Bluegrass Endodontics, PLLC

Root Canals: BC, AD, and Now

'ancient toothbrush'Root Canals: BC

There is no way of knowing just exactly how long root canal therapy has been around. The first traces of root canal therapy can be dated back to second or third century B.C. A human skull was discovered in a desert in Israel. In one of the teeth, they found a bronze wire that scientists believe was used to treat an infected canal. The wire was located at the site of the infection, which is the exact spot that would be targeted during modern day root canal therapy. The archaeologists who discovered the remains believe that the procedure was performed by the Romans, who are said to have invented dentures and crowns.

More Advancements: AD

Evidence shows that from the first century A.D. until the 1600s, the treatment for root canals included the draining of the pulp chambers to relieve pain, and then covering them with a protective coating made from either gold foil or asbestos. Around 1838, the first official root canal instrument was constructed. It was made to allow easier access to the pulp that is located within the root of the tooth. A few years later, around 1847, a safer material known as “gutta percha” was created to use as a filling once the root canal was cleaned out. Both of these materials are still used today by Endodontists.

20th Century Technology

When we entered the 20th century, dental technology advanced. Anesthetics and x-rays were instituted into dental practices, which made treating an infected root canal much easier and safer. These technological advancements also allowed for alternative treatments to pulling teeth. Root canal therapy has advanced so much that it is now a nearly painless procedure!

An infected tooth root is a pain, and can compromise your teeth! We save teeth every day in our office with endodontic therapy – call us at Hendersonville Office Phone Number 615-824-7546 for more information.

Study Reveals Tooth Enamel Structure Composition

Exciting news in the world of dentistry and endodontics! 'enamel composition'

A University of Sydney research team has produced detailed 3D maps of the composition of tooth enamel. While we have known for some time that enamel is the hardest substance in the human body and that its strength comes from a complex hierarchical structure that includes magnesium, carbonate and fluoride ions, this is the first in-depth and detailed look at what the composition of that structure is.

Findings of this Study

Two major findings are exciting the dental community. First, there is now direct evidence that an amorphous magnesium-rich calcium phosphate phase may determine (to some degree) how teeth are formed. Second, organic material was also found in the structure, suggesting that proteins occur in patterns throughout the enamel, not just in the interfaces as we used to think.

What does this mean for endodontists?

Tooth enamel is the first line of defense when it comes to teeth and their roots. Once the enamel is compromised, decay starts to take place and, if left untreated (as you know), the infection may spread to the tooth’s roots, landing you in one of our chairs for root canal therapy. That is why we, as endodontists, want your enamel to stay healthy and strong for as long as possible!

What does this mean for patients?

The impact of this could be great down the road. This type of detailed information will allow dentists and other scientists and researchers to better determine what is going on inside the enamel of your teeth before, during and after decay.

New Treatments?

Potentially…yes! New treatments and prevention strategies for dental health are always on being made, thanks to ground-breaking research and studies such as this.

If you are experiencing tooth pain, it may be that you are in need of root canal therapy. We can help! Call Hendersonville Office Phone Number 615-824-7546 for more information.

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The Source of Your Tooth Pain

Most people, at some point in their life, will experience tooth pain or another discomfort in the mouth. If you are experiencing pain right now, you are probably wondering “Why does my tooth hurt?” and, more importantly, “How do I make it stop?”'woman holding mouth with tooth pain'

As endodontists, we are specialists in stopping tooth pain in its tracks. That’s right! Root canal therapy is one of the most dependable and permanent ways to make tooth pain stop. It also happens to be the healthier choice when compared to extraction.

As experts in pain-relief, we offer you this quick guide to the top three sources of tooth pain (can you guess what number one is?) The good news is that each of these conditions is both preventable and treatable.

  1. Cavities – Yep! You guessed it! Dental caries are the number one cause of tooth pain. While a general dentist can take care of early-stage caries with a filling, more serious decay that has gone past the crown and entered the roots requires a visit to the endodontist for root canal treatment. Prevent cavities in just 6 minutes a day by brushing twice and flossing once!
  2. Broken Fillings – If you have an old silver filling in your mouth, there is a good chance it will crack at some point during your life. The important thing to do if you suspect you have a broken or cracked filling is to visit your dentist ASAP for a replacement. Otherwise, bacteria will find its way into the crack and infect the root, which will then require more aggressive treatment such as root canal therapy.
  3. Cracked Teeth – If you feel a sharp pain when biting down on food, you probably have a cracked or chipped tooth. Tooth fractures are usually the result of biting down on something hard such as ice, nuts or hard candy, so those items should be avoided when possible.

Now that you know the source of your pain, we want you to know that we are here to help you determine the best remedy. We aim to get you in and out quickly, safely and comfortably. Don’t wait any longer to resolve your pain, give us a call at Hendersonville Office Phone Number 615-824-7546.

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Yes, You Still Have to Floss.

The AP recently released an article making the claim that “there’s little proof that flossing works”. Their review cited a series of studies that found flossing does little or nothing to improve oral health.

'woman flossing in mirror'Here’s the problem: the studies were flawed

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The AP concluded that floss does little for oral health, but it’s important to note that the evidence they cited was very weak at best. In fact, they said so themselves.

As acknowledged by the AP, many of these studies were extremely short. “Some lasted only two weeks, far too brief for a cavity or dental disease to develop” (Associated Press). They also say that “One tested 25 people after only a single use of floss” (Associated Press).

Of course the evidence is unreliable. You don’t simply develop gum disease because you forgot to floss yesterday. Cavities and gum disease do not happen overnight. You can prevent gum disease by maintaining a clean mouth over a long period of time. Wayne Aldredge, President of the American Academy of Periodontology explained: “gum disease is a very slow disease”. In his interview with the AP he recommended long-term studies which he believes would clearly show the difference between people who floss and people who don’t.

Lets put it this way: If a study claims drinking milk does nothing for bone health, but draws conclusions after only three glasses of milk, is it a reliable study? What do you think?

The fact of the matter is floss removes gunk from teeth. You can see it. Gunk feeds bacteria which leads to plaque, cavities, poor gum health, and eventually gum disease. Floss has the ability to reach the food particles that your brush can’t get to.

Aldredge also pointed out that most people floss incorrectly, using a sawing motion instead of moving up and around the teeth to clean the cracks. Positive results come from correct use and it’s critical that people learn to use a tool properly before discarding it as useless.

That’s just what floss is: a tool. Just like your toothbrush, it is designed to keep your mouth clean, and therefore keep your body safe from infection. Both your toothbrush and floss are designed to do what the other can’t, and both successfully remove bacteria from your mouth. Just like proper brushing technique, it is important that you know how to use floss properly, so that you can reap the long-term health benefits of good oral hygiene.

It’s a shame that studies on an important tool such as floss have yielded poor results, but it’s a bigger shame that the studies themselves were poorly designed. Oral hygiene is a long term process, and requires long term observations to make worthwhile conclusions. In the mean time, it’s obvious that you should continue to do everything you can to protect your well being, and floss is one of many tools that can help you do that. If you would like a refresher on the best, most efficient techniques for floss use feel free to call our office today at 615-824-7546!

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Oral Ecology

Your mouth has entire colonies of microorganisms, and most of them do no harm. There have been over 700 different strains of bacteria that have been detected in the human mouth, most of which are harmless. Sometimes, other disease-causing bacteria are thrown into the mix which can affect our health. They can be controlled with a healthy diet, good oral care practices and regular visits to your dentist.   'bacteria in mouth'

Your mouth has entire colonies of microorganisms, and most of them do no harm. There have been over 700 different strains of bacteria that have been detected in the human mouth, most of which are harmless. Sometimes, other disease-causing bacteria are thrown into the mix which can affect our health. They can be controlled with a healthy diet, good oral care practices and regular visits to your dentist.

Bacteria in biofilm (a thin film of bacteria which adheres to a surface) were first detected under the microscopes of Antony van Leeuwenhoek in the 17th century. Bacteria in your mouth have both the ability to be harmful, but also to be beneficial and necessary to your immune system.

The plaque that forms on your teeth and causes tooth decay and periodontal disease, is a type of biofilm. A biofilm forms when bacteria adhere to surfaces in a watery environment, they excrete a glue-like substance which helps them stick to all kinds of materials. Dental plaque is a yellowish color type of biofilm that builds up on teeth.

Watch Out For These Bacteria

Streptococcus mutans
Lives in your mouth and feeds off the sugars and starches you eat. It produces enamel-eroding acids as it feeds, which make it the leading cause of tooth decay.

Porphyromonas gingivalis
Strongly linked to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a serious and progressive disease that can result in bone degeneration. It causes pain and leads to tooth loss.

A biofilm can contain communities of disease-causing bacteria, and if left uncontrolled, they can cause cavities as well as both gingivitis and periodontitis. Bacteria is also the cause of inflammation and pain of a root infection, leading to root canal treatment.
During root canal treatment, the root is dried extremely well and sealed, as to not provide any moisture for bacteria to colonize. A well-filled root canal offers bacteria a nutritionally limited space.

Biofilm can be controlled by proper oral hygiene; however, periodontitis requires an extra helping hand. Treatment of oral infections requires removal of biofilm and calculus (tartar) through non-surgical procedures followed by antibiotic therapy. Chlorhexidine and triclosan can reduce the degree of plaque and gingivitis, while preventing disease-causing microorganisms to colonize.

Don’t let oral bacteria be your “fr-enemy”! Call us Bluegrass Endodontics, PLLC today on 615-824-7546 to discuss your oral health options.

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The Love of Endodontics!

We’ve all felt it; that pitter-patter feeling, flushed red cheeks, you can’t eat, it’s driving you crazy! 'heart outlined in tooth'

Are you in love…or in need of a root canal treatment?!

Symptom Checker:

Burning desire
Heart throbbing
Flushed cheeks
Can’t eat
It’s driving you crazy

RESULT: You could be in love!

Gum inflammation
Throbbing pain
Redness of skin
Can’t chew
It’s driving you crazy

RESULT: You probably need a root canal!

They may not come riding in on a white horse like prince charming, but your endodontist CAN save you from tooth pain!
Root canal treatment removes the infected pulp of a tooth so pain and inflammation will cease. It gets rid of infection and bacteria and, most importantly, it preserves the tooth!
Saving a tooth rather than extracting has several benefits. The space left by a missing tooth can lead to bone loss and misalignment when your remaining teeth shift position.
It is also a lot cheaper than having a bridge or even an implant to fill the space.
Root canal treatment is followed by a dental crown, to fill, cover, strengthen, and restore the appearance and structure of a tooth.

More than 15 million root canals are performed every year, with over 41,000 each day! Now that’s something to LOVE about endodontists!

Did you know studies have shown that 85% of patients will return to the same dentist who performed their root canal therapy!

Don’t confuse the pain of love with needing a root canal! Call Bluegrass Endodontics, PLLC on 615-824-7546 to check those symptoms!

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The History of Endodontics

Did you know the practice of endodontics has actually been around for quite some time? 'endodontic tools'

In 1985 in Israel’s Negev Desert, archeologists discovered a 2000 year old deceased Nabataen soldier with a one-tenth of an inch bronze wire embedded in the nerve cavity of one of the skull’s teeth. This discovery of a skull with a wire in its teeth gives us our first sign of endodontic treatment. Evidence from the first century A.D. until the 1600’s reveals early signs of endodontic treatment, which entailed draining pulp chambers for relief and covering them with protective coatings made of gold foil or asbestos.

Root canal treatment is a type of treatment that indicates high technology and a high understanding of dental disease. Archaeologists believe the treatment of the 2000 year old Nabataen soldier may have been practiced by a visiting Roman doctor. The Roman’s in the past have also been cited for the invention of dental crowns and dentures.

In 1963, endodontics was recognized as the eighth dental specialty by the American Dental Association.
With the rise of the twentieth century came the institution of x-rays and anesthetics – what some might call “dentistry miracles”. Endodontic treatment today is much more safe, practical and most importantly, comfortable! Tooth extractions are no longer the only options for an infected pulp or abscess.

Thank goodness for new technology these days! If you want specialized treatment, a comfortable office and great techniques, look no further than Bluegrass Endodontics, PLLC for all your endodontic needs! Give us a call on 615-824-7546 and schedule your root canal treatment today!

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Tiny But Mighty Tools in Endodontics

It’s really quite amazing how advanced tools have become over thousands of years! To think that as humans we started with mere sticks and stones as tools, and now we can visit space via rocket ships is simply mind-boggling!

'endodontic tools'

Now, while not exactly moon-landing technology, we’d like to point out that endodontic tools have also become highly developed over the years, with very specialized tools designed for each step in the process.

Endodontists use a wide variety of tools, each built for a specific purpose, but with one thing always in common: size. The tools that we use in endodontics are some of the smallest surgical tools out there! This, of course, allows us to properly access tiny roots in order to get the root canal therapy done right. To give you an example, some of these tools are just around a single millimeter thick (or less!), necessitating highly-skilled operators.

Here are some of the most commonly used tools in our office:

A bur is a tool that comes in many shapes. It’s a teeny tiny drill that can penetrate the top of the tooth to get into the pulp chamber, by removing the roof.

An endodontic spoon excavator is the tiniest spoon shaped tool you’ve ever seen. This spoon can get into the pulp chamber and allow access to the floor.

A barbed broach is a barbed point, like a thumbtack, which can spike the pulp in a tooth root, snag it, and allow it to be pulled out.

Gates-Glidden drills are super small drill bits that can fit within the root and clean it out, as well as make space for bigger tools if necessary. The root can then be cleaned with a syringe to disinfect.

And, while not as small, we can’t forget to mention our digital imaging technology, without which we wouldn’t be able to give the highest-quality root canal treatments! Digital imaging of the roots allows us to see any areas of concern, and make better decisions for your care.

So the next time you come to see us, ask us about some of the tiny precision tools we employ in our office on a daily basis!

 

High Quality H2O

Whether you’re drinking from a glass that is half-empty or half-full, drinking a glass of water is always beneficial to your health. Human beings are 60% water; so staying hydrated throughout the day is crucial for the hydration of tissue, the distribution of nutrients, and the removal of waste from your body. Not only is drinking water beneficial to your overall health, but your dental health as well! 'woman drinking water'

Here are four reasons why water is the best beverage for your teeth:

1. Water keeps your mouth clean.

Water cleans your mouth with every sip! As your drink, water washes away leftover food and any residual cavity-causing bacteria. Water also reduces the pH of your mouth by diluting the acids produced by bacteria that live in your mouth. Don’t forget to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes, but drinking water throughout the day will help keep your smile healthy and cavity-free.

2. Water strengthens your teeth.

Drinking water with fluoride, aka “nature’s cavity fighter”, is one of the easiest and most effective ways to fight cavities. While almost all water contains naturally-occurring fluoride, the community water systems that serve most American households adjust the level, usually by adding fluoride to achieve the right amount to reduce tooth decay. Health organizations, like the American Dental Association (ADA), say this is one of the major reasons most people no longer need the dentures that were so common before widespread fluoridation, and studies have shown that it is why dental costs are lower and oral health problems have declined in fluoridated communities!

3. Drinking water fights dry mouth.

Saliva is the human mouth’s first defense against cavities. Saliva helps wash away residual food and coats your teeth in calcium, phosphate, and fluoride. When your mouth doesn’t have enough saliva, you run the risk for tooth decay. When your mouth is feeling dry, drink a glass of water to quench your thirst, and strengthen your teeth!

4. Water is free of calories.

Drinking sugary beverages can create a cavity-prone environment within your mouth, and can lead to weight gain. Studies show that drinking water, eight 8-ounce glasses or 8×8, can help you lose weight.

If you have questions regarding water consumption or your overall dental health, don’t hesitate to call Bluegrass Endodontics, PLLC at Hendersonville Office Phone Number 615-824-7546 today!

Help! I’ve Cracked My Tooth!

So you’ve cracked your tooth—We know this can be stressful. But don’t worry, Bluegrass Endodontics, PLLC is here to help. 'cracked tooth'Our main goal is to save your tooth, but the treatment plan and outcome all depend on the type, extent, and location of the damage. Before any more damage can be done, seek treatment as quickly as possible.

How to tell

Cracked teeth aren’t always obvious as having a crack down the middle; you could have different symptoms like:

  • Inconsistent pain while chewing
  • Pain when the tooth comes in contact with hot or cold
  • Sharp edge you can feel with your tongue

What to do

  • Make an appointment to see Drs. Sandlin, Horwat or VanDusen as soon as possible.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm water.
  • Apply pressure with gauze if there is any bleeding. You can also use a damp tea bag (it promotes clotting).
  • Apply a cold compress to your face next to the broken tooth. Cold helps relieve pain and swelling.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever.

How to prevent cracks

Cracks can happen for many reasons, but you can lesson your chances by:

  • Not chewing on hard objects (like ice!)
  • Not grinding and clenching your teeth (and wear a mouth guard at night if you do!)
  • Wear facial protection when playing contact sports

If you do find yourself with a crack, call us at 615-824-7546 as soon as possible so we can determine the best plan of action.