Posts for: September, 2016
Pain has a purpose: it tells us when something's wrong with our bodies. Sometimes it's obvious, like a cut or bruise. Sometimes, though, it takes a bit of sleuthing to find out what's wrong.
That can be the case with a toothache. One possible cause is perhaps the most obvious: something's wrong with the tooth. More specifically, decay has invaded the tooth's inner pulp, which is filled with an intricate network of nerves that react to infection by emitting pain. The pain can feel dull or sharp, constant or intermittent.
But decay isn't the only cause for tooth pain: periodontal (gum) disease can trigger similar reactions. Bacteria living in dental plaque, a thin film of food particles on tooth surfaces, infect the gums. This weakens the tissues and can cause them to shrink back (recede) from the teeth and expose the roots. As a result, the teeth can become painfully sensitive to hot or cold foods or when biting down.
Finding the true pain source determines how we treat it. If decay has invaded the pulp you'll need a root canal treatment to clean out the infection and fill the resulting void with a special filling; this not only saves the tooth, it ends the pain. If the gums are infected, we'll need to aggressively remove all plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) to restore the gums to health.
To further complicate matters, an infection from tooth decay could eventually affect the gums and supporting bone, just as a gum infection could enter the tooth by way of the roots. Once the infection crosses from tooth to gums (or gums to tooth), the tooth's long-term outlook grows dim.
So, if you're noticing any kind of tooth pain, or you have swollen, reddened or bleeding gums, you should call us for an appointment as soon as possible. The sooner we can diagnose the problem and begin appropriate treatment the better your chances of a good outcome — and an end to the pain.
If you would like more information on diagnosing and treating tooth pain, 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 “Confusing Tooth Pain: Combined Root Canal and Gum Problems.”
A woman as gorgeous and funny as Sofia Vergara surely planned to be a model and actress from the get-go, right? Wrong! Sofia’s first career choice actually was to be… a dentist! That’s right, the sexy star of TV’s Modern Family actually was only two semesters shy of finishing a dental degree in her native Columbia when she traded dental school for the small screen. Still, dental health remains a top priority for the actress and her son, Manolo.
“I’m obsessed,” she recently told People magazine. “My son thinks I’m crazy because I make him do a cleaning every three months. I try to bribe the dentist to make him to do it sooner!”
That’s what we call a healthy obsession (teeth-cleaning, not bribery). And while coming in for a professional cleaning every three months may not be necessary for everyone, some people — especially those who are particularly susceptible to gum disease — may benefit from professional cleanings on a three-month schedule. In fact, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to having professional teeth cleanings — but everyone needs this beneficial procedure on a regular basis.
Even if you are meticulous about your daily oral hygiene routine at home, there are plenty of reasons for regular checkups. They include:
- Dental exam. Oral health problems such as tooth decay and gum disease are much easier — and less expensive — to treat in the earliest stages. You may not have symptoms of either disease early on, but we can spot the warning signs and take appropriate preventive or restorative measures.
- Oral cancer screening. Oral cancer is not just a concern of the middle aged and elderly — young adults can be affected as well (even those who do not smoke). The survival rate for this deadly disease goes up tremendously if it is detected quickly, and an oral cancer screening is part of every routine dental visit.
- Professional teeth cleaning. Calcified (hardened) dental plaque (tartar or calculus) can build up near the gum line over time — even if you brush and floss every day. These deposits can irritate your gums and create favorable conditions for tooth decay. You can’t remove tartar by flossing or brushing, but we can clear it away — and leave you with a bright, fresh-feeling smile!
So take a tip from Sofia Vergara, and don’t skimp on professional cleanings and checkups. If you want to know how often you should come in for routine dental checkups, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor articles “Dental Hygiene Visit” and “Dental Cleanings Using Ultrasonic Scalers.”
You just chipped your tooth, now what?
Before panic sets in know that our Moreno Valley dentists, Drs. Megha and Achyut Joshi can more often than not treat the underlying issue and save the tooth from further damage. Of course, this means coming in for care as soon as the problem happens. Some people may only experience minor chips while others may have more serious ones. Find out how we handle different kinds of chipped teeth so you’re in the know.
What causes chipped teeth?
There are many possible causes for chipped teeth, from direct injury to the tooth to biting down on something hard (e.g. ice) to dental cavities.
What should I do if I have a chipped tooth?
If you discover that you chipped your tooth the first thing you should do is call our Moreno Valley general dentist to make an immediate appointment. In the meantime, there are things you can do to care for your damaged tooth:
- Make sure to rinse out your mouth with warm water.
- If bleeding is present, you can apply pressure to the area using sterile gauze.
- If you are unable to see us the same day as your tooth injury you’ll want to protect the tooth from further damage until you can make it to our office.
- If this chipped tooth is causing any discomfort you can take OTC painkillers like ibuprofen or apply a cold compress to the injured side of the face.
How will my dentist repair my tooth?
The extent of your treatment will depend on the severity of the chip. If the chip is small enough, sometimes all we have to do is smooth it away and polish the tooth. This is a quick and simple procedure that won’t require further treatment.
Those with more moderate damage to the tooth may need either dental bonding, a dental filling or a crown to protect the integrity of the rest of your tooth’s enamel. After all, a chip can continue to get worse if not properly cared for.
If the chip is large enough that the nerves of the tooth are exposed then a root canal treatment is most often needed to treat the infected or damaged nerve. After this procedure, a dental crown is often placed over the tooth to restore it.
Dealing with a chipped tooth? Don’t worry; the dental team at Megha Joshi DDS and Achyut Joshi DDS in Moreno Valley is here to help. Dental emergencies can be scary but we know exactly what to do to set your mind at ease.