By Total Dental Care
March 16, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root canal  

Root CanalOne of the most commonly feared dental procedures, root canals are often one of the least understood. Root canals are not dangerous or painful. Instead, a root canal from Total Dental Care in Pekin is a safe, effective and relatively pain-free dental procedure that is commonly used to repair or save a badly infected or decayed tooth.

Teeth can become badly damaged or decayed in a variety of ways. For example, repeated dental procedures, faulty crowns, deep decay, tooth trauma and cracks and chips can all cause a tooth to become internally infected or decayed. Once this happens, the infected material must be cleaned out in order to prevent further problems, such as bone loss, swelling and draining problems. This is done through a root canal.

How Do Root Canals Work?

During a root canal at Total Dental Care in Pekin, a dentist will use a special instrument to go in through the top (crown) of the tooth to clean out the tooth root and to remove any damaged, decayed or inflamed tissue. Once the infection is gone, the dentist will then fill in the area to help prevent further infection. The tooth is then covered with a filling or crown.

While the pulp of a tooth is important in helping the tooth grow, once the tooth has reached maturity, it is not necessary anymore. This is why your Pekin dentist at Total Dental Care can remove it without further damaging the tooth. Once the tooth has matured, it is nourished by the surrounding tissues instead of the pulp.

While many people are fearful of root canals, there really is no reason to be. The procedure is quite simple, and the doctors at Total Dental Care in Pekin have done the procedure several times. Furthermore, the process isn't painful. With today's modern anesthesia options, root canals are no more painful than having a filling placed. Root canals don't cause pain; they relieve the pain you already have.

If your tooth is damaged or decayed, a root canal will fix that. Call Total Dental Care in Pekin and set up your appointment for a root canal today.

By Total Dental Care
March 10, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: celebrity smiles   bonding  
ARoyalFix

So you’re tearing up the dance floor at a friend’s wedding, when all of a sudden one of your pals lands an accidental blow to your face — chipping out part of your front tooth, which lands right on the floorboards! Meanwhile, your wife (who is nine months pregnant) is expecting you home in one piece, and you may have to pose for a picture with the baby at any moment. What will you do now?

Take a tip from Prince William of England. According to the British tabloid The Daily Mail, the future king found himself in just this situation in 2013. His solution: Pay a late-night visit to a discreet dentist and get it fixed up — then stay calm and carry on!

Actually, dental emergencies of this type are fairly common. While nobody at the palace is saying exactly what was done for the damaged tooth, there are several ways to remedy this dental dilemma.

If the broken part is relatively small, chances are the tooth can be repaired by bonding with composite resin. In this process, tooth-colored material is used to replace the damaged, chipped or discolored region. Composite resin is a super-strong mixture of plastic and glass components that not only looks quite natural, but bonds tightly to the natural tooth structure. Best of all, the bonding procedure can usually be accomplished in just one visit to the dental office — there’s no lab work involved. And while it won’t last forever, a bonded tooth should hold up well for at least several years with only routine dental care.

If a larger piece of the tooth is broken off and recovered, it is sometimes possible to reattach it via bonding. However, for more serious damage — like a severely fractured or broken tooth — a crown (cap) may be required. In this restoration process, the entire visible portion of the tooth may be capped with a sturdy covering made of porcelain, gold, or porcelain fused to a gold metal alloy.

A crown restoration is more involved than bonding. It begins with making a 3-D model of the damaged tooth and its neighbors. From this model, a tooth replica will be fabricated by a skilled technician; it will match the existing teeth closely and fit into the bite perfectly. Next, the damaged tooth will be prepared, and the crown will be securely attached to it. Crown restorations are strong, lifelike and permanent.

Was the future king “crowned” — or was his tooth bonded? We may never know for sure. But it’s good to know that even if we’ll never be royals, we still have several options for fixing a damaged tooth. If you would like more information, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Repairing Chipped Teeth” and “Crowns and Bridgework.”

By Total Dental Care
February 23, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   nutrition  
UseSweetenerSubstitutesWiselytoReduceSugarinYourDiet

Although a variety of foods provide energy-producing carbohydrates, sugar is among the most popular. It’s believed we universally crave sugar because of the quick energy boost after eating it, or that it also causes a release in our brains of serotonin endorphins, chemicals which relax us and make us feel good.

But there is a downside to refined sugars like table sugar or high-fructose corn syrup: too much in our diets contributes to conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and dental disease. On the latter, sugar is a primary food source for oral bacteria; the more sugar available in the mouth the higher the levels of bacteria that lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

Moderating your intake of refined sugars and other carbohydrates can be hard to do, given that many processed foods contain various forms of refined sugar. A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables helps control sugar intake as well as contribute to overall health. Many people also turn to a variety of sugar substitutes: one study found roughly 85% of Americans use some form of it in place of sugar. They’re also being added to many processed foods: unless you’re checking ingredients labels, you may be consuming them unknowingly.

Sugar substitutes are generally either artificial, manufactured products like saccharin or aspartame or extractions from natural substances like stevia or sorbitol. The good news concerning your teeth and gums is that all the major sugar substitutes don’t encourage bacterial growth. Still, while they’re generally safe for consumption, each has varying properties and may have side-effects for certain people. For example, people with phenylketonuria, a rare genetic condition, can’t process aspartame properly and should avoid it.

One alcohol-based sweetener in particular is of interest in oral care. A number of studies indicate xylitol may actually inhibit bacterial growth and thus reduce the risk of tooth decay. You can find xylitol in a variety of gum and mint products.

When considering what sugar substitutes to use, be sure you’re up to date on their potential health effects for certain individuals, as well as check the ingredients labels of processed foods for added sweeteners. As your dentist, we’ll also be glad to advise you on strategies to reduce sugar in your diet and promote better dental health.

If you would like more information on your best options for sweeteners, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Artificial Sweeteners.”

By Total Dental Care
February 13, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
ChristieBrinkleysTipsonToothWhitening

Christie Brinkley's world-famous smile has graced the covers of countless magazines for over 30 years. In fact, in her own words from an interview with Dear Doctor magazine, the supermodel said, “I think my smile was really my passport to success in the modeling industry.” And while most of her smile's appeal comes naturally, Christie does give it a boost with good oral hygiene, regular dental checkups and tooth whitening. As Christie says, “When it comes to teeth, keep it as natural as possible. Do not go overboard on whitening. You want your teeth to compliment your face…your friends should not be required to wear sunglasses when you smile!”

Aside from some potential minor side effects such as tooth sensitivity, whitening teeth through bleaching is a relatively inexpensive way to brighten your smile conservatively and successfully. There are three common methods, as described below:

  • An external or vital approach where “vital” (living) teeth are bleached through direct contact to the tooth's surface.
  • An internal or non-vital approach where the tooth is whitened from the inside during a root canal treatment.
  • A combination approach in which both internal and external bleaching techniques are used.

But what causes teeth to become discolored?

Tooth discoloration can be caused by a traumatic blow to your teeth resulting in nerve tissue (pulp) death. However, there can be many other causes: consuming or using products that stain the teeth such as coffee, tea, cola, tobacco products and red wine, to name just a few. Aging is another factor, as it results in changes in the mineral structure of the tooth as the enamel, the outermost layer, loses its beautiful and youthful translucency. Other causes include exposure to high levels of fluoride; tetracycline, an antibiotic, administered during childhood; inherited developmental disorders and jaundice in childhood; and tooth decay.

The good news is that we routinely brighten smiles through tooth whitening. To learn more about brightening your smile, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Teeth Whitening.” Or if you are ready to have your teeth professionally whitened, contact us today to schedule an appointment so that we can conduct a thorough examination and discuss your whitening treatment options. And if you want to read the entire feature article on Christie Brinkley, continue reading “The Secret Behind Christie Brinkley's Supermodel Smile.”

By Total Dental Care
February 03, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Dentures  

When you have lost a significant amount of teeth, you have not only lost your smile, you have also lost your self-confidence. Lost or missing teeth may make you feel as if you no longer wish to smile as broadly or can make you feel self-conscious when speaking or eating. These are just some of the reasons why 90 percent of all patients who are missing all of their teeth in America choose dentures as a tooth replacement option. Our denture patients in Pekin are no different, and they have seen the benefits for themselves at how dentures can once again give them something to smile about.

Dentures are an artificial replacement option that recreates your teeth, including a re-creation of your gums to look as natural as possible. Dentures can replace an entire upper or lower set of teeth. Our office offers two types of dentures. Complete or conventional dentures are applied are fitted about six months after your teeth are extracted, if required. This gives your gums and jawbone time to heal, which ensures your dentures are the best fit possible.

Another option is immediate dentures. This denture type is applied immediate after any remaining teeth are pulled. While this option may require some additional adjustments at a later time as your jaw heals.

Dentures over a number of benefits -- one of the most noticeable being a full set of teeth to smile with. In addition to this benefit, dentures will help you speak more easily. Living without teeth can cause difficulty in pronouncing the letters "s" and "t." Also, with your new set of teeth, you can bite into and chew foods more easily, increasing your variety of food options. If you are curious about the benefits dentures can offer you, we encourage you to set up a consultation appointment at our Pekin office.

For more information on dentures at Total Dental Care, call our office at (309) 347-7055. A caring member of our staff will help you schedule an appointment with Dr. Stephen E. Dickey.





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Total Dental Care

(309) 347-7055
13 Olt Avenue Pekin, IL 61554