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Posts tagged “root canal”

Only half of all Americans visit their dentist regularly

Oral health is of paramount importance according to all dentists. Yet, according to one practitioner only half of USA citizens actually visit their dentist regularly.

However perhaps what’s worse is that of those that do get regular checkups a large percentage don’t listen to dental advice.

These and other remarks were recently made by Dr. Sulkowski who runs a practice in Cannonsburg, USA. He was recently interviewed and asked for tips he could pass on to readers. He told the interviewer: “Dentistry is far ahead of medicine in terms of preventive health.”

Dr. Sulkowski added: “Brushing, flossing and regular dental exams and teeth cleanings are essential preventive measures that help us avoid problems like decalcifications that cause cavities and if not treated in time, can lead to root canals. The mouth has so many nooks and crannies; good oral hygiene is key.”

This is just part of the story though according to the dentist. It is now realised that ensuring good oral health is also related to ensuring good overall health. There are many gum diseases which have a direct connection with heart problems and other general disorders.

As such Dr. Sulkowski is an advocate of not just regular check ups but also having the gums and teeth examined properly using X-Rays. He said: “If we detect a problem, our goal is to treat it while it is a simple fix. A cavity is a much easier treatment than a root canal.”

He advises having an annual X-Ray to ensure there is no decay occurring between teeth, something not easily spotted during a normal examination. But this advice may be too much for oncologists who know that over use of X-Rays is dangerous in itself.

Having proper checkups are also vital for another reason – to ensure that what is eaten can be chewed properly. Dr. Sulkowski said: “… More and more research has confirmed that good teeth are the basis for good health, as strong teeth are more easily able to chew the foods that will keep us healthy, such as fruits and vegetables.

“People who lack a full complement of teeth begin to lose functionality because they cannot eat a full range of foods. They begin to rely on soft or pureed foods that are not as healthy as other foods that require strong, healthy teeth to chew.”

In the USA though, while many Americans are probably more than willing to visit their dentist regularly, the major problem is cost. Along with medical insurance, dentistry practices rely on patients getting dental insurance.

That said it is also very easy to develop the habit of not going to see the dentist. After all, regular check ups tend to be annual, and so it is easy to forget to make that appointment.

New dental plan in US County saves patients money

Like all medical costs in the USA, dental charges are for many prohibitive. In fact, this one fact alone is known to be having an effect on patients’ oral and general health.

As such, Dutchess County in the USA has come up with a novel solution it believes will stem the tide of rising costs. A spokesperson for the local authority told reporters recently: “Our Dutchess County Dental Discount Programme is designed to help county residents save money on their dental expenses.

“Residents who participate in the programme can save up to 50% on many dental procedures. This is a great way to help people save money, particularly during these tough economic times. ”

The executive council for the County believes that by offering its residents a discounted dental cost programme, it will encourage more of its citizens to start getting their teeth examined, which in turn can reduce the overall costs of health.

But what do the residents get for joining the scheme?

Residents enrolling in the Dutchess County Dental Discount Programme are expected to receive a wide range of dental facilities including routine oral exams, teeth cleaning, dentures, root canals, and crowns and so on. It is also thought that residents could save between 5% and 50% depending on the procedures carried out.

Enrolment costs are also very reasonable at $59 (about £35) annually which covers the whole family. Interestingly, there is no upper income limit for anyone in the county to sign up for the discount card. As the scheme is not an insurance plan, the card can only be used within the County borders.

Are you fully aware of root canals?

Sunday, March 27, marks the beginning of Root Canal Awareness Week in the United States. During this time, representatives of the American Association of Endodontists will be working to dispel the negative stigma surrounding root canals and to encourage patients who may be in need of a root canal to seek the treatment from an endodontist.

There are more than 15 million root canals performed each year in the United States, and it’s no wonder since the results of a survey suggest that 70 percent of Americans want to avoid losing their natural teeth. So why the need for a Root Canal Awareness Week?

Root canals have long  since been seen as negative, uncomfortable, last resort solutions to painful tooth problems. Endodontists want to reverse this negative perception of the treatment by empowering the public with knowledge of what root canals can achieve and dispelling theories that they are mercilessly painful.

According to some endodontists, a root canal might be the saving grace needed to maintain someone’s natural smile. President of the American Association of Endodontists, Dr. Clara M. Spatafore said, “Nothing looks, feels or functions as well as your natural teeth. Choosing to save a tooth with root canal treatment will help you sustain your ability to bite and chew and maintain the natural appearance of your smile.”

Campaign launched against unnecessary tooth removal

A new campaign has been launched in the UK to provide patients with more information about their options when it comes to treatment for damaged teeth.

The “Saving Teeth Awareness Campaign” claims that many people are unaware that teeth affected by infections can be saved by endontic procedures like root canal, rather than having them removed and facing lifelong dental problems where the gap exists.

There are three main messages that the campaigners are trying to get over to the public and dental professionals; saving a tooth is better for the health of your mouth, a well-treated tooth can survive for years and untreated infected teeth can cause major health problems, such as bone loss.

Leading root canal specialist Julian Webber is one of the men behind the “Saving Teeth Awareness Campaign”.

He said; “While an extraction is sometimes inevitable, it should not be regarded as the easy option. It’s true that it can be carried out quickly but afterwards, many patients will not want a gap in their mouth and will seek some form of replacement, whether it’s an implant, bridge or denture and these take time. Keeping your natural teeth is often more economical in the long-term as well as being better for health.”

Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, insists that root canal therapy is “a vital tool” in the battle against oral health problems, adding: “The Foundation thoroughly supports the aims of the Saving Teeth Awareness Campaign in raising public awareness of the value of root canal therapy as one of the means available to today’s modern dentist to help ensure all of the public achieve healthy teeth for life.”

US couple suing dentist

A married couple living in the United States are suing their dentist over work she carried out two years ago.

Mark and Kathy Kirby, who live in Madison County in Iowa, are suing their dentist Anna Smith and her employer, Dentistry with TLC, for allegedly performing unnecessary dental work. The couple also allege that the work which was carried out by Dr Smith was actually done to a very poor standard.

Dr Smith, who runs a surgery in the town of Godfrey, treated Kathy Kirby in the later time of 2008. According to the suit, which was recently filed at the Madison County Circuit Court, Kirby alleges that Dr Smith gave her needless root canal treatment at that time. She also states in the document that Dr Smith did not do an impressive job with the procedure and that her oral health deteriorated after the root canal had been carried out.

After her condition worsened, Kirby had to go to another dentist in the area so that the problems allegedly caused by Dr Smith could be fixed.

Kathy Kirby and her husband are suing Dr Smith and her employer for negligence, stating that the treatment was unnecessary in the first place and that once started was not completed to a satisfactory standard. The couple are seeking an unnamed amount of money in damages, asking for enough to cover loss of earnings while both Kathy and Mark Kirby had to take time off work in order for the problems caused by Dr Smith to be fixed. The couple are also demanding money to cover the medical costs incurred by the extra treatment required, loss of consortium and also their court fees.

The couple are represented by a local attorney and are seeking a jury trial in the case.

Dentists Back New Product

Leading dentists are already giving their backing to a new cutting edge product that is claimed to be “the ultimate dentine substitute”. Dentine is one of the substances that makes up the structure of a tooth, needed to support the enamel layer.

Biodentine was launched by manufacturer Septodont in September this year and has already been well received by dentists who see it as an ideal bioactive substitute where the natural dentine layer has been damaged, either in the crown or the root.

The new substance is better than the previous treatments as it promotes the healing of the pulp layer of the tooth, which often also becomes damaged if there are problems with dentine. Biodentine has the same properties as natural dentine and so works more effectively than previous products used in root canal surgery.

Dental surgeons all over the country have already started using biodentine to treat patients, and even in the short time it has been available on the UK market it is already improving the success of the various treatments to replace dentine layers in teeth.

Well-known endodontist Dr Julian Webber described Biodentine as “the perfect root canal repair material,” adding; “With its improved handling ability and quick setting time, Biodentine offers considerable advantages over other similar materials. I cannot recommend it more highly.”

Dental students at the University of Liverpool will find that the product will be introduced into their training as one of their professors is convinced that Biodentine will become the standard in root canal treatment in years to come. Professor Calum Youngson said of the product, “Biodentine finally provides us with a material that closely resembles lost dentine and has the potential to promote, rather than just allow, healing of the pulpitc tooth.”

Biodentine is not currently used at all dental surgeries across the UK, but will become more widely available, especially for private patients, over the next few months.

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