Q.: If have sensitive teeth when I drink/ eat cold and hot foods, do I have a dental cavity?
Dr. Sandro Tomita’s answer: Usually, pain is a signal that something is not right in your body. Dental pain can be related to an existing cavity that is starting to affect the nerve. The characteristics of dental pain can indicate different problems, such as teeth grinding or clenching, gum recession, or enamel wear.
- If the pain is transient and subtle, perhaps if cold drinks create a sharp pain that subsides quickly, it may be related to your bite relationship. If, when you bite down, your teeth are out of alignment, it causes stress on the teeth which result in inflammation of the surrounding tissues. This is not a serious problem, because if the bite is adjusted and creates a better relationship among the teeth, the pain goes away. This can also be caused by gum recession that leaves the root exposed. If dental plaque has accumulated, the surface of the root can become more porous and sensitive to things such as temperature change, sweets, and even brushing.
- If the pain is more intense and localized, but fades away when the tooth is stimulated by temperature or pressure (like when you bite on something), it indicates a deeper, more intense inflammation within the tooth or surrounding structures. It can be caused by dental caries or decay, but if the dental pulp is affected, it can cause inflammation. If there is a cavity that is not very deep, restoring the tooth with a dental filling can, in most cases, to protect the integrity and health of the dental pulp or nerve of the tooth.
- If the pain is intense, throbs, and lingers (this is a classic toothache) even after the stimulation is removed, that indicates a deeper, more intense inflammation of the dental pulp that can lead to the death of the pulp, or the nerve, of the tooth. If the tooth is not treated, it may develop an abscess, causing extreme pain and swelling of the area. This is when you may require a root canal treatment.
- Gum disease may also cause pain. Often there are no symptoms, until the disease reaches an advanced stage. In this case, the pain is more like aching, nagging, and dull, usually not very intense, unless an abscess has developed.
So, when you have pain or sensitivity, we recommend calling our dentist. Delaying treatment may only cause the problem to worsen, and the solution may be more expensive.
Q.: What is a Root Canal Treatment?
Dr. Sandro Tomita’s answer: The dental pulp is referred to as the nerve of the tooth. It is a small “organ” inside the tooth that nurtures, protects and repairs the tooth internally. When it is damaged by dental decay, acute trauma, or a crack in the tooth, it causes a very intense inflammation that ultimately kills it.
The first X-ray shows an oblong form inside the tooth that follows the crown of the tooth all the way to the tip of the root. When that happens the “nerve” has to be removed, the space has to be sanitized, and filled to prevent that bacteria in your mouth from penetrating the canal and causing another infection. The second X-ray shows the canal space sealed. The alternative treatment in this case is tooth extraction.
Q: I’ve been told I have Bad Breath, what causes it and how can I fix it?
Dr. Sandro Tomita’s answer: Bad Breath or halitosis may have different origins, but is usually caused by bacteria digesting organic matter. Possible causes are:
- Dental plaque accumulation: Dental plaque is a film that builds up on your teeth and accumulates bacteria and food particles. The bacteria that digest these food particles release organic compounds that have a bad odor and also cause cavities and gum disease. Without proper oral hygiene (brushing and flossing), this plaque builds up and causes bad breath. This can also happen if you haven’t had your teeth professionally cleaned in a few years. We encourage you to call us to schedule a consultation, and have your teeth cleaned.
- Sinus infection associated with post-nasal drip: If you have chronic allergies and sinus infections, the tissues in the area become inflamed and produce secretions. This secretion is that runny fluid in the back of your throat that makes you cough. This fluid contains bacteria
that can cause bad breath.
- Acid Reflux: If you suffer from heart burn, it may be a result of acid reflux. When this happens, the contents of the stomach flow back into the esophagus, followed by the odor of digested food. If this is the case, you need to consult with your physician. It is important to address acid reflux because it can increase the risk of esophageal cancer and as well as damage your teeth.
- Lung Problems: With certain medical conditions, the air exhaled by your lungs may carry compounds that were present in your blood that have a bad odor. If we suspect that this is the case, we will have you consult with your physician.
Q: I hate my teeth! I rarely smile because my teeth look very bad, is Cosmetic Dentistry right for me
Dr. Sandro Tomita’s answer: With the advancements in restorative materials and techniques, we can design and deliver great results with cosmetic dentistry.
Some of the issues that can be addressed by cosmetic dentistry include:
- Discolored Teeth: In some cases, the only dental flaw is in the color of the teeth, which may be dark or stained. In this case, teeth whitening treatments may resolve the problem.
- Broken and chipped teeth: If your teeth are broken and chipped, they may need porcelain veneers or crowns to reestablish their shape, form, or color. Our goal is to create a beautiful smile that looks natural.
- Gaps or misalignment: If there are minor problems we can compensate for alignment discrepancies with restorations. If it is very pronounced, you may need braces. We have had several cases in which the patient had braces, and then we performed cosmetic work.
- Gummy smile: If you have too much gum tissue, gum re-contouring can enhance your smile.
Call us at 310-417-8177 for a consultation with Dr. Sandro Tomita. Our team at Corporate Pointe Dental will do all that is possible to give you your best smile yet! If you have a dental question, please send it to us and we will answer it for you. Our Culver City dentist will be happy to