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Root Canal Treatment

FAQ 1. Is Flossing REALLY Important?

Honesty is the best policy! Here at Clatskanie Dental, we won't judge you. We're here to educate you & help you reach your oral health goals!

So...is flossing REALLY important?

Flossing cleans the surfaces in between the teeth that you can't reach with a toothbrush. The American Dental Association recommends people clean in between their teeth daily, but flossing is just one modality. When used correctly, people can achieve the same oral hygiene using small interdental brushes or oral irrigators (aka 'water flossers").

Cleaning between the teeth can reduce harmful inflammation and therefore lower your risk of PERIODONTAL DISEASE, which is said to affect at least 50% of Americans.

Still unsure? Ask your Dentist before implementing any new oral hygiene regimen.

Learn more here:
http://www.ada.org/en/science-research/science-in-the-news/the-medical-benefit-of-daily-flossing-called-into-question

 


FAQ 2. How Can I Make Dental Care More Affordable?

How a Health Savings Account (HSA) May Reduce Your Dental Costs*

WHY open a HSA?

To help save you money on dental or medical care!

WHAT is a HSA?

A Health Savings Account is a separate account you or your employer can put money into before taxes are taken out, which may save you money on your dental care.

WHO can open a HSA?

You may ask your employer if they offer HSA to employees or you may apply for your own HSA through your financial institution or bank.

Interested in opening a HSA? Contact your employer or financial institution/bank for more information!

To learn more, see article: click here


FAQ 3. Painless Dental Injections: Fact or Myth?

Can getting a dental injection really be a 'painless' experience?

At Clatskanie Dental Clinic, we think it can! Let's explore why we believe this and why you should care.

What do most people dread about going to the dentist: the injection! However, there are actually quite a few techniques your dentist can implement to make the injection 'painless.' Here at Clatskanie Dental, Dr. Ross uses 3 distinct methods to ensure you have the most comfortable injection possible:

  • We Warm It Up: We warm the dental anesthetic so that it is near body temperature. Your body can interpret cold substances as pain, so this helps the body absorb the anesthetic more comfortably.
  • We Go Slow: We administer the anesthetic very slowly, which gives the body more time to adjust and therefore reduces the chance of it feeling painful.
  • Remember To Breath: Most people forget to breathe during dental injections because they're afraid. We gently remind you to breathe during the injection, which calms our patients. Also, the body interprets pain less during exhalation so you don't feel it as much.
  • Topical Agent: Our topical agent is very effective at "pre-numbing" the area, making the injection even more painless!

We strive to make our patients feel as comfortable as possible and we know dental fear is real. If you're suffering from dental pain and are avoiding going to the dentist because you're afraid, you're not alone!

We want to help you in any way we can. Let us help you by calling us today to schedule a complimentary DENTIST MEET AND GREET so you can get to know us!

FAQ 5. Can a Dental cleaning really lower my risk of heart disease?

For decades, medical researchers have hypothesized the link between oral health and whole-body systemic health. Is this link still considered ambiguous in the medical community or is there hard evidence to prove that poor oral health leads to systemic deterioration? Recent studies published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology (2013), Journal of Oral Science (2016) and Journal of Cardiology (2010) suggest the answer is clear in regards to the link between oral health and cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Oral Disease

Have you or a family member ever been told by your dentist that you need a “deep cleaning?” According to the CDC (2010), 1 in 2 Americans (47.2%) have moderate to severe periodontitis. Once you hit age 65 your odds of developing periodontitis skyrocket to 70%. Periodontitis is caused by harmful bacteria such as Porphyromonas gingivalis that, through multiple complex processes, illicit production of host immune and inflammatory chemicals that lead to the deterioration of the endothelial cells of the gums and subsequent bone supporting the teeth, similar to the way termites eat and destroy wood, potentially leading to serious acute infections and eventual tooth loss. Although periodontitis is an incurable condition, treatment modalities have shown to be effective long-term in slowing the progression and stabilizing the condition. The traditional treatment for periodontitis is non-surgical periodontal therapy, aka a “deep cleaning”, performed at your dentist’s office. Periodontal therapy, depending on the severity and presence of co-morbidities such as diabetes, may include adjunctive treatments such as local antibiotics that help treat the diseased tissue directly or even laser therapy.

Cardiovascular Disease

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in Americans, killing over 600,000 people every single year (CDC 2017). Atherosclerosis, an immune and inflammatory disease that presents as dysfunctional thickening of blood vessels, presents in patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD). The process by which atherosclerosis, or blood vessel thickening, takes place is multifaceted. Basically, as plaques build up in the arteries, endothelial cell breakdown leads to foam cell formation that narrows the blood vessel leading to blood flow blockage. These atherosclerotic plaques may burst open, potentially causing a blood clot that can block the flow of blood causing a thrombotic stroke. The destructive inflammatory processes involved in CVD lead to increased cardiovascular risk markers such as destructive inflammatory blood markers (CRP, fibrinogen, interleukin-6), increased systolic and diastolic blood pressure, increased left ventricular mass (an enlarged heart), and arterial stiffness (thickened blood vessels). Biomarker interleukin-6 is especially correlated with cerebral ischemia (stroke).

Oral-systemic Link

So, what is the connection between periodontitis and the number one killer, heart disease? Both diseases exhibit a mechanism of endothelial (blood vessel wall) breakdown which leads to increased inflammatory biomarkers CRP, IL-6, haptoglobin and leukocytes, which present as bone and soft tissue destruction around teeth (periodontitis) and blood vessel thickening and subsequent heart blockage or stroke (atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease). The microbiological processes and components involved in both processes are analogous and the bacteria P gingivalis is present in most (64%) atherosclerotic plaques seen in patients with cardiovascular disease. Because research to find a causal relationship between oral bacteria and heart disease is extremely difficult and complex, as technologies improve medical researchers are finding more and more correlative and causative relationships between certain biomarkers. In a 6-month randomized clinical trial, non-surgical periodontal therapy was shown effective in reducing levels of systemic inflammatory markers such as ESR and triglycerides (significant reduction), as well as reduction in CRP and total cholesterol (moderate reduction). Periodontal therapy helps to stabilize these biomarkers up to 6-months post-operatively in patients with periodontitis.

In a 2013 study published by the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, non-surgical periodontal therapy (deep cleaning) was shown to significantly reduce all cardiovascular risk markers evaluated, including systemic inflammation plasma markers (CRP, fibrinogen and interleukin-6), systolic and diastolic blood pressure, left ventricular mass (heart enlargement) and arterial stiffness, which lead to a lower cardiovascular risk. Scaling and root planing, aka “deep cleaning”, was shown to produce an even greater systemic reduction of inflammatory markers seen in patients who receive adjunctive therapies such as local administration of antibiotics such as minocycline.

Rainier Dentist


Online Dental Education Library

Our goal here at Clatskanie Dental Clinic is to improve the overall health of our patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions associated with your teeth and gums. Feel free to use our dental library to learn more about dental problems and treatments available. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, contact us.  Call us today at (503) 728-2137

Have questions for Dr. Ross?  Call her at (503) 728-2137

 

Healthy Tooth.Root canal treatment — also called endodontics (“endo” – inside, “dont” – tooth) — is a set of specialized procedures designed to treat problems of the soft pulp (nerve) tissue inside the tooth. While some mistakenly think of it as an unusually painful treatment, in most cases the procedure is no more uncomfortable than getting a filling. It's actually one of the most effective ways of relieving some kinds of tooth pain.

A root canal procedure becomes necessary when infection or inflammation develops in the pulp tissue of the tooth. Pulp tissue consists of blood vessels, connective tissue and nerve cells — which explains why a problem here may cause you to feel intense pain. In time, the pain may go away... at least temporarily. Without treatment, however, the infection won't. It can lead to a dental abscess, and may even contribute to systemic problems in other parts of the body.

Root Canal Treatment Is Your Friend

We've all heard the gag: “I'd rather have a root canal...” This comedy line, comparing the procedure to something truly undesirable, may be funny — but putting off needed endodontic treatment is no joke. The idea that a root canal procedure invariably comes with complications and pain is a shopworn myth. It's certainly true that infection or inflammation in the tooth's pulp can be excruciatingly painful. But you should remember that having a root canal results in eliminating this acute pain and is not the cause of the pain.

Need another reason not to delay root canal treatment? How about this: A natural tooth that's saved via root canal treatment and restoration helps you avoid the problems that commonly occur when teeth must be removed. These include unwanted tooth migration or shifting, which can lead to difficulties in chewing; the need for bridgework or dental implants, which may be costly and complicated; and even the eventual loss of bone structure from the area of the missing tooth.

Causes of Root Canal Problems

Decayed tooth with infection needing root canal treatment.

Root canal problems stem from infection and inflammation of the tooth's pulp tissue. One potential cause of infection is deep tooth decay. Untreated dental cavities eventually allow bacteria to work their way down to the center of the tooth, where they may infect the pulp tissue. Another path by which bacteria may come into contact with pulp is via chipped or cracked teeth. Any opening in the protective enamel coating has the potential to allow bacteria access to the tooth's pulp.

Trauma to the tooth — the kind that might result from a sports injury or automobile accident, for example — is also a major cause of pulp tissue damage. In this case, it's essential to seek treatment immediately, both to try and save the tooth, and to prevent future problems.

In some cases, extensive dental work itself may cause damage to the pulp tissue that will need to be treated via a root canal. Having multiple fillings or restorations on the same tooth increases the chances of this type of injury. Occasionally, common procedures like crown preparation or orthodontics may eventually lead to root canal problems.

What to Expect During Root Canal Therapy

If an examination shows that you do need root canal therapy, don't worry — it's one of the most routine and effective procedures in the arsenal of dental treatments and can often be accomplished in just one visit.

The root canal process generally begins the same way as a filling does, and with no greater discomfort: an anesthetic is administered to numb the tooth and the surrounding area. For many patients, the worst is already over.

Tooth after root canal treatment.

Next, a small opening is made in the surface of the affected tooth to give access to the pulp chamber and root canals. Tiny instruments are used, sometimes with the aid of a microscope, to remove the dead and dying pulp tissue from inside these narrow passageways. The chamber and empty canals are then cleaned, disinfected, and prepared to receive a filling of inert, biocompatible material. Finally, adhesive cement is used to seal the opening in the tooth, preventing future infection.

Following root canal treatment, your tooth may feel some sensitivity or tenderness for a few days. Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen are generally effective in relieving discomfort, but prescription medications may also be given if needed. During this period, it may help to avoid biting hard on the affected tooth. All of these symptoms, however, should be temporary.

To further protect the tooth and restore it to full function, it's usually necessary to have a crown or other restoration placed on it. Restorations can take many forms, from traditional gold crowns to tooth replicas made of high-tech tooth-colored material. In any case, you will have made an investment in preserving your dental health for years to come.

Signs and Symptoms of Root Canal Problems

How do you know when you need a root canal? Sometimes, it's painfully obvious. If you feel constant and severe pain and pressure in your mouth, or noticeable swelling and extreme sensitivity in your gums, then it's clear you need an evaluation and treatment right away. Another telltale symptom of pulp tissue damage is sharp pain when you bite down on food. Lingering pain after eating hot or cold foods is also an indication of potential trouble. If you notice any of these symptoms, you need to have an examination as soon as possible.

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