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Do Root Canals Deserve Their Painful Reputation?

happy hispanic woman satisfied patient of dental clinic. If you are having tooth pain, you might be afraid to go to the dentist, just in case he or she tells you that you need a root canal. You may want to hide under your bed instead of making that appointment, but read this information first – it is possible that root canals aren’t as painful as most people think.

What Is a Root Canal?

It is unclear where exactly root canals got such a bad reputation. Most patients who have had it done report that it only hurts as much as having a cavity filled, and in a recent study, less than 20% of people said that it was the most painful dental procedure they had ever had.

So what exactly is a root canal, anyway?

A root canal removes damaged and infected pulp within a tooth. The pulp makes up the inside of the tooth, and it consists of connective tissue, blood vessels, and nerves. It can become infected if you have an untreated chip or crack in the tooth and bacteria has a chance to get into the pulp. In the worst case scenario, this bacteria can get into the bloodstream and spread throughout the body. If it damages the tooth pulp, though, you may have swollen gums, sudden sensitivity to hot and cold, and pain when you chew.

In a root canal procedure, the infected pulp is removed, the tooth is cleaned out and given an antibiotic treatment, and then filled with dental material. A porcelain crown is then placed on top of the tooth. Your tooth will look and function just like your other teeth, and it won’t be in pain anymore!

Root canals are an important procedure to keep your teeth healthy, and it is just possible that they aren’t as painful as they have been made out to be. If this does little to comfort you, you should know that Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center offers sedation dentistry to help alleviate patient anxiety. If your teeth are in pain, don’t hide under your bed — contact the office today to make an appointment. Call the office in East Norriton, PA, at (610) 200-6449.

Why Are My Gums Receding?

Man suffering from tooth ache in morning Have you noticed that you are seeing more teeth and less gums lately? It can be upsetting, especially if you know that you take very good care of your teeth. Why are your gums receding, and what can be done about it?

What causes gum recession?

Unfortunately, you may notice gum recession even if you take care of your teeth just as you are supposed to, because gum recession can run in families. However, it can also be the result of years of tobacco use, periodontal disease, a lack of dental care, an oral piercing, a misaligned bite, overaggressive tooth brushing, or years of grinding your teeth.

If your gums are receding, you are at risk for some serious problems – as the gum tissue wears away, the lower parts of your teeth are exposed. Bacteria may begin to collect in the “pockets” that form between your teeth and gums as your gums pull away. If not treated, this can lead to tooth and gum damage, and even eventually damage to the jawbone.

Preventing gum recession

If you have been lax in your oral health care, developing good habits can help to prevent gum recession and can help keep teeth healthy if your gums are receding. Brush at least twice a day, with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Floss thoroughly at least once a day, eat a healthy diet, and see your dentist at least twice a year.

Gum recession can’t be reversed, but it can be treated to protect your teeth from damage. If your gums are receding, your dentist may recommend a scaling and planing – a deep cleaning of that area in between the gums and the teeth. If the recession is serious, he or she might recommend a soft tissue graft, in which tissue is taken from the top of the mouth and attached to the area of recession.

Are you concerned that your gums are receding? Or is it just time to finally schedule that cleaning and checkup you’ve been putting off? Contact Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center for an appointment today! Call the East Norriton, PA, office, at (610) 272-6949!

Do You Have Oral Cancer? Here Is How Your Dentist Can Help

Waiting young woman sitting at dentist room Patients with oral cancer may have a whole medical team that works together to help during the treatment and the recovery, and this team, of course, includes your dentist. Your dentist is an important part of your diagnosis and keeping you healthy during and after your treatment, as well as with any reconstruction of your mouth that may be needed when your treatment is complete. Here is some more information on how your dentist can help you if you have oral cancer.

How can my dentist help?

Your dentist will work with the rest of your medical team to remove or treat your cancer and to help you with any side effects that you may have during and after your treatment. He or she is also an important part of any mouth reconstruction when your treatment is complete. During and after your treatment, you may be at risk for certain dental issues, such as:

• Increased number of cavities

• Increased sensitivity to hot and cold

• Gum disease

• Missing teeth

• Absence of tooth roots or shortening or thinning of the roots

• Tooth staining

• Baby teeth not falling out or delayed eruption of permanent teeth

• Dry mouth

• Problems with the jaw joint

• An underbite or overbite

If you are missing teeth after your cancer treatment is complete, your dentist can also help in oral cancer reconstruction. Replacing missing teeth not only helps you to enjoy eating more – it can help you to feel less self-conscious about your smile. Dr. Robert Bentz is a board certified prosthodontist (one of only 1500 in the world!) and he and his staff can help you find a solution for your missing teeth and any other issues you may have because of your cancer.

If you notice anything that looks unusual on your gums or in the tissue in your mouth, don’t hesitate to see your doctor or dentist – the earlier oral cancer is caught, the better the odds of effectively treating it. And if you are currently dealing with oral cancer or you want to discuss reconstruction after oral cancer, contact Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center. Call for an appointment today, at (610) 272-6949.

Young smiling man holding invisalign braces over white background

The Benefits of Invisalign®

Young smiling man holding invisalign braces over white background Have you always been self-conscious about having crooked teeth? Maybe you have wanted to do something about it for years, but haven’t because of all of the downsides that can come with metal braces. Invisalign® may be the answer for you!

What is Invisalign?

You probably know someone who uses Invisalign, but you wouldn’t know it just by looking at them, and you may be surprised when they tell you. Invisalign uses close-to-invisible trays to gradually straighten your teeth. You are given a new tray every 2 weeks or so, and these trays gently move your teeth into their proper place. Here are just a few benefits of using Invisalign trays:

• You can eat what you want. When you have metal braces, you are told to stay away from hard or chewy foods that might damage your braces. With Invisalign you don’t have to worry , because when you want to eat or drink, you just take out your tray.

• You can clean your teeth thoroughly and easily. When you have metal braces, it can be quite the trick to get the floss in between your teeth, but, again, you simply remove your Invisalign tray when it is time to brush and floss.

• They can be used to help many dental issues. Invisalign is commonly thought of as a treatment for crooked teeth, but it also helps patients with an under- or overbite, protruding teeth, or crossbite (when the upper teeth sit inside of the lower teeth). Correcting dental issues also prevents jaw problems and pain.

• They are less painful than metal braces. You don’t have to deal with the discomfort of having your braces tightened, and you don’t have to worry about brackets rubbing against your cheek or wires poking you.

• The treatment time is less than it is with metal braces. Every patient is different, of course, but some treatments take as little as 4 months.

If you have always wanted straighter teeth but didn’t want to have to deal with metal braces, contact Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center to discuss all of the benefits of Invisalign! Call the office in East Norriton, PA, for an appointment, at (610) 272-6949!

Dental Care When You Are Pregnant

Young pregnant woman with milk and breakfast on sofa If you are pregnant, you probably have a lot on your mind, but your priority is probably taking care of yourself and taking care of your baby (as well it should be!). You are eating right and exercising, but did you know that taking care of your oral health is also an important part of a healthy pregnancy?

Common dental problems during pregnancy

If you are a few months in to your pregnancy, you may already be getting tired of all of those doctor’s appointments, and you might be tempted to skip those dental checkups. But being pregnant can actually increase your risk for some serious dental problems:

• Pregnancy tumors. This is a scary name, but you don’t have to worry too much if your dentist tells you that you have these. They aren’t cancerous – they are just a swelling of the gums between the teeth. It is caused by a build-up of plaque, and it commonly occurs during the second trimester.

• Tooth damage from morning sickness. The stomach acid from vomiting can damage your teeth and contribute to their decay.

• Pregnancy gingivitis. Your body is going through a lot of hormonal changes right now, and these affect not just your overall health but your dental health as well. An increase in hormones increases your risk of pregnancy gingivitis, which can lead to tender gums, tooth decay, and even gum disease.

Taking care of your oral health

Seeing your dentist regularly is important during pregnancy. If you have any signs of problems, he or she might recommend that you come in more often than just for your twice-a-year cleanings. It is also important that you let your dentist know that you are pregnant. Any medications or x-rays your dentist may suggest are generally safe for pregnant women, but it is always a good idea to keep your dentist up to date about your health situation.

It may be tempting to skip that visit to the dentist with everything else you have going on – but don’t! Your pregnancy may be causing serious problems with your teeth. Contact Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center for an appointment today, at (610) 272-6949!

Is your oral piercing affecting your oral health?

Cosmetic procedure for piercing the tongue Do you have an oral piercing, or are you thinking about getting one? They are very popular, but they can cause damage to your teeth and gums, something you might want to think about if you have spent a lot of time and effort getting work done on your teeth. Here is some more information on oral piercings and how they can affect the health of your teeth and gums.

What damage can an oral piercing do?

Here are some of the risks that come with an oral piercing, if it is constantly rubbing up against your teeth and gums:

• Damage to your teeth such as chips and cracks (which can lead to a tooth infection)

• Damage to crowns and other restorations

• Damage to your gums, which can cause gum recession

An oral piercing can also lead to the production of excessive saliva, which can make it difficult to speak, chew, and swallow. And, in the worst case scenario, an oral piercing can lead to an infection spreading to the rest of your body, if bacteria in your mouth gets into the piercing, which can lead to severe health problems such as endocarditis (inflammation of the heart).

Taking care of your oral piercing

If you do decide to get an oral piercing, the most important thing to keep in mind is to keep it and your mouth very clean. Brush and floss often, and make sure you see your dentist at least twice a year so that he or she can check for any issues.

If you play a sport or take part in any activity where there is any chance your piercing could get ripped out or smashed against your teeth, make sure you take it out before you play. Avoid playing with your piercing and don’t put objects such as pen caps in your mouth, as these can carry bacteria that can cause infection.

Hopefully, you will be very happy with your piercing and it will never cause you any problems. But if it does, call Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center in East Norriton, PA, for an appointment, at (610) 272-6949!

October is National Dental Hygiene Month

Young woman brushing her teeth at mirror Are you doing all you can every day to keep your teeth as healthy as they can be? If you are like most people, you may not be – maybe you don’t floss as often as you should, or maybe you skip brushing a couple of times a week. October is National Dental Hygiene Month, which makes it the perfect time to take a look at your oral health care routine and make sure you are doing all you can to take good care of your teeth and gums!

How are your dental care habits?

It is easy to fall into bad habits – maybe you do brush, but you don’t really do it as thoroughly as you should, or maybe you don’t floss correctly. Take the time this month to change your bad dental habits to good ones. For instance

• Are you brushing your teeth at least twice a day? It should take you at least 2 minutes to do a really thorough job. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and toothpaste with fluoride. For the outer part of the teeth, put your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to the gums, and for the inner surfaces place it at a vertical position. Use gentle strokes. And make sure to brush your tongue!

• Are you flossing at least once a day? It’s best to do it at the end of the day, using string floss. Make sure to get up into the gums, and move the floss up and down five times.

• Are you using mouthwash after you brush and floss? Mouthwash should be used to supplement brushing and flossing – not as a substitute! You don’t need a lot of mouthwash, only a few teaspoons. Swish it around, gargle for 30 seconds, and then spit it out.

October as National Dental Hygiene Month is a great reminder of how important it is to take good care of your oral health. It only takes a few minutes a day, and it will save you time, trouble, and pain. The staff at Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center wants to help you have beautiful and healthy teeth. Call to make an appointment today, at (610) 272-6949!

Things You Should Know About Your Oral Health (But Might Not)

Afro American teen girl opens mouth widely brushes teeth Having healthy teeth and gums is an important part of feeling healthy – although you probably don’t think of it in that way. It is important to do all that you can to take care of your oral health, and here are a few tidbits about doing just that.

Caring for your teeth and gums

Keep these things in mind if you are having problems with your teeth or gums, or if you just want to make sure they are in the best shape possible:

• It is possible to be allergic to toothpaste. Have you noticed a burning sensation in your mouth? Do you have tissue peeling off of the inside of your cheek? You may just be allergic to your toothpaste, and finding relief may be as simple as changing which toothpaste you use. Ask your dentist for a toothpaste recommendation, or try a natural toothpaste.

• If your mouth is dry, it might not have anything to do with your oral care routine. Some prescription medications come with the annoying side effect of dry mouth. Ask your doctor what you can do (perhaps changing medication may be an option), or ask your dentist for help. Having a constantly dry mouth can be bad for your teeth, because saliva helps to keep your teeth clean and free of debris.

• It is possible to brush your teeth too hard, and if you do, that’s not good. Some people think that the harder they brush the better. However, vigorous brushing can make gums bleed, which is never a good thing.

• It does make a difference if you skip out on brushing or flossing. You may neglect to brush or floss, and you might think it doesn’t matter much – but keeping your teeth clean every day keeps plaque from building up and ends up saving you a lot of pain and problems in the future.

Something else that you should know about your oral health is that cleanings and checkups at your dentist’s office are very important! If you need a cleaning, or if you are having problems or pain, call Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center in East Norriton, PA, for an appointment. Call (610) 272-6949 today!

What You Need to Know About Sedation Dentistry

Woman in a dental office having a seat in a medical chair Has fear of the dentist kept you from setting foot inside a dentist’s office for years or even decades? Having anxiety about the dentist is very common, but unfortunately, the longer you stay away from the dentist, the more you increase your odds of developing very painful dental problems, which can end up affecting not only your teeth but your general health. Luckily, sedation dentistry is a tried-and-true method to get you through your dental procedure!

What is sedation dentistry?

The staff at Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center is more than happy to discuss all aspects of sedation dentistry with you and to help you choose which type of sedation is right for you.

There are different degrees of sedation: mild, moderate, and deep.

• Anxiolysis is one mild form of sedation, for patients with mild anxiety. It is administered orally, and you stay awake during the procedure, but you’ll feel very relaxed. Nitrous oxide is also a mild sedative that will relax you, and this one comes with the benefit of a quick recovery as soon as it is stopped, so that you can get right back to your normal activities.

• Light intravenous (IV) sedation is typically thought of as “moderate sedation,” for use with patients who have moderate anxiety and may be going through a more complex procedure. You are still awake during the procedure, but you are in a very deep state of relaxation.

• In deep sedation, patients drift in between consciousness and unconsciousness and might have no recollection of the procedure once they come out of it. For both moderate and deep sedation, patients should have someone accompany them to the appointment and drive them home.

You should also know that you don’t have to be extremely nervous about your dental procedure – you can ask for it even if you are just a bit anxious or even if you have a hard time sitting still long enough for a procedure. The staff at Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center wants you to have healthy teeth – but they also want happy patients! That’s why different levels of sedation are offered. For any questions about sedation dentistry or to make an appointment, call (610) 272-6949 today!

Do you grind your teeth?

man suffering acute toothache jaw pain Do you grind your teeth? You may not even realize it if you do, but constant tooth grinding (also known as “bruxism”) can cause a variety of problems, not only for your teeth but for your overall health and quality of life. What can you do if you grind your teeth?

What causes tooth grinding?

Everyone grinds their teeth occasionally, but it becomes a problem if you do it all the time. You might find yourself grinding your teeth during a stressful day at work, or your partner might tell you that they can hear you grinding your teeth as you sleep (yes, it can be that loud).

It may be your body’s reaction to stress or anxiety, or it could be related to a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea. It could also be caused by a dental issue, such as missing or crooked teeth or a misaligned bite.

If you constantly grind your teeth, you might start having headaches all the time, ear pain, and an achy, painful jaw and neck muscles. Over time, tooth grinding can damage teeth, because of the enormous amount of stress grinding places on them. Your tooth enamel can wear off, you might get chips or cracks in your teeth (which can lead to infection), and your teeth may even start to become loose.

If you have been having headaches and pain in your jaw, you should let your dentist know. He or she will check for any damage to teeth and then can recommend ways to help stop your bruxism. Possible treatments include BOTOX® to help relax your muscles or a night guard to keep your bottom and top teeth from touching each other while you sleep. If you grind your teeth as a reaction to stress, developing stress-coping strategies and talking out your problems with a therapist or friend might also be a good idea.

If you think you might grind your teeth, see your dentist right away. Bruxism can damage teeth, and it can also be quite painful, but your dentist can help. Call Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center in East Norriton, PA, at (610) 272-6949 for an appointment today!

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