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Root Canals

by Dr. H. Kopel

Comedians are wrong, there are many things worse than getting a root canal.
In fact, root canals are usually painless procedures just like fillings or crowns. That’s because once local anesthetics are placed and profound anesthesia achieved the nerve is blocked from sending pain signals to the brain regardless of the procedure being done to the tooth. Inside every tooth there is a nerve and accompanying blood vessels which can become inflamed or infected.

A root canal is simply removing the nerve, cleaning the canal space, preparing the canal space and finally putting the root canal filling inside the root. This is accomplished by making a small hole through the top of the tooth or crown and using a special material called gutta percha to fill in the space previously occupied by the nerve.

Root canals are typically done in one visit. However if the tooth is badly infected a preliminary procedure called Open and Medicate or Open and Drain is done first. Basically the root canal procedure is started to provide infection and pain control for the patient. Then the remainder of the root canal procedure is done a subsequent appointment.

Sports Injuries and TMJ

by Dr. H. Kopel

Sports injuries to the head can result in chipped, broken or avulsed teeth and even fractured or broken bones including the jaws. The jaw joint or TMJ is also susceptible to sport injuries. In some cases, your muscles or ligaments in your face may be torn or injured from getting hit in the face – even if the bones aren’t broken.

Sport induced TMJ can be caused either by a traumatic blow to the jaw or muscle strain that puts stress on the tempromandibular joint. It’s also possible to suffer TMJ because you are overworking your jaw during sports. Clenching your teeth is common when you are trying to use all your strength.

Symptoms indicating a TMJ injury include jaw pain, stiffness, change in the bite, problems with chewing or talking, headaches, earaches, and more. One of the best ways to protect against these type of injuries is a properly fabricated athletic guard. This can best be accomplished by your dentist. Be sure to have a proper medical and dental checkup after any sports injury.

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