Posts for category: Dental Procedures
Our nerves serve a vital purpose, alerting us to bodily discomfort, injury or disease — we couldn’t remain in good health for long without them. But when they malfunction due to genetics or disease, they can themselves become a source of pain and discomfort.
One such nerve disorder that affects the face is known as trigeminal neuralgia (TN) or tic douloureaux (from the French for “painful”). The nerves in question are the trigeminal, a pair that travel up from the brain stem through the skull into each side of the face where they each branch into the upper, middle and lower parts of the face and jaw. The pain can radiate from one or more of these branches.
TN is characterized by recurring episodes of brief but severe pain with accompanying muscle spasms. It may begin as a short twinge recurring over weeks, months or years before becoming increasingly painful. The slightest actions can trigger a painful episode: chewing, speaking, shaving or even the wind blowing on your face.
While it may be hard to determine its exact cause, it often seems to result from an artery or vein pressing on the nerve, causing it to signal pain at the slightest stimulation and then failing to stop transmitting when the stimulation is removed. It’s also associated with other inflammatory disorders like multiple sclerosis where the protective insulation around a nerve is damaged.
Before receiving treatment you should undergo a complete examination to rule out any other facial pain causes like temporomandibular (jaw joint) disorders or a dental abscess. You may also need to undergo a neurological examination and possible MRI imaging to pinpoint the exact cause, like a tumor or blood vessel pressing on the nerve.
Although the condition may not be curable, there are several effective management treatments. The more conservative approaches usually involve medications to block the nerve’s pain signals or decrease its abnormal firing. If this isn’t sufficient to diminish symptoms, there are surgical options: passing a thin needle through the nerve to selectively prevent fibers from firing, or moving aside a blood vessel pressing on it. High-dose targeted radiation may also be effective, especially with older patients.
The best treatment approach will depend on the exact cause, your age and overall health. Whatever the approach, you can gain significant relief from the pain of TN.
Crowns offer an excellent solution for a variety of dental issues. Multi-purpose dental crowns can improve your appearance, repair a broken tooth, replace a missing tooth or strengthen a fragile tooth. Your Sacramento, CA, family dentist, Dr. Jeff DiMariano helps you care for your smile with crowns and other restorations and treatments.
How crowns can help your smile
A dental crown looks just like the part of your tooth that's visible above your gum line. Crowns are hollow inside, which allows them to slip over your tooth once it's been reduced in size. Dental crowns are made from a variety of materials, including porcelain, porcelain-fused-to-metal, ceramic, and resin. The restorations are securely attached to your tooth with dental cement and feel completely natural.
Your Sacramento dentist may recommend a dental crown if you have:
- A Broken Tooth: Blows to the face aren't the only way that teeth break. A fracture can occur if you bite into a hard object, grind your teeth or have a bite problem that causes excessive wear on some teeth. Dental crowns restore the normal height and shape of your tooth and make chewing much easier. They're made from an impression of your mouth to ensure that the restoration fits perfectly.
- A Cracked or Fragile Tooth: You're much more likely to experience a fracture if your tooth is cracked or fragile. Brittleness, a problem that can worsen with age, can put a tooth at risk of breaking, as can a large cavity or large filling. Root canal therapy may also weaken your tooth. Crowns strengthen fragile and cracked teeth and help prevent fractures.
- A Missing Tooth: Crowns are connected to artificial teeth to create bridges that restore missing teeth. The restorations can also be attached to dental implants to create a brand new synthetic tooth. Dental implants bond to your jawbone and serve as the roots for your new teeth.
- Concerns About Your Appearance: Would your smile be perfect if not for a discolored or oddly shaped tooth? Crowns conceal a variety of imperfections, including discolorations, short teeth, or pointed, twisted, or crooked teeth.
Improve your smile with dental crowns! Call your Sacramento, CA, family dentist, Dr. Jeff DiMariano, at (916) 929-3898 to schedule an appointment.
As the host of America's Funniest Home Videos on ABC TV, Alfonso Ribeiro has witnessed plenty of unintentional physical comedy…or, as he puts it in an interview with Dear Doctor–Dentistry & Oral Health magazine, "When people do stuff and you're like, 'Dude, you just hurt yourself for no reason!'" So when he had his own dental dilemma, Alfonso was determined not to let it turn onto an "epic fail."
The television personality was in his thirties when a painful tooth infection flared up. Instead of ignoring the problem, he took care of it by visiting his dentist, who recommended a root canal procedure. "It's not like you wake up and go, 'Yay, I'm going to have my root canal today!'" he joked. "But once it's done, you couldn't be happier because the pain is gone and you're just smiling because you're no longer in pain!"
Alfonso's experience echoes that of many other people. The root canal procedure is designed to save an infected tooth that otherwise would probably be lost. The infection may start when harmful bacteria from the mouth create a small hole (called a cavity) in the tooth's surface. If left untreated, the decay bacteria continue to eat away at the tooth's structure. Eventually, they can reach the soft pulp tissue, which extends through branching spaces deep inside the tooth called root canals.
Once infection gets a foothold there, it's time for root canal treatment! In this procedure, the area is first numbed; next, a small hole is made in the tooth to give access to the pulp, which contains nerves and blood vessels. The diseased tissue is then carefully removed with tiny instruments, and the canals are disinfected to prevent bacteria from spreading. Finally, the tooth is sealed up to prevent re-infection. Following treatment, a crown (cap) is usually required to restore the tooth's full function and appearance.
Root canal treatment sometimes gets a bad rap from people who are unfamiliar with it, or have come across misinformation on the internet. The truth is, a root canal doesn't cause pain: It relieves pain! The alternatives—having the tooth pulled or leaving the infection untreated—are often much worse.
Having a tooth extracted and replaced can be costly and time consuming…yet a missing tooth that isn't replaced can cause problems for your oral health, nutrition and self-esteem. And an untreated infection doesn't just go away on its own—it continues to smolder in your body, potentially causing serious problems. So if you need a root canal, don't delay!
If you would like additional information on root canal treatment, please contact us or schedule a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “A Step-By-Step Guide to Root Canal Treatment” and “Root Canal Treatment: What You Need to Know.”
Braces are a common experience among teens and pre-teens. And although the treatment can be a major financial undertaking, more and more families pursue it to help their child attain a straighter, more attractive smile.
But orthodontics isn’t first and foremost a cosmetic treatment. Although an improved appearance is a benefit, the main reason for treatment is therapeutic—it can improve your child’s current and future dental health.
The teeth’s relationship to the jaws and gums makes moving them possible. Rather than simply being fixed within their jawbone socket, teeth are actually held in place by a strong, elastic tissue called the periodontal ligament. The ligament lies between the teeth and jawbone and attaches to both with tiny extending fibers. This attachment secures the teeth in place.
But the ligament also has a dynamic quality—it can reshape itself when necessary and allow teeth to move gradually into new positions. This is most necessary during the early years of mouth and jaw development, but it can also occur throughout life. Orthodontics takes advantage of this mechanism by applying precise pressure to the teeth in the direction of desired movement. The periodontal ligament does the rest by reshaping and allowing the teeth to move in response to this pressure.
The result is straighter teeth and a more normal bite. With the teeth now where they should be, it’s also easier to clean them of disease-causing dental plaque, whereas misaligned teeth are more prone to plaque accumulation that can be difficult to remove. And because the whole mouth including teeth are involved when we talk, teeth positioned in a more normal bite will improve speech.
Orthodontics is a long-term process, often encompassing more than the actual time wearing braces. Both orthodontists and pediatric dentists recommend a bite evaluation by an orthodontist around the age of 6. If it does appear an abnormal bite is forming, it may be possible to intervene and stop or at least slow the development. This could have a more positive impact on any future treatment.
Braces and other treatments can make a difference in your child’s self-image and social relationships. But the main beneficiary will be their dental health.
If you would like more information on orthodontic treatment, 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 “Moving Teeth With Orthodontics.”
Veneers from your family dentist in Sacramento, CA, can give you an outstanding smile
Are there things about your smile that you wish you could change? Have you stopped smiling because you are embarrassed by the condition of your teeth? If your smile isn’t all it could be, there is an easy solution. You need porcelain veneers! Dr. Jeff L. DiMariano in Sacramento, CA, offers a wide range of preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dental services including porcelain veneers, to give you an outstanding smile!
Porcelain veneers are thin laminates of light-reflecting porcelain which are cemented on to the front surfaces of your teeth. The light-reflective quality of porcelain combined with its close resemblance to tooth enamel makes porcelain the ideal material for veneers. Once your porcelain veneers are placed, they blend perfectly with your smile.
- The natural beauty of porcelain veneers is only one benefit. There are many more. Consider that porcelain veneers are:
- Long lasting, because porcelain is stain resistant, so your new veneers will stay beautiful for years
- Conservative, because your family dentist removes little to no tooth structure, just enough to compensate for the thickness of the veneers
- Versatile, because they can hide many unsightly issues with your teeth
In fact, you can change the size, color, shape, and other factors which bother you about your teeth. Veneers can help your smile by hiding:
- Chips, erosion, or other age-related wear
- Broken tooth structure, fracture lines, or other trauma-related problems
- Blotches, discolorations or other defects in tooth color
- Areas of slight tooth overlap, making your teeth appear straighter
- Small gaps or spaces, by making your teeth appear closer together
Veneers require between 2 and 3 appointments, beginning with a consultation appointment, and ending with the final cementation of your custom-created veneers. Porcelain veneers are made just for you and for your individual smile to give you the smile you deserve.
To find out more about veneer treatment from your family dentist and how veneers can help you, call Dr. Jeff DiMariano in Sacramento, CA. Call and get started on your outstanding smile today!