Extraction – Having A Tooth Removed Procedure At A Glance

Tooth extraction is the process of completely removing a tooth from its original socket in the bone. At Pine Street Dental, we always try to fix the damaged tooth with a filling, a crown or some other appropriate treatment first; however, a tooth extraction will be performed for your overall oral well-being if a tooth is severely damaged.

Causes For Tooth Extraction

Many times your tooth or teeth require an extraction to make room for other corrective surgeries such as braces. It’s always important for a dentist to preserve the natural teeth, however, if the tooth is severely damaged, decayed or broken then the only option is extraction.

Here are some causes that lead to tooth extraction:

  1. An extra tooth could be blocking another tooth from coming in. If this happens, it needs to be extracted to make comfortable room for the new tooth.
  2. Baby teeth typically fall out so the permanent teeth may come in however when they do not, the baby teeth need to be extracted.
  3. Having braces applied could mean extraction of some teeth to provide extra space for the teeth to eventually move into place.
  4. Some teeth may act as a source of infection. These are extracted so that the infection does not spread.
  5. Molars can become impacted either before or after they come in. Sometimes, molars are decayed, infected, and painful or they can get stuck in the jaw when they do not completely come in. These molars must be extracted when they cause pain, swelling and irritation in the gums.
Types of Extractions
  1. Simple Extractions – A tooth that can be seen clearly in the mouth can be extracted with a simple clinical method. Simple extractions involve an instrument known as the elevator to loosen the tooth and then extracted with forceps.
  2. Surgical Extractions – This type of extraction is a complex procedure. Surgical extractions are done if the tooth has broken off at the gum or if it can’t be seen in the mouth yet. In a surgical extraction, a small incision is made in your gum to remove the tooth. Sometimes, a part of the bone around the tooth has to be removed to cut the tooth in half and extract it.

Typically, surgical extractions are carried out by an oral surgeon. However, in some cases a general dentist may also perform a surgical extraction as well. The dentists at Pine Street Dental are well trained and experienced to handle both simple, as well as surgical extractions. Our dentists will give you proper instructions on what to do and expect once your surgery is performed. We understand the challenges of tooth removal. An extraction can cause some discomfort and uneasiness depending on the difficulty and procedure to extract the tooth. Rest assured, we always encourage all our patients to follow up so we can keep an eye on your dental health and healing.

Could You Benefit from a Mouth Guard?

Mouth guards or mouth protectors are your first line of defense when it comes to protecting your teeth while participating in sports. These fitted devices are worn over your teeth during athletic and recreational activities to protect them from damage. When choosing a device, it’s important that the mouth guard you choose is flexible enough so it is a good fit in your mouth. Mouth guards work to buffer damage to the teeth, braces, and other fixed dental appliances from blows and physical contact. These mouth guards can also act as a barrier between teeth, braces, and the cheeks, between the lips and tongue, thereby limiting the risk of soft tissue damage.

A good mouth guard should:

  • allow you to speak and not limit you’re breathing.
  • stay in place comfortably during activity.
  • be durable and easy to clean.
  • be resilient, tear-resistant, oader-less and be tasteless.
When should you wear a mouth guard

Mouth guards are not always mandatory for amateur or professional athletes. Even though you are not obligated to wear a mouth guard, they are definitely recommended. Many athletes choose not to wear them due to improper fit, impaired speech, impaired breathing, forgetfulness, cost and many perceive mouth guards as a hassle and unattractive.

Most sports associations require mouth guards for hockey, field hockey, lacrosse, and football because they are considered a rougher sport. However, many Dental Associations always recommend mouth guards for more sports and activities that run risk of mouth injury. These include: acrobatics, basketball, boxing, discus throwing, gymnastics, handball, martial arts, racquetball, rugby, shot putting, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, soccer, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting and wrestling. 

The advantages to wearing a mouth guard

Wearing a mouth guard is an important habit to keep for athletes of all ages and abilities. A mouth guard needs to perform many duties to help avoid chipped or broken teeth, root and bone damage, and tooth loss. They also safeguard against serious injuries such as jaw fractures, cerebral hemorrhaging, concussions and neck injuries. Mouth guards can also help prevent cutting and bruising of the lips, tongue and cheeks, especially for athletes who wear orthodontic appliances.

Types of mouth guards

You have your choice of three different types of mouth guards:

  • Stock mouth guards – These all purpose mouth guards can be purchased at any sporting goods store and pharmacy. They are pre-formed and designed to be ready to wear. They are the least expensive – but keep in mind they are also the worst fitting, least comfortable and least protective. They are made of rubber or polyvinyl and tend to be bulky which increases the chance of gagging, impaired breathing, and impaired speech because they require the jaw to be closed to hold them in place.
  • Mouth-formed mouth guards – These come in two type of mouth guards: The first type is made of thermoplastic that is placed in boiling then formed to the contours of the teeth using the fingers, lips, tongue and biting pressure. Boil-and-bite mouth guards can be reheated and refitted if the original fit isn’t comfortable. The other is a type is lined with acrylic gel or rubber that creates a mold of the teeth and sets to keep its shape. 
    These type of mouth guards are available at sporting goods stores and pharmacies. Keep in mind that they do provide a better fit than stock mouth guards, however, they can be still by bulky and do not offer the same fit and protection as a custom-fitted mouth guard.
  • Custom-fitted mouth guards – These custom mouth guards will be expensive but they provide the greatest degree of fit, comfort and protection because they are made from a precise cast of your teeth. While being fitted for one, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and send it to a dental laboratory technician. From there, they will take this impression to create a mold for your custom-fitted mouth guard.
    When you have a custom-fitted mouth guards, you can rest assure that all your teeth will be cushioned against falls and blows to the chin. If you are concerned about allergies, certain materials can be used to avoid reactions in your mouth.

The average stock mouth guards can typically cost from $5 to $15. Mouth-formed guards are priced at approximately $10 to $30. Custom-fitted mouth guards cost between $25 and $100 and are available from Pine Street Dental in Thorold. Most dental insurance plans generally do not cover the cost of mouth guards. Check with your dental insurance company to determine your level of coverage. Either way, a mouth guard is a good investment in your oral health.

Mouth Guard Maintenance 

It’s important to maintain, clean and care for your mouth guard to prevent infection and germs. How long a mouth guard lasts depends on its construction and use. Stock and mouth-formed guards typically wear out after several months of repeated hard use. Custom-fitted guards generally last a year or more. Always check the condition of the mouth guard before each use, especially if you have a tendency to chew on it. It is a good idea to bring your mouth guard with you to your regular dental examinations for periodic evaluations. For the best results from your mouth guard:

  • Always brush and floss your teeth before wearing.
  • Avoid putting your mouth guard with sports clothes and towels in a sports bag. Keep it in a protective case.
  • Avoid chewing your mouth guard because this can distort the shape of it causing an improper fit.
  • After each use, wash your mouth guard with soap and cool water so the shape stays intact. Then soak your mouth guard in mouthwash before storing it.
  • It is best to keep your mouth guard in a well ventilated, plastic storage box when not in use.
  • Avoid bending your mouth guard.
  • Avoid heat around your mouth guard such as sunlight, near a heater or in a hot car.
  • Never wear someone else’s mouth guard and never share your own.
  • Always get your dentist to adjust your custom fitted mouth guard.

Call your dentist if you experience any of the following health warning signs of wearing a mouth guard: difficulty breathing, hives, rashes, mouth sores, itching in the mouth, wheezing, diarrhea and nausea to the point of vomiting.

How Safe are Dental X-rays?

With today’s new technology, we can now get X-rays done digitally. This can cut down on radiation exposure by as much as 90 percent by switching from film to digital. So this is good news. But should we still be worried?

In some cases, this worry is legitimate. If you are pregnant or if your dentist requests an x-ray of your child’s mouth, special care needs to be taken. If you are concerned about radiation exposure due to X-rays, talk to your dentist. Ask how often X-rays are needed and why they are being taken. While in some cases, some patients need X-rays taken more frequently, current guidelines require that X-rays be given only when needed for clinical diagnosis.

Advances in dentistry over the years have lead to a number of measures that will minimize the risks associated with X-rays. However, even with the advancements in safety, the effects of radiation will accumulate over a lifetime.

What are the purposes of x-rays

X-rays, also known as radiographs, are a necessary part of good dental care. Since dentists can see only about one-third of the actual tooth, radiographs provide valuable information that we cannot visualize otherwise.

  • They locate cavities, potential cavities, and decay.
  • X-rays give a clear look at tooth roots.
  • An x-ray can give the dentist a status of developing teeth.
  • It can show the progress of braces.

X-rays are an essential part of any dental care treatment plan. They are diagnostic, but they can also be preventative, by helping a dentist diagnose potential oral care issues in a patient’s mouth before they become a major problem. An x-ray is a type of energy that passes through soft tissues and is absorbed by the dense tissue. Teeth and bone are very dense, so they absorb X-rays while X-rays pass more easily through gums and cheeks.

Types of x-rays

X-rays are divided into two main types: intraoral and extraoral. Intraoral is an X-ray that is taken inside the mouth. An extraoral X-ray is taken outside of the mouth. Intraoral X-rays are the most common type of radiograph taken in dentistry. They give a high level of detail of the tooth, bone and supporting tissues of the mouth.

Here’s a x-ray checklist to consider:

  • Space out your routine x-rays. If you have no ongoing dental problems, scans every two years, or more, are sufficient.
  • If you change dentists, make sure you let them know when your last x-ray was. If you cannot remember, call your last dentist office and request that information.
  • If children need orthodontic work which will involve X-rays, consider delaying treatment until they are 15.
  • Keep a note of all X-rays to monitor your own exposure.
  • Avoid wearing jewelry during an x-ray.

If you have more questions or concerns about x-rays, our staff at Pine Street Dental’s Thorold office can help.

Your First Filling – What to Expect

Getting the news that your dentist found a cavity is never good. If it’s your first one then you may be wondering what you should expect next.

During your appointment, at our St. Catharines / Thorold based office, your dentist will let you know where your cavity is and how severe it is. They can even show you an x-ray of the damaged area. If you are not experiencing any pain you can schedule an appointment when it’s a more convenient time. If you are experiencing pain, you’ll need to have it taken care of right away.

What is a filling?

A filling restores a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. It safeguards the tooth from any further decay and pain. The dentist will remove the decay, clean the tooth, and then fill the cleaned out cavity with a filling material. Filling in the space where bacteria can enter will help prevent further deterioration while stabilizing your tooth.

If decay, or a fracture, has damaged a large portion of the tooth, a crown, or a cap, may be recommended. Decay that has reached the nerve may be treated in two ways: through root canal therapy (the damaged nerve is removed) or through a procedure called pulp capping (which helps keep the nerve alive).

There are many more choices of filling material available today than ever before. Your choices will depend on appearance, cost and function. At Pine Street Dental, we use the following materials for fillings:

  • Gold fillings are sturdy and non-corrosive and can last up to 15 years. Many people like the look of gold fillings, but they will cost more.
  • Amalgam fillings are a mixture of metals including silver, copper, tin and mercury. These fillings are strong, durable, and inexpensive.
  • Composite fillings are made of a tooth-colored mixture of glass and resin. This composite can be matched to the color of your teeth, but they are not as durable as metal and may need to be replaced much more frequently.

During your appointment

Your dentist will use either a local anesthetic to numb the area around the affected tooth to be filled, or you can opt in for sedation dentistry . After the area has been numbed, the dentist will then use a tool to remove the decay. This process may take some time depending on how big the cavity is. No worries. You won’t feel a thing. Once the decay has been removed, your dentist will prepare a space for the filling by cleaning the cavity thoroughly.

After cleaning, your dentist will fill the cavity with the material previously chosen. Once the cavity has been filled, your dentist will polish the filling to finish the restoration. If your tooth requires a tooth-colored filling, the process may take a little longer. Your dentist will apply the composite material in layers and then shape the material to a desired result.

When the filling is in place, your dentist will clean and polish it and send you on your way.

After your appointment

Your lips and gum area may be numb for the first few hours. Always chew food carefully and avoid chewing on the part of your mouth where the filling is located in case you end up biting your cheek. Tooth sensitivity is normal during the first few weeks after a filling, however, you might also want to avoid triggers, such as extremely hot or cold foods. If the sensitivity persists after a few weeks, contact your dentist. And if you feel pain in the tooth when biting, see your dentist as soon as possible. You may need to have the filling reshaped.

Make sure after you’ve received a filling that you take good care of it. Follow a regular oral health routine of twice-daily tooth brushing and daily flossing. Be sure to see your dentist for regular checkups. You may not notice when your filling starts to wear down, but your dentist will be able to check this during your next appointment. If your filling breaks or falls out, see your dentist immediately so it can be repaired or replaced.

If you have any further questions about dental fillings, please give us a call today!

Top 10 Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures to Improve Your Smile

Cosmetic dentistry treatments improve the appearance of an individual’s teeth while restoring function that helps improve their oral health. But there is even more good news because dental procedures have improved dramatically over the last 10 to 15 years. If you’ve considered improving your smile, this guide can help you learn about the latest techniques in dentistry and cosmetic dental procedures.

1. Composite fillings

It’s important to repair a hole or cavity caused by tooth decay. Often we think of metal fillings that are made of metallic amalgam that is anchored in a tooth. Unfortunately, metal fillings darken teeth and are very noticeable when you smile. Today we have choices such as composite resin fillings that are tooth colored and are adhesively bonded to the walls of the teeth. The good news here is your dentist removes less tooth structure than with metal fillings. The other benefit is today’s composite fillings come in natural white shades that blend with the color of your teeth and are not noticeable when you talk, smile or laugh.

2. Teeth whitening

Whitening your teeth is becoming a relatively inexpensive way to add some sparkle to your smile. There are many products and methods you can choose from but if you are concerned about over the counter products then your dentist can help. Often it takes more than 1 visit but at least you can rest assured that your teeth are in good hands.

3. Veneers

These hard, thin shells of tooth-colored material are designed to go over the teeth to substitute tooth enamel. The purpose of veneers is to mask a variety of noticeable dental imperfections.

4. Crowns

When the teeth become heavily damaged due to cracks or grinding, a natural-looking porcelain crown can be put on the teeth. These crowns help stabilize the tooth structure more than veneers.

5. Dental bonding

Cracked or chipped teeth can be helped with a tooth-colored composite resin that is attached to the teeth. This procedure can improve the appearance and strengthen the teeth and requires very little preparation of the tooth.

6. Clear orthodontics

Many adults, as well as some teenagers, have a choice over metal braces with clear orthodontic aligners to help straighten their teeth. As an added bonus, they can be removed instead of being fastened to the teeth like traditional braces.

7. Dental implants

These implants are used to replace a missing tooth to help avoid shifting of the teeth due to a gap in the mouth. They are usually made of titanium and are fitted with a crown to create a natural-looking replacement for the entire tooth.

8. Dental bridges

Another way to fill in a tooth space is with porcelain bridgework that is attached to the natural teeth on either side of the space. The purpose is to keep the teeth aligned to avoid movement. Like dental implants, this also helps the mouth function properly and helps the patient with eating.

9. Tooth contouring

Cosmetic dentists can use a drill or laser to smooth out or reshape teeth. Often certain teeth can have misshapen areas or can be excessively long or sharp. The teeth are smoothed and polished to even out rough spots, sharp teeth or chips that can interfere with alignment and eating.

10. Gum surgery

Minor surgery can reshape gum tissue to give it a more leveled appearance and to help with tartar build up. There are 3 types of surgery: gingival flap surgery which helps to bring up the gum to alleviate tartar build up if the gums have receded, gingivectomy helps to lower the gum line if it is covering too much of the teeth, and if a patient has a lot of tooth recession where the gum is pushed away from the tooth, a gingivoplasty can be done.