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How Do Crowns and Root Canals Work Together?

If you have ever had a cavity, you know how painful it can be. Although a root canal may sound scary, it is the only effective solution to restore healthy teeth and prevent future damage. At South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics, you can expect compassionate care as we work to repair your teeth with a root canal and crowning.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a dental procedure that is often necessary if you have a decaying tooth. The inner tooth tissue (the pulp) can be infected by bacteria that enter the tooth from an untreated cavity or a crack caused by injury. During a root canal, the infected or dead pulp in the center of the tooth is removed with a special tool called a file. This is performed under local anesthesia so you will not feel any pain during the procedure.

How Root Canals Affect a Tooth

After a root canal, your tooth may be more brittle or weak. The inner pulp layer removed during a root canal contains much of the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels. Therefore, the tooth’s blood supply is lost after a root canal. Additionally, the tooth is weakened because only the sides are left after a root canal. Hollowed teeth after a root canal are more at risk of cracking or breaking when you bite down on food or put pressure on the treated tooth.

How Crowns Protect the Teeth

A crown is a protective cap placed over decayed or broken teeth. Crowns are almost always placed after a root canal to restore the tooth’s strength and prevent future problems like tooth breakage. There are many types of crowns that can be made from porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or gold. Crowns are also custom fitted for every patient. The type of tooth and its location will often impact which material is chosen. For example, porcelain crowns are a great choice for the front teeth since they blend into your natural tooth color for a flawless smile.

How Do I Know If I Need a Root Canal?

Infection or tooth decay that is left untreated could lead to a more serious infection, bone loss, or loss of the entire tooth. If you have any of the following symptoms, it is important to schedule an appointment with your dentist right away:

  • Pain in the tooth or gums
  • Swelling
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods
  • Warm feeling in the gums
  • Tooth discoloration

Oral Health Care at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics

At South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics, we specialize in general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry as well as orthodontics. If you have an untreated cavity and are beginning to feel the effects of your damaged tooth, we encourage you to schedule an appointment today.

How to Care for Your Dentures

Dentures are a great way to restore your smile if you have missing teeth. They can also improve the quality of life for many patients who are unable to chew, speak, or swallow properly because of their missing teeth. When you receive dentures, you don’t want to have to replace them, so these are a few important things to keep in mind when caring for your dentures.

Eating Habits

To prevent your dentures from being damaged, avoid chewing on ice or other hard foods like candy. If you wear your dentures while eating and food gets trapped beneath them, remove the dentures and rinse them with water. Although trapped food is not an immediate problem, it can cause bacteria to build up if it sits there for an extended period of time.

Brushing and Flossing

Regularly brush your remaining teeth, gums, and palate twice a day to prevent a buildup of plaque and tooth-decaying bacteria. Brushing also includes massaging the gums gently to prevent gum disease and cleaning your tongue to remove bacteria and maintain fresh breath. Flossing and mouth rinses are also helpful tools for preserving oral health and should be used along with your daily brushing.

Denture Cleaning

Although your dentures are not “real teeth,” bacteria can still build up on the surface, harming the remaining teeth and your gums. Carefully clean your denture with a denture brush and cleaning product or toothpaste once a day. We recommend cleaning and rinsing it over a sink full of water in case the denture is accidentally dropped.

You should also soak your denture periodically in a soaking solution or use half white vinegar and half water if there are no metal parts. After soaking your dentures, rinse them thoroughly with cool water before placing them back in your mouth.

Denture Storage

Remove your dentures while you sleep and keep them stored in a soaking solution or cool water in a closed container so that they do not dry out. We recommend removing the dentures for at least 6-8 hours per day. If you have children or pets, make sure to keep your dentures in a place that is out of reach.

Dental Checkups

Regular dental exams are necessary for every person. Maintaining the health of your teeth and a beautiful smile is important! If you wear dentures, you should also schedule an appointment if your bite feels uneven or you develop sore spots, inflammation, swelling, or discomfort from your dentures. If the dentures become loose, cracked, or broken, your dentist can also repair it.

Schedule a Consultation

At South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics, we are dedicated to our patients’ overall well-being and oral health. Whether you need a regular dentist appointment or assistance fitting or repairing your dentures, we encourage you to schedule a consultation today by calling our office or filling out an online contact form.

Abfractions: Causes and Treatments

Abfractions might sound like an unusual word, but it simply refers to a specific type of tooth substance being lost. We will be discussing the causes of this tooth damage and how you can treat a developing abfraction to help you maintain a beautiful, healthy smile.

What Are Abfractions?

Abfractions are small wedge-shaped grooves that form on the teeth near the gumline. These are unrelated to cavities or bacteria that could eat away at the enamel on the tooth and cause similar damage. Although abfractions are generally not painful, the loss of tooth structure could lead to further chipping and loss of enamel which leaves the teeth and gums exposed to harmful bacteria that could cause tooth decay or gum disease

What Causes Abfractions?

Not all the causes of abfractions are known, but these are a few possible causes that we can address at your appointment:

Misaligned Bite

Even if your bite is slightly off, one tooth could connect with the parallel teeth sooner than the rest. This can cause the teeth to flex over time because of the stress and pressure put on them. This flexing causes the enamel to separate from the inner layers of the tooth, creating an abfraction or notch near the gumline. To correct your bite and stop the teeth from pushing against each other, we can smooth down areas of the chewing services to redistribute the force of your bite.

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding and clenching are another source of stress for the teeth that could cause the enamel to separate from the dentin layer, leading to an abfraction. Teeth clenching can be especially harmful because the constant pressure could also cause jaw pain, headaches, and other dental problems. Teeth grinding and clenching can be prevented with a nightguard that will protect your teeth.

Abrasive Brushing

People often think that you can scrub away bacteria with harsh brushing but applying too much pressure when brushing your teeth can actually cause more damage. Abrasive toothbrush bristles could be responsible for the gradual loss of tooth substance causing the abfraction. We can recommend toothbrushes with soft bristles and different types of toothpaste to better maintain your oral health.

How Can You Treat Abfractions?

After treating the cause of the abfraction, our dental team can treat the abfraction itself. We can restore the lost tooth substance with a filling or cover up the gap with gum tissue to prevent harmful bacteria from getting trapped under the gums. Tooth-colored fillings will make the repair invisible so that you can enjoy a beautiful smile and significantly improved oral health.

Schedule an Appointment

If you think you may be developing an abfraction, schedule an appointment at South Meadow Dental & Orthodontics in Reno, NV. Our dental team will be happy to give your teeth an examination so that we know the type of damage we are dealing with and how to best treat it.

What Can I Expect After Opalescence Boost Teeth Whitening?

Opalescence Boost Teeth Whitening is a quick and easy way to enhance your smile and get rid of stains. If you’ve tried over-the-counter teeth whiteners without results, then our team can help. At South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics, we offer both in-office professional whitening treatments and at-home custom trays to completely transform your smile. It’s normal to wonder what to expect after Opalescence Boost teeth whitening, so here’s what to know and how to take care of your results.

Avoid Foods and Drinks That Stain

Certain foods and drinks can cause stains to accumulate over time, so it’s important to enjoy them in moderation and prevent stains from coming back. It’s most important to avoid these foods and drinks for the first 24-48 hours after treatment (that’s because your teeth will continue to whiten during this time). A good rule to follow is: if a food or drink would stain your white shirt, it will also stain your teeth! Here are some common foods and drinks to avoid after your treatment:

  • Black tea and coffee
  • Red wine
  • Red (tomato) sauces
  • Soy sauce
  • Dark berries
  • Tobacco
  • Dark sodas

Additionally, some desensitizing products that contain stannous fluoride can cause stains and should be avoided.

Managing Sensitivity

It’s possible to have some sensitivity after treatment, but it typically fades within a few days. You may notice white spots on the gums, but these will also fade (within about 20-30 minutes). If you experience sensitivity when using your at-home treatments, it can be helpful to spread some petroleum jelly (Vaseline®) on your gums before inserting the trays.

Make sure to take care when brushing your teeth for the first few days after treatment and gently use a soft bristle tooth brush to avoid discomfort. Additionally, be careful when flossing and use a seesaw motion to glide floss between the teeth rather than “snapping” it.

When Will I See Results?

If your ideal shade is very different from your current shade, it may take more than one appointment to achieve your intended results. Our team can give you the best idea of how many sessions you can expect. Once you achieve your ideal shade, it’s best to return for touch-up treatments (either in-office or at-home) every 6-12 months. This can help reverse new stains and prevent them from setting in.

Schedule an Appointment

Our team can help you explore your teeth whitening options with Opalescence Boost. To schedule an appointment, contact our Reno office by calling or filling out our online contact form.

What is Gingival Recession and What Causes it?

Of the many health issues facing people, dental health can have far-reaching implications, from whole-body health to self-esteem. If your teeth and gums aren’t kept in peak condition with regular checkups and constant oral care at home, several conditions can crop up that can only be fixed with restorative dental treatments that we offer at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics.

One of the most often ignored issues people encounter is gum disease, which is marked by gingival recession, or receding gums. There are many possible and contributing causes of this condition, and few solutions, which means preventive care is extremely important to prevent gum disease.

What is Gingival Recession?

Gingival recession is the phenomenon of gum tissue receding from the visible parts of the teeth in the mouth. Not only does this become apparent as your teeth appear larger, with more surface enamel exposed, but it also leads to symptoms like sensitivity, accelerated tooth decay, and pain.

Gingival recession is the main symptom of gum disease, also called gingivitis, which can lead to more serious decay called periodontal disease, which requires more frequent and more involved teeth cleanings from a dentist in Reno.

The Causes of Gingival Recession

The general cause of gingivitis or gingival recession is poor oral health. However, certain behaviors, habits, and substances can accelerate the condition. Tooth grinding, or bruxism, can accelerate all kinds of tooth decay and damage, including gingival recession. In addition, overly aggressive brushing or toothbrushes with too-hard bristles can wear away at gums and irritate them more immediately, as well as brushing with a purely side-to-side motion as opposed to a circular one.

Finally, tobacco use and piercings can aggravate the gums and teeth, quickening gum disease and gumline recession. With age, all of these causes will worsen the condition of the teeth, gums, or both.

What’s problematic about gum disease is that it’s often painless. People don’t realize they have an issue until it becomes uncomfortable or unbearable, meaning it takes years for the disease to manifest and get worse before people seek treatment. This re-emphasizes the importance of regular checkups and cleanings by a dentist who can see more than you might feel in your mouth, spotting the early stages of gingival recession and creating a treatment plan to stop or even reverse it.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Gingival Recession

Diagnosing gum disease is relatively simple. There are standard protocols to measure the depth of gum loss to determine if you have gum disease, periodontitis, or other degrees of gingival recession. From there, your dentist will ask you about your oral health, including any symptoms involving tooth grinding and other potential risk factors. You will then be advised on a treatment plan to fill cavities, treat sensitive teeth, remove piercings, quitting smoking, or many other types of lifestyle changes that might help slow the progress of gum disease.

Gum and Dental Care in Reno, NV

If you’re suffering from sensitive teeth, sudden changes in your oral health, or a cosmetic issue with your smile or mouth, the dental professionals at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics are here to help. Call or contact us online to start a conversation about your needs and our availability.

What to Know About CAD/CAM Restorations

Tooth decay (cavities) is caused by sugars and enamel-destroying bacteria that build up when the teeth are not properly cleaned over an extended period of time. At South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics, we use CAD/CAM restorations to create accurate and effective restorations that will give you a long-lasting, beautiful smile.

What Are CAD/CAM Restorations?

CAD (computer-aided design) or CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) is an innovative technology used to create customized tooth-colored crowns, onlays, inlays, and veneers. These restorations are used to treat tooth decay and reinforce damaged teeth. The CAD/CAM technology used takes a digital, 3D image of the tooth being treated and the teeth surrounding it. That image can be used to design and shape the restorative material which will be fitted to the tooth. Using precise machinery and the skills of a trained restorative dentist, CAD/CAM restorations can restore beautiful, natural-looking smiles.

CAD/CAM Procedure

Before your CAD/CAM restoration begins, we will numb the area to ease any discomfort. The teeth will then be cleaned to remove decayed tissue and shaped to best fit the restoration. A reflective powder is applied so that the digital imaging tool can see the contours of the tooth being treated. Once the 3D image is taken and the restoration is made, it can be customized with coloring, bonding, and polishing to match your natural tooth color and appearance. Final adjustments can also be made to maximize your comfort while wearing the restoration and make sure your bite stays the same.

Benefits of CAD/CAM Restorations

One Appointment

Your CAD/CAM restoration can be completed in one appointment that takes anywhere from 45 minutes – 2 hours depending on the severity of tooth decay being treated. This means fewer disruptions in your schedule and more cost-effective treatment.

Minimal Tooth Preparation

Less tooth preparation means more of the healthy tooth structure can be left intact. This can make your restoration last longer and feel more comfortable than a bulky restoration that may need to be adjusted to fit your tooth and bite.

Natural-Looking Results

CAD/CAM restorations use tooth-colored materials like porcelain so that your restoration will blend into the surrounding area and leave you with a more aesthetically pleasing smile.

Schedule a Consultation

If you’ve gotten behind on your annual cleanings or have painful tooth decay in need of restoration, schedule a consultation with our amazing team of dentists and orthodontists at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics. Give our Reno, NV office a call at 775-413-2976 or fill out an online contact form to take the first step toward a restored, healthy smile.

Tooth Decay: What is it and How do I Avoid it?

At South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics, our goal is to help you maintain a natural, healthy smile. Unfortunately, tooth decay can get in the way and cause you to lose your natural teeth. We want you to understand how tooth decay happens and what you can do to prevent it so you can keep your natural smile for a lifetime!

What Causes Decay?

Bacteria and sugar are the two main causes of tooth decay. Thousands of tiny, microscopic bacteria exist in your mouth but don’t worry, most of these bacteria are beneficial. However, two types of bacteria are harmful causes of tooth decay: mutans streptococcus and lactobacillus. These bacteria can quickly reproduce if you are not brushing and flossing regularly since they thrive on sugar. If sugary residue is left on your teeth, these bacteria will form large colonies that lead to plaque and buildup on your teeth. As the bacteria feed off these sugars, a chemical reaction breaks the sugar down into simpler elements like acid. Acid breaks down your tooth enamel and weakens your teeth.

Plaque is the built-up residue of food, bacteria, and a film of saliva. Sugars are found in starchy foods like pasta, bread, and sweets. If you do not brush regularly, this food residue will stick to your teeth and continue forming until the plaque turns into tartar. Tartar is a hardened, mineralized form of plaque that can develop in as little as 24 hours, which is why it is recommended you brush your teeth in the morning and at night.

How Does Decay Happen?  

As starches break down, sugars are released, and bacteria break down this sugar into acid, the protective enamel layer on your teeth dissolves. This forms a demineralized area that appears as a white or brown spot on our tooth – the first sign of tooth decay. If the area is left untreated, it will progress into a cavity or a hole on the surface of your tooth. It’s important to treat tooth decay before it penetrates that protective outer layer because once a cavity has reached the softer interior layer of the tooth, it grows more quickly and leads to more complications.

How to Avoid Decay?

By limiting the number of times you eat each day and moderating your intake of sugar or starches, you can decrease acid production and strengthen your teeth. Regular brushing and flossing are also essential for maintaining healthy, strong teeth since this eliminates plaque buildup. When plaque is destroyed, the number of harmful bacteria on the surface of your teeth is also destroyed, significantly reducing the production of harmful acid. Using a toothpaste that contains fluoride is also a great way to strengthen your tooth enamel since fluoride is resistant to decay. In between brushing your teeth, rinse your mouth with a fluoride mouth rinse and chew sugarless gum to reduce acid attacks.

Schedule a Consultation

To learn more about how you can care for your teeth and to treat tooth decay already in the process, visit our team of dental specialists in Reno, NV. We offer dental crowns, fillings, and professional cleanings to treat and prevent tooth decay. Give our office a call at (775) 413-2976 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a complimentary consultation.

How Cavities Affect Your Teeth

Although it may not seem like it, your teeth are vulnerable to the bacteria in your mouth pretty much around the clock. Your mouth is full of chemical reactions taking place during and after you eat, whenever you drink something, and while you sleep. These reactions are strong enough to erode the strongest substance in your body: your tooth enamel. Without proper dental care, tooth erosion can lead to issues such as cavities, which can be addressed with our dental team before they become bigger, more expensive or invasive issues.

What Are Cavities?

Cavities are just that: cavities that form in your teeth. They are the beginnings of tooth decay, defined as holes in the enamel, the hard external shell of your teeth. Cavities can be visible or hidden (but still visible on X-ray), and quickly progress to more painful and serious conditions when they penetrate to the dentin. Dentin is the softer layer of tissue below the enamel that is more vulnerable to decay. Within the dentin is the highly sensitive region called the pulp layer, home to many nerves and blood vessels that can also be affected by bacterial reactions.

How Do Cavities Form?

Cavities form when the bacteria always present in your mouth break down common chemical compounds such as sugars and starches for energy and as a result, create acids. These acids are corrosive, like all acids, and break down the molecules of your teeth and gums. Enamel is the most well-protected layer of teeth. Once the enamel is perforated, the lower layers are even more subject to decay from these acids and bacteria, which is why regular dental checkups and good oral hygiene are so important to overall teeth and gums health.

Treating Cavities and Tooth Decay

Cavities are typically easy to spot before they become complicated dental procedures via oral examination or X-ray imaging. The treatment protocol for cavities is to drill out the decayed portion of the tooth to physically remove active sites of decay and to provide a uniform area to apply a filling.

Cavities are filled with a composite resin material that reinforces tooth structure for a long time. However, fillings for cavities aren’t permanent, and the risk of tooth decay can come back as long as dental hygiene or checkup habits aren’t improved. This is why regular checkups are important because you typically don’t notice a cavity forming in your on your own. Our dentists at South Meadows Dental can spot cavities quickly and restore your tooth health without needing expensive and extensive procedures such as a root canal. Ultimately, the best cure is preventing tooth decay in the first place, with expert advice from our specialists and hygienists.

Regular Dental Checkups in Reno, NV

At South Meadows Dental, our priority is your health and wellbeing beyond your regular dental checkup. Your twice-yearly appointments are more than just about keeping your teeth free of cavities, but also about making your smile as healthy and brilliant as possible. Call our office or contact us online to schedule your checkup today.

Cracked Tooth Syndrome

If you’re in tooth pain, it can be hard to focus on anything else, and become a minor or major disruption to your daily routine. However, tooth pain comes in many different degrees and forms, and you may not know that its cause is something you need treatment for as soon as possible when it first arrives. If you’re in pain or have experienced a sudden change in tooth sensation, we encourage you to call our office to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

Symptoms of Cracked Teeth

Cracked teeth can cause sudden or recurring pain or discomfort nearly anywhere in the mouth, due to something you ate, chewed, or were injured by. Unlike a toothache where pain is sharp and constant, a cracked tooth can result in slightly different symptoms, such as:

  • Having intermittent tooth pain
  • Feeling sharp pains when you chew
  • Wanting to chew only on one side of your mouth
  • Having increased sensitivity to hot, cold, sweet, or sour foods

These symptoms may be a sign of a cracked tooth or other issue that may require dental solutions such as a filling, onlay, or dental crown.

Risks and Causes of Cracked Teeth

Over time, your teeth endure constant and intense wear and tear that physically erodes the strength of the enamel that protects the softer inner parts of teeth where nerve endings reach. This leads to an increase in everyone’s risk for tooth damage and decay, including cracked teeth.

Specific foods and habits can further increase the wear on your teeth, such as frequently eating crunchy foods, hard candies, or even chewing ice, as well as potential medical conditions such bruxism (teeth grinding) or clenched jaw due to a TMJ disorder.

Teeth can also lose some of their natural integrity when they’ve already been treated once to fix a cavity with a filling or root canal. Finally, injuries sustained when playing sports or having some kind of mouth injury can affect the strength of your jaw and teeth.

Diagnosing and Treating Cracked Teeth

Teeth cracks come in all shapes and severities, and require full analysis before creating a custom treatment plan to ensure the most holistic and effective approach. First, you will likely have X-rays taken of the affected tooth/teeth as well as a physical examination of the area. Tooth fractures are commonly invisible except on X-rays, but understanding the surrounding teeth and gum tissue, as well as your natural bite are all helpful diagnostic tools when choosing a treatment plan.

Once our dentists have a solid idea of where the crack is and how deep it is, they will devise a treatment. For surface-level cracks, an onlay or crown may be all that’s required to reinforce the underlying tooth tissue for a long-term solution.

However, if the crack has reached the dentin or pulp layer of the tooth, it will first require a root canal before the structure will be strong enough to handle a crown.

Treating Cracked Teeth in Reno, NV

Don’t let tooth pain get unbearable before seeking treatment. Often, coming in for an examination and diagnosis early is key to having the best chance of saving your teeth and preventing extensive, expensive dental work from needing to be done. Our dentists are here to get you an appointment as soon as possible to address your dental care needs. Don’t hesitate to call our office today to schedule your appointment.

Are Soft Drinks Bad for Your Teeth?

Soft drinks can be extremely refreshing, and they might even be a regular part of your daily diet. There are plenty of reasons to only enjoy soft drinks in moderation – one of which is your dental health. That’s because soft drinks can cause damage to your teeth every time you sip! Here’s what to know about soft drinks and how you can keep your teeth healthy and strong.

How does soda damage your teeth?

Most sodas and soft drinks contain between 10-12 teaspoons of sugar per serving (about 8oz). All this sugar can coat your teeth and feed the bacteria that live there. These bacteria eat sugar and produce acid which can wear away at your enamel. When your protective enamel is worn away, it exposes the dentin underneath. Over time, this can cause problems like pain and even cavities. You may also become more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, and your teeth can appear more yellow. In severe cases, your teeth can begin to lose their natural shape. In short, soda can wear away your teeth over time and require some extensive repairs.

Should children have soda?

Although it’s okay for your child to enjoy a soda occasionally, you should make sure to keep an eye on your child’s soda consumption and help them understand it can hurt their teeth while they’re still forming. Even though it may seem safe because your child is still losing their baby teeth, these can still become damaged and infected like normal adult teeth and risk their health.

Is diet soda bad for your teeth?

It may seem like diet soda is a good alternative because it doesn’t have added sugar, but diet sodas, seltzers, and sparkling waters are still very acidic because of the carbonation. They usually contain citric, phosphoric, or tartaric acid which can erode your teeth the same as normal sodas, even if they’re lower in sugar. Make sure to enjoy diet sodas and sugar-free soft drinks in moderation, too.

How to keep your teeth healthy when drinking soda

The best way to keep your teeth protected from erosion from soft drinks is to avoid them and only enjoy them occasionally. Try and sip water throughout the day instead – for kids, swap out soda for milk to harden enamel with a valuable source of calcium. If you do drink soda, make sure to use a straw which can help the fluid bypass much of the surface of your teeth. Additionally, try not to sip on soda for extended periods of time. Finish it within a reasonable timeframe and then have some water to help flush out sugar and prevent plaque buildup. 20 minutes after you finish your soda, give your teeth a thorough brushing to fully get rid of any lingering sugar or acid.

Schedule an Appointment

The best way to keep your teeth healthy is by checking in with your dentist regularly. To meet with Drs. Struby and Smith and learn more, contact our Reno office by calling or filling out our online form.