What are the Signs a Root Canal is Needed?

Each year, over 60 million Americans visit the dentist. Many of these visits can be attributed to cavities, which are small holes in your teeth that allow bacteria to get inside. But sometimes, other dental issues occur that require additional treatments. If you experience severe tooth pain, bleeding, or swelling (other than after eating), you may need a root canal treatment.

Root canals are considered the best option for saving a damaged tooth when an abscess is present. Here are some signs you might need a root canal.

Persistent Pain

Having persistent pain is one way to tell if you need a root canal. The pain might be constant, or it might go away, but it always comes back. You may feel the pain deep in the bone of your tooth, or it might be in your jaw, face or other teeth.

Tooth pain may have other causes, such as gum disease, cavities, or an impacted tooth, but it’s always a good idea to talk with your dentist if you have tooth pain.

Tooth Discoloration

An infection in the pulp of your tooth can cause your tooth to become discolored. Trauma to the tooth or the breakdown of the internal tissue can damage the roots and give the tooth a grayish-black appearance. While there might be other reasons a tooth is discolored, it could be cause for a root canal so talk with your dentist!

Sensitivity to Heat and Cold

When your teeth start to hurt from drinking a hot cup of coffee or drinking ice water, you may need a root canal.

The pain can be just a dull feeling, or it can be a sharp pain that lingers for an extended period of time, even after you’ve finished eating or drinking. If your tooth hurts when you eat or drink something hot or cold, it may be an indication that the blood vessels and nerves in your tooth are infected or damaged.

Swollen Gums

Swollen gums near the painful tooth can be a sign of an issue that requires a root canal. The swelling may come and go. It may be tender when you touch it, or it may not be painful to the touch.

There also might be a pimple like abscess on your gum, which may ooze pus from the infection of the tooth. This can give you an unpleasant taste in your mouth and make your breath smell bad.

A Chipped or Cracked Tooth

If you’ve chipped or cracked your tooth in an accident, in a contact sport, or by chewing on something hard, bacteria can set in and lead to inflammation and infection. Even if your tooth didn’t crack but you did injure it, the injury can still cause damage to the nerves of the tooth. The nerve can become inflamed and cause pain and sensitivity, which may require root canal treatment.

These are just a few signs that you may need a root canal. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to talk with your dentist. Call us at 978-454-5656 and we can talk you through possible solutions.

What are the Different Stages of Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is the progressive loss of the attachment of the gum tissue to the teeth. It occurs when harmful bacteria in the mouth continuously produce toxins that irritate and inflame the gums and bone that hold teeth in place.

There are several different stages of periodontal disease including gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. Keep reading to learn more about each stage.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the only stage of periodontal disease that is reversible because it hasn’t yet attacked the bones yet. Typically, gingivitis is caused by a buildup of plaque around the teeth. One of the first signs gingivitis is bleeding gums, however, many symptoms are painless, which is what makes this stage of periodontal disease so common. Good oral hygiene and regular dental visits and cleanings can help treat and reverse gingivitis successfully.

Periodontitis

If gingivitis is left untreated, the disease will progress and the gums and teeth will start to separate even further from each other. This will lead to the development of deep gingival pockets, which can promote bacterial growth even further. These pockets are prone to calculus, which can cause damage to the connective tissues responsible for holding the teeth in place.

At this stage, aggressive dental treatment is the only way to stop the disease from progressing even further. In these cases, the preferred form of treatment is what’s referred to as root planning and if necessary, antibiotics.

Advanced Periodontitis

If you’ve reached the stage of advanced periodontitis, you are at risk for tooth loss and for their teeth to fall out at any time. At this stage, the teeth will have to be removed to prevent the disease from spreading even further. Surgical grafts may also be required to help compensate for the loss of both bone and gum tissue.

Losing teeth is not the only thing you have to be worried about, though, if you have advanced periodontitis. There’s been growing evidence of a link between periodontal disease and other types of complications, such as that of the heart, brain and even lungs.

At this stage, aggressive dental treatment and regular checkups, treatments and intake of certain medications is required to help slow down the progression of the disease. Further treatments may also be necessary to try to reverse as much of the damage done by periodontal disease as possible.

Periodontal disease can be reversed if you catch it quick enough. However, the longer you wait, the worse it gets. You should get in contact with your dentist right away if you believe you have symptoms of periodontal disease. Call us today at 978-454-5656 to schedule an appointment. We’re always happy to help!

Tooth Extractions: 4 Steps to an Easy Recovery

There are more than seven billion people in the world, and every one of them has a set of teeth—32 of them, in fact. Unfortunately, from time to time, some of them have to go. It’s not something anyone’s looking forward to. After all, your teeth have all been with you for years, reliably chewing anything you asked them to. Most of us are pretty attached to them!

Many patients dread the recovery period after an extraction, but as long as you know how to take care of yourself, an extraction can be one of the least troublesome medical events of your life. Today, we’ll tell you what you can expect, and what you can do to make your recovery as comfortable as possible.

The main concern in the period after a tooth extraction is the possibility of a dry socket. This is when a blood clot fails to form over the extraction site, or when the clot comes loose and exposes the wound, possibly even leaving the bone underneath exposed. Fortunately, it’s not incredibly common (it occurs in less than 5% of routine dental extractions).

The pain of a tooth extraction can be avoided by following these steps.

Step 1: Clear your schedule

The most important thing you can do to prepare for this procedure or any other is to make sure you’re ready for the recovery period. If you were thinking about going on a ten-mile bike tour or pushing a new one-rep-max at the gym, you’ll have to postpone it. Clear your schedule of strenuous physical activity for a few days after the extraction, so you don’t risk loosening the clot before it has a chance to heal.

Step 2: Stock up on soft foods

Avoid eating anything you’ll have to chew or suck. Stock up on soft foods like yogurt and applesauce. Or you could make a smoothie—but be careful not to use a straw. Sucking up any liquid may dislodge the clot and leave the wound exposed. Eggs can work too, if you’re craving something a little more substantial.

Step 3: Manage your pain

After the procedure, your poor gums are going to need a bit of babying. You’ll probably want a painkiller of some kind. The extraction site might not hurt badly right away, but you can manage the pain best by taking a Tylenol or similar drug early. The pain likely will increase for the first three days or so, but don’t worry, that’s normal. If pain continues to increase after the third day or doesn’t decrease, it’s possible you have a dry socket. Contact your dentist, and they’ll decide how to handle things from there.

Step 4: Be gentle with your teeth

Your nighttime routine will have to change, too. For the first two days, avoid rinsing out the extraction site so the wound can heal. After that, you should rinse gently with warm salt water to encourage healing. Brush your teeth gently but avoid teeth right next to the extraction site for the first couple of days. Even after the first couple days, be very careful not to brush the site itself. When it’s time to go to bed, it’s best to prop your head up with an extra pillow or two.

Tooth extraction is a little uncomfortable for the first few days. But with just a little care, you can minimize the pain, and your teeth will be chewing reliably for you once again in no time. The key is to be patient with the healing process and gentle with your mouth for a few days. Putting up with the pain and inconvenience of an extraction is much better than living with the pain and infection risk of a cracked or impacted tooth!

Drum Hill Dental is here to support you through extractions and all your dental needs. If you’re having tooth pain, or if you have questions about tooth extraction or any other procedure, call our office at 978-454-5656, and we’ll do everything we can to help.

Invisalign® Systems and Other Clear Aligners: A Path to Better-Looking Teeth

Braces can feel like a bit of a contradiction. You want a clean, straight smile, but you first have to wear a highly visible device on your teeth for months on end. You want a well-aligned bite, but for a while braces make some day-to-day tasks, such as brushing teeth and eating some foods, more difficult.

Fortunately, for those who want to show off their pretty pearly whites as they go AND show off the results of their realignment as soon as possible, one option is clear plastic removable aligners such as Invisalign aligner systems.

The Benefits of Clear Aligners

Clear aligners, as their name suggests, are clear plastic devices intended to straighten your teeth over time. They are nearly undetectable by observers. Not only are they more difficult to see (getting you closer to being able to show off that perfect smile), but they can be taken out temporarily when needed, allowing you to brush your teeth or eat without distraction.

How to Pay for Clear Aligners

Depending on the degree of work your teeth need, an Invisalign clear aligner treatment can cost between $3,000 and $7,000. According to Invisalign’s website, your insurance may be able to pay as much as $3,000 of the cost. For the amount your insurance doesn’t cover, you have some options.

Many dentists offer payment plans, which allows you to split a large bill into smaller payments over time. This makes payment much more manageable for some people and can be useful in emergency situations when you don’t have time to save money for the treatment before you begin.

Of course, if you can save the money ahead of time, that’s probably the better option. If you’re planning to save up for an Invisalign clear aligner treatment or something similar, you may want to consider opening a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA). Accounts such as these allow you to take a certain amount of money out of your paycheck, pretax, to pay for some expenses—including, in some cases, clear aligners. The types of accounts you’re allowed to open and the amount of money you can put into them will vary depending on your situation, so talk to your bank or another financial professional about your options.

The Clear Aligner Fitting Process

For most clear aligners, including Invisalign systems, your dentist will take a mold of your teeth and send it in. From there, orthodontic experts will determine the difference in positions between where your teeth are and where you want them to be and will create several stages of aligners to gradually move your teeth into the desired position. You’ll have to wear the aligners most of the time—about 22 hours a day. At certain points in the process as your teeth change position, you’ll move on to the next device, switching them out until your teeth are right where you want them to be.

Alternatively, there are kits you can order to take a mold of your teeth at home. This is an overall less expensive process, but you aren’t likely to achieve the same results and you lose the benefit of your dentist’s expertise. Clear aligners may not be the best solution for you, so it’s best to consult your dentist beforehand even if you decide to go this route.

 

For those who can use them, clear aligners such as Invisalign systems can be the least intrusive solution for straightening teeth. It’s nice not to have to worry about the looks and inconveniences of traditional braces! The initial cost of clear aligners may seem daunting, but options are available to help pay for them. If you have any questions about clear aligners or other methods of straightening your teeth, please give us a call at 978-454-5656. We’ll be happy to walk you through your options and help you find the best possible solution for your smile.

Pediatric Dental Care: Starting Your Child Off on the Right Tooth

The quality of dental care a child receives while growing up can have a huge impact on their teeth — and even their general health — for the rest of their life. Dental care sets the stage for the way teeth develop as they grow, and it’s important to begin with a good foundation. To reinforce healthy brushing habits with children and make sure their teeth are coming in nicely, we recommend visiting the dentist early, with a first visit at about twelve months of age, which is usually less than six months after their first tooth shows up.

Here are a few specific reasons to take your children to the dentist early in their lives:

Baby Teeth are Important

Your child’s baby teeth aren’t disposable just because they’re temporary. They play an important role in your child’s development. Making sure their baby teeth are in order will have a positive effect long after they lose them. Baby teeth act as placeholders for adult teeth; they help your child’s jaw and gums develop in the right way. Not only that, healthy baby teeth help children learn to speak by supporting the shape of the mouth correctly. And a dazzling smile is good for their self-esteem.

Experience Calms Anxiety

Many grownups feel anxious about going to the dentist. However, if you bring your children in for a visit at about the age of twelve months, they’ll be too young to think anything bad is going on and they won’t likely be very worried. One of the best ways to help children avoid the development of dental anxiety is to begin building a habit of regular dental visits early in life. Parents who wait until children are two years of age or older likely will have a much rougher time with visits at early ages, and the children could develop lifelong anxiety about going to the dentist.

Tooth Decay Comes Early

Tooth decay can set in as soon as your child develops their first tooth. A CDC report showed that as many as 40% of children will develop some form of tooth decay before they reach kindergarten. And that decay can have a long-term effect on the health of their teeth and gums.

Nip Problems in the Bud

After children have stopped growing, it can be difficult to get crooked teeth back in order. The process is likely to be more difficult, longer and more uncomfortable for the patient than if the problems are taken care of early in life. That’s why there’s no better time to fix misaligned or crooked teeth than when your child is still growing. As soon as their teeth show signs of these problems, we can begin early to guide their teeth into the correct position.

Giving your child’s teeth the care they deserve sets them up for dental success in the future by introducing good dental hygiene habits and preventing problems from getting worse as their teeth age. If you have any questions about how to give your child the best dental care possible or would like to set up an appointment, give us a call at 978-454-5656. Begin proper dental care as soon as your child’s first tooth shows up and you’ll put them on the road to a healthy, beautiful smile all their lives.

What To Expect When You Get a Dental Checkup

Knowing what to expect when you go in for a dental checkup can help ease the anxiety of going into the dentist. Usually, you should get a dental checkup every six months to ensure the health of your teeth and gums.

Not only are checkups great for your overall health, but they also give your dentist the opportunity to share tips on caring for your teeth and detect oral health problems early. Here is what you can expect from a typical dental checkup.

Physical Exam

Most teeth cleanings are performed by a dental hygiene professional. Before beginning the cleaning, the hygienist will start with an exam of your entire mouth. By using a small mirror tool, the hygienist will check around your teeth and gums for any sign of gingivitis (inflamed gums) or other potential concerns.

If any major issues are detected, the hygienist might call the dentist over to make sure it’s okay to continue.

Cleaning and Polishing

Next, the hygienist will begin to remove any plaque or tartar that has built up on your teeth. They do so by using the mirror tool and scaler. Usually plaque build up happens around the gums and in between teeth, so you’ll notice the hygienist focusing there. The more plaque and tartar there is, the more scraping there will be. Then they will expertly floss your teeth, making sure to get any problem areas where the gums might bleed more. Next, they’ll do a fluoride treatment on your teeth, which is a protectant for your teeth to help fight against cavities for several months.

Education

Another big part of the dental checkup process is education. After the cleaning the dental hygienist will discuss any hygiene problems that were detected. They’ll also show you ways to more effectively brush and floss your teeth, if necessary.

Examination

Both the dental hygienist and your dentist will then do an examination on your teeth, gums and mouth to look for signs of any problems, like a cavity, gum disease, or early signs of oral cancer. The dentist will use the mirror tool to get a better view of your teeth and gums, and if they see any issues, they might recommend a special treatment or refer you to a specialist.

X-Rays

At some of your dental visits, your dentist might ask for x-rays of your teeth. A dental X-ray allows the dentist to see detailed images of specific sections of your mouth to help diagnose problems not visible during the dental exam. X-rays aren’t typically needed at every checkup, so your dentist or hygiene specialist will talk to you about your need for x-rays based on your oral health and risk of disease.

Getting regular dental checkups is so important to your overall health. Dentists and hygienists are here to make sure you’re keeping your mouth and teeth in tip top shape. Drum Hill Dental is always here to help you and answer any questions you have. Call our office at 978-454-5656 to make an appointment for your next dental checkup!

The Pros and Cons of Cosmetic Dentistry

Many of us are obsessed with the way our teeth look. Think about it. What’s the first thing you notice about a person? For most of us, it’s the person’s teeth. Nevertheless, even though a lot of us are obsessed with teeth, ⅓ of Americans are dissatisfied with the way their teeth look.

That’s where cosmetic dentistry comes in. Cosmetic dentistry can help improve your smile and overall dental health. However, there are pros and cons to cosmetic dentistry so we’ve compiled a list to help you decide whether it’s the right choice for you.

Cons of Cosmetic Dentistry

Teeth Sensitivity
While there are many good effects that come with cosmetic dentistry, there are also some that aren’t so great. Whitening your teeth can make your teeth sensitive to temperature, and you’re also encouraged to stay away from foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, such as coffee or berries.

When getting a crown, a dentist has to drill into your tooth, which can lead to gum recession and sensitivity. Implants have also been known to cause infections and post- surgery bleeding.

Permanence
Many of these procedures are permanent. You have to be completely certain that this procedure is right for you and it’s something you absolutely want because there’s no turning back once it is done.

Price
Many people don’t just have a disposable income available for cosmetic dentistry procedures, so price can be a major con for some. For instance, veneers can cost anywhere between $925 and $2,500 per tooth. Braces can cost up to $5,000 or more. Financing and insurance can help cover these costs, but not everyone has these options.

Pros of Cosmetic Dentistry

Health Boost
Kidney problems, heart disease, diabetes, and even oral cancer are some serious consequences of bad oral hygiene. Gum disease and tooth decay are also issues to worry about with poor oral care. After receiving cosmetic dentistry, there is more motivation for the individual to take good care of their teeth, leading to a happier and healthier person.

Confidence Boost
The most obvious benefit of cosmetic dentistry is the confidence boost one gets from having a brighter, straighter smile. After any cosmetic dentistry procedure, you are guaranteed to feel better about your teeth. No more uncomfortable social situations trying to hide your smile.

Looking Younger
Having healthy teeth can help make you look younger. A youthful smile lights up your entire face and can completely change your outlook on life. Not only will you look younger, you’ll also feel younger, which is just as important.

 

Set up an appointment with Drum Hill Dental by calling 978-454-5656 to talk with one of our dentists about if cosmetic dentistry is right for you. We’re here to answer any and all of your questions to help you make the step for better oral health and a more confident smile.

What Can I Do to Improve the Appearance of My Smile?

Improving Your Smile

Your smile is one of the first things people notice, and if you’re not confident in yours, it can be a cause for low self esteem and insecurities. That’s where cosmetic dentists come in. Cosmetic dentists are here to help you be confident in your teeth and smile.

There are lots of things cosmetics dentists can do to make you love your smile. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of just some of the reasons why you should visit a cosmetic dentist.

Straightening Teeth

Crooked or misaligned teeth are really common for most people, but not everyone had braces in middle school. Now you might be an adult and don’t want to go the traditional teeth straightening route. That’s where your cosmetic dentist comes in.

We can provide you with different methods of straightening your teeth, including but not limited to, clear braces, Invisalign, and veneers. These options give you a way to straighten your teeth without the pain of braces and the hassle of going to an orthodontist.

Replacing Missing Teeth

Got some missing teeth? No worries! Cosmetic dentists have a variety of ways to fill gaps and missing teeth. These include crowns, implants, dentures, bridges and more. No matter how you lost your teeth, we can help get your smile complete again.

Whitening Your Teeth

Everyone wants that million dollar smile that sparkles when you show it. Getting whiter teeth can help you have brighter teeth. Having your teeth whitened by a professional is safer and more effective than doing it yourself at home. It can also last longer.

Whitening your teeth is one of the more popular ways to improve your smile and dentists offer a wide variety of ways to do it. There are several methods your dentist can try, and they can even provide you with take home kits. Talk with us to find out what method is best for you!

Tooth Reshaping

Some people don’t love the shape of their teeth, whether they are pointy or oddly shaped or whatever the reason may be. Reshaping your teeth can help get you that straight, even tooth look. Most people opt for the veneer route if they want to change the shape of their teeth, but talk with us and we can decide the best option for you.

 

No matter if it’s a small change or a big change, cosmetic dentists can help give you confidence in your smile again. Call us at 978-454-5656 to set up an appointment to talk with our dentists about what we can do to get you loving your smile again.

Reasons to Visit a Cosmetic Dentist

Your smile is one of the first things people notice, and if you’re not confident in yours, it can be a cause for low self esteem and insecurities. That’s where cosmetic dentists come in. Cosmetic dentists are here to help you be confident in your teeth and smile.

There are lots of things cosmetics dentists can do to make you love your smile. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of just some of the reasons why you should visit a cosmetic dentist.

Whitening Your Teeth

Everyone wants that million dollar smile that sparkles when you show it. Getting whiter teeth can help you have brighter teeth. Having your teeth whitened by a professional is safer and more effective than doing it yourself at home. It can also last longer.

Whitening your teeth is one of the more popular ways to improve your smile and dentists offer a wide variety of ways to do it. There are several methods your dentist can try, and they can even provide you with take home kits. Talk with us to find out what method is best for you!

Straightening Teeth

Crooked or misaligned teeth are really common for most people, but not everyone had braces in middle school. Now you might be an adult and don’t want to go the traditional teeth straightening route. That’s where your cosmetic dentist comes in.

We can provide you with different methods of straightening your teeth, including but not limited to, clear braces, Invisalign, and veneers. These options give you a way to straighten your teeth without the pain of braces and the hassle of going to an orthodontist.

Replacing Missing Teeth

Got some missing teeth? No worries! Cosmetic dentists have a variety of ways to fill gaps and missing teeth. These include crowns, implants, dentures, bridges and more. No matter how you lost your teeth, we can help get your smile complete again.

Tooth Reshaping

Some people don’t love the shape of their teeth, whether they are pointy or oddly shaped or whatever the reason may be. Reshaping your teeth can help get you that straight, even tooth look. Most people opt for the veneer route if they want to change the shape of their teeth, but talk with us and we can decide the best option for you.

 

No matter if it’s a small change or a big change, cosmetic dentists can help give you confidence in your smile again. Call us at 978-454-5656 to set up an appointment to talk with our dentists about what we can do to get you loving your smile again.

Smile Design

Smile design is a dental procedure that creates straighter, whiter, and a more naturally beautiful looking smile. Smile design can do wonders to a person’s confidence by helping them love their smile again, but it can also help restore full dental health to a person.

So how does it work?

First, you’ll talk with your cosmetic dentist to customize and plan for your own personal smile design. We’ll work with you to discuss any underlying dental issues and help you achieve your dental goals, whether that be a better smile or all around better dental health.

Then, we’ll help you create a timeline to help plan for any event or social function you want your smile design done by. From there, any dental diseases are taken care of and a dental hygiene visit is completed. Patients are encouraged to bring photos of how they want their teeth to look, either from celebrities or photos from their younger selves.

The patient and cosmetic dentist then sit down to discuss issues like arrangement of teeth, teeth position, and the overall effect this procedure will have on their appearance. They then make an individualized plan before the teeth are prepared.

Treatments

Each patient is different and the plan of action is made specifically for that individual. Common treatments include veneers, crowns and veneers, bridges, dentures, or implants. With these treatments, you’ll have your dream smile in no time!

Who can get a smile design?

Any person who wants to look younger is a great candidate for a smile design. This process can help take years off your appearance. Anyone who wants to have more confidence in their smile is also a good candidate.

 

Talk with your cosmetic dentist today to see if a smile design is right for you. Everyone deserves to have healthy looking teeth and have confidence in their smile. Here at Drum Hill Dental, we’re here to help give you that. Call us today at 978-454-5656 to set up an appointment to start getting your smile design plan made.