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Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By STEVEN M. ERLANDSON, DDS
July 10, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Root Canal  

Do you have ongoing tooth pain? Maybe you're experiencing severe, lingering tooth sensitivity to hot or cold food and drink. Have you Root_Canalbeen avoiding chewing on one side of your mouth because it hurts to bite down? These and other signs could indicate that you need a root canal to save a dying tooth.

If you are having tooth pain similar to that described above, your family dentist, Dr. Steven Erlandson, can be your root canal expert in Grand Forks, ND.

 

Root canal symptoms

A root canal is a procedure that treats pain and removes dead tooth nerves to preserve your natural tooth. Common root canal symptoms include:

  • Sharp pain when biting down on food. This can be caused by tooth decay, a cracked tooth, a filling, or damage to tooth pulp.
  • Aching that lingers for 30 seconds or more after eating hot or cold foods. This symptom indicates irreversible damage to your tooth pulp.
  • Shooting pains in the tooth or gums that are bad enough to wake you up at night. This is a symptom of a tooth infection, or a dying tooth root.
  • Constant pain in the tooth or gums. This indicates an abscessed tooth.

Each of these symptoms suggests that the pulp inside your tooth is dead or dying, and may even have an infection. The infection is referred to as an abscessed tooth, which can usually be saved with root canal therapy.

When you experience these warning signs, it is important to seek dental care as soon as possible. If you wait to get help from a dental professional, you limit the chance that your natural tooth can be saved.

Root canal therapy allows your family dentist in Grand Forks, ND, to keep the structure of your real tooth, while eliminating the source of your pain.

 

Interested? Give us a call!

If you are experiencing some or all of the symptoms mentioned above, it may be time for an appointment. Call your family dentist today at (701) 772-6581 to schedule a root canal consultation in the Grand Forks, ND, area.

By Steven M. Erlandson, DDS
June 09, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
NotSoFastReplacingThatTooth-ConsiderSavingitFirst

Dental implants have soared in popularity thanks to their life-likeness, functionality and durability. But these prized qualities have also created an ironic downside—people are much more likely to replace a tooth with an implant rather than go through the time and effort to preserve it.

We say downside because even though an implant is as close to a real tooth as we can now achieve in dentistry, it still can't rival the real thing. It's usually in your long-term health interest to save a tooth if reasonably possible. And, there are effective ways to do so.

Most dental problems arise from two common oral diseases. One is tooth decay, caused by contact with acid produced by bacteria living in dental plaque. We can often minimize the damage by treating the early cavities decay can create. But if we don't treat it in time, the decay can advance into the tooth's pulp chamber, putting the tooth in danger of loss.

We can intervene, though, using root canal therapy, in which we drill into the tooth to access its interior. We clean out the decayed tooth structure, remove the diseased pulp tissue and fill the empty chamber and root canals to seal the tooth and later crown it to further protect it from re-infection.

Periodontal (gum) disease also begins with bacteria, but in this case the infection is in the gum tissues. Over time the ensuing inflammation locks into battle with the plaque-fueled infection. This stalemate ultimately weakens gum attachment, the roots and supporting bone that can also increases risk for tooth loss.

We can stop a gum infection through a variety of techniques, all following a similar principle—completely removing any accumulated plaque and tartar from the teeth and gums. This stops the infection and starts the process of gum and bone healing.

You should be under no illusions that either of these approaches will be easy. Advanced tooth decay can be complex and often require the skills of an endodontist (a specialist in root canals). Likewise, gum disease may require surgical intervention. But even with these difficulties, it's usually worth it to your dental health to consider saving your tooth first before you replace it with an implant.

If you would like more information on how best to treat a problem tooth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Save a Tooth or Get an Implant?

By Steven M. Erlandson, DDS
May 10, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: porcelain veneers  
TransformingYourSmilewithVeneersStepbyStep

Dental veneers are a great way to transform a smile without the expense or effort often required of other restorations. These thin layers of dental material adhere to the front of teeth as a "mask" to cover chips, heavy staining or other blemishes.

Still, veneers require attention to detail for a successful outcome. Here's a step-by-step look at changing your dental appearance with veneers.

Step 1: Considering your options. While most veneers are made of dental porcelain, composite resin materials are increasingly popular. Although more prone to chipping or staining, composite veneers don't require a dental lab for fabrication. Another option, depending on your dental situation, are ultra-thin veneers that require little to no tooth preparation. Your dentist will help you decide which options are best for you.

Step 2: "Test driving" your new smile. We can help you "see" your future smile with special software that creates a computer image of your teeth with the planned veneers. We can also use composite material to fabricate a "trial smile" to temporarily place on your teeth that can give you the feel as well as the look of your future smile.

Step 3: Preparing your teeth. Unless you're getting no-prep veneers, we'll need to modify your teeth before attaching veneers. Although only 0.3 to 0.7 millimeters thick, veneers can still appear bulky on unprepared teeth. They'll look more natural if we first remove a small amount of enamel. A word of caution, though: although slight, this enamel removal permanently alters your teeth that will require them to have some form of restoration from then on.

Step 4: Attaching your new veneers. After the planning phase (which includes color matching to blend the veneers with the rest of your teeth), a dental lab creates your veneers if you've opted for porcelain. After they're delivered, we'll clean and etch the teeth with a mild acidic gel to increase the bonding effect. We'll then permanently attach the veneers to your teeth with a very thin but ultra-strong resin luting cement that creates a unified bond between the veneers and teeth.

Following these steps is the surest way to achieve a successful outcome. With due care you're sure to enjoy the effects for a long time to come.

If you would like more information on changing your smile with veneers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Porcelain Veneers: Your Smile—Better than Ever.”

By Steven M. Erlandson, DDS
April 30, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants   dentures  
DentureswithImplantsCouldHelpYouAvoidBoneLoss

Even with modern prevention and treatment advances, losing teeth in later life is still a sad but common part of human experience. Just as generations have before, many today rely on dentures to regain their lost dental function and smile.

But although effective, dentures have their weaknesses. The most serious: they can't prevent jawbone deterioration, a common problem associated with tooth loss.

Bone health depends on chewing forces applied to the teeth to stimulate replacement growth for older bone cells. When teeth are gone, so is this stimulation. Dentures can't replicate the stimulus and may even accelerate bone loss because they can irritate the bone under the gums as they rest upon them for support.

But there's a recent advance in denture technology that may help slow or even stop potential bone loss. The advance incorporates implants with dentures to create two hybrid alternatives that may be more secure and healthier for the supporting bone.

The first is known as an overdenture, a removable appliance similar to a traditional denture. But instead of deriving its support from the gums alone, the overdenture attaches to three to four implants (or only two, if on the lower jaw) that have been permanently set into the jawbone. This not only increases stability, but the implants made of bone-friendly titanium attract and foster increased bone growth around them. This can help slow or even stop the cycle of bone loss with missing teeth.

The second type is a fixed denture. In this version, four to six implants are implanted around the jaw arch. The denture is then secured in place to these implants with screws. It's a little more secure than the overdenture, but it's also more expensive and requires good quality bone at the implant sites.

If you've already experienced significant bone loss you may first need bone grafting to build up the implant sites for these options, or choose traditional dentures instead. But if you're a good candidate for an implant-supported denture, you may find it provides better support and less risk of continuing bone loss than traditional dentures.

If you would like more information on implant-supported dental restorations, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Overdentures & Fixed Dentures.”

By STEVEN M. ERLANDSON, DDS
April 16, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

Dr. Steven Erlandson, a family dentist in Grand Forks, ND, has several years of experience treating missing teeth and placing dental dental implantsimplants.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are titanium screws inserted into your jawbone to host and replace missing teeth. It is a minor surgical procedure. Once placed, the bone grows around the implanted screw. This entire process, called osseointegration, takes three to six months. When it is done healing, the base (abutment) and porcelain dental crown are attached to the screw. Dental implants also support dentures with the use of four implants.

 How many teeth are replaced?

You can replace as many missing teeth as needed. It may take longer to complete and heal from implants when multiples are inserted at once. Dr. Steven Erlandson will consult with you on this matter.

 Is dental implant surgery painful?

Your Grand Forks dentist uses anesthesia, either local or general, during the procedure. It numbs you and the affected areas. This makes the entire process comfortable and tolerable.

 Are dental implants a cost-effective choice?

Dental implants are more expensive than other dental procedures, like bridgework, but are more durable and long-lasting than other procedures. The strength and quality of the implants make it cost-effective in the long run.

 How does someone care for dental implants?

Dental implants don't require special care. Just maintain proper dental hygiene habits like:

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day for a minimum of two minutes

  • Flossing at least once a day

  • Regular bi-annual dental checkups

  • Replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months or when necessary

Are dental implants rejected?

Dental implants are made out of titanium which is biocompatible. They have a ninety-five percent success rate.

 Who is a good candidate for dental implants?

An oral examination and x-ray assess a person's candidacy for the procedure. The patient needs to have strong bone density and quality.

 Who should you call for a consultation?

Dental implants are a great solution for permanently fixing missing teeth. If you would like more information about dental implants from Dr. Steven Erlandson in Grand Forks, ND, call his office at (701) 772-6581 to learn more.