Jun 23

Taking Care Of Sensitive Teeth

As millions of people all around the world know, sensitive teeth can make life in general a nightmare.  Sensitive teeth come with pain and discomfort that can make eating or drinking your favorite foods a painful experience.  Although you may suffer from sensitive teeth, it can be treated.

Normally, this condition presents tooth pain after drinking cold liquid, eating hot or cold foods, or breathing cold air.  If the pain becomes too much to bear, you should see your dentist immediately since the nerve of your tooth could be exposed.  Normally, sensitive teeth start when he gums begin to recede exposing the root. The gums are like a protective blanket, they cover and protect the teeth’s roots from hot and cold food & liquids .  When the gums recede , the roots have no protection, and therefore they will be exposed to temperature changes.

The exposed roots contain small tubules that lead directly to the nerves of the teeth.  Whenever pressure, hot, or cold elements travel down the tubules, it will trigger the nerves and result in pain.  Those who don’t have sensitive teeth will have their gums covering the tubules, which prevents these types of things from happening.

You want to stop tooth sensitivity and keep the gums healthy.  If you reduce the pressure you use when brushing your teeth, you’ll find that your gums will remain healthy.  .  If you have sensitive teeth now, you should try using an electric toothbrush such as the Sonicare advanced electric toothbrush.

If you have sensitive teeth, there are some things you can do to reduce sensitivity.  There are several toothpastes on the market that contain potassium nitrate, which helps to reduce pain and discomfort associated with sensitivity.  Although there are several toothpastes to choose from, Sensodyne is the preferred.  It’s recommended by dentists as being the best, simply because it plugs up the tubules of the tooth and stops the pain where it starts.

Mouthwash can also help tooth sensitivity, provided it contains fluoride.  You can also ask your dentist which mouthwash he recommends, as there are several to choose from.  Scope is a great brand to use, as it offers you plenty of fluoride without any alcohol.  Unlike Listerine, Scope won’t burn your mouth when you use it.  It will leave you with a clean feeling, and get your mouth and teeth completely clean – killing millions of bacteria.

If you start using fluoride toothpaste such as Sensodyne and mouthwash, you’ll  may notice some improvement in your teeth and gums.  The sensitivity will begin going away, giving you almost immediate relief.  When you brush, make sure you brush gently, and avoid using any type of force, as it will always cause your gums to recede.

In the event that using Sensodyne and fluoride mouthwash doesn’t help, you should ask your dentist about other options available to you.  Your dentist will know what will help you, so you shouldn’t hesitate to ask.

Permanent link to this article: http://stpeteendo.com/blog/taking-care-sensitive-teeth/

May 21

Quality questions to ask regarding endodontic treatment – Antibiotic question

It is not uncommon for a patient to ask if they can just take antibiotics to eliminate a root canal infection.  That is a good common sense question and there is a simple answer.

Antibiotics are carried in the blood by the circulatory system and delivered to the site of an infection.  Antibiotics will help kill bacteria outside the root but they cannot get inside the root canal because the bacteria have killed and destroyed the circulatory system of the pulp inside the root.  Consequently the bacteria have a safe place to grow inside the root where they cannot be attacked by your immune system (white blood cells) or antibiotics.

That’s where we come in.  We have to get inside the root, clean out the bacteria and then fill in the empty space so the bacteria cannot multiply and start the infection all over again.  That is what a root canal procedure is.  We get access to the contaminated canal system in the root, we use files to clean the tube or canal inside the root, we disinfect the canal by rinsing with an antibacterial fluid and then we fill in the clean, empty tube in the root with a root canal filling.  When we eliminate the flow of bacteria out of the tip of the root, your immune system cleans up the tissues outside the root tip and then bone will grow back and reattach to the root.

The healing process usually is complete within 8 months but may take as long as 2 years with large infections.  There is no pain or swelling during the healing process.

If you are considering a root canal, call St Petersburg Endodontics at 727.521.2285 – St Petersburg Root Canal Endodontist / Dentist

Permanent link to this article: http://stpeteendo.com/blog/quality-questions-to-ask-regarding-endodontic-treatment-antibiotic-question/

May 15

Quality questions to ask regarding endodontic treatment – Insurance questions

Often when a patient calls our office inquiring about having a root canal they often want to know if we will accept their insurance.  The answer can be complicated.  Let’s see if we can clear things up a bit.

Some people are really asking if we have signed up as a contracted provider for their dental plan.  The answer is No.  We are not a contracted provider for any restrictive dental plan that operates with a provider list.  If we were to become a contracted provider we would have to accept fee reductions of up to 40%.  I am only interested in providing the highest quality root canal I can.

Fee reductions change the incentive from doing a great root canal and being fairly compensated for my time, to doing a quick root canal because the compensation is not enough to invest the time it takes to be thorough.  It also forces contracted dentist to keep expenses as low as possible by having only the minimum necessary equipment to do a root canal.  That probably means the dentist will not use a microscope throughout the procedure because reduced compensation prevents them from making the investment to put a microscope in each treatment room.

They probably will not have digital X-rays or use higher cost irrigation systems which take more time but disinfect the root canal much better.  If the root canal is not done right the first time it will fail and have to be done again at a greater cost.  Why not get it done right the first time?  Most dental plans have a limited benefit which will be used up on other more routine dental procedures in the course of a benefit year so why not start with a solid foundation and use up your benefits with your restorative dentist?

There is another aspect to the insurance question.  If you have a dental plan that doesn’t have a restrictive provider list, then the answer becomes, “Yes, we do accept assignment of benefits.”  You will need to pay your estimated portion that is not covered by your insurance plan and we can wait for the benefits payment from the insurance company.

If you are considering a root canal, call St Petersburg Endodontics at 727.521.2285 – St Petersburg Root Canal Specialist

Permanent link to this article: http://stpeteendo.com/blog/quality-questions-to-ask-regarding-endodontic-treatment-insurance-questions/

May 06

Quality questions to ask regarding endodontic treatment – Does the endodontist use a mircoscope

It’s very hard for a patient to determine the level quality and workmanship that an endodontic office is producing.  Most patients only know if it hurts when they are having their root canal, if the staff is friendly, and the office is clean.

There are simple questions that can be asked to provide clues.  One of the most important questions is to ask if the doctor has a microscope in every treatment room and do they use it on every patient throughout the root canal procedure.  Microscopes have been used in endodontics since 1994.

They provide higher levels of magnification and illumination that are not possible with the naked eye or magnifying glasses. Most general dentists do not have microscopes because they are difficult to use for fillings, crowns, extractions, and implants. Many endodontists have a microscope but it is on wheels and must be moved from room to room which is difficult and therefore it is seldom used.

It costs $18,000-25,000 per treatment room to have a microscope mounted in the room.  Specialists who want to perform at their highest possible levels will have a microscope in each treatment room to make it easier to use. Endodontists who want to do their best will use it on every patient throughout the procedure because they want to see everything and miss nothing.

Using a microscope for every root canal throughout the procedure clearly indicates the endodontist is committed to performing at their personal best and they are willing to spend the money to improve their ability to see.  It’s a clear commitment to quality and that is what you are looking for.  If you only ask if the endodontist has a microscope, the answer may be ”Yes” but it probably is on wheels and is seldom used.  Make sure it is used throughout the entire procedure.

If you are considering a root canal, call St Petersburg Endodontics at 727.521.2285 – St Petersburg Root Canal Specialist

Permanent link to this article: http://stpeteendo.com/blog/quality-questions-to-ask-regarding-endodontic-treatment-does-the-endodontist-use-a-mircoscope/

Mar 07

Basic NSRCT Extraction Decision

When you have a toothache, the cause may be due to the tooth being severely decayed.  If the toothache is causing you severe pain, the nerve on the inside of the tooth may be dying or already dead.  If this is the case, you’ll need to either have the tooth extracted or have the nerve removed to eliminate the pain. Removing the nerve will save the tooth and is known as a root canal.

Root canals are very common within the world of dentistry since it is a routine way to save the tooth and prevent an abscess from forming.  Although many people end up having their teeth extracted, others turn to the root canal.  This dental procedure is preferred by many general dentists but it can take 3 – 4 hours. If the abscess is severe, it may take longer. The procedure can be done faster by a root canal specialist or Endodontist because they have additional equipment and expertise that a general dentist does not have.

Endodontists use machines to do a majority of the cleaning associated with root canals. In the past, the dentist had to do it all with hand instruments which took quite a bit of time.  Now, with the use of rotary files and special suction systems, the dentist can use rotary files to remove most of the nerve and germs from the tooth then let the suction machine to vacuum up the remaining debris and germs.  This helps cut down on the amount of time needed to do a root canal and helps ensure that all of the dead or dying pulp and germs have been removed efficiently.

The choice you need to make when thinking about a root canal is whether or not you wish to save the tooth or have it pulled (extracted). Sometimes, a dentist will recommend the root canal, especially if he thinks it would be in your best interest to save the tooth. Other times, he will let you make the decision, and decide if you want to save it or just go ahead and have it extracted.

Although the root canal is a procedure that many fear, it is also a procedure that can save the life of your tooth. If you have a painful tooth, you should consider this procedure. You may be able to use the tooth comfortably for many years to come!

If you are considering a root canal, call St Petersburg Endodontics at 727.521.2285

Permanent link to this article: http://stpeteendo.com/blog/basic-nsrct-extraction-decision/

Feb 04

Have you ever wondered what are the levels of qualification to do a root canal?

There are 3 recognized qualification levels. The minimum qualification is to be a licensed dentist. That means it is legal for any dentist to do a root canal even if they normally don’t do root canals on a regular basis or take continuing education courses on root canals. The next level is to take specialty training for 2-3 years to earn a certificate in endodontics. At that point a dentist may then limit their practice to the specialty of endodontics and quit performing other dental procedures outside of the specialty of endodontics. This is the minimum qualification required to be a specialist in endodontics.

The highest clinical qualification that can be achieved is to be a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics (ABE). The purpose of the ABE is to assure the public that the endodontists it certifies have demonstrated exceptional knowledge, skill and expertise in the specialty of endodontics and to progressively raise the quality of patient care. Focused determination and several years of study are necessary to complete the 3 step process. It takes an extraordinary amount of personal time to study the endodontic research in much greater depth than is covered in the 2-3 years of study to earn an endodontic certificate. The process includes a 400 question written examination, live verbal questioning by 6 examiners of the American Board of Endodontics, and a presentation of 15 complex cases of a wide variety of endodontic procedures that demonstrate the expertise of the endodontist. The cases must have been completed and followed for at least one year to be certain of success.

Endodontic procedures and technology are constantly changing and it takes continual dedication and enthusiasm to be a lifelong learner. Few dentists have the time or determination to follow the endodontic research and it doesn’t take long to fall behind. It is important to choose a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics because you will have a greater chance of having the newest and proven techniques performed by someone who loves their specialty and keeps up with the changing technology.

Permanent link to this article: http://stpeteendo.com/blog/have-you-ever-wondered-what-are-the-levels-of-qualification-to-do-a-root-canal/

Jan 24

St Pete Endo Team

The team of St. Petersburg Endodontics (Dr. Randy Hedrick) is committed to providing relief from tooth pain and succeeding in the art and science of diagnosis, patient services and communication with the general dentists who refer to them. It is through state-of-the-art diagnostic capabilities and microscopic treatment of the root of the tooth that the patient is able to sustain health and wellness. We believe that there is no greater calling than to relieve our patients from pain and to assist in saving teeth.

Permanent link to this article: http://stpeteendo.com/blog/st-pete-endo-team/

Jan 24

Ozone Workshop

I just spent 2 days learning about the possible benefits of ozone for endodontic treatment as well as a few other applications. It’s very interesting and widely used in Europe especially in Germany. Looking forward to learning more about it. Endless learning, that’s what keeps us moving forward!

Permanent link to this article: http://stpeteendo.com/blog/ozone-workshop/