My Blog

Posts for: September, 2019

By Rick K. Harrison, DMD, PA
September 25, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures

You depend on your family dentist for most of your oral care. There are some situations, though, that are best handled by a specialist. If you or a family member has a deeply decayed tooth, for example, it might be in your long-term interest to see an endodontist.

From the Greek words, endo ("within") and odont ("tooth"), endodontics focuses on dental care involving a tooth's interior layers, including the pulp, root canals and roots. While general dentists can treat many endodontic problems, an endodontist has the advanced equipment and techniques to handle more complex cases.

The majority of an endodontist's work involves teeth inwardly affected by tooth decay. The infection has moved beyond the initial cavity created in the enamel and dentin layers and advanced into the pulp and root canals. The roots and underlying bone are in danger of infection, which can endanger the tooth's survival.

The most common treatment is root canal therapy, in which all of the infected tissue is removed from the pulp and root canals. Afterward, the empty spaces are filled and the tooth is sealed and crowned to prevent future infection. General dentists can perform this treatment, primarily with teeth having a single root and less intricate root canal networks. But teeth with multiple roots are a more challenging root canal procedure.

Teeth with multiple roots may have several root canals needing treatment, many of which can be quite small. An endodontist uses a surgical microscope and other specialized equipment, as well as advanced techniques, to ensure all of these inner passageways are disinfected and filled. Additionally, an endodontist is often preferred for previously root-canaled teeth that have been re-infected or conditions that can't be addressed by a traditional root canal procedure.

While your dentist may refer you to an endodontist for a problem tooth, you don't have to wait. You can make an appointment if you think your condition warrants it. Check out the American Association of Endodontists webpage for a list of endodontists in your area.

Advanced tooth decay can put your dental health at risk. But an endodontist might be the best choice to overcome that threat and save your tooth.

If you would like more information on endodontic dentistry, 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 “Why See an Endodontist?

By Rick K. Harrison, DMD, PA
September 24, 2019
Category: Cosmetic Dentistry
Tags: invisalign  

Would you like to straighten your smile with state of the art orthodontics? Then explore the benefits of Invisalign, the clear way to beautiful, healthy teeth in Jacksonville Beach. Rick K. Harrison, DMD, PA helps teens and adults with this orthodontic system.

Clear, smooth and removable

Invisalign aligners are all that and more. Custom-made according to your dentition, special scans and your Jacksonville Beach dentist's instructions, Invisalign aligners reposition crooked teeth quickly and comfortably. Plus, they are so clear and thin, no one will notice you're wearing them.

Really, you may ask? Well, it's true. Patented SmartTrack acrylic, combined with your technician's skill and digital artistry, produce appliances which do their jobs without obvious appearance.

Plus, when you eat, brush, floss or want a short break from your aligners, simply remove them! Just remember to wear each appliance 20 to 22 hours a day to keep treatment on track.

Effective and quick

Compared to correction with lingual, ceramic or metal braces, Invisalign takes half the time and works exceptionally well on problems such as:

  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Crossbite
  • Openbite
  • Tooth tipping
  • Tooth rotation
  • Gaps
  • Overlapping or crowded teeth
  • Orthodontic relapse (when correct smiles shift position after treatment is over)

Plus, Invisalign patients enjoy all their favorite healthy foods because there are no wires to break or brackets to fall out. Aligners snap in and out easily for meals, snacks, flossing, brushing and special events such as weddings, proms and job interviews.

Is Invisalign right for you?

Invisalign is the front runner in clear aligner technology. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1997, this orthodontic system has helped millions of people across the world enjoy the benefits of healthy, straight smiles.

Dr. Harrison qualifies patients for treatment right in his Jacksonville Beach office. Then, the dental lab crafts the typical 18 to 30 aligner pairs specific to the patient's needs.

Also, if you like easy orthodontic appointments, expect them with Invisalign. Simply come to Dr. Harrison's office every four to six weeks for a quick inspection and to receive your next pairs of clear aligners. When you complete your treatment plan, you'll wear a customized retainer to keep your teeth in perfect alignment indefinitely.

Rick K. Harrison, DMD, PA would love to tell you all about Invisalign and how it could help you have the smile of your dreams. Phone his Jacksonville Beach office today for an appointment: (904) 241-4237.

By Rick K. Harrison, DMD, PA
September 15, 2019
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tmj disorders   jaw pain  

Chronic pain affects the quality of life for an estimated 50 million adults in the U.S. alone. The American Chronic Pain Association designates September as “Pain Awareness Month” to highlight the many conditions that cause chronic pain and strategies to manage them. Among these are conditions that can involve your oral or facial health. Here are two painful mouth and face disorders and what you can do about them.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD). TMD is a common condition often seen in the dental office. The temporomandibular joints connect the lower jaw to the skull and facilitate activities like eating or speaking that require jaw movement. If they and their associated muscles become inflamed, this can trigger debilitating chronic pain. If you suffer from TMD symptoms, make sure we know about it so we can make your dental visits as comfortable as possible.

When possible, avoid irreversible and invasive treatments for TMD that may permanently change your bite, such as surgery or having teeth ground down. Instead, most healthcare professionals recommend a more conservative approach. Try the following tips to alleviate TMD pain:

  • Eat soft foods so you do not aggravate the jaw joint.
  • Avoid extreme jaw movements like suddenly opening your mouth very wide.
  • Use ice packs and moist heat to relieve discomfort.
  • Ask us about jaw exercises to stretch and relax the jaw.
  • Practice stress-reduction techniques, such as meditation, yoga, tai chi or taking short walks to clear your mind.

Burning Mouth Syndrome. The sensation that the mouth has been burned or scalded without an obvious cause is most common among women during menopause. While researchers can’t yet pinpoint clear causes for it, the list of suspects includes hormonal changes, neurological or rare autoimmune disorders or medication-induced dry mouth.

The first step to treatment is an oral exam along with a complete medical history to identify any possible contributing factors. Depending on the results, we can offer recommendations to manage your symptoms. The following tips often help:

  • Keep your mouth moist. We can recommend an artificial saliva product or medication to increase saliva flow if needed.
  • Change your toothpaste if it contains irritating ingredients.
  • Identify and avoid foods and beverages that seem to precede an episode. These may include spicy foods, coffee and alcoholic beverages.
  • Quit smoking, as this is often linked to burning mouth episodes.

The pain and discomfort caused by these and other oral conditions can put a dent in your life. A visit to your dentist, though, could be the first step to finding relief.

If you would like more information about oral conditions that produce chronic pain, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Seeking Relief From TMD” and “Burning Mouth Syndrome.”

By Rick K. Harrison, DMD, P
September 05, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Dental Veneers  

For many people, the small they have is not the smile they want. So if you're unhappy with the way your teeth look, you're in good dental-veneerscompany. Even minor cosmetic imperfections can make people feel self conscious and uncomfortable in social and professional situations, which can take a toll on self esteem, personal and professional development, and quality of life. But you don't have to spend a fortune or undergo intensive and invasive dental treatment to fix your teeth and get a smile you love and feel proud to show off. Dr. Rick Harrison, a dentist in Jacksonville Beach, FL, offers porcelain veneers and other cosmetic dentistry services to improve your smile and oral health.

Porcelain Veneers in Jacksonville Beach, FL

A dental veneer is bonded directly onto the surface of a tooth and molded to change the size or shape. They can correct a number of common cosmetic imperfections, making them one of the most common and accessible cosmetic dentistry procedures available. You won't have to undergo major dental work; the dentist simply takes an impression of your teeth to create the mold for the veneers. In some cases it may be necessary to remove a thin layer of enamel from the tooth to make room for the veneers.

What Porcelain Veneers Can Do

Porcelain veneers can correct a number of minor to moderate cosmetic imperfections such as:

  • Chips and cracks
  • Stains and discolorations
  • Gaps and spacing
  • Change tooth size or shape for aesthetic improvement

Many people also find that veneers also serve as an incentive to improve everything from their oral hygiene routine, to diet and lifestyle changes like quitting smoking. With adequate care, veneers can last an average of five to ten years or longer.

Find a Dentist in Jacksonville Beach, FL

For more information about what porcelain veneers can do for your smile and quality of life, contact our office today by calling (904) 241-4237 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Harrison.

By Rick K. Harrison, DMD, PA
September 05, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures

Although adults are more prone to dental disease, children aren't immune from one particular infection, tooth decay. Some children, in fact, are at higher risk for an aggressive form called early childhood caries (ECC).

There are a number of things you can do to help your child avoid this destructive disease, especially daily brushing and flossing to remove bacterial dental plaque, the underlying cause for tooth decay. It's also important for your child to see a dentist regularly for professional dental cleanings and checkups.

But some of their teeth, particularly the back molars, may need some extra attention to fully protect them against decay. This is because larger teeth like molars have numerous pits and crevices along their biting surfaces that can accumulate dental plaque difficult to remove by brushing alone. The added plaque increases the presence of bacteria around the tooth, which increases the risk of decay.

To minimize this possibility, dentists can apply a dental sealant to "smooth out" those pits and crevices in the molars and make it more difficult for plaque to accumulate. This is a quick and painless procedure in which a dentist brushes a liquid plastic resin or similar material onto the teeth's biting surfaces. They then apply a curing light to harden it into a durable coating.

About one-third of children—mostly those considered at higher risk for tooth decay—have undergone sealant treatment. But the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend this preventive measure for all children between ages 5 and 7, and then later between 11 and 14 when additional molars come in. Although there is a moderate cost per tooth for sealant application, it's much less than the potential expense of treating an infected tooth.

Combined with daily oral hygiene and other preventive measures, sealants can reduce the chances of damaging tooth decay. Keeping your child's teeth healthy is an important part in maintaining their dental health today—and tomorrow.

If you would like more information on preventive dental care for children, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.