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Posts for category: Oral Health

SeeYourDentisttoFindouttheRealCauseforYourToothPain

If you have tooth pain, we want to know about it. No, really—we want to know all about it. Is the pain sharp or dull? Is it emanating from one tooth or more generally? Is it constant, intermittent or only when you bite down?

Dentists ask questions like these because there are multiple causes for tooth pain with different treatment requirements. The more accurate the diagnosis, the quicker and more successful your treatment will be.

Here are 3 different examples of tooth pain, along with their possible causes and treatments.

Tooth sensitivity. If you feel a quick jolt of pain when you eat or drink something hot or cold, it may mean your gums have drawn back (receded) from your teeth to leave more sensitive areas exposed. Gum recession is most often caused by gum disease, which we can treat by removing dental plaque, the main cause for the infection. In mild cases the gums may recover after treatment, but more advanced recession may require grafting surgery.

Dull ache around upper teeth. This type of pain might actually be a sinus problem, not a dental one. The upper back teeth share some of the same nerves as the sinus cavity just above them. See your dentist first to rule out deep decay or a tooth grinding habit putting too much pressure on the teeth. If your dentist rules out an oral cause, you may need to see your family physician to check for a sinus infection.

Constant sharp pain. A throbbing pain seeming to come from one tooth may be a sign the tooth's central pulp layer has become decayed. The resulting infection is attacking the pulp's nerves, which is causing the excruciating pain. Advanced decay of this sort requires a root canal treatment to remove the diseased tissue and fill the empty pulp chamber and root canals to prevent further infection. See your dentist even if the pain stops—the infection may have only killed the nerves, but is still present and advancing.

Pain is the body's warning system—so heed the tooth pain alert and see your dentist as soon as possible. The sooner the problem is identified and treated, the better your chances of returning to full dental health.

If you would like more information on tooth pain and what it means, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Tooth Pain? Don't Wait!

By Stiles Family Dentistry
February 21, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: root canal  

An infection in the root and pulp of your tooth could result in pain and discomfort, or worse, tooth loss. When this occurs, a root canal is often required to remove the decay. However, how do you know if you really need to undergo this procedure? Here at Stiles Family Dentistry in Salem, NH, our team of dentists can determine if you require a root canal during a simple examination. Below are some warning signs which indicate that you might want to visit our office:

Sensitivity to Cold and Heat

This could feel like a sharp ache or dull pain, and although different things can cause these sensations, if you feel your tooth hurting whenever you consume something cold, hot, or sugary, it may mean that the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels are already damaged or severely infected.

Persistent Pain

This is one of the most common signs that may indicate you require a root canal. You may feel this pain deep in your tooth and/or your other teeth, jaw, and face at all times, or in a recurring fashion.

Swollen and Irritated Gums

Swollen gums surrounding your painful tooth could indicate an infection that only a root canal could fix. Depending on the severity of the infection, the swelling might be continuous or come and go, and it might be tender to the touch as well. It’s also possible that you’ll see a tiny pimple or bump on the affected site—this is known as an abscess, or gum boil, and it may leak pus due to the infection.

A Discolored Tooth

In some cases, a pulp infection could result in the affected tooth turning gray or black. While this could be caused by other things, if you’re also experiencing other tooth decay symptoms, see your dentist in Salem, NH, as soon as possible for a checkup.

Pain When Eating or Touching the Tooth

You may need a root canal treatment when your tooth feels painful when you’re eating and when you’re touching it. This is particularly true if the sensitivity and pain remain over time and does not subside even when you’re not eating.

A Loose Tooth

Your tooth may feel loose if it’s infected. In the event that you have multiple loose teeth, you should see your dentist right away to determine the exact cause.

Need a Root Canal?

If you’re experiencing any or all of the symptoms mentioned above, it’s extremely vital that you visit your dentist as early as possible to increase the chances that you save your tooth. Call Stiles Family Dentistry in Salem, NH, at (603) 893-4538 to schedule a consultation with one of our dentists.

Properly aligned teeth could prevent wearing, enamel erosion, chipping, and damage to your teeth roots. It could likewise improve your gum’s health and overall oral hygiene as well as boost confidence in your appearance and smile. Further, aligning your crooked teeth will also create a more harmonious relationship between your facial muscles, jaw, and teeth for a more comfortable, functional, and healthier bite.

If you suffer from minor bite issues such as an underbite, crossbite, or overbite, or concerned about gapped teeth, you may be eligible for Invisalign aligners. Invisalign can fix these minor problems with minimal interruption or impact on your daily life, without anyone even noticing that you’re wearing them. For more minor issues, you can also opt for dental veneers. These can conceal gapped teeth, minor bit problems, and chips.

To determine which of these dentistry solutions are best for straightening your teeth, you can visit us at Stiles Family Dentistry in Salem, NH, and consult with one of our dentists.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a discreet orthodontic treatment specifically developed to help people fix bite problems and straighten their teeth much faster than traditional braces can. Unlike braces that use metal wires and brackets, Invisalign functions by utilizing a series of sturdy and clear thermoplastic aligners that are customized to put gentle pressure on specific teeth at predetermined times throughout the entire treatment time. This will result in gradual straightening of your bite with increased convenience and comfort.

What are Dental Veneers?

Sometimes called instant orthodontics, dental veneers are also a viable solution to get a straighter smile. Dental veneers are typically made of porcelain and can give you a straight smile by matching the color and shape of your real teeth and concealing various minor cosmetic flaws such as:

  • Minor alignment issues
  • Gapped teeth
  • Chips, breaks, and cracks
  • Disproportionate and worn teeth
  • Discolorations and stains that teeth whitening can’t fix

However, since dental veneers are technically not a real orthodontic treatment because they can only hide cosmetic imperfections and not really correct them, you will still have bite issues, but they’ll be concealed behind the veneers. With this in mind, you should discuss your treatment goals with your dentist in Salem, NH, to figure out whether Invisalign or veneers will best address your concerns.

Want to straighten your smile Invisalign or Veneers?

Arrange a consultation with one of our dentists Drs. Papapetros, Giraldo, Masterson, and Lam here at Stiles Family Dentistry in Salem, NH, by dialing (603) 893-4538 today.

These4HabitsCouldHelpYouAvoidGumDisease

Here’s the bad news about periodontal (gum) disease: It’s a leading cause for tooth loss. Even worse: Half of adults over 30 will have some form of it during their lifetime.

But here’s the good news: If caught early, we can often treat and stop gum disease before it can do substantial harm to your mouth. And the best news of all—you may be able to avoid a gum infection altogether by adopting a few healthy habits.

Here are 4 habits you can practice to prevent a gum infection from happening.

Practice daily brushing and flossing. Gum disease is a bacterial infection most often arising from dental plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles that accumulates on teeth. Removing plaque daily with brushing and flossing will reduce your chances of a gum infection. And be sure it’s daily—missing just a few days is enough for gum inflammation to get started.

Get regular dental cleanings and checkups. Even the most diligent personal hygiene can miss plaque, which may then harden into a calcified form impossible to remove with brushing and flossing called calculus (tartar). At least twice-a-year professional dental cleanings will clear away any remnant plaque and tartar, which can greatly reduce your risk for dental disease.

Make gum-friendly lifestyle changes. Smoking more than doubles your chances of gum disease. Likewise, a sugar-heavy diet, which feeds disease-causing bacteria, also makes you more susceptible to infection. Quitting smoking, cutting back on alcohol consumption and following a dental-friendly diet could boost your teeth and gum health and avoid infection.

Watch for signs of infection. Although you can greatly reduce your risk of gum disease, you can’t always bring that risk to zero. So, be aware of the signs of gum disease: sometimes painful, swollen, reddened or bleeding gums. If you notice any of these signs, make a dental appointment—the sooner you’re diagnosed and begin treatment, the less likely gum disease will ruin your dental health.

If you would like more information on preventing gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

GiveYourChildAddedProtectionAgainstCavitiesWithTopicalFluoride

Keeping your child’s teeth and gums healthy may sometimes seem like “one step forward, two steps back.” You do all the right things like daily brushing and flossing, and keeping sugar consumption to a minimum. But they’re still getting too many cavities.

We can add something else to what you’re already doing to decrease their cavity rate: apply a concentrated fluoride mixture (stronger than what’s found in toothpaste or drinking water) directly to their teeth. Studies have shown that topical fluoride is effective at reducing the risk of new cavities in children at high risk for decay, and may even reverse early decay.

Topical fluoride can be applied as a gel, foam or varnish. The particular method used depends on factors like the child’s age or the preference of the dentist. But any of the three methods can deliver a short-term, high dose of fluoride to the teeth.

As a result, the burst of fluoride strengthens tooth enamel against decay, with plenty of evidence of its effectiveness. As such, the American Dental Association recommends periodic topical fluoride applications for children older than 6, and especially those that appear to be at higher risk for decay.

You might, however, be concerned about the long-term health effects of these stronger concentrations of fluoride. Again, research indicates that the only long-term hazard associated with too much fluoride is a condition called fluorosis, which produces heavy tooth staining. Fluorosis, though, is more of an appearance issue and doesn’t harm the tooth itself. And it can be avoided in the case of topical fluoride by performing the procedure correctly and conservatively.

There’s also a short-term risk of a reaction to the fluoride mixture if the child swallows too much during the procedure, which could cause stomach upset and pain, vomiting or headaches. We can avoid this by using precautions like dental dams and other isolation methods to prevent the child from ingesting it.

Using proper precautions and procedures, topical fluoride is a safe and effective way to give your child added protection against decay. Avoiding this destructive disease can help ensure they’ll enjoy good dental health for the rest of their lives.

If you would like more information on keeping your child’s teeth and gums healthy, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Fluoride Gels Reduce Decay.”