Root Canals Shouldn’t Be Scary

root canalRoot canal.

Wait. Why are you running from the room? Halloween’s over. Just the term is enough to give some people an anxiety attack. Maybe they watched the old movie Marathon Man one too many times (Is it safe?). Maybe it’s stories from your uncle back 40 years ago.

Whatever the cause, root canals need a new publicist! This procedure we use at Broadway Family Dentistry is really a tooth saver, and that’s a good thing because saving a tooth is always preferable to having to replace it. Plus, the modern root canal doesn’t involve any more discomfort than having a cavity filled.

The team at Broadway wants to clear up some of this fear of the root canal.

What happens to dictate the need for a root canal?

Every tooth has one or more roots that anchor the tooth into the jawbone. Nerves and blood vessels run through several tiny channels or “canals” in the root into the pulp at the center of the tooth. Sometimes, a cavity or fracture allows bacteria to penetrate through the enamel on the outer tooth, infecting the inner part of the tooth, the dentin. If the infection grows, the tooth can develop an abscess. Now the tooth is in a bad way, as the bacteria spreads down into the root canals and possibly into the surrounding gum tissue.

At this point, a root canal will be necessary to:

  • Minimize pain
  • Remove infected and dead tooth tissue
  • Reduce swelling
  • Get rid of all the bacteria and keep it from spreading
  • Salvage healthy tooth structure
  • Maintain function of the tooth

The root canal process

This is where people get the wrong idea about pain and root canals. When the interior of a tooth becomes infected, all of the sudden nerves are exposed. That equals serious pain. People project this pain onto the root canal procedure. Actually, the root canal is done to remove the cause of the pain!

Here’s what the Broadway Dentistry team does.

In a root canal, once you’re given local anesthesia, we drill into the infected tooth to access the infected pulp. We then diligently remove all the infected pulp, along with the tooth root (and all its nerves — the pain cause). Everything is thoroughly disinfected and then the now-hollow tooth is filled with a rubber-based substance known as gutta percha. A crown or filling closes the hole and you’re done. Plus, your tooth is saved, often for the remainder of your life!

How much does a root canal hurt?

The truth is a root canal procedure is no more painful than getting a typical filling. You read that right. Really the only pain is the slight prick of the initial anesthesia, along with some minor jaw aches afterwards due to having your mouth open. Remember, the root canal is what is going to get rid of the extreme pain caused by your infected tooth!

If you’re having some tooth pain, decay could have entered one of your teeth. Call us at Broadway Family Dentistry, 701-839-1299, to make your appointment.

NuCalm© Minot, ND

Dental treatment does not have to be something you dread. Our office now has NuCalm, a patented all-natural option to help you relax in the dental chair. NuCalm not only provides you with a deep relaxation experience during your appointment but also leaves you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

What is NuCalm?

nucalm_reg_logo_6501NuCalm is a patented all-natural stress intervention technology. NuCalm scientifically sequences four relaxation therapies to mimic your body’s own process for ‘winding down’ and preparing for sleep. You will feel the same way you feel just as you are about to fall asleep.

How does NuCalm work?

 

Deep relaxation is achieved through 4 simple steps. NuCalm is administered by our dental team at the beginning of your appointment and takes just a few minutes to apply. While listening to soothing music, you will relax comfortably during your appointment.

  • Step 1 – All-natural dietary supplements c containing proprietary formulation of amino acids goes on as cream
  • Step 2 – FDA-cleared micro-current stimulation. Research shows this helps facilitate the relaxation response.
  • Step 3 – Soothing music presented through headphones. Layered in the music is proprietary neuroacoustic software designed to guide you into deep relaxation
  • Step 4 – Light-blocking eye mask or glasses block visual stimulation and help you maintain relaxation.

Please call our office to see if NuCalm may be an option for your dental care.

Information used with permission from ©Solace Lifesciences, Inc.

My Child Lost a Tooth! What Now?

pediatric dentistryThe average age for your child to begin losing his or her primary teeth is age six, with all permanent teeth in place by about age 13. When your child has a loose tooth, it can be an exciting yet somewhat anxious time for both of you. Knowing the proper way to help your child when his or her tooth is ready to come out is important. Your dentist can educate your child about losing their teeth and inspect them to gauge when they’re likely to come out.

Once a tooth is loose, here are some ways you can help make the transition easier:

  • Prepare for bleeding. Let your child know that there will be some bleeding when the tooth comes out, which is only temporary and nothing to worry about.
  • Keep up on good oral hygiene. Your child may be hesitant to brush the loose tooth areas surrounding it, but it’s important that he or she continues to brush daily and floss regularly, just a bit more gently around the tooth that is loose.
  • Encourage wiggling. It’s tempting for your child to wiggle a loose tooth with his or her fingers or tongue, and that’s okay. Sometimes this is all it takes for the tooth to come out.
  • Let them pull it. If a tooth is only slightly loose, leave it alone for now. When the tooth is loose enough to pull, allow your child to do it using tissue or a piece of gauze. Your child can best determine his or her level of discomfort and whether or not to stop pulling at any point.

After the tooth falls out, take the following steps:

  • Use a damp cloth to apply pressure on the area, which will bleed slightly
  • Gargle with warm water
  • Instruct your child to be gently when brushing the area where the tooth fell out to avoid irritation
  • Make a big deal of it – many parents tell their children about the “tooth fairy” in an effort to make losing teeth exciting rather than scary

If your child experiences any pain or the gums appear swollen or red, an over-the-counter pain reliever like Tylenol or ibuprofen may help. You can also try a topical numbing agent. If pain is severe, visit your dentist.

To learn more about what to do when your child has a loose tooth, or to schedule an appointment, contact Dr. Stanley Hirst, DDS, and Bethany Jensen, DDS, at Broadway Family Dentistry today by calling 701-839-1299 to schedule a check-up.

The 5 Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

sensitive teethIf sipping hot coffee or eating ice cream makes you wince, you may have tooth sensitivity. While this may be discouraging and painful, there are remedies for your sensitive teeth. Check out some of the main reasons you may be experiencing tooth sensitivity and what you can do about it.

Brushing too harshly. If you’re using a toothbrush with stiff bristles, this can contribute to sensitivity. And brushing with too much force can also be harmful, as it can erode your tooth enamel over time and expose your dental nerves. Stick to a soft-bristled toothbrush and go easy when you brush.

Teeth grinding. Another way to break down your tooth enamel is by grinding your teeth. This can expose the middle layer of your tooth (called dentin) which exposes the hollow tubes that lead to your nerves. You may need a mouth guard if this is the case, so talk to your dentist to see if this may be the best solution for you.

Using whitening toothpaste. Many brands of toothpaste contain chemicals made for whitening your teeth, and you may be one of many who are sensitive to these chemicals. If you think your toothpaste may be contributing to your tooth sensitivity, switch to a brand that doesn’t contain a whitening formula.

Excessive plaque. If you aren’t brushing daily or flossing regularly, your teeth will get plaque buildup, which can then wear away tooth enamel. When this happens, your teeth lose the protection they need to prevent sensitivity. Be diligent about your oral care and visit your dentist twice a year for routine cleanings and exams to keep your mouth healthy.

Receding gums. If you don’t say on top of your oral care, your gums can start to recede as you age, which can make your teeth sensitive. It can also lead to gum disease. See your dentist for a complete evaluation.

To learn more about treating tooth sensitivity, or to schedule an appointment, contact Dr. Stanley Hirst, DDS, and Bethany Jensen, DDS, at Broadway Family Dentistry today by calling 701-839-1299 to schedule a check-up.

What Exactly Is Tooth Enamel?

oral healthTooth enamel is essential to your oral health. After all, it’s what covers your teeth and protects them from becoming damaged. So when your enamel wears down, you’re at greater risk for tooth decay. But what, exactly, is tooth enamel and how can you protect it? Read on to learn more to ensure you have a healthy mouth for years to come.

Tooth enamel is the outermost substance on your teeth. It rivals your bones for being the hardest substance in the human body and protects the nerves in your teeth from extreme hot or hold, which can cause sensitivity. When your tooth enamel is exposed to acid and bacteria buildup, it can erode and decay. And while enamel is a protective surface, it can easily crack or chip. This usually happens when you eat hard foods or when food gets stuck between your teeth. The easiest way to tell if you’ve cracked a tooth is if you feel pain when chewing, or when you drink something hot or cold.

For Healthy Enamel, Watch What You Eat
To effectively protect your enamel, there are certain foods and drinks you should avoid. Soda, for example, contains high levels of sugar and acid which can dissolve your enamel over time. Sports drinks and energy drinks are other culprits for erosion because they also have a significant amount of acid. Avoid these drinks to protect against enamel breakdown. Other contributors to decay include foods with vinegar, such as vinegar-based salad dressings or even potato chips. And it bears repeating that candy is a no-no if you want to preserve your tooth enamel. The high levels of sugar are main proponents for enamel decay.

Restoring Tooth Enamel
If your tooth enamel begins to erode, visit your dentist as soon as possible, especially if you’re experiencing tooth pain. Having regular checkups, as well as brushing twice a day and flossing regularly, are excellent ways to stop tooth decay and enamel erosion in its tracks.

To learn more about keeping your tooth enamel healthy, contact Dr. Stanley Hirst, DDS, and Bethany Jensen, DDS, at Broadway Family Dentistry today by calling 701-839-1299. We look forward to hearing from you!

Making Flossing Fun for Kids

flossingIt can be a struggle to get your child to brush their teeth twice a day, let alone ask them to floss. You may find it’s a challenge for you, as well. But flossing is essential to good oral health because it helps clean plaque from between the teeth. If left in the mouth too long, plaque can harden and turn into tarter, which then leads to gum disease. Once your child’s teeth start to come in next to each other, it’s time to start flossing. To make this daily task more enjoyable, try the following tips:

Floss to Music
Flossing along to a fun song is a great way to make flossing fun. Choose a slow, steady beat to help your child keep a measured rhythm as they work the floss back and forth between their teeth. If the song is too fast, it encourages them to floss too harshly which can damage gums. Flossing along in time with a song helps them stay consistent, which leads to a cleaner mouth.

Play a Game
Make flossing a story about good versus evil. The evil, of course, is plaque and tooth decay, with the good being floss. Your child will relish the power of being in control by making floss the hero of the story.

Make a Chart
Place a progress chart in your child’s bathroom, then mark each day they floss with their favorite stickers. Once they reach a certain number of consecutive days of flossing, reward them with either a small monetary incentive or, better yet, one that doesn’t cost money like a later night up on weekends or an extra story at bedtime. Parents can get in on then fun too by following a chart of their own. Not only will your flossing habits improve, but your child will be extra motivated by the friendly competition.

To learn more about ways to making flossing fun, or to schedule an appointment, contact Dr. Stanley Hirst, DDS, and Bethany Jensen, DDS, at Broadway Family Dentistry today by calling 701-839-1299 to schedule a check-up.

Your Child’s First Dental Visit: Getting It Done in Year One

dental checkupWhen your child is born, his or her primary teeth have already started to form inside the gums. And within approximately six months to a year, their first tooth will start to come through. You may be surprised to learn that tooth decay can occur as soon as this first tooth erupts. Once this happens, the teeth become susceptible to decay if not properly cared for. That’s why it’s important to take your child to the dentist no more than six months after the first tooth appears and no later than the first birthday. Here’s what you can expect at your child’s first dental visit:

The Meet and Greet
The first dentist appointment is really a time for you and your child to meet the dentist and learn how best to care for his or her developing teeth and gums. Until your child reaches age two, these dental visits will largely consist of a visual exam, as well as an introduction to the dental chair, the equipment such as air and water, and other items found in a dental office like safety glasses and a bib.

The Exam
With a child under a year old, you’ll likely be asked to hold your child while the dentist examines their mouth, checking your child’s gums, jaw and bite. This keeps your child at ease during the exam, as well as helps you point out areas in the mouth you may have questions about. If your child has several protruding baby teeth already, your dentist may clean your child’s teeth and apply fluoride.

The Follow-up
Depending on the condition of your child’s teeth, your dentist will advise you about when to schedule your next visit. When there are no significant problems, he or she will recommend you visit again in six months.

While every child has their own specific oral health needs, what it universally true is that early dental exams are a preventive measure that can effectively save you time, money and your child’s teeth in the long run.

To schedule your child’s first dental visit, contact Dr. Stanley Hirst, DDS, and Bethany Jensen, DDS, at Broadway Family Dentistry today by calling 701-839-1299. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Signs You Grind Your Teeth (And How to Stop)

bruxismBruxism (or teeth grinding) is a common condition, but many people aren’t even aware that they do it. Grinding your teeth can cause irreparable tooth damage or other health complications. That’s why it’s important to identify the signs of teeth grinding and the ways to overcome it.

To determine if you might be grinding your teeth, check for symptoms first thing in the morning. That’s  because teeth grinding occurs at night. Signs that you may be a teeth grinder include:

  • Sore jaw
  • Gum inflammation (gingivitis)
  • Sensitive teeth when eating or drinking hot or cold food and beverages
  • Dull, persistent headache
  • Sores inside your cheeks

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, consider the following tips to abolish teeth grinding once and for all:

  • Cut out caffeine. Partaking in beverages that contain caffeine, such as soda, coffee and energy drinks will make you unable to relax your body and mind, and can make it hard for you to relax your jaw.
  • Chew on food and only food. Many people absentmindedly chew on pens or pencils when they’re concentrating or feel stressed. Put a stop to this practice and opt for a stick of gum or a mint to help retrain your brain to keep the chewing to foods alone.
  • Use a mouth guard. Ask your dentist about the type of mouth guard he recommends, whether it’s provided by him or purchased over the counter. Wearing a mouth guard is an effective way to deter you from grinding your teeth while you sleep.
  • Reduce stress. Helpful stress relievers include spending time with friends, eating a balanced diet to curb irritability, and going to bed and waking up at the same time each day to maintain a healthy and stable energy level.

To learn more about how to eliminate teeth grinding, contact Dr. Stanley Hirst, DDS, and Bethany Jensen, DDS, at Broadway Family Dentistry today by calling 701-839-1299. We look forward to hearing from you!

The Benefits of Laser Light

Laser TherapyGoing to the dentist can be a dreaded affair for many. The thought of drills and sharp objects isn’t fun for anyone. But today’s dentistry is changing, thanks in part to the more frequent use of dental lasers. Check out the many ways laser dentistry is making a trip to the dentist feel a little less daunting.

Less Pain
Dental lasers are considerably more comfortable than traditional surgical treatments. This can be welcome information to patients who are fearful of dental anesthesia for certain procedures. By eliminating the need for anesthesia, your recovery time is much quicker and there is considerably less pain.

Reduced Bleeding
Before lasers, certain dental procedures involved a lot of bleeding. Dental lasers significantly reduce bleeding because the high powered light that is used actually helps coagulate open blood vessels, healing wounds faster and speeding up your recovery time.

Versatility
A wide range of hard and soft tissue procedures can benefit from laser dentistry. These procedures range from decay removal and cavity preparation to root canals and gum and bone surgical procedures.

Improved Precision
Laser dentistry makes it possible to treat decay or cavities in hard to reach areas without affecting the surrounding tissue. When using a laser, the accuracy of treatment is improved, and more of your healthy tooth structure remains intact. With better precision comes an increase in dental health into the future.

Less Risk of Infection
The high energy beams from a dental laser not only heal open wounds, they also sterilize the area the laser is working on to protect against bacteria that causes areas of bleeding and infected gums. In this way, laser dentistry is especially helpful for patients with gum disease, as they can use this treatment at every appointment.

Discover how laser dentistry can benefit you! Contact Dr. Stanley Hirst, DDS, and Bethany Jensen, DDS, at Broadway Family Dentistry today by calling (701) 839-1299 to schedule a check-up.

5 Common Dental Fears and How to Overcome Them

dental healthDental phobia is surprisingly common. But putting off going to the dentist can lead to more serious complications down the road. If you are a “Dentaphobe”, here are five ways to help you cope with this fear and get the dental treatment you need:

  1. Fear of the unknown. Being whisked away from the waiting room, draped with a green bib and positioned with a nice view of the ceiling, can be a little intimidating. You likely have some questions before the dentist gets to it, so don’t be afraid to ask for a break-down of the procedure. By learning more about the details of your check-up, you can begin to feel more at ease.
  2. Dental equipment. Having sharp metal objects stuck into your mouth can instill fear in the hearts of many. You probably want to know what these tools used for. And, perhaps more importantly, will this hurt? Ask your dentist if you can hold the tools first so they don’t seem so foreign. You may also want to ask for a quick demonstration on how the tool will be used.
  3. Trying to breathe through the nose. If you breathe primarily out of their mouth, a visit to the dentist can feel stifling when the dentist must work in your mouth. It may help to wear nasal strips, which can open up your nose for easier breathing. And if you need to take a break during the procedure to catch your breath, work out a hand signal with your dentist to indicate that he needs to stop working for a moment.
  4. Gag reflex. For those with a tendency to gag during dental work, the thought of putting those tabs into your mouth for an X-ray – or the molding clay in for an impression – can feel daunting. To combat the urge to gag, breathe through your nose. It may be a good idea to use a nasal spray or strip to open up nasal passages beforehand. Another trick is to moisten your finger and put a dab of salt on the end of your tongue right before the procedure.
  5. Fear of needles. For many, needles can be terrifying, especially when inserted into your mouth. Before the injection, ask your dentist if numbing gel will be used. This can help tremendously with discomfort. Additionally, try to focus your attention away from the pain of the needle in favor of how the needle will eliminate any pain during dental treatment.

Don’t put your dental appointment off any longer! Contact Dr. Stanley Hirst, DDS, and Bethany Jensen, DDS, at Broadway Family Dentistry today by calling (701) 839-1299 to schedule a check-up.