Root canals

Root Canal Therapy - Why Do I Need It?

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

Root canal therapy treats the inside pulp of the tooth. Why root canal therapy is suggested is because the inside of the tooth has become infected and root canal therapy can preserve the tooth. 

The pulp of the tooth usually becomes infected because an untreated cavity has allowed bacteria to enter the center of the tooth or because of trauma to the tooth. Your dentist will review your symptoms which may include:

  • Severe toothache
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Abscess

Once the pulp of the tooth is infected it is imperative that treatment begin as soon as possible. Not only will treatment alleviate the discomfort, but it will avoid the danger of the infection spreading throughout the body. Yes, untreated tooth infections can actually become deadly.

The actual root canal therapy may take several visits to clean out the infected center of the tooth, and then clean and seal the tooth to prevent further damage. Because a tooth that has had root canal therapy is weaker than a healthy tooth a dental crown is typically placed at the end of treatment.

There are many old horror stories about root canal treatment but most of these stem from the severe toothache that prompts the visit to the dentist, not from the procedure itself. Local anesthesia ensures that you will remain comfortable throughout the procedure.

Is There An Alternative Treatment?

The alternative to root canal therapy is to remove the infected tooth and replace it with a dental implant. Dental implants are placed in the jaw and serve as an artificial tooth “root”. A special implant crown is placed over the implant and the resulting restoration looks, feels and functions just like a natural tooth. Talk to your dentist about your treatment options for your infected tooth.

Find out more about your treatment options for severe toothache by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777.




What Causes A Toothache?

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

Toothache pain always seems to start at the worst time — and it can feel unbearable. What causes toothache pain?

Toothache pain can be caused by several things. Here are the most common causes for toothache pain:

  • Tooth decay – A deep cavity can easily cause toothache pain. Schedule an appointment for a filling right away because tooth decay will not heal on its own.
  • Abscessed tooth – Teeth become abscessed as a result of another oral health condition, such as tooth decay, that has gone untreated and the ensuing infection can be very painful. Swelling and fever may accompany an abscessed tooth. This is a serious medical condition and cannot be ignored. Seek treatment from a dentist as soon as possible before the infection spreads.
  • Cracked tooth – Teeth can become cracked because of a poor bite, trauma to the mouth or biting down on something hard. Treatment for a cracked tooth will depend upon the size and location of the crack. Root canal therapy may be suggested to save the tooth but severe cracks may result in tooth loss.
  • Gum disease – When gums become inflamed and swollen they may cause oral pain that feels similar to toothache. Regular brushing and flossing can prevent this from happening.
  • Wisdom teeth – These teeth cause all sorts of problems when they come in usually in the late teenage years. Many times the wisdom teeth are crooked in the jaw (impacted), and most people’s mouths simply don’t have room for these extra teeth. Add to these problems the fact that they are almost impossible to keep clean due to their location at the back of the mouth and you can understand why wisdom teeth are typically removed.
  • TMJ or jaw problems – The jaw joint is very complex and a host of issues can cause jaw joint dysfunction. Pain from the jaw can feel exactly like a toothache.
  • Sinus and allergy issues – That toothache may not be coming from your mouth after all. If you have an infection the Maxillary sinuses that are located inside your cheek bones can get clogged. This traps bacteria and can cause a toothache usually in the upper molars.

Oral pain like toothache should never be ignored. Small problems can quickly get worse leaving you needing more complex and expensive treatment. As always, prevention is the best way to protect yourself from toothache pain.

If you have a painful tooth please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777. Make sure you let us know that you are experiencing pain so that we can get you scheduled quickly.


Could Diamonds Repair Teeth?

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

Microscopic sized diamonds might join gold, silver, porcelain and composites that are used to repair damaged teeth. Scientists have developed a new material with nanodiamonds (really, really tiny diamond pieces) that may improve current root canal therapy.

Root canal therapy clears out the damaged, infected pulp in the middle of the tooth. The pulp becomes infected due to deep decay, old fillings that have developed decay underneath and cracks or breaks in a tooth. As anyone who has experienced this can attest, infected pulp causes a very painful toothache.

Currently dentists fill the cleared out space with a substance called gutta-percha. In some rare cases, however, a patients tooth can become re-infected which calls for re-treatment. Researchers have been exploring other fillers to prevent this from happening. Turns out that nanodiamonds are strong and can be modified with antimicrobrial drugs. Lab testing has shown that the nanodiamonds, combine with gutta-percha and amoxicillin (an antibiotic) create a material that is stronger than gutta-percha alone and is effective at killing bacteria that cause root canal re-infections.

Future studies are needed to see how this new material might work in clinical practice, but this is just another example of the advances in dental materials over the years. Dental fillings have changed as well.

Decayed teeth used to be filled with dental amalgam, a mixture of several metals and mercury. While it is still legal to use dental amalgam in this country, most advanced practices no longer do. Mercury is a neurotoxin and dental amalgam is bad for the environment and the health of dental workers. Composite tooth colored fillings are more durable and safer for patients and dentists.

Find out more about your options for dental care by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777.

Sensitive Teeth? Is It Serious?

Friday, May 29th, 2015

Ouch! That sharp pain when you bite into ice cream or sip from a hot cup of coffee might be more serious than you think. But how do you know if the sensitivity in your teeth is a sign of a serious problem — ask your dentist!

Tooth sensitivity can be caused by many things, including receding gums, loss of tooth enamel, cracked fillings or even infected teeth.

If your sensitivity is throughout your entire mouth you may be dealing with gum recession or erosion of the tooth enamel. Both can be caused by over zealous brushing and tobacco use. When the gums recede they expose the tender roots of the teeth which are much more sensitive to hot and cold sensations. Fortunately, dentists can repair this damage using the Pinhole Surgical Technique. Tooth enamel can also be damaged by drinking too much soda or energy drinks. These beverages contain high amounts of sugar and acids which are a damaging combination for your teeth.

When the sensitivity is restricted to just one part of the mouth or one specific tooth the problem is probably a little more serious. A radiograph (x-ray) can help us pinpoint the problem – a cracked tooth, a damaged filling or even a dental abscess. In these cases it is necessary to treat the tooth as soon as possible to prevent serious infection. Untreated dental infections are not only painful but they can spread to other parts of the body leading to serious health consequences. Early intervention can often save a tooth that might otherwise be lost.

Don’t ignore your sensitive teeth – find out why you are feeling discomfort and put an end to it! Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your next visit.



Do I Need a Root Canal?

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Each year, millions of dental patients find themselves needing root canals, one of the most commonly-performed dental procedures. A root canal is an endodontic dental treatment, which focus on the treatment of issues inside the mouth.

Let’s learn a little bit more about the root canal procedure, and what it entails.

  1. What causes the need for a root canal? Inside of the tooth, located under the white enamel, is a soft tissue known as “the pulp,” which contains connective tissues which enable the root of a tooth to grow during its development. As a tooth grows, the pulp provides nourishment that provides proper development to the tooth. If a cavity is left untreated, bacteria can eat through enamel, damaging the pulp. A pulp can also be damaged by trauma to the tooth. A root canal will remove the damaged or infected pulp. Fully-developed teeth can function well without the pulp.
  2. What are the symptoms of a damaged pulp? Patients with a damaged or infected pulp may experience a severe toothache, discoloration of the teeth, swelling, tenderness, and sensitivity whenever you eat or drink a hot or cold beverage.
  3. What will a root canal procedure involve? Patients may need to undergo a series of office visits for a root canal. First, the dentist will remove the pulp through a small opening, then clean and seal up the tooth to prevent any further damages. A temporary filling will be placed in the opening to protect the tooth. Local anesthetic will be used to numb the area, and your dentist may prescribe medication to control any infection and allow the area to heal properly. The temporary filling will be removed at your next office visit.
  4. Is a root canal painful? Despite the fact that many people associate a root canal with severe pain, the procedure is normally not very painful. Local anesthesia helps the patient relax.
  5. Are the results of a root canal permanent? In most cases, the results of the procedure are considered permanent, though patients must continue to care for their teeth effectively in order to avoid similar future issues.

Dental Health in Toccoa

If you would like to learn more about root canal therapy, or any other procedure, contact us today. Our offices are located in Toccoa, GA, and we can be reached at 706-886-9439. We look forward to hearing from you!



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