My Blog
By Dr. Melissa Smith
October 31, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Root Canal  

You know that your tooth is in danger. Pain, sensitivity and other symptoms disrupt your daily routine. If this describes your current life, please call Dr. Richard Herman, your dentist in St. Peters, MO, for an appointment. You may need root canal therapy, a tried and true restorative treatment which heals infected teeth and can spare them the dire consequences of extraction. Here are the details on root canals and why you may need this procedure.

What is root canal therapy?

A dentist uses root canal therapy to remove diseased and damaged pulp from the interior of a damaged tooth, they extend the life of that tooth by many, many years - perhaps even a lifetime.

During the root canal therapy, the dentist accesses the interior pulp chamber and thin canals which run down each root. These areas contain soft, innervated, and highly vascularized tissue which, when exposed to bacteria, can become infected, threatening tooth viability.

These infections result from oral injury, deep decay, multiple fillings, and other compromises to tooth enamel. However, because an adult tooth can survive without its pulp, your dentist can access the canals, extract the pulp, and seal the tooth to preserve it.

To begin this process, Dr. Herman X-rays a tooth to confirm it needs root canal therapy. He uses only local anesthetic during the procedure, and generally places a customized porcelain crown over the treated tooth. An elastic substance called gutta-percha strengthens and seals each root canal, protecting it from additional bacterial invasion.

Signs you may need a root canal

How do you know you need endodontic therapy? Of course, only your dentist can tell for sure. However, these danger signs tell you a root canal may be in your future:

  • You have an unrelenting, throbbing toothache.
  • You see puss at the margin between the tooth and the gums.
  • You have persistent bad breath (halitosis) which your usual oral hygiene routine does not relieve.
  • Upon biting into something hot or cold, you feel a lasting and uncomfortable dental sensitivity.
  • The tooth in question is very discolored, chipped or cracked.
  • The gums surrounding the tooth are reddened or have noticeable blemishes or pimples.

If you have one or more of these symptoms, please don't delay. Contact your dentist right away for an exam and X-ray imaging.

Find out more

Dr. Richard Herman is an expert in all kinds of restorative dental treatments. He can bring your smile back to full health and keep it that way with routine in-office care. To book a consultation on root canal therapy, please call our friendly St. Peters office staff at (636) 447-6060.

By Dr. Melissa Smith
July 30, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Veneers   cosmetic dentistry  

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but looks certainly play an important role when it comes to your smile. While good oral health is veneersa top priority, studies have shown that most people admit to wishing for cosmetic improvements to their teeth - and for good reason. Even healthy teeth and gums can suffer from cosmetic damage that can lead to low confidence and self-esteem, as well as negative first impressions both at work and in social settings. But you don't have to live with a mediocre or damaged smile. Dr. Melissa Smith, a dentist in St. Peters, MO, recommends porcelain veneers to reshape your smile and fix common cosmetic damage.

A Brand New Smile with Porcelain Veneers in St. Peters, MO

Veneers can change the size, shape, and color of teeth damaged by common dental issues like stains and discolorations, chips and cracks, and mild to moderate gaps and spaces (if you have bite and alignment issues, you may need orthodontic treatment to straighten your teeth and protect your oral health).

A dental veneer is a thin, translucent layer of porcelain that the dentist bonds onto the surface of a tooth to change the size or shape. Veneers are a minimally invasive and natural looking solution to cosmetic damage to your teeth, or if you simply don't like the way your smile looks and would like to make aesthetic changes to the smile you were born with. They are also used for restorative procedures, like to seal a tooth after root canal therapy.

With good oral hygiene and care, veneers generally last between five to ten years, but often much longer.

Find a Dentist in St. Peters, MO

For more information about porcelain veneers and other cosmetic and restorative dentistry options, contact our office by calling (636) 447-6060 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Smith today.

By Dr. Melissa Smith
June 04, 2018
Category: Oral Care

You probably know the basics of living a healthy life: eating right, exercising regularly, and staying active. However, your oral health is an dental cleaningsoften-overlooked facet of your overall health. While brushing and flossing your teeth may seem like enough, realistically, it is only half of what it takes to truly maintain your smile. Find out the importance of professional dental cleanings and how they benefit your smile with Dr. Melissa Smith in St. Peters, MO.

Why are professional dental cleanings important? 
Teeth decay occurs in stages. During its early stages, teeth decay is simply bacteria which clings to the teeth and is removed by brushing and flossing. However, bacteria which is allowed to remain on the teeth build up, forming a sticky substance called plaque. Plaque eventually hardens into tartar, which only a professional cleaning can remove. Removing these substances from the teeth stops the decay from eating through the tooth to form a cavity, stopping it in its tracks.

How can I maintain my smile? 
Brushing twice daily with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste and flossing between every tooth at least once keeps your teeth healthy on a day-to-day basis. However, seeing your dentist at least twice a year completes the equation for keeping your smile free from teeth decay and gum disease on a long-term basis. These routine visits also ensure that any issues which require dental procedures, such as cavities, receive the care they require early when less invasive options are enough to handle the situation.

Professional Dental Examinations and Cleanings in St. Peters, MO
During your examination and cleaning, your dentist will visually inspect your teeth, oral tissues like gums and tongue to ensure there are no obvious abnormalities or problems. The examination is your time to address any questions or concerns you have about your smile. Your dentist may perform short procedures like dental fillings during your appointment if necessary, but will probably schedule a separate appointment for more in-depth procedures. A dental hygienist will use hands-on methods and specialized tools to clean each tooth and remove any plaque or tartar. The hygienist will make special appointments to clean under the gums to prevent gum disease.

For more information on dental examinations and cleanings, please contact Dr. Melissa Smith in St. Peters, MO. Call (636) 447-6060 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Smith today!

By Dr. Melissa Smith
May 16, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Metal amalgam fillings used to be the default option after a cavity treatment, but patients weren’t always happy about how this silvery tooth colored fillingsmetallic material darkens the top of each tooth. Tooth-colored fillings make all the difference when you consider how well the material blends with the rest of your tooth enamel. Discover the benefits of this option when you visit Dr. Melissa Smith at his St. Peters, MO, dentist office.

Having Cavities Treated with Tooth-Colored Fillings
A cavity is the first stage of tooth decay. It usually does not cause tooth pain and must be detected by a dentist. Luckily, it is relatively easy to treat at this stage. The decayed matter is drilled out of the enamel, leaving a clean hole that must be refilled to protect the tooth. In the past, metal amalgam was the filling material, but nowadays dentists and their patients often opt for tooth-colored fillings instead. They are usually composed of a material called composite resin.

Why More Patients Are Choosing This Option
If you have ever noticed someone who has metal fillings on their back teeth, you probably understand why more patients want to explore the tooth-colored option. It is preferred for cosmetic reasons. After the material is applied and your St. Peters dentist gently contours the pits and fissures, it looks very normal and natural.

Keep Your Smile
Even though you may have to lose a bit of enamel to have a cavity treated, you get to keep your beautiful smile when you choose tooth-colored fillings. The only way to tell that you have a filling is to look at the tooth on an X-ray picture. 

Smile, Laugh, Live with Comfort
You don’t have to be worried that someone will notice that you had a cavity before when you choose tooth-colored fillings. Call 636-447-6060 today to get help from Dr. Smith at his dentist office in St. Peters, MO.

By Dr. Melissa Smith
February 07, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Teeth with cosmetic imperfections, such as cracks or stains, can affect the appearance of your smile. Weak or damaged teeth can also dental crownsimpact your smile by limiting your ability to perform biting and chewing functions properly. The surrounding teeth take on the additional work of biting and chewing and can become worn down and weak themselves. If you do have teeth that are weak, damaged, or cosmetically flawed, you can restore your smile with porcelain crowns. Dr. Melissa Smith is your dentist in St. Peters, MO, for porcelain crowns.

What are Porcelain Crowns?

Porcelain crowns are protective caps placed over teeth that are weak or damaged, or have cosmetic imperfections. Once placed, the crown completely encapsulates the natural tooth, which both strengthens and protects the tooth. It also conceals any imperfections in the natural tooth, such as chips, cracks, stains, or discolorations. The porcelain material closely resembles the look of tooth enamel and can be color matched to your existing teeth. Both of these factors help give the crown the appearance of a natural tooth.

In addition to closely resembling natural teeth, porcelain crowns function just like natural teeth, as well. Once placed, you can bite into and chew food just as you do with your natural teeth. The crown gives the natural tooth a strong outer shell that can withstand daily biting and chewing functions.

Benefits of Porcelain Crowns

From restoring your smile to strengthening weak and damaged teeth, porcelain crowns deliver several benefits. In addition to several cosmetic and functional benefits, porcelain crowns can even replace missing teeth when placed over a dental implant. Your St. Peters dentist can explain the many ways in which porcelain crowns can benefit you. Benefits include:

  • Restoring your smile
  • Concealing stains and discolorations
  • Covering cracks and chips
  • Reshaping oddly-shaped teeth
  • Protecting and strengthening weak and damaged teeth
  • Restoring normal biting and chewing functions
  • Replacing missing teeth when placed over a dental implant

Whether you wish to conceal cosmetic imperfections or need to strengthen and protect weak and damaged teeth, you can restore your smile with porcelain crowns. To learn more about restoring your smile with crowns schedule an appointment with Dr. Smith, your St. Peters, MO, dentist, by calling the office at (636) 447-6060.

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