Most people have heard horror stories of someone getting a painful root canal treatment. Hopefully by understanding what a root canal is, you will be more at ease if you ever need to have this treatment done.
First, what is inside your tooth? Inside teeth is a soft material called pulp that contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. If this pulp becomes infected, it can cause extreme toothache. In some cases, that infection might require root canal therapy.
What is a root canal? Nerves enter at the tip of the tooth’s roots and run through the center of the tooth in small, thin root canals, which join up in the pulp chamber. Injury or trauma to a tooth may cause the pulp to become inflamed or infected; eventually, the pulp may die. Damaged or dead pulp leads to increased blood flow and cellular activity, creating pressure inside the tooth that cannot be relieved. This may result in pain when biting down or chewing with the affected tooth, or when consuming hot or cold drinks. Without treatment, the infection may spread, the bone around the tooth may degenerate. Sometimes infection can lead to more severe medical issues.
What is root canal therapy?
Root canal therapy is a procedure to remove damaged or dead pulp. After the pulp chamber and root canal are cleaned out and reshaped, the canal is filled with a rubber-like substance called gutta percha to prevent recontamination, and the tooth is permanently sealed. Treatment usually involves one to three appointments. After cleaning and reshaping, the tooth is sealed with a temporary crown, leave it open to drain or fill the canals, depending on the tooth’s condition. A topical medication also may be applied in the area to fight bacteria. Finally, the area is permanently sealed and a crown is placed over the tooth to reinforce its structure and improve its appearance.
How will I feel after treatment?
Tissue inflammation in the area may cause some discomfort. This usually can be controlled with over-the-counter pain relievers. Aftercare includes maintaining regular visits with your dentist, brushing and flossing your teeth and avoiding chewing hard foods with the treated tooth. Sometimes it may take several weeks for the symptom to dissipate.
Are there any potential complications?
On rare occasions, new infections may occur. This happens for a variety of reasons, including an undetected crack in the root of the tooth, a defective restoration or the breakdown of an inner sealing material. In these cases, additional follow-up and treatment may be necessary.
Are there any alternatives to root canal therapy?
The only alternative to root canal therapy is extraction of the infected tooth. This can eventually cause the surrounding teeth to move, which may result in a bad bite that ultimately requires an implant or bridge. It’s always best to keep your original tooth if possible, and root canal therapy allows you to do so.
If you or someone you know has a painful tooth, don't delay in seeking treatment. Usually anesthetic works better if you are not already symptomatic. Do not hesitate to give us a call today at 360-426-4712. We, Shelton Dental Excellence, are here to help you!
Posted on 03 Dec 2018 by Mary Huang, D.D.S.
Dental emergency can occur unexpectedly. If you’re experiencing a dental emergency, it’s important to call your dentist right away. Below, we have listed some common dental emergency and tips on how to take care of the problem.
Take an over-the-counter pain reliever to ease the pain. However, never put the pill directly on the aching tooth. You can also apply an ice pack to the sore area. Never delay seeing a dental professional if you have swelling as this can be life threatening.
A broken or chipped tooth can be painful and/or unsightly. But it can usually be saved. Contact your dentist and let them know what happened.
Knocked out tooth
If a tooth is knocked out, it should be put back in place quickly (within 10 minutes), chances are good it can take root again. However, after 2 hours, the chances decrease dramatically. If the tooth looks clean, try putting it back in the socket. However, if that’s not possible, put the tooth in a container of cold milk and contact your dentist immediately to have it replaced.
Tongue or lip that’s been badly bitten
If the lip is swollen, apply an ice pack to reduce the swelling. If your tongue is bleeding, press down on the bleeding part to stop it. If bleeding persists, visit your emergency room immediately.
Object stuck between teeth
Use dental floss to gently remove the stuck object. Never use a sharp object to poke between your teeth. If you are unable to remove the object, contact your dentist.
If you lose a filling, apply a piece of chewed, softened sugarless gum to the tooth where the filling was lost and contact your dentist right away. Chances are that if a filling breaks off, it is most likely due to decay so don’t delay in getting the tooth treated.
Your well being is our number one priority and we will do everything possible to ensure you receive appropriate treatment.
If you’re experiencing a dental emergency, contact us at Shelton Dental Excellence for Emergency Dental Care in Shelton today at (360) 426-4712.
Posted on 02 Aug 2018 by Mary Huang, D.D.S.
Want whiter teeth?
Want whiter teeth?
Tired of your stained teeth? You are not alone! In this article, we will discuss the common causes of stained teeth and ways to improve.
Why did my teeth change color? Overtime, our teeth are exposed to many extrinsic factors. These are usually food, beverage, tobacco. Some other factors are intrinsic such as trauma, aging, and medications. With proper flossing and brushing and tobacco cessation, stains should be minimized. Trauma and aging can make teeth darker since dentin, which is the second yellow layer, often shows through the enamel. Some medications such as antibiotics and chemotherapy meds can cause darker teeth.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work? Teeth whitening is a simple process. Whitening products contain either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These bleaches break stains into smaller pieces, which makes the color less concentrated and your teeth brighter.
There are several ways to help with lightening your teeth color. One of them is over the counter whitening strips. These have the least amount of whitening agents. They are good for very mild whitening. The second method is custom made bleaching trays that you can apply whitening gel and wear at your convenience. The third method, which is chairside whitening, is the most effective.
Does whitening always work? No. Before you decide on which method to choose, it is important to check with your dental health provider. Sometimes staining can be due to decay or much worse. Also, sometimes you may need more than whitening, such as restorative fillings, crowns, or veneers for you to achieve the desired look.
If you are interested in having a brighter smile, please contact us at Shelton Dental Excellence. We are only a phone call away!
Posted on 18 Apr 2018 by Mary Huang, D.D.S.
How do you brush?!
Let’s start the new year with prevention to help you achieve a healthy smile. Having a health mouth leads to health body and happier life.
Brushing and Flossing
To keep your teeth and gums healthy, it’s essential to brush at least twice and floss at least once a day. When brushing, it is important to take your time and spend at least two minutes brushing. You should be brushing after every meal to minimize plaque buildup. Doing so helps to prevent oral health diseases, such as tooth decay and gum disease.
Quality over quantity. It is important to correctly brush ones teeth. Follow the steps below as a guide.
Step 1: Hold the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle with the soft bristles facing towards your teeth. Massage the gums and teeth using a gentle, up and down, circular motion. The key is to be gentle.
Step 2: Make sure you clean all the tooth's surfaces, including the chewing surface, and on the sides.
Step 3: Take your time and make sure you brush for a minimum of 2-3 minutes.
Step 4: Change up your brushing pattern from time to time. This will ensure you don't miss the same spots.
Step 5: Choose a soft bristled toothbrush that can fit comfortably in your mouth. Your toothbrush should be replaced every 3 months to keep the bristles fresh.
How to floss properly
Step 1: Wind up some floss approximately the length from your shoulder to your finger. Wrap the floss around your index or middle fingers, leaving roughly a couple inches of space between your hands.
Step 2: Holding it tightly, slide the floss between your teeth using a sawing motion. Scrape under your gumline by curving the floss into a C shape.
Step 3: Floss both sides of the tooth and don't forget to floss your last molars as well. Make sure you use a new section of the floss so it stays clean.
Step 4: Floss before you brush - It's more effective this way.
Bottom line is brushing quality is better than brushing quantity. Sonicare or Oral B electric toothbrushes can help achieve this easily too since sometimes manual brushing can be challenging.
Keep in mind, though, that cleaning your teeth is what you do at home and it is important. But regular dental visits is imperative to prevent any future painful problems.
We, the dentist and team at Shelton Dental Excellence, are happy to help guide you to a better oral health. Give us a call today at 360-426-4712!
Posted on 16 Jan 2018 by Mary Huang, D.D.S.
Straight talk about crooked teeth!
Do you ever wish for straighter teeth but don't want all those metal braces? Are your teeth sensitive, chipping, hard to keep clean? These are just some of the problems that can occur with abnormal tooth/teeth alignment.
Misaligned teeth can lead to premature wear, gum disease, tooth loss, and buildup of bacteria associated with bigger problems, including heart disease!
With crowded teeth, it's hard to remove plaque and bacteria. This can lead to inflamed gums, soft tissue damage, receding gums, pockets between teeth and gums, bone loss and maybe tooth loss. Early signs of gum disease are red gums, bleeding when brushing or flossing, and bad breath.
The good news is that you can correct your misalignment with Invisalign. It is a clear tray that you wear so it is more comfortable than traditional metal and bracket braces.
When your teeth are straightened, the health benefits are clear. It is easier to brush and floss around properly straightened teeth, and you are less likely to have pockets between gums and teeth that trap bacteria. Straighter teeth can help reduce risk of tooth chipping, breaking, and wear which can require expensive procedures to repair.
Give us a call at 360-426-4712 to see if you are a good candidate for Invisalign? The doctors at Shelton Dental Excellence are trained to help you get started on your journey toward properly aligned teeth and better overall health.
Posted on 18 Oct 2017 by Mary Huang, D.D.S.
Summer Dental Tips
Summer is just around the corner, even if it doesn't feel like it. The kids are out of school. Everyone is busy enjoying activities outside. Although it's important to have fun, physical activity, we should still keep in mind to stay safe.
Parents can be prepared for the worst by following these tips:
According to the Academy of General Dentistry, many of the summer mouth injuries dentists treat are due to a pool accident. Running on slippery pool decks, diving into shallow waters or bumping the pool ledge with their mouth causes many children to either chip or knock a tooth loose.
It is a wise idea to arm yourself with knowledge in case of emergency. Obviously best thing to do is to get to your dentist as soon as possible. Other ways is to use warm water and cold packs first, to clean the area and reduce swelling, respectively. Use of gauze can control bleeding. If possible, put the lost permanent tooth back in the mouth. If not, use salt water or milk to keep it moist for the ride to the dentist.
When going on vacation, it's a good idea to have dental emergency kit with you. Some essentials to pack are a handkerchief, gauze, a small container with a lid, ibuprofen and your dentist's contact information.
Summer is great but remember to stay safe and not forget about your oral hygiene either. If there's anything we can help, please call Shelton Dental Excellence at 360-426-4712.
Posted on 19 Jun 2017 by Mary Huang, D.D.S.
Diabetes and Teeth
Do you have diabetes or know someone who does?
Diabetes can wreak havoc in our body. This is the same for our mouth. Studies have found that diabetes and oral health are linked. If your diabetes is not well controlled, you can have more cavities, gum infections, and gum disease.
If you have diabetes, these tips can help:
-Make sure to control your blood glucose.
-Brush and floss every day.
-Visit your dentist regularly. Be sure to tell your dentist that you have diabetes.
-Tell your dentist if your dentures (false teeth) do not fit right, or if your gums are sore.
-Quit smoking. Smoking makes gum disease worse.
-Uncontrolled diabetes can cause more cavities and gum infections.
We, at Shelton Dental Excellence, are here to help prevent problems for you. If it’s been more than six months since your last check-up, schedule one now by calling 360-426-4712.
Posted on 18 Apr 2017 by Mary Huang, D.D.S.
Remember those putty impressions?
Remember those putty impressions? If you have ever been to a dentist, chances are, you will remember! Putty impressions are used for all sorts of dental procedures, ranging from nightguard, crowns, braces, etc. And it can be a hassle for patients, not to mention the taste!
However, with the advent of technology, Invisalign has released a new digital scanning machine. It is called the iTero. This new technology allows your teeth to be digitally scanned with a small mouth camera. You can instantaneously see your teeth. This also allows for a more accurate crown and nightguards to be made. We are all very excited about this new technology. This will also help patients see their teeth at chairside and understand why a procedure is needed to help maintain a healthy smile for themselves.
We, at Shelton Dental Excellence, are here to serve you. Give us a call today at 360-426-4712 to see how we can help.
Posted on 27 Mar 2017 by Mary Huang, D.D.S.
My gums are shrinking!
Have you ever looked in the mirror and noticed that your teeth looked longer? Does it seem like your gums are shrinking? This condition is called recession—many adults have it. Let’s look at some of the causes and what you can do about it.
During your exam at Shelton Dental Excellence, we will do measurements to check for periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is not just gum problem but also can cause bone loss around your teeth. Dental professionals take recession measurements to see how much attached gingiva is present. This is the kind of tissue that is most resilient to infection.
The more recession, the less attached gingiva. The less attached gingiva, the less bone support. The less bone support, the higher your chances of tooth loss. It is a domino effect!
Don’t lose hope. The effect can be halted once you know the cause of your recession.
Do you ever wake up with your jaw clenched, and/or a headache that originates just above your ears? Clenching or grinding your teeth can cause recession. When there is added stress on a tooth, it flexes at the gum line.
Over time this causes microscopic breaks in the enamel and then a notch appears. The gum line is forced to move away from its original position. If this is something you see in your mouth, we can discuss the possibility of an occlusal guard at your next visit.
How do you brush your teeth? Do you brush in a straight line or circles? What kind of bristles do you use? Are the bristles on your toothbrush frayed? Generally hard and medium bristles are not friendly on your gums.
When you brush in a circle, you are sweeping all along the gum line, removing the plaque from most angles. When you brush in a straight line, you may often miss the concave portion of the gums. This leaves plaque behind and leads to gingivitis. Whenever gingivitis occurs, the body attacks supporting structures like bone while trying to get rid of the infection. This is periodontal disease, which can cause recession.
Recession may also result from an irritant on the gums, such as a bar from a partial denture or orthodontic appliance (braces).
Gums do not “grow back.” The most common treatment for advanced recession is a tissue graft. There are many different kinds of tissue grafts. This is usually done with periodontist.
Other factors can cause recession. If you think recession is happening in your mouth, schedule an appointment with Dr. Song Guo or Dr. Mary Huang to discuss your options, so you can make the appropriate treatment choice.
Give our Shelton office a call today to see how we can help you! 360-426-4712
Posted on 20 Jan 2017 by Mary Huang, D.D.S.
Do you like to eat?
As you get older, your may be preoccupied with your body health. However, keeping your teeth healthy is an equally important part of the aging process. Older adults are at increased risk for a variety of oral health conditions, which makes it essential for you to speak with your dentist to create a prevention plan that best suits you.
Just as the rest of your body continues to change as you age, your mouth changes, too. Certain conditions become more likely to develop as you get older, including:
Dry mouth. Although your salivary glands continue to produce saliva as you age, medications and chronic health problems often can cause dry mouth.
Root cavity. Your teeth have lasted you a lifetime, but improper nutrition and/or cleaning may lead to decay at the roots.
Diminished sense of taste. Your eyesight and hearing aren’t the only senses affected by aging. Your taste buds naturally diminish over the course of adulthood.
Tissue inflammation. Do you have tender gums? Does your gum bleed? Tissue inflammation may indicate gum disease or may be a consequence of wearing dentures that don’t fit well. Gum disease is also linked to heart problems and diabetes.
Oral cancer. Cancer risk increases with age. Oral cancer is no exception. Older adults are at increased chance for oral cancer compared to younger individuals.
Ways you can prevent dental problems
Fortunately, many age-related oral health problems are preventable. Begin by improving your diet to include plenty of fruits and vegetables. Choosing water over coffee or soda will keep your teeth whiter and free of decay. Also remember to practice good brushing habits to prevent cavities and gum disease.
Visiting the dentist at least twice a year is vitally important as you get older. Your dentist may be the first person to notice a sore, discolored patch, inflammation, or other abnormality that indicates oral cancer or gum disease.
If you’re experiencing any problems with dental health, let your dentist know immediately. We know most people enjoy eating, so keep your teeth healthy. They will help you enjoy your food longer!
For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please give us a call at our convenient Shelton, WA office!
At Shelton Dental Excellence, we strive to keep you healthy!
Posted on 27 Apr 2016 by Mary Huang, D.D.S.
National Children's Dental Health Month
We recommend that you bring your child to see us by age 1. Why? First, getting your child accustomed to seeing the dentist helps them stay relaxed and at ease. We want to build a good relationship with your child, and we make sure your kids – and you – feel safe and comfortable. Beginning routine exams early helps us discover and treat problems in their early stages when damage is minimal and restorations can be kept smaller. We may also suggest that x-rays be taken to check for cavities and see how the teeth and jaws are developing. Furthermore, preventive cleanings, sealants, and fluoride also help keep teeth healthy.
But they are just baby teeth! Yes, adult teeth will eventually replace those baby teeth. But that does not mean that they are disposable. New teeth can take a long time to grow in to replace a lost tooth – sometimes even years, and the remaining teeth can shift and move to fill in the gap. Gaps can also cause discomfort and affect your child’s confidence, along with her growth and development. Preventing those gaps can help save on orthodontic treatments in the future. Also healthy baby teeth help kids chew properly to get nutrients and also to help with speech development.
So don't neglect those baby teeth! Get your kids in for a dental visit. Give us a call to see how we can help!
Posted on 15 Feb 2016 by Mary Huang, D.D.S.
What's a sealant? Why does my child need it?!
Our chewing teeth, the molars, are made up of deep pits and grooves that are perfect breeding ground for decay. The protective solution is a sealant. When done correctly, a sealant can be most effective in preventing cavities, especially if you do not think you or your child is brushing those molars sufficiently!
A sealant is made up of white composite material that contains bonding agents to seal to the pits and grooves. Sealants placed on the chewing surfaces of back teeth prevent food from trapping inside those pits. The process in which a sealant is placed is painless.
First the tooth is polished with a prophy paste. Then an acid etch is applied to “roughen up” the surface. No saliva is to touch the tooth. The sealant is placed and guided through all the caverns, pits, fissures, and grooves. It is then cured with a special light, which makes it the sealant set and adhere to the tooth.
Sealants can last for several years. It is a good idea to have them examined on a semi-annual basis. If there is a break in the sealant, there will be a high risk for cavity to develop. If a sealant is damaged, repair is important and simple, painless, and quick to complete.
Who can benefit from sealants? Everyone and anyone! Children often receive sealants as routine preventive care. Adults with deep canyons with stained grooves on their teeth can also benefit from a sealant. The process is quick, painless, and no numbing is needed! It is an effective way to decrease future dental restorative costs.
Sealants are low cost investment that can garner great benefits as they can prevent future cavity from forming. Our Shelton Dental Excellence team is available to answer your questions so give us a call today!
Posted on 16 Dec 2015 by Mary Huang, D.D.S.
Sleep Apnea linked to cancer? Yes!
Heard of sleep apnea? How about snoring? Does your significant other’s snoring keep you up at night?
Sleep apnea is not just about snoring and not been able to get a good night’s rest. It is a disorder that causes snoring, fatigue, and dangerous gaps in breathing at night due to throat muscles collapsing. Since sleep apnea can decrease air circulation or even worse, completely cut it off, sleep apnea is something that we should not take lightly.
Multiple studies have concluded that people with sleep apnea are five times more likely to develop cancer. In fact, one of the studies found that people with the most severe forms of sleep apnea had a 65 percent greater risk of developing cancer of any kind.
Researchers believe this could be due to the body lacking enough oxygen, a condition known as hypoxemia. When people are deprived of oxygen, their bodies react by producing more blood vessels, which can feed cancer cells, and as a result cause tumors to grow and spread.
Approximately 28 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, with many cases going undiagnosed. This is due to most cancer patients not mentioning any sleep problems they experience unless their physician asks them.
There are solutions to sleep apnea. Patients can be treated using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, which produces a stream of air to keep the upper airways open while you sleep. An oral appliance may be another option if CPAP therapy isn’t an option. If you have sleep apnea or suspect that you have, we are here to help you understand all of your treatment options, finding one that best fits your needs.
If you think you may have sleep apnea, please give us a call at our Shelton, WA office to schedule a consultation.
Posted on 12 Oct 2015 by Mary Huang, D.D.S.
Do you know someone who has suffered a stroke?
When a loved one suffers a stroke, it’s understandably scary for them and their loved ones. And often things do not get any easier in the recovery process. According to the National Caregivers Library, many stroke sufferers experience weakness or even paralysis, difficulties speaking, problems eating, and more.
These effects are difficult for both the patient and their caregiver to handle. Fortunately, there are many resources available for caregivers that can help in this difficult process. After seeing a family member suffer a stroke, I decided to do some research. Here are few important advices that I found:
One of the most important thing is to remember dental care. Of course, dental hygiene is important, but with everything else going on following a loved one’s stroke, you may not remember to keep oral health in mind. One of the many aspects of having a stroke is “facial palsy and lack of sensation”, which can contribute to dental problems. It is recommended to look into assistive dental care devices to help ensure your loved one is receiving the proper teeth cleaning they need. For example, power toothbrushes or toothbrushes with larger more ergonomic handles can help ensure their teeth are getting a good cleaning.
Daily exercise is a must. Especially if they’re experiencing difficulty moving one of their limbs, your loved one may not be too keen on the idea of exercise following their stroke. However, daily walks, even if it’s for 10 minutes, can help benefit the body and the mind.
Watch for signs of depression. Here’s something else I wasn’t aware of prior to my family member’s stroke: as WebMD.com notes 30 – 50 percent of stroke sufferers go on to have depression. Be sure you know the signs of depression and be on the look out for them. And this is another great reason to emphasize the need for exercise as it has been shown to help people who suffer from depression.
Be a source of encouragement. Know that this is a difficult time for your loved one. In many cases, they’re having to adjust to a completely different way of life. These tips on stroke recovery support suggest that you attend some of your loved one’s rehabilitation sessions so that you can encourage them as they progress through their treatment. Those words of praise will go a long way.
Foremost, be kind and patient.
Posted on 02 Sep 2015 by Mary Huang, D.D.S.
Do you want your teeth to go to pot?
You may wonder why is your dental provider talking about pot? It's not news that marijuana is now legal in the state of Washington. My concern isn’t the issue of ethics, legality or right to use marijuana. I’m worried that many people don’t realize the risks of the use of marijuana, as it relates to their health. As a concerned dentist for your oral health, I feel a need to talk about an association of periodontal disease to the use of marijuana.
Periodontal disease (an inflammatory infection in your gums and bone) is a silent disease. Sometimes, you might feel some achiness, but otherwise, this gum disease does not manifest itself until you develop an abscess. At that point, it may be too late to save your tooth or teeth.
What you may not know is periodontal disease is associated with heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, low birth weight babies, early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s, ED, smoking and more. Your mouth is the gateway to your body.
Posted on 28 Jul 2015 by Mary Huang, D.D.S.
WHY “JUST GETTING A CLEANING” MAY NOT BE IN YOUR BEST INTEREST HEART DISEASE AND ORAL HEALTH
Gum disease (periodontitis) and heart disease share similar factors that include: Smoking, excess weight, and poor diet. Another interesting fact is that over 90% of heart disease patients also have periodontitis.
Periodontitis often starts out silently. It can go undetected by you until it causes the gums to become inflamed and swell. You may notice this when you are brushing and your gums are bleeding. As plaque, bacteria, and inflammation build along the gum line, fatty plaque can dislodge, and along with bacteria, gradually enter the blood stream. Once in the bloodstream, plaque attaches to blood vessels causing a blockage of blood flow, which can eventually lead to high blood pressure, heart attack, or stroke.
If you have heart disease or if someone in your family does, it is important to talk to your dental providers. You will also want to pay attention to changes in your oral health and maintain a thorough dental care routine that includes brushing and flossing after meals.
At Shelton Dental Excellence, we want our patients to not only have a healthy mouth, but we also care about our patients overall health. Ask us how we can help.
Posted on 02 Jun 2015 by Mary Huang, D.D.S.
Are those baby teeth really important? They are going to fall out anyways!
Do you ever wonder when is the best time to bring your child in for a dental visit? When to start using toothpaste on your child? Are those baby teeth really important? They are going to fall out anyways!
As a mother of two year old, I certainly understand and welcome these questions and concerns.
Many parents may not know their 1-year-olds are ready for their first dental checkup, as recommended by the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
These dental visits could prove especially beneficial for children who drink liquids other than water. Acids and sugars in juices, formulas and breast milk can all lead to decay. Visiting the dentist at age 1 helps spot early signs of decay and cavities in baby teeth. It could also help put a major dent in childhood oral disease, which affects an estimated 2.5 million children nationwide and often results in lifelong problems that are painful, expensive and not just limited to the mouth.
The age-1 visit won't just involve the child – parents also participate, typically holding the child while the dentist takes a look inside the child's mouth. The dentist will then spend time discussing proper eating and tooth-care habits with parents to help head the child in the right direction, so future dental visits aren't so scary!
If you are ready to start your little one down a healthy dental path, we welcome that you contact us at 360-426-4712.