What exactly is a root canal?

December 19th, 2018

Hearing that you need a root canal can be highly intimidating. What is a root canal? It is the removal of the nerve supply from the tooth. Here, Dr. Jennifer Waters will describe the parts of a tooth and explain the reasons for a root canal and how it is done when you visit us in our Golden office.

Your tooth is made up of many layers. The outside layer is called enamel and is made of minerals. The middle layer is dentin, which is also a calcified tissue, but less dense. The center of the tooth is called the pulp, and that hosts the nerves and blood vessels. A root canal is the removal and replacement of this center with a sterile filling.

A root canal is needed when an infection spreads to the center of the tooth. This can be from trauma (recent or previous), a cavity, a severe crack, or other compromise that causes nerve damage. An X-ray and examination are required to see if a root canal is needed. Symptoms may include but are not limited to pain, swelling, change in tooth color, and over-reaction to temperature change or pressure.

When it is time to begin, you’ll receive local anesthesia (via injection) to make you most comfortable. A rubber dam is used to isolate the tooth, while other equipment determines the nerve location and maintains a sterile working environment. All of the infected area is removed including the nerve tissue and blood vessels. Then, medicines are used to sterilize and alleviate any pain. Next is the placement of a filling material in the spot where the nerve used to be.

When your nerve and blood supply are taken away, the tooth is non-vital, or dead, and can become weak and fragile. If your tooth is badly decayed, a large portion of it will have to be removed. It is recommended to place a crown on the tooth to keep the enamel from breaking or falling apart. If you do not get a crown, you could eventually lose the tooth to more decay or infection. The tooth could also break off completely and you would have to have an extraction. The crown fits over the top of the tooth and secures it from breaking down.

A root canal saves the life of a tooth that would otherwise succumb to further infection and eventually extraction. Infection is the cause of most-needed root canals. If you are ever unsure what is happening at your appointment, don’t be afraid to ask questions so you understand the procedure completely.

New Year, New Goals

December 13th, 2018

Like many of you out there, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to focus on in 2019. Making goals is important to me because it’s a way for me to focus on improving myself and different aspects of my life. Even though I’m not always great at keeping up with said goals, I’ve found that making lists and setting small goals for myself tends to make things feel a lot more attainable. Saying I’m going to workout five days a week for 30 minutes is a lot less daunting than saying I’m running a marathon in two months!

For my practice, I’d really love to add

 more services for our patients and make it as convenient as possible to address all of your oral health needs. I always want to ma

ke sure that you’re receiving the best care from me and my team so I’m excited to see what changes we can make next year. We’ve also been talking about ways that we can get our patient community more involved with us. We’ve got a few ideas on the table but nothing set just yet so make sure to keep an eye on our Facebook page for when we start announcing them.

For myself, I’d like to learn more ways that I can reduce stress so that I can be present in every moment. In addition to that, I’m planning on sticking to a more regular workout routine, probably using the m

ethod I used as an example above! I’ve also been trying to learn more about using natural supplements as remedies instead of depending on pharmaceuticals so much, and I intend on continuing that journey in 2019.

Now that I’ve got a new teenage driver, (meaning one less kiddo to Uber around) I expect 2019 will give me some extra time to finish a crocheting project I started two years ago. Hopefully it also means I’ll get to tackle some of the books that have been sitting on my bedside table. As a family, we plan to explore more of our beautiful state of Colorado next year. We’ve already picked some areas that we’d like to visit!

Family time is definitely one of my favorite parts about the holiday season. Our little tradition is to let our kids have a few friends over on New Years for a sleepover. We stay up late, drink hot apple cider, and of course, eat a lot of good food. The kids’ energy is infectious and it’s something I look


forward to every year.

Lastly, I would like to give our patients a big, heartfelt thank you for all of the support you’ve given us this year. One year ago we moved our practice, and while it was a hectic time, the love and support from all of you really kept us going.

I hope you all enjoy the holidays with your friends and family!

See you next year,

-Dr. Jennifer Waters

Warning Signs of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

December 12th, 2018

You might suspect that your wisdom teeth are starting to emerge, but knowing the signs of impacted wisdom teeth can help you be more proactive about your dental care. Impacted wisdom teeth can be extremely painful and can make your life truly miserable until they are removed. Therefore, looking for the early warning signs listed below, and seeing Dr. Jennifer Waters if you experience them, can help you conquer the problem before it conquers you.

There are three primary signs of impacted wisdom teeth. While every person may not have all three of these signs, you can usually expect to experience at least one of these if your wisdom teeth are impacted.

Unusual Pain

If you are feeling a type of teeth pain you've never felt before, especially when it is focused in the back area of your jaw, this may be a sign that you have a tooth impaction. You may be fortunate enough to catch it early, before all of your wisdom teeth become impacted, if you see Dr. Jennifer Waters as soon as you feel the pain.

Swollen Jaw

If your jaw is suddenly swollen and the area feels tender to the touch, you have a high chance of having an impacted tooth. Since the wisdom teeth are set so far back in your jaw, the swelling tends to show itself low in the jaw, towards the ears, when they are impacted.

Bleeding Gums

If your gums are bleeding, something you may notice when you see a pink or red tinged toothbrush, you may be dealing with a wisdom tooth issue. When the wisdom teeth are impacted, they put a lot of pressure on your back teeth and gums, which often leads to bleeding.

Visit our Golden office as soon as possible if you have any of the above signs of impacted wisdom teeth. The sooner you get treatment, the sooner the pain will be behind you for good!

Oral Health for the Young Adult

December 5th, 2018

Young adults often have the reputation of not taking good care of themselves. You may feel invincible, and not realize how much your behaviors now can affect your health later in life. Oral health is one area that is easy to neglect now, but that can lead to serious financial and quality of life consequences later.

Follow a Good Oral Care Regimen

If you don’t already do so, it’s time to brush, floss, and rinse as Dr. Jennifer Waters taught you. Brush at least twice a day or after meals, and floss your teeth every day. If recommended, use mouthwash to kill germs in your mouth. If you are not able to brush your teeth after eating, swish water around in your mouth to remove the food from your teeth. Leaving carbohydrates in your mouth allows bacteria to ferment it and produce acid, which can destroy your tooth enamel and put you at risk for decay.

Visit Our Office Regularly

Young adulthood can be a challenging time when it comes to medical care. Your parents are no longer paying for your health insurance or taking you to your appointments. You may not worry much about getting regular cleanings and exams, especially if you’re paying for them yourself.

However, young adults have a lot to gain from visiting our Golden office regularly. We can check for signs of problems and fix them early, which can save thousands of dollars and, ultimately, your teeth. These are some examples of what Dr. Jennifer Waters and our hygiene team can do for you.

  • Get rid of plaque so it does not develop into tartar and cause periodontitis.
  • Identify and fill small areas of tooth decay to prevent it from progressing.
  • Examine your gums for signs of gingivitis, or early gum disease.

Consume a Tooth-Healthy Diet

A nutritious diet is not just for preventing heart disease and diabetes later in life. It also supports your teeth. Make sure to get plenty of calcium, such as from dairy products, canned fish, and leafy green vegetables to allow for strong teeth. Also, limit sticky foods and sugary sweets.

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