Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Laser Dentistry

Laser Dentistry – The Future is Here
What if you could have your next filling done without a shot or without a drill? In many cases it’s now possible. You won’t miss the needle, and you won’t miss the numb lip afterwards when you have your teeth fixed using the DELight Laser. The laser makes it comfortable for everyone, from children to adults. In addition to comfort, the laser makes your teeth less likely to need crowns and root canals in the future. Unlike drills, the laser doesn’t cause microcracking of the teeth. The laser actually sterilizes the tooth as the decay is being removed. The result is less chance of a cracked tooth or tooth decay under the filling in the future – thus, no need for root canals and crowns. If you’ve been putting off going to the dentist because you hate drills and needles, you don’t have to put it off any longer. We are very proud to offer this new technology to our patients.

Springhill Dental, PLLC
3401 Springhill Drive, Suite 285
North Little Rock, AR 72117
Telephone: (501) 955-0155

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Dentist North Little Rock AR - Springhill Dental: You've got to be less sensitive about things!

Check out my latest blog post on sensitive teeth!
Dentist North Little Rock AR - Springhill Dental: You've got to be less sensitive about things!: One of the most common issues I see every day at Springhill Dental are people with sensitive teeth. These are people complaining of teeth hu...

You've got to be less sensitive about things!

One of the most common issues I see every day at Springhill Dental are people with sensitive teeth. These are people complaining of teeth hurting due to hot, cold, or sweet foods or drinks. I’m sure you have seen the commercials on tv for Sensodyne, Crest Sensitive, and all the other toothpaste brands trying to get you to buy their products. In this post I want to explain some of the most common causes of sensitive teeth and some ways you can reduce the sensitivity.
Let's talk tooth anatomy!
First off, what causes teeth to be sensitive. Well, let’s explain how teeth “feel” hot or cold. Let’s have a tooth anatomy lesson. A tooth has three layers:
1.       Enamel—The hard outer layer that acts to protect the dentin and pulp.
2.       Dentin—The middle layer which acts to support the enamel and as insulation over the pulp.
3.       Pulp—The inner layer which contains the nerves and blood vessels.

Cross section of a tooth showing the three layers.

When a person drinks hot or cold, this causes a change in pressure inside of the tooth. You can see this occur when a sealed plastic bottle is heated and it expands or if it is cooled and it contracts. This change in pressure inside of the tooth causes irritation to the nerve, which is transmitted as pain to the brain.
Now that we know how a change in temperature in the mouth can cause pain with a tooth, let’s talk about the possible reasons why a tooth would become more sensitive to these changes. Sometimes the reason people’s teeth or mouth is hurting is obvious. Sometimes though it takes some thought, and I have to go through a number of tests, x-rays, and lengthy exams in order to find the cause of people’s pain. I really enjoy this part of my job. I love that “Aha!” moment when I discover the culprit and find the cause of a person’s dental pain. Tooth sensitivity to temperature changes is often one of those problems that I have to play detective on to find the cause. (For the record I hate it for the patient! I don’t want anybody having dental pain and would be glad to spend every day looking at perfect mouths that don’t need any dental work.)
What's causing those teeth to hurt?
The first and most common is tooth decay. When a tooth develops a cavity, the enamel and dentin become weakened. This loss if insulation over the nerve can cause more sensitivity. How dentists treat decay is to remove all the weakened tooth structure and place a filling or cover it with a crown. If the decay goes untreated and enters into the pulp, this causes inflammation, which causes the nerve to become hypersensitive. Eventually this causes the nerve to die, causing the tooth to require a root canal or to have the tooth removed.
Another common cause of sensitivity is root sensitivity. This occurs when a person has gum recession. Recession occurs when a person loses bone and attachment around a tooth. The root of the tooth has less insulation over the pulp. It also has exposed dentin tubules. Ok, another dental anatomy lesson here. When the dentin develops, it’s actually not a solid block, but instead develops as tubes radiating out from the pulp. It’s a lot like Swiss cheese except the holes radiate from the center. The ends of the tubules are normally sealed by enamel.

This image shows the exposed tubules on the root of the tooth.
Sometimes nerve endings will radiate into the tubules.
However, there isn’t any enamel on the root, so these open tubules are exposed to heat, cold, and irritation from sugar, food, brushing, etc. There are a variety of treatments for root sensitivity. I personally like to start very conservative. This usually consists of using a combination of over-the-counter sensitivity toothpaste and prescription strength fluoride toothpaste. I have found this combination to be very successful. These two types of toothpastes will build a layer of insulation over the root, thus clogging the open tubules. If this treatment doesn’t work, my next treatment is to bond a filling over the root which seals the tubules and adds more insulation over the root. If this treatment doesn’t work, which is very rare, the tooth may need a root canal to remove the nerve from the tooth.
One other possible cause of sensitive teeth that should be mentioned is people grinding their teeth. Grinding your teeth can mildly irritate the nerve, causing them to become sensitive. Over time teeth are worn down from the grinding, thus reducing the insulation over the nerve. This also can cause sensitivity. I have even seen teeth that were worn down so bad from bruxism, the teeth abscessed and needed root canals or had to be removed. Usually teeth that are severely worn down require crowns to cover and protect the tooth. If most or all of the teeth are worn down, the patient may require full mouth reconstruction of their teeth and bite.

This poor person has a severe problem with grinding.
The only long term option is likely full mouth reconstruction or an upper denture.

There are other possible reasons that teeth can be sensitive. These include such things as cracked teeth or deep fillings and crowns. I plan on addressing both of these problems in future posts. If you have sensitive teeth, then I strongly encourage you to talk to your dentist about your problem. We dentists are here to help you with your oral health problems and want your teeth and mouth to look and feel the best it can.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

I can't believe I'm actually blogging!

Welcome to my blog!
Well, I never thought I would be blogging. I never really believed that I have enough deep, inner thoughts and knowledge on subjects that would be worth putting out there in cyberspace for the world to read. However in the past few months, my opinions and attitudes have changed. The more I’ve dwelled on it and the more I have read other people’s blogs, specifically a couple dental blogs, the more I have had to desire to start my own. There are a couple dentists that I follow their blog religiously that have been my inspiration.
One is The Curious Dentist that is done by Dr. Chris Salierno. Dr. Salierno writes some great articles for dentists that are full of information concerning patient care and practice management. Dr. Salierno is clearly one of those dentist who is trying to do things the right way and treat patients with the best possible care.
The other blog I follow regularly is Dr. Mike Barr’s blog The Dental Warrior. Dr. Barr’s blog is also aimed at dentists, but has many articles that have nothing to do with dentistry. I’ve been following Dr. Barr’s blog for a while, and I can honestly say he is one of the smartest men I know.
So mainly thanks to these two guys, I find myself inspired to start my own blog. My vision for this blog is to spread information about dental subjects to patients. Most of what we do in dentistry is routine. Now before you say anything, I know all of you patients reading this are thinking, “Routine? Going to the dentist is not routine!!!” Trust me, I understand that. What I mean by this is that probably 80-90% of the stuff I see in one day is the same stuff I see everybody day. We get asked the same questions every day. We do the same procedures every day. What I want to do with this blog is to try to explain the routine (and some of the non-routine) to patients. I want this blog to be a place that patients can find information and education about their dental treatment. I want to explain what we do in dentistry in a way that everybody can understand.
So there it is, my first blog post done by me, Dr. Ryan Shearer. Who knew I would ever actually do this? I don’t know for sure where all this is going. My vision may change with time. My goal is one post a week. Hopefully I can do that, plus more. I hope you enjoy reading them, and more importantly learn from them.

Now all I need is a new license plate!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Dentist - Dr. Ryan Shearer - North Little Rock

Dr. Ryan Shearer is pleased to be able to offer beautiful smiles to his neighbors in North Little Rock and the surrounding communities.

Dr. Shearer grew up in central Arkansas. He attended college at Harding University and went on to obtain his dental degree from the University of Tennessee-Memphis. He worked several years in a community health center serving eastern and central Arkansas before entering into private practice.

A member of the American Dental Association, Dr. Shearer has engaged in extensive postgraduate education courses, with specific training in root canal therapy, NTI™ migraine prevention, and removable crown and bridge. His most recent training in implant restoration and laser dentistry allows him to expand these treatment options in his practice and give you the smile of your dreams. Dr. Shearer’s commitment to lifelong education ensures the highest level of care, both today and tomorrow.

Dr. Shearer is an active participant in the community, volunteering as a Sunday school teacher and small group leader for his church. He has participated in two medical mission trips to Mexico, with more planned in the future. In addition, he visits nearby schools to teach oral health to children and conducts oral health exams for military servicemen. In his spare time, Dr. Shearer enjoys spending time with his wife, Ashley, as well as hunting and fishing.

Springhill Dental, PLLC
3401 Springhill Drive, Suite 285
North Little Rock, AR 72117
Telephone: (501) 955-0155