Details for Dental Health in Progress

5 Protect Your Family’s Smile! HABITS that will ruin your teeth Do you brush your teeth every morning and night and floss every day? Excellent! But to enjoy optimal oral health, you also need to avoid getting into a certain number of harmful habits, including the following five. ►1. Eating or drinking lots of unhealthy foods. Soft drinks (which are highly acidic) and sticky candy (which stay in the mouth for a long time), among others, should always be consumed in moderation. Try to remember to drink a glass of water after drinking wine, tea or coffee to clean off your teeth and keep them looking nice and white. ►2. Using your teeth as a tool. Opening packaging or bottles, for example, with your teeth can cause cracks and breaks. 3. Brushing too hard. Brushing your teeth with too much force will eventually lead to gum recession and tooth sensitivity. Make sure to brush gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush. ►4. Smoking. It’s no longer a secret that tobacco use significantly increases the risk of developing periodontal disease and oral cancer. It also causes bad breath and yellows teeth. 5. Eating too much sugar between meals. Do you have something of a sweet tooth? To prevent cavities, get your fix of candy or soda during mealtimes. This is when the production of saliva, which helps neutralize acidity in the mouth, is at its peak. Chewing on ice cubes, hard candies or cough drops can, over time, lead to dental fractures. What is the difference between PERIODONTICS and ENDODONTICS? Orthodontics, endodontics, prosthodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, periodontics — the field of oral medicine encompasses so many specialties that it can be hard to get a good grasp on who does what. Here’s an overview of two of those dental disciplines. PERIODONTICS As its name suggests, periodontics (or periodontology) is the branch of dental medicine that studies the periodontium. This refers to the tissues and structures that support the teeth and connect it to the jawbone (gums, alveolar bone, cementum and periodontal ligament). If you have gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) or periodontitis (inflammation of the periodontal ligament), a periodontist is the right specialist to see. Both of these common diseases are among the top causes of tooth loss in adults. The periodontist is also able to reconstruct receding gums, in addition to having expertise in the placement and maintenance of dental implants. ENDODONTICS The field of endodontics focuses mainly on the pulp chamber (the tooth’s central cavity, containing dental pulp, nerves and blood vessels) and root canal. Endodontists can treat inflammation and infections in the dental pulp as well as in the surrounding bone and gingiva, known as the periradicular tissues. An endodontist is therefore the specialist to turn to for a root canal treatment, a procedure intended to preserve a tooth whose nerve has been infected by a cavity or other ailment. Have gingivitis? See a periodontist! Fight back against TARTAR and PLAQUE Do you know the difference between tartar and plaque? Dental plaque is a film containing bacteria, salivary protein and food debris that adheres to a tooth’s enamel. If it isn’t fully eliminated by regular brushing, plaque thickens and hardens, eventually turning into tartar. When tartar builds up, the risk of developing gingivitis, periodontitis and cavities rises considerably. Fighting tartar is critical when it comes to maintaining a healthy mouth. So how do you do it? First off, brushing your teeth twice a day will allow you to get rid of most dental plaque. Certain toothpastes are specially designed to make plaque easier to dislodge during brushing by reducing its adherence. This is a great way to reduce the amount of tartar that builds up on the teeth. With time, if left unchecked, dental plaque can accumulate in hard-to-reach areas and turn into tartar. Since tartar can’t be dislodged by tooth brushing alone, regularly visiting your dentist is vital to preserving your oral health. A professional cleaning, which includes descaling, is usually enough to remove all traces of plaque and tartar from the teeth. Descaling is painless. It’s usually accomplished with ultrasound technology: a metallic tip that vibrates at a high frequency is used to clean the surface of the teeth and remove tartar. All in all, one of the best ways to maintain good oral health is to visit your dentist at least once a year, even if everything seems fine. Tartar can’t be dislodged by tooth brushing alone: a professional cleaning is necessary to eliminate it. What happens during a ROOT CANAL? You’ve heard the words “root canal” before, but do you really know what they mean? THE ROOT CANAL The root canal is the space inside the hard outer layers of a tooth. It contains soft tissue called dental pulp, which comprises nerves and blood vessels. If one of your teeth has a deep cavity, is cracked, or has a damaged filling, bacteria will be able to penetrate inside and infect the pulp, resulting in an abscess. Treating the abscess will require the removal of the infected (or dead) dental pulp. This procedure is what’s commonly referred to as a “root canal.” THE PROCEDURE Root canal treatments are usually done by an endodontist. The goal of the procedure is to avoid having to pull the infected tooth, as this can have undesirable consequences, for example on the alignment of the remaining teeth. The procedure takes place under local anesthetic and follows these steps: • A dam is placed around the affected tooth to avoid all contact between it and salivary bacteria • A small incision is made in the tooth in order to access the pulp • The damaged pulp is removed • The canal is filled and sealed • The tooth is sealed After the procedure, the affected tooth must be treated (with a crown, for example) in order to preserve its original appearance and function. Finally, it’s important to note that the tooth may remain sensitive for one or two weeks following the procedure. If you experience severe pain or swelling, see your dentist or endodontist without delay. Where comfort, quality and value meet Wheelock and AssociAtes Dentistry 4100 Morningside Ave, Sioux CIty, IA 51106 712-274-2038

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