Posts for: October, 2016
Although toothaches are common, not all tooth pain originates from the same source. But regardless of its cause, you need to take prompt action to find out and begin treatment.
Sensitive teeth, for example, usually cause a quick stab of pain when you eat or drink something hot or cold or when you bite down. If the pain lasts only a second or two, you may have a small area of decay in a tooth, a loose filling or an exposed root. The latter often occurs either because of over-aggressive brushing or periodontal (gum) disease. In both cases, the gums may have shrunk back or receded to expose the root surface.
A sharp pain when biting down may be a sign of decay or a loose filling; it could also mean you have a fractured or cracked tooth. For any of those causes, you'll need treatment to repair the problem and relieve the pain.
You may also experience a lingering tooth pain ranging from dull to sharp, or localized to one tooth or seeming to radiate from a general area, such as above the upper jaw. There are a number of possible causes, but two prominent ones are an abscess (a localized area of infection that's become inflamed) or deep decay within the pulp, the heart of a tooth.
This usually calls for a root canal treatment for the affected tooth. In this procedure we drill an access hole into the pulp and clear it of infected and dead tissue. We then fill the empty pulp chamber and root canals with a special filling and seal the access hole. Later, we bond a permanent artificial crown to the tooth to further protect it from re-infection.
Whether your pain is momentary or lingering, dull or sharp, you should see us as soon as possible to determine its cause. You should still see us even if sharp, lingering pain goes away — this could simply mean the infected nerves in the pulp have died but not the infection. The sooner you have the cause of your pain treated, the better your chances of a happy and less costly outcome.
If you would like more information on tooth pain and what to do about it, 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 “Tooth Pain? Don't Wait!”
Wires and brackets used to be the only way to straighten teeth, but thanks to the ingenuity of a Stanford University student, traditional braces aren't the only orthodontic option any longer. Dr. Kevin Thomas and Dr. Aaron Chenette, your Cohasset, MA dentists at Cohasset Dental, explain how you can benefit from the Invisalign brace system.
Nothing is attached to your teeth
After being fitted with retainers in 1997, Zia Chishti wondered if the retainers alone could be used to realign teeth. He quickly got to work and soon developed a prototype that did just that. His invention involved using a series of removable aligner trays that gently guided the teeth into the proper position. Not only were the aligners removable; they were also clear, making them practically invisible. Today, Invisalign offers the perfect option for people who want to straighten their teeth without wearing wires or brackets.
Adjustments are easy
If you wear traditional braces, you must visit your Cohasset dentist every four to six weeks for an adjustment, which involves tightening the wires of your braces. With Invisalign, adjustments are made by wearing a new set of aligners. Each set of aligners are worn for two weeks. In some cases, a set of aligners may be worn again later in your treatment. Your dentist creates your custom aligners using images and impressions of your mouth.
You can eat popcorn or chew gum (sugarless, of course)
People who wear traditional braces receive a long list of foods they must avoid for the next year or two. Foods that can get stuck in braces, like popcorn or gum, or foods that can damage wires and brackets, such as apples, carrots, nuts and other hard foods, must be given up during treatment.
There are no food restrictions with Invisalign because you'll remove your aligners to eat. Since the aligners are removable, oral hygiene is also much easier. You'll brush and floss as usual, then rinse your aligners before placing them back in your mouth.
Invisalign makes straightening your teeth easier than ever! Call Dr. Thomas and Dr. Chenette, your Cohasset, MA dentists at Cohasset Dental, at (781) 383-9393 to schedule an appointment to find out more about Invisalign. Change your smile with Invisalign.
Ever since childhood, when her career as a model and actress took off, Brooke Shields has enjoyed worldwide recognition — through advertisements for designer jeans, appearances on The Muppet Show, and starring roles in big-screen films. But not long ago, that familiar face was spotted in an unusual place: wearing a nasal anesthesia mask at the dentist's office. In fact, Shields posted the photo to her own Instagram account, with the caption “More dental surgery! I grind my teeth!” And judging by the number of comments the post received, she's far from alone.
In fact, researchers estimate that around one in ten adults have dental issues that stem from teeth grinding, which is also called bruxism. (Many children also grind their teeth, but it rarely causes serious problems, and is often outgrown.) About half of the people who are teeth grinders report problems like persistent headaches, jaw tenderness and sore teeth. Bruxism may also result in excessive tooth wear, and may damage dental work like crowns and bridges; in severe cases, loosened or fractured teeth have been reported.
Researchers have been studying teeth grinding for many years; their findings seem to indicate that it has no single cause. However, there are a number of factors that play a significant role in this condition. One is the anatomy of the jaw itself, and the effect of worn or misaligned teeth on the bite. Another factor relates to changes in brain activity that occur during the sleep cycle. In fact, nocturnal (nighttime) bruxism is now classified as a sleep-related movement disorder. Still other factors, such as the use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs, and a high level of stress or anxiety, can make an individual more likely to experience bruxism.
What can be done for people whose teeth grinding is causing problems? Since this condition may have many causes, a number of different treatments are available. Successful management of bruxism often begins by striving to eliminate the factors that may cause problems — for example, making lifestyle changes to improve your health, creating a soothing nighttime environment, and trying stress-reduction techniques; these may include anything from warm baths and soft music at bedtime, to meditation and mindfulness exercises.
Several dental treatments are also available, including a custom-made occlusal guard (night guard) that can keep your teeth from being damaged by grinding. In some cases, a bite adjustment may also be recommended: In this procedure, a small amount of enamel is removed from a tooth to change the way it contacts the opposite tooth, thereby lessening the biting force on it. More invasive techniques (such as surgery) are rarely needed.
A little tooth grinding once in a while can be a normal response to stress; in fact, becoming aware of the condition is often the first step to controlling it. But if you begin to notice issues that could stem from bruxism — or if the loud grinding sounds cause problems for your sleeping partner — it may be time to contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more about bruxism in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Stress and Tooth Habits.”