March 15th, 2019
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. Mark Hildahl, Dr. David Keup, Dr. Jock Stevick and Dr. Hensen 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 Minot, ND office a call!
March 8th, 2019
Young adults often have the reputation of not taking good care of themselves. You may feel invincible, and not realize how much your behaviors now can affect your health later in life. Oral health is one area that is easy to neglect now, but that can lead to serious financial and quality of life consequences later.
Follow a Good Oral Care Regimen
If you don’t already do so, it’s time to brush, floss, and rinse as Dr. Mark Hildahl, Dr. David Keup, Dr. Jock Stevick and Dr. Hensen taught you. Brush at least twice a day or after meals, and floss your teeth every day. If recommended, use mouthwash to kill germs in your mouth. If you are not able to brush your teeth after eating, swish water around in your mouth to remove the food from your teeth. Leaving carbohydrates in your mouth allows bacteria to ferment it and produce acid, which can destroy your tooth enamel and put you at risk for decay.
Visit Our Office Regularly
Young adulthood can be a challenging time when it comes to medical care. Your parents are no longer paying for your health insurance or taking you to your appointments. You may not worry much about getting regular cleanings and exams, especially if you’re paying for them yourself.
However, young adults have a lot to gain from visiting our Minot, ND office regularly. We can check for signs of problems and fix them early, which can save thousands of dollars and, ultimately, your teeth. These are some examples of what Dr. Mark Hildahl, Dr. David Keup, Dr. Jock Stevick and Dr. Hensen and our hygiene team can do for you.
- Get rid of plaque so it does not develop into tartar and cause periodontitis.
- Identify and fill small areas of tooth decay to prevent it from progressing.
- Examine your gums for signs of gingivitis, or early gum disease.
Consume a Tooth-Healthy Diet
A nutritious diet is not just for preventing heart disease and diabetes later in life. It also supports your teeth. Make sure to get plenty of calcium, such as from dairy products, canned fish, and leafy green vegetables to allow for strong teeth. Also, limit sticky foods and sugary sweets.
March 1st, 2019
We all want to live our healthiest lives. We know that part of keeping ourselves healthy is regular visits to our Minot, ND office for checkups and necessary dental work. And that dental work might require an X-ray. Should the amount of radiation in an X-ray concern us?
First, it is helpful to know that the radiation you are exposed to from a dental X-ray is very small. A set of most bitewing X-rays, for example, produces an amount of exposure about equal to the amount of background radiation we get from our normal surroundings in a typical day. We also take care to minimize your exposure even further by using specially designed equipment and protective shielding, and taking only necessary X-rays. If your child is very young, if you are pregnant, or if you have other health concerns, talk to us about the advisability of X-rays and whether they are essential to treatment.
Second, much of our careful general examination will be done visually. Dr. Mark Hildahl, Dr. David Keup, Dr. Jock Stevick and Dr. Hensen can check for cavities and other problems and assess tooth and gum health. But sometimes, there are conditions which can’t be detected without an X-ray.
- Decay that isn’t visible in an oral exam—if a small cavity develops between teeth, or is hidden underneath a filling, an X-ray will catch it before more damage can take place.
- Infection—An X-ray will reveal infections such as abscesses that can damage both bone and tooth, and gum disease that has harmed bone and connective tissue.
- Orthodontic and periodontal issues—We might need an X-ray to determine the spacing and development of your child’s incoming teeth and maturing jaw structure, to properly create braces for adults or children, or to place an implant within the jawbone.
- If you are a new patient, it is helpful to have complete X-rays taken as a baseline of your current dental health and previous dental work. This baseline allows us to track tooth and jaw development, if necessary, and to evaluate any future changes that might be a concern. (If you have had X-rays taken in another office, we can help you have them transferred so we have a background of your dental history.)
Even though the radiation from a dental X-ray is minimal, be assured that we will never request any unnecessary procedure. When we recommend an X-ray, we do so to make sure there is no decay or infection threatening the health of your gums and teeth, and that we have the essential knowledge we need to treat any dental, periodontal, or orthodontic condition. Because we all want to live our healthiest lives—and part of that healthy life is both active and proactive dental care.
February 22nd, 2019
Whether you’ve lost a tooth from decay, are preparing for dentures, or were born with a gap where a tooth should have been, you could be a candidate for dental implants.
Dental implants have changed a lot since their debut in 1965, thanks to continuing advances in design and technology. Today, you no longer have to worry about whether dental implants might have a negative aesthetic impact on your smile.
So what are dental implants? Pretty much what they sound like: An implant is a replacement tooth that substitutes for a missing natural one. It gets placed through several steps; it’s a process that can take a few months.
The initial step involves the surgical implantation of the implant root, which resembles a small screw. After that’s placed, the top is covered with gum tissue to enable it to heal faster. This is an essential phase in the process, since this portion of the implant will serve as the base of support for everything else.
In the second step, the implant gets uncovered and an implant restoration (or crown) is created and affixed to it. After that, you’ve got yourself a new tooth!
While dental implants require a little special care, it’s all easily manageable. All you have to do at home is make sure you brush and floss your implant daily, the same as you would for any other tooth. Although an implant can’t develop a cavity, if something were to get stuck in it, that could lead to a gum infection.
If you have any other questions about dental implants, give our Minot, ND office a call!