Monthly Archives: July 2014

The Truth About Root Canal – Revealed!

There are a lot of patients who take their oral health for granted. Even if we are already experiencing a lot of pain from tooth decay, some of us always find a reason not to seek dental treatment. One reason is the number of myths that we believe are true when it comes to certain oral treatments such as a root canal. Here, we unveil what’s real and what’s not.

Myth: Root canal treatment can cause so much pain.

The truth about this statement is that the treatment itself does not cause pain. It is the condition that causes pain – and root canal treatment relieves it. Many people have considered the procedure painful which is why more and more people believe it. However, certain dental advancements have made it possible for any discomfort caused by root canal treatment to be reduced.

Myth: You can get ill after a root canal.

This is a false claim that started years ago from poorly-designed researches. The truth is that there is no actual evidence as of this writing that root canal treatment causes diseases. A root canal even eliminates bacteria from the infected part of the tooth and saves the natural tooth in the process.

Myth: Extraction is a good alternative to root canal.

What’s better than having the chance to save your natural teeth? An extraction does just the exact opposite. With root canal, you don’t have to deal with missing teeth.

If you are interested in a root canal and would like to learn more about the procedure, call us today at (713) 330-7700 to book an appointment with our dental experts!

 

Has it ever seemed like you are more prone to getting cavities than others? Perhaps you know someone who took poor care of their teeth and yet you were the one who got the cavities. You may have wondered how it is possible that despite your attempts at good oral hygiene you just seem to be prone to tooth decay. Though dental hygiene is critical for healthy teeth, there are actually some reasons why someone people have a more difficult time preventing tooth decay than others.

Below are 3 of the main reasons why someone my be destined for a tough battle with tooth decay:

1. Composition of Oral Bacteria

Your mouth is home to many kinds of bacteria. Most of which are not harmful, however there are some that are associated with are associated with tooth decay called Streptococcus mutans. If this bacteria is present in higher amounts in a person, then they may be more prone to tooth decay.

Streptococcus mutans is actually infectious and communicable and is commonly passed on to children through family or care givers. In fact, the types of bacteria in your mouth is typically established by the time you are one, and when the mother’s Streptococcus mutans levels exceed 105 Colony Forming Units they are nine times more likely to pass bacteria on to their children.

2. Salivary Flow and pH Levels

Acid is very damaging to your the enamel of teeth. Acidity is measured my pH level. If the pH level of your mouth drops below 5.5, then the enamel of your teeth can begin to erode. The longer your teeth remain in an acidic environment, the greater your chances of tooth decay.

You saliva is your body’s way of helping to of washing away the acidity in the mouth as well as bringing calcium and minerals to the your teeth to help repair damage. Simply stated, the more saliva present in your mouth the better.

People who are more prone to having low levels of saliva are more prone to tooth decay. People with allergies tend to have dry mouths when they are congested are breath through their mouths. Some prescription medications can also cause dry mouth.

3. Tooth Morphology

Tooth morphology simply refers to the the differences between the shapes of peoples teeth. Some people have teeth with deeper groves on the surface of their teeth (molars in particular) make them susceptible to tooth decay. This is because it harder to remove the buildup of plaque from these deeper crevices.

Unfortunately the shape of your teeth is something that you are born with and have no control over. You may need to resort to higher degrees of cleaning and dental visits to keep decay at bay in these cases.

What Does It Mean If My Gums Bleed?

Seeing some blood on your toothbrush can be unnerving, but fortunately not all bleeding gums indicate Gingivitis. Though this is most commonly a symptom of some degree of gum disease there are also a couple of reasons that you may have some bleeding not related to gum disease. It is important to know the reasons associated with the bleeding and take appropriate actions to correct the problem and make sure that there is not a larger problem at hand.

Brushing Too Hard

Brushing too hard is not only an ineffective way of cleaning your teeth and gums, but it can also cause your gums to bleed in more extreme cases. This is especially true if you are using a hard bristle brush. Depending on how vigorously you brush your teeth, a medium or hard-bristled brush could actually damage the gums, root surface, and protective tooth enamel. For the vast majority of people, a soft-bristled toothbrush is recommended. If you still have issues with pressing too hard on your gums you may need something to help train you on the proper pressure. There are several products on the market to help you do this including Oral-B’s mart series of toothbrushes.

Pregnancy and Hormonal Changes

Pregnancy hormones can cause your gums to swell and become inflamed, making them bleed more easily when you brush or clean between your teeth. About 50% of expectant mothers experience a condition known as pregnancy gingivitis. go to the dentist at least once during your pregnancy for a checkup and cleaning and be sure to tell your dentist you’re pregnant.

Gingivitis

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, up to 80% of the adult population has some level of periodontal disease. Gingivitis is a mild, non-destructive form of gum disease, but gingivitis can develop into the more serious condition called periodontitis, which is why good dental care is so important. Gingivitis, is reversible with good oral hygiene. You should see your dentist immediately if you suspect you have Gingivitis.

You Don’t Have to Undergo Oral Surgery

Prevention is better than cure – this is a statement that couldn’t be any truer. There are various kinds of oral diseases that can give you the need to sit on your dentist’s chair for hours as you undergo treatment. These diseases range from impacted teeth, to jaw-growth conditions, to tooth loss, or even as simple as ill-fitting dentures.

You can prevent these conditions and prevent the need to experience oral surgery. Here are some tips on how you can do so.

Keep gum disease away.

Generally, 30 percent of us are susceptible to acquiring gum disease, so it best to prevent it from happening while we still can. Good oral hygiene is always the key to preventing gum disease. It can also prevent gingivitis from developing into a more severe condition called periodontitis. Proper and regular brushing and flossing each day can do the trick.

Don’t make cavities a problem.

After common cold, tooth decay ranks second in the most prevalent diseases, says ADA spokesperson Matthew Messina. With proper oral care, you can greatly prevent any decay from happening. However, if you are prone to such, fluoride treatments or sealants will prove quite useful.

Avoid TMJ.

TMJ can be caused by clenching the jaw or teeth grinding. When you notice that you have such habits, consult your dentist right away. You may be required to wear mouth guards or a splint. These will reduce any pressure on the area.

If worse comes to worst, you can always seek professional help. Call us at (713) 330-7700 to book an appointment with our dental specialists!

 

shutterstock_171527912It can be really scary when you realize that your filling just fell out. No filling will last forever and will eventually fail and need replacement. Regular visits to the dentist will help determine if it is time to be proactive and replace a filling. However, in the event that a filling falls out unexpectedly, there is no need to panic, but you do need to know what steps to take.

Remove the Filling From Your Mouth

The first thing you need to do is to make sure that you remove any pieces of the filling from your mouth to prevent accidentally swallowing it. It is particularly important to remove it from your mouth to prevent accidentally inhaling it into your lungs, as this could cause an infection.

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Once you have removed the filling you can set it aside for now. At this point, you need to call your dentist and explain what happened. Many dentists will have times set aside in their schedules for lost fillings or other dental problems. You can ask the dentist if they want to you keep the filling or not. In most cases there’s no need to save the filling, however, there are some cases where the dentist may want to see it.

Proper Hygiene & Care

In some cases, you may have to wait a few days before you get to your dentist. It is important to take some precautions and practice impeccable oral hygiene until you do. Take care not to eat anything that might case further damage to the tooth. It may be best to try chewing on the other side of the mouth if possible and eat softer foods. Avoid sugary foods and especially sodas as these can quickly cause tooth decay to begin. An unfilled tooth is a good trap for food which can cause harmful bacteria to accumulate. Be sure to brush gently and carefully inside the hole where the filling was to ensure removal of all food debris. It is also a good idea to rinse your mouth out with warm salt water after eating.

What If I Have Pain?

If you experience pain after losing the filling, then it is likely that you have exposed dentin tubules. The dentin tubules are what sends the brain the signal of pain. You can try taking some over-the-counter pain medications such as aspirin, Tylenol, or Advil to relieve the pain. However, if this fails you can also try to cover the dentin tubules by putting a temporary filling material inside the hole. There are a few different brands of temporary dental filling materials on the market such as Dentemp, Temparin, and Refilit.

The Outcome

If you take care not to further damage the tooth and practice good oral hygiene and then get to your dentist in a timely manner there should be no reason why your dentist can not treat the tooth with another filling. Be aware though that in some cases the loss of the filling may have been caused by damage to the tooth or a deep cavity under the filling. In this case, your dentist will present a treatment plan to address this.

Top 7 Teeth-Staining Foods & Drinks

Everyone wants a white smile, but many of your favorite foods and drinks may be preventing you from having that pearly white smile more than others! The purpose of providing this list is not to advise you to eliminate all of these, as some of them are actually beneficial to you health, but to make you aware of which ones stain your teeth the most so that you can take proper action. Below you can find some tips on how to minimize the staining of your teeth.

The Top Teeth-Staining Foods & Drinks:

  1. Tea
  2. Wine
  3. Coffee
  4. Sodas
  5. Berries
  6. Sports & Energy Drinks
  7. Deep Colored Sauces

Tips for Minimizing Staining:

  • Cut back on the foods and drinks that stain the most.
  • Use a straw when drinking drinks that stain. This will reduce the amount of contact the fluid has with your teeth.
  • Swallow faster. By swallowing faster you reduce the amount of time the staining food or drink has with your teeth.
  • Rise and brush after every meal or drink, especially after coming in contact with any of these top teeth-staining foods or drinks.

How Can I Remove the Stains I Already Have?

The most effective way of removing stains is through a professional in-office teeth whitening. Teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dental procedure in the world today. Unlike over-the-counter teeth whitening kits, professional whitening uses higher concentrations under carefully monitored conditions which allow for the best results.

Your second best option is with a take-home whitening kit that you get from your dentist. Though not as strong or ass effective as an in-office treatment, they are still superior to over-the-counter kits.

Not All Toothaches Are Tooth Related

When we have a pain in our teeth we automatically assume that the tooth is the source of the pain. Though this may be true in most cases, there are some instances where your tooth pain may actually be caused by something other than you teeth. This type of pain is called Referred pain. Referred pain is pain perceived at a location other than the site of the actual source of the pain. Below are two of the more common sources of referred pain than can result in achy or painful teeth.

Maxillary Sinusitis

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses, and is a common problem for many people, and is a chronic problem for about 15% for the population. There are 7 sinuses in the head, one of which is called the Maxillary sinus. The Maxillary is the most commonly infected sinus. One of the symptoms of maxillary sinusitis is pain that can mimic the pain of toothaches.

Additional signs and symptoms of Maxillary Sinusitis:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Tenderness of the sinuses
  • Headache
  • Bad breath
  • Nasal discharge
  • Fever

TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorders)

TMJ is a disorder of the jaw joint and chewing muscles that can cause pain and discomfort in the jaw, face, or neck. It is estimated that over 10 million Americans are affected by TMJ issues. The condition also appears to be more common in women than men. TMJ can be caused by a number of things including a bad bite, trauma to the jaw, or grinding of the teeth, called Bruxism. Pain can sometimes be felt in the teeth as a form of referred pain due to TMJ disorders.

Additional Signs and symptoms of TMJ:

  • Jaw Pain
  • Discomfort when biting or chewing
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Clicking or popping sound when opening or closing the mouth
  • Earache
  • Headache
  • Difficulty opening or closing the mouth
  • Dull, aching pain in the face

Ruling Out Non-Dental Causes

When experiencing tooth pain it is important to first rule out any dental causes. You dentist can conduct an examination to detect any dental issues that may be causing the pain. If no dental cause is detected you dentist may be instrumental in helping you to potentially identifying what may be causing the referred pain.

The grinding of teeth, medically called Bruxism, can cause permanent damage to the enamel of your teeth. While sleeping the pressure of bruxing can be up to six times greater than when awake, approximately 250 pounds of force per square inch! People who grind and clench their teeth are referred to as bruxers and in many cases do you even realize the damage they are unintentionally causing to their teeth.

If not treated, the long term effects of Bruxism can lead to:

  • Damage to teeth.
  • Broken fillings.
  • Tooth sensitivity.
  • Jaw pain.
  • Difficulty in opening and closing the jaw.
  • Headaches.

Bruxism

How can you tell if you are grinding your teeth?

If you have been grinding your teeth there are some signs an symptoms that commonly appear. One of the primary signs that may indicate Bruxism is waking up with a sore jaw. If you wake frequently and wake up in the morning feeling tired this could also be an indication that you are unconsciously grind your teeth at night. However, there are many causes of disturbed sleep habits, so you will want to look for any of the additional signs and symptoms below.

Signs and symptoms of Bruxism:

  • Sore Jaw muscles, especially in the morning.
  • Discomfort around the ears when chewing or yawning.
  • Morning headaches.
  • Insomnia.
  • Rhythmic contractions of the jaw muscles.
  • Hot, cold sensitivity in the teeth.

Consulting with Your Dentist

If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth you need to visit your dentist. A dentist will be able to see if there are any tooth wear, a telltale sign of Bruxism. Your dentist can provide you with a mouth guard to wear when you sleep. This will prevent damage to your teeth and can also help to alleviate jaw pain. Don’t wait until the damage has been done, if you suspect you are grinding your teeth contact your dentist today!

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