Toothaches provide a vivid reminder that teeth aren’t just inert pieces of hard tissue floating in the gums. Instead, they’re intricately formed parts with layers of hard substances overlaying a delicate core. Coursing through the tooth’s center, this vital bundle of nerves and blood vessels provides nutrients and sensation to each tooth. As long as the tooth stays healthy, you’re rarely aware of the systems at work.
But pain rapidly changes your awareness in any part of the body. Tooth pain can be especially alarming, and it’s meant to warn you that something’s not right. Pain tells us that the bundle of nerves and vessels inside your tooth is irritated, damaged, or under attack.
A deep cavity can give bacteria access to the inner nerve bundle. A crack extending into the same region can create stress that will need additional care to relieve. In some cases, a significant infection may develop in your jaw without any symptoms at all. If Dr. Sista determines that the nerve won’t recover or infection is present, then root canal treatment may be suggested.
Modern anesthetics provide powerful numbing for gentle removal of the inflamed nerve inside the tooth. The nerve canal undergoes disinfection and careful shaping, and a sealer fills the internal space. A filling or crown over the tooth helps return the tooth to its original condition.
But Are They Safe?
Internet articles continue to circulate claiming adverse health effects from root canals, despite years of research proving otherwise. Many of these claims rest on unsubstantiated theories put forward decades ago without any scientific basis. They’ve been thoroughly debunked by the most credible sources, supported by unbiased research projects. In fact, one popular Facebook article sounding a false alarm shakily rests on a 100-year-old study tossed aside long ago.
Professional organizations routinely review a broad range of research projects throughout the world. The American Association of Endodontists stays abreast of all the current and past research and can clearly support the safety of this vital service. In fact, new techniques and materials make root canal treatment more successful than ever. However, even older methods still hold a proven track record, allowing millions of damaged teeth to continue functioning.
We can only imagine what our bodies would look like without bones. This scaffolding provides support, form and protection to everything around it. The bone around your teeth, alveolar bone, serves to hold the teeth firmly in place. The particular height, shape, and density of this specialized bone can be compromised by gum disease, tooth removal, or other forms of trauma.
If bone shrinks away around your teeth, it never grows back. In some cases, bone can be encouraged to fill in with grafting materials placed by Dr. Sista. Every situation offers a different scenario, but more options than ever exist to promote bone repair in the jaw. For example, when a tooth needs removal a large hole then exists in the bone. While it will fill in naturally, the site tends to shrink, drawing bone away from the area. Grafting materials can be placed simply at the time of tooth removal to help preserve the bone. Grafts prove especially beneficial if you’d like to consider an implant-supported replacement in the future.
Even previously collapsed areas can often benefit from specialized grafting material, bolstering nearly any part of the jaw bone. It’s important to note: bone destroyed by gum disease often leaves significant defects around teeth. While some of these areas are grafting candidates, many of them experience irreversible bone loss and compromised support of the teeth. Controlling gum disease with your Dentiq Dentistry team will serve your health much better than corrective surgical grafts.
If you’re between the ages of 16-25 years, a discussion about your wisdom teeth should take place. Wisdom teeth, a third set of molars, appear in the very back of each area of your mouth: Upper left, lower left, upper right, and lower right. In a few patients, enough space exists for these molars to move into place. But most commonly, they just don’t belong, or they’re not lined up correctly. Wisdom teeth can lay entirely on their sides or lean at various angles into the neighboring teeth.
When evaluating wisdom teeth, the Dentiq team considers four general classifications. A panoramic x-ray provides a vital tool for determining the classification of each wisdom tooth. It’s even possible one patient may display one of each type:
- Erupted: This simply means the tooth moved through the surface of the gums just like your other teeth. Eruption generally doesn’t occur before age 16, but can happen at nearly any age after that. It may have adequate space for its position.
- Soft Tissue Impaction/Partially Erupted: The top of the tooth has emerged from the bone although excessive gum tissue usually covers it. Food trapped in the gum flap can lead to decay and infection.
- Partial Bony Impaction – The majority of the tooth sits below the jawbone level, although it’s beginning to emerge. A large flap of gum lies over this tooth and leaves it prone to infection and decay as mouth bacteria slip into the area.
- Complete Bony Impaction – In this case, the tooth has not broken the surface and remains entirely encased in the bone. While the risk of infection is low, a small percentage of these will form a cyst in the jaw. This hollow space can expand and result in fracture of the jaw.
Wisdom teeth causing pain and infection give a clear warning sign that treatment needs consideration. But some problems can also slowly develop without your awareness. If you’re an adult with wisdom teeth, be sure they’re evaluated periodically for changes using a panoramic x-ray.
If you need to consider wisdom teeth removal, the Dentiq team can discuss options with you. Various forms of sedation offer anxiety-reduction that puts this minor surgical procedure within reach of every patient that needs it.