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.”
Are you reluctant to visit the dentist because you're hoping that your toothache will just go away on its own? Milford, MA, dentists Drs. Peyman Peiji and Nina Raeisian explain why it's a bad idea to disregard your painful symptoms.
Cavities grow when they're overlooked
Tooth decay is one of the most common causes of a toothache. Unfortunately, the longer you ignore your toothache, the bigger the decayed area becomes. If decay is extensive, you'll need more than just a typical filling. In fact, you may require an inlay, a large porcelain filling created in a dental laboratory that fits inside the cusps of your tooth; an outlay, a lab-created filling that extends beyond at least one cusp; or a dental crown that completely covers your tooth. Removing the decayed part of your tooth, a crucial part of the filling process weakens the tooth. Although some weakening is unavoidable, it can be minimized by treating cavities when they're small.
You might have an abscess
Abscesses occur when the soft pulp inside your tooth becomes infected. In addition to pain, you may notice pus around your tooth, a pimple on your gum, facial swelling or red, swollen gums. A fever or a swollen lymph node is a sign that your body's immune system is hard at work battling the bacterial infection. Abscesses are treated with antibiotics and root canal treatment.
Pain can be a sign of damage
Pain in a tooth may also occur if you cracked or damaged a tooth. Repairing and restoring the tooth will prevent it from fracturing and will also help you avoid tooth decay or an infection, issues that may occur if bacteria enters the tooth.
Your toothache may actually be caused by gum disease
It's not unusual to feel pain when you chew or press on your teeth if you have gum disease. The disease not only affects your gum tissue, but can also damage your jawbone and the ligaments that help hold your teeth in place. Fortunately, prompt treatment can help you avoid tooth loss and other unpleasant symptoms of gum disease.
Don't put your oral health at risk. Call us right away if you have a toothache. Schedule your appointment with dentists Drs. Peyman Peiji and Nina Raeisian by calling our Milford, MA, office at (508) 966-7923.
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 caviÂties. 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.Â 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.”