Posts for: March, 2018
Tooth sensitivity can be quite uncomfortable. But the glancing pain you feel may be more than an irritation — it may also be telling you there’s a deeper problem that needs attention.
As with other types of oral pain, tooth sensitivity can be a symptom for a variety of problems. Some of them are relatively minor, while others require immediate attention. It’s important to pay attention to the details about your tooth sensitivity and what they might be indicating you should do about it.
For example, your teeth may be sensitive to hot or cold foods or beverages. If it’s just a momentary pain it generally doesn’t mean an emergency — it could be a small area of decay on a tooth, a loose filling or an exposed root due to gum recession or overaggressive brushing. Besides seeing us for treatment for any decay, you can adjust your brushing habits to more gentle pressure with a soft-bristled brush. Fluoride toothpaste has also been shown to reduce this kind of sensitivity.
If, however, the pain from hot or cold substances lingers, then decay or some form of trauma may have affected the pulp, the innermost layer of a tooth. The pulp is rich in nerve fibers and can become inflamed and irritated from the decay or injury. You should visit us as soon as possible: you may require a root canal treatment that will not only relieve the pain but also save the tooth.
If you notice a sharp pain when biting down on food, it’s possible you have a loose filling or even a cracked tooth. As with inner decay, a fracture requires immediate attention. A loose filling should be easy to repair, but if it’s a fracture you may need extensive treatment to save the tooth or, if beyond salvage, have the tooth removed to make way for dental implant or similar restoration.
The key point is not to delay seeking treatment, especially if the pain is persistent, severe or long-lasting. The sooner you visit us about your tooth sensitivity, the sooner you’ll have solutions to stop the discomfort.
If you would like more information on 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!”
Magician Michel Grandinetti can levitate a 500-pound motorcycle, melt into a 7-foot-tall wall of solid steel, and make borrowed rings vanish and reappear baked inside bread. Yet the master illusionist admits to being in awe of the magic that dentists perform when it comes to transforming smiles. In fact, he told an interviewer that it’s “way more important magic than walking through a steel wall because you’re affecting people’s health… people’s confidence, and you’re really allowing people to… feel good about themselves.”
Michael speaks from experience. As a teenager, his own smile was enhanced through orthodontic treatment. Considering the career path he chose for himself — performing for multitudes both live and on TV — he calls wearing an orthodontic device (braces) to align his crooked teeth “life-changing.” He relies on his welcoming, slightly mischievous smile to welcome audiences and make the initial human connection.
A beautiful smile is definitely an asset regardless of whether you’re performing for thousands, passing another individual on a sidewalk or even, research suggests, interviewing for a job. Like Michael, however, some of us need a little help creating ours. If something about your teeth or gums is making you self-conscious and preventing you from smiling as broadly as you could be, we have plenty of solutions up our sleeve. Some of the most popular include:
- Tooth Whitening. Professional whitening in the dental office achieves faster results than doing it yourself at home, but either approach can noticeably brighten your smile.
- Bonding. A tooth-colored composite resin can be bonded to a tooth to replace missing tooth structure, such a chip.
- Veneers. This is a hard, thin shell of tooth-colored material bonded to the front surface of a tooth to change its color, shape, size and/or length; mask dental imperfections like stains, cracks, or chips, and compensating for excessive gum tissue.
- Crowns. Sometimes too much of a tooth is lost due to decay or trauma to support a veneer. Instead, capping it with a natural-looking porcelain crown can achieve the same types of improvements. A crown covers the entire tooth replacing more of its natural structure than a veneer does.
If you would like more information about ways in which you can transform your smile, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the techniques mentioned above by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Teeth Whitening,” “Repairing Chipped Teeth,” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”
You might be surprised to learn that some of your habits are actually bad for your smile.
We all want a healthy, beautiful smile. That’s why we all brush and floss regularly, right? Of course, sometimes we go through the motions of caring for our smiles but we don’t actively think about whether we are doing everything we can to maintain good oral health. From the office of our Kirkland, WA, dentist Dr. Bernard Pak, find out if your oral routine is ideal or if it could use some tweaks.
Your Oral Care Routine
There is more than meets the eye when it comes to brushing your teeth. Sure, it’s a habit you’ve adopted since you were little; however, this doesn’t necessarily mean you are doing it right. Here are some tips to follow to improve your brushing routine:
Make sure you aren’t brushing too hard. If you brush too aggressively you can wear down tooth enamel. If you find that you have a heavy hand when you brush you may want to opt for an electric toothbrush, which automatically applies the proper pressure needed to clean teeth effectively without damaging enamel.
Brush at least twice a day, once in the morning and again at night before bedtime. When you brush make sure you are brushing for a minimum of two minutes each time. You might be surprised to know that most people think they are brushing long enough when in actuality they are only brushing for 30 seconds to one minute. If you don’t have an electronic toothbrush with a built-in timer, then you can easily time yourself with your smartphone or kitchen timer to make sure you are brushing long enough.
Make sure you aren’t forgetting to floss. After all, flossing every day is the only way to remove plaque and food from between teeth, which will prevent decay from developing in these areas. If you don’t floss you are leaving a major portion of your mouth unclean and prone to decay and gum disease.
Are you someone who just loves soda? Do you find yourself eating more sugar than you would like to admit? If so, then you may also be dealing with the dental issues to prove it. As our Kirkland, WA, general dentist will tell you, a diet rich in processed/junk foods and sugar will greatly increase your chances of decay. To protect your teeth and gums, and to make sure they are getting all the proper nutrients they need, you should limit sugar consumption and maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
Do you have questions about your at-home oral routine? Do you want to talk to us about routine cleanings, night guards or other ways to protect your smile? Then call Kirkland Smiles Dental Care in Kirkland, WA, today.