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  • How 3-D Imaging Will Change Dentistry Forever

    Typical dental x-rays can be a tedious and uncomfortable process. Numerous individual images are required to cover the entire mouth, which allows for too much cranial exposure to radiation. Also, traditional x-rays only focus on your teeth with no way to enhance the images, making it almost impossible to study the surrounding bone structure, bone density, tissues, and nerves for diagnostic purposes. But times are changing and the newest advances in 3-D imaging and digital technology are taking the dental industry by storm. Here are just a few of the remarkable ways 3-D dentistry is changing the way family dentists in St. Louis take care of your teeth.

    3-D dentistry

    Revolutionizing the way dentists gather information

    Instead of interpreting two-dimensional information to diagnose tooth and gum conditions, 3-D dentistry allows dentists to see a much clearer picture of what is going on in your mouth. All you have to do is sit in a chair while the scanner moves in a complete circle around your head, gathering data all along the way. Then, the dentist can instantly call up any image, view it from all angles, and enhance or modify it. These 3-D images can show fractured roots, accessory canals, nerve placements, the density and structure of surrounding bones, and even early signs of gum disease. With all of this information at their fingertips, dentists can more accurately diagnose any potential conditions and create a more effective dental treatment plan.

    Making dental visits as painless as possible

    Painless dentistry is within reach using the latest advances in 3-D imaging. In its simplest form, 3-D dentistry can show dentists where nerves are located, thus allowing them to steer clear during dental procedures. 3-D images can also help dentists pinpoint the appropriate size, type, and placement for dental implants, reducing the likelihood of painful problems further down the road. Tumors, oral diseases, or impacted teeth can be identified and dealt with in the early stages, and any necessary surgical procedures can be mapped out from start to finish in order to maximize efficiency and reduce recovery times.

    Transforming smiles in just one day

    Long gone are the days where dental implants and natural-looking crowns took weeks or even months to install. Now, an experienced dental team can transform your smile in just a day with the latest advances in 3-D dentistry. The transformation process begins with a non-invasive 3-D photo scan, which is then optimized or enhanced by the dentist and transferred to an on-site milling device. Since the entire process is completed in one day, there is no need for painful temporary crowns or messy impressions, and the end result is a custom restorative device made from color-matching ceramic that is indistinguishable from your existing teeth.

    Not only is 3-D dentistry giving dentists a more detailed view of the mouth and skull, but it has also led to more accurate diagnostics, advances in painless dentistry, and transformative same day crowns or dental implants. For more information on how West Coast Dental utilizes 3-D imaging in their outstanding dental services, give us a call at (314) 821-2712!

  • What You Should Know Before a Root Canal

    At your last dental visit, your dentist uttered two words that many people fear: root canal. While the procedure will eliminate your lingering tooth pain and hopefully reduce your immense sensitivity to hot and cold, the very idea of a root canal procedure can be a bit frightening. Here is a helpful guide that covers the most important things you should know before getting root canal therapy.

    Root canal therapy

    What exactly is a root canal?

    When the blood or nerve supply of a tooth, also known as the pulp, is infected, root canal therapy is necessary to remove the infected tissue. Unfortunately, a root canal cannot save the tooth, but by preserving its natural structure, you will be able to chew food and speak properly.

    What are some of the symptoms?

    There are several signs that you may need a root canal procedure, including:

    • Lingering or spontaneous pain in response to hot or cold drink
    • Positional pain that is worse when you lay down, stand up suddenly, or run in place
    • A white, yellow, or red pimple-looking blister on your gum
    • An abscess, which will show up on an x-ray
    • Pain in your jaw, ear, or surrounding teeth

    Why is root canal therapy needed?

    If an infection in the pulp of a tooth spreads to the underlying root canal system, it can lead to an abscess, which is an inflamed pus-filled pocket that causes swelling around the tooth. If a root canal is not done, the infection may spread to other areas of the face, you may suffer bone loss around the tip of the root, or the tooth may have to be extracted.

    What does the procedure entail?

    During root canal therapy, a dentist will remove the inflamed or infected pulp and carefully clean out and shape the inside of the tooth. Then, they will fill and seal the space to prevent further infection. The final step is for the dentist to place a crown on the tooth to protect its structural integrity. After a root canal procedure is completed, your tooth will function like any other tooth.

    Is the procedure painful?

    No, there should not be any root canal pain. With the use of a local anesthetic, the procedure should be no different than if you were having an ordinary filling done. Afterwards, you may feel a bit sore, but that will diminish over time.

    How long will the root canal procedure take?

    A root canal is a time-consuming procedure that often involves two or more visits to your dentist. The first appointment may be quite long as the dentist needs to remove the infected tissue and allow any abscesses to drain. Once the tooth is closed and shaped for filling, a temporary cap is put in and the tooth is left to settle. At the next appointment, the tooth is checked and if all is clear, it is permanently filled and capped.

    Is any special care necessary after treatment?

    Care instructions will be given out after each appointment, but good oral hygiene and regular dental visits are essential to ensuring the best results.

    If you are experiencing tooth pain, don’t suffer in silence! Instead, utilize the knowledge and expertise of the West County Dental team in St. Louis, MO to help you find relief.