My Blog

Posts for: May, 2018

By Rick K. Harrison, DMD, PA
May 24, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: root canal  

Have you ever had root canal therapy in Jacksonville Beach, FL? If you have, you know how pain-free and straightforward it is. At Jax Beach Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. Rick Harrison and his capable team use this predictable restorative service to bring failing teethRoot Canal back to full function, comfort, and appearance. Learn here about the signs which indicate you may need a root canal treatment.

What can go wrong with a tooth

A tooth is composed of a calcified outer layer called enamel. Under that is a yellow, more porous layer called the dentin. Interior to dentin are chambers which contain blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. This pulp runs through the center of the tooth, and its root canals may become damaged, inflamed and infected due to:

  • Deep cavities
  • Fracture because of accident or extensive restorative work
  • Infection (abscess)

As a result, patients experience many disconcerting symptoms. When Dr. Harrison reviews these symptoms and his findings from oral examination and X-rays, he may advise root canal therapy at his Jacksonville Beach office to remove the interior pulp and protect the tooth with a filling or a beautiful porcelain crown.

Symptoms which say "You need a root canal"

While some patients are unaware that a tooth is compromised, others experience a range of symptoms which vary in intensity. They may include:

  • Harsh, throbbing toothache pain
  • Dental sensitivity to hot, cold, and sugary foods
  • Jaw swelling
  • Drainage from the affected tooth
  • Bad breath (halitosis) which does not respond to mouthwash or toothbrushing
  • A red pimple on the gums
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Cracked tooth enamel
  • Shooting pain when biting or chewing

If you have any of these symptoms, contact Jax Beach Cosmetic & Family Dentistry for an evaluation. The sooner the dentist checks that tooth, the better your chances are of avoiding harmful tooth extraction.

The root canal procedure

Patients visit Dr. Harrison twice to complete a root canal, with each appointment taking about an hour. Normally, only locally injected anesthetic is necessary for complete comfort during the procedure.

After the tooth is numb, Dr. Harrison creates a small access hole into the first root canal. Through this opening, he inserts a series of small metal files which remove the diseased pulp and reshape the canal walls. Also, he instills antibiotics to quell infection, and seals the canal with a rubbery substance called gutta-percha.

When he has completed all canals (there may be up to four in a single tooth), your dentist covers the tooth with a temporary filling and crown. Oral impressions and a detailed care plan tell the dental lab how to create a lifelike porcelain crown.

At the next appointment, the dentist removes the temporary restoration and bonds on the crown. That completes the treatment. The American Association of Endodontists says that most teeth restored with root canal therapy last a lifetime!

Do you need a root canal?

Don't delay. Find out during an evaluation at Jax Beach Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Jacksonville Beach, FL. Call for your appointment at (904) 241-4237.


Between infancy and the onset of puberty, your child will grow one set of teeth, lose it and grow another; their jaw structure will also change dramatically. This rapid development sets the course for their oral health later in life.

That’s why it’s so important to care for their teeth and gums in these early stages through daily hygiene and regular dental visits for disease prevention and treatment. Hygiene is the cornerstone of this care, and should begin in earnest when your child’s first tooth erupts in the gums, by first gently cleaning around the newly erupted teeth and gums after each feeding with a water-soaked gauze pad.

As they pass their first birthday you can switch to a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and just a smear of fluoridated toothpaste. Children should begin learning to brush around age 2, first by modeling you as you brush together. They should be adept enough by age 6 to brush on their own, at which time you can introduce flossing. We’re more than happy to advise you on technique for both of these hygiene tasks.

Age one is also the time for them to begin regular dental visits for cleanings and checkups. This will help us stay ahead of any developing decay or other issues and perform preventive treatments like dental sealants or fluoride applications. It will also help your child become comfortable with the dental office, which can make it easier for them to develop a long-term habit of regular dental care.

There are also habits you should practice (or avoid) that support good oral health for your child. For example, you shouldn’t allow them to sleep with a pacifier or a bottle filled with anything but water. Breast milk and formula contain some forms of sugar that bacteria can feed on; if this becomes too frequent it can result in higher acid levels that soften enamel and lead to decay. You should also take preventive actions to protect your child from teeth-damaging injuries like playing too close to hard furniture.

All these common sense measures support your child’s oral development. You can then let Nature takes its course as your child develops a healthy mouth for a lifetime.

If you would like more information on oral care for children, 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 “Top 10 Oral Health Tips for Children.”

By Rick K. Harrison, DMD, PA
May 12, 2018
Category: Oral Health

If you’ve just received a dental implant restoration, congratulations! This proven smile-changer is not only life-like, it’s also durable: more than 95% of implants survive at least 10 years. But beware: periodontal (gum) disease could derail that longevity.

Gum disease is triggered by dental plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles that builds up on teeth. Left untreated the infection weakens gum attachment to teeth and causes supporting bone loss, eventually leading to possible tooth loss. Something similar holds true for an implant: although the implant itself can’t be affected by disease, the gums and bone that support it can. And just as a tooth can be lost, so can an implant.

Gum disease affecting an implant is called peri-implantitis (“peri”–around; implant “itis”–inflammation). Usually beginning with the surface tissues, the infection can advance (quite rapidly) below the gum line to eventually weaken the bone in which the implant has become integrated (a process known as osseointegration). As the bone deteriorates, the implant loses the secure hold created through osseointegration and may eventually give way.

As in other cases of gum disease, the sooner we detect peri-implantitis the better our chances of preserving the implant. That’s why at the first signs of a gum infection—swollen, reddened or bleeding gums—you should contact us at once for an appointment.

If you indeed have peri-implantitis, we’ll manually identify and remove all plaque and calculus (tartar) fueling the infection, which might also require surgical access to deeper plaque deposits. We may also need to decontaminate microscopic ridges found on the implant surface. These are typically added by the implant manufacturer to boost osseointegration, but in the face of a gum infection they can become havens for disease-causing bacteria to grow and hide.

Of course, the best way to treat peri-implantitis is to attempt to prevent it through daily brushing and flossing, and at least twice a year (or more, if we recommend it) dental visits for thorough cleanings and checkups. Keeping its supporting tissues disease-free will boost your implant’s chances for a long and useful life.

If you would like more information on caring for your dental implants, 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 “Gum Disease can Cause Dental Implant Failure.”

By Rick K. Harrison, DMD, PA
May 02, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

During his former career as a professional footballer (that's a soccer star to U.S. sports fans) David Beckham was known for his skill at “bending” a soccer ball. His ability to make the ball curve in mid-flight — to avoid a defender or score a goal — led scores of kids to try to “bend it like Beckham.” But just recently, while enjoying a vacation in Canada with his family, “Becks” tried snowboarding for the first time — and in the process, broke one of his front teeth.

Some fans worried that the missing tooth could be a “red card” for Beckham's current modeling career… but fortunately, he headed straight to the dental office as soon as he arrived back in England. Exactly what kind of treatment is needed for a broken tooth? It all depends where the break is and how badly the tooth is damaged.

For a minor crack or chip, cosmetic bonding may offer a quick and effective solution. In this procedure, a composite resin, in a color custom-made to match the tooth, is applied in liquid form and cured (hardened) with a special light. Several layers of bonding material can be applied to re-construct a larger area of missing tooth, and chips that have been saved can sometimes be reattached as well.

When more tooth structure is missing, dental veneers may be the preferred restorative option. Veneers are wafer-thin shells that are bonded to the front surface of the teeth. They can not only correct small chips or cracks, but can also improve the color, spacing, and shape of your teeth.

But if the damage exposes the soft inner pulp of the tooth, root canal treatment will be needed to save the tooth. In this procedure, the inflamed or infected pulp tissue is removed and the tooth sealed against re-infection; if a root canal is not done when needed, the tooth will have an increased risk for extraction in the future. Following a root canal, a tooth is often restored with a crown (cap), which can look good and function well for many years.

Sometimes, a tooth may be knocked completely out of its socket; or, a severely damaged tooth may need to be extracted (removed). In either situation, the best option for restoration is a dental implant. Here, a tiny screw-like device made of titanium metal is inserted into the jaw bone in a minor surgical procedure. Over time, it fuses with the living bone to form a solid anchorage. A lifelike crown is attached, which provides aesthetic appeal and full function for the replacement tooth.

So how's Beckham holding up? According to sources, “David is a trooper and didn't make a fuss. He took it all in his stride." Maybe next time he hits the slopes, he'll heed the advice of dental experts and wear a custom-made mouthguard…

If you have questions about restoring damaged teeth, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Trauma and Nerve Damage to Teeth” and “Children's Dental Concerns and Injuries.”