Frequently Asked Questions

Root canal therapy is intended to be a tooth saving procedure that removes the pulp, or living tissue from inside a tooth. Each tooth typically has from 1 to 3 roots and each root has 1 or 2 tunnels or canals that stretch the length of the root. In a healthy tooth, these canals are filled with tissue (consisting of the nerves and blood vessels) that keeps the tooth alive and provide sensations like hot and cold. Sometimes the tissue can become damaged or diseased due to decay, fracture or trauma. This in turn can cause a toothache or there may be no pain at all.

During root canal treatment a hole is created in the top of the tooth to locate the canals. The dentist cleans and disinfects these canals and seals them with a special filler material. Root canal therapy is highly successful and with todays technology can be painless.

While bad breath (or “halitosis”) can be linked to numerous systemic diseases, the majority of bad breath originates in the mouth. A dry mouth or a low salivary flow can also influence bad odor.

There are two main goals in the management of bad breath. First, controlling the bacteria that produce the sulfur compounds and second, to neutralize the sulfur compounds that are produced.

If a manual toothbrush is used for the appropriate amount of time, and done with proper technique, it can perform just as well as a powered toothbrush. But many people don’t brush for the recommended two to three minutes. Children are also good candidates for powered brushes as their brushing habits tend to be less than optimal.

While everyone certainly does not need an electric toothbrush, in many instances they can be beneficial. Ask your dentist if you have any questions about which brush is best for you.

Plaque is a clear sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. As plaque collects it forms a hard layer of tartar (or calculus) particularly in hard to reach areas between teeth and near the gumline.

Bacteria found in plaque create toxic chemicals that irritate the gums. Eventually these bacteria cause the underlying bone around the teeth to be destroyed, a condition known as gum disease. Recent research suggests that gum disease is linked to other health problems including heart disease, stroke, pneumonia and some pregnancy complications.

Removal of plaque with brushing and flossing on a twice daily basis and removal of tartar by your dentist and dental hygienist is the first step in defeating gum disease. By the time gum disease begins to hurt, it may be too late. Seeing a dentist regularly can help prevent this and many other problems.

If you’ve had your dentures for more than 3-5 years it’s possible that they actually don’t fit anymore.

You are probably aware that the bone of the mouth holds and supports the teeth. But the teeth of our mouth also support the bone. When the teeth are removed the bone looses the support once provided by the teeth and enters into a lifetime of constant shape change and atrophy (shrinkage). As a result, dentures that were made to fit your mouth several years ago don’t fit now People often try to compensate for this by using more and more denture adhesive until the desired fit is achieved. Unfortunately, this can cause faster loss of bone and an even worse fit.

We have some options available to treat these problems. In these cases, we may recommend we either reline your existing dentures for a better fit or make a new set of dentures.