Posts for: February, 2016
As with the rest of the body, tooth pain is an indication that something’s wrong. While the exact cause requires a dental exam, the location, quality and duration of the pain could narrow the possibilities. With that in mind, here are 3 types of tooth pain and what it might be telling you.
Sensitivity. Pain or discomfort when you eat or drink cold foods or bite down could mean you have a small area of decay in the tooth, a loose filling or an exposed root surface from gum recession. Dental work to repair a decayed tooth or filling could alleviate the pain; in the case of gum recession, you may need to reduce overaggressive brushing or seek treatment for periodontal (gum) disease, the two main causes of the condition.
Dull or lingering pain. A dull ache in the rear sinus area could indicate a problem with a back tooth — they share the same nerve pathways as the sinuses, so you may be feeling referred pain. In the case of lingering pain after eating or drinking something hot or cold, there may be decay within the inner pulp chamber of the tooth that’s damaging or even killing the nerve tissue. If so, a root canal treatment might be in order.
Sharp pain. That sudden, excruciating pain when you bite down could mean you’re experiencing advanced decay, a loose filling or possibly a cracked tooth. If the pain seems to radiate from the gums — and they’re swollen and sensitive — you may have developed an abscess brought on by periodontal (gum) disease. In all these cases, appropriate dental treatment like decay removal and filling, root canal treatment or plaque removal may be necessary, depending on the cause and extent of the problem.
Regardless of what kind of pain you’re feeling, you should see us as soon as possible — in many situations waiting will only make the problem worse. The sooner we discover the cause, the sooner we can begin the right treatment to solve the issue and alleviate your pain.
If you would like more information on the causes and treatment of tooth pain, 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!”
Is your tooth or jaw throbbing? When you bite down, are you experiencing a sharp pain? Do hot or cold foods or beverages cause extreme dental sensitivity?
These symptoms often signal a serious dental abscess or other condition related to the soft pulp inside your tooth. Don't ignore what your tooth is telling you. Instead, call Stamford, CT dentist, Dr. Philip J. Bauer.
A diplomat of the American Board of Endodontics, Dr. Bauer diagnoses and precisely treats infected, sensitive and injured teeth using endodontic, or root canal, therapy. He encourages patients to contact him at the first sign of trouble because the earlier the treatment, the more pain relief the patient experiences and the more likely the tooth will be saved.
The Root Canal Process
First, Dr. Bauer performs a complete oral exam, concentrating particularly on the painful tooth. He takes digital x-rays and other imaging to visualize the root and bone structure. If root canal therapy is needed, he anesthetizes the area so the patient is completely comfortable. He also installs a protective rubber dam around the tooth to keep the area dry during the procedure.
Next, the Stamford dentist drills a small hole into the tooth, accessing one of up to 4 root canals or interior chambers. These chambers contain the tooth's blood supply, nerves and connective tissue, structures necessary during tooth development. During the adult years, the tooth can function well without the pulp.
Dr. Bauer then uses several small files to clean out the pulp chamber, removing infected material and smoothing the interior walls. He rinses and disinfects the area to quell the infection and closes the root canal with gutta-percha, a rubber-like, natural sealant.
He proceeds to the other tooth root canals as needed and finishes the restoration with a temporary filling. After a week or so of healing, the patient returns for final fitting and bonding of a natural-looking porcelain crown.
Patients experience minor discomfort after their root canal procedures, easily relieved with ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Rest and a soft diet helps sooth the area the day of treatment.
Root Canals Relieve Tooth Pain
Contrary to popular myth, endodontic therapy does not cause pain. Rather, it relieves the swelling and discomfort associated with dental infection, fracture or old failing fillings. Plus, it preserves natural tooth structure. With routine at-home hygiene and semi-annual dental visits and cleanings, teeth saved by root canal therapy last indefinitely. This simple treatment is a great way to avoid extraction and its consequences.
When Your Tooth Hurts
Don't be nervous, and don't procrastinate if you have a toothache. Contact Phillip J. Bauer DMD & Associates for an appointment. There are 2 convenient locations. Call the Stamford office at (203) 327-1613, or phone the Greenwich location at (203) 661-3277.
In real life he was a hard-charging basketball player through high school and college. In TV and the movies, he has gone head-to-head with serial killers, assorted bad guys… even mysterious paranormal forces. So would you believe that David Duchovny, who played Agent Fox Mulder in The X-Files and starred in countless other large and small-screen productions, lost his front teeth… in an elevator accident?
“I was running for the elevator at my high school when the door shut on my arm,” he explained. “The next thing I knew, I was waking up in the hospital. I had fainted, fallen on my face, and knocked out my two front teeth.” Looking at Duchovny now, you’d never know his front teeth weren’t natural. But that’s not “movie magic” — it’s the art and science of modern dentistry.
How do dentists go about replacing lost teeth with natural-looking prosthetics? Today, there are two widely used tooth replacement procedures: dental implants and bridgework. When a natural tooth can’t be saved — due to advanced decay, periodontal disease, or an accident like Duchovny’s — these methods offer good looking, fully functional replacements. So what’s the difference between the two? Essentially, it’s a matter of how the replacement teeth are supported.
With state-of-the-art dental implants, support for the replacement tooth (or teeth) comes from small titanium inserts, which are implanted directly into the bone of the jaw. In time these become fused with the bone itself, providing a solid anchorage. What’s more, they actually help prevent the bone loss that naturally occurs after tooth loss. The crowns — lifelike replacements for the visible part of the tooth — are securely attached to the implants via special connectors called abutments.
In traditional bridgework, the existing natural teeth on either side of a gap are used to support the replacement crowns that “bridge” the gap. Here’s how it works: A one-piece unit is custom-fabricated, consisting of prosthetic crowns to replace missing teeth, plus caps to cover the adjacent (abutment) teeth on each side. Those abutment teeth must be shaped so the caps can fit over them; this is done by carefully removing some of the outer tooth material. Then the whole bridge unit is securely cemented in place.
While both systems have been used successfully for decades, bridgework is now being gradually supplanted by implants. That’s because dental implants don’t have any negative impact on nearby healthy teeth, while bridgework requires that abutment teeth be shaped for crowns, and puts additional stresses on them. Dental implants also generally last far longer than bridges — the rest of your life, if given proper care. However, they are initially more expensive (though they may prove more economical in the long run), and not everyone is a candidate for the minor surgery they require.
Which method is best for you? Don’t try using paranormal powers to find out: Come in and talk to us. If you would like more information about tooth replacement, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Crowns & Bridgework,” and “Dental Implants.”