Posts for: January, 2019
For chipped, stained, or slightly crooked teeth, dental veneers might be the ideal solution. These thin layers of porcelain bonded directly over the teeth with the perfect blend of color, sizes and shapes, can transform a person’s smile for a relatively modest cost.
But if the teeth belong to a teenager, veneers might not be appropriate. This is because in most cases, we’ll need to remove some of the tooth enamel so that the applied veneers won’t look unnaturally bulky. This alteration is permanent, so the teeth will require some form of restoration from then on.
While not usually a major issue with fully matured adult teeth, it could be with the developing teeth of pre-teens and teens. During childhood and adolescence the tooth’s inner pulp plays an important role in dentin production, and so the pulp chamber is relatively large compared to an adult tooth. This larger size places the pulp closer to the enamel surface than with an adult tooth.
Because of its proximity to the enamel, there’s a greater chance veneer alterations could damage a teenager’s tooth pulp and its nerve bundles. If that happens, we may need to perform a root canal treatment to save the tooth—also not an optimal situation for a developing tooth.
That’s why we need to take into consideration a patient’s age and stage of dental development first, including x-raying the affected teeth to measure the depth of the tooth pulp. If we deem it too risky at the moment, there are other ways to improve dental appearance at least temporarily. This includes whitening externally stained teeth with a bleaching agent, or applying tooth-colored composite resin material to chipped areas. We can also apply a composite material veneer that, although not as durable as traditional porcelain, doesn’t require much if any tooth alteration.
To know your options, have your teenager undergo a thorough dental examination. Your dentist will then be able to discuss with you whether veneers can be safely attempted. And be sure the dentist who may perform the work has experience performing cosmetic procedures on teenagers.
If you would like more information on restoration choices for teenagers, 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 “Veneers for Teenagers.”
Dealing with tooth pain? You might just need root canal treatment.
Sure, most dental procedures don’t really have the reputation of being fun; however, root canals really get a lot of negative press and it’s unfortunate since this procedure saves countless teeth each year. That’s right; without root canal treatment, many patients would have to have their permanent tooth extracted and replaced, which is far more extensive, expensive and time-consuming than a simple root canal treatment. From the office of our Decatur, IL, family dentists Drs. Chad and Natalie Corley, learn more about this procedure and let’s squash your fears surrounding root canals.
What are the warning signs that I need root canal treatment?
Along with keeping up with your six-month checkups, it’s also important that you visit your Decatur, IL, dentist right away if you are dealing with any of these symptoms:
- A toothache (often severe and made worse when chewing or biting down)
- Lingering and severe tooth sensitivity to hot or cold
- Darkening of the tooth
- Swollen, tender gums around the tooth
- The development of an abscess (a pimple-like bump on the gums)
You may only experience dental pain or you may experience several of these symptoms (or none at all); however, it’s important that you seek dental care as soon as possible to prevent the issue from getting worse.
What is the purpose of a root canal?
The sole purpose of root canal treatment is to remove the infected or inflamed dental pulp, a soft structure that lies within the tooth. Once a tooth has fully matured the dental pulp is no longer necessary for the health of the tooth; however, if bacteria gets through the outer layers of the tooth it can infect the pulp and lead to a nasty toothache. The only way for our dentist to get rid of your toothache is to remove the infected dental pulp.
Isn’t a root canal painful?
A root canal should never cause pain. In fact, despite what you may hear, the purpose of this endodontic procedure is to remove the source of your toothache and to provide you with relief. An infected dental pulp can cause a pretty nasty toothache and we know that the only thing you want to do is get rid of the discomfort. A root canal is really no more invasive than getting a dental filling and we even numb the area before treating the tooth so you won’t feel a thing. After all, our goal is to provide you with the utmost comfort when it comes to getting dental care.
Do you have questions about your upcoming root canal treatment in Decatur, IL? Dealing with a toothache that requires immediate care? Then turn to Corley Family Dental right away for dependable, efficient dentistry each and every time. Your smile is our priority.
In the battle against tooth decay, fluoride is an important weapon. Since the discovery of its dental health benefits a century ago, fluoride has been credited with saving countless teeth.
But over its history in dental care, this natural-occurring chemical has also had its share of controversy with concerns raised from time to time on potential health dangers. These run the gamut from “conspiracy theory” speculations to credible research like a 2006 National Research Council study that suggested a possible increased risk of bone fracture or cancer from over-consumption of fluoride.
Even so, there is actually little evidence or even record of incidence for such dire consequences. The only definitive health effect from fluoride found after decades of copious research is a condition called fluorosis, a permanent staining effect on the teeth. Fluorosis poses a cosmetic problem but does not harm the health of the teeth.
Moderation in fluoride use seems to be the key to gaining its health benefits while avoiding fluorosis. One influential fluoride researcher, Dr. Steven Levy, estimates 0.05-0.07 milligrams of fluoride per one kilogram of body weight (about a tenth the weight of a grain of salt for every two pounds) is sufficient to gain the optimum dental benefit from fluoride.
The real question then is whether your family’s current consumption of fluoride is within this range. That will depend on a number of factors, including whether your local water utility adds fluoride to your drinking water supply and how much. You may also be ingesting fluoride through processed foods, juices and even some bottled waters. And you can encounter fluoride in dental care including toothpastes and clinical treatments.
One way to moderate your family’s fluoride intake is to be sure all your family members are using the correct amount of fluoride toothpaste for their age while brushing. Infants need only a slight smear on the end of the brush, while older children can brush adequately with just a pea-sized amount. For other tips and advice, talk to your dentist about your family’s fluoride intake and how you might adjust it.
Even with the possibility of fluorosis, fluoride still provides an incredible benefit in preventing tooth decay. By understanding fluoride and keeping your intake within normal ranges you can maximize its benefit for healthier teeth and minimize the fluorosis risk.
If you would like more information on the role of fluoride in dental health, 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 “Fluoride & Fluoridation in Dentistry.”