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Taking A Bite Out Of Tooth Pain: Banish Pain From Sensitive Teeth

Posted by on Aug 17, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Taking A Bite Out Of Tooth Pain: Banish Pain From Sensitive Teeth

If you experience a sharp pain when you eat or drink hot or cold foods, you could be suffering from sensitive teeth. Sensitive teeth is a common problem that affects an estimated one in eight American adults. While it can be a sign of a serious dental problem, in many instances the problem occurs when the dentine is exposed due to receding gums or enamel erosion. While you should seek the advise of your dentist any time you experience pain from your teeth or the surrounding gums, you can often treat sensitive teeth safely at home. What Causes Sensitive Teeth? The roots of your teeth contain tiny tubules that carry feeling to the nerves of your teeth. Under normal circumstances this area is covered by your gums. When your gums recede, this area is exposed. In some instances, the erosion of enamel exposes the tubules. Enamel erosion can occur from using teeth whitening products or brushing vigorously with a medium or hard bristle toothbrush. When hot or cold foods and drinks, sugary foods, or acidic foods contact the exposed tubules, you experience pain. You may also experience temporary tooth sensitivity after dental work, such as scaling. Talk to your dentist if the problem persists. Can You Cure Sensitive Teeth? Grafting the gums to cover the roots of the teeth can correct sensitive teeth, but only your dentist can decide if this is an option for you. Typically, mild tooth sensitivity is treated by using special toothpaste designed to eliminate the pain of sensitive teeth. How Does Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth Work? There are two basic types of toothpaste deigned for sensitive teeth; those that numb the pain from sensitive teeth and those that block the tubules that lead to the nerve of the tooth. Pain Numbing Toothpaste: Toothpaste designed to numb the pain typically contains potassium nitrate to soothe the nerves in your teeth. This toothpaste must be used regularly to produce the desired effects. The effects are generally short-term and pain may return within a day or two of stopping the use of the toothpaste. Repairing Toothpaste: This toothpaste may be sold as a repair and protect or a repairing toothpaste. It contains calcium sodium phosphosilicate bioactive glass. This compound reacts with the saliva in your mouth to form calcium phosphate that blocks the tubules and coats the tooth. This prevents the pain message from reaching the nerve of your tooth and prevents sensitive teeth. Repairing toothpaste has a longer residual effect than pain numbing toothpaste. How Long Will I Need to Use Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth? If you are suffering from sensitivity as the result of dental work, such a scaling or veneer work, you will only need to use the toothpaste for sensitive teeth until your mouth has healed completely. However, if your sensitive teeth are due to receding gums or exposed dentine that your dentist determines is minor and does not require further dental work, you may need to use toothpaste for sensitive teeth for the rest of your life. Fortunately, there are many formulas available in a variety of flavors. What Else Can I do to Prevent Sensitive Teeth? Good oral hygiene is important. Visiting your dentist regularly, brushing at least twice a day with a soft-bristled brush, and rinsing your mouth with water...

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What You Should Know About Treatments For Your Periodontitis

Posted by on Aug 4, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What You Should Know About Treatments For Your Periodontitis

Gum disease is a common dental disease. In the early stages, it is a reversible condition, but if it progresses to periodontitis, there is no cure. If you have periodontitis, however, there are many treatments available to help improve the disease and treat many of the symptoms. Check out these five common treatments for periodontitis. Deep Cleanings Help Reduce Bacteria and Inflammation Tartar, plaque and bacteria irritate your gums, which causes inflammation. If you have periodontitis, you need professional deep dental cleanings, which include scaling and root planing. Scaling and root planing are special procedures that treat teeth below the gum line. With healthy gums, you don’t need to worry about cleaning below the gum line because your gums are flush against your teeth, preventing debris from collecting. People with periodontitis, however, have pockets or gaps between the teeth and gums. This is a perfect spot for bacteria and plaque to hide. Scaling refers to actually removing the plaque and tartar. Root planing is a process that smooths rough patches on the teeth. Flap Surgery Reduces Pockets As long as you continue to have pockets, your teeth will continue to hoard bacteria and plaque, and it’s difficult to clean those pockets at home. Flap surgery is a procedure designed to remove or reduce the size of the gaps. The dentist uses a scalpel to surgically remove your gums from your teeth. While the roots are exposed, a deep cleaning is performed to eliminate any plaque or tartar. Once the area is clean, your gums are put back, but the dentist ensures they are flush against the teeth to remove or reduce any pockets. Soft Tissue Grafts Replace Lost Gum Tissue Gum disease can actually destroy gum tissue. As more and more tissue is destroyed, your tooth roots become exposed. Not only does this make your teeth look longer, but it also increases the chance of severe decay. Normally, the part of the tooth you see is protected by enamel, but tooth roots don’t have enamel, which means they are more susceptible to plaque, tartar and bacteria. A soft tissue graft allows the dentist to use gum tissue from another part of your mouth to cover and protect these exposed roots.  Bone Grafts Replace Lost Bone Tissue Gum disease doesn’t just destroy gum tissue. It destroys bone tissue too. When left untreated, the gum disease causes your jawbone to lose density, which causes your teeth to become loose. Like a soft tissue graft, a bone graft uses bone from another part of your body to strengthen the jawbone again. Sometimes, the bone is taken from another part of your mouth, but if the dentist needs a lot of bone, it may need to come from another part of your body, such as your hip. In other cases, the dentist may use synthetic bone or bone from a cadaver for the bone graft. Antibacterial Medications May Be Necessary Antibacterial medications are a great way to help reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth to prevent inflammation. When you get flap surgery or scaling and root planing, it is common for the dentist to apply an antibiotic gel or chips directly in your gums. In other cases, the dentist may prescribe an antimicrobial mouthwash, which you use in place of your...

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How Can Dental Bonding Help Give You a Hollywood Smile?

Posted by on Jul 17, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How Can Dental Bonding Help Give You a Hollywood Smile?

Dental bonding is a popular and inexpensive cosmetic dental procedure that can fix a wide variety of problems. If you have any cosmetic dental concerns, you should consider dental bonding to vastly improve the look of your smile. Check out these four common ways dental bonding can give you a Hollywood smile. Whitens Teeth Professional teeth whitening is the best way to fight tooth discoloration caused by aging, tobacco and food/drink. These organic stains don’t stand a chance against the bleaching agents used in professional treatments. However, some stains are resistant to traditional whitening techniques, such as trauma, antibiotics and overexposure to fluoride. Professional whitening can actually worsen these stains. While it won’t actually make them darker, it may make them appear darker as the surrounding teeth become whiter. If you have these types of stains, dental bonding can help. The composite resin material used in dental bonding is placed over your teeth, so it can hide any stain. It is also stain-resistant, so it helps prevent further stains, but it is less stain-resistant than porcelain veneers and dental crowns. Replaces Metal Fillings Metal fillings used to be the norm when you needed to fill in a cavity, but they aren’t as attractive and end up looking black. Metal fillings also require more healthy tooth structure to be removed to keep the filling in place, and metal fillings weaken the healthy tooth overtime. Dental bonding can be used in place of metal fillings or to replace old metal fillings you have. With resin fillings, you end up with a seamless fix, so your tooth looks perfectly healthy and whole. The color can be matched to your tooth, and resin fillings cause less damage to the tooth tissue. On the down side, resin fillings aren’t as durable or strong as metal fillings, so they don’t last as long. They last at least five years, while metal fillings last at least 10 to 15 years. Corrects Chips and Cracks For correcting chips and cracks in your teeth, dental bonding is a great option, and it is less expensive than veneers and dental crowns. Porcelain crowns cost between $500 and $3,000, and porcelain veneers cost about $925 to $2,500. Dental bonding costs significantly less at $100 to $400 per tooth. If you have chips in your teeth, the dentist can fill them in with the dental bonding material, much like filling in a cavity. For correcting large cracks, the resin can be used like a sealant to fill in the crack and hold the tooth together better. In some cases, such as with lots of small cracks, the dentist can place the resin material over the entire surface of the tooth. Fixes Teeth Misalignment If you have mild to moderate crooked teeth, dental bonding allows you to get a straight-looking smile without the hassle of braces. The material used in dental bonding is placed directly on teeth and then shaped and scrupled by the dentist. This means your teeth don’t actually move, but the final result leaves your teeth looking perfectly straight. This can also be done with porcelain veneers and crowns, but for the veneers and crowns to fit, the dentist must remove a large portion of tooth structure. Some enamel may need to be removed if you choose to reshape your...

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4 Tips For An Easy Recovery From Dental Implant Surgery

Posted by on Jul 7, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Tips For An Easy Recovery From Dental Implant Surgery

Dental implants are one of the most natural-looking replacements for missing teeth. However, many people who have considered dental implants are concerned about pain and swelling during the recovery period. Here are a few tips to help make your recovery as quick and comfortable as possible after dental implant surgery. Managing Bleeding and Swelling During the first day or two after your dental implants are placed, you can expect mild to moderate bleeding in the gums surrounding the implant. Occasionally, manual stimulation from chewing or massaging the gums can cause a sudden increase in bleeding. When this happens, placing a gauze pad over the bleeding area and biting down to maintain pressure can help to control the bleeding. Replace the gauze every 30 to 60 minutes until the bleeding slows down. You can also minimize bleeding by refraining from physical activity that increases your heart rate and blood pressure. Swelling and bruising of the gums can persist throughout the first week after the surgery. Over-the-counter pain medication is typically effective to manage pain from bruised gums. Holding an ice pack on your jaw where the swelling occurs can help it go down more quickly. Use the ice pack for only 10 to 15 minutes at a time, and place a cloth between the pack and your skin to protect it from frostbite. When the swelling starts to subside, you can switch to a warm compress to promote blood flow and help the bruising heal more quickly. Soft Food Diet Your dentist will recommend that you avoid hard, sticky, and chewy foods while your implant is healing. Not only does this reduce pain and bleeding while your gums heal, but it also helps your implant to set in place more quickly. Dental implants bond directly to your jawbone through a process called osseointegration. Eating hard or chewy foods can cause the implant to move slightly, making it take longer for osseointegration to occur. Sticking to a soft food diet for at least the first week after your implants are installed is an excellent way to accelerate your recovery. Foods like yogurt, eggs, and soup will have no effect on the osseointegration of the implant. You should also avoid smoking and using other tobacco products, as these will make your gums heal much more slowly. Oral Hygiene Maintaining your regular dental hygiene routine is essential to keep your gums healthy while you are recovering from dental implant surgery. There will be a small amount of space between the implant and your gums until they have fully healed. Brushing and flossing will prevent food particles from getting lodged in this space and irritating the gums. To prevent bleeding while you are brushing around the implant, use reduced pressure and a soft-bristle brush. Rinsing your mouth with salt water or mouthwash after every meal will provide additional protection against food particle build-up. Follow-Up Care Your dentist will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor the healing process of your implants. Attending all of these appointments is the best way to make sure that your implant is healing correctly and to avoid complications. During the appointment, the dentist will talk to you about any pain or other symptoms you are experiencing during the recovery. He or she will also take an x-ray of the implant to...

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Bag The Binky: Protecting Your Toddler’s Teeth From Pacifier Damage

Posted by on Jun 18, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Bag The Binky: Protecting Your Toddler’s Teeth From Pacifier Damage

Although pacifiers can be a terrific tool for soothing a fussy baby, if a child sucks on his or her binky for too long, there are several oral consequences that can happen as a result.  Because taking away the binky is a struggle for most kids, it is essential to understand how to get rid of the binky effectively and why getting rid of the pacifier early is so important.  Both of these points can help to provide the necessary motivation to help you to bag the binky successfully. Damages that Can Result From Lengthy Pacifier Use When a child’s permanent teeth are coming in, it is integral to not have any unnecessary forces pressing against the newly erupting teeth.  These teeth need to come into the mouth in their most natural positions in order to develop correctly.  When a child sucks on a binky too long, oral ramifications can include: gaps between the upper front and lower front teeth when the jaw is in a closed position the upper teeth being pushed inside the lower back teeth the front teeth not falling out at a normal time delayed entrance of adult permanent teeth misalignment of the jaw, or overbite  the roof of the mouth narrowing Other problems, outside of the oral issues, can include a child developing speech and language problems and having a higher risk of ear infections. Methods To Get Rid Of The BInky In order to avoid these consequences, there are many different strategies that you can try to successfully help your toddler to get rid of his or her binky. Take It Away Early Although the most important thing is to have your child completely weaned off the binky before their adult teeth begin coming in (which is usually around age 5), most agree that the earlier the binky is banned, the better.  Younger children are naturally less resistant to cutting their ties with the pacifier because they: are more easily distracted do not have as strong of an attachment to things cannot verbally try to persuade or negotiate with you are not as bothered by big changes can break habits easier Even though a child’s permanent teeth most likely will not emerge until age 5, in order for you to have a more positive experience weaning your child off the binky, it is best to take it away earlier and, at the latest, by age 3. Start Small and Gradual Because taking away a child’s beloved binky is a huge change for him or her, it is best not to take away the binky cold turkey at first.  Try to restrict binky use to during certain times of the day (i.e., bedtime, naps, car rides) and do not let your child have it during any other time. Once you do this, you might decide to restrict your child’s pacifier usage even more and only let him or her have it during bedtime.  Making these small changes can help your toddler to ease into this transition rather than the event being so abrupt. Once it’s Gone, Be Strong After making these small changes, pick a time when you will take the binky away permanently.  Then, once the binky is gone, be strong and do not give it back under any circumstances.  Do whatever you...

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How A Root Canal Treatment Can Discolor Your Tooth

Posted by on Jun 2, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How A Root Canal Treatment Can Discolor Your Tooth

If you damage the pulp inside one of your teeth, a bacterial infection is likely to develop. To remove the infected tissue, a dentist will normally have to carry out a root canal treatment. While these treatments can effectively deal with infections, some patients experience side effects, including tooth discoloration. If a root canal treatment has caused discoloration in one of your teeth, find out what may have caused the problem. Diseased material remains in the tooth canal A root canal treatment relies on a series of repetitive movements with special endodontic instruments that a dentist uses to clean out the root canal inside your tooth. Some teeth have one canal, while other teeth have several of these cavities, but patients also sometimes have tiny lateral extensions of the pulp chamber that are almost impossible to see. In these cases, diseased material can get into these extended pulp chambers. Once the dentist seals the cavity with a filling, the trapped material has nowhere to go. Over time, this unwanted debris might start to discolor the surrounding tooth. A similar problem occurs when the diseased material gets into the pulp horn, at the tip of the canal cavity. Canal filling materials discolor the tooth Once your dentist removes all the diseased material from your root canal, it’s very important that he or she seals the remaining cavity, or a secondary infection will probably develop. To do this, your dentist will commonly use a filling material called gutta-percha. Gutta-percha is a special substance that dentists have used since 1867. Gutta-percha combines natural rubber with zinc oxide and other materials to form a strong, inert filling. Once the dentist seals off the gutta-percha, bacteria can no longer get into the root canal. Some patients experience tooth discoloration from the gutta-percha. A study in 2001 found that, over a 12-month period, the material caused slight to moderate discoloration in test samples of teeth. Damage from medications As well as removing all the diseased material from your root canal, your dentist will sometimes add special medications to the cavity. Once he or she seals these medications in the tooth, the risk of a subsequent infection decreases, but some people also experience discoloration. Dentists sometimes use phenolic compounds and eugenol during a root canal treatment. These medications can stain the dentine in your tooth. Dentists also use polyantibiotic pastes to help prevent infection. These medications can cause the root dentine to darken in color. Discoloration from amalgam fillings Dentists can use several methods to seal a root canal once they have removed all the diseased material. In some cases, you may need a crown, but your dentist will sometimes just recommend a simple filling. Dentists can use different types of filling, but amalgam fillings are still relatively common. Dentists have used amalgam fillings for more than a century. Amalgam is a blend of metals, which normally include silver, tin and copper. The metallic finish of an amalgam filling is relatively distinctive, so many people are now opting for a white filling instead. That aside, amalgam fillings can discolor teeth. If your dentist opts to fill your root canal with an amalgam filling, the rest of the tooth can sometimes turn darker in color. Even if a root canal treatment causes tooth discoloration, dental patients don’t need...

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5 Things Parents Need To Know About Herpetic Gingivostomatitis

Posted by on May 13, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Things Parents Need To Know About Herpetic Gingivostomatitis

Herpetic gingivostomatitis is a painful infection that is caused by the herpes simplex virus, the same virus that is responsible for cold sores. It usually affects children between six months and five years old, but older kids can also suffer from it. Here’s what parents need to know about it. How does the herpes simplex virus spread? People who are already infected with herpes simplex shed the virus into the air around them, even when they’re not showing any symptoms. If the virus comes in contact with your child’s mucous membranes, such as their eyes, nose, or lips, they can become infected. It can also spread through broken skin such as cuts or scrapes. The virus spreads well when kids are in close contact with each other, such as at schools or day care centers. Young children tend to touch their mouths often, put toys or other objects in their mouths, and share cups with other kids. Any of these behaviors can allow the virus an entry into their bodies. What are the signs of herpetic gingivostomatitis? Herpetic gingivostomatitis causes a wide variety of symptoms. If your child has this infection, you may notice some or all of these signs: Ulcers on the inside of the cheeks Red, painful gums Severe gum swelling that covers the surfaces of the teeth Gums that bleed with slight pressure Bleeding and scabbed gums Fever Cold sores at the corners of the mouth Bad breath Stiff neck and headache Irritability Refusal to eat Why do young kids get this condition instead of a cold sore? When some kids are first exposed to the herpes simplex virus, their immune systems aren’t able to fight it very well. This allows it to cause serious symptoms when it first enters their bodies. The virus will become dormant once they recover from herpetic gingivostomatitis, and when it recurs later in life, it will typically cause only a cold sore.  How common is herpetic gingivostomatitis? The herpes simplex virus is very common, and as many as 90% of people will have been exposed by the time they reach adulthood. In all likelihood, your child will be one of them, but this doesn’t mean that they’ll definitely get herpetic gingivostomatitis. This infection only affects about 1% of kids who are newly infected with herpes simplex. Can it spread to the rest of the family? This infection is very contagious and can easily spread to other children in your home or even to you, if you haven’t yet been infected with the herpes simplex virus. Don’t touch your child’s gums or mouth without wearing gloves, and make sure to wash your hands after caring for them to avoid spreading the virus to yourself or your other children. Can it be treated? Herpetic gingivostomatitis can be treated with antiviral medications. These are given either orally or intravenously, and they work by keeping the herpes virus from replicating.  Over-the-counter painkillers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can also be helpful for children with milder cases of this infection. In more serious cases, your dentist may prescribe a lidocaine cream to numb the affected areas of the mouth. In some cases, children with this infection need to be hospitalized. This can happen if they have very serious pain, a very high fever or are refusing...

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Dental Abscesses: Types, Symptoms, And Treatment

Posted by on Apr 21, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

A dental abscess is a serious condition that can lead to tooth loss, sinusitis, and more dangerous problems. Because of this, it is important to pay attention to the signs and symptoms of a dental abscess so you can have it treated as soon as possible. Here is some information about dental abscesses to help you be more prepared if you ever face this dental problem. Types of Dental Abscesses Dental abscesses are classified based on where the bacterial infection originated in or around your tooth. The most common type is a periapical abscess, where the infection begins in the pulp of the tooth. Periapical abscesses occur when severe cavities or a failed root canal allow bacteria to access the tooth pulp. Dental abscesses that originate in the periodontal ligament, cementum, or other supporting tissues of a tooth are known as periodontal abscesses. While a periapical abscess normally kills the affected tooth by destroying the pulp, teeth suffering from periodontal abscesses are typically still alive and easier to save. Signs and Symptoms In most cases, the most noticeable symptom of a dental abscess will be sudden, intense pain. The pain may be localized to the affected tooth in the early stages of the abscess, but over time may spread to the jawbone, ear, and even the neck. You will likely find that the pain is worse when you touch the tooth or bite down, and will have greater sensitivity to hot and cold foods. In addition to pain, you may notice a foul taste in your mouth, or may experience halitosis (bad breath). In advanced cases, you may develop a fever and suffer from full-body aches and pains. If at all possible, you should see your dentist such as Milan Simanek DDS before the infection progresses to this stage. Home Remedies and Pain Management Even though you should consider an abscess a dental emergency, you may not always be able to see a dentist as soon as the pain starts. There are a few common home remedies that you can use to manage your symptoms until you can have the abscess professionally treated. Over-the-counter pain medications can provide limited relief from dental abscess pain, but you will usually fare better by using methods that soothe the tooth directly. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can dull pain, and can also rinse out pus if a sore around the abscess bursts. You can also try applying clove oil or a topical ointment to the tooth to reduce sensitivity. Treatment The dentist will use different methods to treat your dental abscess depending on whether it is a periapical abscess or a periodontal abscess. In both cases, he will first use a local anesthetic to numb the area. For periapical abscesses, the dentist will perform a root canal to remove infection and dead pulp. The dentist will then refill the tooth with gutta-percha, a rubbery, bacteria-resistant material that will reduce the chance of a future infection. For periodontal abscesses, the dentist will make a small incision in the gums to drain the pus from the abscess. After the pocket is free of pus, the dentist will use metal tools to scale and plane the root of the tooth to remove bacteria that is clinging to the root. If these initial surgeries are...

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3 Steps You Should Take If You Chip A Tooth

Posted by on Apr 6, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

While teeth are strong enough to withstand a lot of force, there are times when they fail and end up chipping. This normally happens from trauma that strikes the tooth. The trauma could as severe as the force from a major car crash, or it could be as simple as biting on a hard piece of food. When this happens, you will need to take the right steps to protect the tooth and get it repaired. Look at the Severity of the Damage When part of a tooth chips off, you will instantly feel the pain. The pain might go away shortly or last long, and this normally depends on the location of the damage. If the chip is just at the tip of your tooth, it may not hurt horribly bad, but you could experience a great deal of pain if the chip happens near your gum line. The severity of the damage can help you determine what you should do next, but no matter what, you should consider going to a dentist quickly. Getting the tooth examined and repaired quickly will help you: Eliminate the pain faster Prevent the risk of losing the tooth Feel less embarrassed from the way the tooth looks Treat the Injury After chipping a tooth, you will not only need to examine it to find out how severe the problem is, but you will also need to treat it. Here are some of the things you can do to help relieve the pain and discomfort you are experiencing after this happens: Rinse with salt water – Mix a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and rinse your mouth with this. The salt will help clean the tooth, and this is especially important if the tooth pulp or dentin is exposed. Use paraffin wax – Paraffin wax is something that you can purchase at most grocery stores, and it is often used for cooking. You can place a small piece of paraffin wax over the tooth. This will protect the tooth, and it will also help you avoid cutting your gums if the tooth has a sharp edge. Place a teabag on it – If there is bleeding around the tooth, place a wet teabag on the tooth, and bite down to apply pressure to it. This will help stop the bleeding. If you are experiencing a lot of pain, you may want to take over-the-counter pain pills to relieve it. At this point, you should also consider calling a dentist at a place like Maplewood Dental Associates, PA. Get It Fixed While there are times when chipped teeth do not need emergency dental services, you should always try to see a dentist within a couple days after the injury. If you wait too long, the tooth could end up becoming infected, and this could lead to needing a root canal. Waiting too long could also cause you to lose this tooth. When you go to a dentist, there are several methods he or she might discuss with you for repairing the tooth, and these include: Bonding – Bonding is ideal if the chipped part is small and if the chip is not located near the gums. When bonding is used, a cement-like material is placed on the tooth and...

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Troubleshooting Your Teeth

Posted by on Mar 17, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

It’s a shame that the human body doesn’t come with an owner’s manual — after all, it’s much more complex than, say, your car. Even your teeth can exhibit confusing and worrying signs of trouble, but without some basic troubleshooting knowledge, you could either get worked up over nothing or ignore a serious condition. Here are a few symptoms that can serve as the oral equivalent of a car’s “check engine” light, a signal that you need to consult your family dental practitioner. Strange Lumps A strange lump on the gums or the roof of the mouth might throw you into a frenzy, but try to keep a cool head — in many cases, these oddities are perfectly normal. A torus, for example, is a bony protrusion that may occur along the gums of the lower jaw or on the hard palate. Tori may cause some discomfort if you scrape them with sharp-edged foods, but they don’t need to be removed unless they grow so large that they affect your breathing, speech, or ability to wear dentures comfortably. Even though many mouth lumps are benign, however, you need to be aware that a lump might also be a possible sign of oral cancer, especially if it seems to be made of soft tissue instead of bone. Accompanying symptoms may include jaw pain, throat pain, discolored patches inside the mouth, or a stubborn sore that never goes away. Oral cancer is a fast-moving disease, which is why regular checkups are such an important part of complete dental care. Bleeding Spitting blood after a vigorous tooth brushing or flossing is not the most uncommon phenomenon in the world, as frightening as it may be. You may have simply stabbed your gums with the bristles or flossed in a particularly aggressive fashion, so an isolated incident shouldn’t be cause for alarm. If it happens on a regular basis, however, you could be looking a a case of gum disease caused by tartar buildup and bacterial infiltration. There are two basic phases to this kind of problem: Gingivitis – Gingivitis is an inflammation and infection of the gingiva, the tissue that interfaces with the tooth enamel at the gum line. Infection causes the gum surrounding the tooth to become red, inflamed, painful, and subject to bleeding. The gums may also recede, exposing more of the tooth. Periodontal disease – Periodontal disease is the more advanced deterioration and infection that occurs when gingivitis goes unchecked. As the bacteria settle into the periodontal pockets surrounding the tooth, they begin to destroy the ligaments that hold the teeth in place. As the infection worsens, deep abscesses may occur in the jawbone, and ultimately you can lose teeth. You can avoid this serious escalation by consulting your dentist the minute you suspect gingivitis. Bad Breath Bad breath is more than just an embarrassment — it can also be a sign of disease. If your breath smells of onions or garlic, of course, it’s more likely a sign that you just ate dinner. But habitual or unexplained bad breath, or halitosis, should set up a red flag that something is wrong. Most of the time, the problem can be traced to plaque, that sticky accumulation of old food particles that bacteria love to feed on. A combination of...

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