Common Problems

Why do I have a toothache?

Pain sensation is our body’s way of telling us something is wrong. A toothache may be due to a number of different reasons and sometimes it can be multifactorial (involving more than one cause). Examples include a broken filling, a lost crown, worn enamel, tooth decay, cracked tooth, root infection, mechanical trauma, and more.

One of the more common causes is tooth decay. When you have a tooth decay, you may experience sensitivity or no symptoms at all. Once the decay reaches the pulp (nerves and blood vessels inside the tooth), you are likely to experience an aching or throbbing sensation. If the tooth is left untreated, the nerves and the tooth will eventually die.

What happens if I do nothing?

In chronic cases (those left untreated for a long time), the pain may even subside for a period of time. You may even be under the impression that the tooth is getting better because the pain isn’t as bad as it once was. This is because as the nerves die, the sensation is reduced until you may no longer be in pain. However, the infection hasn’t gone away. Over time, as the infection spreads to areas surrounding the tooth, your tooth begins to hurt again. Pain that occurs later may lead to more serious complications as the infection can spread to other areas of the head and neck.

If you’re experiencing a toothache or pain in an area that’s difficult to pinpoint; or an unusual taste in the mouth; notice a puss forming; swelling of the gums, face or neck; please call us right of way.

Why did my tooth break?

The enamel is the strongest substance in the human body. It helps to protect the teeth from external stresses.  Why, then, do they sometimes break?  In most cases, the teeth can endure normal amount of stress from regular use.  When a tooth breaks, there usually is an underlying problem.  Here are a few common factors that can lead to the weakening of the enamel:

  • Grinding and/or clenching
  • Tooth decay
  • Large fillings
  • Old broken down fillings
  • Sports injury
  • Repeated exposure to acid
  • Previously root canal treated tooth
  • Dry mouth
  • Certain medical conditions

A broken tooth can be presented in a wide variety.  Some may be broken through the enamel and even into dentin, yet still intact, while others may be broken down to the gumline.  It may cause a tremendous amount of pain or none at all.  Whatever the case may be, it is best to have it evaluated right of way to avoid the risk of further complications.  Call us today.

How long do fillings last?

Longevity of a filling varies from person to person.  There are a number of factors that influence how long a filling will last in the mouth.  Like many materials, fillings normally don’t last a lifetime. With repeated use, the material can break down over time, leak or form decay around and beneath the filling material, especially along the margins where the tooth and the filling material meet. As plaque that harbors bacteria makes there way underneath the broken margins, the seal continues to weaken until the filling breaks off from the tooth.

What do I do when my filling falls out?

Whether it’s a small piece or the entire filling that falls out, avoid trying to put it back in the mouth to reduce the risk of swallowing or inhaling it. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water to cleanse the area. Limit your chewing and try to stick to soft foods until you come in for an examination. In the meantime, avoid cold and hot fluids and hard foods that can further traumatize the tooth.

Trauma to the head, neck and/or mouth

A tooth can be injured by falling or getting hit in the face by an object.   It can also be injured by a high impact blow to other parts of the body that causes one to clench down hard in response to the trauma. In some cases, you could be eating a salad and bite down on a piece of rock!  In cases of minor physical blow to the face or mouth, you may experience soreness and some movement of the tooth, jaw and even your muscles.  Depending on the situation, it can be transient and the tooth may heal and regain stability. In some case where the impact is significant, the tooth can dislodge from the socket partially or entirely. Should this occur, time is of the essence. Place your tooth in a medium such as milk and go to your nearest dentist immediately.

In general, if you have injured your tooth,

  • Avoid biting on that tooth
  • Avoid applying excessive pressure
  • Stick to soft foods
  • Brush very gently around that area
  • Rinse with warm salt water
  • Call us today to schedule an appointment.

My jaw won’t close

Underlying cause may vary, but if you find yourself stuck in a open position and unable to close, avoid attempting to close it by pushing up on your lower jaw as this will only cause further discomfort or pain.  Call our office or visit us.