Associated Dental Specialists

3 common questions about root canals

common questions about root canals

You’ve just been told you need a root canal and you’re now left in uncertainty. You’ve heard of them, but what do you really know? If you haven’t had one before, the idea of a root canal can seem a bit intimidating (cue in sweaty palms). All you remember are the rumors and horror stories, but is any of it true? What he said she said might be leading you into an irrational fear of the unknown. Thus, let us ease your anxiety by answering three common questions that will help lay your root canal fears to rest!

1. Why do I need one?

Normally, a root canal becomes necessary when the inside of your tooth (the pulp) becomes inflamed or infected. This can result from: deep decay, repeated dental procedures, faulty crowns, or a simple crack or chip in your tooth. Some popular signs that indicate you may need a root canal are severe tooth pain, sensitivity to hot or cold drinks, discoloration of the problem tooth, and tenderness of the gums.

2. What exactly is the procedure?

Simply put, a root canal is a procedure where we remove the nerve or pulp from the pulp chamber and root canal (the space inside the tooth). The chamber is then shaped and cleaned so it can be filled. Afterwards, it is then sealed with a rubber-like material, and a temporary filling is placed on the tooth to prevent contamination. Since this procedure usually involves more than one visit, the final step of a root canal is when we remove the temporary filling we previously placed and then finish it off by restoring the tooth with a crown or filling.

3. Is the treatment painful?

Thanks to modern technology and anesthesia, a root canal is as simple and painless as having a cavity filled. It’s important to remember that root canals don’t cause pain, they relieve it!

Being well informed is a great way to shed light on a fearful situation. What often seems intimidating, may just be a lack of information. With this new-found knowledge, you can move forward with your procedure with confidence. If you have any other questions about your root canal procedure, or want to learn more, don’t hesitate to call our office at McKnight Road / North Hills Phone Number (412) 367-4800.

Winter Oral Health Tips

winter oral health tips

Winter is here and with it, comes the drastic change of weather! The cold temperatures are fun in theory, but what about the toll it takes on your health? Often times cold weather brings on a variety of pesky problems, like dry skin and irritated throats. But, the problems don’t stop there. In fact, your oral health is also affected by the change of weather. That’s why this season, we put together the ultimate guide on how to keep your oral health in perfect condition this winter season!

Tip #1 – Tooth Sensitivity: Many find that they experience increased tooth sensitivity to cold temperatures. This can not only come from foods, but the chilly air outside too! If you find that you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, there are tons of tricks you can do to help avoid discomfort. These include using a toothpaste specially formulated for sensitive teeth, or even rising out your mouth with salt water!

Tip #2 – Cold Sores: Cold sores can appear for a variety of reasons, including cold weather and a weakened immune system. To prevent a cold sore breakout, start by keeping your hands off of your mouth area! If you do feel a cold sore coming on, immediately apply a topical treatment to the area to stop the infection in its tracks.

Tip #3 – Chapped Lips: Chapped lips is one of the most common ailments of the winter season. To avoid painful cracked lips this season, invest in a good lip salve with SPF+ to keep them protected. In addition, it’s important to mention that your body moisturizes from the inside out, so remember to keep up with your daily water intake to help to keep your lips moisturized!

Tip #4 – Cavity Care: Let’s face it, the best part of the winter season is all the delicious foods! It’s fine to give into temptation and indulge in sweet treats, but just be sure to properly brush and floss afterwards to avoid cavities! In addition, always remember to drink plenty of water to help rinse away food particles and bacteria from your mouth! Incorporating dental friendly foods into your winter diet to help with cavity prevention will also benefit you! Foods such as crunchy fruits and vegetables, cheese and other foods high in calcium, are all perfect for keeping your teeth and gums healthy this winter!

Taking care of your oral health is important. That’s why we want to ensure that your oral health is in tip top shape this season! If you would like to schedule an appointment with our office, give us a call at McKnight Road / North Hills Phone Number (412) 367-4800! In the mean time, stay warm out there!

5 Ways to Protect Your Natural Teeth

5 ways to protect your natural teeth

One of the most important things that you can do to keep your pearly whites all natural is to take preventative measures to ensure longevity. Maintaining a consistent morning and night oral hygiene routine will ensure healthy teeth for years to come.

1. Brushing Twice a Day: Brushing twice a day is one of the most important ways to protect your teeth from bacteria and plaque buildup. Brushing first thing in the morning is a great way to rid your mouth of the bacteria that builds overnight. Avoid cavities by brushing before bed. Nightly brushes remove food debris in your teeth that bacteria would feed on through the night.

2. Limit Sugary Foods: As tempting as it is to indulge in your favorite late-night treats, those unhealthy habits can result in cavities. Sugar buildup feeds the bacteria that cause cavities. There are many healthy substitutions to your sugary craving to limit your sugar intake. Try to opt for a healthier choice, and brush after eating!

3. Floss Daily: Flossing removes food particles stuck between your teeth and relieves your gums from irritating bacteria. Flossing will help prevent gum disease, as well as keep your gums and teeth healthy.

4. Use Fluoridated Toothpaste: Fluoridated toothpaste can play a huge role in preventing tooth decay. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by slowing the breakdown of enamel and increasing the rate of the remineralization process. Using fluoridated toothpaste can help prevent cavities, strengthen weak spots, and prevent early stages of tooth decay.

5. Protect Teeth from Injury: Taking extra precautions when you’re being physically active can help ensure that your natural teeth will stay intact. Whether you’re participating in an extreme sport, or a contact sport with a chance for an injury, make sure you’re prepared with a mouthguard to protect your teeth!

Now that know 5 ways to protect your natural teeth, make them common practice! If you have any questions on how to protect your smile, give our office a call McKnight Road / North Hills Phone Number (412) 367-4800 and book your next appointment today!

5 Foods to Avoid So You Don’t Crack a Tooth

Nothing’s worse than a cracked tooth. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body, but also the most brittle. If you have large restorations or fillings you may be extra susceptible to cracking a tooth if you bite into something unexpected. Below are 5 foods to watch out for that can cause some serious dental damage.

Popcorn
While most of the time soft, popcorn can have hidden hard kernels. One wrong crunch might cause a crack in your tooth that can send you straight to the dentist. While popcorn is a delicious snack, eat it carefully to avoid biting into an unexpected corn kernel!

Candy
A usual suspect when it comes to tooth damage. Candies such as jaw breakers, jolly ranchers, or even lollypops can cause havoc on your teeth. If eaten how they are intended, they may be harmless, but when bitten into the effects can be disastrous. Softer candies such as taffy, starburst, or even jellybeans can cause dental damage as well.

Breads
Most wouldn’t consider bread to be a threat to your teeth, but hard breads can be a real dental destroyer. Baguettes, Sour Dough, or even biscotti can cause damage if too hard and crunchy. Try opting for a softer bread and take smaller bites if you’re indulging in sourdough.

Olive Pits
Whether it was hidden in your food or processed incorrectly, olive pits are notorious for cracking teeth. Next time you have one of these decadent snacks, make sure it has been pitted and is safe to eat!

Ice
Although this is not technically food, chewing on ice cubes can be especially harmful to your teeth. If you are trying to hydrate using an ice cube, suck on it instead of crunching. This rule also goes for popsicles!

Being mindful of how you bite into foods can spare your smile. Small nibbles can save your pearly whites! But if you do find yourself with an unexpected cracked tooth, call our office @ McKnight Road / North Hills Phone Number (412) 367-4800 to schedule an appointment.

Dental Tips for a Healthy Halloween

5 Dental Tips to Keep Your Teeth Intact This Halloween

Halloween is a time for fun, tricks, and best of all TREATS! It can be hard to avoid sweet temptations, especially with the amount of leftover candy that accumulates after the big day. While eating candy on Halloween is perfectly fine, it is important to have a game plan in order to not go overboard. Your teeth will thank you later.

1. Wait until a few days before Halloween to buy the candy!
One of the hardest parts of this time of year can be waiting until the day of Halloween to indulge in candy. You might find yourself sneaking into that bag of candy you bought ahead of time. Save some for the trick-or-treaters! To avoid the temptation, try buying the candy the day before Halloween, out of sight out of mind!

2. Eat Halloween treats shortly after mealtime.
When you are going to eat candy, get your fix with or shortly after a meal. According to the ADA, saliva production increases during meals. This can help cancel out the acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and rinse away food particles. Eating candy post mealtime will help reduce the residue that causes tooth decay.

3. Avoid hard and or sticky candies.
Hard and sticky candies are the worst Halloween offenders. Hard and sticky candies can remain in your mouth for longer periods of time. How long a sugary treat stays in your mouth effects your oral health. The sticker the candy, the longer it will take for your saliva to wash away the sticky residue.

4. Brush twice a day.
It is extra important to make sure you’re brushing twice a day while consuming sugary treats, but this should be a rule of thumb you follow every day! Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes to ensure your teeth are taken care of.

5. Drink more water:
It’s always a good idea to drink plenty of water, especially when you are eating sugar. Fluoridated water helps fight cavities and prevent tooth decay!

While oral health should be taken seriously, you should always remember to have fun. Feel free to contact our office if you have any questions about how to have a healthy Halloween!

3 Reasons Why You Might Need a Root Canal

3 reasons why you might need a root canal.

There are several contributing factors when a person needs a Root Canal. While these telltale signs are not the most pleasant, they should not be ignored if you want to avoid more pain and complications. The most significant reason you might question whether to visit your dentist or not is if you have a throbbing, warm pain that lingers and does not go away. Sensitivity to hot and cold foods is an indicator as well when it does not go away after the hot or cold stimuli is removed. There are many reasons why pain and sensitivity become more noticeable and sometimes unbearable.

Here are three reasons why you might need a root canal.

• Deep Decay: When a cavity is left untreated, the bacteria will eat through healthy tooth enamel and infect the pulp chamber in the root canals, which can cause a warm or hot feeling accompanied by pain. Sometimes the infection can be so great after spreading that there will be swelling near the infected area.

• Grinding: Constant grinding and clenching will cause cracks in a tooth and open a path for bacteria to travel down to the roots, infecting the soft tissue or pulp and causing them to become inflamed and needing treatment. In the case of teeth grinding, the wear and tear causes tooth enamel (the protective layer on teeth) to thin and sometimes expose dentin, the layer beneath it.

• Old Filling: An old filling might be another entry point for bacteria to enter and infect the pulp chamber. Constant use of our teeth may cause a filling to fall out leaving the tooth and its decay exposed and vulnerable.

Whether a cavity, constant grinding or an old filling is the culprit for your pain, one thing is for sure! You are going to want to get rid of the pain as soon as possible. Call our office today(412) 367-4800 for a consultation.

3 Reasons You Should Save Your Natural Teeth

3 reasons to save your natural teeth.

When an issue arises regarding your teeth there are plenty of options to consider, root canal therapy being one of them. It’s important to understand how each procedure will affect you as well as comparing the pros and cons. First and foremost, your priority should be to do whatever it takes to save your natural teeth. Here are a few of the reasons why!

Authentic Smile: There is nothing like having an all-natural and organic smile with all of your beautiful teeth intact. Once you begin the process of replacing your natural teeth it can become more apparent in your smile that they aren’t all the same. Keeping the original structure and alignment of your natural teeth will ensure that your teeth won’t shift causing more problems to arise in the future.

Cost Effective: It all comes down to two options, either saving your natural tooth or extracting it. The initial cost of root canal therapy compared to extraction will have you leaning towards the latter but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the most cost-effective choice in the long run. Tending to your roots is an investment in your natural teeth that will help you keep them for a lifetime while extracting them is just a quick fix. If you decide to remove the tooth, the expenses don’t stop there. There are a variety of pricey options available for you to replace your teeth that involve upkeep and possible future replacements.

Less Dietary Restrictions: If you choose the natural teeth route you will be able to maintain normal biting force without restricting yourself of all your favorite foods. Artificial teeth are more sensitive with a higher probability of being damaged with certain fruits, vegetables and meats. Keeping your natural teeth will help you continue living a natural and normal lifestyle.

If you’re ready to save your natural teeth, give our office a call today!(412) 367-4800

National Ice Cream Month: Fun Facts About Your Favorite Summer Treat!

Fun ice cream facts.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Flashback to when you were a child on a hot summer day, when all of the sudden you hear that magical jingle that captivated all of our hearts; the ice cream truck! In the year 1984, President Ronald Reagan decided that from then on out, the Month of July would be recognized as National Ice Cream Month! Because really, what’s better than a big, cold, scoop of ice cream on a hot summer day? That was a trick question—there is nothing better. Whether it’s vanilla, chocolate, mint chip, or pistachio, there’s a flavor for everyone. Ice cream has that ability to brighten anybody’s day and for that, we’re eternally grateful. With that being said, let’s celebrate this month by highlighting some of the most fun facts about ICE CREAM!

#1: The best way to eat ice cream? In a waffle cone of course! However, it wasn’t until 1904 when an American ice cream vendor at World’s Fair in Missouri ran out of cups due to the high demand of guests, so he quickly rushed on over to a local waffle vendor and asked him to roll up his waffles so that they could hold the ice cream. The rest is history!

#2: Do us a favor really quick. Open your Freezer. Is there at least one form of ice cream in there? There should be! In fact, approximately 98% of all U.S families have ice cream in their homes at ALL TIMES! So, if your freezer is lacking, run to your local grocery store and pick up a pint so you’re not the odd one out!

#3: Brain freezes…. Ice cream’s arch nemesis. A brain freezes is a short-lasting sensation, normally lasting for about ten seconds, that often occurs when you eat or drink cold items in a short amount of time. The most tried and true way to get rid of a brain freeze? Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and wait it out!

#4: Did you know one that one of the biggest ingredients in ice cream is AIR? That’s right, air. Air is added cream to make the consistency lighter, while also improving the texture. It’s often said that the amount of air added to the batch will determine the overall quality (the more air, the cheaper the quality).

#5: Throwback to the year 1665, when the first documented ice cream recipe was handwritten in a recipe book. The ingredients? Orange flower water, mace, and ambergris, also known as whale barf. Let’s just say we sure are grateful for how far the flavors have evolved….

This month, we want you to enjoy all that ice cream has to offer. We challenge you to try a new flavor that may be out of your comfort zone; who knows…maybe it’ll be your new favorite. Give us a call at McKnight Road / North Hills Phone Number (412) 367-4800 if you have any questions or concerns regarding your oral health!

What Can Good Oral Health Prevent?

What can good oral health prevent.

When it comes to your teeth, practicing good oral hygiene should be at the top of your list. We only have one set of fully grown adult teeth that we use in every aspect of our lives. When we see family, friends and even strangers, one-third of the time our teeth are the first thing they notice. Having a well taken care of smile can make the difference in your social life. Aside from your teeth’s appearance, between meals and snacking, our teeth are constantly working for us. So, what are you doing to improve your teeth? Good oral health can prevent several undesirable dental traits and problems.

Making sure to brush your teeth for at least two minutes, scrape your tongue, floss daily and gargle with mouthwash twice daily can prevent bad breath caused from plaque and food build-up. Gum disease can be prevented by regularly flossing around the gums and teeth to loosen build-up and plaque that irritate the gums and cause cavities. Don’t let neglecting to maintain these oral health habits keep you from becoming a social butterfly.

Cavities are a pain. The toothache that comes from biting into a sugary treat can be enough to jumpstart your new oral health habits. In caring for your teeth, you can dramatically reduce the number of cavities that develop from the acid and bacteria left from foods, especially sweet ones.

Keeping your oral health in check may also inhibit costly dental procedures from accumulating. A cavity that is left untreated can quickly turn into a tooth in dire need of a root canal, and developing gum disease may require gum laser therapy or tooth extraction. Most certainly, teeth that are well taken care of will have less plaque build-up that causes bad breath, cavities and gum disease, and better oral health could potentially prevent overwhelming dental expenses in the future.

Want to know more about what good oral health can do for you? Give us a call to find out, and schedule your checkup today!(412) 367-4800

Getting to The Root of Your Tooth Pain

root of tooth pain Has your dentist mentioned that you are in need of a root canal? Though this may sound alarming, root canals are a routine and fairly pain-less procedure. Millions of root canal treatments are performed each year. If your dentist has recommended a root canal treatment, you probably have a lot of questions. Below are a few frequently asked questions about the procedure to help you.

Root Canal FAQs:

What is a root canal?

A root canal, also called “endodontic treatment”, is used to remove infection from the roots of the tooth and relieve dental pain. It is a very important procedure because it allows us to save your natural teeth so that you can keep them longer! Natural teeth are far superior to anything that we can manufacturer.

Why do I need a root canal?

A root canal becomes necessary when the pulp inside of the tooth becomes inflamed or infected. This can occur for many different reasons including: tooth decay, gum disease, a cracked tooth or another form of trauma. Typical symptoms that you may experience when needing a root canal are: prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, tooth pain and tenderness and possible tooth discoloration. In some cases, there may be no symptoms. Your dentist or endodontist will inform you if you need root canal therapy.

How is the procedure done?

A root canal is performed by removing the infected pulp from inside of the tooth. Once the infected pulp is removed, the inside of the tooth is disinfected and filled to seal the tooth. Once the tooth is sealed, a crown will be placed over the tooth to protect your newly restored tooth.

Will I need additional treatments?

After your root canal is performed, additional treatment is not typically needed. However, you will need to continue to practice good oral hygiene and schedule regular visits to your dentist to keep your natural tooth for life!

If you have tooth pain or have been told by your dentist that you may need endodontic therapy, please call our friendly team at McKnight Road / North Hills Phone Number (412) 367-4800.