dr. gilbert

Going Green: Dark Green Vegetables and Dental Health

Everyone is going green, but did you know that “going green” can also benefit your oral health? Your pH levels inside your body can greatly affect your overall health. Too much acid in your system can make various parts of your body inflamed. This may include your gum tissues. Gingivitis (early gum disease) and periodontitis (advanced gum disease) are conditions of infection and inflammation. Aiming to consume a balanced diet with the goal of achieving an acidic-alkaline balance (balanced pH level) has been shown to reduce symptoms of many health conditions. One of the fastest and easiest ways to saturate your body with these nutrients is by consuming green fruits and vegetables. Some great green additions to your diet are spinach and green smoothies:

green smoothie

Spinach & Dark Green Vegetables

Eating dark green veggies, like spinach, can have some great health benefits deeming it a “super food” among nutrition experts! The nutrients found in spinach are a powerful source of cancer-fighting properties, producing a substance that causes prostate cancer cells to self-destruct, and another compound that can prevent the formation of ovarian cancer cells. Spinach promotes cardiovascular health via properties that can lower blood pressure and prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. Evidence shows that juicing dark green vegetables like spinach can improve your dental health, preventing gum disease and cavities!

Green Smoothies

Green smoothie can keep your gums, jawbone, and teeth healthier and stronger! The best part about drinking green smoothies is the taste. If you can get over the color, you will find how delicious a green smoothie can be. Spinach, cucumber, kale, lettuce, and zucchini can be blended with fruit to create a low-calorie, nutrient dense meal replacement that boosts your oral health. A great addition to your green smoothie is yogurt. Yogurt has been shown to strengthen teeth and prevent bad breath, as well as add a creamy consistency to your nutrient-dense smoothie.

If you have questions regarding your dental health, give Permian Basin Endodontics a call at Midland TX Office Phone Number 432-685-3240 today!

Pulp Trivia

It’s no secret that root canal therapy (RCT) saves your natural teeth by removing infected pulp. What exactly is dental pulp, though? It’s a lot more important than you may realize — keep reading for some pulp trivia!

Fact #1
Pulp is the living part of the tooth. It’s made of nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue that feed the tooth vital nutrients to keep it “alive,” or healthy and functioning.

tooth root, tooth pulp

Fact #2
Dental pulp is your tooth’s alarm system. When something goes wrong with your teeth, such as trauma or decay, the pulp experiences pressure and sensitivity changes that you perceive as pain.

Fact #3
The pulp is responsible for dentin formation. Dentin is the tissue layer beneath the enamel that protects the pulp. Because enamel is translucent, dentin is visible through the enamel and gives the tooth its color. Pulp contains cells called odontoblasts that initiate dentin creation.

Fact #4
The tooth can survive without pulp, but not with infected pulp. Pulp is a crucial part of tooth development, but once the tooth has fully matured, it can get nutrients from surrounding tissue and the pulp is no longer 100% necessary. However, infected tissue in a fully developed tooth can cause a lot of damage. This is why root canal therapy is necessary to save teeth that suffer pulp trauma.

Fact #5
Blood vessels and nerves in pulp are connected to gum tissue in the jaw. The apical foramen is a hole at the apex, or tip, or the tooth’s root. Blood vessels and nerves run from the jaw through the apical foramen and become part of the pulp once they enter the tooth.

Fact #6
Diseased gum tissue can cause pulp to become infected. Because blood vessels and nerves connect the gums to the pulp, diseased gum tissue can affect the pulp. Conversely, infected pulp can also spread and cause gum disease.

With all these functions of dental pulp in mind, it’s no wonder root canal therapy is such an important procedure! Call us to schedule a consultation if you’re having tooth pain and considering root canal therapy.

Filling Your Roots with Roots!

What is Gutta-percha? In endodontics, when you have a root canal treatment, your tooth is filled with a substance called Gutta-percha (“gutta-per-cha”).
Its first uses in dentistry were in the late 1800s as a temporary restorative material, until it was used to permanently fill root canals. It is used to “obturate” or fill the empty space inside your tooth root after we have removed the infection.

Gutta-percha are cone shaped, meaning whether they are heated or chemically treated before they go into your tooth, they fit perfectly into all the nooks and crannies to keep the bad bacteria out!

tooth roots

Gutta-percha is derived from two Malaysian trees Paliquium gutta and Mimusops globsa trees. The word gutta-percha actually comes from the Malay words “getah” meaning sap and “percha” meaning scrap, and dates back to 1845! It was originally used by the natives of the Malaysian archipelago for making knife handles, walking sticks and other purposes.

Gutta-percha is the coagulated latex of the two trees, which are in the same botanical family as the rubber tree Hevea brasilienisis.

Does this mean if you have a latex allergy you can’t have a root canal treatment? Of course not!
For our patients with latex allergies, we have latex-free root filling options your safety.

Gutta-percha is thermoplastic, meaning it softens on heating and hardens when it cools. It resembles rubber but contains more resin and is used in dentistry especially as a permanent filling in root canals.

Fun fact!
Gutta-percha is used as insulation for underwater cables and household electrics!
It’s also “bioinert” which means it does not react or initiate a response when it comes into contact with biological tissue. Therefore, it does not cause an alternative reaction in the human body.

Here at Permian Basin Endodontics we get to the “root” of the facts for you, so you’re always aware of every process in your treatment!

Help! I’ve Cracked My Tooth!

So you’ve cracked your tooth—We know this can be stressful. But don’t worry, Permian Basin Endodontics is here to help.

Our main goal is to save your tooth, but the treatment plan and outcome all depend on the type, extent, and location of the damage. Before any more damage can be done, seek treatment as quickly as possible.

Cracked Tooth

How to tell

Cracked teeth aren’t always obvious as having a crack down the middle; you could have different symptoms like:

  • Inconsistent pain while chewing
  • Pain when the tooth comes in contact with hot or cold
  • Sharp edge you can feel with your tongue

What to do

  • Make an appointment to see Drs. Jenkins or Gilbert as soon as possible.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm water.
  • Apply pressure with gauze if there is any bleeding. You can also use a damp tea bag (it promotes clotting).
  • Apply a cold compress to your face next to the broken tooth. Cold helps relieve pain and swelling.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever.

How to prevent cracks

Cracks can happen for many reasons, but you can lesson your chances by:

  • Not chewing on hard objects (like ice!)
  • Not grinding and clenching your teeth (and wear a mouth guard at night if you do!)
  • Wear facial protection when playing contact sports

If you do find yourself with a crack, call us at 432-685-3240 as soon as possible so we can determine the best plan of action.

Apicoectomy. Say What?

Say that again?!

An apicoetomy or “ey-pi-koh-ek-tuh-mee” (say that three times fast!) may be needed when an infection develops or won’t go away after your root canal treatment or retreatment.

Your teeth are held in place by roots that extend into your jawbone. They can have anywhere from one to four roots. The tip of these roots is called the apex. Nerves and blood vessels enter the tooth though this apex. They travel through a canal inside the root and into the pulp chamber, which is inside the “crown” of your tooth.

teeth and pulp

During root canal treatment, we clean the canals and the infected tissue is removed.
Root canals can be very complex, as there are several branches off the main canals. Sometimes, even after a root canal, infected tissue can remain in these branches. This could possibly prevent healing or cause re-infection.

An apicoectomy is only considered after a tooth has had at least one root canal procedure and retreatment is not possible. Sometimes it is called endodontic microsurgery because it is often performed under a microscope. The light and magnification allow the endodontist to see the area clearly. This increases the chance that the procedure will succeed.

In an apicoectomy, the root tip or apex is removed along with the infected tissue. A filling is then placed to seal the end of the root tip and a few stitches are placed in the gum to help the tissue heal. After a few weeks the bone heals around the end of the root.

An apicoectomy is typically a safe and effective procedure, and is rarely recommended unless further root canal treatment won’t be effective. The goal is to help you preserve your natural teeth for as long as possible. Apicoectomies are generally a permanent and cost-effective solution which can help your teeth last for the rest of your life!

If you’re having pain or swelling from a tooth that has had a root canal treatment, don’t hesitate! Give Permian Basin Endodontics a call today! Midland TX Office Phone Number 432-685-3240

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