dr. wolgin

4 Foods That Cause Dental Emergencies

tooth next to a first aid kitEvery day, we have patients visit our office for help with a dental emergency. A lot of these emergencies are caused by biting into foods that are too hard, resulting in a cracked tooth, loss of a filling or a broken dental crown.

To avoid a painful and inconvenient dental emergency, here are some foods you should avoid (or be extra cautions while eating):

Popcorn

As delicious as this buttery snack may be, it’s not as innocent as it seems. The husks can get wedged between your teeth or underneath your gums causing a popcorn abscess. Be sure to floss after you eat popcorn to avoid that from happening. However, the true culprits here are the kernels. If you grab a large handful of popcorn and don’t know that a kernel is hiding in the middle, all it takes is one chomp down and oops! there goes your tooth! The next time you eat popcorn, chew slowly to avoid those kernels and enjoy the fluffy buttery goodness that is on top.

Almonds

You might be surprised by this fact: As nutritious as almonds can be, they also cause a lot of chips, fractures and cracks in teeth. Instead of eating the almond whole, try slivered or sliced versions, which make them softer and easier to chew.

Carmel Candies

Yes, this delicious and chewy candy seems harmless with its soft exterior, but it can cause issues with your teeth. When you chew down, the candies wedge between your teeth and pull out any loose dental work/restorations that you have had. Other candies that have the same sticky qualities are starburst and taffy. They might be hard to resist, but doing so is key to avoiding dental emergencies.

Ice Cubes

You might find this strange but many people love to chew on an ice cube on a hot day. But before you put an ice cube in your month, imagine chewing on a rock, which would basically have the same effect as ice. Ice is hard on enamel, and can easily crack and break teeth.

These are just a few kitchen items that you should avoid if you want to save your teeth. Some foods may be more tempting than others, but at the end of the day, one little snack isn’t worth a busted tooth!

If you experience a dental emergency, call our office at Philadelphia Office Phone Number 215-735-1131 to schedule an appointment.


What is an Endodontist?

'questions'What is an Endodontist?

An Endodontist is a dentist who specializes in root canal treatment, a process by which teeth are preserved through the treatment of the inner soft tissue of the teeth – also known as the pulp. In addition to dental school, those who choose to specialize in endodontics attend another two to three years of schooling in the field. All dentists are trained on how to diagnose and treat pulp related issues, but when teeth are exceptionally difficult to treat, patients are referred to an Endodontist.

How many root canal treatments will I need?

Every case is different, depending on the degree of inflammation and infection, however, most cases require just one root canal treatment. Root canals, or endodontic treatments, have up to a 90% success rate. Before you undergo any form of treatment, we will discuss with you the chances of success so that you may make an informed decision. In most cases, patients will only have to undergo one treatment, but occasionally patients need a second or even a third treatment.

Follow-Up Care

Once your endodontic treatment is complete, we may have you return for periodic check-ins if you had an abscessed tooth, which can take up to two years to fully heal.

How do I know if I need to see an Endodontist?

You won’t always know when the time has come to see an Endodontist. Many people only see one because their general dentist found a problem and referred them. If you know that you have a cracked tooth or painful, infected pulp, you should give us a call – we may be able to help you skip the trip to the general dentist in the first place.

Endodontists are a critical part of the oral health maintenance team! Give us a call at Philadelphia Office Phone Number 215-735-1131 to learn more about the importance of saving your natural teeth with root canal therapy!


5 Reasons Why Your Teeth Are Changing Color

'woman brushing her teeth'Brushing and flossing your teeth every day can keep your smile bright and white. However, you might have noticed that even though you take great care of your teeth, they look a little yellow and have lost their sparkle. This is completely normal. Here are 5 reasons why this could be happening to you.

  1. Food and Drinks: Coffee, tea and red wine play a major role in staining your teeth. They all have Chromogens, which are intense color pigments that attach to the white outer part of your tooth known as enamel.
    Tip: Drink with a straw, keeping those stain-causing dyes in the drink away from your teeth
  2. Tobacco Use: The two chemicals found in tobacco, tar and nicotine, create a tough stain. Tar is naturally dark. Nicotine is colorless, but when it’s mixed with oxygen, it creates a yellowish color. Both together create the stain.
  3. Age: Below the white shell of enamel on our teeth is a softer area called Dentin. Over the years, our outer enamel gets thinner from brushing and the yellowish dentin shows through.
  4. Trauma: If you have experienced an injury to the mouth, your tooth may change color. This is because your tooth reacts to the trauma by putting down more dentin, which is darker than the outer enamel on your teeth.
  5. Medications: Many different kind of medications come with the side effect of darkening your teeth. Also, children who are exposed to medication when their teeth are forming, either in the womb or as a baby, can experience discoloration of their adult teeth later in life.

Some of these reasons are preventable and some of these happen over the course of life. Try to avoid some of these things and continue to brush and floss your teeth every day. If you would like to discuss your teeth whitening options with us, please call our office at 215-735-1131 to schedule an appointment.


Root Canal Myths Vs. Facts

'facts and myths'Root Canal Myths Vs Facts
The best way to understand what an endodontist does is to think of them as “Tooth Saving Specialists.” You might be interested to learn that all endodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are endodontists. This is most likely due to the fact that an endodontist completes an extra 2-3 years of schooling, honing their tooth rescuing skills and learning how to perform more complex procedures.

Our first priority is always to save your natural teeth! Dental implants can be very expensive, and often unnecessary if a cracked or infected tooth can be saved. Read on to learn about some of the myths and facts surrounding root canal treatment.

Myth: Getting a root canal can cause other illnesses.
Truth: A collection of studies conducted by a man known as Dr. Price in the 1920s attempted to correlate the root canal procedure with diseases. His results have since been found lacking control groups and introducing confusing the presence with bacteria in one’s mouth with the threat of infection and all have since been disproven by new, more advanced studies.

Myth: Getting a root canal is a painful procedure.
Truth: Root canal treatment can be a virtually pain-free procedure, and is actually directed at relieving pain caused by inflammation or what is commonly known as a toothache.

Myth: Pulling the tooth is a better option.
Truth: The truth is that life with missing teeth isn’t as glamourous as one opting into this method might be lead to believe. There is nothing better than your natural teeth for your oral health!

There are somewhere around 178 million people in the US missing at least one tooth, and about 35 million people in the US who don’t have any teeth at all! We want to help you keep all your teeth, and knowing the truth can set your worries free and help you to finally relax about scheduling an appointment with Wolgin Endodontics.


What is Root Resorption?

'x-ray image of jaw'Root resorption happens every day in children – it is the body’s natural process of (re)absorbing tissue. In the case of a child’s mouth, it is what helps them to lose their baby teeth and, in fact, what allows them to have effective orthodontic treatment. The body resorbs tissues that connect the baby teeth to the mouth, and the tooth is then able to fall out. But when we see resorption in adults, it is cause for concern.

Why does resorption happen?

We don’t always know why resorption occurs. Sometimes it is due to trauma to a tooth or severe grinding, sometimes due to overly aggressive orthodontic treatment (too much force was applied to the teeth with braces), but, often, we simply don’t know the cause, and must instead focus on the treatment.

External Cervical Resorption (ECR)

When resorption starts on the outside of the tooth and works its way in, usually up where the tooth meets the gum line, this is known as external resorption. It is the most common type. Patients may see pink spots at first where the enamel is being destroyed, or they may be asymptomatic. If left untreated, this often results in cavities and, eventually, the decay will start to affect the tooth pulp as well. Treatment for ECR typically includes root canal therapy. However, if the damage is too extensive, the tooth may need extraction and replacement with a dental implant.

Internal Resorption

Less common than ECR is internal resorption, which involves the resorption of tissue starting in the root of the tooth. It is often thought to be due to chronic pulp inflammation, and may be asymptomatic. Early treatment is important in order to the save the tooth.

As endodontists, our main goal is always to save your natural teeth, and do so safely and with great care to ensure the best oral health for you in the future. Regular x-rays with your dentist and a call to our office at Philadelphia Office Phone Number 215-735-1131 at the first sign of root decay or resorption will help us meet that goal!


Bad Breath, Bad News

'woman with fresh breath'Bad breath is bad news. Don’t let bad breath be a part of your day! In our office, we are asked on an almost daily basis “How can I get rid of my bad breath?”

Here are some quick and easy tips to help keep your breath fresh and clean:

1. Brush and Floss Regularly:
It’s basic advice, but foolproof. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing and tongue scraping once is the best way to combat bad breath. When the bacteria in your mouth have bits of food and debris to feed on, they create the odors that cause bad breath. Keeping your mouth clean will keep your breath clean at the same time!

2. Drink Water:
You don’t always have access to a toothbrush. As it turns out though, water can be an effective way to freshen your breath until you can get home and brush. Water helps clean out your mouth and prevents dryness, another major cause of bad breath.

3. Eat Good Foods:
A good way to prevent bad breath is to stay away from foods that make your breath smell bad, and eat foods those that will help your breath smell good! Melons and citrus fruit are high in Vitamin C, and help kill bacteria in your mouth. Fibrous foods like apples and celery can help remove food stuck in your teeth, reducing smells caused by bacteria feeding on them.

4. Choose gum and mints with Xylitol:
Sugary gum and breath mints are often used to tackle bad breath. However, the stinky bacteria in your mouth love sugar, and giving them more tends to produce acid that can make your breath smell worse AND lead to tooth decay. Xylitol is a sugar alternative that bacteria cannot break down, which makes it a perfect method for keeping your breath fresh and clean.

If you are troubled by your bad breath, ask us for more tips on staying fresh and clean!


Root Canals: BC, AD, and Now

'ancient toothbrush'Root Canals: BC

There is no way of knowing just exactly how long root canal therapy has been around. The first traces of root canal therapy can be dated back to second or third century B.C. A human skull was discovered in a desert in Israel. In one of the teeth, they found a bronze wire that scientists believe was used to treat an infected canal. The wire was located at the site of the infection, which is the exact spot that would be targeted during modern day root canal therapy. The archaeologists who discovered the remains believe that the procedure was performed by the Romans, who are said to have invented dentures and crowns.

More Advancements: AD

Evidence shows that from the first century A.D. until the 1600s, the treatment for root canals included the draining of the pulp chambers to relieve pain, and then covering them with a protective coating made from either gold foil or asbestos. Around 1838, the first official root canal instrument was constructed. It was made to allow easier access to the pulp that is located within the root of the tooth. A few years later, around 1847, a safer material known as “gutta percha” was created to use as a filling once the root canal was cleaned out. Both of these materials are still used today by Endodontists.

20th Century Technology

When we entered the 20th century, dental technology advanced. Anesthetics and x-rays were instituted into dental practices, which made treating an infected root canal much easier and safer. These technological advancements also allowed for alternative treatments to pulling teeth. Root canal therapy has advanced so much that it is now a nearly painless procedure!

An infected tooth root is a pain, and can compromise your teeth! We save teeth every day in our office with endodontic therapy – call us at Philadelphia Office Phone Number 215-735-1131 for more information.


Yes, You Still Have to Floss.

'woman flossing teeth in mirror'

The AP recently released an article making the claim that “there’s little proof that flossing works”. Their review cited a series of studies that found flossing does little or nothing to improve oral health.

Here’s the problem: the studies were flawed

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The AP concluded that floss does little for oral health, but it’s important to note that the evidence they cited was very weak at best. In fact, they said so themselves.

As acknowledged by the AP, many of these studies were extremely short. “Some lasted only two weeks, far too brief for a cavity or dental disease to develop” (Associated Press). They also say that “One tested 25 people after only a single use of floss” (Associated Press).

Of course the evidence is unreliable. You don’t simply develop gum disease because you forgot to floss yesterday. Cavities and gum disease do not happen overnight. You can prevent gum disease by maintaining a clean mouth over a long period of time. Wayne Aldredge, President of the American Academy of Periodontology explained: “gum disease is a very slow disease”. In his interview with the AP he recommended long-term studies which he believes would clearly show the difference between people who floss and people who don’t.

Lets put it this way: If a study claims drinking milk does nothing for bone health, but draws conclusions after only three glasses of milk, is it a reliable study? What do you think?

The fact of the matter is floss removes gunk from teeth. You can see it. Gunk feeds bacteria which leads to plaque, cavities, poor gum health, and eventually gum disease. Floss has the ability to reach the food particles that your brush can’t get to.

Aldredge also pointed out that most people floss incorrectly, using a sawing motion instead of moving up and around the teeth to clean the cracks. Positive results come from correct use and it’s critical that people learn to use a tool properly before discarding it as useless.

That’s just what floss is: a tool. Just like your toothbrush, it is designed to keep your mouth clean, and therefore keep your body safe from infection. Both your toothbrush and floss are designed to do what the other can’t, and both successfully remove bacteria from your mouth. Just like proper brushing technique, it is important that you know how to use floss properly, so that you can reap the long-term health benefits of good oral hygiene.

It’s a shame that studies on an important tool such as floss have yielded poor results, but it’s a bigger shame that the studies themselves were poorly designed. Oral hygiene is a long term process, and requires long term observations to make worthwhile conclusions. In the mean time, it’s obvious that you should continue to do everything you can to protect your well being, and floss is one of many tools that can help you do that. If you would like a refresher on the best, most efficient techniques for floss use feel free to call our office today at 215-735-1131!


The Source of Your Tooth Pain

'woman holding mouth with tooth pain'

Most people, at some point in their life, will experience tooth pain or another discomfort in the mouth. If you are experiencing pain right now, you are probably wondering “Why does my tooth hurt?” and, more importantly, “How do I make it stop?”

As endodontists, we are specialists in stopping tooth pain in its tracks. That’s right! Root canal therapy is one of the most dependable and permanent ways to make tooth pain stop. It also happens to be the healthier choice when compared to extraction.

As experts in pain-relief, we offer you this quick guide to the top three sources of tooth pain (can you guess what number one is?) The good news is that each of these conditions is both preventable and treatable.

  1. Cavities – Yep! You guessed it! Dental caries are the number one cause of tooth pain. While a general dentist can take care of early-stage caries with a filling, more serious decay that has gone past the crown and entered the roots requires a visit to the endodontist for root canal treatment. Prevent cavities in just 6 minutes a day by brushing twice and flossing once!
  2. Broken Fillings – If you have an old silver filling in your mouth, there is a good chance it will crack at some point during your life. The important thing to do if you suspect you have a broken or cracked filling is to visit your dentist ASAP for a replacement. Otherwise, bacteria will find its way into the crack and infect the root, which will then require more aggressive treatment such as root canal therapy.
  3. Cracked Teeth – If you feel a sharp pain when biting down on food, you probably have a cracked or chipped tooth. Tooth fractures are usually the result of biting down on something hard such as ice, nuts or hard candy, so those items should be avoided when possible.

Now that you know the source of your pain, we want you to know that we are here to help you determine the best remedy. We aim to get you in and out quickly, safely and comfortably. Don’t wait any longer to resolve your pain, give us a call at Philadelphia Office Phone Number 215-735-1131.


Study Reveals Tooth Enamel Structure Composition

'tooth' 'enamel composition'

Exciting news in the world of dentistry and endodontics!

A University of Sydney research team has produced detailed 3D maps of the composition of tooth enamel. While we have known for some time that enamel is the hardest substance in the human body and that its strength comes from a complex hierarchical structure that includes magnesium, carbonate and fluoride ions, this is the first in-depth and detailed look at what the composition of that structure is.

Findings of this Study

Two major findings are exciting the dental community. First, there is now direct evidence that an amorphous magnesium-rich calcium phosphate phase may determine (to some degree) how teeth are formed. Second, organic material was also found in the structure, suggesting that proteins occur in patterns throughout the enamel, not just in the interfaces as we used to think.

What does this mean for endodontists?

Tooth enamel is the first line of defense when it comes to teeth and their roots. Once the enamel is compromised, decay starts to take place and, if left untreated (as you know), the infection may spread to the tooth’s roots, landing you in one of our chairs for root canal therapy. That is why we, as endodontists, want your enamel to stay healthy and strong for as long as possible!

What does this mean for patients?

The impact of this could be great down the road. This type of detailed information will allow dentists and other scientists and researchers to better determine what is going on inside the enamel of your teeth before, during and after decay.

New Treatments?

Potentially…yes! New treatments and prevention strategies for dental health are always on being made, thanks to ground-breaking research and studies such as this.

If you are experiencing tooth pain, it may be that you are in need of root canal therapy. We can help! Call Philadelphia Office Phone Number 215-735-1131 for more information.