Common Problems

  1. What to do for a tooth ache.
    Take whatever pain relief medication you have available. Never put aspirin directly on the tooth, take medication internally. Often, ice packing and sitting, instead of lying down, will ease the pain. Place an ice pack on for 10 minutes and off for 10 minutes.
  2. What to do if a child’s tooth is knocked out.
    Collect the tooth and place it immediately back into the socket if possible. Contact our office immediately, and bring the child to the office as quickly as possible. If you are unable to place the tooth in the socket, wrap it in a wet cloth, or place it in a glass of water. Time is of the essence.
  3. What to do if you lost a filling and are now experiencing discomfort.
    this is not an immediate emergency. Loss of a filling usually occurs because the old filling is worn out. Unless there is severe pain, the replacement of the restoration in the next few days should satisfy the problem. Some minor discomfort might be alleviated by the placement of cotton in the area.
  4. How to stop bleeding after an extraction.
    Place a wet tea bag in the mouth over the socket. Do not spit out blood, as this will only aggravate the problem. Call the office if bleeding lasts longer than 15 minutes.
  5. What to do if you lost your temporary crown.
    While under treatment, should you at anytime have temporary crowns that become dislodged, please have them replaced the same day if possible. We will make every effort to replace them the same day; however, a maximum of 48 hours is tolerable and will still maintain healthy tissue.

Dry Mouth

If saliva production is not adequate due to medication or from salivary gland dysfunction such as in Sjorgren’s Syndrome, tooth decay can get out of control. Recently a new medication Salagen (brand name for pilocarpine hydrochloride) was approved by the FDA to stimulate salivary production. For Salagen to work there must be functioning salivary glands. In the right circumstances for the right people, Salagen provides relief from dry mouth and the resultant, tooth decay.

Tooth Decay

Caries, or tooth decay, is a preventable disease. While caries might not endanger your life, they may negatively impact your quality of life.

When your teeth and gums are consistently exposed to large amounts of starches and sugars, acids may form that begin to eat away at tooth enamel. Carbohydrate-rich foods such as candy, cookies, soft drinks and even fruit juices leave deposits on your teeth. Those deposits bond with the bacteria that normally survive in your mouth and form plaque. The combination of deposits and plaque forms acids that can damage the mineral structure of teeth, with tooth decay resulting.

Sensitive Teeth

Your teeth expand and contract in reaction to changes in temperature. Hot and cold food and beverages can cause pain or irritation to people with sensitive teeth. Over time, tooth enamel can be worn down, gums may recede or teeth may develop microscopic cracks, exposing the interior of the tooth and irritating nerve endings. Just breathing cold air can be painful for those with extremely sensitive teeth.

Gum Disease

Gum, or periodontal, disease can cause inflammation, tooth loss and bone damage. Gum disease begins with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. Gums in the early stage of disease, or gingivitis, can bleed easily and become red and swollen. As the disease progresses to periodontitis, teeth may fall out or need to be removed by a dentist. Gum disease is highly preventable and can usually be avoided by daily brushing and flossing. One indicator of gum disease is consistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth.

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

We have all experienced temporary bad breath caused by eating certain foods such as onions or garlic. After the food is digested, small odor molecules circulate the blood and release gasses into the lungs. Eventually the odor stops after all the gases are eliminated. A similar odor can occur from certain prescribed drugs and during menstruation. Fortunately these are transitory and require no treatment.

It is often more difficult to determine the origin of chronic or persistent oral malodor or halitosis. The underlying cause can be in the oral cavity, the nose or sinus, the tonsils, or originate from a systematic health problem such as diabetes or gastric ulcer.

While approximately 10-15 percent of chronic halitosis is linked to serious disease, diabetes and sinusitis are the most common cause. In 85% of cases of halitosis the oral cavity is the contributor.

In searching for the offending odor first it must be determined that there is now gum disease or tooth decay present that is responsible for the malodor. It has been suggested that a likely source of bad breath is bacteria produce volatile sulfur compounds which are gases with very unpleasant odors even at very low concentrations.

Treatments are currently being marketed with the goal of eliminating the bacteria through the use of mouth rinses, toothpastes, and tongue conditioning gel. We currently carry a line of products that is promoted to be effective in killing the gram negative bacteria and neutralizing the extra volatile sulfur compounds.

If you are plagued with chronic bad breath and wish to try these new products please advise us during your next visit.

Canker Sores

Canker sores (aphthous ulcers) are small sores inside the mouth that often recur. Generally lasting one or two weeks, the duration of canker sores can be reduced by the use of antimicrobial mouthwashes or topical agents. The canker sore has a white or gray base surrounded by a red border.

Orthodontic Problems

A bite that does not meet properly (a malocclusion) can be inherited, or some types may be acquired. Some causes of malocclusion include missing or extra teeth, crowded teeth or misaligned jaws. Accidents or developmental issues, such as finger or thumb sucking over an extended period of time, may cause malocclusions.