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How Chewing Gum Affects Your Jaw?

Whether you chew gum to freshen your breath or reduce stress, it can have both a positive and negative effect on your oral health. When you’re chewing gum, you’re probably not thinking about how it impacts your jaw. However, it’s worth paying attention to the effects of gum chewing so you can prevent specific oral health problems.

Continue reading to learn more about the correlation between chewing gum and your jaw’s health.

The Gum Chewing Controversy

Most dentists agree that chewing gum once in a while isn’t detrimental to your oral health. Chewing sugarless gum helps stimulate saliva production, which stunts plaque growth and reduces cavities, according to the American Dental Association. On the flip side, some dentists believe it leads to temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ for short.
Find out how chewing gum can lead to TMJ syndrome.

What Is TMJ Syndrome?

The temporomandibular joint connects your jaw to your skull. When it’s injured, it can lead to localized pain in your jaw joint, known as TMJ syndrome. Causes of this disorder include:

  • Teeth or Jaw Injury
  • Misaligned Teeth
  • Teeth Grinding
  • Teeth Clenching
  • Bad Posture
  • Stress
  • Arthritis
  • Excessive Gum Chewing

You may have TMJ syndrome if you experience the following:

  • Jaw Pain
  • Jaw Clicking and Popping
  • Ear pain
  • Ringing in Your Ears
  • Headaches
  • Pain in Your Temples
  • Stiff Jaw Muscles
  • Locked Jaw Joint

Why Does Chewing Gum Result in TMJ Syndrome?

If you’re a habitual gum chewer, you may think it’s a harmless habit. Although gum isn’t inherently harmful, it should be enjoyed in moderation.

Even though you can comfortably eat other foods, most people tend to chew gum mindlessly. You’re more mindful of your chewing when you eat dinner, and you probably chew slowly and think about every bite. However, when you chew gum, you may be masticating too hard without realizing it.

Think of gum chewing as a form of mild jaw exercise; similar to other muscles in your body, overusing your jaw can lead to exhaustion. Chronic gum chewing may lead to extreme pain and migraines, and it can result in TMJ syndrome. If you think you’re suffering from this disorder, you should stop chewing gum until you consult with an oral surgeon.

How Can I treat TMJ Syndrome?

If you’ve been diagnosed with TMJ syndrome, you may need to undergo surgery. Fortunately, you have options, as there are three types of surgery:

  • Arthroscopy: The least invasive and most common TMJ procedure. An oral surgeon can extract inflamed tissue and prepare your mouth for realignment.
  • Arthroplasty: Involves a large incision to expose the jaw joint. A surgeon will repair and replace the disc that allows you to open and close your jaw.
  • Total Joint Replacement: In severe cases, total joint replacement may be necessary. Patients are required to stay at the hospital for one week.

Basic Dental Care For Lifelong Healthy Teeth

Maintaining your teeth healthy requires a lifetime of care, and even if you’re confident about your smile, it’s essential to stay on top of your cleaning routine. Read on to learn about the importance of practicing dental care.

Why Does Oral Health Matter?

Some people underestimate the importance of oral health because they don’t value it as much as their physical health; however, there’s a correlation between the two. Your mouth is the gateway to your digestive and respiratory tracts, and if you don’t brush your teeth, bacteria will grow, and it may cause complications. Practicing dental care not only makes your smile attractive, but it also prevents diseases.

Here are three tips you can follow to keep your teeth and overall health in top shape.

1. Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day

You should brush your teeth at least twice a day to prevent permanent staining and plaque build-up. Ideally, we should brush our teeth after every meal. However, this expectation can be unrealistic because there isn’t always a bathroom nearby. Brushing your teeth every morning and night is enough to combat germs.

2. Use Appropriate Brushing Techniques

It’s not just about brushing your teeth; it’s about how you clean them. Brushing them improperly is as bad as not brushing them at all.
To brush your teeth properly, you will need to brush them in a circular motion. Reach for the outer surfaces, inner surfaces, and chewing surfaces. Make sure you brush them for a full two minutes. Don’t forget to brush your tongue at the end to prevent bad breath.

Always brush your teeth gently and slowly, so you don’t make your gums bleed. Replace your toothbrush every four months.

3. Prioritize Flossing

Many people who do an excellent job at brushing their teeth forget one last important step: flossing. Flossing isn’t just about removing pieces of food stuck in between your teeth; it’s meant to stimulate your gums, reduce plaque, and prevent gum inflammation. Best of all, you only need to do it once a day.

Flossing can be difficult for some people, such as children and older adults with arthritis. If one of the following conditions applies to you, consider specialized flossing options.

You have braces: Try a floss with a stiff end that you can thread beneath the wire of your braces.
You struggle to manipulate floss: Try an electric flosser that provides the perfect amount of pressure to make your gums stimulated.

You have a child: Teach your kids how to floss when they’re toddlers, so it becomes habitual. Remember, they’re likely to complain about pain, so be gentle with them and reward them with a small gift for forming a healthy habit.

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

Practicing simple dental care can keep a host of problems at bay, but as you grow older, the likelihood of problems increases. If you’ve been referred to an oral surgeon by your dentist, the board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah can provide you with care. We specialize in jaw surgery, wisdom teeth removal, TMJ treatment, and more. Schedule your consultation today.

TMJ Syndrome Treatment Options

The temporomandibular joint, known as TMJ for short, consists of muscles, blood vessels, bones, and nerves. TMJ syndrome is a sharp pain in the jaw joint that is caused by a variety of medical problems. If you’re experiencing headaches, ear pain, facial pain, and jaw clicking when you open your mouth, you might have TMJ syndrome. 

Continue reading to find out which treatment option is best for you. 

Here are the leading causes of TMJ syndrome:

Dental trauma: You probably subject your teeth to trauma daily without knowing it. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, and jaw clenching are the most common causes of trauma. Frequently clenching your jaw joint can change the alignment of your teeth over time. Constantly moving your facial muscles causes the membranes surrounding your joint to inflame. 

Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints. As it worsens, it can destroy your cartilage, erode bone, cause joint deformity, and leave you with TMJ syndrome. Unfortunately, young children are disproportionally affected by TMJ syndrome due to rheumatoid arthritis. 

Other causes include jaw joint infection, cancer, and bone deformity at birth. 

If you have this condition, you will experience ongoing episodes of both sharp and dull pain. 

TMJ Syndrome Treatment

If your dentist has determined you have chronic TMJ syndrome, you will need to work with a team of professionals moving forward. You will consult with an orthodontist, oral surgeon, pain specialist, physiotherapist, and a primary care physician. Working with a variety of professionals can help you select the treatment option that’s best for you. 

Your dentist or orthodontist can prescribe you medication such as tricyclic antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and painkillers to help alleviate muscle spasms and pain. However, keep in mind these aren’t permanent treatment options, and you should only take them in moderation. 

Another option to consider is physical therapy for your jaw joint. Your dentist will send you to a physical therapist who will help you restore your jaw mobility, increase your jaw’s muscle strength, and use techniques to reduce muscle stiffness. Manual therapy procedures can help you loosen your lockjaw, and your therapist will prescribe light exercises to control your jaw’s muscles. 

If you follow your physical therapist’s instructions, the joints surrounding your jaw will re-learn their proper motion, and the discomfort associated with TMJ syndrome will decrease or disappear. Unfortunately, physical therapy might not be enough for your condition, especially if it’s permanent. 

If other treatments fail, jaw surgery is another option to consider. Surgery is a last resort option because it’s permanent, but there’s no reason to feel intimidated. Fortunately, there are a variety of procedures to consider, ranging from non-invasive to complex ones. 

Some jaw surgeries include: 

Arthrocentesis: This is an outpatient procedure. Your surgeon will insert a small needle into your jaw joint to lubricate it; it’s the least invasive procedure available.

Modified Condylotomy: This surgery is performed on the mandible to keep the jaw from locking. 

Discectomy: Your surgeon will remove the cushioning disc from your jaw joint, and it may need to be wired shut. 

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

If you think jaw surgery is right for you, contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah. Our board-certified surgeons will provide you with the pain relief you’ve been looking for. Schedule your consultation today. 

Signs Your Wisdom Teeth Need Removal

If your wisdom teeth are coming in, you may be considering extraction. Wisdom teeth removal is a surgical procedure to extract the four permanent adult teeth located at the back corners of your mouth.

Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Right for Me?

Wisdom teeth are supposed to help us chew meats and vegetables, but they’re not always functional. They grow between ages 17-21, which are known as the wisdom years. Some people don’t get their wisdom teeth removed because they don’t experience pain, but dentists recommend removal to prevent future problems.

Learn more about wisdom teeth removal.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Tooth impaction refers to teeth that only partially grow, which is common with wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth never emerge from the gum tissue, so they stay impacted beneath your gums. Moreover, they typically grow at the wrong angle, so they either grow sideways and clash with your neighboring teeth or grow inside your jaw.

Symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth include:

  • Pain and swelling
  • Destruction of other teeth and gum tissue
  • Bad breath
  • Stiffness in the jaw
  • Inability to chew food

Sometimes, impacted wisdom teeth may not present any symptoms. However, if your X-rays show significant impaction, then your dentist may recommend you to an oral surgeon for extraction.

Overcrowded Mouth

Most people have 28 teeth, but once their wisdom teeth grow, they have a full set of 32 teeth, which can lead to overcrowding. Overcrowding may result in pain and discomfort, and there’s no procedure to help make your teeth fit together.

Additionally, you won’t be able to get braces because the extra teeth can’t be straightened. Your only option is wisdom teeth extraction.

Inflamed Gums

Wisdom teeth growth can lead to a loose flap of gum tissue that resides next to your teeth. It can trap food particles and bacteria, which can make your gum tissue become hard and inflamed. Inflammation can make brushing your teeth painful, and you may develop tooth decay.

In severe cases of inflammation, you may develop pericoronitis, which can lead to swelling in the jaw, cheeks, and neck.

Symptoms include:

  • Infection
  • Swelling in the gum tissue (accumulation of fluids)
  • A bad taste in your mouth caused by pus leaking from your gums
  • Difficulty opening your mouth
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes in your neck

If you believe you have pericoronitis, you should visit your dentist as soon as possible. Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater for temporary relief.

Cavities

The position of your wisdom teeth may have an impact on how well you can clean your teeth’s surfaces, which can promote bacteria growth. Excessive plaque build-up can lead to cavities. Untreated cavities may become larger and affect deeper layers of your teeth, which can result in tooth loss.

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if wisdom teeth extraction is necessary. The board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah specialize in wisdom teeth extraction, and we’re here to answer your questions. Schedule your consultation today.

Is Sleep Apnea Preventable?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Diagnoses of this disorder have increased by over 850 percent in the last five years, according to FAIR Health. Do you snore loudly and feel tired after a full night’s rest? If your answer is yes, then you may be at risk of developing sleep apnea. 

Continue reading to learn how you can prevent this disorder. 

Sleep Apnea Is a Public Health Concern

If you have sleep apnea, then you repeatedly stop breathing in your sleep for about ten seconds, which can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night. Some people don’t realize they have it, and they can sleep without a problem; however, they might experience excessive daytime sleepiness. 

Undiagnosed sleep apnea has been linked to chronic conditions such as diabetes, depression, and heart disease. Moreover, daytime sleepiness can result in mistakes at work and an increased risk of car accidents. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims it’s a public health epidemic. 

Unfortunately, sleep apnea is difficult to diagnose on your own. If you suspect you have it, ask a loved one to monitor your sleep before you turn to a professional. Alternately, you can record your sleep and listen to your snoring. 

Sleep Apnea Prevention

Currently, there’s no direct method to prevent sleep apnea, but there are tips you can follow to reduce its likelihood. Consider the following five strategies:

Number One: Stay Fit: Obesity is one of the leading causes of sleep apnea, so shedding a few pounds will help you combat it. If you’ve already been diagnosed with it, working out a few days a week can make the symptoms less severe. 

Number Two: Avoid Sedatives: Taking over-the-counter and prescription sleeping pills will make breathing difficult, which puts you at a higher risk of sleep apnea. If you need to take muscle relaxants or antipsychotic medication, and you have this condition, tell your doctor to lower your dosage. 

Number Three: Limit Alcohol: Drinking alcohol multiple times a week can slow down your breathing, even if you’re in shape. Moreover, if you also consume caffeine and nicotine, your sleep becomes fragmented; this increases your risk for weight gain and developing heart conditions. You don’t have to cut off alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine entirely, but if you’re consuming them daily, you should reduce your usage. 

Number Four: Invest in a Breathing Device: One of the most common treatment options for sleep apnea is using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. It consists of a mask connected to a small fan-like device, which you will have to wear while sleeping. A CPAP machine will blow air into your airways to keep them open. 

Number Five: Talk to Your Dentist: If you’ve used a CPAP machine, but it didn’t help, you will need to visit your dentist. They can recommend you to an oral surgeon who can provide you with an appliance to pull your jaw forward, which will create an open airway while you sleep. 

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

If you have sleep apnea, you should consult with an experienced oral surgeon who can determine if you need jaw surgery. Undergoing jaw surgery will expand your airways, which can ease your condition. Schedule your consultation with the board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah today. 

Why You Should Visit the Dentist Every Six Months

Not many people like sitting in the dentist’s chair, but scheduling biannual appointments with your dentist guarantees your teeth will stay in healthy condition. Although the American Dental Association recommends you visit your dentist once a year, you should plan on seeing yours twice a year to prevent oral problems such as gum disease and tooth decay.

Learn more about the importance of dental check-ups.

Prevent Gum Disease

Do you notice a bit of blood in your sink after brushing your teeth? This is one of the first symptoms of gum disease. Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. It’s usually the result of inadequate brushing and flossing habits, which leads to plaque build-up.

The mild variety is called gingivitis, which means only your gums are infected. If left untreated, it can travel below your gum line and into your bone; this may result in late-stage gum disease known as periodontitis. Both variations may increase your risk of being diagnosed with diabetes, pneumonia, heart disease, and cancer.

Your dentist can detect the first signs of gum disease before it becomes a severe health concern. Moreover, they will suggest ways to prevent it, which include scheduling a biannual cleaning with a dental hygienist and teaching you how to floss and brush your teeth properly.

Save Money in the Long Run

Treating oral-related problems early can help you save money in the future. Although it may sound like visiting your dentist twice a year is expensive, routine maintenance reduces the chances of you developing problems that require costly dental work, such as a tooth extraction.

Remember, a root canal is more expensive and time-consuming than a basic filling. Treating gum disease, tooth decay, and oral cancer can be costly, but by visiting your dentist a few times a year, you probably won’t develop these problems in the first place.

Show off Your Smile

Keeping your teeth clean and healthy by visiting your dentist will motivate you to smile more. Most people who don’t pay a visit to their dentist develop stained teeth, which can make them feel self-conscious. Stains are usually the result of smoking or drinking too much coffee, tea, or red wine.

Fortunately, tooth stains aren’t harmful; however, they’re preventable. Getting your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year will treat minor surface stains before they become permanent.

What to Expect During Your Visit

If you haven’t visited your dentist in years, you’ve probably forgotten the process. Don’t worry, checkups are easy-going and are broken into two parts, which are an examination and a deep cleaning. They will look for cavities and take X-rays. Additionally, they will examine your tongue, throat, face, head, and neck.
During your cleaning, your dentist will scale your teeth, which is when they use small tools to remove tartar.

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

Once you ease into the routine of visiting your dentist twice a year, they may recommend you to an oral surgeon if you require a procedure, such as wisdom teeth extraction. The board-certified surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah can give you a smile you deserve. Schedule your consultation today.

Life After Dental Implants

Your teeth are one of the first traits a person notices about you, and if yours are damaged, or you have missing tooth gaps, you may feel less than confident about your smile. Dental implants can help you treat these issues and restore your self-esteem.

Continue reading to learn more about how your life will change for the better with dental implants

Dental Implants Are Like Real Teeth

Dental implants are metal posts that are surgically implanted into your jaw underneath your gums. Your surgeon will attach replacement teeth onto them for a better smile. Although they’re artificial, they’re the option closest to real teeth. 

The surgeon will fuse them to your jawbone to offer more stable support, so you don’t have to worry about your replacement teeth slipping out of your mouth each time you open it. You will be able to eat, drink, and speak without a hassle. Unlike dentures, implants are customizable, so your surgeon will select replacement teeth that blend perfectly with your real teeth. 

Dental Implants Are a Long-Term Solution

Decades ago, dentures and bridges were the go-to options for teeth replacement; however, they’re now considered dated and unreliable. Both of these options can loosen due to excessive mouth movements, and it’s a painful and embarrassing experience. Dentures need to be repositioned multiple times a day, and bridges only last about five years. 

Dental implants need occasional readjustments, but they’re meant to last a lifetime. Compared to other teeth replacement options, they’re a more durable, cost-effective solution.

Dental Implants Are Comfortable

Dentures and bridges are uncomfortable for most people because they weren’t designed with durability in mind. Additionally, many people don’t qualify for either of these options due to previous issues such as mouth sores, uneven ridges, or excessive gagging. In years past, these people didn’t have any other options, and they had to learn to live with their oral conditions. 

Another negative aspect of bridges is that they require the presence of other teeth on each side to fill the space of missing teeth. In contrast, dental implants don’t require any neighboring teeth to be fused into your jawbone. All you need to worry about is maintaining proper oral hygiene and taking care of your gums for implants to be successful

Dental Implants Protect Your Oral Health

Dental implants safeguard your oral health. For example, if you have gaps in your teeth, you are susceptible to bone loss and degeneration because you don’t have the full support of your teeth; implants can offer the help you need. Not only do they improve your oral health, but they also preserve it by encouraging natural bone growth. 

Dental Implants Will Make You Smile

Imagine being able to live your life again without worrying about your teeth? Implants will provide you with a healthy, natural look without distorting your face shape. No one will be able to tell the difference between the implants and your real teeth. 

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

Are you ready to reclaim your confidence? The board-certified surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah specialize in dental implant surgery, and they’re more than happy to help you attain the smile you deserve. Schedule your consultation with us today. 

What Happens If You Never Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars most people grow in their early years of adulthood. These teeth can be beneficial to your oral health when they’re correctly aligned. Unfortunately, they usually grow misaligned and require surgical removal.

Learn more about wisdom teeth extraction.

The Dangers of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Emerging wisdom teeth can lead to problems if there’s not enough room for them to grow, or if they erupt at the wrong angle. Wisdom teeth become impacted when they grow under your gums or are trapped inside your jaw. As your wisdom teeth break through your gums, your dentist will check your mouth for the following symptoms:


Wisdom teeth that aren’t in the right position: Misaligned wisdom teeth lead to trapped food in between the gums and teeth, which promotes bacterial growth. Excessive bacteria can result in cavities.

Inability to floss: It may not be easy for you to floss between your wisdom teeth and your neighboring molars.

Infection: If you’re experiencing pain, swelling, and a stiff jaw, you likely have an infection as a result of bacteria growth.

Cysts: Impacted teeth can result in cyst formation, which can damage your teeth’s roots and destroy the bone that supports your teeth.

The Importance of Wisdom Teeth Extraction

Even if your wisdom teeth aren’t causing issues, it’s best to undergo extraction to prevent future problems. Everyone experiences wisdom teeth growth differently, and some people don’t grow them at all. Your dentist may recommend a period of observation because it may be too early to tell if yours will become impacted or not.

If you’re considering getting braces, your dentist will advise you to go through with extraction. You won’t qualify for braces if you refuse to go through with removal because the rest of your teeth can’t straighten if there’s an obstruction.

Most people go through this procedure when they’re 18-25 years old because there’s a decreased chance of damaging adjacent teeth, lower risks associated with it, and they recover faster. Getting yours removed too early can lead to a challenging surgery because your wisdom teeth may still be embedded into your jawbone. Conversely, if you wait too long, there will be an increased risk of complications due to weakened teeth, bones, and gums.

Keeping Your Wisdom Teeth

Some people refuse to get their wisdom teeth extracted because they don’t want to experience pain. Although you may not like the thought of surgery, you must understand that removal is less painful than living with crowded teeth. If you decide to keep yours, remember to floss around them each night and visit your dentist regularly.

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

If you’re tired of the pain and want to live comfortably again, then wisdom teeth extraction is right for you. Once your dentist takes your X-rays, you will need to consult with an oral surgeon. Schedule your consultation with the board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah today.

   

What Your Tongue Is Trying To Tell You

Have you ever inspected your tongue? Believe it or not, your tongue’s appearance says a lot about your health. For example, a black tongue can signal poor oral hygiene, and it’s also one of the first symptoms of diabetes.

Start paying attention to your tongue’s health, and don’t ignore any irregularities. Continue reading to learn more about the correlation between your tongue and physical well-being. 

Understanding Your Tongue’s Anatomy

It’s easy to downplay your tongue’s role because most people only pay attention to their teeth when it comes to oral health. However, your tongue is a muscular organ that deserves as much attention and care as the rest of your body. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to chew, swallow food, or talk. 

Covered in moist, pink tissue called mucosa, your tongue has papillae, tiny bumps that give your tongue its rough texture. Taste buds are a collection of nerve-like cells that connect to nerves running into your brain. Thousands of them cover the surfaces of your papillae. 

A tongue is anchored to the mouth by webs of tough tissue and mucosa. The tether holding down the front of the tongue is called the frenum. Tongues are attached to the hyoid bone in the back of the mouth. 

The four familiar tastes are sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. Your tongue has thousands of nerves that detect and transmit taste signals to your brain. Additionally, there’s a fifth taste called umami, which you can experience by tasting glutamate.

White Patches on Your Tongue

If you notice white patches on your tongue, don’t worry just yet. Most of the time, white patches aren’t an indicator of poor oral health. However, sometimes they’re linked to an overgrowth of yeast in your mouth. 

Brush your teeth twice a day and pay extra attention to your tongue for the next two weeks; brush it for 30 seconds. If the patches are still there, you likely have an oral yeast infection. 

Fortunately, you can cure this condition at home by brushing your teeth every day and using an antifungal mouth rinse. 

Black Hairy Tongue

Black hairy tongue is a condition that can stem from an oral yeast infection, diabetes, cancer therapies, or poor oral hygiene. Usually, a tongue becomes black and hairy due to a buildup of dead skin cells on the papillae. 

You don’t need medical care for this condition; all you have to do is practice oral hygiene and brush your tongue with a tongue scraper. 

Dark Red Tongue

Your tongue usually turns red when you have a sore throat. However, if it’s strawberry red and you have a headache, you might have scarlet fever; it’s time to take a trip to your doctor’s office. A red, swollen tongue can also be a symptom of vitamin deficiency. Take your vitamins and brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth.

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

If your tongue’s irregularities persist, you should visit your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist might recommend you to an oral surgeon if they detect you have an underlying condition that needs advanced treatment. The board-certified surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah are experts in all fields of oral care. Schedule your consultation today. 

   

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Root Canal?

Root canal treatment eliminates bacteria from an infected tooth to prevent reinfection and save your neighboring teeth. During this procedure, an endodontist or oral surgeon removes the infected pulp inside of the tooth, then fills and seals it. If you must undergo root canal procedure, there’s no need to worry, as it will alleviate you from the pain of infection. 

Read further to learn more about the benefits of root canal treatment. 

Understanding Root Canal

Every tooth has a pulp chamber and a root canal system that houses blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. The pulp chamber is a hollow space located within the visible crown portion of a tooth, and it connects with the narrow canal spaces found at the root. 

Single-rooted teeth, such as incisors, usually consist of one canal. In contrast, multi-rooted teeth, such as molars, have at least one canal in each root. An endodontist must treat every canal space of the infected tooth. Depending on the complexity of the infection, an oral surgeon may have to perform the root canal procedure. 

Causes of pulp damage include:

  • Deep tooth decay
  • Repeated dental procedures on the infected tooth
  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Large fillings
  • Facial trauma

You may need treatment if you notice any of the following: 

  • Toothache
  • Inability to chew foods
  • Swollen or tender gums
  • A cracked tooth
  • Pimples on the gums
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold beverages

What to Expect During Treatment

Anticipate the following during the procedure:

Step One: Your endodontist or oral surgeon will examine and take X-rays of your infected tooth. Next, they will give you a local anesthetic to numb it and place a protective covering in your mouth to isolate the damaged tooth. 

Step Two: They will make an opening at the top of your tooth using small instruments to remove pulp. 

Step Three: They will clean and shape your tooth to make room for the filling. Depending on the severity of the case, they may also insert a post to support the tooth. 

Step Four: Your surgeon will fill the root canal with a rubber-like substance called gutta-percha. Next, they will place an adhesive at the top of the tooth to seal it. On your final visit, they may insert a permanent crown. 

Root Canal Recovery Time

Fortunately, you only need a few days to recover from the procedure, and it shouldn’t interfere with your ability to go to school or work. Some patients recover by the next day. Expect to feel mild discomfort once the anesthesia wears off, which you can treat with over-the-counter medication. 

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

Although you should heal without any issues, some patients experience pain for more than a week. If your pain worsens, you will need to consult with your surgeon once more. The board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah are here to help you with all your oral health needs. Schedule your consultation today.