To Pull or Not to Pull: Is a Tooth Extraction Your Only Option?

young man with toothache

Tooth pain is a pain like no other, and when you have it you’re willing to do just about anything to get rid of it. This includes perhaps not thinking twice when your dentist recommends extracting the tooth that’s causing you pain. But our dental office in Middletown wants you to know that you may have another option that will both get you out of pain and save your tooth.

Let’s Talk About Root Canals

When it comes to severe tooth pain, it’s usually caused by either dental trauma or deep, untreated decay. Many times the pain experienced can be relieved through a root canal instead of an extraction. Now, before we get too far into our discussion on root canals, we want to clear up the common misconception that root canals are incredibly painful and should be avoided. In fact, the opposite is true. Thanks to major advancements in dental technology, root canals are comfortable treatments that can get you out of pain almost immediately.

What is a Root Canal?

Essentially, a root canal is a dental treatment that involves removing infection from inside the pulp of a tooth. We understand that may sound scary, but the treatment is incredibly common and many patients report little to no pain. Your dentist in Middletown will start by thoroughly numbing the area. After the numbing agent takes effect, a tiny hole is made in the tooth and the infected material causing all your pain is removed. Your tooth may then be capped with a dental crown to keep it protected.

Root Canals Aren’t Always an Option

Preserving natural teeth is always the goal of your dental team. But the truth is, sometimes a tooth can’t be saved. If decay is left untreated for too long and seeps deep into the tooth, or if a break or chip goes under the gum line, the tooth may need to be extracted. If this is the case, the lost tooth should be replaced with a strong dental restoration to preserve look and function. Some common tooth replacement treatments are:

Maintaining regular dental appointments at our Middletown dental office can help you protect your smile and save your teeth from needing a root canal or an extraction. At these visits, decay can be caught and treated early before it has a chance to affect the roots and cause pain. Call to schedule an appointment today.

Garland & Johnson Dental has three dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester.

“I’ve Lost a Filling, What Do I Do?”

embarrassed

Dental fillings are super-strong restorations that help fill the space left over after we remove decay. But sometimes things happen that can cause a filling to come loose or totally fall out. Whether it’s from crunching down on a popcorn kernel or grinding your teeth while you sleep, a lost filling may cause worry. The team at our Middletown dental office is here to help relieve some of the worry by providing you with a few tips on what you can do if you were to lose a filling.

First Things First

The best thing you can do if you lose a filling is call your dentist in Middletown as soon as you can. Many offices, like ours, leave appointments open for situations just like this so we can fit patients in if needed. At the appointment, we will probably talk about what happened and check out the area. Then we’ll recommend the best treatment to restore the filling and your tooth.  

Treatment Options

Recommended treatment will depend on the location of the filling and the amount of damage. In many cases the filling can simply be replaced with another filling. However, if the filling was covering a large area, a crown may be more appropriate. Dental crowns fit over the entire tooth and provide a strong protective cap.

What You Can Do at Home

Sometimes we can’t fit you into the schedule that day, or perhaps you lost your filling on a Saturday afternoon when a dental office isn’t open. But that doesn’t mean you need to suffer. There are a few things you can do on your own to help protect your tooth and reduce pain if you have any.

  • Keep it clean by gently brushing the area after eating to remove any food particles that may have become trapped in the groove.
  • Swishing with salt water will also help loosen food and rinse away bacteria.
  • Use a pain reliever to reduce sensitivity.
  • Place temporary filling material made from zinc oxide into the space. This can be found at most pharmacies. Remember, this is a temporary fix and it’s still important to have the tooth restored.

Reduce Your Risk

Nobody wants to lose a dental filling, and the best thing you can do to protect your dental restorations is to avoid things that can damage them. This includes limiting your intake of chewy, sticky foods as well as hard, crunchy snacks, treating any grinding with a mouthguard, and seeing your dentist regularly to monitor all your dental work.

If you’ve lost a filling, don’t wait. Call our dental office in Middletown.

We have three dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester.

Are Your Work Habits Hurting Your Oral Health?

workspace covered in snacks

Whether you work a typical 9 – 5, Monday through Friday job, or your schedule typically varies, the truth is Americans spend quite a bit of time at work each week. No matter what your job responsibilities are, several of the most common workplace habits can affect almost every type of occupation. Some of these habits can negatively affect your overall health. In this blog, our dental office in Middletown would like to focus specifically on the top work habits that are most likely to harm your oral health.

Habit #1: Using Teeth as Tools

Teeth are designed for one purpose — to help us chew our food. However, this doesn’t stop us from trying to use our teeth as tools occasionally. Whether you’re trying to open a package or rip off a piece of tape, avoid using your teeth to help. The force placed on teeth during these activities can wear down tooth enamel or even break or chip a tooth. To fix damage like this, your dentist in Middletown will most likely recommend a restorative dentistry treatment.  

Habit #2: Snacking Throughout the Day

Whether you snack on a handful of pretzels, slowly sip your coffee, or nibble on other treats throughout your workday, you’re leaving your teeth constantly exposed to damaging acids. As we eat, bacteria in our mouths feed on the food particles left behind. These bacteria then release acid as a byproduct. Usually saliva helps neutralize and rinse away this acid. But without a break in snacking, your saliva doesn’t have a chance to catch up. This allows the acid to eat away at enamel and leaves teeth at risk for decay.

Habit #3: Taking Smoke Breaks

We all know by now that smoking has been linked to several very serious, sometimes life threatening health issues. Your oral health isn’t any different. Smoking, as well as using smokeless tobacco, increases the risk of oral cancer, gum disease, and tooth loss. We understand that smoking is a hard habit to break, but we know you can do it. Try chewing sugarless gum or talk with your doctor about ways to quit.

Habit #4: Chewing on Pens

Either done out of boredom, stress, or nervousness, chewing on pens or pencils is a workplace habit that affects many people. Sometimes we do it and don’t even realize it. This habit can easily damage teeth by either chipping or breaking them or by wearing away at enamel. Instead of chewing on a pen, try something else that may satisfy the craving but is less dangerous for your smile like eating a few carrots or pieces of celery.

If you find yourself doing any of these habits at work, or perhaps at home, we encourage you to work diligently to stop. Our Middletown dental office is here to help, so give us a call to schedule your next appointment.

5 Favorite Treats That Can Crack Teeth

biscotti

There are a lot of things that can cause tooth damage. We’ve seen cracked teeth from sports injuries, loose teeth caused by clenching and grinding, and there’s always the chance for us to treat someone for a simple cavity. But at our Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester dental offices, it’s also pretty common for us to have patients come in with tooth damage caused by eating. There are several types of foods that are most often responsible for these types of cases, so we’ve put together a list of some of the top culprits for you to help you avoid tooth damage from foods.

  • Popcorn – Notoriously viewed as the #1 worst food for teeth, popcorn can seem harmless, but the danger tends to hide within the puffy, airy, buttery treat. We’re talking about the kernels. These sneaky, hard bits of popcorn can cause some serious damage if bitten on, so snack away carefully.
  • Baguettes – When we talk about bread, we typically think about soft, easily chewable sandwich bread. But there’s another type out there that isn’t so easy to nibble. Baguettes have a hard, crispy texture that’s hard to rip and difficult to chew and it can cause some problems for teeth and dental restorations.
  • Olive Pits – Any type of food that naturally contains a pit or a seed, like olives, is dangerous to your teeth. While oftentimes the pit is removed, there are occasions when it’s not. Since we may not know when the pit is gone, we recommend eating these types of foods with caution as to not quickly bite down and crack a tooth.
  • Candy – It’s pretty well known that candy isn’t great for teeth, but some types of candy are worse than others. Sticky candy like caramels aren’t only tough to chew, they can loosen fillings and other dental restorations. Hard candy isn’t much better. Although it’s meant to be sucked down and softened to a manageable size, sometimes we become impatient and start chewing right away. This can break teeth.
  • Ice Cubes – Ice cubes are hard by nature and can be useful when helping to cool down a drink. But we should never chew on them. Eating ice can cause teeth to chip or even to sustain tiny cracks. These cracks may remain unnoticeable, but over time, they’re a great place for bacteria to hide and eat away at enamel creating cavities.

We want our patients to enjoy what they eat, so we’re not asking you to avoid these foods altogether. We’d just encourage you to use caution when eating them to reduce your risk of damage. If you do happen to crack a tooth with a popcorn kernel or lose a filling thanks to a caramel, give our dental office in Middletown, Kettering, or West Chester a call. We’ll be glad to help.

Accepting patients from Middletown, Kettering, West Chester and beyond. 

4 Foods For Denture-Wearers to Avoid

eat with dentures

Patients living with dentures are faced with a new set of menu challenges. Unfortunately, some foods just are no longer compatible. While having dentures is a great way to restore a natural, healthy look, they aren’t able provide the same stable durability and function of regular teeth. At our dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chesterwe want our denture patients to always feel comfortable in their dentures every day, at every meal.

We’ve compiled a shortlist of just a few foods that have been known to be a problem for denture wearers, along with some alternative choices that are deliciously denture-friendly.

  1. Avoid Sticky Situations

We don’t really like to see any patient constantly snacking on chewy, sticky candy. But for people with dentures, it’s almost certain that sticky stuff will lead to serious dentures problems.

  • A Better Option: If you absolutely need to indulge in a sweet treat, try sugar-free gum that’s specifically designed for dentures.
  1. Say No to Your Cup of Joe?

OK, so this is a bit tricky. We know how important that morning cup of coffee can be to getting your day kickstarted. Your dentist is not going to tell you to give it up altogether, but it’s best in moderation. It can potentially cause staining and can also be dehydrating, leading to dry mouth. (That’s not helpful when you have dentures.)

  • A Better Option: Trying lessening the caffeine intake or completely switching over to decaf. If this isn’t an option, just be sure you’re getting enough additional fluids to help keep salivary glands functioning properly. If your mouth isn’t moist, the friction from dentures can be irritating to you and your gums.
  1. Don’t Go Nuts

Nuts and dentures don’t work well together. Tiny, painful pieces of nuts can get lodged under partials or dentures, making them uncomfortable and unstable.

  • A Better Option: Pitted olives are easier to chew and even contain heart-healthy fats. You can also try fresh, seedless grapes and berries.
  1. No Need For Seeds

Try to avoid seeded breads and crackers. Pesky little poppy seeds can get stuck under your dentures and be a real pain.

  • A Better Option: Try whole grain breads where the grains are baked inside.

At our Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester dental offices, we see a lot of patients have great success with a variety of different kinds of dentures. It’s just a matter of making them work for you, and making an effort to avoid possible problems — especially with the foods and drinks you consume. If you have any questions about denture care, please don’t hesitate to give us a call!

Accepting patients from Middletown, Kettering, West Chester and the surrounding areas.

Tooth Pain? You May Need a Root Canal.

root canal

When your tooth hurts, it’s incredibly unpleasant and often described as a pain unlike any other. There could be any number of explanations for the discomfort, but sometimes the problem is pretty serious and may require a root canal. But how can you tell? Let our dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester help.

Signs & Symptoms

Besides the obvious sign that your tooth hurts, there are other symptoms that may mean you need a root canal including:

  • Increased pain while chewing or with applied pressure
  • Sensitivity to heat or cold that doesn’t go away quickly
  • A small, raised bump on the gums near the tooth that hurts
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Gum swelling or pain

It’s Not So Bad — Really!

Root canals have a pretty bad reputation as being painful. But the truth is, root canals actually stop the tooth pain. When your tooth becomes so infected or decayed that it hits the inside pulp, it can be incredibly painful. Once your dentist cleans out the area where the roots are located (the canal), and covers it with a filling or dental crown, relief will feel so good.

What’s The Process Like?

Before beginning, you’ll be numbed to avoid any discomfort. Once the medication kicks in, your dental team will get to work. First, a tiny hole is made in the infected tooth which allows access to the middle of the tooth, known as the pulp chamber. This is where the root canals are located. The root canals house pulp, nerves, and blood vessels. Your dentist will remove any and all of these materials, making your tooth no longer able to feel anything. After a thorough cleaning, the canals are sealed and the tooth is capped with a restoration.

Avoiding a Root Canal

The best way to prevent the need for a root canal in the first place is to brush and floss everyday to rid your mouth of the day’s bacteria and food particles. And speaking of food, limit eating sugary or acidic foods. These types of eats can weaken enamel and increase bacteria, leaving your teeth at higher risk for decay. Lastly, always keep your dental cleanings at least every six months for an extra-deep, extra-thorough cleaning you just can’t get at home.

If you’re having tooth pain and think you may need a root canal, give our Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester dental offices a call. We’ll get you scheduled as soon as possible, get to the root of the problem, and discuss the best treatment options. Don’t let tooth pain linger, call for an appointment as soon as possible.

Welcoming patients from Middletown, Kettering, West Chester.