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Fractured Tooth? When You Should Call Your Endodontist

September 15th, 2021

No one looks forward to dealing with a cracked or fractured tooth, but, fortunately, there are treatments available. Fractures take a variety of forms, from cosmetic annoyance to tooth-threatening, so if you suspect your tooth is injured, it’s important to see Dr. Ron Shiver right away.

If you have suffered any kind of serious fracture, we are uniquely equipped to help save your tooth. Endodontists have two or more years of advanced training after dental school, and we specialize in treating the inner tooth, which contains the blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue found in the pulp chamber and root canals. Endodontists save teeth that would otherwise be automatic candidates for extraction.

When should you call Dr. Ron Shiver? We identify five types of cracks and fractures, and your options will be different depending on which type of injury your tooth has suffered.

  • Crazing fractures

These are the small, shallow cracks that appear over time in the exterior enamel. They are often a cosmetic concern more than a medical one, and usually require no treatment. If the cracks are very bothersome, whitening treatments or even veneers can take care of the problem. If there is any pain in the tooth, it is caused by something other than a surface crack in the outer enamel.

  • Cusp fractures

When the cusp of a tooth has broken off, treatment will depend on the degree of damage. The chewing surface of the tooth can be treated by your dentist with a crown or even a filling, depending on the extent of the cusp loss. Cusp fractures rarely extend to the tooth’s pulp, but, if they do, a root canal will probably be necessary. This is a good time for an endodontic evaluation, because endodontists specialize in root canal procedures.

  • Cracked Tooth

A crack which begins in the tooth crown and travels toward the root should be treated as soon as possible. If the damage has extended to the pulp, a root canal will be necessary, and a crown will protect the tooth from further damage and help prevent the crack from growing. If the crack is not caught in time and extends below the gumline and into the root, the prognosis for the tooth is much less favorable.

  • Vertical Root Fracture

In this type of fracture, a crack begins in the root of the tooth and can gradually spread toward the crown. This is one of the more serious types of tooth fractures, because it can be difficult to detect and often has no immediate symptoms. By the time you feel pain, it might be because the bone and gum tissue surrounding the root have become infected. If the fracture is limited, endodontic surgery can sometimes save the tooth by removing the damaged root, but extraction is often necessary with more serious fractures.

  • Split Tooth

This type of fracture goes all the way through the tooth, splitting it into two distinct segments. These sections cannot be put back together, but, depending on the type and location of the break, Dr. Ron Shiver may be able to save a portion of the tooth with endodontic surgery.

When you are treated for a broken bone, over time the bone will knit together. A crack in a tooth, however, does not heal. If you have suffered any kind of traumatic dental injury, it’s important to visit our Valdosta office as soon as possible. With proper treatment and restoration, even a tooth that has suffered a serious fracture might be saved.

How Can Calcified Roots Affect Your Root Canal Procedure?

September 8th, 2021

Endodontists are specialists in treating the inner tooth, and perform root canal procedures every day. They have completed years of additional advanced studies after dental school to diagnose and treat both common root canal issues and more complicated endodontic problems. Calcified root canals are one such complication that make a visit to Dr. Ron Shiver the right choice for your professional care.

What’s involved in a typical root canal procedure?

After the area around the tooth is numbed, Dr. Ron Shiver 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 remove dead or dying pulp tissue. The area inside of the tooth will be shaped, filled, and sealed, a process which can take one or more appointments. A temporary filling might be placed in the tooth to prevent bacteria and food from entering the site before a permanent seal is created. Dr. Ron Shiver can consult with you as to whether a crown or other restoration is best to protect your tooth after root canal treatment.

How do calcified roots develop?

Calcium is an essential mineral because it keeps our enamel strong, protecting the delicate pulp tissue inside the tooth. Sometimes, though, calcium deposits will partially or completely block a root canal. This build-up might occur in a canal as a response to injury or infection. It’s also a process that occurs naturally over time, and because of today’s advances in dental care, people are keeping their natural teeth much longer. This calcification can become a problem when you need a root canal procedure.

Why are calcified roots a problem?

It’s very important that we have access to every root, and to the entire length of every root, for the root canal procedure to succeed. If calcium deposits block all or part of a canal, even delicate instruments will have difficulty reaching all of the pulp tissue inside the canal. To make matters even more complicated, calcified roots can be hard to locate. Dealing with calcified canals requires experience and skill.

How can an endodontist help?

  • Endodontists have sophisticated imaging technology and microscopes, which, together with their experience in the anatomy of the inner tooth, help them locate even difficult-to-detect roots and their branches.
  • Endodontists have the skill and training to precisely and patiently clear the blocked roots.
  • Specifically engineered endodontic instruments have been designed to clean and shape narrow, calcified canals.
  • Finally, if the root canals are not treatable through the crown of the tooth, endodontic surgery can allow access to the canals that regular non-surgical methods cannot.

If you have calcified roots, making a root canal more difficult, schedule an appointment at our Valdosta office. We are experts in root canal procedures, whether common or complex, and experts in saving teeth.

Labor Day: Our favorite holiday to rest!

September 1st, 2021

Labor Day, celebrated on the first Monday each September here in the United States, is a holiday devoted to the American working community. The purpose of the holiday is honoring the country's workers and their contributions to the strength of our country as a whole.

How Labor Day Started

There is actually some debate as to the origins of Labor Day. It is uncertain whether Peter McGuire, a cofounder for the American Federation of Labor, or Matthew Maguire, who was the secretary of Central Labor Union of New York, had the great idea. However, the Central Labor Union's plans were what launched the first Labor Day in America.

The First Labor Day

The very first Labor Day was celebrated on September 5th, 1882. The Central Labor Union then held annual celebrations on September 5th for what they called a working man's holiday. By the year 1885, the Labor Day celebration had spread to many different industrial areas, and after that it began spreading to all industries in the United States.

Labor Day Today

Labor Day today is a huge United States holiday during which we honor the country's workers with a day of rest and relaxation or a day of picnics and parades. This holiday is truly one to honor the many people who work hard to contribute to the economic well-being of our great country!

Our team at Ron L. Shiver DMD Family & Restorative Dentistry hopes all of our patients celebrate Labor Day, and every holiday, safely and happily. Whether you stay in the Valdosta area, or travel out of town, have fun, and don't forget to brush!

Breaking Bad Oral Habits

August 25th, 2021

The effects of bad oral habits are something our team sees all too often. You might have bad oral habits that stem from childhood, possibly because your parents did not know about proper oral care or force you to follow it. Or, your bad habits could develop gradually, like slacking on your frequency of brushing.

Bad oral habits can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and consequences such as losing teeth and experiencing bad pain. They may be deeply ingrained and easy to continue, but you can break them with a little effort. Focus on developing good habits to replace your current ones, and eating a diet that is healthy for your teeth.

Replace Bad Habits with Good

Breaking your bad oral habits may not be as difficult as you expect when you focus instead on developing good habits. These new good habits can naturally replace your bad habits.

  • Brush your teeth after each meal or at least twice a day.
  • Visit a dentist every six months for an exam and a professional cleaning.
  • Floss your teeth every day.

These good habits may not seem natural, so you can take steps to make sure you follow these behaviors. For example, make a daily checklist with your scheduled sessions of brushing and flossing your teeth and using mouthwash. You can also set a timer to be sure you brush your teeth for the full recommended two minutes.

Eat Properly

Poor eating habits can be detrimental to your teeth. A common mistake is to let food, especially carbohydrates such as starch and sugar, stay on your teeth for a long time. You can stop doing this by rinsing your mouth with water after each meal or snack. Also, avoid candy and soft drinks between meals, since the sugar sits on your teeth.

A healthy diet provides the nutrients you need to maintain strong teeth. The mineral calcium is key for healthy teeth, so try to get your three daily servings of high-calcium foods, such as low-fat milk or yogurt, canned fish, or fortified soy or almond milk. Also include vegetables and fruits, which have a high water content.

If you need more tips about breaking your bad oral health habits, contact our Valdosta office and speak with Dr. Ron Shiver or a member of our team.

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