Associated Dental Specialists

What is an Apioectomy?

api what There are times when root canal therapy simply isn’t enough to clean out all of the infected tissue. If this is the case, you may be in need of an apicoectomy. What’s that you may ask? Let me tell you!

An apicoectomy will only be considered after the patient has already undergone a root canal and does not have the option of retreatment. The procedure can also be referred to as endodontic microsurgery, because it is often performed under a microscope. The up close and personal approach allows for the endodontist to see the area more clearly and increases the chance of a successful procedure.

During standard root canal treatment, we clean the canals, which allows for blood and nerve vessels to travel to the pulp chamber, and we remove the infected tissue. Root canals can be very complicated, for there are many branches off of the main canal, and sometimes hard-to-reach, infected tissue can remain in these branches. This could possibly prevent healing or could cause the pulp to get infected again. This is why patients who need retreatment may be the perfect candidates for endodontic microsurgery, or an apicoectomy.

In an apicoectomy, the root tip and infected tissue are removed and a filling is placed over the root tip. Your endodontist will then place a few stitches in the gums to allow for healing. A few weeks after the procedure, your bone will heal around the root tip.

This is a safe and effective procedure and is only recommended when root canal retreatment is no longer an option. We want to do everything we can to preserve your natural tooth for as long as possible!

Please call us today to find out more about what endodontists do and get your tooth pain taken care of, once and for all! McKnight Road / North Hills Phone Number (412) 367-4800

5 Tips for a Healthier Smile

woman smiling with fruit

Sometimes we skip a tooth brushing every now and then, which may seem like no big deal. While, in the grand scheme of things, it may seem like missing a tooth brushing here in there isn’t the end of the world, it may lead to unhealthy dental habits, which eventually could result in serious dental damage! By adopting healthy, regular dental habits, you can lower your chance of tooth decay and cavities. Here are some helpful tips towards a healthy, happier smile!

Brush and Floss Regularly:

You should brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and floss once. If you want to have impeccable oral hygiene, you may also brush your teeth after each meal or snack. If brushing isn’t a post-meal option for you, thoroughly rinsing your mouth with water will help as well.

Use Mouthwash:

Using mouthwash twice a day after brushing is a great way wash away leftover bacteria and give your mouth that super clean feel.

Eat Tooth-healthy Foods:

Believe it or not, there are certain foods that are good for your teeth and will help to strengthen them and fight against bacteria and plaque build-up. Some foods that will benefit your dental health include but are not limited to: fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, unsweetened coffee, tea, and sugar-free gum.

Make Routine Dental Visits:

Professional teeth cleanings and dental check-ups should be scheduled for every six months. If you have a history of dental issues, or if you know you need special attention, visiting your dentist more often than every six months may be best for you.

Consider Dental Sealants:

During your next dental visit, ask about dental sealants. Dental sealants will seal up small grooves and nooks in your teeth, preventing bacteria build-up in those hard to reach places. They can also help prevent tooth decay and can last up to ten years with proper dental care!

If you have any questions about your oral health, please give us a call at McKnight Road / North Hills Phone Number (412) 367-4800.

Knock Out

knock knock

Situation: You just experienced a dental injury and one of your teeth got knocked out. Now what? Don’t worry – you are not alone. More than five million teeth get knocked out each year. The trick is to know what to do when it happens.

Here is a list we put together of all the things you should do when experiencing a dental emergency.

Call our office and say you are experiencing a dental emergency. The sooner you can get seen, the better. It is recommended to see a dental professional within 30 minutes of your injury if possible.

  1. Act quickly. To save your tooth, you must move quickly. The longer you take to see us, the harder it will be for us to save your tooth.
  2. Locate your tooth that was knocked out. Make sure when you find the tooth to grab it by crown and not the root. Handle with care!
  3. If it’s dirty, gently wash it with water. Don’t use soap or chemicals of any kind. Don’t scrub the tooth or wrap it in any material.
  4. Try to put the tooth back in its rightful place. This might sound strange, use your fingers to gently push the tooth slowly back into its socket. Hold it in place with your finger or gently bite down on the tooth.
  5. Keep the tooth moist at all times! If your tooth is staying in its socket, don’t mess with it. If it won’t stay, either keep it in the side of your cheek (don’t swallow it), or keep it in a glass of milk.
  6. Visit our office, bring your tooth and we will take care of the rest.

Experiencing a dental emergency can be scary. Try to keep these things in mind and remember to remain calm. We are here to help you – call us at McKnight Road / North Hills Phone Number (412) 367-4800.

Oral Health- A Mouth-Body Connection

Lady smiling and pointing at smile

You may have heard the saying that the eyes are the window to the soul, but did you know that the mouth is the window to overall health? When you think about health goals you may picture the gym and kale smoothies, but oral hygiene is just as important.

By taking a look inside your mouth, your dentist can tell many things about your overall health. An unhealthy mouth can be a sign of an unhealthy body, and many oral conditions can be a sign of serious underlying health problems.

Protecting your oral health is a positive step towards a healthy body. A few simple steps can be taken to preserve your oral health.

– Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes. Brushing and flossing your teeth keep them and your gums clean and healthy. Regular brushing and flossing reduces plaque build-up that can lead to gum disease and other periodontal diseases.
– Scheduling check-ups and cleanings with your dentist. Visiting your dentist every six months is vital to your oral health and can prevent oral related problems such as gum disease and tooth decay from developing. Your dentist will perform an examination of your mouth and can give you recommendations on how to improve your oral health.
– A healthy diet and exercise. Regular light exercise can help reduce the risk of periodontal disease. Coupled with a balanced diet, your body will be able to get the nutrients needed for a healthy body.

This year, be sure to add oral health goals to your list of resolutions – your teeth and your body will thank you!

What to Expect After a Root Canal

Root Canal

A root canal is a procedure that saves a natural tooth that has become decayed or infected. Your endodontist will remove the tooth’s nerve and pulp (the tissue inside the teeth) and will clean and seal the tooth, therefore halting any more decay. Root canal procedures are often very effective in saving natural teeth.

Do I Need a Root Canal?

Without treatment, an infected tooth can worsen and may need removal, or sometimes can cause abscesses. Abscesses are pus-filled pockets that occur when the decay and bacteria has spread beyond the tooth’s roots. It’s important to address an infection before an abscess occurs!

Is a Root Canal Painful?

After a root canal procedure, some tenderness and soreness may occur in the area surrounding the infected tooth. It is normal to experience some pain and swelling, which typically goes down with time and proper care. Most people experience at least some discomfort post root canal procedure.

Root Canal: A Two Step Procedure

A root canal is a two-step procedure – a final crown needs to be placed over the tooth in order to seal it from any further infection or decay. While you are recovering from the initial visit, it is important to remember to take good care of the tooth before the crown visit, because the tooth is fragile and can easily break. Once the tooth crown is placed, the restored tooth can last as long as your natural teeth!

Preventing a Root Canal

Ways to prevent further root canals include: practicing good oral hygiene by properly brushing and flossing, seeing your dentist regularly for teeth cleanings and check-ups, and avoiding foods high in sugar, starch and acid – which contributes to increased tooth decay.

How to Keep Your Gums Healthy

Lady smiling Keeping your gums healthy is vital to ensuring that your mouth stays clean and your teeth stay intact and in pristine condition. This blog will focus on the best ways to make sure your gums stay healthy in order to prevent gum disease and keep your smile shining bright for years to come.

1) Floss, Floss, Floss

Flossing is one of the easiest and most effective steps you can take to fight against gum disease and keep your gums healthy. Flossing once a day helps clean those areas in between your teeth which are hard for your toothbrush to reach.

2) Brush and Rinse

Brushing twice a day is the most commonly preached method of keeping your mouth fresh and clean. It is also a good idea to rinse your mouth with antiseptic mouthwash twice a day in order to protect your gums. Rinsing with mouthwash is a great way to thoroughly clean your mouth, because it reaches areas that your toothbrush and floss can’t reach.

3) Use the Right Toothpaste

Choosing the right toothpaste is important to keeping your gums healthy. Make sure to grab a toothpaste that contains fluoride in order to get the best results when brushing. Also make sure to look for the ADA seal of acceptance in order to ensure that you’re getting a toothpaste backed by experts at the ADA!

4) Regular Dentist Checkups

Visiting your dentist twice a year is extremely important in preventing diseases and ensuring that your teeth remain healthy and clean. Your dentist will be able to see early symptoms of gum disease and is the only way for you to get rid of tartar and plaque which are stuck to your teeth and can have a negative impact on your gums if not cleaned.

These four steps can help you significantly improve the health of your gums and reduce your risk of gum disease. If you have any more questions about how to keep your gums healthy or how to prevent gum disease, give Associated Dental Specialists a call at McKnight Road / North Hills Phone Number (412) 367-4800 today!

Beyond Root Canal Therapy: Other Treatments in Endodontics

Tooth Surely you know what a root canal is. But have you ever heard of an “apicoectomy”? As endodontists, we are always trying to get to the root of the problem, but the methods vary sometimes from case to case. So move over for just a few minutes, root canal, while we give these other endodontic treatments a moment in the spotlight:

Apicoectomy:

A type of endodontic surgery, apicoectomy (pronounced “ape-icko-ectomy”) focuses on the “apex” (the tip), of the tooth root. The procedure is used when root canal treatment alone isn’t sufficient to adequately fix a diseased tooth. By accessing the tip of the root area through the gums, we are able to detect any hidden fractures or canals that are still causing tooth pain. We then remove the root apex and seal it to complete the procedure.

Endodontic Retreatment:

Endodontic retreatment refers to a second root canal treatment, when the first wasn’t adequate in fully removing the infection. It is not common to have to undergo retreatment, but it does happen. If pain persists in a tooth months or years after root canal treatment, it often means that there were hidden canals that need further treatment to fully resolve the infection and save the tooth.

Cracked Teeth:

Because a cracked tooth often means infection in the roots, endodontists are often the first to treat and assess a broken or cracked tooth. There are many different types of fractures in a tooth, from a full split down the middle to a cracked crown. Each requires quick professional action in order to save the tooth, which must be sealed (and in some cases the root pulp must be removed).

Pulpotomy:

Often referred to as a “baby root canal” because it is often the treatment of choice in children with severe decay, a pulpotomy typically removes just the diseased pulp (as opposed all of it) in hopes of leaving the healthy pulp sterilized and in tact for further use within the natural tooth.

Internal Bleaching:

Infected or dead teeth can often appear darker than healthy teeth. Because this type of discoloration is internal, it requires a different type of teeth whitening than what most patients are used to. With internal bleaching, we perform a root canal to remove infected pulp and then place a whitening material inside the tooth to dissolve the stained material.

Have you always wondered what endodontists do? Please browse our website or call us at McKnight Road / North Hills Phone Number (412) 367-4800 for more information.

4 Foods That Can Cause Dental Emergencies

Dental Emergency Every day, we have patients visit our office for help with a dental emergency. A lot of these emergencies are caused by biting into foods that are too hard, resulting in a cracked tooth, loss of a filling or a broken dental crown.

To avoid a painful and inconvenient dental emergency, here are some foods you should avoid (or be extra cautions while eating):

Popcorn
As delicious as this buttery snack may be, it’s not as innocent as it seems. The husks can get wedged between your teeth or underneath your gums causing a popcorn abscess. Be sure to floss after you eat popcorn to avoid that from happening. However, the true culprits here are the kernels. If you grab a large handful of popcorn and don’t know that a kernel is hiding in the middle, all it takes is one chomp down and oops! there goes your tooth! The next time you eat popcorn, chew slowly to avoid those kernels and enjoy the fluffy buttery goodness that is on top.

Almonds
You might be surprised by this fact: As nutritious as almonds can be, they also cause a lot of chips, fractures and cracks in teeth. Instead of eating the almond whole, try slivered or sliced versions, which make them softer and easier to chew.

Carmel Candies
Yes, this delicious and chewy candy seems harmless with its soft exterior, but it can cause issues with your teeth. When you chew down, the candies wedge between your teeth and pull out any loose dental work/restorations that you have had. Other candies that have the same sticky qualities are starburst and taffy. They might be hard to resist, but doing so is key to avoiding dental emergencies.

Ice Cubes
You might find this strange but many people love to chew on an ice cube on a hot day. But before you put an ice cube in your month, imagine chewing on a rock, which would basically have the same effect as ice. Ice is hard on enamel, and can easily crack and break teeth.

These are just a few kitchen items that you should avoid if you want to save your teeth. Some foods may be more tempting than others, but at the end of the day, one little snack isn’t worth a busted tooth!

If you experience a dental emergency, call our office at McKnight Road / North Hills Phone Number (412) 367-4800 to schedule an appointment.

Better Breakfast for a Better Smile

Breakfast Options Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. It kick starts your body and provides you with enough energy to make it through your hectic morning as well as keep your mind focused on the task at hand. Eating a balanced breakfast is not only good for you body, but also good for your teeth. Being mindful of the acidity and sugar levels in your food is key to keeping your teeth in tip-top shape!

When it comes to breakfast foods, there are a few foods we recommend eating in moderation! These include, but are not limited to, orange juice and sugary cereals. Orange juice has a very high acidity and by drinking too much, the acid can wear down your tooth enamel. Cereals that are high in sugar have a similar effect on your teeth, but the sugar can also cause cavities.

Eating a balanced breakfast that is low in sugar and acid, but high in protein will make your body and teeth feel great! Protein rich foods will help to build up your enamel and keep your teeth stronger than ever.

Here are a few recipe ideas for a healthy and balanced breakfast:

Overnight Oats:

o 1/3 cup of oats
o 1/3 cup of milk (or substitute almond, soy, coconut, etc.)
o 1/3 cup of plain Greek Yogurt
o 1 tbsp chia or flax seeds OR ¼ cup chopped nuts
o Fresh fruit/ berries of your choice!

Mix all of the ingredients together in a sealed container, or mason jar, and place in fridge the night before. Open and enjoy the next morning for a healthy and balanced breakfast!

Avocado Toast:

o 1-2 slices of whole grain toast
o 1 ripe avocado
o 1 egg (cooked to your preference)
o 1 ripe tomato
o Seasonings of your choice (salt & pepper, hot sauce, red pepper flakes, etc.)

Manual, Electric and Sonic Toothbrushes

Tooth BrushWith the many options of toothbrushes available today, we understand that choosing the right one for you can be overwhelming. If you are considering changing your brush style, read more information below about manual, electric and sonic toothbrushes.

Manual Toothbrushes

Manual toothbrushes are the most common type of toothbrushes, available at your local convenience store. Many people choose to opt for the manual toothbrush because it is a much cheaper option compared to the electric and sonic toothbrushes. Studies have shown that there is not a huge difference in using a manual toothbrush vs. an electric/sonic toothbrush, as manually brushing still cleans the surface of your teeth of food debris and plaque. However, manual toothbrushes clean your teeth at a rate of around 300 brush strokes per minute, while electric and sonic toothbrushes operate much faster (see below).

Electric Toothbrushes

Electric brushes operate at a much higher brush stroke rate than manual toothbrushes, with around 3,000 – 6,000 brush strokes per minute. A brush stroke from an electric toothbrush differs from that of a manual toothbrush because it moves much faster in a smaller surface area, using either oscillating or vibrating motions.

Sonic Toothbrushes

Sonic brushes differ from electric brushes slightly in that they vibrate at a much higher frequency, about 30,000 to 40,000 strokes per minute. Sonic toothbrushes have been found to have a slighter higher cleaning rate because they clean harder to reach areas, such as under the gums and in between the teeth. However, while this may be true – nothing compares to flossing in between the teeth. The ADA recommends for adults with arthritis or who have a hard time manually brushing to change to electric or sonic toothbrushes, which increases stability for your hand while brushing.

Whatever option you chose, as long as you are brushing for two minutes twice a day and flossing once, you will be able to effectively keep your teeth clean and healthy! If you have any further questions about the toothbrush for you, give us a call at McKnight Road / North Hills Phone Number (412) 367-4800!