Samaritan Endodontics

The Love of Endodontics!

theloveofendo

We’ve all felt it; that pitter-patter feeling, flushed red cheeks, you can’t eat, it’s driving you crazy!
Are you in love…or in need of a root canal treatment?!

Symptom Checker:

Burning desire
Heart throbbing
Flushed cheeks
Can’t eat
It’s driving you crazy

RESULT: You could be in love!

Gum inflammation
Throbbing pain
Redness of skin
Can’t chew
It’s driving you crazy

RESULT: You probably need a root canal!

They may not come riding in on a white horse like prince charming, but your endodontist CAN save you from tooth pain!
Root canal treatment removes the infected pulp of a tooth so pain and inflammation will cease. It gets rid of infection and bacteria and, most importantly, it preserves the tooth!
Saving a tooth rather than extracting has several benefits. The space left by a missing tooth can lead to bone loss and misalignment when your remaining teeth shift position.
It is also a lot cheaper than having a bridge or even an implant to fill the space.
Root canal treatment is followed by a dental crown, to fill, cover, strengthen, and restore the appearance and structure of a tooth.

More than 15 million root canals are performed every year, with over 41,000 each day! Now that’s something to LOVE about endodontists!

Did you know studies have shown that 85% of patients will return to the same dentist who performed their root canal therapy!

Don’t confuse the pain of love with needing a root canal! Call Samaritan Endodontics on 408-358-8777 to check those symptoms!

Tiny Mighty Tools

Tiny Mighty ToolsIt’s really quite amazing how advanced tools have become over thousands of years! To think that as humans we started with mere sticks and stones as tools, and now we can visit space via rocket ships is simply mind-boggling!

Now, while not exactly moon-landing technology, we’d like to point out that endodontic tools have also become highly developed over the years, with very specialized tools designed for each step in the process.

Endodontists use a wide variety of tools, each built for a specific purpose, but with one thing always in common: size. The tools that we use in endodontics are some of the smallest surgical tools out there! This, of course, allows us to properly access tiny roots in order to get the root canal therapy done right. To give you an example, some of these tools are just around a single millimeter thick (or less!), necessitating highly-skilled operators.

Here are some of the most commonly used tools in our office:

A bur is a tool that comes in many shapes. It’s a teeny tiny drill that can penetrate the top of the tooth to get into the pulp chamber, by removing the roof.

An endodontic spoon excavator is the tiniest spoon shaped tool you’ve ever seen. This spoon can get into the pulp chamber and allow access to the floor.

A barbed broach is a barbed point, like a thumbtack, which can spike the pulp in a tooth root, snag it, and allow it to be pulled out.

Gates-Glidden drills are super small drill bits that can fit within the root and clean it out, as well as make space for bigger tools if necessary. The root can then be cleaned with a syringe to disinfect.

And, while not as small, we can’t forget to mention our digital imaging technology, without which we wouldn’t be able to give the highest-quality root canal treatments! Digital imaging of the roots allows us to see any areas of concern, and make better decisions for your care.

So the next time you come to see us, ask us about some of the tiny precision tools we employ in our office on a daily basis!

 

High Quality H2O

High Quality H2OWhether you’re drinking from a glass that is half-empty or half-full, drinking a glass of water is always beneficial to your health. Human beings are 60% water; so staying hydrated throughout the day is crucial for the hydration of tissue, the distribution of nutrients, and the removal of waste from your body. Not only is drinking water beneficial to your overall health, but your dental health as well!

Here are four reasons why water is the best beverage for your teeth:

1. Water keeps your mouth clean.

Water cleans your mouth with every sip! As your drink, water washes away leftover food and any residual cavity-causing bacteria. Water also reduces the pH of your mouth by diluting the acids produced by bacteria that live in your mouth. Don’t forget to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes, but drinking water throughout the day will help keep your smile healthy and cavity-free.

2. Water strengthens your teeth.

Drinking water with fluoride, aka “nature’s cavity fighter”, is one of the easiest and most effective ways to fight cavities. While almost all water contains naturally-occurring fluoride, the community water systems that serve most American households adjust the level, usually by adding fluoride to achieve the right amount to reduce tooth decay. Health organizations, like the American Dental Association (ADA), say this is one of the major reasons most people no longer need the dentures that were so common before widespread fluoridation, and studies have shown that it is why dental costs are lower and oral health problems have declined in fluoridated communities!

3. Drinking water fights dry mouth.

Saliva is the human mouth’s first defense against cavities. Saliva helps wash away residual food and coats your teeth in calcium, phosphate, and fluoride. When your mouth doesn’t have enough saliva, you run the risk for tooth decay. When your mouth is feeling dry, drink a glass of water to quench your thirst, and strengthen your teeth!

4. Water is free of calories.

Drinking sugary beverages can create a cavity-prone environment within your mouth, and can lead to weight gain. Studies show that drinking water, eight 8-ounce glasses or 8×8, can help you lose weight.

If you have questions regarding water consumption or your overall dental health, don’t hesitate to call Samaritan Endodontics at Main Office Phone Number 408-358-8777 today!

Oral Cancer and Hepatitis C

Oral Cancer and Hepatitis CThe Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) recently found that individuals infected with the hepatitis C virus are two to five times more likely to develop head and neck cancers. The JNCI study found that the risk for hepatitis C patients of developing head and neck cancers more than doubled for oral cavity and oropharynx cancers, and increased nearly five times for larynx cancers. As well, patients that are hepatitis C virus-positive were also more likely to test positive for human papillomavirus (HPV).

The question remains, how does hepatitis C virus increase oral cancer risk?

The JNCI research found that patients infected with the hepatitis C virus had a higher odd ratio of having cancer of the oral cavity, oropharynx, or larynx than those without hepatitis C virus infection. Enhanced replication of hepatitis C virus in oropharyngeal tissues may in fact contribute to chronic inflammation, ultimately prompting cancer development. Human papillomavirus is known to suppress local immune response, which may accelerate the production of hepatitis C virus in oropharyngeal cells. The JNCI notes that human papillomavirus and hepatitis C virus may play a “synergistic role” in the development of oropharyngeal cancers by stimulating loss or destruction of tumor suppressor proteins p53 and retinoblastoma protein.

The JNCI notes that one of the study’s limitations is that it didn’t include individuals with hepatitis C virus who didn’t have oral cancer. All and all, it is important to take away from The Journal of the National Cancer Institute’s study that it is important to educate Hepatology (study of liver, gallbladder and pancreas health) and infectious disease specialists. These doctors who treat patients with hepatitis C virus need to understand that the hepatitis C virus not only drastically affect liver health, but it’s also a systemic infection that can drastically affect oral health.

Your oral health is important to us. If you suspect that your oral health is at risk, give Samaritan Endodontics a call today and schedule an oral cancer screening!

Go Green

Go GreenEveryone is going green, but did you know that “going green” can also benefit your oral health? Your pH levels inside your body can greatly affect your overall health. Too much acid in your system can make various parts of your body inflamed. This may include your gum tissues. Gingivitis (early gum disease) and periodontitis (advanced gum disease) are conditions of infection and inflammation. Aiming to consume a balanced diet with the goal of achieving an acidic-alkaline balance (balanced pH level) has been shown to reduce symptoms of many health conditions. One of the fastest and easiest ways to saturate your body with these nutrients is by consuming green fruits and vegetables. Some great green additions to your diet are spinach and green smoothies:

Spinach & Dark Green Vegetables

Eating dark green veggies, like spinach, can have some great health benefits deeming it a “super food” among nutrition experts! The nutrients found in spinach are a powerful source of cancer-fighting properties, producing a substance that causes prostate cancer cells to self-destruct, and another compound that can prevent the formation of ovarian cancer cells. Spinach promotes cardiovascular health via properties that can lower blood pressure and prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. Evidence shows that juicing dark green vegetables like spinach can improve your dental health, preventing gum disease and cavities!

Green Smoothies

Green smoothie can keep your gums, jawbone, and teeth healthier and stronger! The best part about drinking green smoothies is the taste. If you can get over the color, you will find how delicious a green smoothie can be. Spinach, cucumber, kale, lettuce, and zucchini can be blended with fruit to create a low-calorie, nutrient dense meal replacement that boosts your oral health. A great addition to your green smoothie is yogurt. Yogurt has been shown to strengthen teeth and prevent bad breath, as well as add a creamy consistency to your nutrient-dense smoothie.

If you have questions regarding your dental health, give Samaritan Endodontics a call at Main Office Phone Number 408-358-8777 today!

Apicoectomy: Say Whay?

Apicoectomy Say WhatSay that again?!

An apicoetomy or “ey-pi-koh-ek-tuh-mee” (say that three times fast!) may be needed when an infection develops or won’t go away after your root canal treatment or retreatment.

Your teeth are held in place by roots that extend into your jawbone. They can have anywhere from one to four roots. The tip of these roots is called the apex. Nerves and blood vessels enter the tooth though this apex. They travel through a canal inside the root and into the pulp chamber, which is inside the “crown” of your tooth.

During root canal treatment, we clean the canals and the infected tissue is removed.
Root canals can be very complex, as there are several branches off the main canals. Sometimes, even after a root canal, infected tissue can remain in these branches. This could possibly prevent healing or cause re-infection.

An apicoectomy is only considered after a tooth has had at least one root canal procedure and retreatment is not possible. Sometimes it is called endodontic microsurgery because it is often performed under a microscope. The light and magnification allow the endodontist to see the area clearly. This increases the chance that the procedure will succeed.

In an apicoectomy, the root tip or apex is removed along with the infected tissue. A filling is then placed to seal the end of the root tip and a few stitches are placed in the gum to help the tissue heal. After a few weeks the bone heals around the end of the root.

An apicoectomy is typically a safe and effective procedure, and is rarely recommended unless further root canal treatment won’t be effective. The goal is to help you preserve your natural teeth for as long as possible. Apicoectomies are generally a permanent and cost-effective solution which can help your teeth last for the rest of your life!

If you’re having pain or swelling from a tooth that has had a root canal treatment, don’t hesitate! Give Samaritan Endodontics a call today! [PRACTICE_NUMBER]

10 Tips to Prevent Gum Disease

10 Tips Prevent Gum DiseaseGum disease can be serious business if left untreated. The good news is, with regular maintenance and good oral hygiene, you can avoid and even reverse the early stages of gum disease. We’ve put together some tips for you that will help you prevent gum disease.

Maintaining a Clean Mouth

Brushing your gums, as well as your teeth after every meal is the best way to take care of your teeth. Remove those food particles without being too hard on your enamel. We can show you the best method at your next appointment. 

Dental floss can reach those spaces in your mouth that a tooth brush just can’t get to. Get in between your teeth with floss before you brush, so that any food you pull out can be picked up by your tooth brush.

While you shouldn’t rely on mouthwash alone, certain mouthwash products are great for killing bacteria. Consult our office for suggestions as some products are better than others.

Practice Good Overall Health

Keeping a balanced diet keeps your whole body healthy. Staying away from eating too much sugar is a great place to start. Making sure you get all the nutrients you need helps your body fight bacteria, including those that can cause gum disease.

If you are a smoker, quit! Smoking is not just awful for your lungs, smoking leads to tooth decay, tooth loss and poor gum health. Smoking leads to the creation of pockets in your gums, where bacteria collect and form tartar. It also degrades the tissues that hold your teeth in place.

Talk to Your Doctor about your Medications

It may be worth talking with your doctor about the side effects of any medication you may be on. Some drugs lead to bacteria build up in the mouth, or affect the flow of saliva that keeps that bacteria from settling.

Hormones can also play a role in oral health. If you are experiencing hormonal changes, you may be experiencing tooth sensitivity, and promoting the development of gum disease.

Stress

Stress affects your body’s ability to fight infection. Evaluating the stress in your life and what you can do to manage it is a great idea to promote your general health.

Appointments

Regular oral health visits are the best way to pin down gum disease. The professionals at our office are trained to notice the kinds of things you may not see in your mouth.

You may not have considered that your crooked teeth put you at risk for gum disease. Having straight teeth means eliminating certain pockets where gum disease can develop. Braces are a great way to do this.

Contact our office today to set up your next appointment!

Oral Bacteria: Get the Facts

Oral BacteriaWe all have bacteria in our mouth, good and bad. But what exactly do these bacteria do? We’ve got all kinds of information on the role bacteria play in your oral health. Learn more about those pesky bacteria in your mouth!

 

Fact #1

There are anywhere between 500 and 1,000 different kinds of bacteria in our mouths.

Fact #2

Babies’ mouths are free of bacteria at birth. However, bacteria is transferred into their mouths from their mothers within hours of birth, mainly through kissing and food sharing.

Fact #3

Saliva flushes harmful bacteria out of the mouth by making it hard for bacteria to stick to the surfaces of our teeth.

Fact #4

Some foods can also flush bacteria from the teeth. Crunchy vegetables like carrots and celery stimulate the gums, while acidic fruits like apples increase saliva production to wash the teeth clean.

Fact #5

The tongue holds a significant portion of the mouth’s bacteria. It’s just as important to clean the tongue as it is to brush and floss, because bacteria on the tongue contributes to gum disease and bad breath. Try using a plastic or metal tongue scraper to clear out bacteria!

Fact #6

Hormonal changes during pregnancy put soon-to-be mothers at a higher risk of tooth erosion. Morning sickness and general hormonal changes cause acidity in the mouth to increase, which in turn erodes enamel.

Fact #7

Smoking increases your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Not all bacteria are bad; in fact, some are even necessary to maintain hygienic balance. However, smoking tobacco destroys helpful bacteria in the mouth, which promotes the growth of harmful oral bacteria.

Fact #8

Oral bacteria multiply in number every 4-5 hours. No wonder it’s so important to brush teeth twice a day!

 

Who knew something so small could have such a big impact on your oral health! Make sure to schedule regular dental exams with Samaritan Endodontics to keep oral bacteria under control for a clean, healthy smile!

Periodontal Disease and Pulpitis: The Link

Periodontal Disease and Pulpitis The LinkGum disease and pulpal infections are both unpleasant on their own, but did you know that they are linked? Many people don’t realize that one condition often leads to another, and that makes oral care even more important! We have all sorts of information about the connection between gum disease and pulpitis, so read on!

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal (gum) disease is the infection of the gum tissue, and is a more severe version of gingivitis. Plaque buildup hardens and forms tartar, or calculus, a substance that irritates the gums and can only be removed with the assistance of dental instruments. As gum disease progresses, tooth loss and jawbone deterioration is common.

What is pulpitis?

Pulpitis is the infection of the tooth’s pulp, which is made up of blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. Pulpal infection is typically caused by cavities that penetrate the enamel. It can also be caused by trauma that cuts off blood flow to the pulp tissue.

How are periodontal disease and pulpitis related?

The apical foramen is the opening at the apex, or tip, of the tooth root. Nerves and blood vessels pass through this hole and connect the pulp inside the tooth to the gum tissue. Because the pulp and the gum are so closely linked, periodontal disease can progress into pulpitis and vice versa.

What are my treatment options?

Periodontal Treatment

Scaling and root planing, also known as root debridement therapy, is a traditional gum disease treatment. Root debridement uses ultrasonic dental instruments to remove the tartar that causes gum disease. Unlike standard dental cleanings, which only remove surface plaque, root debridement therapy targets the tartar below the gum line in the pockets that form between the teeth and gums.

Laser periodontal therapy is a more advanced gum disease treatment. It’s a minimally invasive procedure that targets only the diseased gum and promotes natural healing, agitating the gum tissue so it reattaches itself to the jawbone. It provides faster results with less downtime, bleeding, swelling, and discomfort.

Endodontic Treatment

Root canal therapy (RCT) is the best treatment for pulpitis. It removes the diseased pulp from the root canals, and then uses a crown to stabilize the tooth. Extraction is an option for diseased teeth that root canal therapy can’t save.

One thing leads to another: a single dental issue could compromise your overall oral health. That’s why Samaritan Endodontics offers state-of-the-art treatment options to keep all aspects of your oral hygiene on track. Give us a call at Main Office Phone Number 408-358-8777 to find out more about our treatment methods!

There’s More to Cavities!

There's More to CavitiesWe’re all familiar with cavities – the anxiety before going to the dentist, the satisfaction of leaving without having to return for fillings. As routine as cavity treatment seems, tooth decay, or dental caries, is more complex than we often realize. Keep reading to get the inside scoop on tooth decay and how you can prevent it!

What is tooth decay?

Dental caries, also known as tooth decay, is the bacterial destruction of the tooth’s enamel.

What causes tooth decay?

Even with an effective dental care routine, bacteria in the mouth cause plaque to form on the teeth. When the bacteria in plaque react with food in your mouth, it produces acid that wears away at the enamel.

Stages and treatments:

There is a range of treatment methods for dental caries depending on the severity of the decay:

  • Fillings and restorations are the most common cavity treatments. We use inlays and onlays to treat tooth decay because they’re similar to traditional fillings but are more stable and longer lasting.
  • Crowns are necessary if the decay goes deep enough to make the tooth weak or unstable. These tooth-colored caps are secured to the tops of damaged teeth to strengthen them and restore them to normal function.
  • Root canal therapy (RCT) is needed when the cavity goes deep enough to infect the pulp in the tooth. Sometimes the damage is severe enough that root canal therapy is not effective, and if retreatment is unsuccessful an apicoectomy is performed. During an apicoectomy, the infected pulp tissue is removed through the tooth’s root. Then the root tip is cut off and replaced with biocompatible material.
  • If the tooth is beyond saving through one of these previously mentioned methods, extraction is the way to go. Dental implants offer a sturdy, long-lasting solution to extracted teeth to restore your smile.

Give Samaritan Endodontics a call at Main Office Phone Number 408-358-8777 so you can achieve that bright, beautiful, healthy smile!