If you’re like many people, two little words may strike fear in your heart. Those words? Root canal. Some people are even more nervous about having a root canal than having a tooth pulled. But your Macon dentists Clinton M. Watson, DDS, MBA and Nicole L. Jackson, DDS, at Northside Family Dentistry want you to know that there are many myths about root canals that are simply unfounded. Dispelling those myths may help calm your fears about having the procedure.
Myth: Root Canals are a Painful Procedure
Truth: Contrary to popular belief, root canals should not be any more painful than any other dental procedure. Your dentist will numb your teeth and gums for the root canal and you should not experience any discomfort. If you experienced a toothache prior to the procedure, that pain should be relieved after the root canal is performed because it removes the infected tissue. If you are especially nervous, Macon patients have the option of choosing sedation dentistry which can calm your fears or even let you sleep during the procedure.
Myth: Root Canals are a Long Process
Truth: Most root canal procedures can be completed by your dentist in one or two dental appointments. After the root canal is performed, your dentist will then assess the type of tooth restoration that is necessary which may take additional dental visits.
Myth: Root Canals Can Cause Sickness
Truth: Once upon a time, some dentists believed that releasing the trapped bacteria in the tooth’s pulp could cause illness. But no current research supports this theory. Root canals do not appear to cause any illness.
Myth: Only an Aching Tooth Needs a Root Canal
Truth: Even if a tooth is not infected or hurting, it still may need a root canal. In some cases, a tooth is dead or dying and a root canal is necessary to prevent it from becoming infected. Your dentist will monitor your oral health at each visit and let you know if any of your teeth show signs of decay that may warrant a root canal.
If you’ve been nervous to make that dental appointment because you fear those two little words, fear no more. A root canal can be just what your teeth need in order to be saved and to stay intact. If you’re still nervous, Northside Family Dentistry in Macon, GA offers sedation dentistry that can help you through the procedure. Schedule an appointment today to talk to your dentist about the benefits of a root canal to save a tooth at (478) 475-1976.
Can having a great smile help land you a high-level business position, a TV show, and a bride? Maybe — at least if you go by the example of Bill Rancic.
The 42-year-old Chicago native is well known as the first winner of NBC-TV's The Apprentice, a reality show where contestants vied for a job with Donald Trump's organization. Shortly after his selection as Trump's newest hire, Rancic met his future wife, Giuliana, when she interviewed him for E! News. Flash forward a few years, and the couple is now hosting their own reality TV show on Style network.
So how much has Bill's winning smile helped?
“I think a great smile says a lot about a person — especially in our professions,” Bill recently said in an interview with Dear Doctor magazine. He also mentioned that having a few cosmetic dental treatments helped him close the deal.
As a child, Bill wore braces to correct an overbite. For both kids and adults, orthodontic treatment is often the first step toward getting the smile of your dreams. The practice of orthodontics has changed dramatically in the past 20 years and there are now a number of choices available in lieu of traditional metal braces.
Not Your Father's Braces
For those who need to maintain a “professional” image, tooth-colored braces offer a less noticeable way to straighten your teeth. Lingual braces are another option that's suitable in some situations. These are truly invisible: bonded on the tongue side of the teeth, they can't be seen from the front.
Or, you may be able to forego braces altogether and use a series of clear plastic aligners to gradually bring your teeth into alignment. Not only are these difficult to notice, but they can be completely removed for short periods of time — at important board meetings, for example.
Red-Carpet Tooth Whitening
More recently, Rancic had tooth whitening treatments. Depending on the degree of lightening needed, these can range from custom-fitted bleaching trays that you wear at home under the supervision of a dentist, to in-office whitening treatments that work in far less time. Both can be effective in lightening your teeth by six shades or more.
But if you need the ultimate in whitening, veneers may be the best option. These are fingernail-thin coatings, made of pearly-white porcelain or composite material, that are placed directly on the tooth surfaces. Realistic and durable, they can provide a “Hollywood white” smile that's ready for the red carpet.
Did Bill's cosmetic dental work really improve his life? We can't say for sure — but as his wife Giuliana recently told Dear Doctor, “First impressions are very important, and having a beautiful smile will help anyone make a great impact on others.” So perhaps it worked on her!
If you would like more information on how cosmetic dental treatments can improve your smile, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Magic of Orthodontics” and “Important Teeth Whitening Questions Answered.”
Although sometimes controversial, body piercing has exploded in popularity, especially among young people. Aside from the social debate about such practices, there are health risks to consider. Oral piercings, in particular — especially of the tongue — could have an adverse effect on your dental health.
The trouble begins with the piercing procedure itself. The tongue is composed of a number of muscle groups that given its wide range of function require a lot of energy. To supply this energy the tongue has a large network of blood vessels; during a piercing it's not uncommon for profuse bleeding to occur. The tongue also contains a lot of nerve fibers — a piercing may result not only in severe pain, but in possible nerve damage too.
The tongue bolt, the most common tongue piercing, can cause a lot of damage in the mouth during wear, such as tooth chipping and increased sensitivity. It can also interfere with oral hygiene and contribute to the growth of tooth decay and gum disease. And, as with any cut or abrasion to soft tissue, piercings increase the risk of infection.
There are also issues if and when you decide to give up the tongue bolt — fortunately, though, not to the same degree as during wear. Cuts to the tongue tend to heal quickly, so the piercing hole may fill in spontaneously. In some circumstances, however, a surgical procedure (similar to one performed on large ear piercings) may be required to repair the piercing hole.
For the long-term sake of your oral health, we would advise against having your tongue or lips pierced. And, if you already have a piercing, please consider giving it up — in the long run you'll be doing your teeth, gums and other tissues in your mouth a favor.
If you would like more information on oral piercing and its effects, 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 “How to Help Your Child Develop the Best Habits for Oral Health.”
Actor Michael Douglas shocked TV audiences across the country when he announced on the David Letterman Show in 2010 that he has stage IV oral cancer. Fortunately, the cancer had not spread and his radiation and chemotherapy treatments were successful. This year, Douglas teamed up with the Oral Cancer Foundation to warn others about the dangers of the disease and the importance of early detection. In particular, he wants younger people to know that even if they don't smoke and drink a lot, as he admitted to Letterman that he did, they are still at risk.
As Douglas states in a PSA he made with the foundation, “the fastest growing segment of the people developing oral cancers are young, non smokers.” That's due to a strain of the Human Papilloma Virus known as HPV16 that can be transmitted through oral sex. So it's important to avoid risky sexual behaviors and to be screened regularly for this devastating disease that claims one life every hour in the U.S., according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.
An oral cancer screening is a simple visual and tactile exam done right here at the dental office. We will feel your neck for lumps and inspect your lips and all inside surfaces of the mouth, including the back of your throat, for any suspicious signs. If any are found, a biopsy (laboratory analysis of a tissue sample) can be ordered.
Most oral cancers are “squamous” (small scale-shaped) cell carcinomas that occur in the lining of the mouth and are often preceded by recognizable changes (lesions) of the oral membranes. White or red patches begin to form in the pre-cancerous stage, and as the cancer develops, a non-healing ulcer may appear. If you notice any such changes in your mouth, please let us know.
Michael Douglas ends his PSA with the following plea: “So please, the next time you visit your dentist or your medical doctor, ask for this simple screening. Finding oral cancer in its earliest stages may save your life.” We agree, which is why we always perform this screening during your regular dental check-up. If it's been a while since your last appointment, please come in and see us.
If you would like more information about oral cancer, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about the disease in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Cancer.”
Do you have a broken smile that leaves your whole mouth lifeless and dull? Many people with either full or partial tooth loss are left searching for long-term solutions for their damaged self-confidence and even worse-off smile. But did you know that damaged or missing teeth aren't only a self-confidence issue, but a health issue, too?
That's because completely missing teeth can cause nutritional deficiencies and other systemic health problems. But you don't have to be all frowns and no smiles if you have vacant spots in your mouth, as both full and partial dentures provide a lasting solution!
At Northside Family Dentistry, you'll experience full dental relief with full or partial dentures, whichever is best depending on your specific dental profile. Using the expert techniques of dental experts like Clinton M. Watson, D.D.S., M.B.A., your mouth can be fitted with dentures that improve overall tooth function while also offering a more aesthetically-appealing look to your smile.
If you've lost teeth suddenly and have gotten immediate dentures to shore up the damage, you may realize that some of your dental tissues have shrank and your jawbone has started to lose its usual strength. When this begins to occur, it's most likely a sign that your emergency dentures don't fit like they need to anymore.
During times like these, it's best to either have your dentures relined using the expert techniques employed by Dr. Watson and his on-site dental assistants or to move ahead to longer-lasting and more efficient full dentures.
Regardless of which route you choose, or if you're ready for your first pair of fitted dentures to improve your smile, come into the office today and see for yourself why dentures provide the best option for overcoming your harrowing dental dilemma. If you'd rather know more about all that Northside Family Dentistry has to offer before you come in, feel free to give one of Dr. Watson's dental associates a call at (478) 475-1976 so you can begin the journey towards achieving a smile that keeps on smiling right here in Macon, GA!
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