Saving Your Tooth with Root Canal Treatment

Millions of root canal treatments are performed every year, and it is an effective and safe way to save a damaged tooth. Unlike its reputation over the years, modern dentistry allows this procedure to be practically painless and to provide relief from symptoms right away.

Anatomy
The first thing to understand is the anatomy of the tooth. Under the hard enamel on the outside of the tooth and the dentin below that, the interior of a tooth contains pulp. It houses the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues that all nourish the tooth. This allows it to grow properly and contributes to good oral health. After the tooth is fully developed, the tooth can get its nourishment from surrounding tissues and the pulp is not as necessary.

Necessity
The pulp can become infected, inflamed, or damaged by problems like decay, injury, repeated dental procedures, or a bad crown. If the damaged pulp is not treated, an abscess can develop or severe pain can result. Often, root canal treatment is the only way to save the tooth instead of having to extract it. Dentists advise that saving a tooth is almost always a better option, providing the most natural appearance, efficient function, and protection of oral health.

Procedure
Many patients report that root canal treatment is not much different for them than having a regular filling done. X-rays are taken and a local anesthetic is administered. Once numb, a dental dam is placed to protect the area during the procedure. Then the pulp is removed, the area is thoroughly cleaned, and then it is filled with special material for this purpose. The tooth is sealed for protection, and finally a crown is placed on top to protect the tooth. Most patients are able to return to normal activities immediately following treatment, and the procedure is permanent in most cases.

If you need a root canal dentist in Shreveport, contact our office today.

Wisdom Teeth Q / A

Also called third molars, wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to erupt. Usually, people get their wisdom teeth in during their late teens and early 20s. Although some individuals have no trouble with their wisdom teeth, many people end up having these teeth removed because they may become impacted and create dental health issues. Learn more about wisdom teeth with this Q and A:

Do I need to have my wisdom teeth removed?
If your wisdom teeth aren’t causing problems, you can leave them alone. Typically, wisdom teeth are crooked or impacted, which can generate problems with the surrounding teeth. Also, wisdom teeth can be harder to keep clean, so the risk of decay on these teeth is higher.

When should I have these teeth taken out?
For optimal results, most dentists recommend wisdom teeth removal for patients when they are between 16 and 22 years old. The formation of the roots isn’t complete, so you have fewer complications.

Are there any risks?
As with any surgery, you can have issues arise, but the biggest concerns are nerve damage and dry sockets. Older patients have a greater chance of nerve damage because the root has more fully developed. Dry sockets occur when the post-surgery blood clots dislodge.

Does my age matter?
Some adults don’t experience any symptoms until they are in their 30s, 40s, or 50s. You can have these teeth extracted at any point, but when you get older, surgery is more difficult and the recovery takes longer. If you have trouble with your wisdom teeth, contact your dentist right away for a complete exam.

Shreveport dental office for wisdom teeth – Dr. Michael Woolbert

When Emergency Dental Care is Needed

As much as you hope it doesn’t happen, dental emergencies can sneak up on you. Some clinics offer emergency dental care to provide quick, effective, and safe treatment. It’s important to know what kinds of dental problems require urgent care, as opposed to those that can wait until you can get a regular appointment with your dentist. Here are some common types of emergencies that warrant immediate treatment.

Severe toothache
A painful toothache that won’t go away should not be ignored. These can occur suddenly, be confined to a single area, cause pain when eating, and also involve your gums. Symptoms like these may indicate an abscess, which can also lead to facial swelling. Sometimes your airway can even become blocked. A severe toothache requires immediate relief, and therefore is considered a dental emergency.

Excessive bleeding
If you have oral bleeding from something like losing a tooth and you can’t get it under control, you need to see an emergency dentist. Normally when a tooth falls out, the bleeding will stop after a few minutes. If the blood won’t clot for some reason, or if there was severe trauma, excessive bleeding can occur. A dentist can help stop the bleeding by applying pressure, using a hemostatic agent, or even using stitches.

Fractured teeth
Infection may occur when a tooth is fractured, especially if the break goes deep into a permanent tooth, so immediate care is necessary. An emergency dentist will apply dentine padding to the affected area, so that you can visit your own dentist the next day for further treatment.

Surgery complications
If you have had oral surgery and the pain is more severe or lingering than your dentist anticipated, you should seek treatment immediately to make sure complications like a dry socket or jaw fracture hasn’t occurred.

If you have a dental emergency, contact our Shreveport dentists office.

What is a Dental Emergency?

Sometimes an injury or tooth pain can occur suddenly, and immediate dental care may be required. It’s not always obvious when a problem needs emergency care, but some dental emergencies do need to be treated quickly to avoid infections or permanent damage. Here’s a guide to situations that are usually considered dental emergencies.

  • Cracked or broken tooth – contact your dentist immediately. Rinse your mouth with water and hold a cold compress to the affected area until you can get to your dentist’s office.
  • Excessive bleeding with lip or tongue bite – clean the area and use a cold compress. Go to the emergency room if the bleeding is severe or won’t stop.
  • Jaw injury – if you think you may have broken your jaw, apply a cold pack and immediately to your dentist’s office or the emergency room.
  • Knocked out tooth –rinse the root of the lost tooth if it’s dirty. Do not scrub or removed any tissue left on the tooth. Try reinserting the tooth into its socket, but if that isn’t successful, see your dentist right away. Placing the lost tooth in milk may help preserve the tooth until you can get professional help.
  • Loose tooth – see your dentist immediately if one of your teeth is loosened. Take over-the-counter pain reliever if needed, and apply a cold compress.
  • Lost crown or filling – place the crown or filling in a safe place and contact your dentist. To decrease sensitivity, you may apply clove oil and dental cement available at your drugstore, but only if you’ve gotten approval from your dentist.
  • Severe or sudden toothache – rinse your mouth with warm water and gently floss around the tooth. Contact your dentist if your toothache persists.
  • Swelling – painful swelling in your mouth may indicate an abscess, which is an infected area of pus that can become serious. See your dentist as soon as possible, and try rinsing your mouth with saltwater in the meantime.

If you need a dentist in Shreveport contact us today

Enhancing Your Smile with Teeth Whitening

Your smile is a noticeable part of your appearance, and yellow dingy teeth can leave a negative impression on others. Most people have to work at having a bright sparkly smile, because teeth can discolor with age, diet, and lifestyle.

You may not realize that sipping a glass of red wine or coffee can be a detriment to your smile, as can sugary items that allow acids to attack your tooth enamel. Smoking is an even worse culprit. It not only leaves ugly spots on the surface of teeth, it also contributes to poor gum health.

If your teeth are already stained or if you’re having a hard time breaking the habits that discolor them, teeth whitening is a good way to improve the look of your smile. There are numerous methods to regain the natural glow of your teeth, ranging from over-the-counter techniques for home use to professional treatments in an office setting.

Whitening products available at your local drug or grocery store include things like toothpaste, chewing gum, mouthwash, gels, and whitening strips. These are readily available and usually inexpensive options. Most of these products are simple to use and can be done in the convenience of your home when you choose. However, over-the-counter products are not as strong as professional methods. This means that results are not dramatic and usually take a long period of time of consistent use. Also, the effects may not last as long as you hope before it’s time to consider whitening again.

Professional teeth whitening is often performed by general and cosmetic dentists in an office environment. Bleaching is a popular professional method. The biggest advantage of in-office treatment is the fast results, with a visibly brighter smile evident in about an hour. Results are often dramatic, lightening teeth by several shades. Professionals trained and experienced in these methods provide safe and effective treatment. Methods available professionally may cost a bit more than home options, but the dramatic results may be worth it.


We look forward to seeing you in our Shreveport dental office

Problems that Can Result from Postponing Root Canal Therapy

If root canal treatment has been recommended for you, you’re probably a little nervous. Maybe you’re a LOT nervous, but if you’re thinking about putting off your treatment, don’t. If you need root canal therapy, the underlying conditions that necessitate it will not go away left untreated. In fact, they’ll just get worse and worse over time, causing you more pain and discomfort and potentially leading to more serious complications.

If you don’t treat the infection in your tooth, it will spread. Beginning at your tooth’s roots, it will travel to your jawbone and eventually to your healthy teeth. Your entire jawbone can be put at risk. By treating your infection promptly with root canal therapy, your mouth can be free of infection and you will begin the process of healing.

Serious diseases like heart disease and diabetes have been directly linked to gum disease. During pregnancy, many problems including low birth weight and premature birth can occur as a direct result of infection and bacteria in the mouth. Several types of cancers have all been shown to have a link to poor overall oral health. The mouth is truly the pathway for everything that goes into the body, and if it’s providing a steady stream of bacteria and infection to be spread throughout your body, it’s extremely problematic.

Don’t worry about pain following your procedure. Root canal therapies are meant to relieve pain, not cause it. You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel after your mouth is infection-free.

If you ignore your infected tooth for long enough, it may either fall out on its own or need to be extracted. Missing teeth come with a long list of oral issues, including difficulties with bite alignment and speech only corrected with some kind of dental restoration.

Don’t wait to have your root canal treatment. Don’t open yourself up to the myriad of consequences that could result from postponing treatment.


We treat patients from Shreveport and the surrounding area