Do Root Canals Hurt?

patient in the dentist's chair undergoing root canal therapy

There are a whole slew of pesky myths surrounding root canals–chief among them that root canals hurt. Not only is this untrue, but root canal is actually a completely routine and straightforward procedure, and one of the most common!

The Myth of Root Canal Pain

So if they don’t hurt, why do people so often claim that they do? Root canals and other dental procedures are often associated with pain and unpleasantness because there was a time when dentistry was just that–painful and unpleasant. In the past few decades, modern dentistry has seen groundbreaking advancements in technology that has served to eliminate pain, streamline procedures, and so much more. Today’s root canal procedures are performed with novocaine or, if needed, sedation, and, from the patients perspective, won’t differ greatly from having a cavity filled.

A Closer Look

Now that you know that your root canal won’t be painful, here’s what else you can expect from the procedure. During a root canal, the dentist will drill into the tooth to the root canal, which exists between the layers of enamel and dentin above. Infected material–tissue, blood vessels, and nerves–are removed, and the tooth is filled or capped with a crown to finish off the procedure.

The End Result

Root canals are performed to address a variety of different issues, and always to save the natural tooth from having to be extracted and replaced. Common reasons for needing a root canal include severe decay; a chip, break, or other damage; and repeated previous dental work to a tooth.

Restorative Dentistry & More at Henson Family Dental

If you’ve been putting off a root canal–or any other procedure for that matter–there’s no need! At our practice, our skilled staff are pros at keeping patients relaxed and comfortable during any procedure. Visit our website to learn how to schedule an appointment today.

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How Cosmetic Dentistry Can Repair Your Smile

woman pointing to her white teeth with both forefingers after cosmetic dentistry

Everyone wants a beautiful smile, but very few people have naturally perfect teeth. If you aren’t happy with your smile, cosmetic dentistry can help. Damaged, chipped, and discolored teeth can be repaired with certain treatments such as whitening, porcelain crowns, porcelain veneers, and fixed bridges.

Teeth Whitening

If you want a brighter, whiter smile, getting a custom take-home kit from Henson Family Dental is one of the most simple ways to get there. Our kits are much more effective than what you’ll find in a store and much safer than risky DIY treatments.

Porcelain Veneers

For teeth that are chipped, have gaps, or are too discolored for whitening treatments, porcelain veneers can be used. Porcelain is a great material because it looks very natural. Veneers are thin casings bonded to the front side of your teeth for a brighter, whiter look. Teeth with porcelain veneers should be cared for just like your natural teeth.

Porcelain Crowns

If your tooth is damaged or worn, a porcelain crown can fix it. We shape the cap and adhere it in the right spot, so your tooth’s shape, strength, size, and appearance are restored. The crown takes the place of your natural enamel, protecting your tooth. In addition to restoring a broken or worn tooth, crowns can support teeth with large fillings, hold a dental bridge in place, cover a dental implant, and modify a misshapen tooth.

A Fixed Bridge

If you’re missing a tooth or multiple teeth, a fixed bridge can restore your smile. When replacing a missing tooth with an artificial one, a fixed bridge is needed to hold it in place. The bridge consists of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of your new fake tooth.

Want to Repair Your Smile? Visit Us at Henson Family Dental!

If you’re interested in any of the cosmetic dentistry treatments we offer, please let us know! Dr. Henson and the team can give you all the information and recommendations you need to get the smile of your dreams.

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Chipped or Broken Tooth Treatment & Repair

Whether you’re dealing with a chipped tooth yourself, or if you just want to be prepared, we’re here to help. In this blog post, we’ll brief you on what can be done to treat and repair a chipped or broken tooth.

cartoon man pointing at a frowning broken cartoon tooth

At-home Treatment

If you break or chip a tooth, you will have to see your dentist as soon as you can. In the meantime, though, there are a few things you can do. Gently rinse out your mouth with warm water. Depending on the severity of the break, you may experience a lot of pain, and even blood. Quel any blood with gauze and, if needed, reach for a NSAID, like ibuprofen, to ease the pain.

Filling or Bonding

Once you get to the dentist, one of the options they may choose to repair your broken tooth is a filling or bonding. These are methods that are used to repair minor chips. If it’s a visible, front tooth that has been affected, your dentist is likely to opt for a tooth-colored bonding for a seamless restoration. Both procedures are straightforward and can be accomplished in an office visit.

Crown

In instances where a more significant chunk of the tooth has been broken off, your dentist may decide that a crown is the answer. A crown is tooth-shaped, and it covers and protects the damaged tooth. Crowns can be temporary or permanent, and come in a variety of different materials including metal, porcelain, and resin.

Veneers

Especially in cases where one of the front teeth has been significantly damaged, a dental veneer may be the best way to fix the look and feel of the tooth. A veneer is a permanent solution in which a thin, tooth shaped shell covers the affected tooth, leaving you with a tooth that looks as good as new.

If you do happen to break a tooth, don’t panic! Contact us here at Henson Family Dental and a member of our team will be happy to walk you through your options.

History of Dental Implants

Why Are Dental Implants Necessary?

We’ve been dealing with tooth loss literally for all of human history. Whether teeth are lost from decay, accident, or disease, it’s important to deal with the missing tooth (or teeth) promptly, because failing to do so can result in the following scenarios:

  • Missing teeth will affect the way that you eat and speak
  • Existing teeth will often shift
  • Jawbone degeneration from a missing tooth or teeth can cause the shape of your face to change

History of Dental Implants

Our ancestors have always been losing teeth, and basically for all of that time, the techniques they experimented with would eventually develop into modern dental implants. Consider the following ancient cultures and their dental practices:

terracota warriors in ancient china

  • Ancient China
    Archeological evidence from ancient China dating back 4000 years shows pegs carved from bamboo that were then tapped into the jawbone to replace missing teeth.
  • Ancient Egypt
    2,000-year-old remains from ancient Egypt attest to the practice of implanting precious metals, ivory, and in some cases, even transplanted human teeth.
  • Ancient Honduras
    A lower jaw dating back to 600 AD was found in Honduras with three missing teeth that had been replaced with pieces of tooth-shaped shells.

Modern Dental Implants

Dental implants have made great strides since ancient times and in more recent decades, especially since the 1950’s. In 1952 a Swedish doctor discovered that titanium screws inserted into the jawbone, where the tooth used to be, connect to the living bone tissue, literally joining it to the bone in a term know as osseointegration. After the titanium screw is fused to bone, a post is placed atop it with a crown.

Although dental implants as recently as the 19th century were dodgy and did not have a high rate of success, the Institute for Dental Implant Awareness quotes clinical studies that show modern dental implants as having a success rate above 95 percent.

Are you missing a tooth or teeth? Chances are good that you’re a candidate for dental implants! Contact our office today to learn more about dental implants and to schedule a consultation with our team!

5 Celebrities That You Didn’t Know Had Fake Teeth

Dental care is important for everyone, whether you’re young, old, rich, poor – or famous! Those bright white smiles that celebrities flash on the red carpet are usually thanks to a little (or a lot) of help from their dentist. In fact, there are many celebrities that have worn dentures or received cosmetic dentistry enhancements. Our Henson Family Dental team has compiled the following list of celebrities you may be surprised to learn had/have fake teeth.

1. George Washington

George Washington, one of the founding fathers and our beloved first president, had notoriously terrible teeth. Throughout much of his adult life, he wore dentures made of ivory that were fixed to his natural teeth with wire. Luckily, modern advances in dentistry have resulted in dentures that both look like natural teeth and are comfortable to wear.

Drawing of George Washington, our first president and the military commander during the Revolutionary War

2. Ben Affleck

Even the Batman doesn’t have naturally perfect teeth! Ben Affleck supposedly has a full set of porcelain veneers to give his teeth that perfect, pearly-white appearance.

3. Clark Gable

Clark Gable, star of Gone With the Wind, Call of the Wild, and many other films, used dentures from the age of 32 as a result of a severe gum infection. To avoid his fate, be sure to brush and floss daily and visit our office every six months for cleanings and checkups.

Black and white image of Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh in Gone with the Wind

4. Emma Watson

During the filming of the Harry Potter series, Emma Watson wore a partial denture after her own baby teeth fell out in order to preserve Hermione’s smile.

5. Nicole Polizzi, a.k.a. “Snooki”

Like any of us, Snooki wants her smile at its best when she’s in front of the camera. To achieve that perfect white smile, Snooki has Lumineers®, a type of porcelain veneers.

Your Dream Smile Is Within Reach!

Porcelain veneers, dentures, and professional teeth whitening are great solutions for folks looking to improve the look of their teeth. Discuss with Dr. Henson whether you’re a candidate for dentures or porcelain veneers to make sure they fit with your smile goals. To ask our team any questions about our restorative or cosmetic dentistry services or to schedule your next visit to our office, contact us today!

Root Canal Treatment: What to Expect

man wincing in pain holding cheek

So, you need a root canal? Before you settle into the dentist chair, let’s go over what a root canal is, what you should expect during the procedure, and how to care for yourself post-treatment.

What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a procedure that repairs and saves a tooth that is badly decayed, damaged, or infected. During the treatment, the nerves and pulp (the damaged area of the tooth) are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and disinfected before it is sealed. Often the problem is caused by a cracked tooth, repeated dental treatment to the tooth, a deep cavity, or trauma. Without treatment, the tissue that surrounds the tooth becomes infected and abscesses could form.

What Happens During The Procedure?

We briefly touched upon what happens during a root canal, but let’s dive deeper into the entire process.

First, Dr. Henson will confirm that you need a root canal after you’ve scheduled an appointment to examine your infected tooth. During that initial visit, Dr. Henson and her team will take X-rays to see the shape of the root canals, determine if there are any signs of infection in the surrounding bone, and locate the exact spot of the decay.

Next, Dr. Henson and her team will administer local anesthesia to numb the area near the tooth. To keep the area dry and saliva-free, we’ll place a rubber dam around the tooth. Then, we drill an access hole into the tooth so that the pulp, bacteria, decayed nerve tissue, and any other debris can be removed from the tooth. We clean this area out using root canal files to scrape and scrub the sides of the root canals. We flush away the debris with water or sodium hypochlorite.

After cleaning the tooth, Dr. Henson and her team will seal it either same day or during another appointment if there is an infection that needs to be treated. Once the tooth is ready to be sealed, we’ll fill it with a rubbery substance that acts as a sealant. This substance completely blocks the entire root structure to prevent saliva and food from reaching the inner structures of the tooth and reinfecting it. A filling is also placed in the exterior access hole created at the start of the procedure.

Occasionally, we might need to further restore the tooth by placing a crown over the weakened tooth to protect it, prevent it from breaking, or restoring it to full function.

What Is the Recovery for a Root Canal?

For the first few days after the procedure, your tooth may feel sensitive due to inflammation, especially if there was an infection in the tooth. You can manage this pain with over-the-counter medications. Many patients can return to their normal activities as early as the next day, though. You’ll need to schedule follow up appointments with us, as well as practice good oral hygiene and avoiding hard foods for a time.

If you think you might need a root canal, contact us so we can see you as soon as possible and take care of the problem. At Henson Family Dental, we’re dedicated to providing you with the absolute best care!

What’s the Difference Between a Dental Bridge & a Partial Denture?

illustrated question mark person sitting on top thinking

Don’t waste any more time feeling insecure about your missing teeth! There are plenty of incredible dental procedures that will give you the Hollywood smile you’ve been dreaming of, such as dental bridges and partial dentures. Not sure what those are? Here is some helpful information to get you in the know.

Bridges

Named for their ability to bridge the gap created by missing teeth, bridges have two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap, with a false tooth or teeth in between. These crowns on the anchoring teeth provide the support needed for the false tooth to fill in the space. False teeth are often made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials.

You’ll need to make the health of the supporting teeth a priority in order for the bridge to stay strong and clean. This is a permanent procedure, so you’ll want to make an appointment with us to discuss if it’s the right decision for you.

Partial Dentures

Like dentures, partial dentures are a removable appliance. Unlike dentures, partial dentures don’t consist of a full set of teeth; rather they only have those teeth that need replacement attached to a plate molded to fit your mouth. This plate is often made of pink acrylic to mimic your gums, and has a metal framework that holds the partial denture in place by connecting to your natural teeth.

With partial dentures, you’ll need to learn how to adjust to eating and speaking while wearing the appliance, which can be awkward at first. You’ll also need to learn how to insert, remove, and clean the partial dentures. If you decide to get partial dentures, we’ll show you how to care for the appliance.

Which Should You Choose?

When deciding between partial dentures and bridges, we’ll need to consider the structure of your teeth as both appliances function differently.

Partial dentures are often used when there are a large number of teeth that need replacement. They’re also used if there is a risk of more tooth loss. We use bridges when there are smaller gaps between teeth, especially when those gaps are on the same side of your mouth.

Since partial dentures are temporary and removable, they are easier to adjust and repair. Bridges, meanwhile, are permanent, but this means that they aren’t something you can lose or break as easily. Partial dentures also tend to be less expensive than bridges, but we can discuss payment plans and insurance coverage when you come in for an appointment.

Each requires different maintenance and upkeep, and you may need to consider your lifestyle when determining which is best for you.

At Henson Family Dental, we provide you with the best care. If you’re looking to improve your smile, make an appointment with us to discuss which treatment option is best for you.