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    New technology can troubleshoot root canal problems

    Last updated 23 days ago

    As published in the Buck's County Courier Times on Monday, March 31, 2014.


    Root canal is still one of the most feared dental procedures. There are also those who have a negative view of root canal due to a bad experience, result or the cost of the procedure. Once the pulp of a tooth becomes infected, a root canal is the only way to save the tooth. In most cases, a root canal is the best option, but there are many factors that go into that decision. Although an experienced dentist can usually perform a root canal with minimal discomfort and with a high degree of success, problems can and do occur. In some cases, new technology used by some general dentists and endodontists (root canal specialists) called cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) could help diagnosis root canal problems.

    The root canal procedure involves the dentist making a small hole in the tooth and then removing the tiny infected nerves and blood vessels within the tooth’s root(s). The roots are then shaped, disinfected, and filled with an inert material. The procedure is usually successful about ninety percent of the time when properly performed. When a tooth with root canal is successful, a person will have no pain or other signs or symptoms of infection. Of course, this also means that about ten percent of the time, a root canal will become re-infected or"fail", and continue to cause problems for the person.

    A root canal that is failing will usually continue to cause pain or discomfort, especially when biting down. In some cases, a failing root canal will cause swelling, also known as an abscess. There are several reasons why a tooth that has root canal can fail. A root canal can fail if some of the infected nerves and blood vessels are left inside the roots, the inert filling does not completely seal off the roots from bacteria, the tooth is damaged during the procedure (perforation), or the tooth fractures between or within the roots. A root canal is more likely to fail if a permanent filling or crown (cap) is not placed to protect the tooth. A root canal can fail within days, weeks, months or even many years after the procedure has been completed.

    In some cases, it is difficult to diagnose the reason a root canal fails. It your dentist cannot discover the reason the root canal has failed with conventional x-rays and clinical tests, referral to a root canal specialist with CBCT technology should be considered. CBCT can give a three dimensional view of the tooth that will be better able to show missed roots or nerves, fractures inside the tooth, and difficult anatomy within the tooth. In most cases, a failing root canal can be retreated, or a procedure called an apicoectomy (removal of the root tip) can be performed to save the tooth. If these measures are unsuccessful or deemed unlikely to succeed, the tooth will usually need to be extracted.

    Dr. Jerry Gordon can be reached at (215) 639-0571. Comments, questions, and second opinions are available at The Dental Comfort Zone, 2734 Street Rd. Bensalem, PA 19020 (across from the Giant supermarket). To learn more: http://www.dentalcomfortzone.com

     

    Gum disease may increase breast cancer risk

    Last updated 2 months ago

    As published in the Buck's County CourierTimes: Sunday, February 16, 2014 12:15 am

    A recent study by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden on more than 3,000 patients showed those who had gum disease and tooth loss had more than 11 times greater risk of developing breast cancer.

    Although this is the first study to show a link between gum disease and breast cancer, gum disease has also been associated with pancreatic cancer, heart disease, stroke, and premature and low-birth-weight babies.

    Gum disease is caused by plaque, a bacterial film that continuously forms on the teeth and gums. Over time, gum disease can cause bad breath, puffy and bleeding gums, loose teeth and, ultimately, tooth loss.

    There are many contributing factors that can increase the risk and severity of gum disease. They include heredity, those who have medical problems that affect the immune system (leukemia, diabetes, AIDS, etc.), medical conditions or treatments that reduce the flow of saliva (Sjögren’s syndrome, dysfunction or removal of the salivary glands, or who take any of the many prescription drugs that can cause dry mouth), habits such as smoking, poor oral hygiene, emotional stress and malnutrition.

    Recent studies also suggest low levels of vitamin D are also associated with gum disease.

    A simple blood test can determine the amount of circulating vitamin D3, with a target level of at least 40ng/ml considered optimal.

    It’s interesting to note some of the same maladies linked to gum disease, including cardiovascular disease and cancer, are also found in those who are chronically deficient in vitamin D.

    Gum disease is treated a number of different ways, depending on how advanced it is.

    Treatment options include deep cleaning under the gums, gum surgery, bone grafts and antibiotics.

    Oral hygiene technique and instruction also play a critical role in the prevention and treatment of gum disease.

    Dr. Jerry Gordon can be reached at 215-639-0571. Comments, questions and second opinions are available at The Dental Comfort Zone, 2734 Street Road, Bensalem, PA 19020 (across from the Giant supermarket).

    To learn more: www.dentalcomfortzone.com; email: drjdmd@comcast.net.

    Dr. Jerry Gordon makes Top Dentist for the third straight time!

    Last updated 2 months ago

    Dr. Jerry Gordon is selected as Top Dentist by Philadelphia Magazine for the third straight time (2010, 2012, 2014). Dr. Gordon was one of 20 general dentists chosen by his peers from the Philadelphia and surrounding 7 county area, and the only general dentist in Bensalem.  His listing appears in the February 2014 issue on page 41.

    Do you "like" your dentist?

    Last updated 3 months ago

    As published in the Buck's County Courier Times on December 30, 2013

     

    Social Media has seen an enormous surge in popularity in recent years. Internet sites like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and many others have become daily destinations for millions of Americans and people around the world. Some of these sites can also be a convenient and informal way to connect with your dentist and other dental office personnel.

    Many dentists have begun to employ social media in connection with their web sites. Here are some of the advantages for dentists and their patients to become part of the social media community.

    The ability to share with patients important events in the lives of you or your staff. Pictures of weddings and the birth of a child always receive a great deal of interest from patients, and generally receive the most "likes."

    Snippets of dental health information, including blogs, articles and videos can easily be shared on social media.

    Special events held by the office can be highlighted and shared.

    Has your dentist or dental team member received a special award or commendation? Social media can quickly get the word out.

    Exclusive offers or incentives from your office can be announced.

    Patients can post reviews of the dental office, and send messages to the dentist or dental team member in a convenient and interactive way.

    Social media can help convey information from the dentist and dental office to his or her patients that might not be appropriate for a regular web site, but is still important for patients to know. Dentists involved in social media can also improve communication and rapport with their patients, enhancing the dentist patient relationship.

    Dr. Jerry Gordon can be reached at (215) 639-0571. Comments, questions, and second opinions are available at The Dental Comfort Zone, 2734 Street Rd. Bensalem, PA 19020 (across from the Giant supermarket). To learn more: http://www.dentalcomfortzone.com

     

    Ten tips for a great smile

    Last updated 4 months ago

     
    Most people want a great looking smile. A smile conveys warmth and confidence and can often create an instant bond of positive energy between people. If you avoid smiling because of unattractive teeth, there are many things that you and your dentist can do to improve it.
     
    Keep them clean. It may go without saying, but good oral hygiene can improve the appearance of yourteeth by removing stains and decreasing puffy or inflamed gums. Brushing and flossing is paramount to good hygiene, so don’t be shy about asking your dentist or dental hygienist about preferred methods and techniques.
     
    Professionally clean them too. Good oral hygiene is a great start, but it isn’t enough. Your teeth need to be professionally cleaned at least twice a year for improved appearance and optimal dental health.
     
    Get them fixed. Broken and decayed teeth are unattractive and unhealthy. Repairing broken teeth with white or porcelain fillings and crowns can quickly improve your smile.
     
    Get them white. There are several ways to get whiter teeth at home and on a budget. Whitening toothpastes, commercially available products like Crest White Strips and other over-the-counter products can be safe and effective. I recommend seeing your dentist for a complete exam and professional cleaning before using any whitening product.
     
    Your dentist can get them even whiter. In some cases, over-the-counter whitening products can’t get the job done. Dentist supervised whitening programs that often include laser whitening and the use of custom-made take home trays can routinely whiten teeth a dozen shades or more.
     
    Fill in the gaps. Missing teeth can ruin any smile. The closer the lost teeth are to the front of the mouth, the more noticeable they are. Your dentist can replace those missing teeth with a fixed bridge, implants, or a removable denture.
     
    Close the spaces. Teeth with gaps between them are often considered unsightly. An orthodontist can use braces or other methods like Invisalign to close those spaces down.
     
    Get cosmetic dentistry. Cosmetic dental techniques like porcelain veneers and dental bonding can quicklytransform your smile. They can also be a good alternative for closing gaps without the need for braces.
     
    Shape them too. A simple, inexpensive way to improve the look of your teeth is to have your dentist shape them. Uneven teeth can be leveled and sharp teeth can be rounded in an attractive way.
     
    Get a dentist who can help you. Not all dentists have an interest in cosmetic dentistry. If you are looking for smile makeover, do your research and find a dentist who has a good reputation and experience in cosmetic dentistry. 

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