What is a Root Canal?, How to know?
A root canal is a dental procedure that cleans the inside of a tooth when the pulp in the tooth has become infected. This could happen due to:
- A tooth abscess
- Needing a crown
- Severe tooth decay
- Facial/mouth/tooth trauma
- Cracked tooth and/or filling
Often a patient will notice tooth pain, extreme temperature sensitivity in the tooth, swelling and soreness, and even discoloration in an infected tooth. If you’re experiencing these symptoms – call your dentist, as the pain may be resolved with a root canal.
What to Expect on a Dental Check-Up
Before that next dental check-up, there are some things you should be sure you do, especially if this will be your first visit at a new dental office.
Gather information about your health history, including medications you are taking and contact information for your most recent doctor and dentist.
Request your former dentist transfer your records to your new provider. Sometimes they will require a form, fax number or email address. Help foster the transfer so your new dentist has a complete picture of your dental history.
Let them know if you have health concerns such as pregnancy, diabetes, epilepsy, or special needs, so they can best support you.
Did you know what causes Bad Breath?
Also called halitosis, bad breath can be caused by a number of issues. Food.
Some of the foods we eat can give us temporary bad breath. Garlic, onions, coffee, spicy or fragrant foods can leave your mouth less than fresh. Brush your teeth, chew sugar free gum, or use mouthwash for a burst of freshness.
Like smoking and tobacco use not only cause bad breath, they can create oral cancers, stain teeth and irritate your gums. Consider a tobacco free lifestyle to reduce the negative effects.
The Bad breath can be caused by dental issues such as gum disease or cavities. Crowded teeth or ill-fitting dental appliances can also cause bad breath. See your dentist to rule out any oral care issues as a culprit.
When to Know if You Need to See a Dentist
If at any point you experience pain or changes in your mouth such as hot and cold sensitivity, aching, or throbbing, this should be an indication that you should see a dentist—especially if pain is affecting your everyday activities. Sometimes the changes in your mouth can affect your ability to sleep, eat, and talk, and that’s a sure sign that something is off and you need to see your dentist. If your denture, bridge, or appliance isn’t fitting as well as it used to.
If you have dentures, a bridge, or an appliance, you should see your dentist if it feels loose or is not fitting as well as it used to. It may be time for an adjustment to help it fit like new again. Your mouth can change over time, and your dentures or other appliances should be regularly checked to ensure they’re still fitting well in your mouth.
You notice bleeding when you’re brushing or flossing.
It is normal for your gums to bleed a little bit when you begin to establish a flossing routine. However, if the bleeding doesn’t stop after a few weeks or you notice bleeding when brushing your teeth, it may be an indication of a periodontal issue that, if not treated, can lead to bigger issues down the road such as gum disease.
How to Prevent Dry Mouth While Sleeping
If you suffer from dry mouth, you’re not alone. While estimates vary widely, it’s safe to say millions of people experience dry mouth at some point. If you are one of them, you know night time is often the worst, waking up parched, and without relief can be uncomfortable and frustrating. Not only is it annoying and often painful, chronic dry mouth can lead to tooth decay and gum disease if untreated. Wouldn’t it be nice to learn how to prevent dry mouth while sleeping and find some relief?
But, why is it so bad at night? Many times you can blame mouth breathing for it. While the best cure for dry mouth is to address any underlying health issues, that can take time and most people need more immediate solutions. Consider these solutions:
- Drink water throughout the day – stay hydrated
- Chew sugar-free gum, or suck on sugar free candies or mints to help increase saliva
- Brush with a fluoride toothpaste
- Use mouth washes, rinses and/or toothpaste designed for dry mouth
- Use an artificial saliva product, either over-the-counter or prescribed by your doctor or dentist
- Avoid acidic or spicy foods which can make it worse
- Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake, especially at night
- Quit smoking
- Talk to your doctor about any mouth breathing or snoring
Tooth Sensitivity to Cold? To Hot? To Sweets? See this!
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity can come and go with time, and is usually caused by exposed dentin on root areas from gum disease and/or receded gums. Unlike the crowns of your teeth, the root area of your tooth isn’t protected by enamel, but rather cementum. When the enamel or cementum wears away the nerves within the tooth are exposed which can cause tooth sensitivity. Common causes of erosion include:
- Overzealous teeth brushing
- Use of abrasive toothpaste
- An acidic diet
- Acid reflux disease
- Excessive teeth whitening
- Teeth grinding
- Dry mouth
How to Treat Tooth Sensitivity
Talk to your dentist about any tooth pain or tooth sensitivity to cold, hot, acidic or sweet drinks or foods. Tooth decay and cavities should be ruled out or treated. Your dentist may recommend an ADA approved desensitizing toothpaste or fluoride gel toothpaste for use at home. With more severe cases of tooth sensitivity, a filling, a gum graft or a root canal may be required
Does Sugar is the Cause of Cavities?
What is a Cavity?
A cavity, also called dental caries, is a hole in a tooth where tooth enamel has broken down due to decay. Decay is caused when plaque – a sticky bacteria that forms naturally in the digestive process – builds up on the tooth. When left for long periods of time, that plaque can cause decay, causing a cavity. Left untreated, a cavity can create a hole through the tooth and expose nerve endings creating significant pain. It can also create the need for a root canal or even result in tooth loss.
Does Sugar Cause Cavities?
No, sugar doesn’t cause cavities, bacteria cause cavities. But, sugar digestion does create bacteria, which, if not properly managed, will lead to not just cavities but also gum disease and may even result tooth loss. Whenever we eat food, acids are created by our body to break down the food to assist in digestion. These acids demineralize our teeth. Thankfully, our teeth are re-mineralized by brushing our teeth, drinking fluorinated water, and even our own saliva. The bottom line? It’s ok to indulge in some sugary treats as long as proper care is taken to reduce the presence of bacteria that cause cavities.
To prevent cavities, you don’t need to give up sugar, but you do need to stay on top of good oral care; especially after holidays like Halloween. For both kids and adults, the American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing and rinsing with mouthwash daily, using sugar-free gum between meals, and seeing your dentist at least twice a year.
How Often Should I Brush My Teeth?
Your Dentist’s Recommendation
Let’s start here. The American Dental Association® recommends brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing and rinsing with alcohol-free mouthwash once a day, and chewing sugar free gum between meals in order to reduce the buildup of bacteria that can lead to cavities and gum disease. Your dentist agrees with this.
In addition, you should let a professional “brush your teeth” at least twice a year. In other words, makes sure you are seen in a dental office at least twice a year for x-rays, cleanings and for preventative care, and as needed if you have pain or any dental or oral concerns. A healthy mouth is created from lifelong habits in good oral care, but, what if you forget?
Here are some tips to help you remember and keep your oral care a priority.
Task it. Make it part of your everyday grooming routine to brush your teeth. Wake up, use the bathroom, brush your teeth, and shower. When it becomes part of a routine, it is easier to remember.
Set a timer. Use your phone, computer or even a friend to remind you when it is time to brush your teeth. Usually in the morning and evening make the most sense, but maybe with your schedule you need it to be right after breakfast and right before bed. Whenever you determine is the best time to brush, alert yourself and do it.
Remind yourself. There is a saying: “out of sight, out of mind”. Help yourself remember by setting out your toothbrush or even posting a note somewhere you are sure to see it. Keeping it top of mind will help you integrate it into your everyday habits.
Missing Teeth Problems
Imagine not being able to eat your favorite food like a juicy steak or crunchy apple because you’re missing a tooth. Or imagine not landing that dream job because your confidence is hindered by a smile with missing teeth. Unfortunately, missing teeth problems like these impact more adults than you might think! According to the American Dental Association, the average adult has three or more missing teeth or decay that warrants a tooth to be pulled and replaced.
Missing teeth are often the result of trauma (car or sports accidents), tooth decay, poor nutrition or gum disease. While missing teeth may just seem like a cosmetic problem that many people learn to live with, missing teeth are more than just a hole in one’s smile. They can have serious physical and psychological implications that can develop. Missing teeth problems include:
Difficulty Chewing – teeth are designed for chewing, so when teeth are missing, it makes it difficult to chew. Chewing can cause pain for the person, causing them to eat less or eat different foods, sometimes resulting in poor nutrition.
Shifting Teeth – when there is excess room around bite misalignment. Tooth decay may become more difficult to reach when teeth begin to collide, which puts them at greater risk to be lost as well.
Missing Teeth Problems
If you are one of the estimated 178 million Americans missing a tooth (or two), you don’t have to continue suffering – there are solutions for missing teeth problems. Visiting your dentist is the first step to finding the solution for your missing teeth problems.
Common solutions include:
Dental Implants: Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth or a full set of teeth (and anywhere in between). Secure and stable, they are designed to last for significant time periods and they look, feel and function like real teeth! Dental implants are almost always the best option for replacing missing teeth.
Bridges: Bridges are another possible option when only one or a few teeth are missing. A bridge will be supported by the surrounding teeth, but will eventually need to be replaced.
Dentures: Dentures are often considered a last resort in cases where dental implants are not an option. They are often uncomfortable for the patient and most patients will still experience bone loss/atrophy and the early aging associated with it.
Deep teeth cleaning, do I really need It?
What is a deep teeth cleaning?
A dental deep cleaning, sometimes referred to as gum therapy, is a treatment that cleans between the gums and teeth down to the roots. Like a regular cleaning, the hygienist or dentist will clean the tooth, gum line and sides of the teeth. However in a deep teeth cleaning, they continue to remove tartar buildup down below the gum line to the root of the tooth. This process can also be referred to as a “root planning and scaling” and may require several visits in order to complete the treatment. It is more extensive than a standard cleaning and is designed to treat gum disease and to stop it from becoming worse.
Do I really need a deep teeth cleaning?
Only your dentist or dental hygienist can tell you for sure. If your visit to the dentist reveals significant pockets- those 4mm or greater, then you are at risk for (or in the stages of), periodontal disease. This makes you a candidate for the therapy (a deep teeth cleaning) and it is highly recommended if you want to stop and prevent the progression of the disease. Without treatment, the bacteria that created the pockets in your gums will continue to create plaque, tartar, and bone loss.
If you are told you need a deep teeth cleaning, you’re not alone! According to the American Academy of Periodontology, nearly half of adult Americans suffer from gum disease.
Do you know why smiling is good for you?
Why smiling is good for you genuine smiles are shown to help you reduce stress. In fact, we think this might be why “happy hour” started- after a stressful day of work, employees headed into a fun social gathering to laugh and let the stress of the day dissolve away. And, smiling is cheaper than a beer!
Take advantage of the stress relief benefits of smiling by smiling both during and after stressful activities to help lessen the effects of stress on your body. Evidence shows it can help both the body and mind recover more quickly. Source: Smile! It’s good for Your Heart.
By smiling, internal and external positive changes start happening right away. For example, smiling makes you appear more friendly, trustworthy and approachable. By smiling, you become more inviting than when you are not. This simple tweak allows connections with others, leaving you feeling less isolated or alone, which is important in feeling better.
Smiling is good for you and for others in part because it is free and contagious. Have you noticed how hard it is to not smile back at a genuine smile? And, in smiling, you might just make some one’s day better.
Do I know why my Teeth hurt?
Why do my teeth hurt?
Why do my teeth hurt? It can be a number a reasons, but here are the most common:
Cavity: A cavity is simply decay in your tooth due to bacteria. It can create sensitivity that results in tooth pain. Cavities are easiest to manage when they are small and the tooth can be saved.
Damaged or Lost Filling: Sometimes a filling can fall out or be damaged, which will cause issues with your bite, leading to pain. A visit to your dentist can determine what needs to be done to eliminate the pain.
Teeth Grinding/Clenching/TMJ: You may find yourself bearing down on your teeth during the day, or wake up with a sore jaw, which is a good indication you are clenching or grinding your teeth at night. Your dentist can offer solutions to help save your teeth from excess wear and tear, as well as painful headaches, toothaches and jaw pain.
Abscessed Tooth: A tooth abscess forms when there is an infection at the tooth’s roots. It is extremely painful and only a dentist visit can help so antibiotics can be administered and the tooth treated. Failure to address it can lead to a widespread infection.
Injury: An injury caused by such things as contact sports or an accident can cause any number of problems including a “bruised” or deep discoloring of the tooth, a broken tooth, or total loss of one or more teeth.
Temperature Sensitivity: When the underlying layer of the tooth, called the dentin, is exposed due to cracks in the enamel or the recession of the gums, your teeth may become sensitive to either hot or cold temperatures, or both.
Do you know what to do in a Dental Emergency?
A few common Dental Emergencies and how to handle them
It’s good to have a dentist on speed dial. Pain and broken teeth can happen at any time and can bring even the most reluctant people to the dentist.
Knocked out tooth
Kids’ rough house, teenagers play sports, and adults take a “YOLO” approach to learning how to skateboard. When a tooth gets knocked out, pick it up by the crown (not the root), gently rinse with water, and try to gently push it back into the socket. If this isn’t possible, place it in a glass of milk and call your dentist.
A toothache can bring you to your knees. It can be caused by tooth decay, infection, tooth eruption, an abnormal bite, or trauma to the tooth. Schedule an appointment with your dentist and rinse with warm salt water, take an ibuprofen or acetaminophen, apply an over-the-counter antiseptic and a cold compress to the outside cheek to relieve pain or swelling
Oral Cancer / Symptoms and Causes
What causes oral cancer?
You don’t have to be old and unhealthy to be at risk. Oral cancer is typically associated with tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and older age. Many people are surprised to find out that, due to the connection to the HPV virus, the fastest growing segment of oral cancer patients is young, healthy individuals.
Decrease your risk:
Quit all tobacco use. Cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and chewing tobacco can cause cancers anywhere in the mouth or throat, as well as cancers in other parts of the body.
Reduce alcohol consumption. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of developing oral cancer. Approximately 7 out of 10 patients with oral cancer are heavy drinkers.
Avoid HPV. Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a sexually-transmitted disease that is linked to oral cancer. The number of oral cancers linked to HPV has risen dramatically over the past few decades. Prevent HPV with HPV vaccinations and typical STD preventative measures.
Oral Cancer Symptoms
-A lump in the mouth or throat or on the lip.
-A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, or the lining of the mouth.
-Bleeding, pain, or numbness in the mouth.
-A sore throat that does not go away.
-Difficulty or pain when chewing or swallowing.
-Swelling of the jaw.
-Hoarseness in the voice that lasts for a prolonged period of time.
-Pain in the ear.
Why you need to chew GUM
Brush, Floss Rinse and… Chew?
What is meant by chew in the daily four? Chew, in this instance, is encouraging you to chew sugarless gum after eating. Why? Because when you chew gum; it stimulates saliva production, which in turn reduces plaque, cleans food particles out of your mouth, and neutralizes acids that can break down tooth enamel.
In fact, clinical studies show that people who chew gum that’s sugar-free for 20 minutes after meals can help prevent tooth decay and can even strengthen the enamel on their teeth!
Why is Saliva Important?
Saliva washes out your mouth several times during the day. Saliva is predominately water, but it also contains proteins and minerals needed to keep your teeth healthy and to digest your food.
Chewing sugar-free gum after meals stimulates saliva production which:
-Helps you swallow easier
-Helps you taste and chew better
-Offers protection against tooth decay
-Prevents bad breath
Before Getting Braces
It’s not just about the look of your smile. While orthodontics help with a cosmetic desire for straight teeth, braces can also help correct teeth, bite and jaw alignment issues and ultimately improve oral health.
You’ll need to get your dental work done first. Before getting braces, you’ll need to have a teeth cleaning and have all other dental work completed. This may include having wisdom teeth removed so they don’t interfere with the orthodontic treatment.
You’ll need to adjust your diet. Begin to limit or eliminate certain foods from your diet before you get braces that can become a big problem. This includes gummy and sticky foods like caramels, gummy bears, and gum; foods you have to yank to chew, like taffy or jerky; very hard foods, especially those you bite into like corn on the cob and apples (of course, you can still eat these, they just need to be cut and chewed rather than bitten into).
Teeth brushing will be more important than ever. Braces make brushing a little more difficult but it’s even more important once braces are in place to ensure the health of your teeth during treatment. Before getting braces, get a travel pack together for your on-the-go oral care. Carry a toothbrush and travel-sized paste with you, as well as a gum-safe toothpick. Items can easily get stuck between wires and brackets, and brushing will help resolve it easily and keep breath fresh.
Can Gum Disease Cause Cancer?
Recent research has shown some kind of connection between gum disease and cancer.
In August 2017, a study of almost 66,000 women found those with a history of gum disease also had an increased incidence of cancer of the esophagus, lung cancer, gall bladder cancer, melanoma and breast cancer.
In late 2017 research out of Finland suggested the bacteria that cause periodontal disease may also be the cause of certain cancers, specifically pancreatic cancer.
Earlier this year, more research showed links to cancer in individuals with a history of gum disease, this time linking to lung and colorectal cancers.
To date, no studies have shown evidence that gum disease causes cancer.
Addressing Gum Disease for Cancer Prevention
1-Brush your teeth twice a day
2-Floss your teeth daily
3-Rinse with an ADA approved mouthwash daily
4-Chew sugar free gum between meals
5-See your dentist at least twice a year
The Best Age for Braces
While orthodontic concerns can be addressed at nearly any point (child, teen, adult), ideally braces should be placed while the child’s head and mouth are still growing, making those middle school years (11-14) the best age for braces. It’s not just their age that matters, it’s also important that your child is responsible enough to maintain a healthy oral care routine including brushing twice daily, and using mouthwash and flossing once a day. They also need to be able to understand what foods to avoid to prevent damage to their braces, and to be able to communicate about any pain they are experiencing.
How Long is Orthodontic Treatment?
Orthodontic treatment time will vary by patient based on the severity of the misalignment. During an orthodontic consultation, the orthodontist will provide a time range of when braces can be expected to achieve the desired results. It’s important to know that timelines can change however based on how receptive the teeth are to movement, and care of the teeth and braces.
This Is How You Brush Your Teeth Correctly
Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Move the brush back and forth in short strokes. Be firm, yet gentle–this is not the time to take your aggressions out from the day. Don’t forget to floss daily before or after you brush your teeth.
-Brush the outer surfaces, the inside surfaces and the chewing surfaces of all teeth.
-Tilt the brush vertically and make up-and-down strokes to clean the inside surface of the front teeth.
-Pay extra attention to hard-to-reach teeth, fillings, crowns or other areas that are good hiding places for debris.
-Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.
-Rinse remaining toothpaste and debris from mouth and toothbrush with tap water.
-Optionally, you can rinse your mouth with mouthwash*.
What’s the difference between a regular toothache and a sinus toothache?
All pain is not created equal. Typically, a toothache that’s not caused by sinus problems will only involve one tooth. Conversely, if you’re experiencing a sinus toothache, you’ll probably feel discomfort in several teeth, particularly the top molars (or back teeth). A toothache that’s accompanied by sinus problems usually includes some or all of the following symptoms:
Pressure or tenderness around the eyes or forehead
Bad-tasting nasal drip
Thick, discolored mucus
Inability to smell and taste
These symptoms all intertwine because the position of the nasal cavities causes discomfort across a person’s entire face, head, and neck region, whereas a single toothache may be caused by decay, damage, or sensitivity in one tooth.