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Bite Pain? It Might Be Time to See Your Endodontist

October 14th, 2020

Whether it’s a constant ache when you chew food or a sharp, jolting pain every time you bite down, if bite pain has you considering a permanent liquid diet, a trip to see Dr. Ron Shiver is definitely in order!

What causes bite pain? You might feel an ache because of a cavity, a loose filling, bruxism (grinding the teeth) or a malocclusion (bad bite). Dr. Ron Shiver will be able to help you get to the root of this type of tooth pain and provide treatment that will leave you smiling again.

But sometimes, pain is caused by damage or infection located in the inner chamber of the tooth. In this case, pain caused by biting or pressure on the tooth might indicate:

  • Pulp Infection

The pulp of a tooth contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. Because it is composed of living tissue, pulp can be subject to injury, inflammation, and infection. If bacterial infection sets in, the pulp will need to be removed and the site cleaned, shaped, and filled. This is something that should not be postponed, because without treatment infection can spread to the surrounding bone and tissue.

  • An Abscess

An abscess forms when pus collects into a pocket at the site of an infection. When tooth pulp suffers bacterial infection, the infection spreads through the interior of the tooth. An abscess can form at the tip of the root, or appear in the surrounding tissue. If the abscess finds a path to drain, you might feel some temporary relief, but treatment is essential. Unless the infected pulp is removed and the inner tooth cleaned, shaped, and filled, pain can not only recur, but the infection can spread to other parts of the body—sometimes with serious results. Endodontists are trained to treat infection in the tissues surrounding a compromised tooth.

  • A Cracked or Injured Tooth

When a tooth suffers a significant crack or fracture, the pulp can become infected or damaged. An endodontist is trained to discover and diagnose cracks and fractures that might not appear on an X-ray. If the crack is treatable, there are a variety of procedures, including oral surgery, which can preserve a tooth even if some of the root area needs to be removed.

Of course, bite pain is not the only symptom of a damaged or infected inner tooth. Any redness, swelling, fever, or prolonged sensitivity to heat and cold are signs that your tooth should be examined as soon as possible.  If you are suffering from discomfort because the pulp of the tooth has been injured, endodontists like Dr. Ron Shiver are experts in treating your pain.

Whether the answer is a root canal or more complex oral surgery, Dr. Ron Shiver and our team have the training and experience to relieve pain, protect you from further infection, and save injured teeth.

If you are avoiding biting or chewing because of tooth pain, call our Valdosta endodontic office. We can let you know how we can help give you back your happy—and healthy—smile.

Should I fix my chipped tooth?

September 30th, 2020

It was a small fall! A miniscule piece of popcorn! A minor foul on the basketball court! But now there’s a chip in your otherwise perfect smile. Is a chipped tooth worth calling Dr. Ron Shiver?

Any time your tooth is injured is time to call our Valdosta office. Even a small chip can affect your tooth structure and should be evaluated. We will also want to check your tooth and gums to make sure there is no underlying injury that could be more serious, and to treat your tooth as soon as possible so that no further damage occurs.

A very small chip might need nothing more than smoothing and polishing to remove sharp edges. A small chip in your enamel can be repaired with dental bonding, where a composite like those used to fill cavities will be shaped to cover and fill the chip. This composite will be matched to your tooth color for a seamless repair. A porcelain veneer is also an option for you. These procedures will restore the look of your tooth and protect it as well, because even a small chip can lead to tooth sensitivity or further damage in the future.

A larger chip, such as a fractured cusp, might require a crown. But a large chip might also mean that the inside of the tooth has been compromised. If the dentin or pulp are affected, pain, infection, and even tooth loss could result. A root canal might be necessary to preserve the tooth, so prompt treatment is necessary.

Regardless of the size of the chip, call our Valdosta office as soon as possible. We can give you tips for pain management, if needed, until you see us. If you can save the chip, bring it with you when you visit in case there is the possibility of bonding it to the injured tooth.  But even without that missing piece, there are ways to restore the look of your original tooth. Remember, repairing a chipped tooth is not just cosmetic. We want to keep your smile healthy, as well as beautiful!

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!

Dental X-rays: The Inside Story

August 12th, 2020

We’re all friends here, so if you feel a bit nervous before your endodontic appointment, no judging! Ask us about any worries you might have. We are happy to explain procedures, equipment, and sedation options so you know just how safe and comfortable your experience can be. And if X-rays are a concern, we can put your mind at ease here as well.

What Exactly Are X-rays?

Sometimes patients feel reluctant about the process of imaging because X-rays are a kind of radiation. But the fact is, radiation is all around us. We are exposed to radiation naturally from our soil and water, sun and air, as well as from modern inventions such as cell phones, WiFi, and air travel.

Why is radiation so common? Because matter throughout the universe constantly gives off energy, and the energy that is emitted is called radiation. This radiation takes two forms—as particles (which we don’t need to consider!) and as traveling rays. This second type is known as electromagnetic radiation, created by photons traveling in regular waves at the speed of light.

We are exposed to electromagnetic radiation every day, because, whether we can see them or not, these different wavelengths and frequencies create various forms of light. Radio waves, microwaves, infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light, X-rays, and gamma rays are all part of the electromagnetic light spectrum.

Different types of radiation on this spectrum have different wavelengths and different frequencies, and produce different amounts of energy. Longer wavelengths mean lower frequencies and less energy. Because X-rays have shorter wavelengths and higher frequencies than, for example, radio waves and visible light, they have more energy.

How Do Dental X-rays Work?

An X-ray machine produces a very narrow beam of X-ray photons. This beam passes through the body and captures images of our teeth and jaws on special film or digital sensors inside the mouth (intraoral X-rays), or on film or sensors located outside the mouth (extraoral X-rays). These X-ray images are also known as radiographs.

Why are X-rays able to take pictures inside our bodies? Remember that higher energy we talked about earlier? This energy enables X-rays to pass through the softer, less dense parts of our bodies, which are seen as gray background in a radiograph. But some substances in our bodies absorb X-rays, such as the calcium found in our bones and teeth. This is why they show up as sharp white images in radiographs. 

There are several different types of dental X-rays used in endodontics, including:

  • Bitewing X-rays, which are used to examine the roots and surrounding bone in the back teeth.
  • Periapical X-rays, which allow us to look at one or two specific teeth from crown to root.
  • Panoramic X-rays, which use a special machine to rotate around the head to create a complete two-dimensional picture of teeth and jaws.
  • Cone Beam Computed Tomography, an external device which uses digital images to create a three-dimensional picture of the teeth and jaws.

Why Do We Need X-rays?

If all of our dental conditions were visible on the surface, there would be no need for X-rays. But there are many conditions that can only be discovered with the use of imaging—infection, decay, a decrease in bone density, or injuries, for example, can show up as darker areas in the teeth or jaws.

Endodontists specialize in treating the pulp chamber and root canals within each tooth that hold tissue, nerves, and blood vessels and the supporting tissues around them. “Endodontic” literally means “inside the tooth,” so it’s clear why X-rays can be essential for both diagnosis and treatment!

Some of the procedures which might require X-rays include:

  • Root canal treatment or retreatment
  • Apicoectomies (removing the tip of a root to treat recurring infection)
  • Treating abscesses and infections in the tooth and surrounding bone
  • Repairing fractures or other injuries to a tooth
  • Treating an avulsed, or knocked out, tooth

How Do Endodontists Make Sure Your X-rays Are As Safe As They Can Be?

First of all, the amount of radiation you are exposed to with a dental X-ray is very small. In fact, a set of bitewing X-rays exposes us to slightly less than the amount of radiation we are exposed to through our natural surroundings in just one day. Even so, Dr. Ron Shiver and our team are committed to making sure patients are exposed to as little radiation as possible.

Radiologists, the physicians who specialize in imaging procedures and diagnoses, recommend that all dentists and doctors follow the safety principal known as ALARA: “As Low As Reasonably Achievable.” This means using the lowest X-ray exposure necessary to achieve precise diagnostic results for all dental and medical patients.

The guidelines recommended for X-rays and other imaging have been designed to make sure all patients have the safest experience possible whenever they visit the dentist or the doctor. We ensure that imaging is safe and effective in a number of ways:

  • We take X-rays only when they are necessary.
  • We provide protective gear, such as apron shields and thyroid collars, whenever needed.
  • We make use of modern X-ray equipment, for both traditional X-rays and digital X-rays, which exposes patients to a lower amount of radiation than ever before.
  • When treating children, we set exposure times based on each child’s size and age.

And now that we’ve talked about some things you might like to know,

Please Let Us Know If . . .

  • You are being treated after previous endodontic work. We’ll let you know if your earlier X-rays might be useful, and how to transfer them. (With digital X-ray technology, this transfer can be accomplished electronically!)
  • You’re pregnant, or think you might be pregnant. Even though radiation exposure is very low with dental radiographs, unless there is a dental emergency, dentists and doctors recommend against X-rays for pregnant patients.

X-rays play a vital part in helping us diagnose and treat endodontic issues. If you have any concerns, contact our Valdosta office. When it comes to making sure you’re comfortable with all of our procedures, including any X-rays that might be necessary, we’re happy to give you all the inside information!

Some General Rules for General Anesthesia

August 5th, 2020

If you have endodontic surgery scheduled at our Valdosta office, you have many options for your choice of anesthesia. After all, Dr. Ron Shiver and our team are trained in all forms of anesthesia and sedation therapy, so you will be able to choose the anesthesia experience that best suits your needs—and your comfort!

One such option is general anesthesia. If you choose this type of anesthesia, you will be carefully monitored at all times. While you are under our care, we want to make sure your treatment is safe, painless, and free from anxiety. And to make your experience go as smoothly as possible, there are some recommendations you can follow even before you arrive at the office.

  • Communication

Part of our job is to let you know all about your general anesthesia beforehand. If you have any questions or concerns, please voice them. And communication is a two-way street! If you have any medical conditions, or are taking any medications, or have a cold or the flu, please let us know in advance.

  • Diet Restrictions

Talk to us before your surgery to learn about any diet restrictions you should observe before general anesthesia. You will need to abstain from food and drink for a set number of hours before the procedure, so we’ll give you directions based on whether your surgery is scheduled for morning or afternoon.

  • Dress for Success

Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Make sure your sleeves are short or easily rolled up above your elbow if you’ll need an IV line or blood pressure monitoring. Leave your make-up, jewelry, and contact lenses at home.

  • Go Along for the Ride

Ask a friend or a family member for a ride home after surgery. We want you to travel safely, and, even if you think you are good to go, your thinking and decision making, your reflexes, and even your memory can be impaired for up to 48 hours after general anesthesia. If you have arranged for a cab or a ride share, don’t call for your ride until our office gives you the all clear.

  • Plan Ahead!

For the very same reasons you shouldn’t drive for several hours after general anesthesia, there are some normal everyday activities you should postpone as well. You shouldn’t operate machinery. Cooking can wait. Arrange for help with childcare if you have young children. The effects of general anesthesia will wear off over the course of a day or two—ask us for a timeline for returning to your normal activities.

We’re experts in providing you with a safe and comfortable anesthesia experience when you have endodontic surgery. And part of that expertise is letting you know the specifics about preparing for your general anesthesia. If you have any questions for how to get ready for the hours both before and after your surgery, give us a call!

Diet Soda vs. Regular Soda: Which is better for teeth?

July 29th, 2020

When most patients ask Dr. Ron Shiver this question, they're thinking strictly about sugar content — cut out the bacteria-feeding sugar that's present in regular soda by opting for a diet soda and it will be better for your teeth. That seems logical, right? Well, there's a bit more to it than that. Let's take a closer look at how any kind of soda can affect your dental health.

Diet Soda – Why it can also lead to tooth decay

The main culprit in these drinks that leads to decay is the acid content. Diet sodas and other sugar-free drinks are usually highly acidic, which weakens the enamel on your teeth and makes them more susceptible to cavities and dental erosion. The level of phosphoric acid, citric acid, and/or tartaric acid is usually high in sugar-free drinks so it's best to avoid them.

Some patients also enjoy drinking orange juice or other citrus juices. These drinks are high in citric acid and have the same effect on the enamel of your teeth.

So what about regular soda?

We know the acidity of diet sodas and sugar-free drinks contributes to tooth decay, so what about regular soda? Like we alluded to earlier, regular soda is high in sugar — a 12 ounce can contains roughly ten teaspoons of sugar — and sugar feeds the decay-causing bacteria in the mouth. This also includes sports drinks and energy drinks, which are highly acidic and loaded with sugar too. So these drinks are a double-whammy of sugar and acidity your teeth and body simply don't need.

The problems caused by both diet and regular soda is exacerbated when you sip on them throughout the day. If you drink it all in one sitting, you won't be washing sugar and/or acids over your teeth all day long and your saliva will have a chance to neutralize the pH in your mouth.

The best beverages to drink and how to drink them

Drinking beverages that are lower in acid is a good step to take to keep your enamel strong. According to a study conducted by Matthew M. Rodgers and J. Anthony von Fraunhofer at the University of Michigan, your best bets are plain water, black tea or coffee, and if you opt for a soda, root beer. These drinks dissolved the least amount of enamel when measured 14 days after consumption of the beverage.

If you still choose to drink soda, diet soda, sugar-free drinks, or juices here are some other tips to lessen tooth decay:

  • Drink your soda or acidic beverages through a straw to minimize contact with teeth
  • Rinse with water immediately after consumption of the beverage
  • Avoid brushing your teeth between 30 minutes to an hour after drinking the beverage as this has been shown to spread the acids before your saliva can bring your mouth back to a neutral pH
  • Avoid drinks that have acids listed on the ingredients label

Still have questions about soda, sugar, and acid? Give our Valdosta office a call and we’d be happy to help!

Natural Ways to Soothe a Toothache

July 22nd, 2020

Toothaches can come in many different forms, but no matter which, they’re always uncomfortable. Dr. Ron Shiver and our team want you to know there are simple ways to cure this common problem.

Toothaches can be caused by infections, gum diseases, teeth grinding, trauma, or having an abnormal bite. Several symptoms may become noticeable when you start to experience a toothache. You might develop a fever, have trouble swallowing, notice an unpleasant discharge, and most often feel lasting pain when you bite down.

If you begin to notice any of these symptoms, try to manage the pain with the simple remedies below. If the pain continues, contact our Valdosta office and schedule an appointment, because a bigger issue might be involved.

  1. First, try rinsing your mouth out with warm salt water. This helps to disinfect your mouth and may soothe the region where the toothache is occurring. Hydrogen peroxide can also help if you swish it around in your mouth.
  2. Applying a cold compress or ice pack to your jaw in area that hurts can help with swelling.
  3. Make sure to floss your entire mouth thoroughly. The problem could be caused by food debris stuck between your teeth.
  4. Certain essential oils possess pain-relieving qualities, including clove, nutmeg, eucalyptus, or peppermint oil. Use a cotton swab and dilute one of these oils, then apply it to the problem tooth and/or gum area. Repeat the process as needed. This can also be done with apple cider vinegar.
  5. Similar to essential oils, peppermint tea can soothe and slightly numb the area. Swish it around in your mouth once it has cooled off for temporary relief.
  6. You may also soothe a toothache by eating Greek yogurt. You might be surprised to know that yogurt contains healthy bacteria that can help fight against pain.
  7. Crushed garlic can be rubbed on the aching area to help relieve pain. Garlic contains allicin, which slows bacterial activity. The application may burn at first but it has been known to help treat inflammation.

When it comes to preventing toothaches, you can take various measures. Always make sure you brush and floss every day, though. If you schedule regular oral examinations by Dr. Ron Shiver, you will decrease infections that may cause toothache from spreading.

If you’ve tried the methods listed above and your toothache hasn’t gone away, call our Valdosta office and we can schedule an appointment to figure out the cause of the problem and provide a solution.

Endodontists Can Save Teeth

July 8th, 2020

An endodontist is a dental specialist who concentrates on root canals, or procedures involving the soft inner tissues of the teeth, otherwise known as the pulp. This type of doctor has gone through extensive training and extra years of schooling to be able to complete these procedures effectively.

You will be referred to an endodontist such as Dr. Ron Shiver if you’re in need of a root canal, or other specific procedures necessitated by a problem tooth. Nowadays, endodontists have the ability to avoid extraction altogether and save your natural tooth by restoring it to a healthy state.

Getting a root canal may not be on the top of your list of fun things to do, but it can make it possible for your endodontist to save a problem tooth if the pulp has become infected with bacteria. During this surgery, Dr. Ron Shiver will remove the infection from the root of the tooth, clean and fill the area, then seal it so bacteria can no longer get inside. Finally, a crown is placed on top of the tooth to prevent damage from occurring down the road.

Sometimes, additional treatment is necessary after a root canal, if you continue to experience pain in the area where the root canal took place. Inflammation and pain that persists after an initial root canal may mean the infection has spread to the bony area that surrounds the tooth.

This can occur if the tooth has experienced trauma, decay, or the crown has been cracked since the surgery. A root-end resection will fix these issues by opening the irritated gum tissues, then removing the infection and filling in the space. It’s unlikely that you will experience more problems following a root-end resection.

Endodontists such as Dr. Ron Shiver have the ability to save and restore problem teeth. When it comes to your oral health, being able to avoid a tooth extraction can be extremely relieving. If you think you may need a root canal, or notice recurring pain in your mouth, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment at our Valdosta office.

Happy Fourth of July

July 1st, 2020

Every year, Americans all over the world celebrate the birth of the country and its independence on the Fourth of July. There are countless ways that people celebrate and they range from community parades and large scale gatherings to concerts, fireworks displays, and smaller scale celebrations among family and friends. For some people, July 4th is synonymous with baseball, while for others it is all about the beach of barbecues. However you celebrate, you can be sure that red, white, and blue is visible everywhere throughout the area.

The Beginnings of Fourth of July Celebrations

Although it wasn't officially designated as a federal holiday until 1941, the actual tradition of celebrating Independence Day goes back to the time of the American Revolution (1775 – 1783). At the time of the American Revolution, representatives from the 13 colonies penned the resolution that ultimately declared their independence from Great Britain. The continental congress voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence on July 2nd of 1776. Two days later, Thomas Jefferson's famous document that is now known as the Declaration of Independence, was adopted by delegates representing the 13 colonies.

First States to Recognize the Fourth of July

In 1781, Massachusetts became the first state (or commonwealth) whose legislature resolved to designate July 4th as the date on which to celebrate the country's independence. Two years later, Boston became the first city to make an official designation to honor the country's birth with a holiday on July 4th. In that same year, North Carolina's governor, Alexander Martin, became the first governor to issue an official state order stipulating that July 4th was the day on which North Carolinians would celebrate the country's independence.

Fun Facts About the Fourth of July

  • The reason the stars on the original flag were arranged in a circle is because it was believed that would indicate that all of the colonies were equal.
  • Americans eat over 150 million hot dogs on July 4th.
  • Imports of fireworks each year totals over $211 million.
  • The first “official” Fourth of July party took place at the White House in 1801.
  • Benjamin Franklin didn't want the national bird to be the bald eagle. He believed that the turkey was better suited to the coveted distinction. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson disagreed with him, and he was outvoted, so the bald eagle became the official bird of the United States.

For many, the tradition is something entirely different. Along the coastal areas of the United States, people may haul out huge pots to have lobster or other types of seafood boils. Others may spend the day in the bleachers at a baseball game, or at a park, cooking a great traditional meal over an open fire. No matter how or where you celebrate, one thing is certain: all Americans celebrate July 4th as the birth and independence of our country.

Dr. Ron Shiver and our team at Ron L. Shiver DMD Family & Restorative Dentistry wish you a safe and happy Fourth of July!

How can I protect my child's teeth during sports?

June 24th, 2020

Sports are great for children for a variety of reasons. Children can develop their motor skills, learn how to solve conflicts and work together, and develop their work ethics. As a parent, you may recognize the benefits of sports, but also naturally worry about your child’s health and safety. Your job goes beyond providing a water bottle and making sure your child follows the rules of the game.

Although you may not think of your child’s teeth first when you think about sports, accidents can happen that affect your children’s teeth. A stray hockey stick, an errant basketball, or a misguided dive after a volleyball are examples of ways a child could lose a tooth. In fact, studies show that young athletes lose more than three million teeth each year.

Becoming a Better Athlete to Protect Teeth

Becoming a better athlete involves refining skills, learning the rules of the game, and being a good sport. These components are not just about winning. They are also about safety. Young athletes who are better ball-handlers and who are careful to avoid fouls and penalties are less likely to have harmful contact with the ball, teammates, or opponents. Children who are better roller-bladers are less likely to take a face plant into the blacktop, and more likely to save their teeth. Being a good sport and avoiding unnecessary contact is one way to protect teeth.

Proper Protective Equipment for Teeth

If your child is in a sport that poses a high threat to teeth, it is essential for your child to wear a mouthguard. Mouthguards fit your child’s mouth and consist of soft plastic. Dr. Ron Shiver can custom fit a mouthguard if generic ones are uncomfortable. While children may resist wearing a mouthguard initially, your persistence in insisting that they wear it should be enough to convince them. A helmet or face mask provides additional protection.

While prevention is best, rapid treatment can improve the situation if your child does happen to lose a tooth during sports. Rapid implantation can work in about ten percent of cases. To learn about ways to save a lost tooth, contact our Valdosta office.

When Should I See an Endodontist?

June 17th, 2020

Your teeth generally give you no reason to complain. In fact, brushing and flossing regularly for tooth and gum health, getting good check-ups, and appreciating your beautiful smile in your latest selfie are all very positive experiences. But sometimes, a tooth demands attention in a less than positive way.

When exposure to hot and cold foods causes discomfort, or your gums are swollen and tender around a tooth, or when you can’t bite down without pain, it might mean that the pulp or roots of your tooth have been injured or infected. If your regular dentist suspects there is a problem inside your tooth, he or she might recommend that you see an endodontist, like Dr. Ron Shiver.

“Endodontic” means “inside the tooth,” and refers to the pulp and roots within each tooth that hold tissue, nerves, and blood vessels. While all dentists receive some endodontic training in dental school, to specialize in this field, endodontists receive two or three years of additional advanced training. Here they concentrate on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and injuries that affect the inner tooth and its supporting tissue.

Damage to the tooth’s pulp can be the result of an injury, such as a blow to the mouth. A chip, a crack, or a deep cavity can leave an opening for infection. Whatever the cause of injury or inflammation, once the pulp and roots have been compromised, treatment needs to take place to prevent further infection, pain, and even tooth loss. Endodontists work to save injured teeth with a variety of procedures, including root canals, treatment of injuries caused by trauma, and endodontic surgeries.

If you have a compromised tooth, or if you have oral or facial pain that is difficult to find an explanation for, talk to Dr. Ron Shiver about specialized endodontic treatment at our Valdosta office. Saving a tooth is, after all, one of the most important ways to preserve our smiles. And that’s nothing but positive!

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