What Is a Molar Root Canal?

There are very few dental procedures that inspire as much fear as a root canal. A root canal is a procedure that removes dead or dying tissue and bacteria from the inside of a tooth. This happens when the pulp of the tooth becomes infected following an injury or severe untreated cavity.

The root canal procedure itself is somewhat complicated, but it's routine enough that most dentists perform them frequently. To do this, a dentist or endodontist must first numb the tooth. Then, they must drill into the tooth and, using a small tool, remove the infected tooth pulp. The remaining structure of the tooth is then irrigated and treated with an antimicrobial treatment. The tooth is then dried and filled with a substance called gutta percha. The dentist may next place a temporary crown on the tooth, to be replaced by a permanent crown within several weeks.

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Don’t Forget These Back-to-School Supplies This Fall

You’ve bought the new backpacks, replaced last year’s paper and pencils, and you’ve even taken care of the back-to-school haircuts. But if it still feels like you’re forgetting something important, when was the last time you checked up on your child’s oral health? Here are some oral health updates that you should consider before sending your children back to school this year.

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Now Is the Time for a Smile Makeover

With children of all ages heading back to school, some parents are no doubt breathing a collective sigh of relief, while some are trying to be brave and not cry as they bid farewell to their kids in this new chapter in their lives. But whether your child is heading off to school for the first time or leaving the nest for good, now is the perfect time to focus on someone who probably hasn’t gotten a lot of attention lately: you.

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How to Help Kids Ace Their Dental Exams This Back-to-School Season

When most kids think of summer vacation, they think of staying up late, sleeping in and endless hours of outdoor play. What they probably aren’t thinking much about - but you should be thinking about - are exams. No, not math tests and chemistry finals, but dental exams! The end of summer is a great time to schedule your child’s annual or semi-annual dental exam and cleaning. In fact, a recent study by Delta Dental found that 31 percent of school-aged children have missed at least one full day of school to deal with a dental problem.

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What Is the ADA Patient’s Bill of Rights?

Whether you’re starting at a new dentist (welcome!) or a longtime patient, it's vitally important as a patient that you know your rights. That’s why organizations like the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and, yes, even the American Dental Association have their own "Patient’s Bill of Rights" to show patients what they can – and should – expect when being treated by a clinician.

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Does ‘Oil Pulling’ Really Work?

A question we hear a lot around here is, "Should I be oil pulling?" Well, the answer to that may come as a surprise to some.

Before we get into the good and bad of oil pulling, let's discuss what exactly it is. Oil pulling is an ancient ayurvedic practice that has been done for centuries to draw toxins from the body. Recently, it has become popular in mainstream culture as a way to whiten teeth and clean the mouth. The idea is you put coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around for 20 minutes a day, and voila - instantly whiter smile! But does it work?

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The Truth About Chewing Gum

According to Wikipedia, chewing gum has been around in some form since the Neolithic Period. In fact, a 6000-year-old piece of birch bark tar that was used as chewing gum was recently found in Kierikki, Finland in 2007, proving that chewing gum- or something like it- has been a favorite pastime for centuries.
But today, despite its popularity there’s still a whole lot of misinformation out there about gum. In honor of summer winding down and school starting up in the coming weeks, here are some fast facts about this fascinating product that’s almost as well-known for its dislike by teachers as it is for anything else!

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Sleep Apnea May Have Contributed to The Death of This Pop Culture Icon

The Los Angeles County coroner’s office has released what they believe to be the cause of Carrie Fisher’s death: "sleep apnea and a combination of other factors."  Known best for her role as Princess Leia Organa in the Star Wars franchise, Fisher died on December 23, 2016, four days after experiencing a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles. She was 60 years old.

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The Hidden Dangers of Oral Piercings

It’s not exactly new information that oral piercings can be bad for your oral health, but a new study from the University Center for Dentistry at the University of Basel in Switzerland has just revealed that oral piercings may be more dangerous than oral health professionals initially thought.
What we did know about oral piercings is that in addition to the piercing itself leaving the mouth vulnerable to bacterial infection, the jewelry itself can often cause damage to the teeth in the form of cracked and chipped teeth, or even temporary or permanent speech impediments if worn for too long.

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Today’s Gum Treatments Are More Comfortable Than Ever

If you’ve ever experienced the painful effects of periodontal disease, you probably know that sometimes the treatment can be just as agonizing as the illness itself. Or at least that’s how it used to be, anyway. Today, with the help of laser technologies like the kind used in laser-assisted new attachment procedure (or LANAP), treating periodontal disease doesn’t have to be painful anymore.

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Brush Up on Back-to-School Oral Health

As the summer starts to wind down and our focus starts to shift from beach days to backpacks and binders, it’s also a valuable time to remember our kids’ oral health. Whether you’re sending your student off to college or just starting his journey in kindergarten, incorporating a dental exam into your child’s back-to-school preparation is essential. Here’s your back-to-school oral health checklist.

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The Fluoride Debate

There’s no shortage of controversial topics on the news most evenings, but there’s at least one topic that shouldn’t be as controversial as it seems. It’s the great debate many towns across America are facing these days: to fluoridate or not to fluoridate the water - that, as they say, is the question. So, who’s right: The anti-fluoride activists who claim that fluoridating the water supply can cause everything from low IQ to cancer, or the medical community who say fluoridating the water helps reduce dental caries (cavities)? Decide for yourself.

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Wise Investment or Waste of Money?

Self-brushing toothbrushes. Waterpiks. UV teeth-whitening lights. With so many oral health innovations on the marketing – and so many more coming out each year - it can be overwhelming to consumers to know which products work, and which ones just aren't worth the investment. After all, why spend $200 on a whitening kit if it’s no more effective than your $4 whitening toothpaste? Here, we'll go over some of the more popular at-home products to help you decide which ones to buy.

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Don’t Try This at Home: Leave This Repair to the Experts

There’s a certain sense of accomplishment you can only get from completing a do-it-yourself (or DIY) project – especially if that project is something you’ve never tried before. But sometimes in life there are DIY projects that you really shouldn’t do yourself, not just because they’re too difficult, but also because they can be extremely dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Such is the case with many at-home dental treatments. While some may promise results that rival a professional job, the risks involved make them not worth the effort. Here’s one dental treatment you should definitely not try at home.

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Life Hack: Caring for Teeth with Braces

It’s no secret that orthodontic treatment can be a major investment. Even if your insurance plan covers them partially, there is often a lifetime max that may or may not allow you to treat other members of the family later. Suffice it to say, when you get braces, it’s in your own best interest to take care of your teeth. After all, you wouldn’t buy a Ferrari and then never change the oil, right? What’s the point of investing all that money in your teeth only to neglect caring for them while they’re being treated?

That being said, caring for teeth with braces can be extremely difficult. All those wires and brackets, expanders, rubber bands - even clear aligners have their own set of challenges. So how do you care for your teeth with all these obstacles in the way? Sure, there are tried-and-true methods, but they take time and can be difficult - and that’s just for adults. If you have teens or children with braces, you can pretty much guarantee they’re not taking care of their braces as carefully as they should be. If you’re doing the braces-cleaning labor for your kids, that’s great - but even guardians can use a helping hand, right?

Thankfully, there are some hacks that simplify care for your orthodontics. Try these methods for a faster - but no less effective - orthodontic cleaning experience.

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What Happens When Adult Teeth Don’t Come In?

Growing up, there are many things we can usually rely on in life. We will most likely get taller, our bodies will get stronger, and our baby, or primary, teeth will fall out and be replaced by adult, or permanent, teeth. But sometimes, things don’t go according to plan. We may not get very tall or have muscles like The Rock, and sometimes we don’t get all our adult teeth like we should. For some people, the baby tooth that’s keeping the place for the MIA adult tooth never falls out, so at least there isn't an empty space where a tooth should be. But just because there’s a tooth in that spot doesn’t mean it should stay there. If you’re an adult with a not-so-grown-up baby tooth hanging around in your mouth, here’s why you should consider having it removed.

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Skip the Tooth Jewelry Trend, Please!

It wasn’t too long ago that you couldn’t turn on the TV or open an entertainment magazine without seeing the form of tooth-jewelry known as a grill. If you don’t remember that unfortunate time in oral-health history, grills are those silver or gold plates that fit over the front teeth that are often decorated with jewels. Grills can be removable or permanently adhered to the teeth- and are often considered a status symbol. But grills have their downside, too. Aside from looking aesthetically unattractive to many, the American Dental Association has warned that permanent grills can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Removable grills carry a much lower risk but can still damage the teeth- especially if they don’t fit properly. Thankfully, the grill trend has mostly died down, but a new way to ‘bling out’ the teeth is on the rise, and users should proceed with caution.

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What Makes Some Veneers Better Than Others?

Porcelain veneers can make a big difference in changing the look and feel of your teeth - but not all veneers are created equally. While you may think that any veneer is better than no veneer, this isn’t always true. After all, if you’re making the investment in your smile, doesn’t it make sense to do the job right the first time? Don’t settle for mediocre or bad veneers if you don’t have to!

Curious about what sets a good veneer apart from a bad veneer? Here’s what you should know before taking the plunge into porcelain veneers.

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Botox From the Dentist?

You may never have known about it, but across America, there’s a controversy that’s been brewing for years involving a very popular cosmetic filler. That’s because, depending on where you live, your dentist may be able to inject you with the cosmetic filler Botox - and not everyone thinks it’s a good idea.

Here in California, dentists cannot inject patients with Botox for cosmetic purposes. Many other states have the same law. This was done to protect patients from practitioners who may not have the skills and training to administer Botox. However, dentists arguably know the muscles and nerves around the mouth and face better than any other type of doctor, including plastic surgeons.

The good news is that your dentist can inject you with Botox for medical purposes! In fact, you may never have realized it, but Botox can be used to help alleviate the pain from some very common dental issues.

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How to Handle Dental Faux Pas


It’s a scenario we’ve probably all encountered at least once before, and if you haven’t yet, chances are you will eventually: the dental faux pas. Boss got broccoli stuck in his teeth? Co-worker with offensive breath? New boyfriend’s mother has lipstick on her teeth? How do you tell someone you aren’t exactly BFFs with that they’ve got a dental hygiene problem without making the situation worse?

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