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Root Canal Procedure

April 14th, 2021

Five words no one welcomes: “You need a root canal.” But if you are delaying treatment because you are worried about pain and an uncomfortable day in the dentist’s chair, please think again! Modern root canal procedures are designed to repair your damaged tooth gently and efficiently, and leave you with a restored natural tooth that can last a lifetime.

  • Why might you need a root canal?

First, a little tooth biology. Each tooth has a crown (the part we see above the gums) and one or more roots (the part of our tooth below the gum line that is attached to bone in our jaw). The tooth has three basic layers: the hard enamel and cementum that cover the outer crown and root, the softer dentin beneath that layer, and, on the inside, the pulp. Pulp is made of living tissue, and contains the blood vessels and nerves that nourish the tooth and keep it vital.

Even with the protection the enamel and dentin provide, sometimes the pulp can be infected or damaged. If you have suffered an injury to your mouth or jaw, or an infection has developed from an opening in the tooth caused by a deep cavity or crack, you may need a root canal to prevent further infection, pain, and even tooth loss. Call our Valdosta office immediately if you feel pain with chewing or pressure, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, swollen, and tender gums around a tooth, or tooth discoloration.

  • The Root Canal Procedure

If a root canal is necessary, the procedure is very straightforward. After the area around the tooth is numbed, we will make an opening in the crown to allow access to the pulp inside. Very small instruments will be used to clean the inner tooth and removed bacteria and dead or dying tissue. The area will be thoroughly disinfected, and the inside of the tooth shaped and then filled and sealed. A temporary filling or crown might be placed on the tooth to prevent bacteria and food from entering the site if a permanent crown needs to be created. The entire process usually takes from one to three visits.

If we suggest a root canal, it is because this is the best way to save your tooth. Please feel free to talk to us about your particular needs and concerns. Which tooth is affected, how many roots are involved, what type of filling or crown might be best—we will work with you to provide all the information you need and all the options you have available.

Common Concerns

  • Are you concerned about pain?

The most painful part of a root canal is often the severe discomfort your tooth causes before treatment. And infections and damaged nerves can affect not only the injured tooth, but the gums, tissue and even bone surrounding it. With our modern dental techniques, a root canal procedure is often no more uncomfortable than a regular filling. The local anesthetic we use will prevent you from feeling any pain during the procedure, and, while the area around your tooth might be a bit sensitive following treatment, the pain caused by the infection or injury should be gone.

  • Are you anxious about the procedure?

If dental treatment causes you anxiety, please let us know. There are several sedation options we can pursue to make this procedure less worrisome. Our goal is to make your treatment as gentle and comfortable as possible.

No one welcomes the news that a root canal is necessary, but with today’s procedures, this treatment can be just what you need to relieve your pain and keep your natural tooth where it belongs for many years to come. And that is welcome news, indeed!

April is National Facial Protection Month

April 7th, 2021

The Importance of Facial Protection

Americans from all walks of life should mark April as National Facial Protection Month on their calendars. The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, Academy for Sports Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons have combined forces to sponsor this annual campaign, which aims to educate and remind us of the importance of protecting our face and teeth against impacts and injuries.

Wearing a helmet can save your life and prevent devastating physical damage in a variety of situations, from playing football to riding a bicycle. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, helmets reduce the risk of various head injuries by as much as 85 percent. Whether helmet laws apply in your area or not, Dr. Ron Shiver and our team at Ron L. Shiver DMD Family & Restorative Dentistry want you to make sure you and your loved ones wear helmets with the appropriate safety ratings for specific activities. (A sticker on or inside the helmet will usually indicate this rating.) Helmets can also help save your teeth if they come with an attached faceguard, an essential addition for football players and others involved in contact sports.

Preventing Dental Injuries

A mouthguard can protect you against a variety of dental injuries, such as cracked, broken, or knocked-out teeth. The American Dental Association states that mouthguards play an essential role in preventing up to 200,000 dental injuries each year, and many states mandate their use for sports activities such as football and hockey. The Academy for Sports Dentistry warns, however, that these mouthguards must be custom-fitted as precisely as possible to prove effective. Have a professional-quality mouthguard molded and fitted by our team at Ron L. Shiver DMD Family & Restorative Dentistry for better protection than a generic store-bought or “boil-and-bite” variety can offer. These cheaper versions tend to wear out quickly, interfere with proper breathing, and provide uneven degrees of cushion against impacts. Always have a fresh mouthguard fitted for each new sports season.

Choose the right combination of helmet, faceguard, and mouthguard to protect your teeth and face this April, and tell your friends to do the same! To learn more about mouthguards, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ron Shiver, please give us a call at our convenient Valdosta office!

How an Endodontist Can Save Your Teeth

March 31st, 2021

What exactly does an endodontist do?

If you are in need of a root canal, your regular dentist may refer you to an endodontist—a dental specialist who concentrates on performing root canals. After completing dental school, endodontists, like Dr. Ron Shiver, attend an additional two or more years of specialty training in their field. They learn all about root canal therapy and other procedures that involve care of the roots of the teeth. Because they specialize in root treatments, endodontists develop considerable experience with these procedures. If you have been directed to an endodontist to address a root canal problem, you may rest assured that your teeth are in expert hands.

How will an endodontist save my teeth?

One of the many benefits of seeing an endodontist is the fact that endodontic procedures can help you avoid the extraction of your tooth. When your tooth is removed, obtaining a replacement can be costly and painful. It is also a time-consuming process that may still lead to a fairly unattractive end result. To avoid losing your natural teeth, treatment by Dr. Ron Shiver can be highly preferable. When you require a root canal, it is most often because the root, or interior, of your tooth has become infected with bacteria or other diseases. During an endodontic procedure, the doctor removes the inflamed and infected pulp of the tooth, cleans and shapes the interior, fills the tooth with protective material, and seals it so no more bacteria can get inside. After that, you will receive a crown or other restoration device to protect the tooth from further damage and return it to full function. After the endodontic procedure, you essentially have a brand-new natural tooth!

Will I need additional treatment?

In some cases, patients need additional treatment following a root canal. One of the most common post-root-canal procedures is a root-end resection. If a patient continues to experience pain or inflammation in a tooth after endodontic treatment, it usually means the infection has spread to the bony area around the tooth. This is especially common when the tooth has experienced new trauma or decay since the root canal, or the crown has become cracked or broken. During a root-end resection, the doctor will open the gum tissue, remove the infected areas, and fill in the treated space to seal the root canal. After this procedure, it is rare that a patient will need further treatment. The careful and precise work of an endodontist can save you from future pain and additional dental work. If you need one or more root canals, treatment by a qualified endodontist can save your teeth.

If you have further questions about how how Dr. Ron Shiver can help you save your natural teeth, please don't hesitate to contact Ron L. Shiver DMD Family & Restorative Dentistry at our Valdosta office for more information!

Root Canal FAQs

March 24th, 2021

Most people hear the word root canal and panic. With today’s state of the art equipment and improved local anesthetic devices, and some knowledge, a root canal does not have to cause panic. Root canals are a common dental procedure, done quite often at our Valdosta office.

Why do I need a root canal?

There are several reasons why Dr. Ron Shiver may suggest a root canal including:

  • An infection in your tooth that has reached the nerves
  • A deep cavity that cannot be filled because the pulp and nerves are also effected
  • Injury to the tooth
  • A deep cracked tooth
  • Broken tooth
  • Repeated fillings of the effective tooth

What is a root canal?

A root canal is a dental procedure that is used to prevent the loss of a tooth and relieve pain. Inside your teeth is pulp which consists of soft tissue blood, connective tissue, blood vessels, and nerves. When the pulp becomes infected, swollen or diseased a root canal is necessary to save your tooth. During a root canal, Dr. Ron Shiver will remove the infected pulp. The tooth’s root canals and pulp chamber of your tooth will be cleaned, so all the diseased pulp is removed and then your tooth will be sealed.

What to Expect During a Root Canal

Your root canal will start out just like any other dental procedure. We will go over any questions you may have, and then numb the area surrounding the tooth. After the area is numb the root canal will begin.

The amount of time it takes to do your root canal varies depending on number of roots that need to be cleaned. Most teeth have one root canal, while others have between two and four. For a single canal, the procedure usually lasts less than an hour. The more canals your tooth has the longer amount of time it will take and in some cases, you will require more than one visit.

How much pain will I have after a root canal?

Once the local anesthesia wears off, your pain can be controlled by over the counter pain medications such as Ibuprofen, Naproxen, or Acetaminophen. In some cases, Dr. Ron Shiver may prescribe a prescription dose of pain medication. Within two days you should be feeling much better and able to return to your regular lifestyle.

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