My Blog

Posts for: September, 2018

By J. Michael Plyler, DDS, PA
September 27, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root canal  
ARootCanalTreatmentmaybeYourBestChancetoSaveaTooth

“You need a root canal,” isn’t something you want to hear during a dental visit. But whatever your preconceptions about it may be, the fact is root canal treatments don’t cause pain — they alleviate it. What’s more, it may be your best chance to save a tooth that’s at high risk for loss.

First of all, root canal treatments address a serious problem that may be occurring inside a tooth — tooth decay that’s infiltrated the pulp chamber. If it’s not stopped, the decay will continue to advance through the root canals to the bone and weaken the tooth’s attachment. To access the pulp and root canals we first administer a local anesthesia and then create an opening in the tooth, typically in the biting surface.

After accessing the pulp chamber, we then remove all the pulp tissue and clean out any infection.  We then fill the empty pulp chamber and root canals with a special filling and seal the opening we first created. The procedure is often followed some weeks later with a laboratory made crown that permanently covers the tooth for extra protection against another occurrence of decay and protects the tooth from fracturing years later.

Besides stopping the infection from continuing beyond the roots and saving the tooth from loss, root canal treatments also alleviate the symptoms caused by decay, including tenderness and swelling of surrounding gum tissue and sensitivity to hot and cold foods or pressure when biting down. And, it reduces pain — the dull ache or sometimes acute pain from the tooth that may have brought you to our office in the first place.

General dentists commonly perform root canal treatments; in more complicated cases they’re performed by an endodontist, a specialist in root canal treatments. Afterward, any discomfort is usually managed with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as ibuprofen or aspirin.

Root canal treatments are a common procedure with a high rate of success. Undergoing one will end the pain and discomfort your infected tooth has caused you; more importantly, your tooth will gain a new lease on life.

If you would like more information on root canal treatments, 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 “Common Concerns about Root Canal Treatment.”


By J. Michael Plyler, DDS, PA
September 21, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: tooth pain   root canal  

Root Canal DiagramAre you wondering what you should expect from your upcoming root canal treatment?

No matter whether you or a loved one is getting a root canal, our Hot Springs, AR, dentist Dr. J. Michael Plyler understands that knowing what to expect from any upcoming dental procedure can certainly put your mind at ease. Since there is a lot of misinformation out there regarding root canals, we are here to dispel those myths while also providing you with the information you need for your own peace of mind.

Q. Why is a root canal performed?

A. This procedure is performed when a tooth has been damaged by decay, trauma or an infection and bacteria have affected the nerve and dental pulp of the tooth. Inside the tooth, underneath the enamel and dentin layers, lies the dental pulp.

The pulp is made up of nerves, connective tissue and blood vessels. When bacteria get through the dentin layers it can inflame or infect the pulp. In order to prevent the spread of the bacteria, your Hot Springs, AZ, general dentist will need to perform a root canal.

Q. Is root canal therapy painful?

A. Thanks to modern-day technology and new dental techniques, it’s safe to say that getting a root canal is really no more uncomfortable than getting a dental filling. In actuality, the purpose of a root canal is to stop the source of the pain, not cause additional pain. The treatment area will first be numbed with a local anesthesia prior to treatment so you shouldn’t feel a thing during your root canal. Plus, you’ll finally be able to say goodbye to that annoying and uncomfortable toothache.

Q. But I’m not experiencing any symptoms; do I really need a root canal?

A. Sometimes people won’t experience any symptoms that tip them off to the fact that they need a root canal. Unfortunately, in order to remove the bacteria and disinfect the inside of the tooth, we will need to perform a root canal. Of course, we will first run X-rays to make sure that the findings suggest that this procedure is necessary.

Q. Can’t I just get my tooth extracted (pulled) instead?

A. As any dentist will tell you, it’s far better to preserve your natural teeth whenever possible. Even the best dental restorations aren’t the same as a real tooth, and you may find that you are unable to eat certain foods or you may experience speech problems on account of a missing tooth. A root canal can actually preserve the natural tooth structure and prevent further complications to your oral health.

Are you experience a toothache? Do you need to schedule a routine checkup? No matter whether you are looking for preventive dentistry or emergency dentistry here in Hot Springs, AR, Dr. Plyler and his dental team are here to serve you. Call us today.


By J. Michael Plyler, DDS, PA
September 17, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  
ANewSchoolYearANewBeginning

Like a second New Year’s Day, the month of September offers its own chance to make a brand new start: It’s back-to-school season! This can be an exhilarating time—a chance to meet new friends, face new challenges and set new goals. It’s also a great time to get started on the things that can keep your children healthy all year long…like a routine visit to the dental office.

Preventive dental visits are one of the most important ways to help keep a smile in top condition—not just for kids, but for people of any age. They are also one of the best values in health care, because so much can be accomplished in such a short time. What exactly happens at a routine visit? Here’s a brief run-down:

  • A professional teeth cleaning clears sticky plaque and hardened tartar from places where your brush can’t reach. These deposits can harbor the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease, and removing them helps prevent more serious problems from getting started.
  • A complete dental exam involves a check for cavities, but it’s also much more: It includes screening for gum disease, oral cancer, and other potential maladies. X-rays or other diagnostic tests may be performed at this time; any changes can be observed, and the need for preventive or restorative treatments can be evaluated.
  • The growth and development of children’s teeth is carefully monitored, from the first baby teeth to the third molars. If orthodontic work or wisdom teeth removal could benefit your child, this is a great time to discuss it.  Adults may also benefit from ongoing evaluation for gum recession and other potential issues.
  • Keeping your teeth and gums healthy also depends on how you take care of them at home. A routine office visit is a great opportunity to “brush up” on proper techniques for tooth brushing and flossing, and to ask any questions you may have about oral hygiene.

So if you have youngsters starting a new school year—or if you’re looking to make a fresh start toward good oral health yourself—make it a point to stop in to the dental office for a routine visit this season!

If you would like more information about maintaining good oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Top 10 Oral Health Tips For Children” and “Dental Hygiene Visit: A True Value in Dental Healthcare.”


By J. Michael Plyler, DDS, PA
September 07, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene   gum disease  
StopGumDiseaseBeforeitGetsStartedwithDailyOralHygiene

While tooth decay seems to get most of the “media attention,” there’s another oral infection just as common and destructive: periodontal (gum) disease. In fact, nearly half of adults over 30 have some form of it.

And like tooth decay, it begins with bacteria: while most are benign or even beneficial, a few strains of these micro-organisms can cause gum disease. They thrive and multiply in a thin, sticky film of food particles on tooth surfaces called plaque. Though not always apparent early on, you may notice symptoms like swollen, reddened or bleeding gums.

The real threat, though, is that untreated gum disease will advance deeper below the gum line, infecting the connective gum tissues, tooth roots and supporting bone. If it’s not stopped, affected teeth can lose support from these structures and become loose or out of position. Ultimately, you could lose them.

We can stop this disease by removing accumulated plaque and calculus (calcified plaque, also known as tartar) from the teeth, which continues to feed the infection. To reach plaque deposits deep below the gum line, we may need to surgically access them through the gums. Even without surgery, it may still take several cleaning sessions to remove all of the plaque and calculus found.

These treatments are effective for stopping gum disease and allowing the gums to heal. But there’s a better way: preventing gum disease before it begins through daily oral hygiene. In most cases, plaque builds up due to a lack of brushing and flossing. It takes only a few days without practicing these important hygiene tasks for early gingivitis to set in.

You should also visit the dentist at least twice a year for professional cleanings and checkups. A dental cleaning removes plaque and calculus from difficult to reach places. Your dentist also uses the visit to evaluate how well you’re doing with your hygiene efforts, and offer advice on how you can improve.

Like tooth decay, gum disease can rob you of your dental health. But it can be stopped—both you and your dentist can keep this infection from ruining your smile.

If you would like more information on preventing and treating gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.