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By Curt P. Posey, DDS, Inc.
January 19, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root canal  

What you think you know about getting a root canal could be completely wrong!

We know that no one likes to hear the statement, “You need a root canal”. Unfortunately, for many, a root canal is needed in order to save a tooth. We don’t quite know why root canals have gotten such a negative image, but our Fresno, CA, dentist Dr. Curt Posey is here to dispel those negative beliefs and to provide some clarity on why root canals are performed and why they really aren’t anything to stress over.

Root Canals Don’t Cause Pain

If you search the Internet you can find negative stories for just about everything; however, we also know that these stories deter people from getting the dental care they need. If you need a root canal, chances are fairly good that you’re in a decent amount of pain.

You’ll be happy to hear that a root canal is designed to remove the source of your pain, not cause it. Some people even notice immediate relief after their procedure. While it’s natural to experience a little pain and discomfort after any dental procedure, over-the-counter pain relievers are often enough to ease your symptoms.

Root Canals are Complicated and Complex Procedures

Root canals might sound like a lot of work, and a lot of time sitting in our chair, but as our Fresno, CA, family dentist will tell you—getting a root canal is no more invasive or complex than getting a tooth filled. The only difference is how the procedure is performed. You won’t be sitting in our chair for hours! In fact, the average length of a root canal is between 30-60 minutes.

Root Canals Kill the Tooth

The reason a root canal is performed is to go inside the tooth to remove the inflamed or infected dental pulp. A root canal will clear out the infection and bacteria inside the tooth; however, it does not kill the tooth. Your tooth is still viable and healthy, even after a root canal. We will simply need to place a dental crown over the tooth to protect the natural tooth from further damage.

Do you have questions about getting root canal therapy from our Fresno, CA, dentist? Are you dealing with a toothache that requires an immediate evaluation? If so, call us today at (559) 227-6755 to schedule an appointment.


You can't correct a poor bite with braces or clear aligners overnight: Even the most cut-and-dried case can still require a few years to move teeth where they should be. It's a welcome relief, then, when you're finally done with braces or aligner trays.

That doesn't mean, however, that you're finished with orthodontic treatment. You now move into the next phase—protecting your new smile that took so much to gain. At least for a couple of more years you'll need to regularly wear an orthodontic retainer.

The name of this custom-made device explains its purpose: to keep or “retain” your teeth in their new, modified positions. This is necessary because the same mechanism that allows us to move teeth in the first place can work in reverse.

That mechanism centers around a tough but elastic tissue called the periodontal ligament. Although it primarily holds teeth in place, the ligament also allows for tiny, gradual tooth movement in response to mouth changes. Braces or aligner trays take advantage of this ability by exerting pressure on the teeth in the direction of intended movement. The periodontal ligament and nature do the rest.

But once we relieve the pressure when we remove the braces or aligners, a kind of “muscle memory” in the ligament can come into play, causing the teeth to move back to where they originally were. If we don't inhibit this reaction, all the time and effort put into orthodontic treatment can be lost.

Retainers, either the removable type or one fixed in place behind the teeth, gently “push” or “pull” against the teeth (depending on which type) just enough to halt any reversing movement. Initially, a patient will need to wear their retainer around the clock. After a while, wear time can be reduced to just a few hours a day, usually during sleep-time.

Most younger patients will only need to wear a retainer for a few years. Adults who undergo teeth-straightening later in life, however, may need to wear a retainer indefinitely. Even so, a few hours of wear every day is a small price to pay to protect your beautiful straightened smile.

If you would like more information on orthodontic retainers, 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 “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.”


Dorit Kemsley isn't shy. Best known to fans as an outspoken and sometimes outrageous cast member of the reality show Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Kemsley is never reticent about “mixing it up” with fellow castmates or their significant others. Recently, though, she confessed to something that left her less than confident: her smile.

Kemsley has been self-conscious about her smile because her teeth looked noticeably short, worn down from an unconscious habit of grinding her teeth. Although teeth grinding is more common among children (who normally grow out of it by adolescence), it can persist into adulthood, usually from difficulties managing high stress (a likely component in the fashion designer/reality show star's busy life).

Stress-induced teeth grinding can occur during waking hours or, more likely, during deep sleep. The accumulating, long-term effects from the habit can lead not only to worn teeth but to weakened gum support, a high risk of tooth fracture or jaw pain and dysfunction.

So, how do you know if you grind your teeth, especially if it's only happening at night? Typical signs include sore jaws after awaking from sleep, increased tooth pain or sensitivity or, like Kemsley, a noticeable difference in your tooth length. Your family or sleeping partner may also complain about the “skin-crawling” noise you make during the night.

There are ways to lessen the effects of teeth grinding. The first step is to have us verify the underlying cause for the habit. If it's tension from stress, then you might reduce the habit's occurrences by learning better stress management or relaxation techniques through individual counseling, group support or biofeedback therapy. We can also fit you with a mouth guard to wear at night or through the day that reduces the force generated during teeth grinding.

And if you've already experienced accelerated tooth wear like Kemsley with a resultant “small teeth” smile, you might pursue the same solution as the RHOBH star: dental veneers. These thin, life-like wafers of porcelain are custom-made to mask imperfections like chips, staining, slight tooth gaps and, yes, worn teeth.

Veneers are often less expensive and invasive than other cosmetic techniques, yet they can have a transformative effect, as Kemsley's Instagram followers have seen. In conjunction with other dental treatments needed to repair any underlying damage caused by a grinding habit, veneers are an effective fix for the smile you present to the world.

If you suspect you may have a grinding habit, see us for a complete examination. From there, we'll help you protect your teeth and your smile.

If you would like more information on teeth grinding habits and their effects, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Teeth Grinding.”

By Curt P. Posey, DDS, Inc.
December 30, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: gum disease  

Over the years, dentists have become quite proficient in treating even the most severe periodontal (gum) disease. Many of these positive outcomes are achieved through manual effort using simple hand instruments called scalars and conventional periodontal surgery.

But that might be changing soon: Periodontists (specialists who care for the gums and other supporting dental structures) are starting to use a different kind of tool for gum disease treatment—surgical lasers.

Although lasers are more commonplace in other fields of medicine, recent developments hint at a more prominent future role for them in dentistry. One of these developments is a laser procedure called Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP®) that treats deep spaces of infection called periodontal pockets, which develop advanced gum disease.

These pockets form as infected gums gradually detach from a tooth as the supporting bone is lost. This widens the normally narrow gap between the teeth and gums. The ensuing pocket fills with infection that must be removed to adequately treat the gum disease. As the pocket extends down to the root, it's often necessary to perform a surgical procedure through the adjacent gum tissue to fully access it.

But with the LANAP® procedure, the dentist can use a laser to access a deep pocket without opening the gums. Moving from above into the gap between the tooth and gums, the light from the laser has the ability to remove diseased tissue without damaging healthy tissue.

The dentist follows this with ultrasonic equipment and manual scalers to further decontaminate the tooth root surface. The laser is then employed once again to facilitate the formation of a blood clot between the teeth and gums to seal the area with a fibrin clot. Once treated, the dentist will monitor the tooth to ensure maximum bone regeneration and gum reattachment.

Although outcomes are the same for the most part, this laser technique for periodontal pockets may have some advantages over conventional surgery. Studies so far show that LANAP® causes less tissue removal and bleeding, less potential for gum recession and less discomfort experienced by patients.

It's not likely that lasers will fully replace conventional gum disease treatments any time soon. But if the encouraging evidence thus far continues, the laser will one day become as commonplace alongside the other tools used for gum disease treatment.

If you would like more information on treatments for gum disease, 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 “Treating Gum Disease With Lasers.”

By Curt P. Posey, DDS, Inc.
December 23, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: sealants  

Sealants are a great way to reduce your child’s risk for cavities.

All you have to do is have your child open their mouth wide and you will notice all the ridges on the chewing surfaces of their molars. So, as you might imagine, this is one of the most common places that decay forms. Luckily, our Fresno, CA, dentist Dr. Curt Posey can help protect your child’s back teeth from decay with routine checkups and dental sealants.

What is a dental sealant?

These clear or tooth-colored plastic coatings are painted on and hardened to the chewing surfaces of your child’s molars. These coatings create a smooth protective film over those crevices and ridges to make it a less hospitable environment for food and bacteria to get trapped and to build up. Along with good oral care and visiting your family dentist here in Fresno, CA, every six months, dental sealants can be a great preventive measure to reduce your child’s risk for cavities.

Can my child benefit from sealants?

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that all children between the ages of 5 to 14 get dental sealants. Once your child’s first set of molars comes in (between the ages of 5-7) you should talk to our dentist, Dr. Posey, about whether it’s time to get sealants. Your child’s second set of molars will come in between the ages of 11 and 14, and the ADA also recommends getting sealants placed on these teeth once they come in.

While sealants may be highly recommended for children who are at a higher risk for developing cavities, the truth is that all children should get sealants to protect those back teeth from cavities. In fact, children who don’t have sealants were actually three times more likely to develop cavities than children who had sealants.

How is a sealant applied?

We know that when it comes to getting any kind of dental care, it may feel like pulling teeth to get your child here (we don’t take it personally!). However, you’ll also be relieved to find out that placing sealants is super easy and completely painless.

To place sealants, all we have to do is to paint the plastic coating over the chewing surfaces of your child’s teeth and then use a dental laser to harden it directly to the tooth. It only takes a couple of minutes and your child won’t feel a thing. It’s truly one of the easiest ways to protect your child’s teeth from decay.

If you are ready to sit down with our Fresno, CA, family dentist to see if sealants are right for your little one, call our practices today at (559) 227-6755. We can even place sealants during your child’s next cleaning to make it easier on your schedule.

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Fresno, CA Dentist
Curt P. Posey, DDS, INC.
7078 N. Maple Ave. Ste #105
Fresno, CA 93720
(559) 227-6755
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