Posts for tag: tooth decay
Nothing grabs your attention like a sharp tooth pain, seemingly hitting you out of nowhere while you’re eating or drinking. But there is a reason for your sudden agony and the sooner you find it out, the better the outcome for your oral health.
To understand tooth sensitivity, we need to first look at the three layers of tooth anatomy. In the center is the pulp filled with blood vessels and nerve bundles: it’s completely covered by the next layer dentin, a soft tissue filled with microscopic tubules that transmit sensations like pressure or temperature to the pulp nerves.
The third layer is enamel, which completely covers the crown, the visible part of a tooth. Enamel protects the two innermost tooth layers from disease and also helps muffle sensations so the tooth’s nerves aren’t overwhelmed. The enamel stops at about the gum line; below it the gums provide similar protection and sensation shielding to the dentin of the tooth roots.
Problems occur, though, when the dentin below the gums becomes exposed, most commonly because of periodontal (gum) disease. This bacterial infection caused by dental plaque triggers inflammation, which over time can weaken gum tissues and cause them to detach and shrink back (or recede) from the teeth. This can leave the root area vulnerable to disease and the full brunt of environmental sensations that then travel to the nerves in the pulp.
Tooth decay can also create conditions that cause sensitivity. Decay begins when certain oral bacteria multiply and produce higher than normal levels of acid. The acid in turn dissolves the enamel’s mineral content to create holes (cavities) that expose the dentin. Not treated, the infection can eventually invade the pulp, putting the tooth in danger of being lost unless a root canal treatment is performed to remove the infection and seal the tooth from further infection.
So, if you begin experiencing a jolt of pain while eating or drinking hot or cold foods or beverages, see your dentist as soon as possible to diagnose and treat the underlying cause. And protect your teeth from dental disease by practicing daily brushing and flossing, as well as seeing your dentist for regular dental cleanings and checkups. Don’t ignore those sharp pains—your teeth may be trying to tell you something.
If you would like more information on tooth sensitivity, 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 “Treatment of Tooth Sensitivity.”
Cavities can happen even before a baby has his first piece of candy. This was the difficult lesson actor David Ramsey of the TV shows Arrow and Dexter learned when his son DJ’s teeth were first emerging.
“His first teeth came in weak,” Ramsey recalled in a recent interview. “They had brown spots on them and they were brittle.” Those brown spots, he said, quickly turned into cavities. How did this happen?
Ramsey said DJ’s dentist suspected it had to do with the child’s feedings — not what he was being fed but how. DJ was often nursed to sleep, “so there were pools of breast milk that he could go to sleep with in his mouth,” Ramsey explained.
While breastfeeding offers an infant many health benefits, problems can occur when the natural sugars in breast milk are left in contact with teeth for long periods. Sugar feeds decay-causing oral bacteria, and these bacteria in turn release tooth-eroding acids. The softer teeth of a young child are particularly vulnerable to these acids; the end result can be tooth decay.
This condition, technically known as “early child caries,” is referred to in laymen’s terms as “baby bottle tooth decay.” However, it can result from nighttime feedings by bottle or breast. The best way to prevent this problem is to avoid nursing babies to sleep at night once they reach the teething stage; a bottle-fed baby should not be allowed to fall asleep with anything but water in their bottle or “sippy cup.”
Here are some other basics of infant dental care that every parent should know:
- Wipe your baby’s newly emerging teeth with a clean, moist washcloth after feedings.
- Brush teeth that have completely grown in with a soft-bristled, child-size toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice.
- Start regular dental checkups by the first birthday.
Fortunately, Ramsey reports that his son is doing very well after an extended period of professional dental treatments and parental vigilance.
“It took a number of months, but his teeth are much, much better,” he said. “Right now we’re still helping him and we’re still really on top of the teeth situation.”
If you would like more information on dental care for babies and toddlers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Age One Dental Visit” and “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”
High school graduation marks the end of childhood and the beginning of young adulthood. Do you have a graduate in your family? If so, this is the ideal time to schedule a dental checkup and cleaning. Many graduates will be moving away to attend college, and an oral exam and cleaning now can help ensure that they will embark on this next phase of life in good oral health.
Is your graduate ready for the barrage of camera snaps? Long after graduation day, pictures of your graduate beaming in cap and gown will be on display. A professional teeth cleaning may be just what is needed for a camera-ready smile. The dental hygienist will use an electronic polishing tool to remove many stains from the teeth for a sparkling smile.
What’s more, the dental hygienist uses special tools to get rid of plaque and tartar that can cause bad breath, a common concern among teens and young adults. Bad breath is primarily caused by poor oral hygiene habits, and the hygienist can check to see if your teen’s oral hygiene routine has been too lax—and offer pointers if needed. It’s never too late to form better brushing and flossing habits, especially if your graduate will soon be living away from home!
A dental exam will reveal tooth decay or gum disease, problems that will only get worse if not taken care of. Another reason why dental exams are important at this time is that wisdom teeth—or third molars—generally appear between ages 17–21. Although these teeth sometimes come in without any problem, many wisdom teeth become impacted and must be removed, so it’s important to monitor them during regular dental checkups.
Take time to schedule a dental exam and cleaning so your graduate can march into a bright future armed with a big smile and the best oral health.
If you have questions about teen oral health concerns, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “How to Help Your Child Develop the Best Habits for Oral Health.”
Find out the purpose behind a root canal and how it might just save your tooth.
Hearing the dreaded words “tooth infection” may be enough to send you into a tizzy; however, our Plantation, FL, dentists Dr. Annette Middelhof see this issue quite frequently and know exactly what to do to treat the problem (now, aren’t you glad you came into the office when you did?).
If we’ve told you that your tooth will need to get root canal treatment you may be wondering what that entails and why the procedure is necessary. We’re here to tell you why.
A root canal or endodontic treatment is a procedure performed when the dental pulp has become inflamed or infected it and needs to be removed. There are many reasons why a pulp may need to be extracted. If decay has been left untreated it will continue to spread until it has reached the inside of the tooth. Conversely, a dental infection may also be to blame. Furthermore, if you’ve experienced a direct impact on the tooth or a traumatic injury this could also lead to an inflamed pulp.
A damaged pulp will not heal on its own and will cause more severe symptoms if left untreated. This is why getting root canal treatment is imperative for the health of your smile.
So, how do you know when you need root canal treatment?
While you may not always know when this procedure is necessary if you are experiencing a toothache that is persistent or is accompanied by tooth sensitivity this is a major sign that you need to visit our Plantation, FL, general dentist for care. While not all toothaches will require root canal therapy, dental pain of any kind is considered an emergency.
Of course, there are some instances where you won’t experience any symptoms. This is why it’s also important that you visit us very six months for routine cleanings and exams. Once a year we will also perform X-rays to look for signs of decay and other problems that we may not be able to visibly see.
If you are dealing with a persistent toothache or if other symptoms are affecting the way you chew, bite or speak, then it’s time you called Enchanting Dentistry in Plantation, FL, right away to get the proper treatment. Call us today!
What your dentists in Plantation, Florida want you to know
Your tooth hurts, now what? You’ve waited for the pain to go away, but it’s still there, and it’s getting worse. Do you need a root canal? The answer is, possibly. There are some definite signs and symptoms you may need a root canal, but sometimes you may not feel any symptoms at all and still need a root canal. The only way to know for sure is to visit your dentist for an exam and x-rays. Your dentists at Enchanting Dentistry in Plantation, Florida, want to help you know what to look for and what to do if you need a root canal.
You may need a root canal if you experience:
- Acute, stabbing pain when you eat foods or bite down
- Continual throbbing pain and pressure in an area of your mouth
- Sudden pain when you consume hot or cold foods or drinks
- Pain that remains constant and never subsides
You may also need a root canal if you see swelling, redness, a white bump or drainage near the root of a tooth. These signs may indicate you have an infection inside of your tooth.
Dental examinations and x-rays from your dentists in Plantation, Florida, are critical in determining if you need a root canal. Don’t rely on symptoms alone! When you have a dental exam, your dentists will perform vitality testing to determine if your tooth is dead or dying. X-rays are also critical when determining if there is an infection in your tooth. Infection causes bone destruction which shows up as a darkened (radiolucent) area around the root tip of your tooth.
If you do need a root canal, don’t worry! Your dentists at Enchanting Dental are committed to providing you the best, most comfortable treatment available. You don’t need to have a painful tooth removed. You can restore it to full function with root canal therapy and keep your smile intact. To find out more about root canal therapy, call your dentists Dr. Annette Middelhof at Enchanting Dentistry in Plantation, Florida. Call 954-DENTIST (954) 336-8478 today and get some relief from your dental pain!