We’ve talked about the basics of a root canal and how to stop a tooth ache in previous posts. Another common question I often get is: Do I need to see an endodontist for my root canal?
Root canal treatment, or endodontic treatment, can be done by either a general dentist or an endodontist. Endodontists are dentists that specifically treat problems inside your tooth. With more specialty training, endodontists are more than qualified to perform all sorts of procedures, root canal treatment being one of them.
A general dentist may choose to perform simple or routine root canals but some situations require the care of a specialist.
A patient that needs a second root canal on the same tooth after the first root canal failed.
When the first root canal has failed, the procedure becomes more complicated with infection, bone loss, difficult to remove filling materials, etc. Endodontists have been trained to deal with these issues and provide the best treatment and outcomes possible.
A patient with a complicated tooth anatomy that needs treatment from a specialist.
Just like how every person is unique, every tooth is unique! Root canals can join and branch in varying patterns, have long curvy roots, or 2, 3, 4, 5 or even 6 roots! All of these differences impact the difficulty of the root canal. Endodontists use a special dental microscope to visualize the root canal better and provide high quality treatment.
A patient that is in severe pain or has a large infection.
Endodontists deal with “hot teeth” and swelling on a daily basis. When a patient is in this acute state, it sometimes takes more advanced techniques to get the patient out of pain fast.
These are just a couple reasons you might be referred to an endodontist but of course there are many more. If you are unsure whether you need to be referred, make sure to check in with your dentist. Your dentist can guide you and make sure you are getting the best care possible.
Blog post by our Endodontist Dr. Rita Hung. Proudly providing great dental care and root canal treatment in Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, Chino, and Wildomar.
Oral hygiene plays an important role to your overall health, since the oral cavity is constantly exposed to bacteria. The bacteria in our mouths can travel through our blood stream and cause infection in our body. Current research suggests that oral infection, such as periodontitis, can contribute to heart disease, pneumonia, diabetes, and even low birth weight. With proper oral hygiene practice, we can keep our teeth, gums and body healthy.
Most of you are already brushing twice a day, but you may not be doing it properly. There is actually a technique shown to effectively remove plaque, called modified bass brushing. Simply put, you hold the toothbrush horizontally and tilt it 45 degrees toward your gums. Then, you make short side-to-side strokes and flick the toothbrush towards the biting edge of your teeth. This allows the bristles to get underneath your gums to remove hiding plaque. Make sure to brush your tongue too.
Brushing alone cannot remove all the debris between your teeth. So while flossing can be cumbersome, it must be done. If you haven’t flossed recently, you may experience some bleeding, but don’t worry. It’s perfectly normal. Bleeding is a sign of gingival inflammation, so flossing those areas well will improve your oral health. Hug each tooth with the floss and use scraping up and down motions on each tooth.
Keep up your oral hygiene as daily maintenance is really important and will prolong tooth longevity. Also, make sure to see your dentist biannually for checkups and cleanings!
Blog post by Dr. Wesley Hung, DDS. Proudly providing great dental care in Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, Chino and Wildomar CA.
Cavities and tooth decay occur when a tooth is damaged from the food and drinks you consume over time. The tooth has two layers, enamel (the outer layer) and dentin (the inner layer). The bacteria in your mouth consume the sugars that are present in the food and drinks you take in each day. Then they turn them into acids. The mixture of bacteria, acid, food and the saliva in your mouth form plaque which will stick to your teeth and demineralize your teeth. After a while, they start to form holes which we call cavities or decay.
What kind of foods make you more prone to cavities?
How do I tell if I have a cavity?
The cavity exposes the nerves of your teeth to the environment in your mouth. So sometimes when you eat or drink something sweet, hot or cold, you will have sensitivity or even a toothache. Sometimes you can see pits or holes in your teeth and sometimes those areas can discolor. Dentists will check during your exam and look for soft spots to see if decay has started to occur or use xrays to check for decay.
How to prevent cavities?
Now we know that the food and drinks we consume cause the bacteria in our mouths to release the acid that causes tooth decay. We also know the way to prevent cavities from forming. Brushing and flossing! Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste will remove the food and bacteria from your mouth. The fluoride in your toothpaste will help remineralize and strengthen the enamel layer on your teeth. It is important to brush after meals and I recommend the best is to brush after every meal. So food is not left on your teeth for too many hours at a time. Bringing a toothbrush to work or school is a great way to get that extra brushing session after lunches. For younger kids that may not be able to brush at school. Brushing right after they get home from school is great to get those teeth clean in the middle of the day.
Now to talk about flossing. Sometimes it is hard to reach the food in between our teeth. So that is why flossing is important to remove the food and plaque that we cannot reach with toothbrushing alone and prevent cavities from forming in between our teeth.
Over the counter fluoride at home such as ACT rinses are a great way to add that extra layer of protection to our teeth. I always recommend to use it at bedtime after teeth have been brushed and flossed. Just rinse for one minute, spit it out and do not rinse with water. Let the fluoride rinse coat your teeth.
And of course, come see your dentist twice a year. We make sure to look for any possible cavities your might have and early detection can give you a chance to try to reverse those tiny cavities, or if the cavity has progressed, the dentist can fix your decay and help prevent losing the tooth. During your check up, we also give you a cleaning, to remove any plaque or calculus that you might have missed at home. Proudly serving the areas near Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, Chino and Wildomar.
A popular question that patients always ask me is “Can we speed up orthodontic treatment?” The answer is “Yes! It is possible!” What we have observed is that the patients that have teeth extracted for orthodontic treatment have rapid teeth movement in the area near the extraction site for up to six months. During healing, the body brings in cells that not only heals the extraction site, but also allows teeth to move through bone more quickly. We can simulate this same effect with PROPEL technology to help teeth move more quickly.
Propel can be used with both Invisalign and traditional braces to help teeth move into their final positions up to 50% faster. Propel is technology that will allow the doctor to create micro osteo-perforations to accelerate the stimulation of bone production in the upper and lower jaw. Propel can speed up tooth movement and it's so minimally invasive, it allows the patient to return to their normal daily routine immediately.
Straight teeth with Invisalign or braces are not just for children or teenagers anymore. More and more adults are also choosing orthodontic treatment to achieve a beautiful smile. Now it's possible to straighten teeth in less time. Contact us if straight teeth in less time is something you might be interested in. We can help with Propel!
The best method to get out of tooth or gum pain while you wait to see the dentist
You may have arrived here because you started having intense aching in your tooth, jaw or ear, can’t even drink cold water without sharp, severe pain, or can’t chew on that side at all. Unfortunately, you may have a toothache or other dental problem!
Of course, the best solution is to see your dentist as soon as possible. While home remedies may help relieve the symptoms, the reason your having pain in the first place is because there’s something that may need treatment. But this advice isn’t all that helpful when you can’t see your dentist right away and the pain is unbearable!
Here I’m sharing the best method to get out of toothaches or gum pain while you wait to see the dentist!
The 3-3-3 Method for tooth pain
Tooth or gum pain is largely due to inflammation or swelling. Reduce the swelling and you’ll reduce the pain. The best way to reduce this inflammation in the short-term is with the 3-3-3 method: 3 ibuprofen (600 mg total) 3 times a day for 3 days.
What not to do: Don’t take the ibuprofen and stop once you start to get pain relief. The trick is to keep the ibuprofen levels up to reduce the inflammation. If you stop, then it’ll take a while before the ibuprofen will kick in again.
Please keep in mind that this only treats the symptoms and does nothing to address the root cause of your pain. Also, make sure you can take ibuprofen and it doesn’t interfere with any health condition or medication you are already taking. (Check with your doctor if you aren’t sure.)
Natural toothache relief
If you can’t take ibuprofen or if you need extra relief, there are natural home remedies you can use to reduce the pain.
Keep the area cold: Cold treatment constricts blood vessels helping to reduce swelling and numb pain. If you don’t have a cold pack, frozen peas or a plastic bag with half water and half ice works just as well.
Salt water rinse: Slowly stir in salt into a cup of hot water. Keep adding until you see salt crystals at the bottom that are no longer dissolving. Rinse with this solution for 30 seconds 4-5 times a day to reduce gum inflammation. This is especially helpful if you have gum pain or something stuck between the teeth like a seed.
Clove Oil: This is an essential oil that has been used for decades as a way to calm inflammation. Apply a small amount with a cotton swab to the affected area. This works best if you can directly apply the oil to the affected area like if there is an exposed nerve due to a deep cavity or your pain in your gums.
Pillows: Keep your head elevated. Stack a couple pillows when you sleep to keep your head higher than your heart. Resting totally flat allows blood flow to the head and may make swelling and pain worse.
When making your dental appointment:
Should I go to the emergency room?
Don’t hesitate to go straight to the ER if you have:
What is causing the pain?
There are many causes of tooth/gum pain, but here are a few common ones:
If you are in pain right now, I hope you learned some tips that help and I wish you a speedy recovery!
Blog post by our Endodontist Dr. Rita Hung. Proudly providing great dental care in Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, Chino, and Wildomar.
I hope everyone had some good tricks and treats this Halloween! Now, let’s talk about something really haunting…. ROOT CANALS!
The word “root canal” is a scary sounding thing, but what is it exactly? Before you ever have teeth in your mouth, your teeth are forming deep under your gums. A nerve and blood vessel supply each of your teeth with everything it needs to grow. Once the tooth is fully formed and erupted, this supply helps the tooth defend against invaders and let you know when you have cavity.
But what happens when the cavity gets too deep?
When the cavity and bacteria goes into the pulp chamber (where the nerve and blood supply exist), this causes pain and irritation. Now, this is where an endodontist, or root canal specialist, comes to the rescue! The endodontist will remove the nerve (and the pain), clean out the root canal system and fill the roots to prevent future contamination. The nerve isn’t necessary after the tooth has already grown so the removal of it doesn’t damage the tooth. After the root canal treatment, a core build-up (or filling) and crown is placed to protect the tooth and keep you functioning for a long-time after!
What is this bump on my gum?
Sometimes, if the toothache has gone too long, the nerve will die and a bump will form on your gums. This could be a dental abscess or infection which causes destruction of the bone around the end of the root. (Of course you should visit your friend dentist to check it out and properly diagnose the problem.) But if it's caused by a dead nerve, a root canal treatment can be done to clean out the bacteria from the canals. After treatment, the infection takes several weeks to clear from the bone and gums and rebuild healthy surrounding tissues again.
Now, Root canals are scary… Aren’t they?
Realistically, a root canal treatment isn’t any more scary or spooooky than a filling. In both cases, you are completely numb for the treatment. Often times, the tooth that needs a root canal is in pain and a root canal treatment is done to remove the cause of pain. So really, root canals are friendly! (Contrary to popular belief!) Of course, no one really wants to get a root canal treatment so please remember to brush, floss and see the dentist for regular check ups to catch cavities early BEFORE they get to the dreaded nerve.
Blog post by our Endodontist Dr. Rita Hung. Proudly providing great dental care in Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, Chino, and Wildomar.
Many of our patients who have braces are not fans of the maintenance. Those of us in the dental field consistently tout the importance of flossing. Flossing is important to remove the food, debris and bacteria growing between our teeth and around our gums. The lack of flossing leads to the development of cavities between our teeth, gingivitis (gum infection) and periodontitis. Periodontitis can lead to loss of the bone that holds your teeth in place leading to tooth loss. :( So what do we do if we want to protect our gums and teeth and dread the daily chore of flossing? Luckily there are a variety of products available online and in stores that can expedite the process and make it easier on the rest of us.
Handheld orthodontic flossers
These handheld orthodontic flossers have a smaller tip that may fit in between teeth. Eliminating the need to thread the floss through and simplifying cleaning.
These brushes can fit into tighter spaces and do a good job of removing plaque and food between teeth and around braces.
This is great if there are multiple family members in braces or need a waterflosser to help clean around implants and bridges. The unit is more pricey, but each family member can get their own tip and make use of this great cleaning tool.
Upland Dental Implant and Orthodontics