Our teeth are actually very good at communicating their overall state of health. If sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures or to sweets occurs, you can be certain that there is a problem lurking somewhere in the teeth or gums.
The earlier care for slight discomfort can be scheduled, the less likely it is you will require root canal therapy or worse, tooth extractions!
Root Canal Therapy
“Pain and infection can be eliminated with root canal therapy”
When infection is not treated, the tooth will eventually die and may be lost.
The perception that most people have about root canal therapy is that the procedure is very uncomfortable. The opposite is actually true. When you visit the dentist for a filling, you don’t expect it to be painful. Root canal therapy is no different!
Dr. Woollery and her team understand the stress that is involved with tooth pain.
Root canal therapy need not add to that stress. Instead, our gentle care focuses on removing infection that is causing pain. The entire process can be painless. Remember a root canal is correcting the problem causing the pain and discomfort.
Before beginning treatment, our team administers local anesthetic, just as we would for a filling. Once the area is numb, damaged tooth material is removed, also just like a filling. An opening is then made into the center of the numbed tooth. Using specialized instruments, Dr. Woollery removes all infection. The emptied root canal is cleaned and sterilized before inert material is inserted to prevent bacteria from invading.
Root canal therapy is often followed with the placement of a custom-made dental crown. This restoration will cover the weakened tooth structure by buffering the force of biting and chewing. With good preventive care, the restoration will remain strong and attractive for many years.
The focus of care at Contemporary Dentistry is the preservation of healthy tooth structure. In some instances, we need to consider if extracting a tooth is the best option for optimal oral health. There are a few reasons that Dr. Woollery may discuss the necessity for tooth extraction. These include:
- A tooth is poorly positioned and involved in misalignment or bite issues
- Advanced gum disease has caused extensive weakening of the support around a tooth
- A tooth has been injured
- A tooth has died from injury
- Severe decay has significantly weakened natural tooth structure
Dr. Woollery and her team of health advisors and health advocates commitment to excellence ensures that our clients receive service that gets them their desired outcome: complete satisfaction.
Other Painful Oral Health Problems
TMJ – Diagnosis & Treatment
Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, commonly called “TMJ,” are a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. The condition appears to be more common in women than men.
For most people, pain in the area of the jaw joint or muscles does not signal a serious problem. Generally, discomfort from these conditions is occasional and temporary, often occurring in cycles. The pain eventually goes away with little or no treatment. Some people, however, develop significant, long-term symptoms.
A variety of symptoms may be linked to TMJ disorders. Pain, particularly in the chewing muscles and/or jaw joint, is the most common symptom. Other likely symptoms include:
- radiating pain in the face, jaw, or neck,
- jaw muscle stiffness,
- limited movement or locking of the jaw,
- painful clicking, popping or grating in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth,
- a change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together.
Because more studies are needed on the safety and effectiveness of most treatments for jaw joint and muscle disorders, experts strongly recommend using the most conservative, reversible treatments possible. Conservative treatments do not invade the tissues of the face, jaw, or joint, or involve surgery. Reversible treatments do not cause permanent changes in the structure or position of the jaw or teeth. Even when TMJ disorders have become persistent, most patients still do not need aggressive types of treatment.
Because the most common jaw joint and muscle problems are temporary and do not get worse, simple treatment may be all that is necessary to relieve discomfort.
There are steps you can take that may be helpful in easing symptoms, such as:
- Eating soft foods,
- Applying ice packs,
- Avoiding extreme jaw movements (such as wide yawning, loud singing, and gum chewing),
- Learning techniques for relaxing and reducing stress,
- Practicing gentle jaw stretching and relaxing exercises that may help increase jaw movement. Your health care provider or a physical therapist can recommend exercises if appropriate for your particular condition.
For many people with TMJ disorders, short-term use of over-the-counter pain medicines or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may provide temporary relief from jaw discomfort. When necessary, your dentist or physician can prescribe stronger pain or anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, or anti-depressants to help ease symptoms.
Your physician or dentist may recommend an oral appliance, also called a stabilization splint or bite guard, which is a plastic guard that fits over the upper or lower teeth. Stabilization splints are the most widely used treatments for TMJ disorders. Studies of their effectiveness in providing pain relief, however, have been inconclusive. If a stabilization splint is recommended, it should be used only for a short time and should not cause permanent changes in the bite. If a splint causes or increases pain, or affects your bite, stop using it and see your health care provider.
The conservative, reversible treatments described are useful for temporary relief of pain – they are not cures for TMJ disorders. If symptoms continue over time, come back often, or worsen, tell your doctor.
Is the taste of ice cream or a sip of hot coffee sometimes a painful experience for you? Does brushing or flossing make you wince occasionally? If so, you may have sensitive teeth.
Possible causes include:
- Tooth decay (cavities)
- Fractured teeth
- Worn fillings
- Gum disease
- Worn tooth enamel
- Exposed tooth root
Sensitive teeth can be treated. The type of treatment will depend on what is causing the sensitivity. Your dentist may suggest one of a variety of treatments:
- Desensitizing toothpaste. This contains compounds that help block transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve, and usually requires several applications before the sensitivity is reduced.
- Fluoride gel. An in-office technique which strengthens tooth enamel and reduces the transmission of sensations.
- A crown, inlay or bonding. These may be used to correct a flaw or decay that results in sensitivity.
- Surgical gum graft. If gum tissue has been lost from the root, this will protect the root and reduce sensitivity.
- Root canal. If sensitivity is severe and persistent and cannot be treated by other means, your dentist may recommend this treatment to eliminate the problem.
Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing sensitive-tooth pain. Ask your dentist if you have any questions about your daily oral hygiene routine or concerns about tooth sensitivity.
Our Goal for You: Personal Health & Wellbeing Excellence
Our goal is not to remove teeth but to sustain oral health and wellbeing in optimal condition. If extraction of a tooth or teeth seem necessary, Dr. Woollery will show you why using diagnostic imaging. She will also discuss the details of extraction. We are always happy to answer questions you have regarding recommended treatment.
Your smile is critical to your sense of wellbeing and we want you to be directly involved in your care.
Patients of Contemporary Dentistry receive care from a friendly team of health advisors and health advocates. We want your visits to be as pleasant as possible.
Prioritize your health today! Make an appointment to minimize mouth pain and return to wellness:
Click here for our online form or call (678) 639–0080.