Choosing the Right Professional Teeth Whitening Treatment

When you want to whiten your smile, there are typically two options: drugstore kits or professional treatments. While some opt for the former as a quick and less expensive fix, the latter delivers more profound, lasting results.

Of course, not all professional whitening treatments are alike. There are two primary types to consider.

Option #1: Teeth Whitening Completed by Your Dentist

If you want powerful results, a professional teeth whitening treatment by your dentist is the best way to go. Your dentist has access to bleaching materials that are stronger than those available over-the-counter. This results in superior outcomes for your smile. When whitening your teeth, keep in mind that the results will vary from patient-to-patient and are dependent on the natural dentin color of your teeth.

While in-office whitening is known by several names—including power bleaching, power whitening, and chair side whitening—each approach offers similar advantages and disadvantages:

  • Advantages – In-office whitening is the safest and quickest treatment, producing results in just 60 to 90 minutes. Today, there are thicker peroxide gels available, which reduces the risks of gum and tooth sensitivity commonly associated with in-office whitening.
  • Disadvantages – While peroxide gels have improved, some individuals may still experience sensitivity or irritation of the teeth or gums. These symptoms usually dissipate within 24 hours of the treatment, but, in some cases, could last longer.
  • Pricing – Pricing varies depending on the length of treatment. Basic treatments may take just 1 hour and average around $650, whereas more advanced treatments that require more time at the dentist office can cost upwards of $1,200.

Option #2: Home Teeth Whitening Supervised by Your Dentist

To take advantage of professional level treatment at a lower cost and in the comfort of your own home, an at home teeth whitening treatment is a great option.

This involves a customized mouthpiece, which your dentist will create. You’ll put the teeth whitening gel in the mouthpiece and wear it for a few hours each day to maximize contact between your teeth and the gel.

There are several advantages and disadvantages worth noting:

  • Advantages – An at-home solution is not only more convenient (because you can whiten on your own time), but it’s also more cost-effective.
  • Disadvantages – While effective, at-home solutions produce results more slowly than in-office treatments because the whitening gel is less powerful. It usually takes 2 to 4 weeks to achieve results. Additionally, patients have to visit the dentist approximately every week to ensure the mouthpiece fits properly and to check on the treatment progression.
  • Pricing – At-home treatments cost substantially less than in-office treatments, averaging between $300 and $500, including all materials and dental appointments.

Which Treatment Option is Right for You?

There are both advantages and disadvantages of each professional teeth-whitening approach. While the speed and cost of treatment will vary, both deliver great results. Choose which works best for your needs, schedule and budget and prepare to be impressed by your new and improved smile!

Sources:

https://www.yourdentistryguide.com/professional-whitening/

https://www.everydayhealth.com/dental-health/cosmetic-dentistry/dentist-supervised-bleaching.aspx

8 Everyday Habits That Harm Your Smile

Your teeth are supposed to last a lifetime. But some common habits could be reducing the durability of your teeth without you even realizing it.

By recognizing the habits that can compromise the structure and health of your smile, you can take steps to protect it.

1. Avoiding Regular Dental Care

Many individuals skip regular dental cleanings or avoid getting necessary procedures due to anxiety, a lack of time, or other personal reasons. However, doing so can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and other common oral health issues.

As such, you should be sure to visit the dentist every 6 months for a professional cleaning and also, as necessary, if you notice a change or issue with your teeth.

2. Brushing Too Hard

Brushing is an essential component of good oral health, but not when done incorrectly. Brushing too hard can wear down enamel, irritate your gums, increase your teeth’s sensitivity, and cause cavities.

By purchasing a soft bristled or an electronic toothbrush, you can avoid the damage while still cleaning your teeth and removing plaque.

3. Using the Wrong Materials to Clean Teeth

Have you ever had something stuck in your teeth and not had floss? If so, you might have reached for things like paper clips, toothpicks, or even pieces of paper that easily slide between your teeth. However, each of these items can cause gum and tooth damage.

You can easily resolve this problem by keeping a small container of floss or an interdental cleaner in your purse, backpack or car.

4. Grinding Your Teeth or Clenching Your Jaw

Many Americans grind their teeth or clench their jaw, which can cause fractures or other damage and may lead to headaches and jaw pain. If grinding or clenching happens while sleeping, a night guard that cushions your teeth and reduces impact on your jaw can help. If it happens during the day, chewing gum may help to prevent it.

5. Biting Your Nails, Pens, Ice, or Other Hard Objects

When you bite your nails, chew on pens, or crunch ice or even hard candy, you could be causing splinters and cracks in your teeth. But that’s not all!

In fact, biting any foreign object can also introduce bacteria into your mouth and cause infections. By eliminating these bad habits, you can keep your teeth protected and eliminate additional germs in your mouth.

6. Using Your Teeth Improperly

How often do you bite open a package or try to cut something with your teeth? You may do it without thinking twice and probably more frequently than you realize.

Biting even just a thread off of your shirt could cause micro cracks that, over time, can lead to more serious structural damage. It’s easy to avoid this by grabbing for a can opener, knife, or pair of scissors instead.

7. Drinking Soda, Sports Drinks, and Alcohol

While everything is acceptable in moderation, soda, sports drinks, and wine can cause significant damage when consumed in large amounts. Sports drinks and soda, which contain acid and sugar that feed bacteria and erode enamel, leave teeth susceptible to cavities.

Alcohol contains acid that produces similar effects. Additionally, because alcohol dries out the mouth, it reduces saliva production and allows bacteria and plaque to thrive.

By limiting your consumption of all of these drinks, you can do your part to keep your teeth protected.

8. Tobacco Use

If you smoke cigarettes or cigars or use chewing tobacco, you’re also at risk. Nicotine not only yellows teeth, it also can cause oral cancer. Chewing tobacco is even worse because carcinogens directly contact gum tissues and can remain there for a long time.

While quitting any tobacco use is difficult, it’s worth it when you consider the oral (and general) health risks of daily, or even infrequent, use.

Transform Your Everyday Habits From Harmful to Beneficial

While the habits described above are harmful, there are simple ways to correct them. Transforming destructive habits into protective measures can keep your teeth looking great for years to come.

Sources:

http://www.nusmiledentalfl.com/blog/2014/november/everyday-habits-that-can-harm-your-teeth.aspx

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/your-teeth-bad-habits?

The Wise Patient’s Cheat Sheet on Wisdom Teeth Removal

There’s no way around it: the time has come for your wisdom teeth to be extracted. According to the horror stories out there, you are in for nothing but non-stop agony, but you don’t have to share the same fate!

Being proactive and fully prepared for what happens during and after surgery can minimize the pain and help ensure a smooth recovery. Make the experience easier on yourself by following these expert tips and tricks.

1. Read the procedure and recovery guidelines well in advance.

Understanding what to expect at every stage of the process can help you plan and gather items for your recovery more efficiently. Knowing potential complications that can arise—such as Dry Sockets, a painful condition due to blood clot failure, or Paresthesia, a numbness of the lip, chin and/or tongue—can also help you detect and address serious problems immediately. Be sure to raise any questions or concerns with your dentist at this time to save you from having to make calls while you heal.

2. Clear your calendar for recovery.

Many patients undermine their recovery because they did not realize the physical toll of a surgery such as this. Multi-tasking and strenuous activities can disrupt your healing time, or worse—distract you from costly complications. Put plans on hold and relax as much as possible. If you go to school or work during the weekdays, consider scheduling the surgery for a Friday for minimal disruption of your schedule, and give yourself the whole weekend to rest.

3. Enlist the help of family and friends beforehand.

Not only will you need someone to drive you to and from the dentist’s office on the day of the surgery, you may need extra support getting and preparing food, placing necessary calls, or completing important tasks and chores. Ask loved ones for help in advance, so they can adjust their schedules accordingly.

4. Stock up on supplies.

Gather items that can make your post-operative experience more comfortable. In addition to medications your dentist may prescribe for you, these essentials can help ease your pain:

  • Ice packs (or even a pack of frozen vegetables) to reduce swelling
  • Soft foods, such as yogurt, pudding or ice cream
  • Tea bags, an effective alternative (when moistened) to biting gauze when bleeding
  • Salt to combine with water for a safe mouth rinse that can reduce irritation

For a pleasant distraction from the pain, it’s also a good idea to pick up books, DVDs, music or other forms of entertainment.

5. Make a “Do Not Do” list.

After crafting your to-do list, write down a list of cautionary reminders as well. Avoid unnecessary discomfort and complications by remembering to steer clear of these major no-no’s:

  • Sipping from a straw; doing so can disrupt blood clotting and cause dry sockets
  • Eating spicy or hot foods, as they can exacerbate the pain
  • Smoking or drinking alcohol, as they can interfere with the healing process
  • Driving or operating heavy machinery; medications may impair everyday abilities

Get Your Dentist’s Advice

Last, but not least, take advantage of your dentist’s history of wisdom teeth removal to improve your own experience. He or she has probably seen and heard it all, and can provide additional recommendations based on your individual situation.

Source:

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2014/05/23/the-survival-guide-to-getting-your-wisdom-teeth-removed

http://www.angieslist.com/articles/7-tips-prepare-and-recover-wisdom-teeth-removal.html

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/wisdom-tooth-extraction

Mind Your Meds: 6 Ways Medicine Can Sabotage Your Smile

Be honest: do you take the time to read through the lengthy medical pamphlets attached to your medications? If you thought the warning label on the back of the bottle had everything covered, think again! Often, there simply isn’t enough space to spell out every side effect on the container, and you could be overlooking important warnings to the detriment of your dental health. Should any of these oral symptoms suddenly arise, head to your dentist to find out if your medicine is to blame.

1. Discolored Teeth
Pearly whites turned gray, yellow, green, blue or brownish in color is one of the more noticeable reactions your mouth can have to certain medications. Antibiotics like acne-fighting tetracycline, as well as antihistamines and anti-hypertension medicine, have the potential to cause irreversible discoloration if left untreated by a dentist. Getting immediate help is even more crucial for pregnant and nursing mothers, as they can pass this tooth problem on to their babies.

2. Painful Sores
Otherwise known as “ulcers” or “canker sores”, these inflamed spots can pop up along the gumline and the inner lining of your mouth and cheeks. While they can be a one-time occurrence due to something such as a facial injury or food allergy, persistent cases can also be brought about by chemotherapy, radiation treatment, antibiotics, and medications to treat arthritis and epilepsy. Once a sore emerges, nothing can be done to speed up the healing time (between 5-10 days), but your dentist can prescribe medication to ease the pain.

3. Altered Taste
If you notice that food you normally eat starts to taste particularly metallic, bitter, or salty, read through the fine print of any medications you’re taking. Taste changes can be caused by a range of drugs, including antibiotics, blood thinners, antipsychotics, chemotherapy treatment, corticosteroids, muscle relaxers, and blood pressure medication, just to name a few. Rather than suffering through your meals, or letting your health take a hit, work with your dentist and doctor to identify and treat the cause.

4. Thrush (Fungal Infection)
White, painful and bleeding lesions in your mouth and throat are an unmistakable sign of a fungal infection commonly known as “thrush”. It is commonly caused by a weakened immune system, but corticosteroids, antibiotics and birth control pills can also trigger an outbreak. Because thrush can cause fever and spread easily to other parts of the body, it’s best to see your dentist immediately for diagnostic tests and anti-fungal medication.

5. Dry Mouth
Name the type of medication you use, and chances are it could cause dry mouth; hundreds of medications have the ability to inhibit saliva production. While dry mouth can leave you parched and more prone to cavities, chewing xylitol-based gum and drinking plenty of water can help combat the problem. Depending on the health benefits of the medicine you’re taking, it may be worth sticking to your current treatment and stepping up your hygiene to help manage your dry mouth condition.

6. Excess Gum Tissue (“Gingival Overgrowth”)
In some cases, blood pressure medication, seizure medicine, and certain immunosuppresants may cause gums to swell and start growing over the surface of teeth. This excess gum tissue can be a haven for oral bacteria, often resulting in tooth loss if left untreated. Being male and having an existing case of gingivitis are two known risk factors for this problem, but the chance of developing excess gum tissue can be minimized for anyone simply by seeing a dentist regularly for routine cleanings and exams.

Stop Problems Before They Start

The fact that medicine can have costly implications for your smile may be a bitter pill to swallow, but being proactive and diligent about dental care can help you steer clear of problems altogether. To help protect your oral health, read through all the medical warnings of any purchased/prescribed drugs before taking them, and double check its safety by calling your dentist.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/oral-side-effects-of-medications?page=2

High-Tech Toothbrushes: Is It Worth Going Electric?

The verdict is in: electric toothbrushes are here to stay, and they mean business for your teeth! By now, you’ve probably seen them on the shelves, on TV or in magazines. Dentists endorse them, and most are ADA-approved — but if you still swear by your manual toothbrush, these benefits just might convince you otherwise.

The Pros Of Using An Electric Toothbrush

Making the switch from a manual to an electric toothbrush doesn’t change the amount of time it takes to thoroughly brush your teeth (approximately 2 minutes), nor should it alter your brushing technique, but this is where the similarities end. Some of the biggest advantages of electric toothbrushes over traditional toothbrushes are:

1. Effortless brushing.
Because a motor oscillates and rotates the bristles for you, it requires less energy to brush your teeth. Many even find the rounded handle of electric toothbrushes to be easier to hold, and with less force required, brushing can still be done thoroughly without using a tight grip. For the elderly, those with chronic arthritis, and children and adults with dexterity challenges, this alone can make electric toothbrushes the better choice for oral health maintenance.

2. Better cleaning ability.
Thoughtful bristle design coupled with the automatic power of electric toothbrushes makes it easy to remove plaque from hard to reach areas. The constant rotating and even pressure can also result in a more consistent cleaning than you might achieve with a standard toothbrush. Often, electric toothbrushes come with a variety of heads that you can experiment with until you find one that cleans your teeth the best.

3. Other hygiene-helping features.
Thanks to technology, electric toothbrushes come with many other bells and whistles that can help ensure proper hygiene. From timers that notify you once you’ve brushed long enough, to sensors that alert you if too much pressure is being applied or if the head needs to be replaced, electric toothbrushes can help you stay on track to meet multiple oral health goals.

4. Less plastic to be thrown away. 
Unlike manual toothbrushes, you don’t need to toss out the whole brush once the bristles are worn. Only the head of an electric toothbrush needs to be replaced, which means a lot less plastic that is thrown out in the long run. From an environmental standpoint, electric toothbrushes are also a better choice than battery-operated toothbrushes because they can be recharged.

Other Factors To Consider

Just as there are pros to using an electric toothbrush, there are a few cons to be aware of before making a final decision.

  • Price: Electric toothbrushes are significantly more expensive than manual toothbrushes; the price difference may cause some initial sticker shock. However, to keep costs down you can always purchase one electronic toothbrush and multiple detachable heads – for each member of the household.
  • Convenience: Those who are frequently on the go may find it slightly cumbersome to have to pack a charger.

If you’re interested in an electric toothbrush, however, don’t cross it off your list without trying a battery-operated toothbrush first. It’s similar in concept and feel, but much more affordable, and it can help you determine whether electric toothbrushes are worth the investment.

Comfort Matters Most

A toothbrush loaded with features won’t do you any good unless you’re comfortable with it. For the sake of your oral health, it’s worth considering all the toothbrush options available, but choose the one you believe will best help you maintain good hygiene…whether it be manual or powered. If you’re still unsure and need additional guidance, ask your dentist for help; he or she may recommend a particular brand based on your unique dental needs.

Sources:

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/oral-care/products/5-benefits-of-electric-toothbrushes.html

http://www.oralb.com/topics/power-toothbrush-or-manual-toothbrush.aspx

Bye-Bye, Buck Teeth! How to Overcome an Overbite

“Overbite”, “overjet” or simply “buck teeth”– protruding teeth can go by many names, but “pretty” isn’t one of them. And they aren’t comfortable either; upper teeth that extend well past the lower teeth can often make it difficult to close the mouth, chew or speak easily.

It’s a common condition, but not one that people have to live with. In fact, there are just as many corrective methods for this dental problem as the names it has been given! If you (or a loved one) has buck teeth, get an in-depth look at what may have caused it and what you can do to prevent it from becoming a lifelong burden on your looks, oral health and self-esteem.

Causes of Buck Teeth

Buck teeth can easily be identified at a very early age, and can be due to a variety of factors including:

  • Genes: a person can inherit the problem if born with naturally uneven jaws
  • Habits: teeth can jut out after constant pacifier/thumb sucking or tongue thrusting
  • Crowded teeth: crookedness, facial injury and/or tooth abnormalities can play a role

The severity of the condition can vary from mild to extreme, and may gradually become worse over time if left untreated.

Treatment Options

Age and the depth of a patient’s overbite are two primary factors that can dictate the type of treatment an orthodontist chooses to correct the problem. New techniques are always being explored, but here are a few of the most common recommendations:

1. Braces
Whether metal, ceramic or clear, it’s a popular route many orthodontists take to fix protruding teeth. Teeth that are jutting out are straightened and forced closer in alignment with the lower jaw by tightening the braces over time.

2. Aligners
In mild cases of protruding teeth, clear, removable aligners may be a more comfortable and convenient option. Aligners use less force (and thus result in less pain) than braces and can be removed for added ease when brushing or flossing.

3. Surgery
Extreme cases in which the overbite is due to skeletal/jaw structure may require surgery. Patients who fall into this category are referred to an oral maxillofacial surgeon, and surgery usually involves pushing the maxilla bones (which form the upper jaw) behind, or moving the mandible (lower jaw) forward.

Surgery aside, the length of time it takes to achieve results is largely due to when the problem is treated. Younger patients whose jaws are still developing typically require less time to correct an overbite compared to adults whose jaws are not as malleable.

Benefits of Treatment

Even the mildest cases of overbite can reap significant benefits from professional treatment. Perhaps the most noticeable improvement is cosmetic in nature. Once treatment is complete, any bulging around the mouth disappears and patients may experience less strain in their facial muscles.

Being able to open and close the mouth more easily can also vastly improve speech, especially for those who adopted a slur or lisp due to an overbite. And last but not least, better alignment of the teeth can have a profound effect on oral health, making it easier to clean the teeth and minimize the risk of jaw-related disorders such as TMJ.

If you’ve been battling a case of buck teeth, get it fixed for good by finding an orthodontist near you.

Sources:

http://dentaloptionspa.com/orthodontic-disorders-aventura-fl.html

http://www.beecroftortho.com/2014/06/overbite-causes-treatments/

Not a Fan of Flossing? Try These Alternatives.

First there was the toothpick, then there was floss, and now there are a bevy of new dental tools making their way to the shelves of your local stores. Why the need to keep innovating? Simply put: plaque removal is just not fun…but these alternatives sure help!

For those fed up with flossing, or the many who fail to follow through with it altogether, gingivitis is not inevitable. Give these new solutions a try and say goodbye to knotted string, cramped fingers and excessive plaque build up for good.

1. Floss Picks

If you’re overwhelmed by all the new dental care products available, this could be a solid upgrade for you. Floss is strung tightly between two points to provide optimal tension no matter your angle of approach, with a handle for added comfort. Some varieties even come with a tongue scraper as an added bonus, and most are sold in convenient bags that make sharing more hygienic and easy.

2. Electronic Flossers

Now you can completely forget manual flossing and let an electronic device do the job. Similar in appearance to the floss pick but attached to an energy source, vibrations are emitted to remove plaque quickly and efficiently. Having the flossing motion done for you can make the process faster, but you should pay extra attention to the speed setting and pressure applied to your gums to avoid bleeding and other oral injuries.

3. Interdental Brushes/Flossers

It doesn’t get much simpler than this. Instead of using string, a small brush with fine bristles is inserted between the gaps of your teeth. One swift motion in and out is all it takes, quickly removing plaque and gently (but effectively) stimulating your gums in less time than floss. No sawing and string winding are necessary, and it can be done with one hand.

4. Water (or Oral) Irrigators

For comfortable, yet efficient plaque removal, oral irrigators are your best bet. Instead of floss, picks or brushes, strong pulses of water are directed between your teeth to dislodge bacteria and stuck food particles. Oral irrigators are also effective at removing tonsil stones, a common cause of halitosis (bad breath). Home devices can range in size with varying speed options, but portable options also exist for added convenience.

Which One is Right for You

Any of these solutions is better than not flossing at all, but a little research and even a few product trials can help you figure out the best floss alternative for your budget and lifestyle.

Consulting with your dentist can also help narrow down your options based on your oral health. He or she may recommend one option and advise against others due to individual factors such as gum sensitivity, past dental work and orthodontic hardware.

For added assurance on the safety and effectiveness of the product you choose, look for the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval on the packaging. Finally, always proceed with extra care, and stop immediately if you notice excessive bleeding, receding gum lines or other issues you think may be linked to a flossing/plaque removal product.

Sources:

http://www.oralb.com/topics/dental-floss-picks.aspx

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/flossing-alternatives_n_1119217


Xylitol: The Sweetener You and Your Dentist Will Love

Consider this a major score for your sweet tooth: dentists are taking back that hard and fast rule that gum and candy rot your teeth! A sweetener called Xylitol makes it possible to enjoy such treats guilt-free, while actually fighting cavities along the way.

For those who have long kept the candy aisle off limits or those who cave to their cravings despite the risk of tooth decay, products with this game-changing ingredient may offer the perfect solution.

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a natural sweetener similar to sugar in both taste and appearance. It is found in many fruits and vegetables, but is most commonly derived from fibrous plant-based matter, such as corncobs or birch wood. It has received the World Health Organization’s safety rating when added to your diet in a moderate amount (15 grams or less), and only has a third of the amount of calories as sugar.

Dental Benefits of Xylitol

Xylitol’s appeal is not only due to its favorable calorie count, but also to it being a naturally occurring substance that cavity causing oral bacteria are unable to ferment or metabolize. Other dental benefits of products containing Xylitol include:

  • Increased saliva production, which helps keep dry mouth at bay
  • Reduced plaque buildup, due to lower bacteria and acidity levels
  • Less enamel erosion, as stimulated saliva helps restore lost calcium and phosphates

Xylitol vs. Sorbitol

Consumers familiar with other sugar-free alternatives may wonder how Xylitol stacks up against Sorbitol, a similar, less expensive substitute that has been on the market for a longer period of time. Although both compounds are technically classified as sugar alcohols, the primary difference is that cavity-causing bacteria can ferment Sorbitol. This means that, while it’s still friendlier to your teeth compared to sugar, it is not as effective as Xylitol at inhibiting oral bacteria growth.

Products That Contain Xylitol

The popularity and overall versatility of Xylitol have made it a favorite not only for food companies, but for dental care companies as well. Chewing gum is but one of many products sweetened with Xylitol. Other products include:

LollipopsMintsToothpastes/gels
CaramelsSugar CandiesMouthwash
Dark Chocolate“Table Sugar” ReplacementsFloss

With so many Xylitol products on the market, incorporating this ingredient into your diet and/or hygiene is practically effortless.

Limitations of Xylitol

As beneficial as Xylitol may be, it’s important to know there are limits. From a nutritional perspective, excess intake may actually result in side effects such as stomach discomfort and/or diarrhea. From a dental perspective, Xylitol is but one aspect of preventative care, and should not be perceived as a magic bullet.

Frequent brushing, flossing and dentist visits still play the same critical role in preserving your oral health. Consult with your dentist for an optimal approach to incorporating Xylitol into your everyday diet and routine.

Sources: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-996-xylitol.aspx?activeingredientid=996&activeingredientname=xylitol

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-996-xylitol.aspx?activeingredientid=996&activeingredientname=xylitol

Why does my tooth still hurt after a filling?

By: Jennifer Berry, Medical News Today

Is tooth sensitivity after a filling normal?

Learn the reasons why it occurs, treatments to help relieve tooth sensitivity, and when to see us viaMedical News Today! The Woodview Oral Surgery Team

A filling is a dental procedure that involves a dentist cleaning away any decay from the tooth and then filling the space with new material.

After injecting a numbing agent around the tooth, the dentist will then clean out the decayed area of the tooth, usually with a dental drill. They will then fill the space with gold, silver amalgam, a composite, or porcelain.

For several hours after having a filling, a person’s face may still feel numb, tingly, itchy, or puffy. They may have difficulty eating, swallowing, talking, or moving their face.

Sometimes, dentists recommend that people avoid eating or drinking for a few hours, as this may result in a person accidentally biting their tongue or cheek.

Once the numbing agent has worn off, these feelings will go away. But, in the following days and weeks, a person may notice some new sensations as they adjust to the new filling.

Sensitivity in the filled tooth or area around it is one of the most common occurrences during this time.

What does sensitivity after a filling feel like?

When a person has a sensitive tooth, they may notice that certain triggers cause a temporary, uncomfortable sensation in the filled tooth or surrounding area. It may feel like a shock of cold or sudden pain that comes on quickly and goes away.

Factors that can trigger tooth sensitivity after a filling include:

  • cold foods or drinks, such as ice cream, popsicles, or beverages with ice
  • hot drinks, such as coffee or tea
  • air hitting the tooth, such as when breathing through the mouth, which may be worse with cold air
  • sugary foods, such as candy
  • acidic foods and drinks, including fruit, juice, and coffee
  • biting down when eating

Why do fillings cause tooth sensitivity?

Some sensitivity after a tooth filling is normal and temporary. Sometimes, however, sensitivity after a filling is due to other causes that need treatment or repair.

Below, we discuss possible reasons for this symptom and when to see a dentist.

An irritated nerve

Short-term tooth sensitivity after a filling usually occurs because the filling procedure has aggravated or caused inflammation in the nerve inside the tooth.

Usually, the tooth’s outer layers — the enamel and cementum — protect the nerve from exposure. But fillings, especially deep ones, can get close to the nerve endings and cause irritation and uncomfortable sensations.

As the nerve heals, the sensitivity will go away. This may take a few days or weeks. Once the nerve has healed fully, a person should feel no difference between the filled tooth and the other teeth.

Incorrect bite alignment

A dentist must ensure that the filling lines up with the other teeth in the mouth. If the filling is too tall, it can cause extra pressure as a person bites down. This can cause pain and sensitivity that is often more severe than normal post-filling sensitivity.

It is quite normal for a person to experience some minor sensitivity when biting down in the days following the procedure. Typically, the bite will correct itself within a few weeks.

However, if a person experiences severe sensitivity, or they have difficulty eating or putting their teeth together, they should ask their dentist to check the bite. The dentist may decide to smooth down the high point of the filling to properly fit the bite and eliminate discomfort.

Pulpitis

Pulpitis is inflammation of the pulp deep within the tooth. It can cause tooth sensitivity and pain.

Pulpitis does not regularly occur with minor fillings, but it might happen if:

  • the tooth has had trauma, such as from an accident that resulted in a cracked or broken tooth
  • the cavity was very deep, reaching the inner pulp layer
  • the tooth has undergone multiple fillings or procedures

There are two types of pulpitis:

  • reversible pulpitis refers to mild inflammation where the pulp remains healthy, and the tooth will heal on its own
  • irreversible pulpitis is when there is a damaged nerve that starts to die, in which case a person will need a root canal to save the tooth

A dentist can usually resolve pulpitis with a new filling or a restorative procedure, such as a root canal. A person may also need to take antibiotics to clear any bacterial infection.

How to treat a sensitive tooth

When a person experiences normal, post-filling sensitivity, a dentist may recommend that they use a desensitizing toothpaste.

These products contain an ingredient called potassium nitrate that helps stop the sensations on the surface of the tooth from reaching the nerve endings inside.

These products do not work immediately, but a person should notice relief within several days if they use the toothpaste twice a day.

A person may also try the following methods at home to help relieve tooth sensitivity:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Topical numbing ointment designed for the mouth.
  • A toothbrush labeled for sensitive teeth. These are softer than standard toothbrushes and will be less harsh on the tooth enamel.
  • Brush with gentle, circular strokes on the teeth and gums. Avoid scrubbing back and forth or aggressive pushing of the brush on the teeth.
  • Floss once a day, taking care to be gentle on the gums and teeth.
  • Take note of which foods or drinks cause sensitivity and avoid them if possible.
  • Avoid whitening toothpaste and products, which can make sensitivity worse.
  • Rinse the mouth out with water after consuming acidic foods or drinks, such as coffee and fruit. Acidic foods and beverages can wear away the tooth enamel.
  • Avoid brushing the teeth immediately after eating acidic foods, as it may remove more of the enamel.

If tooth sensitivity does not improve in the days following a filling, talk to a dentist. It is essential that the dentist rules out other potential causes of sensitivity that may not be related to the filling.

Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324267.php?fbclid=IwAR37moOZnm3Wmycc8r74nZN-5ynCfIwvInvdmzh2XnpVYpI_ze86rTtjT4g

Toothbrushes 101: How to Choose and Care for Your Toothbrush

When it comes to taking care of your teeth and keeping your smile looking great, your toothbrush plays an essential role. But, how much thought do you actually give to your toothbrush when selecting one or caring for it over time? Probably not much!

Choosing the right toothbrush, caring for it, and knowing when to replace it are all essential components of great oral health. Below, we discuss each to ensure your toothbrush is helping rather than harming your smile!

Choosing the Right Toothbrush

The toothbrush aisle at any store can be overwhelming, making it difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for. It may help to know that the best toothbrushes all share a few common characteristics:

  • Head Size – For most adults, the toothbrush head should be half an inch wide and one inch long. This will help to ensure that all surfaces of the teeth can be reached.
  • Bristle Type – Soft bristles are ideal for most people; they feel best on the teeth and gums and are least likely to cause unanticipated harm. Medium or hard bristles have the potential to damage gums, enamel, and root surfaces.
  • Professional Endorsement – Often, your dentist will recommend a particular brand and/or type of toothbrush based on your oral health needs. It’s best to heed their advice or at least look for a toothbrush with a seal of approval from the American Dental Association (ADA).

Caring for Your Toothbrush

Both the ADA and Council on Scientific Affairs offer guidelines to ensure your toothbrush remains safe to use:

  • Never Share Your Toothbrush – Sharing a toothbrush also means sharing bodily fluids and/or microorganisms. This increases the risk for infections and should never be done (not even between family members).
  • Never Store Your Toothbrush Without Rinsing First – After brushing, you should rinse your toothbrush to get rid of remaining toothpaste and debris. If you have an immune disorder or systemic illness, soaking your toothbrush in an antibacterial mouthwash after brushing can help remove bacteria and germs. You can also run your toothbrush through the dishwasher to clean it.
  • Never Cover or Keep Toothbrushes in Closed Containers – Moist environments can promote the growth of microorganisms. Instead, store your toothbrush in an upright position and allow it to air dry.

Replacing Your Toothbrush

Most dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. However, there are instances where it may need to be replaced sooner:

  • Extensive Wear – Once bristles begin to fray, they no longer clean the teeth and gums properly. If you notice your bristles are wearing faster than 3 to 4 months, you may be brushing too hard and need to lighten up your technique.
  • After Sickness – Bacteria can remain on your toothbrush after you have recovered. To avoid getting sick again, you should replace the brush.

A Healthy Toothbrush Makes for a Healthy Smile

Most people know that it is important to brush your teeth at least twice a day. But, if you aren’t using the right toothbrush, caring for it properly, or replacing it regularly, you could be causing damage instead of boosting oral health.

The information above will help you ensure that the tool you use most frequently to keep your teeth healthy and your smile bright is doing its job.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/choosing-a-toothbrush-the-pros-and-cons-of-electric-and-disposable?page=3

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/healthy-mouth-14/your-healthy-mouth/the-ugly-truth-about-your-toothbrush

http://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/ada-positions-policies-and-statements/statement-on-toothbrush-care-cleaning-storage-and-