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One of the most common questions I get is....."Do you think I need a Root Canal?"

This is a very complicated question and depends on many things...so these are the factors we look at to determine...

1. Pain scale (0-10)

2. Is sensitivity brief or lingering?

3. How long has it been present? It is getting increasingly more painful?

4. Sensitive to bite, cold, heat? Is the pain from the tooth? gums? jaw?

5. Has the tooth had any previous work? What type of work and how long ago? How many times has it been fixed?

6. Does it wake you up at night? Does it hurt on its own without stimulation?

7. Are you taking OTC meds for the pain? Is it helping?

8. Any previous or recent trauma to the area? How about to any teeth around the area?


These are some of the many questions that are needed to answer this and even with this information, an examination and xray will still be required to accurately diagnose. Talk to your dentist about this if you are having pain that will not resolve and suspect you may need a root canal?

Are the UV toothbrush sanitizers effective and necessary?

I researched this topic by talking with several pathologists who research infections/disorder/diseases of the mouth and the answers are unanimous....yes they do work by reducing the amount of microbes/bacteria on your toothbrush via UV sanitation. However, the degree of effectiveness is still questionable and more certainly the cost. I feel there are easier things(and cheaper) that can be done:

  1. Replace your toothbrush more often (every 6 months is not enough).
  2. Always replace your toothbrush after a recent illness, or bacterial/fungal/viral encounter.
  3. Never ever share a toothbrush to minimize transmission of infection.

The only circumstances where I would recommend a UV sanitizer would be if the patient is immunocompromised (i.e. Medical disease or chemo/radiation induced) or diabetic patients. The main reason for this is that they impaired ability to fight infection and extra measures could most certainly increase the level of prevention of infection. 

If my child is being sedated for dental work, does that mean that they don't need a shot?

Typically sedation for a child is not used to eliminate the need for a needle. The sedation is used to decrease or eliminate the anxiety/apprehension of a child before and during dental treatment. While the sedation does relax the child, it does not typically affect their ability to feel pain. For this reason, local anesthetic(the numbing injection) is still used even when a child is sedated. The goal is to eliminate anxiety using the sedation while pain control is managed by the local anesthetic. In some circumstances, dental treatment can be performed without shots, but this is highly contingent  on the type of work, the length of work and the child's pain threshold. Discuss this with your dentist for further clarification. 

How does a dentist protect my child if he/she is sedating them?

Sedation does potentially compromise your child's reflexes as well as making their airway more vulnerable. Because of this, dentists will often times use an isolation device to protect the back of the throat(the airway) but also to better isolate your child's teeth so that the lip, tongue and cheek are not obstructing the dentist's ability to fix the teeth. The two most common isolation mechanisms are the rubber dam(a rubber square sheet that is stretched over a clamp that is placed on your childs back tooth) and the Isolite(rubber mouthpiece thats serves as a bite block, cheek/lip/tongue retactor and suction mechanism). Using an isolation mechanism shields water, air, tooth debris and filling materials from the child's throat/airway. Using cotton rolls and suction is simply not enough!! 

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