Frequently Asked Questions
F A Q: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT TEETH
Q.: I have sensitive teeth when I drink cold and sometimes when I eat, do I have a dental cavity?
Dr. Tomita 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 dental nerve. The characteristics of the pain can indicate different problems such as teeth grinding or clenching, gum recession, or enamel wear.
It the pain is transient and subtle, like when you drink cold and feel a mildly sharp pain that subsides quickly, it may be related to the way the teeth articulate. If when you bite down the teeth contacts are out of alignment, it cause stress on the tooth which result in inflammation of the surrounding tissues. This is not a serious problem, because if the bite is adjusted creating a better relationship among the teeth, the pain goes away. This can also be caused by Gum Recession and the root is exposed, and if there is also dental Plaque accumulation, it causes the surface of the root to be more porous being more permeable to different stimulation 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 difference of temperature or pressure like when you bite on something, it indicates a deeper and more intense inflammation within the tooth or surrounding structures. It can be caused by dental caries or decay and the dental pulp start to be affected, causing inflammation. If there is a cavity that is not very deep, restoring the tooth with a dental filling can, in most cases, be sufficient 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 the classic Toothache) even after the stimulation is removed that indicates, a deeper, more intense inflammation of the dental pulp, which can be in a declining condition that can lead to the death of the dental pulp or nerve of the tooth. If the tooth is not treated it may turn into an abscess, which is a collection of pus in the local, causing extreme pain and swelling of the area. This is when you may need a Root Canal Treatment.
Gum disease may also cause pain. Usually it is not symptomatic, until it reaches a more advanced stage of deterioration. In this case the pain is more like aching, nagging, and dull, usually not very intense, unless it becomes an abscess.
So, when you have some kind of pain or even sensitivity it is wise to look for a Dentist to investigate the causes of it, and treat it if necessary. Delaying the intervention may only cause the problem to aggravate, and also the solution usually is more expensive.
Q.: What is a Root Canal Treatment? My Dentist told me I need one.
Dr. Tomita answers: The Dental Pulp is what people call 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 Caries, acute trauma or a crack on the tooth it causes a very intense inflammation that ultimately kills it. The first X-ray shows that 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 with tiny little files, the space has to be sanitized, and posteriorly filled to prevent secretions to flow back from the surrounding tissues into it, and also to prevent that bacteria from your mouth penetrate inside the canal space causing another infection. The second X-ray shows the canal space sealed.
The alternative treatment in this case is tooth extraction.
Q: My Wife said I have Bad Breath, what causes it and how can I fix it?
Dr. Tomita 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 associating bacteria and food particles. The bacteria digest these food particles releasing organic compounds that have a bad odor. Like the food left in your garbage can for a few days. It is what is called decomposition or rotten. This is what also causes dental caries and gum disease. If you don’t perform an appropriate oral hygiene brushing and flossing your teeth, this process repeats over and over causing the bad breath, especially if you haven’t had your teeth professionally cleaned by the Dentist or Hygienist in a few years. Maybe it’s time to call us to schedule a consultation and have your teeth cleaned.
- Sinus infection associated with Post-nasal drip: When you have chronic allergies and sinus infection, 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 is highly contaminated with bacteria that digest the organic matter possibly causing Bad breath.
- Acid Reflux: If you suffer of Heart Burn, it is possibly acid reflux. The contents of the stomach flow back into your mouth, and the food that is being digested does not smell very good. If this is the case, you need to consult with your Physician to treat the condition. It is important because it may increase the chances of Esophageal Cancer and may cause damage to the teeth because the stomach content is highly acidic.
- Lung Problems: In certain medical condition, 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, you should consult with your physician because you may have a serious medical condition.
Q: I hate my teeth! I rarely smile because my teeth look very bad, is Cosmetic Dentistry right for me?
Dr. Tomita answer: Nowadays with the advancements in restorative materials and techniques we can design and deliver great results with Cosmetic Dentistry.
There are different causes that we’ll discuss:
- Teeth Color problems: Some cases the only problem is the color of the teeth which may be dark or stained. In this case we would start with a series of Tooth Bleaching or Whitening that may resolve the problem. Teeth Whitening
- Broken and chipped teeth: If your teeth are broken and chipped they may need Porcelain Veneers or Crowns to reestablish the shape, form and color of the teeth. See the photos. This patient broke off her teeth over the years, so we re-built the teeth with crowns. In most cases we’re not only giving the patient a nice smile, but also we re-establish the function of the teeth.
- Gaps or mal-alignment: In this case if there are minor problems we can compensate the discrepancies with the restorations, but if it is very pronounced you may need to have Braces first. We have several cases that the patient had braces for 1 year or 2, and then we did the restorations. I know, it’s a long time but we got optimal results and the patients are very happy.
- Gummy smile: Some patients display a fair amount of gums when they smile, in this case gum re-contouring may be required to enhance your smile in addition to the restoration.
Call us for an evaluation that we’ll make all that is possible to give your smile back!
If you have a Dental Question send to us, we’ll get the answer for you.