Posts for: April, 2020
Is a chipped tooth big news? It is if you’re Justin Bieber. When the pop singer recently posted a picture from the dental office to his instagram account, it got over 2.6 million “likes.” The snapshot shows him reclining in the chair, making peace signs with his hands as he opens wide; meanwhile, his dentist is busy working on his smile. The caption reads: “I chipped my tooth.”
Bieber may have a few more social media followers than the average person, but his dental problem is not unique. Sports injuries, mishaps at home, playground accidents and auto collisions are among the more common causes of dental trauma.
Some dental problems need to be treated as soon as possible, while others can wait a few days. Do you know which is which? Here are some basic guidelines:
A tooth that’s knocked out needs attention right away. First, try and locate the missing tooth and gently clean it with water — but avoid holding the tooth’s roots. Next, grasp the crown of the tooth and place it back in the socket facing the correct way. If that isn’t possible, place it between the cheek and gum, in a plastic bag with the patient’s saliva or a special tooth preservative, or in a glass of cold milk. Then rush to the dental office or emergency room right away. For the best chance of saving the tooth, it should be treated within five minutes.
If a tooth is loosened or displaced (pushed sideways, deeper into or out of its socket), it’s best to seek dental treatment within 6 hours. A complete examination will be needed to find out exactly what’s wrong and how best to treat it. Loosened or displaced teeth may be splinted to give them stability while they heal. In some situations, a root canal may be necessary to save the tooth.
Broken or fractured (cracked) teeth should receive treatment within 12 hours. If the injury extends into the tooth’s inner pulp tissue, root canal treatment will be needed. Depending on the severity of the injury, the tooth may need a crown (cap) to restore its function and appearance. If pieces of the tooth have been recovered, bring them with you to the office.
Chipped teeth are among the most common dental injuries, and can generally be restored successfully. Minor chips or rough edges can be polished off with a dental instrument. Teeth with slightly larger chips can often be restored via cosmetic bonding with tooth-colored resins. When more of the tooth structure is missing, the best solution may be porcelain veneers or crowns. These procedures can generally be accomplished at a scheduled office visit. However, if the tooth is painful, sensitive to heat or cold or producing other symptoms, don’t wait for an appointment — seek help right away.
Justin Bieber earned lots of “likes” by sharing a picture from the dental office. But maybe the take-home from his post is this: If you have a dental injury, be sure to get treatment when it’s needed. The ability to restore a damaged smile is one of the best things about modern dentistry.
If you have questions about dental injury, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Repairing Chipped Teeth” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”
If you're ready to put the "pizzazz" back into your smile, your dentist may be able to help. It's possible your dull, dingy smile could be transformed with teeth whitening.
Teeth whitening or bleaching is a technique that applies a solution with a bleaching agent (usually up to 35% hydrogen peroxide in an office setting) to the teeth to whiten them. Although there are Do-It-Yourself home whitening kits you can use, there are a few good reasons why you should first consider a whitening procedure in a dental office setting.
To begin with, you should first have your teeth examined by a dentist to determine why they're discolored. Certain foods and beverages we consume or tobacco habits are the usual culprits causing stains on the enamel, the outermost tooth layer. These are the kinds of stains targeted by most whitening solutions.
But the interior of a tooth can also become discolored for reasons like trauma, past dental work or tetracycline use at an early age. If your staining is internal (intrinsic) rather than external (extrinsic) reducing that discoloration will require an invasive procedure only a dentist can perform—a home kit won't be able to do the job.
Another reason for having your teeth whitened by your dentist (even extrinsic staining) involves your time and the degree of brightness you'd like. Because dentists use stronger bleaching solutions (home kits usually use a weaker solution of 10% carbamide peroxide) it takes fewer sessions than home kits to achieve results—and they may last longer. In addition, dentists have more control over the level of brightness to match your expectations of a more subdued, natural look or a dazzling "Hollywood" smile.
A dentist can also help you navigate special circumstances like matching and managing natural teeth whiteness with dental restorations (which don't bleach) or special whitening situations like a single discolored tooth.
Even if you eventually decide to go the home kit route, consulting with a dentist first can still prove helpful. You'll get expert advice on products, tips on how to apply them and how to prolong the whitening effect. Whichever way you go, home kit or dentist, you can gain a brighter, more confident smile with teeth whitening.
If you would like more information on teeth whitening, 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 “Important Teeth Whitening Questions…Answered!”
Jaw pain can be debilitating, making it difficult for you to eat and talk. Several things can cause jaw pain which is why you need to discuss your symptoms with a medical specialist. At Stiles Family Dentistry, located in Salem, NH, Dr. Nicholas Papapetros, Dr. Jhon Giraldo, Dr. Paul Masterson, and Dr. Richard Lam are all working hard to provide quality dental care and eliminate the cause of jaw pain.
Causes of Jaw Pain
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Syndrome
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome is a condition that causes jaw pain, ear pain, headaches, and jaw stiffness. It is caused by:
- Jaw clenching or teeth grinding
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Sinuses are comprised of a system of connected hollow cavities in the skull. The largest sinuses are the maxillary sinuses, which measure about an inch across. There are two of these; each is located above the cheekbones, below the eyes. The smaller ethmoid sinuses are located between the eyes within the ethmoid bone. The frontal sinuses are in the forehead, just behind the eyes. The sphenoid sinuses are behind the nose. The sinuses are usually empty except for a small amount of mucus. A sinus infection causes the tissue that lines the sinus to become inflamed. The inflammation can cause you to feel pain in your upper jaw.
A dental abscess is a puss-filled pocket caused by a bacterial infection. This type of abscess can occur at the tip of a tooth’s root or the side of the root. As well as causing pain in the tooth, gum, and face, a dental abscess can also cause swelling and pain in the jaw. If you notice a constant ache in your tooth, contact your Salem, NH, dentist right away.
In the United States, 45,000 people are known to be suffering from trigeminal neuralgia (TGN). This condition affects the trigeminal or 5th cranial nerve causing chronic pain. The trigeminal nerve is one of the most widely distributed nerves in the head. It is responsible for sensations in the scalp, forehead, cheeks, jaw, and gums as well as chewing and biting motions.
The treatment for jaw pain will depend on the underlying cause and may range from pain medications to surgery. Talking to a dental expert will help you find a solution, including TMJ treatment. If you’re experiencing jaw pain, and you live in Salem, NH, contact Stiles Family Dentistry today at (603) 893-4538. Dr. Nicholas Papapetros, Dr. Jhon Giraldo, Dr. Paul Masterson, and Dr. Richard Lam are here to help.