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Five Reasons to See Your Endodontist

September 23rd, 2020

For most of our dental concerns, seeing the family dentist is the first and only appointment we need. But when you need specialized treatment for an injured tooth, an appointment with Dr. Ron Shiver can not only save you pain and discomfort—it can even save your tooth.

Every tooth is protected by its hard enamel covering—in fact, tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body—but it’s not perfect protection. Beneath that enamel lies less dense tissue called dentin, filled with tubules leading to the inner chamber of the tooth. This small inner chamber and the even more delicate canals inside each root of the tooth contain the sensitive dental pulp, which holds nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue.

If the pulp has been compromised through decay, injury, or infection, treatment needs to take place to prevent pain, further infection, and even bone and tooth loss. The diagnosis and treatment of the inner tooth are the special focus of endodontists like Dr. Ron Shiver.

Which symptoms could be a clue that your inner tooth needs treatment?

  1. Sharp, severe pain when you bite down or put pressure on a tooth: This could be a sign that the pulp tissue inside is irritated, damaged, or infected.
  2. Continuous facial pain, toothache, redness or swelling around the tooth: These symptoms could be signs of pulp inflammation, infection, or abscess.
  3. Persistent sensitivity to heat and cold: Any sensitivity to temperature is a good reason to see Dr. Ron Shiver. Cavities and even heavy-handed brushing can cause sensitivity for a few seconds after exposure to heat or cold. Any pain or sensitivity that lasts longer, though, could indicate pulp damage.
  4. Unexplained soreness or pressure in the jaws and teeth: Grinding your teeth and certain sinus conditions can cause these symptoms, but if you have ruled out obvious causes, Dr. Ron Shiver should be consulted.
  5. A cracked or injured tooth: A crack or other injury can leave the pulp vulnerable to irritation, bacteria, and infection. Endodontists are trained to diagnose and treat the different varieties of tooth fractures, including crown, cusp, and root fractures.

If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, don’t put off endodontic treatment at our Valdosta office. Once the inner tooth has suffered injury or infection, treatment should take place as soon as possible to prevent further damage to tooth, tissue, and bone. Endodontists work to save injured teeth with a variety of procedures, including root canals, endodontic surgeries on tooth and root structures, and placement of posts and cores to strengthen and stabilize teeth.

If you suspect that you have a tooth that needs endodontic treatment, call your endodontist, or, if you haven’t worked with an endodontist before, ask your regular dentist for a recommendation. Seeing a specialist trained in the latest and most effective endodontic techniques is the best option to save an injured tooth.

Should You Get Dental Veneers?

September 16th, 2020

Dental veneers are a popular treatment to improve the appearance of your smile. Dr. Ron Shiver and our team want to help you understand whether this dental option is right for you.

Veneers, also known as laminates, are custom-made shells that cover the front of your teeth. They can change the color, size, or length of each individual tooth. The process can require between one and three trips to our Valdosta office to complete.

This treatment is usually done for people who want to change the appearance of their smile: they can get rid of stains, gaps, or chips. Here at Ron L. Shiver DMD Family & Restorative Dentistry, we know how getting veneers can dramatically change your smile and help improve your confidence.

Your initial appointment entails preparing the teeth and creating an impression. The impression will help us design each veneer to the exact shape and color you desire. You’ll come back in a week or two to have the veneers placed. Your veneers should last about ten years, as long as you practice proper care and hygiene.

There are plenty of benefits to getting veneers, but you should be aware of the potential downsides of this procedure. This process is irreversible and the veneers cannot usually be fixed. If they chip or crack, they’ll need to be replaced.

It is also possible for veneers to fall off due to excessive pressure from nail biting or chewing on ice. If you grind your teeth a lot, you’re more likely to expose your veneers to damage, which can be costly to repair.

In order to know whether veneers are right for you, schedule an appointment at our Valdosta office for a consultation. We can decide what you’re looking to do with your smile and if this is the best option for you.

Symptoms That Could Mean You Need a Root Canal

September 9th, 2020

Every tooth packs a lot of layers in a very small area. The outer, visible part of our tooth, the crown, is covered in protective enamel, and the lower root area is protected by a similar substance called cementum. Inside these very hard layers is dentin, a hard but more porous tissue which surrounds the pulp. In this central pulp chamber, we have the blood vessels which nourish the tooth and the nerves which send our bodies signals from the tooth. And if one of those signals is persistent tooth pain, you may need a procedure called a root canal.

There are a number of reasons that a tooth may cause you pain, including:

  • Fracture—a cracked or broken tooth can allow bacteria to enter the pulp chamber and cause inflammation and infection
  • Cavity—an untreated cavity can leave an opening where bacteria can reach the pulp of the tooth, and again lead to infection
  • Gum Disease—bacteria can attack from the root area of the tooth if gum disease has become serious
  • Injury—an accident or injury to a tooth can damage the nerve or the blood supply which nourishes the pulp
  • Abscess—if infection is left untreated, an abscess may form under the root

While a damaged tooth may sometimes be symptom-free, usually there are signs that the pulp has been injured or infected. What symptoms should lead you to give Dr. Ron Shiver a call?

  • Persistent pain in the tooth
  • Long-lasting sensitivity to heat or cold
  • Gum tissue adjacent to the tooth that is sore, red or swollen
  • A cracked, broke, darkened or discolored tooth
  • A bump on your gums that persists or keeps recurring—this might indicate an abscess

A root canal is performed by a trained dentist or endodontist. After an anesthetic is used to numb the area, the damaged tissue, including pulp, blood vessels and nerves, is removed from the pulp chamber and each root. The inside of the tooth is then cleaned and shaped, and filled and sealed with a temporary filling. The tooth is filled again permanently, usually on a second visit, and might require a crown in order to protect it from further damage.

The most painful part of a root canal is far more often the time spent suffering before the procedure than the procedure itself. Delaying action when a root canal is necessary can lead to infection, abscess, and even tooth loss. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, please give our Valdosta office a call!


Top Five Best Foods for Oral Health

August 19th, 2020

Some foods are just terrible for your teeth — think cookies and candy bars — but there are certain foods that are beneficial to your oral health. Below, Dr. Ron Shiver and our team have covered five of the top foods to keep your teeth and gums healthy!

1. Crispy, low-acid fruits and vegetables: Fruits like apples and vegetables such as carrots and celery act like “natural toothbrushes,” helping to clear plaque from your teeth and freshen your breath.

2. Kiwis: These little green superstars are packed with vitamin C which is essential for gum health. The collagen in your gums is strengthened when you consume foods that are high in vitamin C, like kiwis, thus helping to prevent periodontal problems.

3. Raw onions: Onions have long been studied for their antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties. Proliferation of bacteria is what leads to tooth decay and cavities. By including raw onions in your diet, you'll be doing your part to wipe out those little microbes before they can multiply!

4. Shiitake Mushrooms: A specific compound in shiitake mushrooms, lentinan, has been shown to have antibacterial properties that target the microbes that cause cavities while leaving other beneficial bacteria alone. It may also help prevent gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums.

5. Green Tea: Often lauded for its high antioxidant content and many health benefits, it turns out green tea also benefits your oral health! A Japanese study found men who drank green tea on a regular basis had a lower occurrence of periodontal disease compared to men who drank green tea infrequently. It's believed this is due to the catechins in green tea, a type of flavonoid that may help protect you from free radical damage, but more research needs to be done. Either way, drink up for your overall health, as well as your teeth!

If you have any questions about your oral health, or are looking for even more oral health tips, contact our Valdosta office!

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