The Multi-Step Root Canal Process

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Root Canals

Serving patients in New Jersey’s Ocean and Monmouth Counties, Dr. Christopher Lillo has extensive experience in general dentistry. Dr. Christopher Lillo regularly addresses cavities and performs root canals. Employed on infected and badly damaged teeth, root canals involve a multi-step process of removing the pulp, or damaged tooth area, disinfecting it, and filling and sealing it.

Despite public perception, the root canal is typically no more painful than filling a normal cavity. After an X-Ray that helps define the extent of the affected area, local anesthesia is applied to the affected tooth. The dentist then performs a pulpectomy, which involves creating an opening that allows complete removal of the diseased material. Once the area has been cleaned, gutta-percha material is used to fill the area and cement employed as a sealer.

With the root area of the tooth the focus of the procedure, many patients do experience some form of pain, such as a dull ache, in the days following. In cases where the affected area gets better, then starts aching again, there may be an issue involving trapped bacteria and follow-up treatment will be recommended.


Proper Brushing For Preventive Dental Care

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Preventative Dentistry

Dr. Christopher Lillo is a respected Toms River, New Jersey, dentist, who has practiced with the Oak Ridge Dental Group, PA, for more than two decades. Experienced in periodontal treatment, Dr. Christopher Lillo emphasizes the importance of proper at-home teeth and gum care among patients.

The basics elements of teeth and gum care include brushing, flossing, rinsing, and eating the right foods. Brushing should be performed twice each day and, ideally, following each meal. If possible, wait 30 minutes after eating to brush, as this gives any enamel softened by acid in the food time to fully re-harden.

The acids in play are created by bacteria within the plaque coming into contact with food particles. If the acids are not addressed, they can result in cavities. Brushing effectively removes plaque, which is the film of bacteria around the teeth. The key to proper brushing is to position the brush at a 45 degree angle relative to the gum line and using a small circular motion to reach every accessible crevice. Avoid pressing too hard, as this can cause gum damage and lead to other types of infection. Before or after brushing, thoroughly floss as a way of dislodging hidden food particles stuck between the teeth.

Root Canals – What to Expect

Root Canals pic
Root Canals

As vice president of Oak Ridge Dental Group in Toms River, New Jersey, Dr. Christopher Lillo has offered comprehensive dental care to patients since 1995. Dr. Christopher Lillo focuses largely on molar work and has performed numerous root canal procedures over the course of his career.

Although decay of a tooth’s crown is typically treatable with a simple filling, infected pulp is much more dire. As the infection deepens, it threatens to spread beyond the tooth to nearby soft tissues and cause a dangerous abscess. Root canal treatment sometimes allows a dentist to remove the infected material and thus save the tooth which otherwise would require extraction.

A root canal procedure begins with the application of local anesthesia, which numbs the area. In fact, many patients find that keeping the mouth open for the entire procedure is the most uncomfortable element of the oft-maligned root canal. The dentist may then continue to prepare by introducing a rubber dam to surround and protect the tooth from bacteria.

The dentist begins the procedure itself by drilling a hole to provide access to the tooth. He or she then removes the infected pulp and the nerve tissue using a series of increasingly wide files, while periodic application of water or sodium hypochlorite clears removed material away. The dentist must then seal the tooth, which some dentists prefer to do after the tooth has had a week to heal. Healing takes place under a temporary filling, which keeps food and saliva out of the drilled hole.

The procedure is completed with the application of a crown, which offers strength to the hollowed-out tooth. This final step prevents the deadened tooth from cracking and allows the patient to use the tooth normally.

The Importance of Preventive Dental Care for Young Children

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Preventative Dentistry

Dr. Christopher Lillo is a Toms River, New Jersey, dentist who offers restorative and cosmetic dental care. As a member of the Oak Ridge Dental Group, PA, Dr. Christopher Lillo provides fillings, crowns, and periodontal treatment, as needed, but emphasizes preventive care to his patients.

Preventive care, such as brushing and flossing, is critical in maintaining healthy teeth and should begin at an early age. Many parents, believing that the baby teeth will be replaced soon, do not place a premium on their young children’s dental care. Unfortunately, this laissez-faire approach is misguided, as the baby teeth function as “place holders” for the permanent teeth that follow. Cavities are contagious, with bacterial infection often transferring from the old teeth via the gums to the newly erupting ones. Children who develop caries in their baby teeth often have decay problems with their adult teeth.

In addition to brushing and flossing, preventive care for infants includes avoiding the use of sippy cups with sugary juices, as well as decreasing the amounts of candy and snacks allowed. In addition, children should visit their dentist for the first time by their first birthday.

The Importance of Scaling and Root Planning for Gum Health

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Dental prophylaxis

Serving patients in the Toms River, New Jersey, community, Dr. Christopher Lillo runs the Oak Ridge Dental Group, PA. Dr. Christopher Lillo offers complete general dentistry services, ranging from crowns and bridges to dental prophylaxis.

Dental prophylaxis involves the cleaning of the teeth, including scaling the roots of the teeth. A conservative treatment, scaling is effective in fighting and preventing periodontal disease, which involves inflamed and infected gums. Scaling is the removal of plaque and tartar, with a focus on that which collects where the root begins, below the gum line.

Regular scaling is critical in maintaining tooth and gum health, as plaque is filled with bacteria, which actively contribute to tooth decay. As the sticky film gradually hardens, it becomes calculus or tartar. Root planing targets rough and irregular parts of the root surface, where plaque is most likely to become lodged and harden. This treatment smooths the roots and ensures that all remaining calculus is removed.

Wisdom Teeth Removal – Why and When It Is Necessary

A 20-year veteran of dentistry, Christopher Lillo, DMD, resides in New Jersey, where he leads as partner in Oak Ridge Dental Group, PA. Dr. Christopher Lillo ensures that the office maintains HIPAA and OSHA compliance, while administering traditional dental services such as root canals and wisdom teeth removal.

Not all individuals require their molars removed. If the posterior tooth or teeth are fully erupted, healthy, and positioned correctly so daily home hygienic practices can be carried out, a person can avoid undergoing wisdom teeth removal.

On the other end of the spectrum, the third molars can lack the room to grow in completely. This issue may cause molars to become impacted and grow at an angle. Remaining hidden or partially visible, the teeth become a magnet for bacteria and require removal to avert oral problems, including infections and gum disease. A good indication that wisdom tooth surgery is needed is the presence of pain, cysts, tooth decay, and repeated soft tissue infections in the region where the molars grow.

How Dentists Can Help with Sleep Apnea

Licensed to practice dentistry in the state of New Jersey, Dr. Christopher Lillo leads Oak Ridge Dental Group, PA, in Toms River. In addition to oral maintenance and root canals, Dr. Christopher Lillo offers wisdom teeth extractions and sleep apnea treatments.

Affecting millions of Americans, sleep apnea leads to daytime drowsiness, insomnia, and excessive snoring, which can cause choking during slumber. The illness is a silent condition and often goes undiagnosed. Fortunately, dentists, who tend to see patients more than physicians, can identify symptoms early on. Complaints about lethargy and dry mouth signal to a dentist that the patient should be referred to a sleep medicine specialist, who can further exam him or her and give a proper diagnosis.

The dentist then treats the disorder, utilizing various solutions. For mild cases, a change in diet and exercise may be enough to offset future symptoms. A dentist may also suggest that the patient adjust his or her sleeping position. In extreme situations, wearing a dental device known as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask to enhance airflow while sleeping will likely be recommended.