in preparation for the injection of the main anesthesia below the surface. A dental dam is then placed to isolate the infected tooth from its neighbors to prevent cross-contamination.

Accessing the interior. To get to the infection, a small access hole is drilled. The location depends on the tooth: in larger back teeth, a hole is drilled through the biting surface, and in front teeth, a hole is drilled on the backside. This access allows us to insert special tools to accomplish the next steps in the procedure.

Cleaning, shaping and filling. Small tools are used to remove the diseased tissue from the interior tooth pulp and root canals. Then the empty spaces are disinfected. This, in effect, stops the infection. Next, the root canals inside the tooth are shaped to allow them to better accept a special filling called gutta percha. The access hole is then sealed to further protect the tooth from future infection, and a temporary crown is placed.

A new crown to boot. Within a couple weeks, we'll cap the tooth with a long-lasting lifelike crown (or a filling on certain teeth). This adds further protection for the tooth against infection, helps strengthen the tooth's structure, and restores the tooth's appearance.

Without this procedure, the chances of a tooth surviving this level of advanced decay are very slim. But undergoing a root canal, as Alfonso Ribeiro did, can give your tooth a real fighting chance.

If you would like more information about root canal treatments, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “A Step-By-Step Guide to Root Canal Treatment” and “Root Canal Treatment: How Long Will It Last?

By Art of Dentistry Danville
October 21, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Tooth Fillings  

Got cavities? For treating cavities, dentists remove the infected tooth’s decayed portions and fill the portions where the decayed parts were removed. Here at Art Of Dentistry in Danville, VA, your dentist, Dr. Jessica Owens or Dr. Zachary Hairston, likewise utilizes fillings for restoring a fractured or cracked tooth or worn down teeth due to misuse like tooth grinding, biting nails, or jaw clenching.

How Dental Fillings Repair Damaged Teeth

The first step involves numbing the area with local anesthesia. This is followed by removing the decayed parts inside the tooth using a dental drill or laser. The device used will mainly be dependent on your comfort level and the severity and location of the decay. Your Danville dentist will then test or probe the area to see whether all the decayed portions have been removed.

Next, the cleansed tooth will be prepped for the dental filling, ensuring that the cavity is free from debris and bacteria. In case the decay is located near the tooth root, a liner created from resin composite, glass ionomer, or some other material will first be applied to safeguard the nerve. Once the tooth filling is in place, all that’s left to do is to polish it to ensure that it fits your bite seamlessly.

If you’re getting a tooth-colored dental filling, which is made of resin composite and some extra steps will be required to complete the process. After your dentist in Danville VA has cleaned the cavity, the tooth filling must be applied in precise layers. A special light will be utilized for hardening or curing each layer after each application.

Types of Tooth Filling Materials

These days, you have your pick of various tooth filling materials, including porcelain/ceramic, gold, silver amalgam, resin composite, glass ionomer, and plastic. While these all serve the purpose of filling cavities, the most popular material is tooth-colored resin composite since they look the closest to real teeth. However, it’s vital to point out that the extent and location of the decay will be primarily considered when determining which tooth filling will work best for your specific case.

Interested in Tooth Fillings? Reach Out to Us

Call (434) 792-0700 to arrange a meeting with your dentist in Danville VA, Dr. Jessica Owens, or Dr. Zachary Hairston, here at Art Of Dentistry Danville.

By Art of Dentistry Danville
October 19, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: dental implants  

A dental implant permanently replaces your missing tooth. The titanium post implanted on your jawbone can take months to properly heal, to provide a maximum bond. Building the custom crown is itself a time investment, not to mention the monetary cost. So you must take proper care of your new dental implants so they may last you a lifetime. Contact Dr. Jessica Owens and Dr. Zachary Hairston from Art of Dentistry in Danville, VA for advice on keeping your new teeth healthy.

Protect Your Investment

After the surgery, it's normal to experience swelling, and bruising to the gums or face. Some minor bleeding and pain. But if these symptoms persist after several days after the surgery contact your Danville dentist as quickly as possible to avoid complications.

Once you have your crown in place, it's important to gently clean in and around it with a soft-bristled brush and floss. Visiting your dentist regularly for deep cleanings is also recommended.

You don't want to risk problems like gum disease that may weaken the bone supporting implant.

Avoid hard foods, like hard candy and ice, because they can crack your new crowns, just as they can your natural teeth.

Smoking, and any tobacco products, can hinder healing post-surgery, weaken your gums, and make you prone to infections. As well as staining your new implant and crown. Consult with your dentist for advice on quitting.

Seek immediate care for teeth grinding, as the excessive pressure can damage your implants.

Great Returns

Choosing implants over dentures or bridgework means you're opting for a more permanent solution to replacing your teeth. It also means a little more investment on your part, in maintaining good oral habits. Your smile will be your return. Don't forget to schedule your regular checkups, call Dr. Jessica Owens and Dr. Zachary Hairston of Art of Dentistry in Danville, VA, a call at (434) 792-0700.

By Art of Dentistry Danville
October 19, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral cancer  

Despite momentous strides in recent years in the fight against cancer, treatments can still disrupt normal life. Both radiation and chemotherapy have side effects that can cause problems in other areas of health—particularly the teeth and gums.

If you or a loved one are undergoing cancer treatment, it's important to get ahead of any potential side effects it may have on dental health. Here are 4 things that can help protect teeth and gums while undergoing cancer treatment.

Get a preliminary dental exam. Before beginning treatment, patients should have their dentist examine their teeth and gums to establish a baseline for current dental health and to treat any problems that may already exist. However, patients should only undergo dental procedures in which the recovery time can be completed before starting radiation or chemotherapy.

Be meticulous about oral hygiene. Undergoing cancer treatment can increase the risks for developing tooth decay or gum disease. That's why it's important that patients thoroughly brush and floss everyday to reduce bacterial plaque buildup that causes disease. Patients should also reduce sugar in their diets, a prime food source for bacteria, and eat “teeth-friendly” foods filled with minerals like calcium and phosphorous to keep teeth strong.

Keep up regular dental visits. The physical toll that results from cancer treatment often makes it difficult to carry on routine activities. Even so, patients should try to keep up regular dental visits during their treatment. Besides the extra disease prevention offered by dental cleanings, the dentist can also monitor for any changes in oral health and provide treatment if appropriate.

Minimize dry mouth. Undergoing cancer treatment can interfere with saliva production and flow. This can lead to chronic dry mouth and, without the full protection of saliva against dental disease, could increase the risk of tooth decay or gum disease. Patients can minimize dry mouth by drinking more water, using saliva boosters and discussing medication alternatives with their doctor.

It may not be possible to fully avoid harm to your oral health during cancer treatment, and some form of dental restoration may be necessary later. But following these guidelines could minimize the damage and make it easier to regain your dental health afterward.

If you would like more information on dental care during cancer treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Health During Cancer Treatment.”

By Art of Dentistry Danville
October 09, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   oral hygiene  

After years of research, we're confident in saying that brushing and flossing daily are essential for maintaining a healthy mouth. A mere five minutes a day performing these tasks will significantly lower your risk of dental disease.

We're also sure about the essentials you'll need to perform these tasks: a soft-bristled toothbrush using fluoride toothpaste, and a roll (or picks) of dental floss. The only deviation might be a water flosser appliance instead of flossing thread.

Unfortunately, some folks deviate even more from the norm for both of these tasks. One of the strangest is a social media trend substituting regular toothpaste with substances containing activated charcoal. The proponents of brushing with charcoal claim it will help whiten teeth and kill harmful microorganisms. People brushing with a black, tarry substance also seem to make for good “gross-out” videos.

There's no substantial evidence to support these claims. Perhaps proponents of charcoal's whitening ability are assuming it can remove stains based on its natural abrasiveness. It could, however, remove more than that: Used over time, charcoal could wear down the protective enamel coating on your teeth. If that happens, your teeth will be more yellow and at much greater risk for tooth decay.

When it comes to flossing (or more precisely, removing food material from between teeth), people can be highly inventive, substituting what might be at hand for dental floss. In a recent survey, a thousand adults were asked if they had ever used household items to clean between their teeth and what kind. Eighty percent said they had, using among other things twigs, nails (the finger or toe variety) and screwdrivers.

Such items aren't meant for dental use and can harm tooth surfaces and gum tissues. Those around you, especially at the dinner table, might also find their use off-putting. Instead, use items approved by the American Dental Association like floss, floss picks or toothpicks. Some of these items are small enough to carry with you for the occasional social “emergency.”

Brushing and flossing can absolutely make a difference keeping your teeth and gums healthy. But the real benefit comes when you perform these tasks correctly—and use the right products for the job.

If you would like more information on best oral hygiene practices, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.