March 2019 Dentistry Newsletter
Is an Occasional Toothache Normal?
Many people get the occasional toothache or tooth sensitivity, does that mean you need to run to the dentist? Not necessarily. Just like other parts of your body will have an occasional twinge or slight discomfort your teeth have these kinds of aches and pains as well. Typically it’s not something that requires professional assessment. How do you know if it’s something more serious though? Here are a few things to watch for that might indicate a trip to the dentist is in order.
Persistent Ache – the most common type of tooth pain is a dull, persistent ache. If this is your situation and this discomfort has lasted for a few days it’s probably time to call Aesthetic Dentistry, P.C. There are minor problems that could cause this type of pain such as something stuck in your gums or between your teeth, but there are also more serious causes such as an abscessed tooth. Certainly start with a good brushing, flossing and round of mouthwash. If the pain does not subside, or actually gets worse than it’s time for you to make that call to the dentist. An abscessed tooth is not something to mess around with. It’s caused by an infection inside the tooth that has spread to the root and requires immediate attention.
Throbbing Pain – another common description of tooth pain is an intense, throbbing pain. If the pain is intense enough to disrupt your daily activities, prevent you from sleeping, or otherwise seriously impact your life, you should get to a dentist right away as it could be an indication of a serious infection. These infections occur when bacteria gets into the pulp inside your tooth or gums. The pulp of your tooth is very sensitive and a bacterial infection here can cause tremendous pain. If left untreated this pain could lead to an infection in the bone around your teeth. Other signs to look for in this scenario include bleeding gums, pain when chewing, or discoloration of the gums.
Sharp Pain – some patients describe their pain as sharp but inconsistent. Because it comes and goes many people believe it will go away on their own, however, this is not always the case. Generally pain that is described as more of a minor issue or an ache will go away but anything described as “sharp” even if it comes and goes indicates a more serious problem. This type of pain often is indicative of some type of damage to the tooth. This could include the loss of a crown or filling, a fracture in the tooth, a cavity, or decay around the gum line. All of these will require the assistance of a dentist but the good news is that they’re likely to be resolved quickly with the proper attention.
If you experience dental pain as those described above give us a call right away to get an appointment with the dental team here at Aesthetic Dentistry, P.C. If your pain is different than any of these and you still have concerns, we would recommend a call as well. While a minor ache or occasional twinge will go away the consequences of leaving a more serious problem untreated aren’t worth the risk.
Everything You Need to Know About Retainers
If you, or a young person in your life, has braces you’ll be headed towards the great world of retainers next. You’ve likely heard the horror stories from others about losing a retainer, trying to clean it, or attempts at hiding it during meals. While much of this can certainly happen, the retainer plays an important role in the final part of moving your teeth to their new permanent location.
Your retainer is unique, just like you. It’s custom-made to fit your mouth and help your teeth maintain the new position that the braces put them in. We understand that you’ve had braces for months now and you are probably ready to just be done with the whole thing, but don’t quit! While your retainer is removable, it should be in your mouth as much as possible in order to be functional. You’ve come too far to lose ground in the final step of the process. It’s recommended that you leave your retainer in around the clock for the first 6 months. After that you can reduce usage to just at night.
Your retainer rests against your teeth creating the perfect place for bacteria and plaque to gather. To prevent that from happening you’ll need to be diligent about cleaning your retainer. You should remove it after every meal and use your toothbrush to brush warm water over it. You should not use toothpaste as it’s too abrasive and could damage the retainer. Periodically it makes sense to do a deeper clean. To do this mix a mild dish soap with warm water and gently brush the retainer. You should check with your dentist before soaking it in denture or retainer cleaner as these are only appropriate for certain types of retainers. Never put your retainer in boiling water to sterilize it. You will cause it to warp and end up needing a replacement. In addition, don’t forget to also clean your case. Germs can get in the case and cause you problems when you use it to store your retainer.
You should continue to avoid the same foods you ditched with the braces until you finish with your retainer. This includes chewy foods, difficult-to-bite foods such as bagels, popcorn, hard pretzels, and corn on the cob as well as many others.
If you lose your retainer don’t hit the panic button. You’ll want to get an appointment as soon as possible with the dentist or orthodontist to get it replaced but it doesn’t need to be an emergency visit. Your retainer is keeping your teeth from shifting back to their old position but that shifting process is slow and won’t happen in the day or two it takes for you to get in to see the dentist.
A retainer is an extremely important piece of the tooth alignment process, be sure to follow all of the instructions provided and use as recommended to ensure the best possible results.
Oral Cancer Risks
While largely unheard of, oral cancer is a serious and fairly common diagnosis in the United Sates. Someone dies every hour in this country due to oral cancer, and 132 people will be diagnosed each day. With these kinds of numbers we feel its important to increase awareness. Sadly the primary reason that 46% of those diagnosed will die within 5 years, is because of the lack of knowledge. The majority of those who die in that time frame simply were diagnosed too late. At Aesthetic Dentistry, P.C. we want to help our patients through early screening and diagnosis of oral cancer.
Many of our patients assume that only smokers get oral cancer but unfortunately that’s not true. Nearly 25% of those who get oral cancer do not use tobacco products of any kind. Certainly using tobacco products, as well as excessive alcohol consumption, can increase your risk of developing oral cancer but the truth is that everyone is at risk. Oral cancer is closely connected to the HPV virus, which is the primary reason that oral cancer occurs today. Younger people are thus being effected more and more by oral cancer because of this HPV connection.
How can you protect yourself? The best way to combat oral cancer is to get regular screenings done at the dentist office. Our team will feel for lumps or irregular tissues as part of your standard dental exam process. You should expect us to assess your face, neck, head and oral cavity. We will also be looking for any discolored tissue or sores that could indicate oral cancer. In many cases skin thickening, rough spots, or white or red patches in the mouth are all indicators.
If you notice anything strange between dental visits call us right away. Things to watch for include loss of feeling or numbness, sores on your face, mouth or neck that bleed easily and do not heal within two weeks, difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw, any pain or tenderness in your mouth, face or neck, or a feeling that something is always caught in the back of your throat. If you experience any of these symptoms give us a call so we can get you checked out. Early detection is absolutely critical to a favorable treatment result. Our team is here to provide you with the best quality care both during regular dental exams as well as for anything unusual that happens in between.