Posts for: March, 2018
While most tooth loss stems from dental disease or injury, another major cause is a condition known as cracked tooth syndrome. What begins as a microscopic crack in an individual tooth’s enamel could ultimately grow to a fracture that endangers its survival.
Most often related to age-related brittleness, expansion and contraction of the enamel surface because of hot foods followed by cold foods and beverages, or grinding habits, cracked tooth syndrome usually occurs in three phases. The first phase is the emergence of miniscule cracks in the outer enamel known as craze lines. These can be very difficult to detect even with x-rays, and usually calls for specialized detection methods such as probing with a sharp instrument (an explorer) or fiber-optic lighting with dye staining to highlight enamel abnormalities. If you have pain symptoms, we may ask you to bite down on a bite stick or rubber pad to locate the area by replicating the sensation.
In the next phase, the craze line grows into a crack that penetrates below the enamel into the tooth’s dentin. Pain becomes more prominent and the risk of infection increases. Left untreated, the crack may enter the third phase, a full break (fracture) occurring deep within the inner layers of the tooth. The deeper the fracture occurs, the more serious the danger to the tooth, especially if the pulp is exposed.
The best treatment approach is to attempt to detect and treat a crack as early as possible. Craze lines and moderate cracks can usually be repaired with restorative materials like composite resins. A deeper crack extending into the pulp may require a root canal treatment and the tooth covered with a permanent, protective crown.
If, however, the fracture is too deep, the tooth may be beyond repair and will need to be extracted and replaced with a dental implant or permanent bridge. In any event, the sooner a cracked tooth is discovered and treated, the greater your chance of avoiding pain, discomfort, and, ultimately, tooth loss.
If you would like more information on cracked tooth syndrome, 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 “Cracked Tooth Syndrome.”
Root canals can be essential to your oral health. Some people may still think of them as painful, but modern technology has come a long way. Your Washington, DC dentists Dr. Carlos Abreu and Dr. Mahvassh Abreu can help you determine if a root canal is needed.
What's a root canal?
A tooth is composed of several layers. The outermost layer is enamel. It's the white part of the tooth and also happens to be the strongest part. The layer under it is called dentin. This layer is yellowish and a bit softer. The third layer of the tooth is called the pulp. It consists of blood vessels and nerves. The last layer is called cementum. This part anchors the whole tooth to the jawbone.
When a cavity is deep enough to infiltrate the enamel and then the dentin, it reaches the pulp, which causes pain. Your Washington, DC dentist will need to remove the pulp, clean and disinfect the canal from any bacteria remaining then seal the canal to prevent any more bacteria from entering.
Why would I need a root canal?
One of the main reasons people end up needing a root canal is because of advanced dental decay. If you don't brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once, then you will suffer from plaque and tartar building up. Plaque and tartar are not only difficult to clean, but plaque interacts with the foods you eat you have to deal with bacteria eating away at your teeth.
Brushing and flossing aren't the only things you need to take into consideration. Eating sugary foods and drinks like sugary gum and soda can contribute to this issue. Healthy foods like apples and drinking water will help remove plaque and food debris from your teeth.
If you are dealing with dental pain, or if you have any questions or concerns about root canals, don't hesitate to call your Washington, DC dentists Dr. Carlos Abreu and Dr. Mahvassh Abreu. Call (202) 496-0891.
Spring means different things to different people—but to baseball fans, it means just one thing: the start of another thrilling season. All 30 Major League Baseball teams begin play this month, delighting fans from Toronto to Texas and everywhere in between.
The boys of spring carry on an age-old tradition—yet baseball is also changing with the times. Cigarette smoking has been banned at most ballparks for years; smokeless tobacco is next. About half of the MLB venues now prohibit tobacco of any kind, including “snuff” and “dip.” What’s more, a recent contract agreement bars new Major League players from using smokeless tobacco anywhere.
Why all the fuss? Because tobacco isn’t safe to use in any form. People who use smokeless tobacco get just as much highly addictive nicotine as cigarette smokers. Plus, they get a mouthful of chemicals that are known to cause cancer. This puts them at higher risk for oral cancer, cancer of the esophagus, pancreatic cancer and other diseases.
A number of renowned ballplayers like Babe Ruth, Curt Flood and Bill Tuttle died of oral cancer. The death of Hall of Famer Tony Gwinn in 2014 focused attention on tobacco use in baseball, and helped lead to the ban. Gwynn was convinced that his addiction to smokeless tobacco led to his getting oral cancer.
Yet tobacco isn’t the only cause of oral cancer. In fact, the disease is becoming more common in young people who do not smoke. That’s one more reason why it’s so important for people of all ages to keep to a regular schedule of routine dental exams. These visits offer a great opportunity to detect oral cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages.
So as you watch your favorite team, take a tip from the professional athletes’ playbook. If you don’t use tobacco, don’t start. If you do, now is a good time to quit. For help and support, call an expert at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit smokefree.gov.
If you have any questions about oral cancer, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Diet and Prevention of Oral Cancer.”