Posts for: February, 2016
Dental anxiety is a common issue for many people, and one of their biggest fears is centered around root canals. There's even a popular saying about doing something boring, arduous or difficult - "I'd rather have a root canal" - as if to highlight how awful the task must be. There are so many myths and misunderstandings about this dental procedure that the dentists at Abington Dental Arts - Dr. Amy Cravath, Dr. Jeffrey Bell and Dr. Dale Collins - in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania want to address the facts with their patients here.
Myth #1: Root canals are painful.
Like all dental procedures of centuries past, very little was done to minimize pain because the technology simply didn't exist. Patients had to "grin and bear it!" Thankfully, dental procedures have evolved over many years of research and development to become relatively painless through the use of anesthesia. Root canals, however, still have this stigma attached to them, and a recent study found that it persists from people who have never actually had one. The truth is that root canals at Abington Dental Arts in Clarks Summit are typically no more tedious or uncomfortable than a standard cavity filling.
Myth #2: Root canals lead to cancer.
This myth recently swept through the online community, claiming that a large number of cancer patients - as many as 97 percent - had gone through root canals at some point in their life, suggesting a causative link. While this theory was pursued in the early 1900's, its validity was debunked in the 1950's; with the extensive dental research that has been conducted since that time, there has been no evidence that suggests root canals are responsible for cancer or any other disease in the body. In fact, a study in 2013 found that people who had experienced multiple root canals actually had their risk for cancer lowered by as much as 45 percent.
Our dental staff prides ourselves on tailoring each patient's experience to be as comfortable as possible, so talk with one of our Clarks Summit dentists about your options for anesthesia and anxiety. Call us today to set up a consultation about root canals or any other dental procedures you think you might need.
You might think David Copperfield leads a charmed life:Â He can escape from ropes, chains, and prison cells, make a Learjet or a railroad car disappear, and even appear to fly above the stage. But the illustrious illusionist will be the first to admit that making all that magic takes a lot of hard work. And he recently told Dear Doctor magazine that his brilliant smile has benefitted from plenty of behind-the-scenes dental work as well.
“When I was a kid, I had every kind of [treatment]. I had braces, I had headgear, I had rubber bands, and a retainer afterward,” Copperfield said. And then, just when his orthodontic treatment was finally complete, disaster struck. “I was at a mall, running down this concrete alleyway, and there was a little ledge… and I went BOOM!”
Copperfield’s two front teeth were badly injured by the impact. “My front teeth became nice little points,” he said. Yet, although they had lost a great deal of their structure, his dentist was able to restore those damaged teeth in a very natural-looking way. What kind of “magic” did the dentist use?
In Copperfield’s case, the teeth were repaired using crown restorations. Crowns (also called caps) are suitable when a tooth has lost part of its visible structure, but still has healthy roots beneath the gum line. To perform a crown restoration, the first step is to make a precise model of your teeth, often called an impression. This allows a replacement for the visible part of the tooth to be fabricated, and ensures it will fit precisely into your smile. In its exact shape and shade, a well-made crown matches your natural teeth so well that it’s virtually impossible to tell them apart. Subsequently, the crown restoration is permanently attached to the damaged tooth.
There’s a blend of technology and art in making high quality crowns — just as there is in some stage-crafted illusions. But the difference is that the replacement tooth is not just an illusion: It looks, functions and “feels” like your natural teeth… and with proper care it can last for many years to come.Â Besides crowns, there are several other types of tooth restorations that are suitable in different situations. We can recommend the right kind of “magic” for you.
If you would like more information about crowns, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Crowns & Bridgework” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”
It’s true — thumb sucking beyond age 4 can cause bite problems for permanent teeth. But prolonged thumb sucking is just one of a number of possible contributing factors for a bad bite (malocclusion). A dentist must identify all the factors involved when a bad bite is present — their involvement is essential for a successful treatment outcome.
A fairly benign habit for infants and toddlers, thumb sucking is related to an “infantile swallowing pattern” young children use by thrusting their tongues forward between the upper and lower teeth when they swallow. Around age 4, though, they usually transition to an adult swallowing pattern in which the tongue rests on the roof of the mouth just behind the front teeth. Thumb sucking stops for most children around the same time.
Thumb sucking beyond this age, though, can put increased pressure on incoming permanent teeth pushing them forward. This could lead to an “open bite” in which the upper and lower teeth don’t meet when the jaws are closed. The tongue may also continue to thrust forward when swallowing to seal the resulting gap, which further reinforces the open bite.
Before treating the bite with braces, we must first address the thumb sucking and improper tongue placement when swallowing — if either isn’t corrected the teeth could gradually revert to their previous positions after the braces come off. Besides behavioral incentives, we can also employ a thin metal appliance called a “tongue crib” placed behind the upper and lower incisors. A tongue crib discourages thumb sucking and makes it more difficult for the tongue to rest within the open bite gap when swallowing, which helps retrain it to a more normal position.
An open bite can also occur if the jaws develop with too much vertical growth. Like thumb sucking and improper tongue placement, abnormal jaw growth could ultimately cause orthodontic treatment to fail. In this case, though, surgery may be necessary to correct the jaw structure.
With all these possible variables, our first step needs to be a thorough orthodontic exam that identifies all the cause factors for your child’s specific malocclusion. Knowing if and how thumb sucking may have contributed to the poor bite will help us design a treatment strategy that’s successful.
If you would like more information on the causes of poor tooth position, 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 “How Thumb Sucking Affects the Bite.”