How to (Mentally) Prepare for a Root Canal

There’s a lot of humor out there about people being afraid of the dentist, but the jokes are very much rooted in truth. Plenty of people put off going to the dentist for services because they don’t want to climb into that chair for any reason, let alone a root canal!

But the truth is that a root canal in Charleston, WV is your best chance at saving the natural tooth, and you really should take the dentist up on their offer. We’ll look at how you can prepare yourself so it’s a little easier.

Open Up

You can find plenty of horror stories out there about painful root canals or root canals that went wrong. If these are the only stories you’re seeking out though, it’s time to talk to someone about your fears. Making assumptions is not going to help you in this case, particularly when it can stop you from getting something you really need.

So let your dentist know what you’ve been reading or ask questions about what’s going to happen during the procedure. If you’re going to a reputable dentist, one who uses the tools of modern dentistry, you should be in good hands.

Work Out a Signal

Sometimes you just need a break, whether it’s at work or during a root canal. There should be plenty of anesthetic during the procedure, which should mean that you won’t have to stop because of the pain. However, you may want at least an option to stop the procedure if you’re feeling overwhelmed. This little trick can do a lot for patients, even if they never use it. All it takes is raising a hand to pause the whole process.

Stay Busy

Meditation, music, visualization: there are plenty of ways to keep yourself busy during a root canal. And even if you don’t achieve full relaxation (or anything like it), it may help you take the worst of the edge off.

Find a Dentist in Charleston, WV

If you’re looking for a dentist in Charleston, WV, the friendly staff at the office of Michael J. Tupta, DDS can help you schedule an appointment. We’re here to talk you through whatever is bothering you, so you can focus on your oral health.

Boy at the dentist consultation. Checking and dental treatment in a clinic.

Why Choose Waterlase Over Traditional Dental Treatments

If you dread getting dental work done, you can look to Waterlase for relief from your anxieties. This innovative dental laser allows your Charleston dentist to take a gentler approach to cleanings, fillings, and other treatments. You can then handle all your dental care needs with confidence while enjoying all the following benefits offered by this innovative approach.

Get Pain- and Heat-Free Care

Waterlase eliminates the needs for drills, needles, scalers, and other sharp tools responsible for the pain you may feel while in the dental chair. Furthermore, there’s no vibration or heat, which virtually eliminates discomfort during all types of procedures. The dental laser just does the work without the fanfare all while you rest up for the remainder of your day.

Skip the Need for Anesthesia

Without any pain and discomfort to worry about, you can say goodbye to the need for anesthesia. This is great news for those who are sensitive or allergic to local anesthetics and nitrous oxide. Without the need for anesthesia, you can simply get the dental work done and move on with your day — all without having to wait for the numbness to wear off.

Eliminate the Fear Factor

By taking the needles, drills, and scrapers out of the equation, the fear factor dissipates fast. You can then look forward to getting your dental work out of the way without worry about pain and discomfort. After your first Waterlase visit, you might be surprised at how little anxiety you feel about making your next appointment.

Enjoy Great Results

With Waterlase treatments in Charleston, you’ll walk away from each appointment feeling like you didn’t have any work done. But when you look in the mirror, you’ll see great results as you gaze upon your clean teeth and healthy gums.

If you’d like to enjoy all the benefits of Waterlase, schedule your visit with Michael J. Tupta, DDS, with a call to 304-744-4150. No matter what care you need, we can use our dental laser to complete your treatments from start to finish. So, please feel free to give us a call any time you’d like to talk about how to improve your oral health.

Oh No! A Knocked-Out Tooth? Follow These Steps

No one ever expects to sustain a knocked-out tooth, but this could be deemed as one of the more common dental emergencies in Charleston, WV. Knowing what to do if one of your teeth is knocked out of pits socket can mean the difference in if the tooth can be saved. Take a look at the most important steps to take if one of your teeth is dislodged from its socket.

1. Retrieve the Tooth if Possible

If you can get your tooth back into place in its socket—even loosely—within five minutes, the tooth has the best chance of survival. The tooth still has a good rate of survival if you can get it back in place within an hour. Locate the tooth if at all possible, even if you have to enlist the help of several people to find it.

2. Clean the Tooth Gently and Place It

Once the tooth is found or if you already have it, pick the tooth up by the tooth and not the root. If the tooth is dirty, rinse it quickly with tap water. Avoid the temptation to scrub the tooth or rub it briskly in your hands as you wash.If possible, place the tooth back in the socket.

3. Contact the Dentist Immediately

Whether you can get the tooth back in the socket or not, contact a local dentist. Let them know the situation and that you need to be seen right away.

4. Prepare the Tooth for Transit If Necessary

If you were unable to place the tooth in the socket, you can either hold it in your mouth between your gum and cheek or place it in a small container or bag with milk—don’t use tap water. This keeps the tooth moist, so the fibers attached to the root survive.

Find Emergency Dental Care in Charleston, WV

When a tooth is knocked out, every minute can be critical. The longer the tooth is out of your mouth, the more it can be prone to being a total loss. Therefore, if you need help with a dislodged tooth, be sure to reach out to a dentist in Charleston, WV that offers emergency dental services like us here at the office of Dr. Michael J. Tupta, DDS.

Tips to Comfort Your Teething Baby

Even babies whose teeth have not yet come in can be susceptible to gum and teeth problems. But when teething does start, you’ll need to be ready. Your Charleston, West Virginia dentist wants you to know that there are safe ways to comfort your teething baby. The crying and discomfort of teething can be eased with a few simple, dentist-approved tips.

How to Know When Teething Starts

There are some common signs you can learn to recognize to know when teething starts. They are:

  • Inconsolable crying or fidgeting
  • Bottle or nipple refusal
  • Drooling
  • Swollen or red gums
  • Unusual sucking/chewing motions
  • Low-grade fever
  • White spots on gums

If your baby exhibits two or more of these symptoms, it’s possible that teething has started. Consult with your pediatrician or pediatric dentist to be sure.

Tips to Comfort Your Teething Baby

Following are the best tips that will help comfort your baby without jeopardizing their oral health.

Massage gums with warm fingers

Warm your clean index finger in a cup of warm water. Then gently massage the gums with a small bit of pressure. Don’t be surprised if baby falls asleep while you’re doing this!

Use a cold washcloth

An icy cold washcloth can help to numb the discomfort of teething. In Charleston, dentists recommend chilling a clean washcloth in the freezer for several minutes until it’s slightly frozen. Let your baby chew on the cloth under your watchful eyes.

Chill fruit snacks

If your baby is old enough to nibble on fruit, trying chilling it before you give to your baby. You can chill mashed mango or mashed bananas, as well as other fruits.

Massage cheeks

Try gently massaging the outside of your baby’s cheek with circular motions. The soothing sensation will feel good and help distract from the discomfort.

Chill pacifier

If your baby uses a pacifier, keep a spare one in the refrigerator. The cold may help soothe aching gums. When one has come down to room temperature, replace it with a freshly chilled one.

Monitor temperature

Even though it’s natural for teething babies to have a low-grade fever, that doesn’t mean you should let the fever run rampant. If it climbs higher than about 99 degrees, consult with your dentist about getting teething medication.

These tips will help you and your baby get through the teething process as smoothly as possible. When you’re ready to bring your baby in to see your Charleston dentist, contact us to book your appointment!

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

If you’ve been going to your dentist in Charleston on a regular basis, you know that x-rays are frequently part of your visit. X-rays help your Charleston dentist to detect and diagnose dental health problems. They also factor in what kinds of treatment your dentist can provide. However, health-conscious people often ask, are dental X-rays safe? Here’s what you need to know about the safety of dental X-rays.

What Are Dental X-Rays?

Dental X-rays are radiographic images of your teeth, jawbone, and tissues. X-rays use low-level radiation to “see” beyond the surface level. Dental X-rays enable your dentist in Charleston to find issues like deteriorating jawbone, shrinking gums, impacted teeth, and more. Dental X-rays have been in use now for several decades and they are considered safe as long as they are done using safety protocols.

Risks of X-Rays

There are some risks associated with radiation, in general, that should be understood. Severe and chronic radiation exposure has been linked to an increased risk of developing cancer, brain tumors, and thyroid problems. In addition, in pregnant women, severe and chronic radiation exposure has been linked to birth defects.

Now, it’s important to understand that the dental X-rays you receive at the dentist’s office do not expose you to high levels of radiation or chronic levels of radiation. So essentially, there are little to no risks of radiation exposure from dental X-rays.

How Your Dentist in Charleston Protects You

When you get dental X-rays, your dentist takes several precautionary steps to protect you. First of all, your dentist never gives you X-rays unless they are needed. X-rays are not a “routine,” and they are only used to help your dentist to understand the condition of your oral health. Second, your dental team places a lead blanket over the susceptible areas of your body, including your thyroid gland and torso. Finally, dental X-rays are not done on women who are expecting which is why your dentist asks about that situation when you come in for a visit.

Your dentist in Charleston uses only high quality X-ray equipment to help to ensure your safety. If you have any questions about dental X-rays or our X-rays protocol in the future, please feel free to contact us.

 

Easy Ways to Keep Gums Healthy

Your Charleston dentist wants you to know that oral health can be achieved with consistent habits and proper, routine dental care. The foundation to healthy teeth and a beautiful smile is healthy gums. Here are the easiest ways to keep gums healthy for a lifetime.

Floss Regularly

Every time you eat, tiny bits of food get trapped in between teeth and at the gumline. Regular brushing and rinsing can help, but often, there are still bits of food that can’t be reached. Regular flossing ensures that you remove these tiny bits of food so that bacteria doesn’t buildup and destroy your oral health.

Get Professional Dental Cleanings

Dental cleanings go beyond brushing, rinsing, and flossing. Your dental hygienist not only cleans above and below the gum line; they also look for signs that can lead to gum disease. That way, preventative treatments can be done to help protect your teeth. Dentists recommend cleanings at least every six months.

Avoid Smoking

Smoking is one of the leading causes of teeth and gum disease. Even though it may be hard to believe that smoke can cause gum problems, it most certainly does. One reason is that smoking lowers your immune system so that your gums have a harder time fighting off harmful bacteria. Try to quit smoking using ideas your doctor recommends, such as nicotine patches.

Don’t Drink From the Mouthwash Bottle

Many people, especially single folks, assume that it’s okay to drink from the mouthwash bottle since they are the only ones in the household. However, bacteria from your mouth can get into the bottle when you drink from it, thereby rendering the sterilized mouthwash contaminated with bacteria. Instead, use disposable paper cups and use them each time you use your mouthwash.

Use Therapeutic Mouthwash

Everyone wants to have fresh breath, but some of the nice-smelling mouthwashes don’t offer germ-killing benefits. Make sure you choose a therapeutic mouthwash that’s recommended by your dentist. Many of them now come in refreshing flavors that also leave your breath smelling nice.

Contact your Charleston dentist whenever you have concerns about the health of your teeth and gums. And remember, regular dentist appointments are your best defense against gum disease.

 

Treatments For Swollen Gums

An important part of your oral health, swollen gums can make life miserable. Sensitive and painful, they are prone to bleeding when you are brushing or flossing, creating even more problems. Caused most often by such things as gingivitis, malnutrition, infections caused by such problems as tooth decay or herpes, and even pregnancy, it is crucial you address the problem as soon as possible. As for the most common ways swollen gums are treated, there are various medical and home treatment options.

Diagnosing the Problem

If your gums remain swollen for at least two weeks, see your dentist. Along with taking dental x-rays and asking you various health-related questions, your dentist may also order blood tests to determine if you have an infection. If you are pregnant or have had recent dietary changes, be sure to mention this during your visit.

Medical Treatments

If your swollen gums present a serious problem, certain medical treatments may be necessary. While it may be as simple as your dentist prescribing oral rinses and special types of toothpaste, you may also need antibiotics if an infection is present. Should your condition be severe due to gingivitis, surgical procedures such as scaling and root planing may be needed. When this is done, your dentist will scrape away tartar, plaque, and diseased gum tissue from the roots of your teeth, thus letting the remaining healthy gums begin to heal.

Home Treatments

If you have a milder case of swollen gums or have to wait a few days to see your dentist, there are numerous home treatments you can use that are helpful. To begin with, avoid irritants such as alcohol, tobacco, and strong mouthwashes. For many people, rinsing their mouths with a saltwater solution brings relief, while at the same time ridding their mouths of bacteria. Also, you may want to place a warm compress on your face, since this will ease the pain. If you need to decrease swelling, try a cold compress. Finally, drinking plenty of water can stimulate saliva production and reduce bacteria, while brushing and flossing gently can also help.

Since your gums are so important to your oral and overall health, contact your dentist as soon as possible should you have concerns about how to proceed.

 

3 Ways Intraoral Cameras May Be Used During Your Dental Exam

Technology has its place in pretty much all types of medical care, but technology is just as important in the dental care field. Intraoral cameras are a good example. These advanced cameras are very small and may be used during a checkup or during treatment as an assistive technology to the dentist’s work.

1. The dentist may use the camera to get a closer look at a problematic spot.

Even though a dentist is specifically trained to know what they are looking at when they see an issue on a tooth or in your mouth, it can be hard to get close enough to get a good visual look at an issue. Intraoral cameras are small devices that easily fit inside the mouth and can be pointedly placed or aimed at a certain area so the dentist can get an up-close look and make a proper diagnosis.

2. The dentist may use the camera to show you certain attributes of your teeth.

The dentist can tell you what problems with your teeth are, but it is so much better if they can actually show you the problems so you can get a look. The intraoral camera can be connected to an external monitor so you can see exactly what the dentist is looking at when they mention an issue. For example, if you have an area of decay in between two teeth where you can’t see, the intraoral camera can be used to show you what the decay looks like and where it is located.

3. The dentist may use the camera to perform certain dental treatments.

Intraoral cameras may also be used during specific dental treatments. For instance, a camera may be held in place while a dentist does a small filling in a damaged tooth so they have a more precise look at the issue and what needs to be done to correct it.

Schedule Your Appointment for a Dental Checkup in Charleston, WV

Whether it is intraoral cameras or other advanced equipment, these tools make it possible for you to get the best of care for your oral health possible. Reach out to us at the office of Michael J. Tupta DDS to schedule an appointment for a thorough dental checkup today.

 

Are You Experiencing Gum Sensitivity? Here’s What You Need to Know?

Gum sensitivity is one of those dental health issues that sometimes sneaks up on people, which is why some patients struggle with pinpointing an accurate time frame for this condition. However, because gum disease is progressive, it’s important to pay attention to the small, initial signs so that treatment measures can be taken. Gum tissue is amazingly resilient, and patients often find that tenderness, redness, and other signs that gum disease may be on the horizon subside substantially and may even disappear with the right course fo treatment. Here’s what you need to know if you’re experiencing gum sensitivity:

Gum Sensitivity May Signal the Onset of Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a condition that causes sensitivity in the gum tissues. Gums may also be swollen and red, and sometimes, they bleed during or after brushing and/or flossing. Unfortunately, many people tend to put off seeing their dentist when they first notice the signs that gingivitis may be in the house, especially if the symptoms are mild. This is the absolute wrong approach, however — like many dental health issues, gingivitis can actually be reversed if it’s caught early enough. If you don’t catch it early enough, it can develop into a more serious condition of periodontal disease.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a late-stage gum disease with the potential to result in a variety of adverse conditions. Patients who have developed periodontal disease often experience tooth loss, and if the infection becomes serious enough, it may enter the bloodstream and become systemic, which may possibly affect the body’s major organs.

What to Do for Sensitive Gum Tissue

One of the first things you should do if you notice a sudden onset of sensitivity in your gum tissues is to step up your oral hygiene routine. If your toothbrush is sharp and stiff, exchanging it for one that’s soft may be all that’s necessary. You should also add an antibacterial mouthwash to your oral care routine. If sensitivity doesn’t subside after taking these measures, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your oral health care provider.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at your convenience if you have questions about keeping your gum tissues healthy or if you’d like to schedule an appointment.

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Procrastinate on Dental Care

When it comes to making and keeping dentist appointments, some people are better than others. If you’re a person who regularly procrastinates on dental care, you may also put off dental problems that come up, or even your personal dental hygiene. Here are X reasons why you should never procrastinate on caring for your teeth and gums.

1. If You Put Off Brushing and Flossing, You Invite Cavities

Experts advise that you brush and floss as soon as possible after each meal. The reason for this is that food gets trapped in between teeth and becomes food for bacteria. As bacteria multiply, they may end up causing cavities in your teeth. The sooner you can remove this trapped food, the better your chances at avoiding cavities. So try to make an effort to brush and floss immediately after eating.

2. If You Avoid the Dentist, Problems Only Escalate

Your dentist has many tools and treatments available to take care of any dental problem that you have. But the earlier your dentist can treat you, the less complicated—and less costly—the treatment will be. When you avoid the dentist, those problems only get worse. Eventually, you could end up with full -blown periodontitis or worse. So why let something small escalate into something more serious? Visit your dentist at least once every six months.

3. If You Ignore Signs of Trouble, You Could End up in Emergency Care

Your teeth and gums always give warning signs when something is amiss. Sometimes it’s swollen or bleeding gums, a tiny throbbing in a tooth, pain when exposed to cold beverages, or something else. These little signs should never be ignored. In other words, they will become big problems, not little ones. They won’t go away on their own. What might happen is that you end up in excruciating pain suddenly and have to rush in to get emergency treatment. And it could have all been avoided if you hadn’t ignored the signs. If you suspect there’s something going on that shouldn’t contact your dentist right away to have it checked out.

Never procrastinate on dental care. These three reasons should help you to see how important it is to have regular dental visits your entire life.