Posts for: October, 2016
Although toothaches are common, not all tooth pain originates from the same source. But regardless of its cause, you need to take prompt action to find out and begin treatment.
Sensitive teeth, for example, usually cause a quick stab of pain when you eat or drink something hot or cold or when you bite down. If the pain lasts only a second or two, you may have a small area of decay in a tooth, a loose filling or an exposed root. The latter often occurs either because of over-aggressive brushing or periodontal (gum) disease. In both cases, the gums may have shrunk back or receded to expose the root surface.
A sharp pain when biting down may be a sign of decay or a loose filling; it could also mean you have a fractured or cracked tooth. For any of those causes, you'll need treatment to repair the problem and relieve the pain.
You may also experience a lingering tooth pain ranging from dull to sharp, or localized to one tooth or seeming to radiate from a general area, such as above the upper jaw. There are a number of possible causes, but two prominent ones are an abscess (a localized area of infection that's become inflamed) or deep decay within the pulp, the heart of a tooth.
This usually calls for a root canal treatment for the affected tooth. In this procedure we drill an access hole into the pulp and clear it of infected and dead tissue. We then fill the empty pulp chamber and root canals with a special filling and seal the access hole. Later, we bond a permanent artificial crown to the tooth to further protect it from re-infection.
Whether your pain is momentary or lingering, dull or sharp, you should see us as soon as possible to determine its cause. You should still see us even if sharp, lingering pain goes away — this could simply mean the infected nerves in the pulp have died but not the infection. The sooner you have the cause of your pain treated, the better your chances of a happy and less costly outcome.
If you would like more information on tooth pain and what to do about it, 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 “Tooth Pain? Don't Wait!”
Want to know the exact wrong way to pry open a stubborn lid? Just ask Jimmy Fallon, host of NBC-TV’s popular “Tonight Show.” When the 40-year-old funnyman had trouble opening a tube of scar tissue repair gel with his hands, he decided to try using his teeth.
What happened next wasn’t funny: Attempting to remove the cap, Fallon chipped his front tooth, adding another medical problem to the serious finger injury he suffered a few weeks before (the same wound he was trying to take care of with the gel). If there’s a moral to this story, it might be this: Use the right tool for the job… and that tool isn’t your teeth!
Yet Fallon is hardly alone in his dilemma. According to the American Association of Endodontists, chipped teeth account for the majority of dental injuries. Fortunately, modern dentistry offers a number of great ways to restore damaged teeth.
If the chip is relatively small, it’s often possible to fix it with cosmetic bonding. In this procedure, tough, natural-looking resin is used to fill in the part of the tooth that has been lost. Built up layer by layer, the composite resin is cured with a special light until it’s hard, shiny… and difficult to tell from your natural teeth. Best of all, cosmetic bonding can often be done in one office visit, with little or no discomfort. It can last for up to ten years, so it’s great for kids who may be getting more permanent repairs later.
For larger chips or cracks, veneers or crowns may be suggested. Veneers are wafer-thin porcelain coverings that go over the entire front surface of one or more teeth. They can be used to repair minor to moderate defects, such as chips, discolorations, or spacing irregularities. They can also give you the “Hollywood white” smile you’ve seen on many celebrities.
Veneers are generally custom-made in a lab, and require more than one office visit. Because a small amount of tooth structure must be removed in order to put them in place, veneers are considered an irreversible treatment. But durable and long-lasting veneers are the restorations of choice for many people.
Crowns (also called caps) are used when even more of the tooth structure is missing. They can replace the entire visible part of the tooth, as long as the tooth’s roots remain viable. Crowns, like veneers, are custom-fabricated to match your teeth in size, shape and color; they are generally made in a dental lab and require more than one office visit. However, teeth restored with crowns function well, look natural, and can last for many years.
So what happened to Jimmy Fallon? We aren’t sure which restoration he received… but we do know that he was back on TV the same night, flashing a big smile.
If you would like more information about tooth restorations, please contact us or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers” and “Artistic Repair Of Front Teeth With Composite Resin.”
If you have tooth pain that just won’t go away then it’s time you did something about it.
Tooth pain is not normal and it’s certainly not something that should be ignored. After all, your tooth is trying to tell you something so it’s time you listened and called our Danbury, CT dentist Dr. George Landress for help. The longer you wait the worse off your tooth will be.
The most common causes of tooth pain include:
- Tooth sensitivity
- Dental decay
- A cracked tooth
- Inflamed or damaged dental pulp
If you notice that your teeth are only sensitive to hot or cold foods and drinks for a few minutes then there probably isn’t any issue; however, tooth sensitivity that lingers could be trying to tell you that you have tooth decay or an exposed tooth root. If toothpastes for sensitive teeth aren’t doing the trick then it’s time to see your Danbury, CT general dentist for treatment.
If you have dental pain that shows up whenever you eat something or put pressure on your tooth then you may be dealing with a cavity. Of course, most cavities don’t even cause symptoms and so the only way to truly determine whether you have a cavity is by coming in every six months for your preventive dental exams and cleanings. If you notice that the problem tooth also has a brown spot on it then you may be dealing with decay.
A cracked tooth may also be to blame if you notice pain when biting down or releasing your bite. A cracked tooth will need to be treated so the problem doesn’t get worse. If the crack is bad enough we will need to buff out the crack and then place a dental crown over the tooth to protect it from further damage.
Inflamed Dental Pulp
A dental infection will continue to get worse until it is properly treated. So if you are noticing chronic or severe dental pain then the infection may have already spread to the inside of the tooth, known as the dental pulp. Once the pulp is damaged or infected we will need to treat the tooth with a root canal. If the tooth is too far damaged that even root canal treatment won’t work then we may need to remove the tooth.
Who wants to put up with a toothache day in and day out? We certainly wouldn’t! If you are in dental distress call our Danbury, CT dental office today to schedule a visit with us.