Pi DENTAL CENTER BLOG

Can this tooth be saved?

Posted by Chris Raines on Apr 13, 2017 11:03:39 AM

Illustration presents various choices when considering whether to save a painful tooth

What happens when a tooth becomes painful? Can this tooth be saved?

When a tooth is painful, the decision whether to save or remove a tooth must be determined. If this tooth can be saved, we determine whether the patient wants to save it. Time constraints and financial concerns are just two of the variables that affect this decision.

Is a damaged tooth always painful?

Dr. Glenn Wolfinger, board certified prosthodontist at Pi Dental Center, was asked if a damaged tooth is always painful. He said, “Not always. A damaged tooth is usually initially uncomfortable. Pain will increase with swelling. But sometimes the pain goes away and the patient mistakenly believes the tooth has gotten better. However, this may mean that the nerve has died inside the tooth, which is a source of infection.”

What about an infected tooth?

Dr. Tom Balshi added, “An infected tooth can lead to medical and heart problems and can go into the blood stream and eventually lead to the brain.” Daryl Weiss, dental assistant, mentioned, “Bone loss can occur and the infection can spread to adjoining teeth.”

What if a tooth is mobile?

Wolfinger continues, “Not every mobile tooth needs to be extracted. All teeth have some level of mobility. Periodontally compromised teeth tend to be more mobile. Increased mobility is a sign that a tooth needs to be evaluated.”

How do we decide if a tooth should be saved or extracted?

“Restorability is the most important part of the decision.  We determine if the tooth can be restored with a filling or a crown. Sometimes root canal is needed.”

“There are times when a tooth is not restorable. At that point a root canal would not be indicated. If the tooth cannot be restored properly, an extraction is the only option.”

“If a tooth is restorable, then it is up to the patient to decide if they want to save the tooth.”

How do patients feel about losing a tooth?

Losing a tooth can be very traumatic. The decision to extract a tooth can be very difficult, even when it is necessary. But it is important to understand that treatment options, like dental implants and AvaDent Digital Dentures that effectively provide healthy, esthetic, and functional results.

What are the criteria?

If decay approaches the bone level, then restoration may not be possible. If there is a root fracture, extraction is indicated.

Can this tooth be saved? Illustration of healthy tooth, tooth with some bone loss, tooth with advanced bone loss

What about extracting the tooth and leaving an open space?

Leaving an open space is not always the best solution. While the actual fee for an extraction is inexpensive, the long term cost is not cheap. Adjacent teeth can shift and make restoration more difficult later on. Missing teeth present an esthetic and functional deficit for the patient.

Is there more than one choice treatment?

There are several options for treatment. During the evaluation, the doctor and patient discuss several aspects of treatment to learn the patient’s most important priorities and explore all available options. Comprehensive treatment plans that outline each option in detail are provided.

To make the best decision, we consider:

  • What is the best choice in terms of dental health?
  • Which option will last the longest?
  • Which will feel the most comfortable?
  • Which choice will allow the patient to eat and speak adequately?
  • Which is the most strong and durable?
  • Which is the most attractive?
  • Which can be achieved most quickly?
  • How does the cost of each choice compare?

How can a patient avoid tooth extraction?

“If the patient maintains a regular oral hygiene schedule and allows us to adequately evaluate the health of the mouth, including radiographic examination as needed, tooth extraction can usually be avoided. Small problems become big ones when they are undiagnosed.”

So what should you do if you suspect a problem?

Try not to wait until a problem becomes an emergency. Schedule an oral hygiene visit at least every 6 months. Contact us as soon as you suspect a problem. Provide the scheduling coordinator with as much information as possible when you schedule your appointment.

Visit Pi Dental Center's YouTube Channel to learn more about dental implant treatment options.

If you have questions, feel free to call us at 215-646-6334.

Pi Dental Center’s mission is to go beyond the preservation and maintenance of teeth to provide the best functional and esthetically ideal treatment. Our aim is to make your dental experience painless, convenient, and comfortable. Our supportive team helps to make your decision painless, straightforward and uncomplicated.

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Tags: dental implants, bone loss, dental pain, tooth loss

What Does the Dental Term, “Oral Cripple” Mean?

Posted by Pi Dental Center on Feb 17, 2017 4:12:44 PM

knowing-is-not-enough-do.jpgHave you heard of the term, “oral cripple”? Dentists use the term to describe a person who has such significant dental problems that they substantially and negatively impact the quality of life.

Do you know someone who:

  • Hides their mouth when they smile or laugh?
  • Complains about jaw pain?
  • Has broken teeth?
  • Have loose or clicking dentures?
  • Cannot pronounce certain words?
  • Refuses to eat in public or struggles when chewing certain foods?
  • Declines social invitations because of their teeth?
  • Cannot find a job because of the state of their teeth?

As a person’s dental condition deteriorates, their oral and medical dilemmas mount. If left untreated, a person can experience numerous complications that affect every aspect of life. Tooth loss, poor quality dentures, shifting teeth, periodontal disease, and broken teeth can be devastating.

As teeth are lost, the surrounding teeth begin to shift in the mouth.  Missing teeth cause the bite to collapse, which in turn damages the jaw joint. This is because the stress of clenching the teeth intensifies pressure on the joint. Over time, the damage to the jaw joint and muscles that control jaw movement increase. Temporomandibular joint disorder causes pain in the area of the joint, neck, shoulder, back, head, and trouble chewing.

Well-fitting removable dentures can be an adequate temporary solution.  But dentures must be regularly maintained by a dentist. Ill-fitting loose unsightly dentures cause clicking, pain, sores on gum, and limit one’s ability to speak, and eat.

The feeling of self-consciousness because of dental appearance permeates many aspects of life. People often feel too embarrassed to smile. Making friends, building relationships and finding a job can become more difficult.

Tooth loss shortens a person’s life span. An October 2016 article in Periodontology 2000 concluded that the number of teeth in aging humans affects longevity and life expectancy. An inability to eat nutritional foods that require the ability to properly masticate is one factor is reducing life span.

One patient mentioned, “Life with removable dentures really makes you appreciate the teeth you lost.” Healthy functional teeth really contribute to the quality of life.

Replacing lost, damaged and diseased teeth with complete non-removable restorations allows patients to return to a state of anatomic, functional, psychological, and social good health. It allows them to again enjoy the simplest of pleasures, like ordering a dinner in a restaurant.

Dr. Balshi said, “Advances in prosthodontics have made remarkable alternatives available for replacement of missing teeth. The osseointegrated dental implant system permits the placement of a fixed bridge in patients who would otherwise require removable dentures. This technique involves placement of implants within the jaws, which are physiologically attached to bone and to which the teeth are attached.”

Johan Wolfgang von Goethe and later Bruce Lee stated, "Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do," It’s important to diagnose dental problems, meticulously research all solutions, choose the best option, then begin treatment.

When people decide to move forward and actively pursue dental treatment, they often do not have a regular dentist and wonder who to place their trust in.  The board certified dentists at Pi Dental Center created the trademarked Teeth In A Day® procedure that enables patients to enjoy the benefits of fixed replacement teeth on the same day implants are placed, rather than following a three to six month process. At 467 Pennsylvania Avenue, Fort Washington, we have everything under one roof. Advanced evaluation is possible in-house with CT-scanning and digital intraoral scanning technology. From prosthodontics and oral surgery to endodontics and orthodontics, patients can have most treatment in our center.  Three on-site laboratories provide a wide variety of prostheses.

High quality dentistry is a combination of advanced technology, visual artistry and manual skill. As board certified prosthodontists with over 30 years of experience, Dr. Thomas Balshi and Dr. Glenn Wolfinger provide patients with teeth that are attractive, functional and customized for the individual patient.

Quality of life is enhanced by comprehensive dental restoration.  Call Pi Dental Center and schedule a complete diagnostic evaluation so that you can smile again!

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Tags: removable dentures, dental problems, dental condition, tooth loss, temporomandibular joint disorder, dental appearance, healthy functional teeth