The visible exterior layer of a tooth is called the enamel. Beneath the enamel is another hard layer, called the dentin. The dentin surrounds a small chamber at the center of the tooth that contains the pulp. Tooth pulp is a soft tissue made up of nerves, arteries, and veins. The pulp extends from the pulp chamber down through narrow channels, called the root canals, to the tips of the roots.
How did my tooth become infected?
The two most common causes of infection in the pulp are deep cavities and fractured or broken teeth. Both expose the pulp to bacteria that live in saliva. These bacteria, which are always present in your mouth, can cause an infection that can kill the pulp. Without treatment, the pus from the infection can eventually gather down at the root tip and pass into the jaw bone, causing an abscess (a pus pocket). The abscess can then damage the bone that surrounds the tooth. The resulting pressure inside the bone and ligaments surrounding the tooth can cause excruciating pain, and left untreated, can even be life threatening.
You may have realized that you had an infected tooth because it was sensitive to hot and cold, was swollen and painful, or had given you a bad taste in your mouth. On the other hand, you may have been completely unaware that you had an infection because you experienced no symptoms at all.
Root canal treatment
An infected tooth will never heal on its own, and as it gets worse, it will continue to be a source of infection that depletes your immune system, which can affect your entire body. Years ago, your only option would be for us to
extract the tooth. But today, we can remove the infection with root canal treatment, and save your tooth.
Misaligned or missing teeth can contribute to problems with the jaw joint, such as pain and soreness, difficulty in opening and closing your mouth, and earaches.
Regular checkups allow us to treat problems early
To keep these dental problems from becoming serious, we recommend twice yearly checkups. Regular cleanings enable us to keep tartar from accumulating on your teeth. During your regular visits, we will also perform a thorough exam to check your gums, measure the bone levels around your teeth, look for cavities, check your restorations, and examine your bite.
Regular exams are the best way to eliminate the growth phase of dental problems, and minimize the time and money you spend in the dental chair. We check for any changes
A dental hygienist is a highly trained and licensed oral health professional who provides you with educational, clinical, and therapeutic services to enhance your oral and overall health.
Hygienists’education and training
Hygienists receive intensive, specialized education and training, which includes courses in chemistry, head and neck anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, pathology, nutrition and pharmacology, as well as courses in advanced dental sciences and dental hygiene.
Prior to graduation, hygienists must complete hundreds of clock hours of supervised instruction in clinical practice.
What hygienists do
Hygienists serve several functions in the dental office. They check for and treat many dental conditions. They also clean your teeth, use specialized tools and techniques, and educate patients.
A hygienist will carefully examine your teeth, mouth, and gums, and pre-screen for any signs of decay, periodontal disease, or other problems.
As part of the preventive function of the hygienist’s job, she will thoroughly clean all surfaces of your teeth, removing plaque, tartar, and stains from above and below your gumline.
During your dental cleaning, your hygienist will use floss, special cleaning compounds, and instruments specifically designed to clean your teeth effectively and comfortably, like ultrasonic cleansers and rotary instruments. She may be involved with the specialized treatment of advanced periodontal disease, such as scaling and root planing. Your hygienist may apply fluoride gels or other treatments.
She also takes and develops dental x-rays so the dentist can view them and quickly diagnose any problems that may exist.
Your hygienist will teach you how to effectively care for your teeth at home to help you prevent decay and periodontal disease, show you how to select the proper toothbrush and dental floss, and demonstrate the most effective techniques for brushing and flossing.
Your hygienist may also explain the relationship between a healthy diet and dental health, offering suggestions about which foods to select and which to avoid. Preventing gum disease.
Copyright © 2005. Patterson Dental Supply, Inc. All rights reserved.
Twin Dental Home Page