What's the Trouble?

If you’ve landed on this page, then chances are you’ve been looking for answers to your concerns for awhile now. Hopefully you find some answers here to help explain to your dentist what is going on. This article is written in alphabetical order so whatever the symptom, it is easy to find. If of course you don’t see what you are experiencing here, then please reach out so we can help determine the problem.

Avoid smiling in pictures – We offer complete consultation and use Digital Smile Design to help us show you what is possible.

Bite ‘feels off’ – if this is not related to a recent dental visit, it can happen  that there has been a shift in your teeth or you have a specific problem in a tooth.  A specific exam would help us determine the problem. If its related to dental work, it could be as simple as a filling not being properly molded to your actual bite. Whatever the cause, it should be addressed as soon as possible as it can lead to pain in the tooth. 

Bleeding gums – Gums surround teeth much like a turtleneck. When not properly cared for, bacteria that are eating food stuck in the turtleneck release acid and create ulcers. You need to get the floss to the base of that turtle neck to remove the bacteria and rinsing alone will not do it.  It needs mechanical removal with floss and brushing.

Broken tooth – from a very young age we can repair a broken tooth to make it appear as though there was never a problem.  The materials we have can be used on even very young patients to repair.  Depending on the severity of the break and whether or not the tooth has had a root canal, we can usually repair it. If it is fractured to the gumline or below, the odds of saving the tooth long term is much lower.

Chipped teeth – this is one of the most common problems and often occurs due to certain habits or grinding of the teeth against one another which lead to chipping. This can lead to failure of fillings if the bite is not address. Other teeth that have been heavily restored will be more likely to chip. Often a new filling will work but longevity depends on the other forces. Sometimes a crown may be necessary.

Clenching/grinding – this can be a sign of many things, but the most common is a bad bite and an airway constriction. This can mean the bite needs to be corrected by moving them. We have the technology to help you determine what the cause is and how best to treat it.

Crowded teeth – we know that crowding can look bad but it can also lead to frustrating food catches and buildup of tartar.  Straight teeth age better and we are a provider of orthodontic Invisalign to help make your teeth last longer.

Dark tooth  – a dark tooth is often a result of lifeless tissue inside the tooth that has turned brown like a leaf in the fall.  The only way to correct this is to access the inside of the tooth to clean and whiten it from the inside out.  The tooth would need a root canal first and then 3-10 days of internal whitening.

Food getting stuck between teeth – teeth are supposed to fit tight together and with no open spaces.  Dental decay and even sometimes  dental work can sometimes leave you with a little gap . A new filling or crown or orthodontics will often correct this problem.

Gaps in the teeth – gaps are sometimes a sign there is something wrong but if you have had them your whole life there are two ways to close them.  One is orthodontics and the second is bonding.  We can tell you how to best address this with a simple and complete examinations which includes photos and a virtual impression.

Headaches/Facial pain – this type of pain is very commonly caused by a bad bite.  Just because your teeth can come together when you bite down, doesn’t mean your muscles or joints like that position.  The muscles and joints start to compensate and compromise which reduces blood flow and leads to a build up of lactic acid,  Lactic acid leads to a trigger for headaches and facial pain.  Advil and heat will help but a long term solution is to move the teeth into a better more harmonious bite which will help the facial muscles to relax and have much less headaches and pain.

Loose dentures/partial – sometimes the partial or dentist no longer fits as our mouth changes shape with time.  However, it may be necessary to consider attaching the prosthetic to dental implants which would give you much more stability and quality of life.

Lost tooth – if you lose a tooth and it is in your hand, the best place would be to put it back in your mouth if possible.  The longer the tooth goes without blood supply and exposure to air/contaminants, the less likely you will be able to keep it.

Missing teeth – missing teeth is a common problem, but the bigger problem is when you lose the vertical dimension of your bite (also called collapse) which occurs on the adjacent teeth from the side and above over time.  This reduces the ability to have a simple tooth replacement.  If it is early in the game, you can likely put anything back in the space from a bridge, to a partial to an implant.  If you have collapse then sometimes other procedures like orthodontics and surgery are necessary before you can replace that tooth.

Recession -this is caused by stress on the teeth and can be minimized or reduced with a grafting procedure. Prevention is key and we have technology to monitor your whole mouth including the rate of recession so you can make an informed decision on how to treat it. We also recommend an evaluation of your bite, as the way teeth collide can be a common cause.

Sensitivity – many people suffer from sensitive teeth and a common first line of defense is desensitizing toothpastes.  They take up to a week or more to work and must be constantly used to  maintain the desensitization.  Other reasons may be tooth clenching or exposure to acids from fruits or other dietary items.  We really need to see you in order to determine what to do to treat it.  We have powerful in office treatments that last up to a year and can give you relief right away.

Sensitivity during whitening – we have applications for this but also suggest alternating nights and taking advil.  A fluoride based rinse and toothpaste is also helpful.

Silver fillings – we only place white fillings and can replace the darker silver fillings if they bother you. We use stringent protocols to make sure your fillings are placed safely and without post issues.

Snoring – snoring is not normal.  Many people laugh it off and just think it’s okay but it actually means there is a turbulent air flow all night long. Turbulent air flow is noisy (like a narrow rattling brook) and it means less oxygen is getting to your body. The long term effects of this means dysregulation of hormones, not to mention poor concentration and performance throughout the day.  This is even worse if the airway closes over completely a number of times an hour.  This means the disease has moved to a more serious form of airway constriction called Sleep Apnea.  If you think someone you know may be at risk, we take the time to give you a questionnaire and examination which may lead to a referral to the Sleep lab at the hospital. A simple take home test will help you know if you’re at risk.  Other times we can have your airway assessed by an Ears Nose and Throat specialist.

Spots on teeth (black/brown) – There are multiple causes for this to occur. It could be a trauma to the tooth when the tooth was forming, exposure to too much digestive fluid (if its generalized), a stain, an old filling, or a breakdown of the enamel due to decay.

Swelling – swelling around your eyes is considered more dangerous and potentially more difficult to treat with oral antibiotics.  If this is you, our best advice is to see us for an emergency exam as soon as possible or present yourself to the ER. Otherwise,  swelling elsewhere should be treated by antibiotics and often is associated with an infected tooth.  To treat the tooth completely, it will also need root canal therapy.  Pain is best addressed for these situations using ibuprofen, and not Tylenol.

Swollen gums – this can be the cause of many different things but most commonly it is due to swelling from the presence of bacteria that have built up around the neck of the tooth.  If it’s all over your mouth, you should see the hygienist or dentist right away and remove the bacteria and wait for healing.  Often your gums may bleed when you brush and this means your teeth need more attention, despite the bleeding.  Other more serious conditions may be the cause but are rare.  A single tooth that has swelling is more likely in trouble from both an internal and external standpoint.  It may need antibiotics, a root canal or an extraction.

Toothache – this can be many things but the most common 3 include:

  1. Throbbing without trigger – past the point of no return, the tooth needs a root canal
  2. Only hurts when chewing – bite may be high and just need an adjustment, cracked tooth or need a crown. Does not necessarily mean it needs a root canal.
  3. Hot and cold sensitivity – if cold only, early stages and may just needs a filling or adjustment. If it is heat sensitive too it means it is a later stage and likely needs a root canal.

Yellow teeth – teeth have many differences in base shade and thickness to the enamel.  We have different ways to whiten your teeth but it is best to talk to us first in a consultation to determine what type of whitening agent, and what kind of treatment time or other considerations that may be necessary to optimize your final outcome. We also have a YouTube video on this topic.

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