One zing to the nerve of a tooth after a sip or a bite of food is enough to send shivers up your spine. Sensitive teeth can seriously limit the enjoyment of your favorite foods. So if ice cream meeting your tooth has you seeing stars, the layer beneath the surface of your tooth (called dentin) has become exposed.
What’s at the root of sensitive teeth? How does this happen? A number of factors are to blame. Gum recession– when the gums pull away from the tooth and expose the root surface, is common with periodontal disease, which happens when plaque accumulates along the gum line. As plaque build, the bacteria releases toxins that cause gums to get infected and then recede.
Grinding causes teeth to flex and crack, creating a notch that exposes dentin at the gum line, called an ab-fraction. If you grind, you may need a mouth-guard to protect your teeth.
Brushing with to much force , with a stiff toothbrush, or even an old toothbrush can cause ab-fractions as well. Be sure to brush gently with a soft bristled brush that you replace every few months whether it looks worn or not.
Teeth whiteners are notorious for creating tooth sensitivity. It is usually transient, but it can last for several days or a week.
How sensitive is too sensitive? If the pain last for only a few days it’s not really an issue. If your teeth are sensitive to hot foods and beverages, or the pain lasts more than a minute, or is spontaneous, you’ve earned a trip to see Dr.Shlafer.
…………About tongue piercing and oral jewelry. Some people may like the personal image created by tongue piercing, but this look comes at a price. Oral piercing that involve the tongue, lips, or cheeks can be risky.
Procedure Related Risks
Pain and Swelling. As with any wound, oral piercing can cause pain and swelling. The swelling can be so severe it interferes with your ability to breathe.
Infection. Oral piercings also pose the risk of infection. Cases of tetanus infection have been reported after body piercings. Your mouth is full of bacteria that can infect the piercing site. In addition, handling oral jewelry brings the bacteria on your hands in contact with the site, which causes infection. Food collects around jewelry and also provides an opportunity for bacteria to breed.
Wounds created during oral piercings allows bacteria from the mouth to enter the bloodstream. In people with oral piercings, these bacteria have been associated with endocarditis, a serious infection involving the heart.
Bleeding. Blood vessels in the tongue can be damaged during oral modifications, which can cause serious bleeding.
Jewelry Related Complications
Chipped Teeth. People with oral piercings may bite or play with jewelry in ways that can cause it to come into contact with the teeth, crowns or restorations, like fillings. This contact can cause chips or crack teeth.
Gum Damage. Constant contact with the jewelry can cause gums to recede, or pull away from your teeth, which can cause sensitivity to hot and cold. Gum recession exposes the roots of your teeth leaving them vulnerable to bacteria and acids in food that can cause tooth decay.
Interference With Radiographs. Mouth jewelry can block transmission of x-rays required to produce a radiograph. Dr.Shlafer needs a clear image to perform a complete oral examination. Radiographs help detect tooth decay, gum disease, and abnormalities such as cysts or tumors.
Gum Tissue Overgrowth. The gum tissue surrounding oral piercings can grow over the jewelry, this is called embedding. Embedded jewelry may need to be surgically removed.
Swallowing or Inhalation. There is always the possibility that jewelry can come loose, if this happens it can create a choking hazard, also if you swallow loose jewelry, it may damage your digestive system.
These are just some of the complications related to these trendy oral modifications. Before deciding to do any oral piercings, consider the possible effects it may have on your oral and overall health.
…………………When summer sports activities increase, whether it’s a softball league or a pick-up game of basketball, dental injuries become more prevalent. Ask yourself, “Are my teeth properly protected?” Dental injuries in sports are primarily due to tooth-to-tooth contact. Being accidentally bumped in the chin with an elbow is not what directly causes dental problems. It’s the collision of the lower teeth with the upper teeth after the bump that causes the damage. This is why a mouth-guard/sports-guard worn on the upper and lower teeth can cushion the blow and protect your teeth.
A specially fabricated mouth-guard can be made for your teeth. This custom guard fits over the upper and lower teeth to prevent broken or chipped teeth due to tooth-to-tooth contact. This is especially important for sports where incidental contact with solid objects and other participants is common.
The smaller size and secure fit of a custom lab created mouth-guard/sports-guard (rather than the drugstore guard) provides these advantages:
- Clearer speech—-when communication with teammates is important
- More comfortable fit—-so it is less distracting
- Less restricted breathing—–for improved performance
If you or your children love to participate in summer sports, now is the time to seriously consider your risk for accidental tooth damage.
Children suck on things because sucking is one of a baby’s natural instincts. Sucking makes them feel secure and content and may induce drowsiness. Prolonged sucking (or pacifier sucking) interferes with the proper growth of the mouth and the alignment of the teeth. This improper development, if not corrected, will change the appearance of a child’s face.
When Should Children Stop Sucking Their Thumbs?
Children should have stopped sucking their thumbs between the ages of 2-4 years old. If you are having trouble breaking your child’s habit, try to:
- Comfort him if he is feeling insecure, sometimes children are sucking their thumb for a sense of security.
- Instead of scolding your child for thumb sucking, praise him when he doesn’t suck his thumb.
- Explain to older children the dangers of thumb sucking and involve them in choosing a method to break the habit.
Results Of Long Term Thumb Sucking
An open bite often results from thumb sucking or prolonged use of a pacifier. If the open bite is not corrected early, the child may develop a habit of deviated swallowing and/or anterior tongue thrust. (this is when a child presses against the back of his teeth repeatedly and subconsciously with his tongue). These habits lead to further dental problems and make correction of the open bite more difficult.
The best cure for an open bite, is to prevent it in the first place by eliminating thumb sucking and the use of pacifiers as early as possible for your child. Untreated, an open bite can lead to facial malformation, abnormal speech patterns and significant orthodontic complications. If you have any questions about your child, be sure to ask Dr.Shlafer at your next check up.
What is a toothache?
The most common cause of a toothache or pain in the jaw and face is, pulpitis–which is inflammation in the pulp of the tooth. Short, sharp pains usually occur in response to hot, cold or sweet stimuli.
What causes a toothache?
- Dental decay
- A fractured tooth
- A cracked tooth. This may be difficult to see and requires confirmation from Dr.Shlafer
- Irritation following dental treatment — your bite may need to be adjusted so please call right away as recommended. An uneven bite will not resolve itself on its own!
- An exposed root, which can occur if the gums recede or are damaged by over-vigorous brushing.
Other problems that can cause symptoms similar to a toothache:
- An abscess in the gum
- Ulceration of the gums
- Inflammation of the gum around a tooth which is in the process of growing/breaking through–like a wisdom tooth
- Inflammation of the sinuses can be mistaken for a toothache in the upper jaw.
It is worth remembering that nerves supplying your teeth sometimes give the wrong message to the brain. This means, although you feel pain in a particular tooth, the problem may actually be in a different tooth–this is known as referral pain.
How do I avoid a toothache?
The best way to prevent a toothache is to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Try to avoid cavities by reducing your intake of sugary foods and drinks. Brush your teeth twice daily using a fluoride toothpaste and don’t forget to floss! Keep on schedule with your dental check ups- this way, problems can be diagnosed and addressed early.
What should I do if I have a toothache?
If you have a toothache, you will want to call the office right away. Keeping in mind, your Family Dentist Dr. Shlafer is always available by phone after hours as well as weekends to advise you what the next step should be. He may even want to meet you at the office, if necessary.
In the meantime:
- Avoid hot, cold and sweet stimuli
- If the pain is prolonged or severe, taking Ibuprofen may provide some relief.
- Warm saltwater rinses can soothe irritated gums.
- If the pain is caused by an exposed root surface, toothpaste for sensitive teeth (like Sensodyne) may be helpful.
Visit us as soon as possible and remember, we’re here to help!
Things My Mother Taught Me
My Mother taught me LOGIC…”If you fall off that swing and break your neck, you can’t go to the store with me.”
My Mother taught me MEDICINE…”If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they’re going to freeze that way.”
My Mother taught me TO THINK AHEAD…”If you don’t pass your spelling test, you’ll never get a good job!”
My Mother taught me ESP…”Put your sweater on; don’t you think that I know when you’re cold?”
My Mother taught me TO MEET A CHALLENGE…”What were you thinking? Answer me when I talk to you…Don’t talk back to me!”
My Mother taught me HUMOR…”When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.”
My Mother taught me how to BECOME AN ADULT…”If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.
My mother taught me ABOUT SEX…”How do you think you got here?”
My mother taught me about GENETICS…”You are just like your father!”
My mother taught me about my ROOTS…”Do you think you were born in a barn?”
My mother taught me about the WISDOM of AGE…”When you get to be my age, you will understand.”
My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION…”Just wait until your father gets home.”
My mother taught me about RECEIVING…”You are going to get it when we get home.”
And, my all-time favorite – JUSTICE…”One day you’ll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like YOU — then you’ll see what it’s like.”
Happy Mother’s Day!
For some, the fear may stem from not being exposed to regular dental care as a child, or hearing other people talk about bad experiences at the dentist. For a lot of us, it’s feeling out of control, self-conscious, or vulnerable while lying on your back in a dental chair. The good news is , we can help!
Oral sedation is one option we offer, but if you prefer to try some natural ways to manage your anxiety, here are a few ideas:
- Talk about it. We love questions! We encourage communication between our patients and the staff. Dr.Shlafer is always available and will often suggest a signal, such as raising your hand to indicate that you need a break during treatment.
- Use good scents. Research has found that being exposed to the scent of lavender prior to a dental appointment reduces anxiety. There is a physiological reason for this–the lavender scent increases a specific type of brain wave that induces relaxation. Consider applying lavender-scented hand lotion or dabbing a few drops of lavender oil on your wrists prior to your next appointment.
- Relax your body. Try taking slow, deep breaths to calm your body. Inhale deeply, allowing your chest and abdomen to rise to a count of 4 and then exhale slowly to a count of 4.
- Distract yourself. Tune out with your iPod or MP3 player or watch television. Some patients use mental imagery as a way to distract themselves during treatment too. The next time you find yourself in the dental chair, try picturing a beautiful beach. Then imagine the sea and clear blue sky. Can you hear the sounds of waves and even taste and smell the salty air? You can almost the feel of the sand between your toes!
- Try acupuncture beforehand. Having acupuncture performed before a dental visit can ease anxiety significantly too. Ask Dr.Shlafer to share some of the feedback we have gathered from our patients that use acupuncture for anxiety and pain management.
Most importantly, we are here to help. Let us know what we can do to make your visit as comfortable as possible.
Did you know? That Meijer offers free antibiotics and prenatal vitamins! The program covers leading, oral generic antibiotics and prenatal vitamins with a doctor’s prescription.
Did you know? Wal-Mart; Sam’s Club; Target; and Kroger offer over 300 perscriptions for $4.00 each!
Did you know? If you are wondering if a generic is available you can check http://www.theunadvertisedbrand.com/ for updates.
Did you know? There is a website to comparison shop costs for prescription drugs. http://www.michigandrugprices.com/ They also have information regarding assistance programs and other helpful resources.