Posts for category: Dental Procedures
Root canal treatments have suffered a bad rap over the years—and undeservedly. While we applaud root canal therapy for the millions of decayed teeth the procedure has saved, the worn-out cliché that it's painful still lingers on.
So, let's set the record straight: a root canal treatment doesn't cause pain, it most often relieves it. Let's look a little closer at what actually happens before, during and after this tooth-saving treatment.
Before: a tooth in crisis. Tooth decay can damage more than a tooth's outer enamel. This aggressive bacterial infection can work its way into a tooth's interior, destroying the nerves and blood vessels in the pulp, before moving on to the roots and supporting bone through the root canals. Untreated, this devastating process can lead to tooth loss. A root canal treatment, however, can stop the invading decay and save the tooth.
During: stopping the disease. The dentist first numbs the tooth and surrounding gum tissues with local anesthetic—the only thing you might normally feel during treatment is a slight pressure. They then drill into the tooth to access the inner pulp and root canals and remove all diseased tissue. Once the interior spaces of the tooth have been disinfected, the dentist then fills the empty pulp chamber and root canals with a pliable filling called gutta percha to prevent future infection.
After: preventing re-infection. With the filling complete, the dentist then seals the access hole. There may be some minor soreness for a few days, similar to the aftermath of a routine filling, which can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen. Sometime later, the dentist will normally finish the treatment with a new crown on the tooth. This accomplishes two things: It helps strengthen the tooth against stress fracturing and it provides another layer of protection against future decay.
Root canal treatments have an exceptional track record for giving diseased teeth a second chance. There's nothing to fear—and everything to gain for your troubled tooth.
If you would like more information on root canal treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Root Canal Treatment: What You Need to Know.”
Veneers make it possible to achieve your best possible smile. Veneers give imperfect teeth a flawless new appearance by concealing cracks, chips, stains, and other cosmetic concerns. A dentist can help you decide if veneers are right for you. At Little Smiles and Big Smiles, Dr. Yasmine Hassan and Dr. Islam Dehis are your Fitchburg, MA, dentists for veneers.
Porcelain veneers are paper-thin laminates placed on the front of teeth to conceal a variety of cosmetic flaws, such as stains or discolorations. Veneers can be made from several different types of materials, but porcelain is a popular choice as it closely resembles the appearance of natural tooth enamel. Once in place, a porcelain veneer looks like part of the natural tooth so no one will know a veneer has been placed over the tooth.
Veneers are custom made for each patient. The color, size, and shape can all be customized to achieve the most natural look and best fit possible. When the veneers have been customized and are ready for placement, your Fitchburg dentist will clean the teeth and prepare them for receiving the porcelain veneers. The veneers are then cemented to the teeth so they remain securely in place permanently.
Advantages of Veneers
Veneers offer multiple advantages as a method for achieving your best possible smile. Placement of veneers on the teeth is a fairly straightforward procedure. Another advantage of veneers is that they look completely natural when placed on the teeth. Additionally, you can still bite into and chew foods as always with no worry about the veneers slipping off. Finally, veneers can dramatically improve the appearance of your smile by concealing a wide range of cosmetic concerns, including:
- Stains and discolorations
- Cracked or chipped teeth
- Small gaps between teeth
- Crooked or oddly shaped teeth
- Rough or uneven tooth surfaces
There are numerous advantages to choosing veneers to achieve the smile you desire. A dentist can help you decide if veneers are the best option for you. To learn more about how veneers can transform your smile, schedule an appointment with Dr. Hassan or Dr. Dehis, your Fitchburg, MA, dentists, by calling Little Smiles and Big Smiles at (978) 343-2630.
Your baby is turning one year old—and it's time for their first dental visit! Both the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend your child first see the dentist around this milestone birthday.
You'll also have a decision to make: do you see your family dentist or a pediatric dentist? While your family dentist can certainly provide quality care for your child, there are also good reasons to see a dentist who specializes in children and teenagers.
The "fear factor." Children are more likely than adults to be anxious about dental visits. But pediatric dentists are highly trained and experienced in relating to children one on one and in clinical techniques that reduce anxiety. Their offices also tend to be "kid-friendly" with bright colors and motifs that appeal to children. Such an atmosphere can be more appealing to children than the more adult environment of a general dentist's office.
The "development factor." Childhood and adolescence are times of rapid physical growth and development, especially for the teeth, gums and jaw structure. A pediatric dentist has extensive knowledge and expertise in this developmental process. They're especially adept at spotting subtle departures from normal growth, such as the early development of a poor bite. If caught early, intervention for emerging bite problems and similar issues could lessen their impact and treatment cost in the future.
Special needs. The same soothing office environment of a pediatric clinic that appeals to children in general could be especially helpful if your child has special needs like autism or ADHD. Some children may also be at risk for an aggressive and destructive form of tooth decay known as early childhood caries (ECC). Pediatric dentists deal with this more commonly than general dentists and are highly trained to prevent and treat this aggressive form of tooth decay.
Seeing a pediatric dentist isn't a "forever" relationship: Once your child enters early adulthood, their care will continue on with a general dentist. But during those early years of rapid development, a pediatric dentist could give your child the insightful care they need to enjoy optimum dental health the rest of their lives.
If you would like more information on pediatric dental care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Why See a Pediatric Dentist?”
Persistent pain or sensitivity in a tooth are signs you may need a root canal. Root canal treatment helps strengthen and restore teeth weakened by infection so normal biting and chewing functions can resume without pain or sensitivity. Root canal treatment also saves teeth from extraction. At Little Smiles and Big Smiles, Dr. Yasmine Hassan and Dr. Islam Dehis are your Fitchburg dentists for root canal treatment.
Root Canal Treatment
Extraction can be necessary when teeth have become too weak or damaged from infection to perform normal biting and chewing functions. With root canal treatment, it is possible to preserve infected teeth and even restore normal tooth functioning by strengthening those teeth. See your Fitchburg dentist right away if you develop any of the signs associated with needing a root canal, which include:
- A severe or persistent toothache
- Sharp pain when chewing and biting
- Persistent pressure or pain in the mouth
- Extreme sensitivity to hot and cold items
There is a soft pulp material at the center of each tooth that continues into the canals of the tooth root. When the pulp at the center of a tooth is infected, the infection can spread down through the canals to the root and even result in the formation of an abscess below the root. Once an abscess forms, the infection can more easily spread to other areas of the mouth. Root canal treatment stops the spread of infection.
Root canal treatment is quite similar to filling a cavity. Infected pulp inside the tooth is removed and the tooth is thoroughly cleaned out. Empty areas inside the tooth are then filled with dental filling. The filling strengthens the tooth and restores normal functioning. It also prevents infection from returning to areas of the tooth where dental filling has been added. Following root canal treatment, the affected tooth can resume normal biting and chewing functions without pain or sensitivity.
See a dentist as soon as possible if you develop any signs of needing a root canal. When treated promptly, you can potentially avoid having a tooth extracted and even restore it to full strength and functioning. If you have persistent pain, sensitivity, or any of the other signs associated with needing a root canal, schedule an appointment with Dr. Hassan or Dr. Dehis, your Fitchburg, MA, dentists, by calling Little Smiles and Big Smiles at (978) 343-2630.
Sometimes it seems that appearances count for everything—especially in Hollywood. But just recently, Lonnie Chaviz, the 10-year-old actor who plays young Randall on the hit TV show This Is Us, delivered a powerful message about accepting differences in body image. And the whole issue was triggered by negative social media comments about his smile.
Lonnie has a noticeable diastema—that is, a gap between his two front teeth; this condition is commonly seen in children, but is less common in adults. There are plenty of celebrities who aren’t bothered by the excess space between their front teeth, such as Michael Strahan, Lauren Hutton and Vanessa Paradis. However, there are also many people who choose to close the gap for cosmetic or functional reasons.
Unfortunately, Lonnie had been on the receiving end of unkind comments about the appearance of his smile. But instead of getting angry, the young actor posted a thoughtful reply via Instagram video, in which he said: “I could get my gap fixed. Braces can fix this, but like, can you fix your heart, though?”
Lonnie is raising an important point: Making fun of how someone looks shows a terrible lack of compassion. Besides, each person’s smile is uniquely their own, and getting it “fixed” is a matter of personal choice. It’s true that in most circumstances, if the gap between the front teeth doesn’t shrink as you age and you decide you want to close it, orthodontic appliances like braces can do the job. Sometimes, a too-big gap can make it more difficult to eat and to pronounce some words. In other situations, it’s simply a question of aesthetics—some like it; others would prefer to live without it.
There’s a flip side to this issue as well. When teeth need to be replaced, many people opt to have their smile restored just the way it was, rather than in some “ideal” manner. That could mean that their dentures are specially fabricated with a space between the front teeth, or the crowns of their dental implants are spaced farther apart than they normally would be. For these folks, the “imperfection” is so much a part of their unique identity that changing it just seems wrong.
So if you’re satisfied with the way your smile looks, all you need to do is keep up with daily brushing and flossing, and come in for regular checkups and cleanings to keep it healthy and bright. If you’re unsatisfied, ask us how we could help make it better. And if you need tooth replacement, be sure to talk to us about all of your options—teeth that are regular and “Hollywood white;” teeth that are natural-looking, with minor variations in color and spacing; and teeth that look just like the smile you’ve always had.
Because when it comes to your smile, we couldn’t agree more with what Lonnie Chaviz said at the end of his video: “Be who you want to be. Do what you want to do. Do you. Be you. Believe in yourself.”
If you have questions about cosmetic dentistry, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Beautiful Smiles by Design” and “The Magic of Orthodontics.”