Tag Archive - fluoride

Is it possible to use medication to repair hurting roots that aren’t as damaged to warrant a root canal treatment?

Root canal treatment (RCT) is the cleaning of the innermost chamber of the tooth, the pulp. It is the pulp that provides the blood and nerve supply to the tooth and hence the source of pain. Once a cavity has touched the pulp of the tooth, or is very close to it, a root canal treatment is recommended.

The dentist removes the infected pulp and replaces it with a bio-compatible material. The pulp has to be removed from both the crown (the portion of the tooth that you see) and the canals of the root (the portion inside the bone). Hence the name, root canal treatment. Since this area is inside the bone, it is also the reason why the dentist requires some form of radio-graph  to determine the outline of the root and its canals.

At this level the cavity is very deep, since it has already infected the enamel, passed through the dentin layer of the tooth as well, and is now near the pulp. Once the cavity has reached dentin itself, a person will begin to have sensitivity and pain as it proceeds deeper towards the pulp. Any medication at this level, can only be placed by the dentist. What the dentist would do in such situations is, remove any infected dentin in the cavity, as much as possible, and apply the medication and then seal up the tooth with a temporary filling material. And then wait and watch, for a short period of about 3-4 weeks, approximately.

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Can smoking cause stains on my teeth?

If you are someone who just started smoking, yes those stains on your teeth could be a result of smoking. They appear as dark brown stains found initially at the back of your teeth (the side facing your tongue). And quite often they cannot be removed by regular brushing. If you brush extra hard using a toothpaste that has very high abrasive content, you may stand a chance at removing the stains. But overdoing it can result in abrasion of the enamel which could result in sensitivity. Another culprit would be betel quid, commonly known as ‘paan’ or smokeless tobacco. Chewing them can definitely stain your teeth.

But more important than the staining aspect, is the fact that they are well known carcinogens. Now for those who do not know what a carcinogen is, it is any substance that can cause or aggravate cancer. Tobacco in all forms is an age old cause of oral cancer, the rate of which is alarmingly on the rise. I have come across patients who have got oral cancer at the usual location where the betel quid is placed. So the best approach would be to quit the use of tobacco altogether.

Other causes of stains on teeth are coffee, tea, wine and other dark colored beverages. Very high fluoride levels in drinking water and tooth paste can also cause stains on the developing teeth of children. It begins as hypoplasia of the enamel (seen as a white pigmentation on teeth). That is why children’s toothpaste is preferred for kids over the regular toothpaste, especially since smaller children have a tendency to swallow them.  Medicines like tetracyclines, if taken during pregnancy by the mother, can cause discoloration in the teeth of the child.

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