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Posts for: June, 2016

By Geary Dentistry
June 16, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Root canal treatment can be an effective life preserver for a heavily decayed tooth. The question a lot of people ask, though, is how long might the tooth survive after treatment.

That’s an important concern since the treated tooth was in dire straits beforehand as decay had infected its inner most layer, the pulp. The infection, which had caused the living bundles of nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue within to become inflamed and diseased, was poised to invade even deeper through the root canals. During the root canal treatment, the infected pulp tissue is removed and the empty chamber and root canals are filled with a special filling to seal the tooth from further infection.

The protection, though, isn’t an absolute certainty: how long a treated tooth survives depends on a number of factors. For one, the earlier a diseased tooth can be initially diagnosed — especially if the infection hasn’t spread into the jawbone — the better the procedural outcome. Likewise, the chances of longevity are also better if the initial root canal treatment was thorough in identifying and filling all the root canals as well as capping the tooth with a life-like crown in a timely manner after treatment.

The type and location of the tooth can also affect its long-term health. Front teeth, with their single roots and canals are easier to access and treat. Back teeth, by contrast, can have two or more roots and a more intricate canal network. These kinds of complications could require the use of special microscopic equipment and the expertise of an endodontist, a specialist in root canals.

Even if a re-infection occurs, the tooth isn’t necessarily lost. A repeat root canal treatment that addresses these and other issues, could give the tooth a “third” chance. In any case, if a tooth is worth saving attempting a root canal treatment is generally preferable to losing the tooth and replacing it with a prosthetic tooth — it’s well worth the try.

If you would like more information on root canal treatments, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Root Canal Treatment: How Long Will it Last.”

By Geary Dentistry
June 03, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Veneers  

Dental veneers offer a simple way to change the appearance of your smile without extensive dental work. Drs. Terence and Mary Eileen Geary, your Brookfield dentists, share information about veneers and explain who can benefit from this innovative cosmetic dentistry Veneerstreatment.

What are porcelain veneers?

Veneers are thin porcelain shells that fit over the front surfaces of your teeth. Although they're wafer thin, they're extremely durable. Because porcelain looks very much like your natural tooth enamel, no one will be able to tell that you have veneers.

Who can benefit from veneers?

Veneers are a good choice if you:

  • Have slight gaps between your teeth
  • Don't like the appearance of a slightly crooked or oddly shaped tooth
  • Have chips or cracks on your teeth
  • Are concerned about a discolored tooth
  • Want to whiten all of your teeth
  • Are interested in making one tooth look longer

Veneers from your Brookfield dentist are an excellent option if you want to whiten your teeth but aren't satisfied with the results of over-the-counter of professional whitening. When you choose veneers, your teeth can be as white as you like.

Porcelain veneers can conceal a variety of imperfections, but they won't be the best choice if a tooth is significantly decayed or damaged, or is much shorter than surrounding teeth. In those cases, a crown may be the better option. Although veneers can cover slight gaps and crooked teeth, if your issues are severe, braces may be needed to correct the problem.

How are veneers attached to my teeth?

Before you receive your veneers, your dentist may remove a very small amount of enamel from the front surfaces of your teeth. Filing the enamel ensures that the veneers don't feel bulky when they're attached to your teeth. Your dentist will also make an impression of your teeth and send it to the dental laboratory that will create your custom porcelain veneers. You'll receive temporary veneers before you leave and will return to your dentist's office in two or three weeks to receive your permanent veneers. After your dentist makes any adjustments to the fit, your permanent porcelain veneers will be attached with dental cement and cured with a special light that helps them bond to your teeth.

Interested in porcelain veneers? Call Drs. Terence and Mary Eileen Geary at Geary Dentistry in Brookfield, Wisconsin, to schedule an appointment. Transform your smile with veneers!

By Geary Dentistry
June 01, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Did you see the move Cast Away starring Tom Hanks? If so, you probably remember the scene where Hanks, stranded on a remote island, knocks out his own abscessed tooth — with an ice skate, no less — to stop the pain. Recently, Dear Doctor TV interviewed Gary Archer, the dental technician who created that special effect and many others.

“They wanted to have an abscess above the tooth with all sorts of gunk and pus and stuff coming out of it,” Archer explained. “I met with Tom and I took impressions [of his mouth] and we came up with this wonderful little piece. It just slipped over his own natural teeth.” The actor could flick it out with his lower tooth when the time was right during the scene. It ended up looking so real that, as Archer said, “it was not for the easily squeamish!”

That’s for sure. But neither is a real abscess, which is an infection that becomes sealed off beneath the gum line. An abscess may result from a trapped piece of food, uncontrolled periodontal (gum) disease, or even an infection deep inside a tooth that has spread to adjacent periodontal tissues. In any case, the condition can cause intense pain due to the pressure that builds up in the pus-filled sac. Prompt treatment is required to relieve the pain, keep the infection from spreading to other areas of the face (or even elsewhere in the body), and prevent tooth loss.

Treatment involves draining the abscess, which usually stops the pain immediately, and then controlling the infection and removing its cause. This may require antibiotics and any of several in-office dental procedures, including gum surgery, a root canal, or a tooth extraction. But if you do have a tooth that can’t be saved, we promise we won’t remove it with an ice skate!

The best way to prevent an abscess from forming in the first place is to practice conscientious oral hygiene. By brushing your teeth twice each day for two minutes, and flossing at least once a day, you will go a long way towards keeping harmful oral bacteria from thriving in your mouth.

If you have any questions about gum disease or abscesses, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Periodontal (Gum) Abscesses” and “Confusing Tooth Pain.”