11623 Angus Road Suite C23
Austin, TX 78759
Dr. Jarom Heaton, D.D.S. DMD PC
990 Hesters Crossing Ste 100
Round Rock , TX, 78681
TMJ & Facial Pain Center
6407 Colleyville Blvd Ste A
Colleyville, TX, 76034-6279
I - 20 Family Dental
5740 W I-20
Arlington, TX, 76017-1134
Dr. Lorenda Grace, D.D.S. DMD PC
440 West IH 635
Irving , TX, 75063
Recently, the issue of over brushing and its direct link to tooth abrasion has been a topic in many journal and news articles. A story in The Wall Street Journal (dated February 4, 2000) stated that in many cases, "the culprit in toothbrush abrasion is the toothbrush itself." This issue is particularly important because people can damage healthy teeth and gums by brushing too hard, oftentimes with a medium- or hard-bristled toothbrush. In fact, dentists and representatives of the American Dental Association have recommended for years that people use a soft-bristled toothbrush for their dental care.
Our teeth and gums are susceptible to wear and tear like all other parts of our bodies. In cases of improper brushing, such as brushing too vigorously, gum tissue can be worn away. Receding gums then lead to other significant dental problems such as sensitive teeth, periodontal disease, cavities, root canals, and potentially removal of teeth.
Solutions to brushing too hard and causing tooth abrasion include adjusting the angle of your toothbrush (it should be at a 45-degree angle), lessening the amount of pressure you use, monitoring the length of time, as well as making sure that you are using a soft-bristled toothbrush. In addition, always ask your dentist for specific recommendations related to your oral health care.
While the potential harm to teeth and gums through over brushing is significant, an even greater percentage of the population suffers damage to their teeth from occlusion (bad bite), genetic factors, and poor overall dental hygiene. It is critical to carefully maintain and monitor your oral health. The best approach to maintaining good oral health is to brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush to prevent tooth abrasion with fluoride toothpaste, floss or clean between the teeth using an interdental cleaner (special brushes, picks or sticks), and visit your dentist every six months. Follow your dentist's advice with regard to any changes to this regimen.
By Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO
Q. What is endodontics?
A. Endodontics is the area of dentistry that specifically deals with what is called the pulp within a tooth.
Q. What is dental pulp?
A. The dental pulp is a soft tissue comprised of tiny arteries, veins, nerves and lymph vessels for the tooth.
Q. Where does the term root canal come from?
A. The tooth is comprised of three basic components. The first component is the crown/enamel, which is seen by the naked eye.
The next level of the tooth is dentin, which is under the enamel and the "housing” for the dental pulp. The final component is the dental pulp and is the core of the tooth. This bulk of the dental pulp is in the center of the tooth or the pulp chamber, and is connected to the Mandibular Canal through the root canals. The root canals are like veins for the dental pulp.
Q. What does the procedure root canal mean?
A. Root canal has become a term for a procedure involving the dental pulp. When the dental pulp has been exposed and damaged, it must be treated professionally and this process is usually referred to as getting a root canal.
Q. What does a root canal procedure entail?
A. Once the dental pulp has been infected, it must be removed from both the pulp chamber and the root canals. Once it has been removed, the pulp chamber and root canals are thoroughly cleaned and enlarged. Based on the level of infection, the dentists may choose to clean the area more than once. After the area is free of infection, the dentist will fill the root canals and pulp chamber with a filling that will prevent any bacteria from entering the area. Finally, the dentist will place a crown over the tooth to restore it to its original shape.
Q. What causes dental pulp to become damaged or infected?
A. Normally, when a deep cavity occurs, it exposes the dental pulp to the bacteria inside the mouth. When exposed to this bacteria, the dental pulp can become infected and thus cause the inside of the tooth to be infected.
Q. What can happen if infected dental pulp is not treated?
A. Overtime, the infected pulp will die. At the same time, pus from the infection will develop at the base of the tooth and cause an abscess to form. If this occurs, it is not uncommon for the abscess to cause the bone holding the tooth to deteriorate. If this deterioration becomes too severe, the tooth will fall out.
Q. What role does the computer play in the dental care industry?
A. In the future, patient records may be kept on computer disks, including visual images captured on intraoral cameras. A computerized workstation beside the patient’s chair will give the dentist the ability to view the patient’s history from disk.
Also, the dentist might use a voice-recognition system to ask the computer to assist in finding that data, or create a “before and after” image so the patient can preview the result of dental work before it is done.