Category Archives: Root Canal Therapy

General Dentists Offer Anxiety-Free Services

Photo Credit: oneblink1 | Adobe Stock

Photo Credit: oneblink1 | Adobe Stock

When you think about the dentist, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

For many people, anxiety rears its head as soon as they think about general dentists.

According to Gallup, about 33% of Americans didn’t go to the dentist in 2013. Some people don’t go to the dentist until they have an emergency! That can endanger their health and make recovery more expensive.

There’s no doubt dental anxiety is a big part of the picture.

What is Dental Anxiety and Where Does it Come From?

General dentists have long known they need to go the extra mile to make their offices safe and comfortable.

Older people in particular cite the possibility of pain and discomfort as a major reason why they don’t always go to the dentist, even though they know they should.

Luckily, there are two great new things to know about modern dentistry:

Discomfort from Routine Procedures is All But Gone

It’s true that, decades back, hand tools like scrapers and drills were in common use. However, dentistry is undergoing a transformation. More procedures use laser dentistry, rendering many visits completely discomfort-free.

Even in cases where hand tools are used, their design and manufacture is totally different from what it was. When you visit expert general dentists like those at Landmark Dental Group, you can be certain your comfort is the #1 concern.

There’s a Greater Awareness of Dental Anxiety

There was a time when if you admitted to having worries about the dentist, you may not have reached a sympathetic ear. That has completely changed. At Landmark Dental Group, we’ve pioneered a comfort-first approach to dentistry.

From beginning to end, you’ll completely understand your dental options and the procedure you choose. Nothing is ever performed without your consent. From our front office team to our general dentists, everyone makes the process easy.

Sedation Dentistry Can Make Any Procedure Simple for Dental Anxiety Sufferers

Last, but not least, there’s sedation dentistry.

Sedation dentistry allows you to enjoy your choice of sedation options so you can rest peacefully during your procedure. Patients usually awaken refreshed, with little memory of the goings-on.

There’s a wide range of mild and moderate sedation options for you to choose from:

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide “takes the edge off” while allowing you to recover completely within just a few minutes after your procedure. The gas is inhaled with oxygen through a nose mask. Afterwards, it is safely flushed out with pure oxygen and you awaken fully.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation uses oral medication – typically in the Valium family – about an hour before your appointment. Patients using oral sedation may doze off completely during their visit. It’s crucial to bring along a friend or family member to drive you home.

Conscious IV Sedation

Medication administered through a vein can produce the strongest relaxation. This safe, effective approach typically leaves patients with little memory of their visit. Again, a driver is required.

To learn more about anxiety-free dentistry, contact Landmark Dental Group.

Landmark Dental Group Contact | Santa Cruz

Root Canal Treatment At Your Family Dental Practice

root canal

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If there’s any dental procedure that has an undeserved bad reputation, it’s root canal therapy!

Root canal therapy can be an important part of preserving the health of your teeth at your family dental practice. In fact, the main goal of the root canal therapy is to protect a tooth that has been seriously compromised by infection. A successful root canal saves and restores the tooth.

Let’s learn more about what it is and why you might need it.

Root Canal Therapy Helps You Avoid Tooth Extractions

What is a root canal? The root canal therapy targets a severely infected or damaged tooth. If not treated, the tooth will be lost and the infection can spread to the gums and possibly as far as the jawbone. Untreated infections like this can even be life-threatening.

In the past, teeth with these major problems were almost inevitably removed. Thanks to the root canal treatment, however, a family dental practice can usually protect the affected teeth.

The very center of each tooth is composed of a soft material called pulp. The pulp exists to help provide blood flow to a tooth’s nerve, just as the gum tissue supports blood circulation from the outside. Pulp is removed from the tooth during the root canal process.

The term “root canal” comes from the fact that the pulp extends from the middle of the tooth all the way down to the far part of the tooth’s roots. The roots reach so deep that its bottom-most part is well within the jawbone, and pulp is found in each of these “canals” on either side.

How is a Root Canal Performed?

A root canal is a sophisticated procedure requiring an expert family dental practice.

During this process, local anesthesia is administered to minimize the patient’s discomfort. Then, a small opening is created in the crown of the tooth. The pulp is excised and the root is cleaned and shaped. This whole process can take as little as a few minutes.

In fact, most root canals are completed within one short dental appointment.

Rarely, it might be necessary to cleanse the treated area of bacteria by adding special medication. In these cases, a root canal will call for two visits. A temporary filling is placed to prevent bacteria from migrating into the area. Antibiotics may be prescribed.

All in all, a root canal is quick and easy for the patient.

Done right, it’s almost completely discomfort-free.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of a Root Canal?

Your tooth can survive without pulp and it will still be fully functional. In fact, all you will lose is the ability to perceive hot and cold in the tooth. This is really not a great loss for most people, as both sensations are uncomfortable and the sense of taste is not affected.

The affected tooth can still decay as normal, so you should continue your usual brushing.

To find out more about root canals, contact your family dental practice at Landmark Dental Group.

Landmark Dental Group Contact | Santa Cruz

Did you Know That Painless Root Canal Treatments are Available?

Root Canal Treatment

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A Painless Root Canal Treatment From Your General Dentist

If you hear the term “root canal therapy” and cringe in fear, you aren’t alone. Root canal therapy is considered an extremely painful procedure, but that isn’t the case at all. General dentists can provide painless, effective root canal treatment that stops the pain associated with infection.

The Procedure Eliminates Pain

If you ask most people if they want a root canal treatment, they’ll immediately recoil and say, “no.” This is because the procedure is so painful, right? Wrong. When you have a tooth infection, it can be extremely painful. Even when you aren’t eating or drinking, your tooth may throb consistently and even keep you up at night. Pain medication does little to help. What you may need is a root canal treatment.

When decay or trauma allows bacteria to enter the pulp of the tooth, an infection can occur, leading to swelling, pressure and pain. During a root canal treatment, the infection is removed along with the pulp. You may feel some soreness after the procedure, but it’s not nearly as bad as an actual infection.

Numbing Is Used

A root canal treatment would be extremely painful without local anesthetic, or “Novocain,” which is the injection your dentist gives you before working on your teeth. It completely numbs the area, so you feel nothing.

If you have a small cavity on the surface of your tooth, your dentist doesn’t need to use much “Novocain” because it’s far from the pulp. However, with a root canal treatment, the dentist is treating the pulp, so more “Novocain” may be needed. If you do experience any discomfort during the procedure, tell your dentist and they can give you more anesthetic until you feel nothing.

Sedation Is Available

Even though root canal treatment shouldn’t be painful, it still isn’t the most pleasant experience. The fear that you may suddenly feel a sharp pain and the sensation of the file cleaning out your roots makes the procedure uncomfortable.

Luckily, general dentists can provide different levels of sedation, including inhalation (nitrous oxide), oral and IV conscious. Inhalation is the most basic form of sedation, and you’ll be able to drive yourself home after the procedure, but for oral and IV sedation, you’ll need a ride. All, however, make you more relaxed and make the procedure seem dreamlike and fast, so your anxiety melts away.

Root canal therapy should not be feared. It is an effective way to save an infected tooth. Infected teeth can’t be “cured” any other way, so if you refuse the root canal treatment, expect your tooth to be pulled. For more information about root canal treatments, contact Landmark Dental Group today.

Landmark Dental Group Contact | Santa Cruz

Reputable General Dentists in Santa Cruz

Photo Credit: Andrey Popov | Adobe Stock

Photo Credit: Andrey Popov | Adobe Stock

4 Tips for Picking a Reputable General Dentist in Santa Cruz

Finding a good dentist can be hard. Instead of just picking one out of a hat, it’s a good idea to do some research. When looking for reputable general dentists in Santa Cruz, make sure you follow these four simple steps.

1. Choose an Office With a Caring Staff

Another important sign that you’ve found a great dentist is that the staff is caring. A caring staff will make you and your entire family feel more comfortable about going to the dentist, which is incredibly important since so many people have stress about dentist visits. A good way to see if a staff is caring is to watch how they treat other patients. Another good sign is that the office and waiting room is clean and welcoming. If it’s not, it may be a sign the staff doesn’t care enough to make you feel welcome. For example, at Landmark Dental Group, the waiting room is clean and relaxing so that you can feel calm before your appointment.

2. Ensure They Have the Skills Required

It’s important to make sure that the dentist has the skills necessary to perform the specialized services. If a dentist offers root canal therapy but has no special training in this process, they may do it wrong. At Landmark Dental Group, the doctors only provide services for which they are trained. They offer dental implants, and you know you can trust these implants because Dr. Weston, DDS has taken advanced training in implant dentistry. Similarly, Dr. Tran, DDS has taken courses in root canal therapy, so you can trust these services.

3. Find Someone Who Sees Patients of All Ages

If you have a family, it’s important to find a general dentist who sees patients at any age. Whether you have a one-year-old with their first tooth, or an elderly parent who is suffering from dry mouth and root carries, a family dentist can treat everyone. These dentists encourage parents to bring their kids in as soon as possible to begin down the road to good oral health. An added benefit of having a dentist who’ll treat your entire family is grouped appointments. When everyone has a different dentist, it’s difficult to get all the appointments on the same day — let alone around the same time. However, if your dentist treats your whole family, you can clump your appointments to save time.

4. Pick Someone With Diversity

General dentist don’t just clean your teeth. A reputable general dentist has a wide selection of services to meet just about every need. Of course, they’ll be able to provide important preventative care and minor restoration. However, great dentists go above and beyond to offer their patients more complex procedures, such as root canal therapy, so you don’t have to go to a specialist you don’t know, and who may be much more expensive. Last, choose a dentist who offers cosmetic services too, so they can beautify your smile if need be.

There are many general dentists in the Santa Cruz area. Be sure to shop around to ensure that you find one that is reputable and offers everything you need. For more information about general dentists and what they can do for you, contact Landmark Dental Group today.

Landmark Dental Group Contact | Santa Cruz

Everything You Need to Know About Tooth Infections

Everything You Need to Know About Tooth Infections

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Your teeth face a lot of problems, especially when you fail to brush and floss regularly. One serious problem that can occur is a tooth infection. If you are unfamiliar with this common and painful condition, check out these four facts.

Everyone Is at Risk

A tooth infection can affect anyone. Even if you take impeccable care of your teeth, a sudden trauma that cracks the tooth could lead to infection. Of course, unless you play full-contact sports or get into a serious car accident, good oral hygiene typically keeps tooth infections away.

Basically, you want to make sure you brush and floss regularly at home and eat a well-balanced diet with few sugary foods and drinks. It’s also important to see your dentist regularly for cleanings and examinations. If you fail to take good care of your teeth, a deep cavity or crack may develop. This allows bacteria to enter the vulnerable center of the tooth that can lead to an infection.

Tooth Infections Affect the Pulp

If you suddenly notice you have a small cavity, you probably won’t develop an infection before you make it to your dentist for treatment. However, if you don’t seek treatment, and the cavity grows, your risk drastically increases. This is because a tooth infection affects the pulp of the tooth, and it usually takes a big cavity or crack to reach the pulp.

When the bacteria reaches the pulp, an infection starts to grow. This often leads to an abscess, which is filled with pus and puts pressure on the tooth pulp. At this stage, removing the cavity and simply placing a filling will no longer be enough to solve the problem.

Swelling, Pus and Pain are Symptoms of an Infection

There are some tell-tale signs of a tooth infection. Because of the abscess, the gums around the infected tooth may be swollen. You may even notice pus leaking out of the area between your gum and tooth. Pain is another symptom of infection because of the pressure on your tooth’s pulp. Sometimes, this pain can be extremely severe. If the pus breaks free, this can alleviate the symptoms for a while, but the abscess will return.

If there isn’t pus and the pain is minimal, you may not be sure you have an infection, a cavity or just sensitivity. A great way to test this is by taking a drink of cold water. Hold the water by the tooth. If this causes pain, it’s probably a cavity or sensitivity. If it relives the pain, you most likely have an infection, and the cold water is working like an ice pack.

You Need Treatment From Your Dentist

If you have an infection, you’ll probably get some antibiotics. However, don’t assume they are enough to solve the problem, and don’t expect the problem to go away on its own. An infection must be treated by your dentist or it could worsen or spread to other parts of your body.

Currently, there are only two ways to treat an infection. If the tooth severely decayed, your dentist may recommend extraction. However, typically, dentists prefer root canal therapy to remove the infection and replace the pulp. Root canal therapy has a high success rate, but you will need a crown to strengthen and protect the tooth afterwards.

A tooth infection may or may not cause pain, but either way, it needs to be treated. If you would like more information on tooth infections or you think you may have one, contact Landmark Dental Group today.

Landmark Dental Group Contact | Santa Cruz

Why Do Root Canals Get a Bad Rap?

root canal

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3 Questions That Will Uncover the Truth About Root Canal Therapy’s Bad Rap

Root canal therapy: the term can cause anyone’s stress to rise, but that isn’t fair to the procedure. Root canal therapy is a fantastic procedure that saves teeth. Unfortunately, it has been given a bad rap. If your dentist has said you need root canal therapy, and you are nervous, check out these three questions that will uncover the truth.

Why Is a Root Canal Therapy Necessary?

Just like any part of your body, your teeth can become infected. This usually occurs when severe decay has reached the pulp of the tooth and causes an abscess. You can’t simply take a dose of antibiotics to fight this infection because the infection will keep coming back.

There are only two ways to treat a tooth abscess. Root canal therapy is one method to solve the infection. The process involves removing the affected pulp (nerves/blood vessels) and removing the battering that may be in this area. Without root canal therapy, the only other way to treat a tooth infection is to have the tooth extracted. That’s why root canal therapy is so great. It saves your tooth.

Is Root Canal Therapy Painful?

During root canal therapy, the tooth is completely numb by local anesthetics , so even though the procedure affects your tooth pulp (which contains vulnerable nerves), you shouldn’t feel anything. After the procedure, the area around the tooth may feel a little tender, but your dentist will probably prescribe pain medications or suggest over-the-counter pain medications you should take.

If you are particularly nervous about the procedure, the dentist can also use sedation options to relive your stress and anxiety. Sedation options like inhalation sedation, oral sedation and IV conscious sedation let you feel at peace during the procedure. You’ll be calm but aware of what is happening and able to respond to the dentist.

So Why Do People Fear Root Canal Therapy?

If root canal therapy doesn’t hurt, why do people get so nervous when they hear they need the procedure? People constantly associate root canal therapy with pain, and it’s most likely because many people who need root canal therapy are already in severe pain. A tooth abscess puts pressure directly on your tooth nerves, which can cause pain that keeps you up at night.

Somehow, people have started to associate this pain with the root canal procedure. Of course, if you are suffering from a tooth infection, you should look forward to root canal therapy. Even prescription strength pain medications aren’t always enough to alleviate the pain of a tooth infection, but root canal therapy will get rid of the infection and the pressure, reducing the pain.

Root canal therapy shouldn’t be a source of fear or anxiety because the procedure isn’t painful. It’s designed to alleviate your pain. If you have an infection, don’t allow your fear to control you. For more information about root canal therapy, contact Landmark Dental Group in Santa Cruz today.

Landmark Dental Group Contact | Santa Cruz

The Truth About Root Canal Therapy

Root Canal Therapy Santa Cruz

photo credit: Von Schonertagen | Dollar Photo Club

You hear your dentist speak those three ominous words: “root canal therapy,” and your heart skips a beat because you’ve heard that root canals are something to fear, but is the treatment? Nope, root canal therapy is something you should get excited about. Many times, therapy removes that uncomfortable infection you have and saves your tooth, so you won’t need an extraction. If you’re a little nervous about root canal therapy, learn how Landmark Dental Group makes it easy and comfortable.

The Area Gets Numbed

If you were to walk by a person getting a root canal treatment, it may look a bit overwhelming. The patient has to have a rubber dam covering almost their entire mouth, so the infected tooth can be isolated, and the dentist uses strange tools you haven’t seen before. However, there’s no need to fear root canal therapy because you won’t feel anything. As with many dental procedures, the dentist uses a local anesthetic to numb the area, so you feel nothing while the dentist works. You may look a little silly and feel a little uncomfortable during the procedure, but it should be pain-free.

You Can Request Additional Ways to Relax

If you’re still nervous about the procedure, Landmark Dental Group can help. They offer sedation dentistry options. For minimal sedation, the dentist can administer inhalation sedation (nitrous oxide). With inhalation sedation, you feel completely relaxed during the procedure, but after the procedure, you’re fine to drive yourself home. Oral sedation offers minimal to moderate sedation. You’ll take a pill before the procedure, and you’ll need someone to drive you to and from the dentist. Last, IV conscious sedation is another moderate form of sedation. The dentist uses an IV to administer a sedative, and as with oral sedation, you won’t be able to drive home after the procedure.

The Infection Is Removed

The real pain associated with root canal treatment doesn’t have anything to do with the treatment at all. People who need root canal therapy are often in severe pain because of the infection, which puts pressure on the nerves and blood vessels in the tooth pulp. This is what causes your pain. The root canal therapy is what alleviates that pain. The entire tooth pulp is removed. Your root canal treatment may only take one visit, but sometimes, the dentist breaks it into two so that medicine can be inserted directly into the pulp to help remove the infection.

Aftercare Is Minimal

When you get a tooth extracted, there’s a lot you need to do to care for the affected area, such as avoid eating on that side. However, aftercare for a root canal is minimal. You will need to schedule another appointment for a crown, which will protect the treated tooth from breakage, but with proper care, that tooth may last the rest of your life. You may experience some mild tenderness in the area surrounding the tooth, but that can be treated with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Your dentist may also prescribe antibiotics.

It’s common for patients to cringe at the thought of root canal therapy — but there’s no reason. Especially if you’re already in pain from the infection, you should look forward to a root canal treatment because it will alleviate that pain without the need for an extraction. For more information about root canal treatments, contact Landmark Dental Group today.

Landmark Dental Group Contact | Santa Cruz

Root Canals Don’t Have to Be Painful

root canal appointment

photo credit: Dollar Photo Club

Just like other parts of your body, teeth can become infected. In the past, the only real option was to extract the tooth. Root canal treatment, however, made it possible for dentists to save those infected teeth. Unfortunately, many people hear the term “root canal” and run the other direction in fear because root canal treatment has the reputation of being painful. That couldn’t be farther from the truth; root canal therapy is designed to alleviate your pain and save your tooth.

Infections Are Painful, Not Root Canals

The appearance of pus is the body’s immune system response to an infection, and it is no different with a tooth infection. When you have a tooth abscess, the pus that is present puts pressure on the tooth and the nerves. If you’re lucky, you may not have any pain, but in many cases, people suffering from a tooth infection are in serious, agonizing pain. This pain is present well before any root canal therapy is done.

Whether or not you’re in pain you must seek treatment, because even though it may seem minor, a tooth infection is still an infection and can lead to more serious complications if left untreated. The only methods of treating a tooth infection are extraction and root canal treatment. Root canal treatment is the only way to save the tooth.

You’re Numb During the Procedure

People have a lot of fear about going to the dentist, and years ago, it was understandable. Local anesthetics didn’t exist, and once they did, they were rarely used. This made people avoid going to the dentist because they could feel everything that was being done inside their mouth. Now, however, the dentist uses local anesthetic for any treatment that may irritate the pulp, and that includes root canal treatment.

During a root canal treatment, the area is numb, so you shouldn’t feel a thing. Because the dentist has to clean all the way down to the tip of the roots, you may need more anesthetic than a normal filling, but your dentist can make sure the area is nice and numb before proceeding. The truth is that root canal treatment does not create pain, but rather stops the pain because it gets rid of the infection.

Root Canal Treatment Removes the Tooth Pulp

Root canal treatment involves removing the pulp from the center of the tooth, which contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. Once the pulp and infection are gone, the dentist fills the empty root space with a material called gutta-percha, places a filling and covers the tooth with a crown to strengthen it and prevent the tooth from fracturing.

After the procedure, there may be a minor amount of discomfort, but this can be easily managed with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medications, or your dentist may prescribe stronger pain medication.

Root canal treatment is not as scary as people think. It is a common procedure and a major advancement in dentistry that prevents and/or reduces pain and saves the tooth. If you would like more information about root canal treatment, contact Landmark Dental Group today.

Landmark Dental Group Contact | Santa Cruz