Having sensitive teeth is an uncomfortable problem that is often the result of poor dental care. However, it can be avoided as well as treated with proper attention to diet, brushing and the assistance of a dentist.
Hot or cold foods and drinks – as well as any kind of pressure on the tooth or gums – could mean pain for someone with sensitive teeth. It can make a sip of ice water or hot coffee a dreaded experience and brushing teeth a trying task.
There are numerous reasons why a person might have sensitive teeth. One of the more common reasons has to do with worn tooth enamel and cementum. Enamel is a substance that forms a protective barrier around the crowns of teeth, while cementum protects the root of the tooth. If the enamel or cementum is worn down enough, a layer is exposed that allows stimulation of nerves and cells inside the tooth. Temperature fluctuations and other physical sensations such as acidic and sticky foods will then stimulate those nerves, causing pain and discomfort.
Another common cause is periodontal disease, which affects the gum and bone system that keeps teeth in place. The disease can wear away at gum tissue until it exposes the root surfaces of teeth. Other possible causes include cavities – tooth decay, basically – fractured teeth and worn fillings. The common problem with any of these conditions is that they all relate to the exposure of that inner, sensitive part of the tooth.
These problems are usually the result of poor dental care. Acidic foods, beverages and medications all wear away at enamel. Grinding your teeth can also strip away protective layers. Furthermore, not brushing and flossing allows enamel-wearing food and drink to exacerbate the problem and leave teeth prone to periodontal disease.
Some other things that result in sensitive teeth may be a surprise. Dry mouth , for example, is a common problem, that may increase tooth sensitivity. Saliva and water helps wash away acids and restores the protective layers of teeth. Alcohol, caffeinated drinks and hundreds of medications, however, dry out the mouth, leaving teeth vulnerable to further acid damage.
Improper dental care can also be a problem. Brushing your teeth too hard can wear down enamel and cause gums to recede. Additionally, brushing immediately after meals can worsen the damage caused by acidic foods because those protective layers have been worn down.
Fortunately, sensitive teeth are a problem that can be avoided, for the most part. You can still eat acidic foods, but your intake should be limited. If you are going to eat acidic foods, you can neutralize their effect by eating them with milk, cheese or water. Furthermore, rinsing with water immediately after eating meals helps dilute acids. The best time to brush is at least a half an hour after a meal, after saliva has had a chance to repair protective layers to teeth.
It is important to learn how to go easy on teeth. Jaw grinders can try relaxation techniques. Vigorous brushers should look into softer-bristled toothbrushes. Additionally, some toothpastes are less abrasive than others.
Dental appointments are an important way to keep track of tooth decay and gum disease. Regular cleanings, which can be paid for with dental plans if do not have dental coverage, help keep teeth strong and healthy. People who already have sensitive teeth, a dentist may recommend desensitizing toothpaste, fluoride gels or – if the problem is severe – dental procedures such as a root canal.
Dentists use x-rays to find cavities, abscesses, and pathology of the teeth and jawbone. X-rays show small cavities that would not be visible until they had gotten very large. The treatment for small cavities is usually easier and more economical than treatment for large cavities. X-rays may also show the beginnings of an abscessed tooth that has not yet begun to hurt. Detecting early abscessed teeth on x-rays can prevent future pain in a tooth. X-rays may also show cysts and tumors around teeth. Found early, the treatment is usually less involved. Your dentist will advise you when x-rays are necessary.
X-rays allow dentists to see cavities that are between two teeth, which might otherwise remain undiagnosed. X-rays also allow dentists to see cavities that have formed where a previous dental restoration such as a filling they dont last forever, or a crown, yep you can get a cavity under a crown.
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
An x-ray can show your dentist if you have any abscesses or cysts in your jawbone near the roots of your teeth.
A panoramic dental x-ray is a great way to see all four of your wisdom teeth. It can help the dentist determine if there will be any problems with them when they come in or if your wisdom teeth need to be extracted.
A lateral cephalometric x-ray used to evaluate jaw growth
Many diseases remain hidden to the naked eye. X-rays allow dentists to get an inside look at your jawbone to detect any hidden tumors or diseases that may be lurking under the bone. A panoramic x-ray gives the dentist a good view of the sinuses, which can help the dentist determine if the true cause of your toothache is a sinus infection.
Dentists take x-rays at various points during certain dental procedures to ensure that you get the best treatment possible. For example, during a root canal, your dentist may take a few different x-rays to ensure that they have fully cleaned out your infected root canal and put in a root filling that will allow your tooth to remain healthy for many years into the future.
Whenever a tooth gets knocked loose or even knocked out, it can often be stabilized. Dental x-rays are a vital part of this process as they let the dentist know whether or not the tooth was stabilized in its proper position. Dental x-rays also allow your dentist to monitor the injured tooth over the next several years to ensure that it remains healthy.
In the case of an injured baby tooth, dental x-rays can also allow a dentist to see if it’s likely that the developing permanent tooth under the baby tooth was damaged.
X-rays can help a dentist visualize any developmental abnormalities of the teeth.
Orthodontists use x-rays a lot to make sure that the jaws are growing to their proper size. If abnormal growth patterns are caught in time, orthodontists can manipulate jaw growth to a more normal growth pattern through the use of appliances such as head gear.
Many dentists take x-rays to ensure that you can receive certain types of dental work. For example, a dentist wouldn’t want to give you a bridge if the adjacent teeth aren’t strong enough to support it.
Also, x-rays can be used to evaluate patients before they receive dental implants to ensure that there is an adequate amount of bone present and that the bone is healthy.
Orthodontics corrects teeth and jaws that are positioned improperly. Crooked teeth and teeth that do not fit together correctly are harder to keep clean. They are at risk of being lost early due to tooth decay and periodontal disease. It can also cause extra stress on the chewing muscles that can lead to headaches, TMJ syndrome and neck, shoulder and back pain. Teeth that are crooked or not in the right place can also detract from one’s appearance.
The benefits of orthodontic treatment include a healthier mouth, a more pleasing appearance, and teeth that are more likely to last a lifetime.
Only your dentist or orthodontist can determine whether you can benefit from orthodontics. Based on diagnostic tools that include a full medical and dental health history, a clinical exam, plaster models of your teeth, and special X-rays and photographs, an orthodontist or dentist can decide whether orthodontics are recommended, and develop a treatment plan that’s right for you.
If you have any of the following, you may be a candidate for orthodontic treatment:
Many different types of appliances, both fixed and removable, are used to help move teeth, retrain muscles and affect the growth of the jaws. These appliances work by placing gentle pressure on the teeth and jaws. The severity of your problem will determine which orthodontic approach is likely to be the most effective.
If yourself or your child is showing any of these traits then please give us a call to book for a Consultation with Dr Stephen Lee.
It seems the school holidays are here again. If you would like to book your child in for a full examination or maybe even the whole family please give us a call now. Spaces are filling fast.
Our clinic accepts the Child Dental Benefits Scheme this voucher can be bulk billed.
If you would like any further information please contact one of our friendly staff on 03 9309 0009
Dental Implants – A Tooth-Replacement Method That Rarely Fails
Dental implants are one of the most reliable long-term methods of tooth replacement. Since they became widely available in the 1980s, numerous scientific studies have demonstrated 10-year success rates of over 95%. Of course, that begs the question of what happens in the small percentage of problematic cases that don’t go so well. That’s actually not a difficult question to answer precisely because implants have been studied so extensively. But first we need to understand what makes them succeed.
An implant replacement tooth consists of several parts. First there is the dental implant itself — the tooth-root replacement — which is a small titanium post shaped like a screw. It is placed into the jawbone beneath the gum line during a minor in-office surgical procedure that causes only minimal, if any, discomfort. Titanium, of which most dental implants are made, has the unique ability to allow living bone to grow onto its surface in a process called osseo-integration (“osseo” – bone; “integration” – joining with), and in fact has a wide variety of surgical uses. It generally provides a solid basis of long-lasting support. Once the implant has joined to the bone, a crown — the visible tooth part — is attached to it, most times via a connector called an abutment.
Successful implant treatment involves careful planning. The implant surgeon must take a complete medical history (including all prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements) and complete a thorough examination with the aid of specialized radiographs (x-ray pictures) like CT scans when necessary. They are needed to determine, among other things: the condition of your jawbone; the location of important anatomical structures, such as nerves, blood vessels and sinus cavities; and the appropriate number of implants necessary to do the job. The implant team, which generally includes a surgeon (a periodontist, oral surgeon or general dentist with appropriate training), a restorative dentist and laboratory technician, must determine: the appropriate number and position of the implants; the biting forces they will receive; and what type of crowns, bridgework or dentures should attach to them.
Bone quality, which includes volume and density, is fundamentally important in ensuring implant success. Various systemic (general body) health conditions and habits can affect bone quality and the body’s ability to heal. This in turn affects the process of osseo-integration so crucial to implant success. That’s why individuals who have, among other conditions, diabetes; a compromised immune (resistance) system; osteoporosis (“osteo” – bone; “porosis” – sieve-like); or those who smoke may be at greater risk for implant failure.
On rare occasions, the surgery itself is not successful and an implant may not integrate with the bone. A pre-existing or post-operative infection at the site may be the cause. Occasionally, the implant fails to join with the bone by becoming enveloped in a thin fibrous capsule that prevents the integration process — for no clinically apparent reason. In these instances the implant is simply removed, the capsule cleaned out, and either a wider implant is placed, or the socket is allowed to heal and the implant procedure repeated. These early failures are generally easy to re-treat, or they may reveal other local or systemic problems.
In highly visible areas of the mouth, it is sometimes possible to place a crown on an implant the same day so that the person doesn’t have to leave the dental office with a noticeable gap in his/her smile. This is called “immediate provisionalization with no loading.” The key is not to stress the implant while the integration process is taking place. Subjecting an implant even to gentle biting forces (i.e., “loading” it) too early can disrupt the healing process of osseo-integration, causing it to fail. On the day the implant is placed, a provisional (temporary) crown is also placed, but it is kept completely free of the bite — meaning it is not quite long enough to touch the teeth directly opposite in the other jaw. Essentially, the temporary crown is there just for social (cosmetic) reasons. That’s because the osseo-integration process needs time to complete — generally two to three months, but up to six months depending upon bone quality, quantity and, importantly, the surgeon’s experience and assessment.
There are two primary reasons for “later” implant failure after the osseo-integration process has been successful. These include over-stressing implants with too much biting force, or inflammatory disease of the gum tissues and/or bone around the implant.
If you have a teeth grinding or clenching habit, your dentist will probably recommend a nightguard to wear while you sleep so that your implants are not over stressed. Occlusal (bite) overload (excessive force) may result in implant failure: either through bone loss occurring around the implants; the crowns may either wear or break over time; or occasionally the implants themselves may fracture. This is less common today than it was when implants came in only one size and shape and were made out of pure titanium. Today, all metal implants are made of a titanium alloy, which is much stronger. Thanks to experience and research, we now have implants of varying sizes and shapes (usually cylindrical or tapered), that can be used to replace different shapes and positions of teeth. Larger implants are also manufactured to replace back teeth, to handle the increased biting forces that are applied in the back of the mouth.
A biteguard is often recommended to protect not only implants but also the natural teeth for people who have clenching or grinding habits that are difficult to control, particularly at night.
Inflammatory Disease Around Implants
Inflammation and infection of the surrounding living tissues that support implants is perhaps the greatest cause of concern today regarding implant failure. It is generally referred to as peri-implantitis (“peri” – around; implant “itis” – inflammation).
Gum Inflammation. The first phase of peri-implantitis is a condition in which the soft gum tissues surrounding the implant become inflamed or infected. This can happen when excess dental cement (used in some cases to attach a crown) is not completely removed from beneath the gum line; or, more commonly, it can result from biofilm (bacterial) accumulation. If inflammation/infection is limited to the gum tissues, removing any excess cement and/or improving oral hygiene, and cleaning to remove biofilm, can generally manage it. It is also important for the implant surgeon to make sure that the implant is surrounded by sufficient gum tissue; gum tissue tightly adheres to the implant or implant crown surface, providing a barrier to food debris penetrating below the gum line. However, it may not prevent inflammation from biofilm bacteria.
Bone Inflammation. Inflammation/infection extending into the bone destroys the connection between the implant and the bone and is therefore much more problematic. It undermines the support for the implant, and hence the tooth root and crown that it replaces. Peri-implantitis often has the usual signs of inflammation: redness, swelling, bleeding and suppuration (pus formation) in the peri-implant tissues. However, symptoms may vary: It’s possible to have mild symptoms or even none at all in chronically infected sites, to acute painful abscesses. In more severe cases, bone loss can be rapid and ultimately an implant can loosen and be lost. It has been speculated that individuals who had prior periodontal disease, which resulted in their tooth loss, would be at greater risk for peri-implantitis, but this does not generally seem to be the case.
Peri-implantitis can be treated successfully if caught early enough. It requires control of the inflammation/infection with local cleaning or antibiotics. Attempts at surgical repair may be necessary to regain attachment and bone. The biggest problem is decontaminating the exposed implant surfaces. This is difficult because they are intentionally microscopically roughened to aid attachment to the bone. If an implant is lost due to peri-implantitis every effort is made to preserve the surrounding bone and replace the implant.
Prevention pays great dividends in avoiding implant failure. Once the implants are placed, the ball is largely in your court. It’s crucial to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Make sure you have regular professional dental cleanings to help keep the tissues around your implants healthy. Routine maintenance for implants is really no more difficult than it is for natural teeth. If it were, success rates for this life-changing tooth-replacement treatment would not be nearly so high. And if a problem develops, it is best solved by early recognition and treatment.
Oral pain can have a number of causes, among them tooth decay, fracture or abscess, a broken or damaged filling, nightly teeth grinding, gum infection or wisdom teeth pain. No matter what the cause, you should see your dentist when you experience oral pain. If you still have your wisdom teeth, you may be wondering if you are experiencing wisdom teeth pain. How can you recognize this unique pain? Read on below.
Wisdom teeth grow in at the back of the mouth, behind your molars. There is a set on the bottom as well as the top. Wisdom teeth often grow in crooked, sideways, or otherwise misaligned. As they grow in, they can push on other teeth, causing problems of overcrowding and misalignment for them as well.
As the wisdom teeth come in, they can be very painful. You’ll feel wisdom teeth pain at the back of your mouth, behind your molars. If you look into a mirror, you may even notice that your wisdom teeth have begun to poke through your gums. The area might also be red, inflamed and tender to the touch. Some people, however, don’t have any visible symptoms of wisdom teeth pain.
Wisdom teeth pain can be constant for some people, while other people only experience pain and discomfort when chewing food or touching the area. Most dental professionals advise that wisdom teeth should be removed before wisdom teeth pain becomes an issue.
Wisdom teeth pain can be a sign of impacted wisdom teeth, which occurs when wisdom teeth are prevented from emerging by the jaw bone or other teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth are more difficult to remove, leave you at greater risk for complications from surgery, and can permanently damage bones and other teeth. Also, the longer wisdom teeth pain persists, the more likely it is that an infection will result from bacteria entering open tissue. Oral infections can have a negative impact on general systemic health.
Other clues that your wisdom teeth could be impacted include jaw pain and tenderness, redness and swelling of the gums around the tooth, bad breath, or a bad taste when you bite down on food. Impacted wisdom teeth can also put you at risk for cysts, which are pockets of fluid that form around the tooth. Rarely, tumors can form around the tooth. Cysts and tumors can result in permanent damage to your jaw bone as well as your other teeth. Wisdom teeth pain is not always a sign that your wisdom teeth are impacted, but the longer you wait to see a dental professional, the more likely it is that your wisdom teeth can become impacted.
If you think you may be experiencing wisdom teeth pain, you should make an appointment to see us. We will be able to tell you if your pain is actually wisdom teeth pain. At this stage, the most common solution for the pain is simply to have the wisdom teeth removed.
Its the long weekend coming up. We will be open as normal on Saturday 8th of June. We will be closed on Monday 10th of June. If you would like the get an appointment before the mad rush of the weekend. Two days is a long time to go in pain! Please give us a call now, emergency spots still available.
We accept the The Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) at our practice.
provides families with $1000 per child every 2 years.
The Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS)
covers children aged 2-17 and provides rebates
for basic dental treatments like:
Are you eligible for the new dental scheme at our clinic?
Please call us to ask how! OR call Medicare to see if your child is eligible.