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Posts for: February, 2020

By By Michael J. Tisdelle DDS
February 20, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: root canal  

Have you been experiencing dental pain or troublesome tooth changes lately? If so, your dentist in Charlottesville, VA, Dr. Michael Tisdelle, may be able to help the situation with tooth-saving root canal therapy.

Why are Root Canals Needed?

Your dentist may recommend a root canal if you have an inflammation or infection in your tooth pulp. The pulp, a soft mass of tissue, nerves, and blood vessels, is protected by the harder dentin and enamel layers of your tooth. Pulp plays an important role during the development of teeth, but isn't essential once a tooth has reached maturity. After removing the pulp during a root canal, your tooth will continue to function normally.

Once your pulp becomes inflamed or infected, the only way to treat the problem is to remove the pulp during root canal therapy. If you don't have a root canal, your problem will worsen, and you'll eventually lose the tooth.

Do You Need a Root Canal?

Although you'll need to pay a visit to our Charlottesville dental office to determine if you need a root canal, you may experience one or more of these symptoms if you have an inflammation or infection in a tooth:

  • A Persistent Toothache: Infections and inflammations don't always cause severe pain. Even mild pain or pain that comes and goes can be a symptom that you have a problem deep inside your tooth.
  • Mealtime Difficulties: Pain often worsens when you consume foods and beverages that are hot, cold, or sugary, with effects that can linger as long as 30 minutes.
  • Gum Changes: Is your gum around your tooth red and painful? The symptoms could be caused by an infection or inflammation in your pulp.
  • Tooth Injury: Root canals may be needed after an injury to your tooth, particularly if the tooth is cracked, broken, or was re-implanted after being knocked out.
  • Change in Color: Does your tooth suddenly look darker than nearby teeth? Color changes may indicate an issue with your pulp.
  • Abscess Symptoms: You'll need a root canal as soon as possible if you have an abscess caused by a bacterial infection in your pulp. Abscess symptoms can include severe pain, fever, swollen lymph nodes, facial swelling, pus on your gum, or a pimple-like bump on the gum next to the tooth.

Concerned? Give Us a Call

Protect your smile with root canal therapy! Call your dentist in Charlottesville, VA, Dr. Tisdelle, at (434) 977-4101 to schedule an appointment.


Your child’s current dental care sets the stage for good oral health later in life. It’s essential, therefore, that you know how best to protect their teeth and gums. In recognition of February as National Children’s Dental Health Month, here’s a short true or false quiz to test your knowledge of proper dental care for your child.

  1. Your child’s dental hygiene begins when their first teeth appear.
    False: The bacteria that cause dental disease can take up residence in an infant’s mouth before their first teeth come in. To help curb this bacterial growth, wipe your baby’s gums with a clean, wet cloth after nursing or bottle-feeding.

  2. Kissing your newborn on the mouth could lead to tooth decay.
    True. Any mouth-to-mouth contact with your infant could transfer oral bacteria from you to them. Their immune system isn’t mature enough to handle these “new arrivals,” which can increase their risk for tooth decay. Instead, kiss your child on the cheek or forehead or use other ways to show affection.

  3. Primary (baby) teeth don’t need the same care from disease as permanent teeth.
    False: Although they have a limited lifespan, primary teeth play a huge role in a child’s dental development by protecting the space intended for the incoming permanent teeth. If primary teeth are lost prematurely due to dental disease, it could lead to incoming teeth erupting out of position.

  4. It’s best to start your child’s regular dental visits around their first birthday.
    True: By age one, children already have a few teeth that need preventive or therapeutic care by a dentist. Starting early also gets them used to seeing the dentist and reduces their chances of developing dental visit anxiety.

  5. Your infant or toddler sucking their thumb isn’t a cause for concern.
    True: Thumb-sucking is a nearly universal habit among infants that typically begins to fade around ages 3 or 4. If the habit continues, though, it could begin affecting their bite. It’s recommended that you encourage your child to quit thumb-sucking around age 3.

  6. The best time to consider your child’s bite health is right before puberty.
    False: Signs of an emerging bite problem can begin appearing even before a child starts school. It’s a good idea, then, to have your child undergo an orthodontic evaluation around age 6. If the orthodontist finds a problem, it may be possible to intervene to correct or minimize it before it goes too far.

One last thing: Your child’s dental care isn’t entirely on your shoulders. We’re here to partner with you, not only providing preventive and therapeutic treatment for your child, but also advising you on their day-to-day dental care and hygiene. Together, we’ll help ensure your child’s dental development stays on track.

If you would like more information about dental care for children, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”

By Michael J. Tisdelle DDS
February 09, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: loose tooth  

A loose primary (“baby”) tooth is often a cause for celebration. A loose permanent tooth, however, is a cause for concern. A permanent tooth shouldn't even wiggle.

If you have a loose tooth, it's likely you have a deeper dental problem. Here are the top underlying causes for loose teeth.

Gum disease. Teeth are held in place by an elastic tissue called the periodontal ligament. But advanced periodontal (gum) disease, a bacterial infection usually caused by film buildup on teeth called dental plaque, can damage the ligament and cause it to detach. If it's not treated, it could lead to tooth loss.

Bite-related trauma. A normal bite helps balance out the forces generated when we chew so they don't damage the teeth. But if a misaligned tooth protrudes higher from the jaw, the opposing tooth will likely create more downward pressure on it while chewing. This can stress the tooth's supporting ligament to the point of looseness.

Self-inflicted trauma. While they may be trendy, tongue jewelry can cause dental damage. A wearer who clicks the “barbell” of a tongue stud against their teeth could be creating conditions conducive for gum damage and bone loss, which can cause tooth looseness. Similarly, taking orthodontics into your own hands could also damage your teeth, especially if you have undiagnosed gum disease.

Genetics. Although you can't prevent it, the type of resistance or susceptibility you inherited from your parents (as well as your dental anatomy) can cause you dental problems. Thinner gum tissues, especially around the roots, can make you more susceptible to gum disease or dental trauma, which in turn could contribute to tooth looseness.

There are things you can do to lessen your chance of loose teeth. Brush and floss every day to remove disease-causing bacterial plaque and see a dentist regularly for cleanings to reduce your risk of gum disease. If you have any misaligned teeth, consult with an orthodontist about possible treatment. And avoid oral jewelry and DIY orthodontics.

If you do notice a loose tooth, see us as soon as possible. We'll need to diagnose the underlying cause and create a treatment plan for it. We may also need to splint the tooth to its neighbors to stabilize it and reduce your risk of losing it permanently.

If you would like more information on tooth mobility, 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 “When Permanent Teeth Become Loose.”