For most people, a dentist of Whittier is a dentist, but this could not be further from the truth. For routine checkups, cleanings, and occasional filling, most individuals consult a general dentist. However, there are situations where our smiles call for more than conventional care. In this case, there are various types of dental specialties, each with a specific role to play in oral care.
Dental specialists are simply dentists who have additional training in a particular dental specialty above the general dentistry degree. Due to an accident, heredity problems with your overall health, or some other reason, you may need the help of a dental specialist. That being said, here are the top five dental specialties that you may come across during a lifetime of dental care.
Also referred to as root canal treatment, endodontics is a branch of dentistry that focuses on treating the soft pulp tissue found inside the tooth. When your tooth’s pulp becomes infected, or the inside of your teeth sustains damage, your general dentist will refer you to an endodontist.
The inside of your teeth has small cavern-like passages referred to as canals that contain nerves, blood vessels, and sensitive pulp. An endodontist diagnoses and treats issues in this region. These specialists diagnose tooth pain and, more often than not, do root canals on damaged or diseased teeth.
This branch of dentistry specializes in diagnosing, prevention, as well as correction of misaligned jaws and teeth. The specialist who corrects the position of your jaws and teeth is known as an orthodontist. You might come across this type of dentist if you have an underbite, overbite, or crossbite as a result of a misaligned jaw.
Orthodontists ideally correct misaligned or crooked teeth. In these situations, the dentist uses headgear, braces, clear aligners, or even palatal expanders as part of the treatment plan. This form of treatment is common in children. Still, adult braces and other alignments have become more and more common, making it an oral treatment for people of all ages.
When seeking orthodontic treatment for you or a child, it is imperative to check your dental coverage first to know what you can expect in regards to out-of-pocket costs. Ideally, some plans call for a referral from your general dentist before getting orthodontic treatment. So, get in touch with your dental insurance company regarding this as well.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
This is a dental specialty that focuses on treating problems related to the soft and hard tissues of the jaw, mouth, and face. You do not require oral and maxillofacial surgeons for every type of oral surgery, however. These specialists do more complex procedures, particularly those that need deep levels of sedation beyond laughing gas or nitrous oxide. As a matter of fact, dentists in the specialty are the only practitioners, other than anesthesiologists that administer sedation of all levels. Specialized procedures done by oral surgeons include corrective jaw surgery, cleft palate or cleft lip surgery, and tooth extractions.
Also known as pedodontics, pediatric dentistry is a specialty branch that focuses on treating children from birth through their teen years. A pediatric dentist is tasked with helping children stay on a path to healthy, lifelong smiles.
Parents tend to pick a pediatric dentist for their routine care due to their child-friendly practices as well as age-specific knowledge. These dentists provide regular dental care such as checkups, cavity fillings, and cleanings. Still, they are ideally excellent for children-specific issues such as thumb sucking, etc.
These specialists also conduct a diagnosis of oral conditions related to diseases such as childhood diabetes. They monitor the development of your kid’s smile and recommend other practitioners like orthodontists when necessary.
This a specialty in dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of conditions affecting the gums and structures that support your teeth. Periodontists also referred to as gum disease experts, diagnose and treat early stages of gum disease. They ideally perform minor surgeries like pocket reduction and gum grafts to resolve gum disease and also improve the appearance of your smile.
And there you have it, the most common dental specialty procedures.
Come see us at:
Whittier Square Dentistry
13215 Penn St #200,
Whittier, CA 90602
It is highly likely that a given type of gum disease affects you or someone you know. At some point in their lives, 75 percent of all Americans are bound to develop some level of gum disease, a well-known fact. It is worth mentioning that your oral health may be affected by more than one form of gum disease. It’s you see your dentist at least twice each year for a professional teeth cleaning along with regular home oral care, your gums should stay healthy and your dental professionals will monitor the health of your gums and teeth.
Some types of gum disease may expose you to the risk of developing a variety of severe life-threatening illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer if left untreated. You must familiarize yourself with the signs, risk factors, and remedies of periodontitis and gingivitis infections. These are two of the most common types of gum disease.
Other than knowing its name, can you accurately define what gingivitis? These are the most widely known type of gum disease. You might have heard about gingivitis through ads on TV or from your dentist? The accumulation of plaque, rich in bacteria, on your gums and teeth signals the onset of gingivitis. Your teeth and gums become inflamed, irritated, and sensitive due to the toxins released by the accumulated plaque over time. A variety of severe conditions can develop when gingivitis is left untreated for an extended period.
Periodontitis, a more severe type of gum disease. It develops when gingivitis remains untreated over an extended time. You may develop bad breath, bleeding in the gums, and loss of teeth as periodontitis leads to the destruction of the bone supporting your teeth.
Risk Factors Of Gum Disease
You must point out any changes in your mouth or teeth to your dentist as soon as you notice them, as the signs of gum disease remain hidden during the early stages in most people.
A variety of factors, not linked to poor oral hygiene, can also lead to the occurrence of gum disease. The gum lines of tobacco users tend to be increasingly diseased. The risk of developing gum disease for smokers is twice that of non-smokers, in fact.
Gum disease can also be caused by changes in the human body. Sixty to seventy percent of pregnant women may also develop gum disease issues as a result of hormonal changes associated with the pregnancy.
Gum Disease Related Conditions
Gum disease may also impact various conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. Gum disease, in one form or another, usually affects about 95 percent of diabetes patients. Cardiovascular disease is also another serious condition that may be caused by gum disease, which affects cardiovascular health when it remains untreated for a long time.
Gum Disease And Diabetes
Oral tissues may not heal very well due to several health conditions. However, any form of dental problem comes with the risk of not improving when it comes to people who suffer from diabetes. In the list of common endocrine disorders, diabetes ranks highly.
Gingivitis and tooth decay are commonly seen in people with diabetes as a result of dry mouth; they also face a higher risk of developing oral infections. It is even harder to treat gingivitis, when it occurs, as diabetes promotes poor healing of oral tissues.
It is essential to practice a regular oral care routine for this reason. To reduce discomfort, it is recommended that you use a soft bristle toothbrush and soft floss if your gums are sensitive. Inform your dentist about your condition if you have diabetes. To get an idea of how well you control your health, he or she may want to conduct a blood test.
Gum Disease And Leukemia
Your risk of developing gum disease may increase if you are suffering from leukemia. One of the early signs of leukemia, especially in kids, maybe gingivitis. Gingivitis is one of the first signs of cancer in children with research findings showing that this is true in around 25 percent of kids diagnosed with leukemia. When leukemia cells make their way into the gums of leukemia patients, gingivitis develops. Since the body is not able to fight off the infection at this point, the gingivitis is likely to become more severe if left untreated.
To properly clean their teeth and gums after developing gingivitis, active leukemia patients may be required to use clean gauze instead of a toothbrush and floss. Even gentle brushing and flossing can cause the infected gums to bleed excessively because the blood of leukemia patients usually doesn’t clot well. To help you stay on top of plaque during leukemia treatment, your dental professional may recommend the use of a special mouth rinse.
In most cases, patients can go back to a regular oral hygiene routine that involves brushing their teeth twice a day and flossing once. It’s also vital that you make regular visits to the dentists after leukemia goes into remission. With proper dental care, the gums can return to a healthy state, because the blood supply is plentiful. Use a soft floss and toothbrush with soft or extra-soft bristles if you have sensitive gums and teeth.
Gum Disease And Menopause
Older women going through menopause may also develop a rare condition referred to as desquamative gingivitis. As the nerves become exposed as the outer layer of gums pulls away from the tissue beneath, this form of gingivitis is considered to be quite painful. The slightest contact with a cotton swab can rub away the outer layer of the gums as they become so weak.
You need to work closely with qualified dental professionals to treat desquamative gingivitis. Practicing some form of hormone therapy may prove to be useful if you are still experiencing other menopause symptoms. A paste to be applied to the gums, or corticosteroids in pill form may be prescribed by your dental professional.
Gum Disease And Vitamin C Deficiency
Poor nutrition is also one of the many causes of problems in your gum tissue. When left untreated for an extended period, bleeding gums caused by a Vitamin C deficiency can quickly develop into gingivitis.
In addition to promoting the healing of wounds, Vitamin C also plays a considerable role in cartilage, teeth, and bone repair.
Treatment Of Gum Disease
When it comes to the treatment of gum disease or limiting its progress, you have several options. To get the most out of your treatment plan, it is recommended that you follow your dental professional’s instructions on regular dental care at home. Remember to make regular visits to the dentist’s office for professional cleanings and check-ups in addition to flossing and brushing once and twice a day, respectively.
Enquire from your dental professional about products that can ease your routine if you encounter any problems when practicing a regular oral hygiene routine. Consider using products designed to safeguard the health of your gums such as the Oral-B Genius Pro 8000 – an electric toothbrush with a round brush head.
Experiment with the following straightforward methods if you are looking to treat gum disease, especially gingivitis.
Twice, every day, thoroughly brush your teeth
Remember to floss every day
Use an anti-gingivitis mouthwash to thoroughly rinse your mouth
Make regular visits to the dentist’s office
Gum Disease FAQ
Q: What are the visual signs of gum disease?
A: Accumulating plaque along the gum line can lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease. Some of the signs to look out for when it comes to gum disease include swollen gums, bleeding, and sensitive teeth; however, these signs tend to be hard to spot in mild cases of gum disease.
Q: Is gum disease curable?
A: Following the routine prescribed by your dentist will help cure gum disease, and even go a step further by preventing it. You should brush your teeth twice daily, floss once each day, use an anti-gingivitis mouthwash, and regularly visit your dentist’s office for check-ups. You can also go a step further in the fight against gum disease by using a toothbrush like Oral-B Genius Pro 8000, which is an electronic variant designed with a round brush head.
Q: Are the effects of gum disease reversible?
A: Use strict oral care to reverse the effects and symptoms of gum disease.
Q: What is the official definition of gum disease?
A: Gum disease is defined as “an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth,” according to the ADA (American Dental Association). Gum disease is the top cause of tooth loss in grownups, in simple terms.
Q: How do you get gum disease?
A: If you do not have a proper oral hygiene routine, plaque – a see-through, sticky layer of bacteria will form over the surface of teeth. It will accumulate and release damage inflicting toxins, thus causing gum disease. Gingivitis is signaled by the initial stage of this accumulation of plaque. Normal daily activities, including breathing and eating, contribute to the formation of plaque.
Q: What are the signs of gum disease?
A: Loose teeth, a receding gum line, persistent bad breath, swollen, tender, and gums that bleed, mostly after flossing or brushing teeth, are the main signs of gum disease.
Q: Can you avoid gum disease?
A: Yes, gum disease is preventable. To ensure that you have a healthy smile throughout your life, you can take some simple steps, day in day out. Good oral habits can help prevent gum disease, even though plaque occurs naturally. You need to appreciate the importance of executing these steps to perfection, one after the other, every day.
Q: If I suspect I have gum disease, what should I do?
A: Many people suffer from gum disease; so, do not fret. Gum disease, in one form or the other, affects 80% of adults. You can prevent or reverse the effects of gum disease in most cases. However, you need to know how to treat and prevent gum disease.
Believe it or not, routine dental visits can do much more than keep your smile looking great. These visits can also tell dentists much about your overall health and whether or not you might be at high risk for developing various diseases.
There has been plenty of research indicating the health of your mouth can be a looking-glass into your overall health. For instance, when you have optimal oral health, your entire body is usually healthy. Whereas, if you have sub-optimal oral health, you are likely to have other health problems. Plenty of research has suggested that good oral hygiene is expected to contribute to decreasing risk factors of various diseases.
The Link Between Gum Disease And General Health
The Academy of General Dentistry has found a link between gum disease and various sorts of health complications, including heart disease and even the risk of suffering a stroke. Women that have periodontal disease have been shown to have higher risk factors of having pre-term and babies with low birth weight.
There has been extensive research that indicates over 90 percent of various diseases affecting your body have come simultaneously with signs of oral issues. These include but not limited to gum inflammation, dry mouth symptoms, gum disease, and even mouth ulcers. Some of the diseases include:
1. Heart Disease
2. Oral Cancer
3. Kidney Disease
5. Pancreatic Cancer
Because a majority of people have routine oral examinations, your dentist is likely to be the first line of detection. Dentists can possibly detect a variety of health issues like those mentioned above.
Having Poor Oral Health Can Contribute To Various Problems
If you do not take your oral health seriously, having poor oral hygiene can contribute to all kinds of severe health complications, including:
1. Oral Pain
According to the Office of the Surgeon General, having oral pain is likely to be caused by having a gum infection, which can contribute to tooth loss. In fact, gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss. Early stages of gum disease are something that affects more than 75 percent of the population of the United States.
2. Heart Issues
Having an infection in the mouth can end up negatively impacting all of your major organs in your body. After all, the mouth and the gums are a gateway to your heart. Any infection in the mouth and gums can cause the heart and valves, leading to the heart to become inflamed by bacterial endocarditis, which is a condition that regularly affects those with heart disease.
3. Issues With Digestion
Your digestion begins in your mouth. The physical and chemical process that occurs while the food is in your mouth is the first stage of the digestion process. When there are issues that are inhibiting this process from working correctly, it can lead to intestinal failure and other kinds of digestion problems.
What You Can Do To Prevent These Issues
By routinely visiting a dentist, you will be able to keep your mouth in good condition. It will allow your dentist to keep an eye on various adverse developments that can point to multiple general health issues. Having your teeth examined regularly will even enable your dentist to point out nutritional deficiencies. They may also be able to detect development problems that might lead to future health issues. You want to provide your dentist with a full medical and dental history and keep them informed with recent developments with your health. This can ensure they are in the best position to detect critical problems that might be contributing to health complications you might be having.
You Can Practice Good Hygiene At Home:
1. Brush twice a day.
2. Floss after every meal allowing you to remove hard to get rid of plaque and bacteria.
3. Eat a nutritious and balanced diet.
4. Avoid Smoking.
5. Visit the dentist a minimum of twice each year to get professional cleanings and routine check-ups.
A root canal treatment is what your dentist in Whittier or Los Angeles may recommend if you have adverse tooth decay, acute abscess (tooth infection), or severely damaged tooth. The name makes it sound as though the tooth will have a gap, but it is meant to save it and eliminate the need to remove the tooth.
A tooth has soft inner tissue protected by a hard outer layer. The tissue contains nerves and blood vessels that nourish the tooth. When it gets infected, then your tooth will face the following issues:
• Deep cavity
• A crack or fracture
• Injury even if no chip or crack is visible
• Several dental procedures that affect the soft tissue
If the issues are left untreated, the tissue around the root of the tooth becomes infected. The infection will cause swelling and pain. It also led to the formation of abscess inside the tooth. And if this infection is not treated, it can spread and affect the bone at the end of the tooth’s root. In the end, the likelihood of losing the tooth because the infection will have destroyed the bones keeping the tooth connected to the jaw.
Is The Treatment Possible During A Regular Dental Check-Up Visit?
If your dentist finds that you have a tooth infection, you may be scheduled for a follow-up appointment for treatment. Alternatively, you may be referred to another dentist that specialized in treating the pulp and tissue surrounding the tooth. Such a specialist dentist is called an endodontist.
What Should I Expect With The Treatment?
It can take one or two visits to the dentist, and you will experience little to no pain since your dentist will use local anesthesia to numb your tooth and surrounding tissue. Once the root canal is completed, you should not feel the pain you did before getting the treatment.
The dentist will do a few things before starting the root canal treatment. The procedures will include:
1. Taking X-rays get a clear view of the tooth and the adjacent bone.
2. Numbing the tooth and the area around it using local anesthesia to eliminate any discomforts during treatment.
3. Applying a thin layer of latex rubber on the tooth to ensure it stays clean and dry, protecting it from bacteria, fungus, and viruses that may be in your mouth.
During the treatment, the dentist will do the following:
1. Drill the top of the tooth to create an opening.
2. Killing the tooth’s nerves of the inner tissue down to the root area known as the root canal.
3. After that, the dentist will clean the inside of the tooth and the root canal. The procedure may involve the use of medicine the disinfects the inside of the tooth.
4. The next phase will be where the dentist takes a rubbery material to fill and seal the root canals, protecting them from future infection.
5. Then a temporary filling is used. It will protect the tooth for some time, up until a permanent filling or crown can be done as soon as possible.
What Next After The Root Canal Treatment?
You may experience some sensitivity in the tooth and the surrounding area for a few days after the procedure. If the sensation persists, you should check with your dentist to find out what can be done to relieve the discomfort.
Your dentist may prescribe some antibiotics to prevent any infection from spreading. You should use the medication as directed and do a follow-up with the dentist in case of any issues that may arise.
The dentist will schedule another visit in which the temporary filling be removed and replaced with a crown or a regular filling. The new filling prevents further tooth damage. The dentist may place a plastic or metal post in the root canal that will support the filling to ensure it does not sink into the tooth. The post is necessary, especially if you are getting a crown.
How Long Will The Root Canal Filling Last?
If the root canal is done correctly and you take proper care of it, then the restored tooth can last. You also need to observe proper dental hygiene. Brush twice daily using fluoride toothpaste. Take around two minutes when brushing. Also, consider flossing so that you can clean between the teeth where the brush bristles may not fit. And remember to go for your routine dental checkups so that you ensure you have strong, healthy teeth and a bright smile.
Dental Health is vital of your overall health and requires daily management. The consequences of poor daily care is very serious. Brushing and flossing only take about 6 minutes each day, 3 minutes in the morning and 3 minutes in the evening. That’s it.
If you need services like root canal, dental implants, or orthodontics procedures are available. Dental implants can help to keep teeth in their proper place when you have missing teeth. They include titanium implants in your jaw with a crown on top. Implants feel and act like real teeth but still need daily care.
Cosmetic and orthodontic procedures can truly improve your smile and self confidence. If you have crooked teeth or bad looking teeth these two methods can help.