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new westminster dental x ray

New Westminster Dentist Addresses Dental X-Rays

For immediate concerns regarding our x-ray procedures and machine, feel free to contact Sapperton Dental in New Westminster at: (604) 544 0894 to speak with one of our dentists.

1. What are Dental x-rays?

Dental x-rays are a form of imaging test that dentists use to learn more about the health of your teeth. A dentist can discover a lot about your teeth and gums simply by examining them with the naked eye. However, dental problems such as tooth decay and infections can often only be properly diagnosed by looking beneath the surface. x-rays use small amounts of radiation to create images on the film called radiographs. As x-rays pass through the mouth, they’re absorbed by the tissue. Some tissue, as well as denser objects, absorb more x-rays than others. Teeth appear in lighter shades on a radiograph, while cavities and tooth decay show up in darker patches. These images help dentists to identify problems with the teeth.

2. What is Digital x-rays?

Digital radiography (digital x-ray) is the latest technology used to take dental x-rays. This technique uses an electronic sensor (instead of x-ray film) that captures and stores the digital image on a computer. This image can be instantly viewed and enlarged helping the dentist and dental hygienist detect problems easier. Digital x-rays reduce radiation 80-90% compared to the already low exposure of traditional dental x-rays.

3. Who needs dental x-rays?

Dental x-rays are just another tool in the oral care arsenal. The cleaning and visual examination of your teeth, gums, and the rest of your mouth serve to keep the exposed portions of your mouth healthy.

However, a lot can go on beneath the gum line or inside of teeth themselves that dentists cannot see without x-rays. While you might wonder why you need x-rays when there’s no outward indication that something is wrong, this tool can provide early warning of potential problems (like small cavities), allowing for treatment before they become much bigger issues.

4. How often should patients get x-rays?

The frequency of x-rays varies by dental office and by the patient. Some patients may only need x-rays annually, while others need them every six months, or even more frequently, depending on developing conditions.

Frequency depends on the current condition of your mouth and your dental history. Do you frequently get cavities? If you answer yes, then you may require x-rays annually. If you haven’t had a cavity in five years, then you can go years between x-rays.

Dentists make careful assessments about if and when patients need x-rays, carefully weighing the benefits and potential risks before deciding on any tests or courses of treatment. If x-rays are recommended, it is likely with good reason.

5. Who will need x-rays every 6 months?

Children – Many children need x-rays every six months, depending on age, because they are highly likely to develop caries and the nerve inside their teeth is much larger than an adult. This means that a very small amount of decay can cause large problems very quickly. X-rays also help monitor tooth development.

Adults with extensive restoration work, including fillings. Previous dental work indicates high risk for new decay.

Anyone who drinks sugary sodas, chocolate milk or coffee or tea with sugar – Even mildly sugary beverages create an environment in the mouth that’s perfect for decay, so anyone who drinks these beverages regularly will need to have more regular x-rays.

People with periodontal (gum) disease – Periodontal treatments may need to be stepped up if there are significant or continuing signs of bone loss.

People who are taking medications that lead to dry mouth, also called xerostomia – Saliva helps keep the acid levels (pH) in the mouth stable. In a dry mouth, the pH decreases, causing the minerals in the teeth to break down, leaving them prone to caries. Medications that can decrease saliva are those prescribed for hypertension, antidepressants, antianxiety drugs, antihistamines, diuretics, narcotics, anticonvulsants and anticholinergics.

People who have dry mouth because of disease, such as Sjögren’s syndrome, or because of medical treatments that damaged the salivary glands, such as radiation to the head and neck for cancer treatment.

Smokers, because smoking increases the risk of periodontal disease.

6. Should patients be worried about radiation?

This is a concern for many patients, but the amount of radiation involved in dental x-rays is minimal and patients are provided with all possible protections, including a lead-lined apron to cover portions of the body that could be exposed to x-rays. Plus, you’ll only receive x-rays when necessary so as to avoid undue risk.

Many countries have adopted the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) recommendation of 20mSv per year.

Digital x-rays produce a very low level of radiation and are considered safe. The average person gets 3mSv per year, which is well below the average recommendation for a safe level. Half of this radiation comes from background radiation, such as natural radiation from radon in the air.

7. What are the types of X-rays?

There are a few different types of dental x-rays, each with different benefits. You may need multiple types of x-rays in order to create a complete assessment of your oral health.

Bite-wing x-rays are the most common, and they are so called for the plastic wing you bite on to hold the film in place while the x-ray is taken. This type of x-ray shows hard-to-reach molars and bicuspids, where cavities are most likely to form.

There are also periapical x-rays that show an entire tooth all the way to the root; panoramic x-rays that display the entire mouth, including both jaws; and a variety of other x-rays with specific purposes.

8. Is it safe for Children to have dental X-rays?

Many parents are concerned about the impact of dental x-rays on children. Children are more sensitive to radiation. However, the amount of radiation in a dental x-ray is still considered safe for a child. As children’s jaws and teeth are continuously changing, it’s important to keep an eye on their development. These x-rays perform many important purposes for young patients. They help dentists to:

  • Make sure the mouth is large enough to accommodate incoming teeth
  • Monitor the development of wisdom teeth
  • Determine whether primary teeth are loosening properly to accommodate new permanent teeth
  • Identify decay and gum disease early
  • It’s important for children to visit the dentist regularly, and to get x-rays as recommended by the dentist. The exact schedule for these x-rays will vary depending on the child’s individual needs.

9. How often should a child have dental x-ray films?

Since every child is unique, the need for dental x-ray films varies from child to child. Films are taken only after reviewing your child’s medical and dental histories and performing a clinical examination, and only when they are likely to yield information that a visual examination cannot.

In general, children need x-rays more often than adults. Their mouths grow and change rapidly. They are more susceptible than adults to tooth decay. For children with a high risk of tooth decay, our New Westmisnter Dentists recommends x-ray examinations every six months to detect cavities developing between teeth. Children with a low risk of tooth decay require x-rays less frequently.

10. Why should x-ray films be taken if my child has never had a cavity?

X-ray films detect more than cavities. For example, x-rays may be needed to survey erupting teeth, diagnose bone diseases, evaluate results of an injury or plan orthodontic treatment. x-rays allow dentists to diagnose and treat conditions that cannot be detected during a clinical examination. If dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable and affordable.

11. Is it safe for pregnant women to have dental x-rays?

Pregnant women are generally advised to avoid dental x-rays. Though the radiation is minimal, it’s best to avoid all exposure when possible for the health of the developing fetus. For this reason, it’s important to tell your dentist if you are or may be pregnant.

However, there are some instances where pregnant women should still have dental x-rays performed. If you have a dental emergency or are in the middle of a dental treatment plan, you may still need x-rays during your pregnancy. Discuss the issue with your dentist to determine the best way to proceed. It’s crucial that you balance both your dental and prenatal health. Women with periodontal disease are at a higher risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, so you should not neglect your teeth during pregnancy.

Your dentist can take greater precautions, such as using a leaded apron and thyroid collar, for all x-rays taken during your pregnancy if the procedure is deemed necessary. Keeping your dentist informed at all times is the best way to proceed.

root canal new westminster

Frequently Asked Questions About Root Canal

Our dental office in New Westminster has compiled a list of top questions regarding Root Canal. If you need immediate treatment or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our dental clinic at: (604) 544-0894

1. What is a Root Infection and How Do I Know If I Have One?

When the bottom section (below the gum) of a tooth develops a cavity, either through decay or a fracture, this gap quickly fills up with nasty bacteria. This is very bad for the health of teeth and gums and puts a great strain on surrounding tissues. If left untreated, it can cause tooth loss, bone degeneration, and gum disease.

The symptoms of a root infection can sometimes be very easy to spot and a little trickier at other times. In fact, you really do not want the symptoms to be too obvious because if they are, you likely have an abscess. This is a very painful condition and it only occurs if a dental problem has been allowed to deteriorate.

In some cases, root infections may present mild pain, but to make sure that they are spotted early, keep up with regular dentist appointments. That way, a root canal can be scheduled before any irreversible damage is done to the pulp inside the affected tooth. This will give you a very high chance of being able to keep it. On the other hand, if the infection has been allowed to fester for too long, the tooth may need to be extracted.

2. Is it expensive?

Saving your tooth through endodontic treatment is less expensive and less invasive than an extraction and replacement with a bridge or implant. The cost will depend on your dental insurance coverage. Our staff will help with getting your insurance information and let you know the cost of your root canal.

3. How long does the repaired tooth last?

Potentially, the repaired tooth lasts a lifetime! If the patient has a good oral care routine and visits the dentist twice a year for cleanings and exams, the restored tooth should have a long life.

4. What is a root canal procedure?

During root canal treatment, the tooth pulp and tooth roots are cleaned to remove microbes that cause infection, and a filling material is placed in the roots.

The procedure is performed when the tooth pulp has become infected (a condition is known as pulpitis) or when the infection has spread to the roots or jawbone.

Microbes and infected tissue are removed from the pulp and roots using special needles and chemical rinsing substances. After the tooth has been disinfected, a filling material is placed in the root canal.

5. What problems and pain can occur due to the root canal procedure?

Root canal treatment usually requires multiple relatively long visits (30-90 minutes per visit). The mouth has to be kept open during the treatment, and as a result, jaw joints and the muscles that keep the mouth open often get tired.

Local anesthesia used in dental procedures is effective in preventing root canal pain during the treatment. It may not work properly in rare cases, such as when the infection has spread widely and caused changes in the acidity of the surrounding tissue.

Sometimes, teeth become discolored and turn dark or grey following a root canal treatment. This discoloration is caused by bleeding inside the tooth or by the filling material used in the procedure. Discolored teeth can be whitened.

6. What can I do if root canal therapy doesn’t work?

At times, a root canal won’t be able to save your tooth. One of the best alternatives to root canal therapy is a tooth extraction. If your dentist recommends this dental procedure, you will also need a tooth implant or dental bridge in order to restore full functionality of your mouth and smile.

7. Should I be worried about X-rays?

No. While x-rays will be necessary during your endodontic treatment, we use an advanced non-film computerized system called digital radiography that produces radiation levels up to 90 percent lower than those of already low dose conventional dental x-ray machinery.

8. Is there any other method to reduce my anxiety besides local anesthesia?

We are very sensitive to the fact that, no matter how well-informed you are about the procedure, you may still experience anxiety. Protecting your oral health is our top priority, and we don’t want you to forgo treatment because you’re fearful about the procedure. In that case we offer sedation options that will calm you so that you can get the treatment you need.

9. How will I feel after a root canal?

Your tooth may feel a little sensitive after the procedure, but you’ll finally be out of pain! If you’re experiencing soreness or sensitivity, you can take over-the-counter medications.

10. Will the tooth need any special care or additional treatment?

After your root canal procedure, you should be careful not to bite or chew on the treated tooth until it has recovered. We encourage all patients to practice good daily oral care that includes flossing and brushing.

New Westminster Dentist Addresses Tooth Loss

There are two basic ways to have a tooth removed: You can go to your nearest New Westminster dentist for a careful extraction, or you can take a serious blow to the face. Unfortunately, many people end up going with option number two. They catch a stray elbow during a basketball game, fall face-first on the sidewalk, or — in rare cases — get in a fist fight.

What should I do if I lose a permanent tooth?

A knocked-out (or, in dental speak, “avulsed”) tooth is an emergency. If you don’t get help soon, it will be impossible to salvage the tooth, and the socket can become badly infected. By taking quick action, you can save both the tooth and the socket.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Find that tooth!
  • Pick it up by the crown, not the fleshy root. If the root looks dirty, give it a quick rinse with a sterile saline solution, milk, or saliva. Don’t scrub it or touch it — you could wind up losing vital tissue.
  • As unappealing as it sounds, try to put the tooth back in its socket. Then hold it in place with gauze or a clean washcloth until you get to a dentist.
  • If the tooth won’t go back in place, put it in a glass of milk or sterile saline solution. Don’t put it in water. (Water doesn’t preserve the tooth as well, which can make it more difficult to reimplant.) You can also carry the tooth tucked between your gum and cheek until you get to the hospital or dentist’s office.
  • Get to a dentist immediately. (And don’t forget to bring the tooth!) If a dentist isn’t available, go to a hospital emergency room.

What if my child knocks out a baby tooth?

Unlike permanent teeth, baby teeth can’t be replaced. If your child knocks out a baby tooth prematurely, don’t waste any time looking for it. Instead, comfort your child and help her rinse her mouth out with cold water. Then call a pediatric dentist right away. The dentist won’t be able to save the tooth, but he can give your child pain relievers to make her feel better, and antibiotics to prevent an infection. Your child may also need a spacer, a device that keeps the other teeth from crowding into the newly formed gap. This gives future permanent teeth room to grow.

If my tooth isn’t knocked out but just loosened, should I still see a dentist?

It’s a good idea. Even if the accident left you with only a loose tooth, a dentist’s attention can help reduce the risk that the tooth will die or fall out later.

How can I keep my teeth where they belong?

Sports injuries are a leading cause of knocked-out teeth. If you or your child play any sport with a risk of falls or blows to the face, helmets, face masks, and mouth guards should be standard equipment. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, that list includes football, basketball, baseball, soccer, hockey, skateboarding, gymnastics, and martial arts. If store-bought mouthguards aren’t comfortable, you can get a customized one from your dentist.

The Unseen Effects of Tooth Loss

The most obvious effect of missing teeth is aesthetic. The way you look affects the way you feel, and the psychological and social consequences of tooth loss can also be profound, as we shall see. But it’s not just about unsightly gaps; there’s something less apparent going on in the area of a lost tooth that can affect function, health, facial aesthetics — just about everything.

Believe it or not, in the beginning, and at the end — it’s not so much about teeth as it is about bone, which needs stimulation to maintain its form and density. In the case of alveolar (sac-like) bone which surrounds and supports teeth, the necessary stimulation comes from the teeth themselves. Teeth make hundreds of fleeting contacts with each other throughout the day. These small stresses are transmitted through the periodontal ligament (“peri” – around; “odont” – tooth) that suspends each tooth in its socket, prompting the bone to remodel and rebuild continually.

When a tooth is lost, the lack of stimulation causes loss of alveolar bone — its external width, then height, and ultimately bone volume. There is a 25% decrease in width of bone during the first year after tooth loss and an overall 4 millimeters decrease in height over the next few years.

As bone loses width, it loses height, then width and height again, and gum tissue also gradually decreases. Ability to chew and to speak can be impaired. The more teeth lost, the more function is lost. This leads to some particularly serious aesthetic and functional problems, particularly in completely edentulous (toothless) people.

And it doesn’t stop there. After alveolar bone is lost, the bone beneath it, basal bone — the jawbone proper — also begins to resorb (melt away). The distance from nose to chin decreases and with it, the lower third of the face partially collapses. The chin rotates forward and upward, and the cheeks, having lost tooth support, become hollow. Extreme loss of bone can also make an individual more prone to jaw fractures as its volume depletes more and more.

So-called bite collapse can occur when only some of the back teeth, which support the height (vertical dimension) of the face, are missing. This can cause the front teeth to be squashed or pushed forward. They were not designed to support facial height or to chew food — only to hold and incise or tear it. Toothless people appear unhappy when their mouths are at rest because their lips, too, have sagged; unsupported by teeth and gum tissues they just cave in. Without teeth present, the tongue spreads into the space and the face collapses. The same is true of self-confidence.

The First Teeth To Go

In Canada, 70% of the population is missing at least one tooth, usually a back tooth. The first, or “6-year molars” are the first permanent (adult) teeth to erupt into the mouth and, unfortunately, are often the first teeth to be lost — as a result of decay, failed endodontic (root canal) therapy or fracture. In addition, they often have one or more crowns, which are still susceptible to recurrent decay. Longevity reports for crowns vary widely. The mean life span at failure of a crown has been reported as 10.3 years. Other reports range from a 3% failure rate at 23 years to a 20% failure rate at 30 years. Ultimately heavily restored and root canal treated teeth fail to recurrent decay, infection, structural failure or fracture. These teeth are at risk for extraction as a result of these complications, which are the leading causes of single posterior (back) tooth loss in adults.

Up until now, the most common — but not necessarily the best — option for replacing a single back tooth has been a three-unit fixed partial denture (FPD), also called a fixed bridge. In this case, the two teeth on either side of the gap, known as abutment teeth, are crowned and the two crowns together support a “pontic” — a false tooth in the middle (from the French word for bridge). This type of prosthesis (false replacement) can be fabricated within one to two weeks and provides normal shape, function (eating, talking and smiling), comfort, aesthetics and health. Because of these benefits, FPDs have been the treatment of choice for the last six decades. Every dentist is familiar with how and when to use them; they are widely accepted by the profession, the public, and dental insurance companies.

FPDs are not invariably successful over time. If not well maintained, the pontics can act as reservoirs for bacterial biofilm and the abutment teeth can decay. As a result, the supporting abutment teeth are susceptible to structural failure from decay, failed endodontic therapy and/or fracture, increasing their risk of loss.

The abutment teeth of FPDs may be lost at rates as high as 30% within 14 years. Such unfavorable outcomes of FPD failure include the need to replace them and the loss of an abutment tooth or teeth.