Eliminate Food Related Sensitive Teeth

Eliminate Food Related Sensitive Teeth

A long history of enduring sensitive teeth doesn’t mean a lifetime. Minimize sensitive teeth related to food.

1.)  Chew Gum

Reduce sensitive teeth by chewing gum (sugarless of course). Chewing a stick of gum’s a great way to keep saliva flowing. Chewing creates ample saliva helping prevent periodontal disease (gum disease). The benefits of chewing gum are particularly measurable in the initial thirty minutes immediately after a meal. When you chew gum it increases salivary flow, helping to wash away debris and bacteria that may be stuck to teeth. Gum that contains xylitol can also aid in remineralizing enamel.

2.) Eat Fewer Processed Foods, Especially Starchy Carbs

We all know the dangers associated with sugar filled snacks and juices. Sugar wreaks havoc on teeth. Surprisingly, crackers, chips, cereal and other starchy snack foods can be just as detrimental as sugary snacks. Starches readily convert to usable sugars when consumed by the bacterial colonies in your mouth.  Brushing after starchy snacks, even chewing gum can reduce the particles left behind. This keeps acids excreted by bacteria to a minimum, preventing periodontal disease and decay.

3.)  Get Your Teeth Cleaned by a Professional

It’s not enough to just brush and floss in order to protect your teeth from the threat of decay and periodontal disease. Eliminating sensitive teeth takes an all over approach. For optimal conditions you need to have your teeth cleaned. In the chair–the dentist chair–where your dentist and their hygienist can inspect each tooth and surrounding gum tissue for potential problems.

While in the chair your teeth will be scaled (scraping off all tartar, stains, and plaque) with special tools designed especially for each tooth.  Your tooth will even get scaled below the gum line. Plaque and tartar may be accumulating out of sight, initiating periodontal disease. After your teeth have been scaled they will then be polished. Polishing the teeth at the end of the cleaning is the step that gives you that slippery feeling on your teeth. Did you know when your teeth get polished it removes all microscopic abrasions and scratches? Places where bacteria might be able to get a foothold. That leaves teeth smooth and strong.

4.) Get Enough Sleep

Second only to smoking, studies show sleep is the next biggest factor in worsening periodontal disease.  Our schedules are busier now than ever before. Often there are more demands for our time than we can accommodate. Lack of sleep has been shown to affect how rapidly we age. lack of sleep affects how readily our immune system respond. Sleep even effects our response times while driving or reacting to physical demands.

Now scientific studies also conclude that periodontal disease gets measurably worse in patients who routinely get six or less hours of sleep per night. In the same studies, those patients who increased their nightly sleep up to seven or more hours saw a dramatic decrease in the spread of periodontal disease.

Poor gum health, from gum disease, can stimulate nerves in teeth inducing sensitive teeth.

5.) CoQ10–Proper Vitamins and Nutrition

Naturally, the first line of defense against all forms of gum disease is proper dental hygiene, including brushing twice daily, flossing once a day plus routine professional cleanings. Good oral health also requires proper nutrition. Supplements and nutrients that are known to work to boost the immune system. They also build collagen in the periodontal ligaments, and decrease inflammation. This helps to stop gum disease before it gets started – and helps to heal gum disease. One of the most researched and highly recommended supplements for fighting gum disease is CoQ-10.

In Recent studies CoQ-10 was given in a blind study in which candidates with significant gum disease (periodontal disease) were chosen after aggressive brushing and flossing had no measurable impact. Those patients receiving the CoQ-10 had measurable and sustained improvement from their periodontal disease, in many of the patient’s gum disease completely resolved after only 8 weeks of therapy.

There are a number of choices when choosing the CoQ-10 that is right for you. Learn about your options and choose wisely.

Give us a call today.

Marilyn K Jones DDS

Address: 800 Bering Dr Suite 204 , Houston, TX 77057
Phone: (713) 785-7767
Email: mjones@hal-pc.org

The Gripping Truth: Facts About Teeth Grinding

Teeth Grinding or Clenching can lead to long term health problems

Bruxism: The chronic clenching (tightly holding top and bottom teeth together) and or grinding (sliding–while clenched–back and forth) of teeth.

Occasionally or from time to time–grinding or clenching teeth–can be a normal, uneventful thing for most of people. Done on a regular or chronic basis teeth grinding and clenching will eventually be damaging to teeth, oral health, even overall health.

  • Why do people grind their teeth

The most common reasons for chronic grinding of teeth is an improper or abnormal tooth alignment, and missing or crooked teeth. In some instances Bruxism, particularly the clenching of teeth–often and long enough to cause damage–is caused by anxiety or stress.

  • How you know if you’re grinding your teeth

Typically individuals who teeth grinding are unaware of the habit because most teeth grinding occurs at night while they are asleep. Generally people learn that they grind their teeth because a family member, house-mate or loved one hears the grinding and informs them. A constant dull headache, tender jaw muscles, or sore jaw and neck muscles can be telltale of bruxism. Your dentist can help determine if you suspect bruxism by carefully inspecting the surfaces of molars and teeth for signs of scraping and excessive wear.

  • How is teeth grinding or bruxism harmful

Bruxism is a serious condition that, in addition to posing serious risks to the teeth and oral cavity, can also lead to other health conditions like TMJ, TMD even hearing loss.

The worst cases of teeth grinding, if left untreated, can loosen teeth, fracture teeth and even cause the loss of teeth. After long term grinding teeth can be worn down significantly, requiring some people to need tooth replacement or dentures. When such extensive damage occurs the jaw bone can be effected, even the contours of the face and general appearance of a person can change.

  1. Bruxism, or teeth grinding can lead to chronic pain and headaches along with damage to teeth and surrounding tissue
  2. Bruxism, or teeth grinding can lead to chronic pain and headaches along with damage to teeth and surrounding tissue
  • How to stop grinding your teeth

Many people who need to stop grinding their teeth seek their dentist for a specially made mouth guard to protect teeth, at night,from grinding.

When it has been determined that stress may be an underlying cause of bruxism, a physician may help determine options for reducing stress. Counseling, various types of therapy, and a reliable, consistent exercise program are some of the most effective an common aids in stress reduction. When needed, a patient may also employ various medications that can help with relaxing muscles and aiding in sleep.

The easiest and most common adjustments to eliminate bruxism can be done at home without anything but a few easy changes:

  1. Training yourself to relax your jaw muscle during the day. Even holding the tip of your tongue between your teeth helps to re-train jaw muscles to “unclench”.
  2. Avoid chewing gum, chewing on pens or pencils or anything except food.
    • Those habits can train jaw muscles to stay clenched and make it more likely to grind your teeth later.
  3. Cut back on caffeine, things like cola, coffee, tea and chocolate.
  4. Eliminate alcohol.
    • Consuming alcohol tends to intensify teeth grinding.

Children may grind their teeth too

While there is no clear reason why children can sometimes grind their teeth, it is somewhat common. Generally children grind their teeth at night, with increasing frequency during illnesses, or other medical conditions, (everything from nutritional deficiencies and parasites to allergies have been cited). Often the underlying cause may be irregular contact between upper and lower teeth or shifting teeth as new teeth come in or baby teeth get loose.

Baby teeth don’t typically suffer the regular problems from grinding, however children can still have jaw pain and headaches associated with bruxism. Ultimately if you suspect your child may be grinding their teeth it is definitely something to discuss with their dentist and potentially their pediatrician to evaluate any potential issues and eliminate the problem all together.

Stop Dental Pain

Stop Dental Pain

Stop Dental Pain

At our biological dental practice in Houston, Texas, we routinely get calls from people in pain, often with a bad toothache or other dental emergency. They are hurting and want to know how to fix it now. They want a healthy alternative to their regular dentist (that’s why they called a biological dentist) and they want to know the safest way to get out of pain quickly.

Stop dental pain before it starts

Unfortunately, the safest way is to not get into pain in the first place. Obviously things happen in life and sometimes a toothache in unavoidable, but most patients wait too long and a preventable dental problem escalates into a major dental emergency and often a major dental procedure.

So how do you know when you should see a dentist? What are the early warnings signs so you nip things in the bud before they escalate to major problems?

  1. Floss regularly. I know you’ve heard it before, but I’m not telling you to floss to keep your teeth clean (you already KNOW that). If you floss regularly you will notice small cavities or other problems between the teeth sooner. A small cavity is MUCH easier to fix than a big one – which might require an extraction and dental implant. If you floss and feel a small pain, twinge, or anything else weird or out of the ordinary, give us a call and we can probably prevent the problem from getting any worse.
  2. Look in the mirror. Most of us are so used to brushing our teeth that we don’t watch ourselves do it anymore. Spending a few minutes before or after you brush to look in the mirror can prevent a lot of problems. Pull your lips back and check along the gum line. Are there any bumps? Any discoloration? Lesions? All of those things could mean major problems forming under the gum-line. And most of those early warning signs can prevent major dental work – and a major toothache – later.
  3. Pay attention when you eat. Pain or twinges in your mouth while eating are often a sign of bigger problems. If you eat sugar and have some pain, you might be getting a cavity (did you know many cavities, when treated early, don’t even need to be drilled out? Catch them early to save yourselves the whir of the drill!). Pain when eating hot or colds things? Your gums could be having an issue or maybe a cavity. Hurts when you chew on one side? Maybe an abscess, infection, cavity, cracked tooth… any number of things.
  4. Do your teeth hurt when you wake up in the morning? This is a classic sign of bruxism – or grinding your teeth. Why does it matter? If you grind at night, you are at risk for TMJ problems, cavities, cracked teeth, and more. All of which can be avoided with a simple bite guard if caught early. If your mouth hurts when you wake up, call and schedule an appointment.

90% of dental emergencies can be avoided by taking the simple precautions above. Regular visits to the dentist don’t have to be scary or painful – they can prevent scary and painful visits later, in fact. So give us a call. Check for the early warning signs, and prevent future dental emergencies.

And if you do have an emergency, come visit our holistic dental practice in Houston – we are happy to help keep your mouth beautiful and healthy – and out of pain!

Restorations can Prevent Future Pain

Restorations can Prevent Future Pain

Choosing the right restorations can prevent pain in the future

Unexpected circumstances can turn an almost perfect smile into a painful one. Time changes things, even a perfect smile. If you are experiencing oral pain, need a future tooth replacement or restoration, or have had a restoration you are not happy with, consider the following;

A medical link exists for potential increased frequency in headaches, migraine headaches and even TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorders) related to tooth loss without proper restoration. Even small changes in bite and tooth placement have been identified as having the capacity to be problematic.

 

When a tooth is lost…
due to trauma, decay or periodontal disease the surrounding bone material immediately becomes compromised.  Additionally the missing tooth no longer helps distribute pressure during chewing and biting, thereby increasing the amount of pressure and bite force placed on the remaining teeth. The additional pressure on the remaining teeth can be responsible for fractures to those teeth, excessive wear, and all too often the remaining teeth drift or shift to new positions in the jaw and in so doing, change the overall bite.

Changes in bite…
and tooth placement due to shifting can typically affect the aesthetics of a smile, what you may not know is that it can also compromise the health of the remaining teeth. First by creating changes in how straight teeth are potentially diminishing your ability to clean properly, secondly drifting teeth might not be properly aligned and bite force from normal chewing may potentially chip or crack teeth.

Bridges
Common practice traditionally replaced a single missing tooth with a fixed bridge. Unfortunately a bridge does not address any of the negative effects of a missing tooth. Soft tissues still retreat, bone mass in the jaw is still absorbed, the surrounding teeth are compromised by the process of preparing them for the bridge. With the lack of adequate bone and soft tissues the remaining teeth, often, are susceptible to drifting. Decay and rot also threatened the neighboring teeth once they’ve been drilled and filed for the bridge.

Implants
For decades dentist have been able to surgically implant permanent teeth to take the place of a tooth lost from trauma, decay or disease. For several decades dentist have been using all ceramic implants. The post that goes into the jaw bone is no longer metal but ceramic. Ceramics have proven over and over to be the ideal long term solution when getting an implant.  Uniquely capable of being integrated and accepted into the biology of the mouth, both promoting soft tissue gum growth and fusing seamlessly with living bone while not disturbing or compromising the surrounding teeth, thusly providing a solution to all potentially negative outcomes of a missing tooth.

Full Ceramic Implants
Ceramic implants are the answer to dentist concerns for the health of their patients and for the patient there is nothing that compares to the aesthetics of an all ceramic implant. Additionally ceramic implants unique properties will never leach into your tissues or body, they will not breakdown or corrode, they do not conduct hot or cold and are, in fact, so precisely fitted that they might fit better and look better than the original teeth, certainly more so than any other restoration option. All while leaving other healthy teeth perfectly in place and unadulterated.

For the best experience and a guarantee in your implant, to ensure a lifetime smile, call our office and make an appointment. Our professional staff is expertly trained. You can trust our extensive experience in implants and restorations to leave you with a beautiful, pain free smile for years to come.

TMD and TMJ Finally Deciphered

TMD and TMJ Finally Deciphered

Wondering what TMD and TMJ are and how to know if you have it?

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder often called TMJ or TMD can occur as a result of a dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control the jaw movement.

A number of things may contribute to chronic TMJ/TMD including; stress, teeth grinding or bruxism, and often malocclusions (or the misalignment of teeth).

Did You Know?
12% of the U.S. population is estimated to suffer from TMJ/TMD, that’s about 35 million people.
90% of TMJ/TMD patients are women

Often a sufferer of TMJ/TMD will try conservative measures, or self-care, at home before consulting a doctor or a TMD dentist. A TMJ/TMD dentist consultation can save a lot of time, but most importantly it can save a lot of suffering.

TMJ/TMD is painful and can inhibit productivity, sleeping, even quality of life.

Temporomandibular joints are meant to bear a lot of use and are definitely a workhorse in the body, making it no surprise that those muscles and joints take an enormous amount of stress, use and pressure to get them inflamed, irritated and painful.

Where to start with TMJ

TMJ Facts and tips

Symptoms can include:

  • Ringing in the ears
  • Clicking or popping sounds in the jaw-joint
  • Limited jaw movement
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Numbness in hands and arms
  • Sensitive and sore teeth
  • Locking jaw
  • Facial pain

Why See A Dentist?

A dentist familiar with and accustomed to seeing patients with this specific disorder will quickly determine all of the underlying problems that are contributing to pain and discomfort.

With a pinpointed approach to solving and mitigating the problem, you can be assured that you will feel results quickly. Don’t stay in pain or only temporarily alleviate the issue only to find yourself in the same situation a few months down the road.

What To Do Until Your Dental Appointment

  • Avoid chewing hard, crunchy or chewy foods.
  • Alternate between moist heat and cold packs to help reduce pain and inflammation in face
  • Heat applications help to improve circulation and carry away the fluids that have built up in the joint while the cool compress will then encourage the vascular structures to constrict helping slow further inflammation.
  • Take nonprescription nsaids or anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Practice stress management and relaxation techniques.
  • Don’t let valuable time slip away, get out of discomfort and pain sooner, contact us at Marilyn K Jones today and set up an appointment to help you start feeling better now!
More Than Brushing: Answers to Bad Breath

More Than Brushing: Answers to Bad Breath

Bad Breath doesn’t discriminate

Ever notice a friend turning away, even while you retell the best parts of your weekend? Of course we have all experienced bad breath and like a lot of people, the first reaction to resolving the problem; up our dental dental hygiene game. Brushing and flossing are key to a healthy mouth that smells fresh and clean but you don’t need to brush after every meal, floss multiple times and use swimming pool amounts of mouthwash to keep from offending friends with halitosis (bad breath).

If you’be been haunted or plagued with chronic, smelly, bad breath, or have that bitter, nasty, morning breath taste in the back of your throat on a regular basis there may be more to it than just oral hygiene.

First you need to tackle the obvious contributors;

  • Get your teeth cleaned by your dentist and hygienist consistently one or more times per year according to your dentist recommendation. This will eliminate contributions to bad breath from pockets of bacterial colonies and decay.
  • Brush with a regularly replaced, soft bristled toothbrush twice a day.
  • Floss all of your teeth once a day.
  • Consider using a tongue scrapper to take one last measure to eliminating bacteria and odor causing detris in your mouth. The bonus is you may start smelling and tasting better than ever before, plus-no bad breath!
  • Drink plenty of water. Water is what hydrates the body and a well hydrated bodies ensure lots of healthy saliva. Lots of saliva helps wash away the bacterium that typically cause gingivitis, plaque, and yes, bad breath.

Next address dietary contributors;

  • Obvious contributors to smelly breath like onion, garlic, that extra frothy latte, are easy to identify and hard to say no to, if you must indulge, brush or follow with gum or breath mints.
  • Eat a varied, healthful diet. Diets especially low in carbohydrates can contribute to bad breath, so excluding foods that can cause inflammation, but adding in a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and healthy proteins like nuts or cheese can help mitigate bad breath caused when body chemistry is not ideal.

Sweep your environment for other culprits;

  • Literally keeping things as tidy and clean as possible can reduce the potential for allergies. Allergies are a big contributor to rhinitis that can contribute to post nasal drip and major halitosis. If your nose gets stuffy, you breath through your mouth a lot, you may have allergy related bad breath.
    • Keeping dust to a minimum, using air filters, especially hepa filters to get the cleanest air inside your living space.
  • Introduce a humidifier. Humidifiers can improve the moisture content of air and reduce inflammation in mucus membranes inside the mouth, throat and nose, all of which will help keep the body best able to tackle the kinds of bacteria and inflammation that can cause stinky breath.
  • Many people also find that flushing their sinuses with a neti pot, daily, significantly reduces pollutants, pollens and other irritants that add to the kind of sinusitis underlying in many cases of chronic sinusitis.

There are other reasons for long term, recurring bad breath that can be related to conditions you may need to see a doctor for. Cracks in teeth, cavities, deviated septums, loose dental restorations, even allergies to the dental restorations you currently have are included in the list of potential culprits. If you have addressed all of the above problems and bad breath persist, call us today for an exam to help you get to the root of the issue. No one should have to live with the uncomfortable embarrassment and stigma that goes along with long term, chronic bad breath.

Don’t forget that alcohol, smoking, some prescription drugs and illnesses can cause bad breath all on their own despite other measures you take to get rid of it.

 

Dental Restoration; a New You

In a state of restoration

Statistics suggest the average American between 35 and 65 will lose 3 adult teeth in their lifetime, not including wisdom teeth that many adults remove intentionally.  That number may seem staggering, to some but is drastically lower than statics dating back to the 1970s when losing 6 to 8 teeth or more in a lifetime was normal.

Where to start

If you have ever been faced with tooth restoration due to loss or infection you know that the choices can be overwhelming. Once you know that you are going to need to replace a natural tooth with an artificial one you begin weighing all options.  Ceramic implants are considered the gold standard of restoration but the choices can still seem convoluted, considering dentist have so many procedures available to patients. For a multitude of reasons, cost and time being two big factors, patients occasionally find themselves considering getting a bridge, just for now, until they are ready to take that big step into oral surgery and getting a permanent ceramic implant.

Pros and cons of a temporary fix

Getting a bridge will have a permanent and detrimental effect on the teeth nearest the tooth that needs replacing:

  • To get a proper fit and bonding to the bridge your healthy teeth will need to be filed down, stripped of their outside protective cover, made small enough to allow for the substantial bridgework to fit and be secure
  • Should those nearby teeth not be in the greatest shape, then you may have to sacrifice additional teeth, further away, to bond the bridge to.
  • Bridges have a finite life span.
  • Ten years is about the max but even that is not guaranteed.
  • Bridges can be pulled off from eating sticky foods.
  • Cracked or broken bridges can result from a variety of foods consumed also.
  • Bridges can discolor or the areas around the bond yellow or fade.
  • Since the nearby teeth must be compromised in order to secure the bridge, those sacrificial teeth are more prone to disease, infection and rot.
  • Eventually the healthy gum tissues often recede, shrink and pull away from the bridge.
  • This can leave an unsightly and noticeable gap between the bridge and the gum line. (Besides leaving a noticeable gap it also becomes a trap for particles of food and debris that feed pockets of stinky bacteria)
  • Additionally, since there is not a tooth in the jawbone the bone mass in that area will diminish over time. This can affect the surrounding teeth, especially if you have multiple teeth replaced, it can also affect your jaw line and the contours of your face.
  • Outcome: a bridge means you will need additional dental work just to maintain and support a tooth replacement that will still, no matter how well you take care of it, need replacing.
    Permanent solutions for your dental restoration

    Permanent solutions for your dental restoration

    Did you know that getting a ceramic implant would allow you to skip all that? Yes, Often in one or two visits you can have a permanent, lifetime restoration of a lost tooth. Usually there is a visit to ensure the procedure went well and that you have healed all the way. After that? After that you are set. Smile away and be confident that you have the closest thing to your natural teeth possible.  Feel good that you  are supporting the rest of your teeth and even your overall health.

    Call our qualified team to get your restoration consultation today.

Besides Brushing, 6 Smile Fixers You Didn’t Know

Besides Brushing, 6 Smile Fixers You Didn’t Know

Time savers and smile makers

Get the whitest, healthiest smile by not ignoring these simple things you already have time for.

We all want the best of both worlds more free time and the best versions of ourselves. The latter generally involves a considerable amount of time, the last thing any of us have time for is to add more things into our routine. Surprisingly, when it comes to your smile there may be a few things that you can do with the time you already are using. Here’s the quick rundown of things to nix and things to fix your brushing routine for the strongest, whitest, brightest smile.

Things to Nix:

Multitasking while brushing

With every minute of almost everyday scheduled, time is precious. It’s tempting to do other things while you’re brushing. Weather you find yourself brushing while you dress the kids, or shower, scroll through your Twitter feed, try using those two minutes for brushing alone. When you stand in front of the mirror you are more likely to cover each surface of the tooth adequately, mapping out where you have covered and where needs better brushing.

Over-cleaning your toothbrush

Have you considered a way to sterilize or clean your toothbrush? There are recommendations

floating around to run toothbrushes through the dishwasher, zap it in the microwave, dip it in rubbing alcohol. Think again about all of these random options, the CDC says that there’s no evidence that anyone has ever gotten sick from using their own toothbrush. Instead try simply holding your toothbrush under running water from the tap, storing it upright and letting it air-dry with no other toothbrushes touching it. More drastic cleaning measures may damage your brush, and that defeats its purpose.

Using social media as your dentist

There are so many weird, whacky, (seemingly) wonderful cure alls on the web. When it comes to your health, including your oral health there are also many, many tips that can do more harm than help. So don’t even go there. The Pinterest, the google, and the various personal blogs sharing the latest and greatest ways to whiten teeth. Maybe—by swishing with straight peroxide, for example—one example that is really bad for teeth. Use ADA-approved products that have been tested.”

Ignoring your daily (or nightly) grind

see your qualified dentist if you have any symptoms of grinding your teeth.

see your qualified dentist if you have any symptoms of grinding your teeth.

While mild bruxism—that is, clenching your teeth or grinding your jaw—might not seem like a big deal, severe cases can lead to everything from chipped and worn teeth to headaches, jaw trouble, and even changes in facial appearance. It’s hard to know if you grind your teeth at night if a partner doesn’t tip you off, of course, but if you experience telltale signs such as jaw soreness or a dull, constant headache, make haste to the dentist; he or she will have several options to help eliminate this, often overlooked threat to your teeth and smile, not to mention your sleep.

So far we’ve just listed a few of the things you can eliminate and actually improve your dental health. Here are a few of the things to start doing immediately to improve your dental health.

Things to fix:

Start flossing

Skipping flossing leaves behind a significant amount of bacteria. The spaces between teeth and below the gum lines account for more than 40% of the surfaces that bacterial colonies attach to. Flossing every day, after brushing, improves gum health and significantly strengthens tooth attachment to the periodontal ligament.

Try a new old thing; tongue scrapers have been

around for generations.

Your tongue can host the majority of bad breath causing bacteria in your mouth

Your tongue can host the majority of bad breath causing bacteria in your mouth

A number of health benefits have been associated with the practice of tongue scraping. Everything from better tasting food, to improved immune response have been tied to tongue scraping after brushing. Tongue scrapers, typically look like a small curved device that is meant to gently curve over the back of the tongue and scrape of biological deposits and debris that can accumulate on the back of the tongue. It literally takes seconds to add this to your morning routine and can help remove bacterial colonies from the mouth that are responsible for causing bad breath.

 

By all means, keep doing what you’re doing when it comes to seeing your dentist routinely, brushing twice a day, drinking plenty of water, and eating all the fruits, vegetables, cheese, and other foods that help keep your teeth strong and healthy. Call our office so we can help you make sure you have the best possible smile.

A Chip In The Armor

Enamel: The Armor of Teeth

Closeup of a woman patient at the dentist waiting to be checked up with the woman doctor in the background

Closeup of a woman patient at the dentist waiting to be checked up with the woman doctor in the background

Chipped teeth are one of the most common things dentists get asked about.  Common sense tells us we need to see a dentist when we have a cavity, a broken tooth, or pain in our mouth, but chipped teeth don’t always fall into routine dental education we get from visits with the dentist.  Enamel is the most dense, hardest substance in the humane body, and yet–for a variety of reasons–can unexpectedly chip or fracture, sometimes just from normal wear and tear.

The Teeth Most at Risk

Several factors that can conspire to make teeth more susceptible to chips and fractures.

  • Activities that put teeth at a higher risk like baseball, hockey, and other sports, leave the mouth exposed to a higher than average risk of impact from body parts, balls, sticks, bats or other items used in play
  • Eating hard or extremely crunchy things like nuts, hard candy, caramel, popcorn kernels and ice not only can cause chipping directly but indirectly by creating small fractures and cracks
  • Chewing on non food items that are hard or abrasive
  • Using teeth to open clasps on small vials, bottles, jars and other containers
  • Bruxism (clenching jaws and grinding teeth)
  • Young children who take tumbles may chip teeth if they fall onto hard things like bathtubs, pavement, hard flooring, toys or furniture
  • Aging teeth can also become more brittle if not properly cared for or sometimes because a life time of microscopic cracks or fissures in the enamel
  • Teeth that already have, even slight, decay are more susceptible to fractures and chipping because softer

What Should You Know

Even chipped or fractured teeth that have no pain, that don’t seem to have affected the dentine, or underlying tooth structure, should be evaluated by a dentist. Soon. Chipping, and especially cracks in enamel near the chipping, can leave the inner, delicate and sensitive parts or a tooth vulnerable. Sharp jagged edges and uneven surfaces can be ideal spots for bacteria to form colonies.

The difference between a chipped tooth and a broken tooth is that a chipped tooth has a very small shard or thin piece of enamel that cracks or splinters off, but does not affect the dentine, cementum or pulp of the tooth. A piece of broken tooth needs saved and an emergency trip to the dentist should follow immediately after recovering the piece of tooth which may still be viable.

Often small chips or fractures may go unnoticed initially. Over time the areas where small chips and fractures occur can worsen. As the crack intensifies it can lead to tooth sensitivity and the nerve may become inflamed and irritated. Your Dentist has a number of remedies for chipped or cracked teeth. From veneers and bonding to sanding out rough spots and repolishing the tooth’s surface have your dentist evaluate the damage and decide what will isolate the cracks and prevent further damage in the future.

If You Already Have A Chip…

If you already have a chip or crack in your tooth, it is important to have a dentist evaluate it as soon as possible to help ensure that future damage can be prevented. proper at home hygiene and a diet rich in proper nutrients can help keep teeth their strongest in between visits.

Contact our office to schedule an appointment now.

The Code of Tooth Sensitivity

The Code of Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth Sensitivity

Sharp or subtle, when teeth become sensitive to the foods you eat or drink, even the activity of your day it affects your quality of life. It also may be affecting your health.  A variety of circumstances can lead to tooth sensitivity, all of them indicating that its time to do something different. From serious likelihood of infection to simple remineralization this article can help you determine what actions to start with.  bigstock-Face-full-of-pain-51688675

Teeth Are Alive

Teeth are alive, each tooth with it’s own nutrifying blood source, it’s own dedicated nerve and a living ligament to keep it anchored into the jaw bone. For this reason each tooth has the potential to cause you a significant amount of pain if something goes amiss. Think of tooth sensitivity as a red flag, a warning signal, your teeth’s way to communicate with the rest of the body when something is wrong.

Your teeth have several defenses to the help protect and keep them healthy. Below the gum line there is the periodontal ligament and the jawbone, these, paired with the gums themselves are essential to keeping teeth healthy, and alive. They provide protection, ensure healthy blood supply and encapsulate over half of the tooth to provide strength and leverage for chewing and biting. That slippery stuff known as saliva plays another huge role in keeping teeth clean, healthy, strong and alive.  Then there is the layer of enamel on the outside of the tooth, enamel also provides strength and bears the burden of being the last line of defense. The stronger your enamel the better teeth can fend off attacks from bacteria and decay, enamel even buffers the effects wear and tear.

anatomy of a healthy tooth

A Variety of Causes For Tooth Sensitivity

Triggering tooth sensitivity with a sip of a hot drink, a bite of cold ice cream, sometimes just breathing in fresh air or biting into something sweet is no fun, while getting at the cause can be a bit tricky, many people find it reassuring that tooth sensitivity is fixable. Here are some of the most common related types of tooth sensitivity:

  • Sinus problems can make teeth hurt, ache or become sensitive. Pressure in the maxillary sinus just above the jaw bone can push down into the jaw bone and surrounding nerves causing inflammation in surrounding tissues, including the nerve tissues of your teeth.
  • Orthodontic work can also make teeth ache, and become sensitive as the teeth and periodontal ligaments are adjusted to their proper alignment.

While the previous causes of tooth sensitivity may not require the attention of your dentist, the next few warrant a call and an appointment as soon as possible

  • Infections in the root of a tooth also make teeth hypersensitive to sensation, including hot, cold, sweet and sour, you may not be able to see anything wrong on the tooth or in the mouth.
  • Abscesses and periodontal infections tend to be associated with a lot of pain, not just sensitivity to hot or cold. There can, however be just deep sensitivity, especially at the initial onset of infection.
  • Cavities. or decay in the tooth itself, can cause tooth sensitivity especially when a cavity is still new and has not fully infected the root.
  • Several teeth hurting in one localized area of the mouth can be from;
    • Infection, as bacteria multiply and invade surrounding tissues the infection can spread, additionally as infection compounds–or gets worse–the blood supply to healthy tissue becomes compromised thus aiding in the spread of the infection as healthy tissues die.
    • Injury, in the instance of a broken tooth or a tooth loosened from trauma, may allow surrounding tissues to become inflamed.  The nerve or nerves (if several nearby teeth are also disturbed) become over stimulated and begin sending alarms to the brain that things are in need of repair.
    • teeth grinding or bruxism can cause localized sensitivity or even pain. Clenching or grinding the teeth–usually at night or while sleeping–can crack, fracture or even break teeth. The cracks and fissures can cause sensitivity as the enamel can no longer properly protect the nerve inside the tooth. Because of the irregular bite and tooth alignment in some mouths, it is possible to have one area of the mouth affected more than other parts of the mouth.
    • Failing dental work. If you have fillings, bridges, crowns or other dental work and the teeth involved or surrounding teeth are sensitive or hurting it could mean your dental work is failing.

So far all of the circumstances we have covered are situations that you may have little control to “fixing” by yourself. While there may be a few other causes of tooth sensitivity the ones in this article are the most typical and the last reason is, by far, one of the most common. Thankfully it is one that you can improve the symptoms of, even sometimes eliminating tooth sensitivity all together.

Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive Teeth

  • Thin, weak, and worn out tooth enamel is the most common cause of sensitive teeth. Your teeth are formed with a dense, strong coating of enamel. As you age, chewing, various foods, and the things you drink wear down and even soften the enamel making it thinner and more porous. Thereby allowing the delicate nerve inside to be over stimulated. Dentist once believed that there was very little to do if tooth enamel began to fail. Modern dentistry has better been able to definitively determine factors that can aid in remineralization of enamel weakened or worn out.
    • There are foods and diets that aid in remineralization.
    • Oil pulling can increase the enamels ability to absorb good minerals and improve the natural balance of your saliva while reducing pathogens.
    • Homemade toothpaste, the best of which employ added minerals, can not only whiten teeth but add needed minerals to reinforce and help fill in overly porous enamel, eventually leading to diminished tooth sensitivity.

For more information on tooth sensitivity click on the links throughout the article or call our office to talk with a specialist today. At Marilyn K Jones Dentisty, we have the skills, experience, and expertise you need to ensure a healthy mouth and teeth.  Call or visit today: Marilyn K Jones DDS, (713).785.7767 and at mjones@hal-pc.org.