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All Posts in Category: Tooth Sensitivity

Top 3 Teeth Whitening Myths Debunked

Top 3 Teeth Whitening Myths Debunked

Having white teeth is a sign of health and vitality. White teeth also make a person appear more attractive since the clean white look helps to draw attention to a pretty smile. But all this presupposes that the underlying teeth and gums are actually healthy. The problem with modern teeth whitening is that it can actually give a false impression of oral health where there really isn’t any. Teeth that have been chemically whitened aren’t necessarily in great condition. Here are the top three teeth whitening myths debunked.

Myth # 1 : Whiter Teeth Means They Are Healthy Teeth

white teeth

 

There’s a myth that whiter teeth equal healthy teeth. But that simply isn’t true. Just because you bleach out a tooth so it’s gleaming white doesn’t mean that there are no issues with that tooth. Children often have whiter teeth because they haven’t been exposed to the things that cause teeth discoloration like alcohol and tobacco products. Children with white teeth may have healthier teeth, but even they may have underlying problems with their teeth. In other words, having white teeth, whether it’s a child or an adult, does not mean that the teeth are necessarily healthy.

The converse is also true. Stained, yellow teeth may be perfectly healthy. They may have a thick layer of enamel and no cavities. The gums may be in pristine condition. The teeth are simply stained due to being exposed to foods or beverages that stain teeth. The yellowing could be a simple cosmetic issue that makes the teeth appear as if they are bad teeth. In fact, not everyone has white teeth, to begin with. The natural hue of the teeth varies from person to person. It depends on genetics as well as the individual makeup of the person’s body. In fact, having whiter teeth may give the person themselves a false sense of security as far as their overall oral health. They may think that if they look in the mirror and see white teeth that they can skip going to the dentist. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Myth # 2: Cosmetic Teeth Whitening Focuses On Appearance And Not So Much On Healthy Teeth

Cosmetic Teeth Whitening

When you go to the dentist to get teeth whitening treatments, you probably assume that, like you, the dentist is focused solely on transforming your teeth into pearly whites. And why wouldn’t you think that? You made an appointment to have your teeth whitened, that’s what the dentist does, and that’s the charge that appears on your bill. However, a quality dentist is never solely focused on the cosmetic appearance of your teeth. Every time you sit in your dentist’s chair, they take the opportunity to evaluate the health of your teeth. In fact, if the dentist detects some unusual situations, they may not want to give you the teeth whitening treatment.

Teeth whitening formulations can actually be harmful to your teeth if they are in bad condition. If you have cracks, crevices or cavities, the chemicals in the teeth whitening formulas may cause undue discomfort or worse. That’s why your teeth whitening appointment isn’t really all about making your teeth whiter. Surprisingly, making an appointment for professional teeth whitening at your dentist office is one of the best things you can do to get an extra dental examination that could uncover potential problems like tooth decay, cavities, gum disease and more. If your dentist does discover a problem, you may still be able to get your teeth whitened, but you may get a recommendation to make another appointment to have the other situation taken care of as soon as possible.

Myth # 3: The Only Way To Achieve A Whiter Smile Is To Use Whitening Kits

At-Home Teeth Whitening Kit

Ever since teeth whitening became so popular, dozens of over the counter teeth whitening kits have hit drugstores and supermarkets. There are even television commercials that try to shame people for having less than perfectly white teeth. These advertisements encourage people to go to the drugstore to get a whitening kit. The marketing gimmick is that whiter teeth are just a whitening kit away. In reality, there are much better and safer ways to get whiter teeth.

The best way to get whiter teeth fast is to make an appointment with your dentist for a professional teeth whitening treatment. This will also give your dentist the chance to examine your overall oral health. But there are also ways to keep your teeth looking whiter without even having to go to get professional teeth whitening at the dentist’s office. First, maintaining the practice of brushing, flossing and rinsing after each meal for at least 2-4 minutes will help keep your teeth from staining from food and drink. Second, abstain from eating and drinking certain foods and beverages that are known to stain teeth. These include red wine, blueberries and more. Of course, no one wants to omit healthy blueberries from the diet. But if you do eat berries, be sure to brush and rinse immediately after.

If you are a smoker, you probably have noticed that the nicotine has stained your teeth yellow. If you get your teeth whitened at the dentist and want to keep them looking that way, the smoking will have to stop. There’s no preventing nicotine from staining your teeth without complete abstinence. Another thing you can do to help keep your teeth white is to brush with fresh crushed strawberries every so often. The acidic nature of the strawberries helps get rid of any existing stains. Finally, regular dentist visits help to keep your teeth white because the hygienist cleans away tartar and plaque buildup on your teeth.

Now that you see how there is little truth to these three teeth whitening myths, you can understand how important regular dental checkups are. Having healthy teeth means much more than a white bright smile. To keep your teeth and gums truly healthy, there’s no substitute for regular dental visits. To learn more about teeth whitening options or to schedule a visit, please contact us today.

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man brushing sensitive teeth

10 Ways to Relieve Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is a condition that occurs when your gums recede or when the protective enamel of your teeth is worn down, and the dentin is exposed. Cold air as well as cold, hot or very acidic substances that come into contact with the dentin of the teeth can result in severe tooth pain or sensitivity. However, there are ways you can reduce the sensitivity and alleviate the pain.

1. Change Your Toothbrush

Toothbrushes that are hard-bristled and toothpaste that is too abrasive can be harsh for sensitive teeth and can increase the symptoms of the condition. Begin using a soft-bristled toothbrush with a gentler toothpaste and brush your teeth by moving the brush gently in a back and forth motion.

2. Be Careful of What You Consume

There are certain foods and drinks you should avoid if you have sensitive teeth. They include any foods that are highly acidic, such as coffee, pickles, fruits and carbonated drinks. If you are unable to avoid them, try to restrict how much contact the substances have with your teeth.

3. Get Treatment for Gum Recession

When your gums recede, the roots are exposed, and the protective cementum may be worn away. Your dentist can recommend treatments, such as tissue grafts, to restore your gumline.

4. Wear a Mouth Guard

Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can result in sensitive teeth by wearing away the tooth enamel. You can reduce the effects of bruxism by wearing a mouth guard, which can be obtained from your local drug store.

5. Oil Pulling with Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has anti-bacterial properties and can be used to reduce the harmful bacteria that are in your mouth, and as a result, reduce your teeth sensitivity. Simply place about one tablespoon of the oil in your mouth and move it around for 20 minutes.

6. Salt Water

While quickly alleviating your tooth sensitivity symptoms, swishing a solution of salt water around in your mouth can also create an alkaline environment that is inhabitable to harmful bacteria. This should be done twice a day until you have the results you want.

7. Use Toothpaste Made for Sensitive Teeth

There are several brands of toothpaste made specifically for sufferers of tooth sensitivity. The active ingredient, potassium nitrate, aids in blocking the very small tubules in the dentin.

8. Inquire about Painted Teeth

Ask your dentist if you are a candidate for having fluoride varnish, plastic resins or other desensitizing agents painted on your sensitive teeth. Be mindful that you will have to get the barrier reapplied as the material tends to wear off.

9. Cloves and Clove Oil

Cloves are anti-inflammatory and have anesthetic properties that make them ideal for alleviating tooth sensitivity. A paste containing the herb can be applied to the affected teeth, or you can rinse your mouth with a solution of clove oil and water twice a day.

10. Garlic

Garlic contains a high concentration of allicin, a natural anesthetic and it can be applied in the same manner as cloves.

There is no need to endure the pain of tooth sensitivity. Ask your dentist which treatment may work best for you.

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woman drinking water with sensitive teeth

5 Reasons You are Experiencing Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity can make you worry that a root canal is in your future, but even deep and throbbing sensations can be triggered by far less severe dental problems. Visiting the dentist is not always necessary for short-term tooth sensitivity because you may be able to figure out the cause on your own. Of course, there are just as many causes that do require a dentist’s help to fix. Your painful responses to cold drinks and hot foods could be caused by any of these five triggers.

Damaged Enamel

Any habits that damage the clear protective layer of enamel on the outside of your teeth will lead to sensitivity. This can include chewing on pen tops or other hard objects, eating too many acidic foods and drinks, soda consumption, chewing of sunflower seeds and tobacco, and more. Some people are also born with weak or missing enamel and experience tooth pain from an early age. If your enamel damage can’t be stopped or is too serious, the dentist can apply a sealant to offer a new coating to protect the nerves.

Chips and Cracks

As with missing enamels, even microscopic cracks in damaged teeth can stress the internal nerves of a tooth and cause pain. This kind of pain is often experienced as sensitivity, but may also come and go or become constant if infection sets in. Chips also have a chance to create the same kind of pain when the damage goes deep enough. Having a dental inspection after a car accident, fall or other jarring impacts to your mouth can catch these problems early.

Cavities

Since chips and cracks can cause sensitive reactions, it’s not surprising that cavities can do the same. Allowing a cavity to go too long without filling increases the chances of it reaching the root and causing a serious infection that is best treated with a root canal. This is why it’s so important to stick to the usual six month routine for cleaning at the dentist’s office. Once a cavity is reacting to temperatures and sugar, it’s a sign that it’s deep enough to reach the nerve tissue. It’s better to have your teeth checked before anything is visible or causing pain instead of waiting that long.

Tooth Grinding

With a little inspection, your dentist can quickly determine whether you’re clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth or not. Many people do it unconsciously in response to stress, and nighttime tooth grinding has become a common problem in recent decades. Grinding the surface of the teeth down wears the enamel away and creates sensitivities. Leaving the problem along results in further damage like broken roots, cracked molars, and more.

Whitening Pastes

Finally, your whitening toothpaste or those home whitening gels could be the source of your new dental pain. Sensitivities are a known side effect of these treatments, and many home products cause lifelong sensitivity that must be treated with regular applications of numbing toothpaste and creams. Stick to professional whitening only for a much lower risk of these kinds of unwanted side effects.

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toothache symptoms

5 Reasons Why You May Be Experiencing A Tooth Ache?

Toothache is undoubtedly the most common complaint heard by dentists. A toothache refers to any type of pain or discomfort that originates near a person’s teeth, gums, or jaw. While toothaches are often associated with cavities, not all tooth pain is caused by dental caries. Knowing what causes toothaches can help you prevent them in the future.

Tooth Decay

Many people equate tooth decay with a hole in the tooth, but not all cavities are visible from the outside. Tooth decay occurs when specific types of bacteria in the mouth produce acids that destroy enamel and dentin, the outermost layers of tooth. If the enamel and dentin layers are allowed to break down, the decay will eventually reach the pulp (nerve) of the tooth, causing toothache, infection, and ultimately tooth loss. A healthy diet coupled with routine dental care practices can be highly effective in warding off tooth decay.

Damaged Filling

Pain can occur when fillings become loose or damaged. In some cases, pain is only felt when you touch or bite your teeth together. This happens when the filling alters your bite. A trip to your dentist to have the filling reshaped will usually eliminate the pain. Damaged fillings can also cause sensitivity. Described as a sharp pain, this sensitivity lasts only seconds when the tooth touches something hot or cold. You may also experience a condition known as referred pain. This is pain that occurs in other teeth besides the one with the filling. Referred pain usually decreases on its own over several weeks.

Abscessed Tooth

One of the more painful toothaches occurs due to an abscessed tooth. A tooth abscess is a localized collection of pus that generally forms at the root of the tooth. Bacteria from plaque can build up when food and saliva stick to the teeth and gums. If the plaque is not removed through routine brushing and flossing, the bacteria can enter the soft tissue inside the tooth or gum, resulting in an abscess. The most common signs and symptoms of an abscessed tooth include pain, fever, and a bad taste in the mouth.

Infected Gums

Mild tooth sensitivity can occur when the gums shrink or recede. A tooth that has not yet broken through the gums (impacted tooth) can also cause the area around the tooth to be red, sore, and swollen. Healthy gums are firm, pink, and do not bleed easily. While the gum disease gingivitis does not usually cause pain, a more advanced gum disease known as periodontitis affects the bone and tissues surrounding the teeth. Periodontist is caused by a long-term infection of the gums and can cause toothaches and eventually loose teeth that may need to be removed.

Tooth Fracture

Tooth fractures can range from minor chips in the outer tooth layers to severe cracks that form down to the tooth root. A tooth fracture may present with a variety of symptoms, such as erratic pain when chewing, pain when the tooth is exposed to extreme hot or cold temperatures, and pain with the release of biting pressure. An early diagnosis of a tooth fracture can typically be treated with bonding material or a root canal. If the crack extends below the gum line, it is no longer treatable.

A toothache is one of the most difficult types of pain to endure. While many causes of toothaches can be treated with early intervention, some badly damaged or infected teeth may not be salvageable and will require extraction. If you’re experiencing any type of mouth pain, contact your dentist for an evaluation.

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sensitive-teeth-discomfort-treatment

Scientists Create New Treatment for Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth may not seem like a serious problem, but for those living with it, drinking and eating can be unpleasant to the point where they avoid certain foods. Adjusting a diet to include only lukewarm food and drinks to avoid tooth sensitivity is not necessary with today’s treatment options. Fortunately, new research is focused on a highly effective treatment for sensitive teeth that can greatly improve the lives of many patients.

Dentin and Sensitive Teeth

When the dentin of teeth becomes exposed through wearing down of the enamel, this results in sensitive teeth. Softer than enamel and porous, dentin contains tiny microtubules that transmit messages to teeth nerve endings, and this causes the pain and discomfort associated with sensitive teeth. Tooth enamel protects dentin from extremes in temperature, but when enamel wears down through cavities, gum disease, and teeth grinding, it leaves dentin vulnerable.

Treatments for Sensitive Teeth

Current treatments for sensitive teeth include sealants in toothpaste that cover the exposed dentin microtubules. Unfortunately, this only provides temporary relief because the seal wears off easily with normal eating and drinking. Dental sealants can provide longer relief from sensitivity, but they too wear off after time.

Scientific Breakthrough in Sensitivity Treatment

Scientists recently developed a material called a biomimetic crystalline dentin barrier that has the potential to end tooth sensitivity. The biomimetic material made from nanoparticles of phosphoric acid and calcium carbonate turn up the volume of those particles already present in saliva. Increasing the particles important to enamel restoration and formation can reduce or prevent sensitivity. By applying the material directly to the teeth, it provides an artificial barrier capable of blocking dentin’s microtubules from exposure to uncomfortable temperature changes in food and drink. The biomimetic material can also increase regeneration of enamel and reduce the risk of additional health issues associated with worn enamel. The scientists responsible for creating the material hope that it can relieve the symptoms and source of sensitive teeth.

Prevention is Best Treatment

Although the new material can help those with sensitive teeth, the best treatment for sensitive teeth is preventing enamel loss through great oral hygiene and regular dental visits. There are other causes of sensitive teeth aside from worn enamel and ignoring pain when eating or drinking cold or hot substances can lead to dental issues that require treatment that is more involved.

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Woman experiencing tooth sensitivity to hot and cold

4 Options for Treating Tooth Sensitivity

If you’re someone who has sensitive teeth, you know that brushing, flossing, drinking, and eating can create sharp pains. This usually-temporary pain is unpleasant and makes such daily activities a challenge. The causes of sensitive teeth include worn tooth enamel, exposed tooth roots, recent whitening, a cavity, recent filling, or a cracked or chipped tooth.

When addressing your sensitive teeth, the first step is to visit your dentist to identify the cause and rule out any dental issues that require treatment. During your visit, your dental professional can recommend some treatment options, and as you try them, you’ll discover what works best for you.

Changing your toothbrush may help reduce tooth sensitivity

Brushing with desensitizing toothpaste helps block the pain of sensitive teeth after several applications so you can return to eating and drinking cold and hot foods without issue. Along with changing your toothpaste, you might need to change how you brush if you’re brushing too hard. Brushing too hard wears away tooth enamel, which leaves your teeth more exposed and sensitive to temperature changes. Overly-hard brushing can also wear away cementum, which protects the root of your tooth and isn’t as strong as enamel. Make sure you’re using a soft bristle brush and brushing for at least two minutes, but not too hard to damage teeth or gums. Brushing correctly is an important first step before you can proceed with any restorative treatment to reduce sensitivity.

Lessen how sensitive your teeth are to hot and cold with dental barriers

If changing your brushing doesn’t help reduce your tooth sensitivity, ask about painted-on barriers like fluoride varnish or plastic resins to desensitize your teeth. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and reduces sensitivity pain so your dentist might also advise using prescription fluoride a home. Bonding resin helps protect exposed root surfaces and reduces sensitivity.

A gum graft can help treat tooth sensitivity

The root of your tooth has a covering of gum tissue in a healthy mouth, but if you’re suffering from gum recession caused by hard brushing or gum disease, the root becomes exposed. An exposed root means that the cementum designed to protect is wearing away and this leads to sensitivity. To correct this issue, your dentist may perform a gum graft that takes tissue from a different part of your mouth and surgically attaches it to the exposed area. This procedure protects tooth roots and reduces sensitivity.

Sometimes, treating tooth sensitivity requires a root canal

When tooth sensitivity is especially severe, and other treatments haven’t helped, a root canal may be the best solution. Root canals treat and correct problems in the dental pulp or soft core of the tooth. This is a more involved treatment but highly successful at eliminating sensitivity.

Once you’re found ways to treat and minimize your teeth sensitivity successfully, it’s important to continue practicing good oral hygiene, including brushing twice a day, flossing, and using a fluoride toothpaste for the overall health of your mouth. To prevent further sensitivity, avoid brushing too hard, grinding your teeth, and limit your intake of acidic foods. Drinking milk and water helps balance acidity levels. Wait at least 20 minutes before brushing your teeth after consuming acidic substances because they soften tooth enamel, and if you brush too soon, you can be wearing away the protective covering on your teeth.

Contact Creative Dental to learn about the options we offer for treating and reversing your sensitive teeth issues.

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