Frequently Asked Dental Questions

by Mar 25, 2017

Everyone has questions about going to the dentist

which is perfectly natural, at Capitol Premier Dental Group it’s our goal to help make your dental visit as informative and stress free as possible.

What causes tooth decay?

We often hear,  “I know I don’t have cavities because my teeth do not hurt.” Cavities usually do not cause any dental pain.  Teeth that require fillings may not hurt until the cavity gets to the nerve and then dental pain can set in at that time. Root canals or extractions may be needed to get rid of the dental pain.

Tooth decay, also known as a cavity, occurs when bacteria living in your mouth make acid that begins to eat away at your teeth. Untreated tooth decay may cause infection, extreme pain and the loss of tooth. The decay process begins with the unnoticeable damage to the enamel of your teeth and then steadily progresses to deeper layers of the tooth, eventually leading to the pulp. The pulp of your teeth contains highly-sensitive blood vessels and nerve. Proper oral hygiene includes brushing your teeth regularly, flossing regularly and brushing your tongue. If possible brush your teeth twice a day – morning and night.

The top causes of tooth decay include:

Poor Oral Hygiene, Improper Nutrition, Sugary Foods, Acidic Foods and Drinks, Dry Mouth Issues, Tooth Grinding, Genetics, Age and Avoiding the Dentist.

A filling is needed when a tooth has a cavity. The filling will take the place of where the decay destroyed healthy tooth structure, helping to give it strength once again. We will prepare the tooth by removing all of the present decay. Once the decay is removed completely, a tooth-colored filling will be placed. It will often blend naturally with the surrounding tooth structure. White fillings are made of a composite material that bonds to your tooth, creating a beautiful lasting result.

What causes my gums to bleed?

The main cause of bleeding gums is the buildup of plaque at the gum line. This will lead to a condition called gingivitis, or inflamed gums. Plaque that is not removed will harden from the minerals in our saliva and the foods we eat and become tartar sticking to the side of the tooth (like a barnacle on a ship). This will lead to increased bleeding and a more advanced form of gum and bone disease known as periodontitis. Bleeding gums can happen for a number of reasons, from gingivitis to a potential side effect of pregnancy. Changing your oral care routine can also make your gums bleed. We recommend brushing and flossing regularly and getting your semiannual dental visit in to stop your gums from bleeding. Certain medicines also increase the likelihood that your gums will bleed. If changing your oral care habits, adjusting your medications, and maintaining a healthy diet doesn’t help your gums stop bleeding, your next step should be to make a dental appointment by calling our office at 303-991-4455.

Why are my teeth sensitive?

Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints among dental patients. Some toothpastes contain abrasive ingredients that may be too harsh for people who have sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity can be reduced by using a desensitizing toothpaste; having your dentist apply sealants and other desensitizing and filling materials, including fluoride; and decreasing the intake of acid-containing foods.

Sensitivity might also be caused by clenching or grinding your teeth. If you clench your teeth while awake, focus on breaking the habit. This can also ease jaw pain. If you suspect you might be clenching or grinding in your sleep, speak to your dentist about getting a custom mouth guard that will prevent the habit while you sleep.  When the hard enamel is worn down or gums have receded, causing the tiny dentinal tubule or root surface to be exposed, pain can be caused by touching your teeth with hot or cold foods and beverages, or exposing them to cold air. Exposed areas of the tooth can cause pain and even affect or change your eating, drinking, and breathing habits. Taking a spoonful of ice cream, for example, can be a painful experience for people who have sensitive teeth.

If a tooth is highly sensitive for more than three or four days and reacts to hot and cold temperatures, it’s best to get a diagnostic evaluation in our office to determine the extent of the problem.

Tooth Sensitivity After Filling: Why this Happens and How to Ease the Pain

  • Tooth Sensitivity After Filling is Common
  • Dealing with Sensitivity in the Short-Term is Easy
  • With Extreme Pain contact us!

Very occasional tooth sensitivity is not a reason to worry.

However, if you’re dealing with chronic sensitivity or you notice a tooth is sensitive that has a filling, you might be dealing with a problem. Teeth can develop sensitivity after being filled and the sensitivity can be severe enough to cross over into pain. The good news is there are things you can do to ease the issue and return to eating and drinking comfortably.

Why Do Teeth become Sensitive after Fillings?

Once in a while, patients may have dental pain after the placement of a dental filling. There can be a few reasons for the dental pain. One of the most common is the patient’s bite being off.   When you are numb, often you can not bite down correctly as you normally would, so only so much adjusting can take place at that point.  It may also take a few days to get used to your new bite. If you feel like you cannot bite down quite right or having toothache days after the placement of new fillings, a simple bite adjustment may correct the dental pain you are having.

Another common reason for tooth or extreme sensitivity after placement of white fillings is an acute inflammation inside the tooth. This inflammation arises due to the nerve inside the tooth becoming inflamed in response to dental work. This inflammation is a normal part of healing and precipitated with any dental work. The deeper the cavity, the more inflammation, and sensitivity can be expected after the placement of a new filling.  A patient can experience dental pain as a result which can last for a few days or even weeks. Most teeth do recover from this type of dental pain with time. If extreme sensitivity or a sharp toothache do not get better with time or if it increases with time, it could be a sign of chronic Inflammation, and this type of inflammation may require additional dental treatment, such a root canal. 

How You Can Deal with Tooth Sensitivity after a Filling?

Unfortunately, you might not be able to do anything. If the filling is new and you’re experiencing sensitivity, you’ll just need to wait it out. It can take up to several weeks for this to happen, so in the meantime, take note of what triggers the sensitivity and avoid those foods and beverages.

If the sensitivity continues beyond a few weeks and you’re concerned, or the problem gets worse instead of getting better over time, contact us. It could be that there’s a problem with the filling .

If you’re still experiencing issues with sensitivity and your dentist has assured you that everything is fine. It could be that you just have naturally sensitivity teeth or your grinding or clenching and the filling aggravated the issue. Try switching toothpaste for sensitive teeth, or if you clench and grind at night you may need a night guard.

What Can I do for dry mouth?

To relieve your dry mouth try chewing sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free hard candies to stimulate the flow of saliva. For some people sugar-free gum or sugar-free candies may cause diarrhea or cramps if consumed in large amounts.

To relieve your dry mouth you can try limiting your caffeine intake because caffeine can make your mouth drier. Also don’t use mouthwashes that contain alcohol because they can be drying. You could stop all tobacco use if you smoke or chew tobacco. Sipping water regularly can help (and that’s a healthy thing to do) to keep the saliva flowing and has been shown to relieve the symptom. There are also some over the counter products made by Biotene that have helped many of our patients with their dry mouth symptoms.

I have diabetes, can that effect my mouth?

Yes, if diabetes is left untreated, it can take a toll on your mouth. Here’s how:

  • You may have less saliva, causing your mouth to feel dry..
  • Because saliva protects your teeth, you’re also at a higher risk of cavities
  • Gums may become inflamed and bleed often (gingivitis)
  • You may have problems tasting food
  • You may experience delayed wound healing
  • You may be susceptible to infections inside of your mouth
  • For children with diabetes, teeth may erupt at an age earlier than is typical

Regular dental visits are important. Research suggests that treating gum disease can help improve blood sugar control in patients living with diabetes, decreasing the progression of the disease. Practicing good oral hygiene and having professional deep cleanings done by your dentist can help immensely.

What tooth paste should I use?

The most important ingredient to look for when choosing toothpaste is fluoride. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral. Its use has been instrumental in the dramatic drop in tooth decay and cavity occurrence that has taken place over the past 50 years. (Some toothpastes contain abrasive ingredients that may be too harsh for people who have sensitive teeth). Bacteria in your mouth feed on sugars and starches that remain on your teeth after eating. Fluoride helps protect your teeth from the acid that is released when this happens. It does this in two ways. First, fluoride makes your tooth enamel stronger and less likely to suffer acid damage. Second, it can reverse the early stages of acid damage by solidifying areas that have started to decay.

What is plaque and why is it harmful to my teeth and gums?

Plaque develops when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches), such as milk, soft drinks, raisins, cakes, or candy are frequently left on the teeth. Bacteria that live in the mouth thrive on these foods, producing acids as a result. Over a period of time, these acids destroy tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay. Plaque can also develop on the tooth roots under the gum and cause breakdown of the bone supporting the tooth.

How safe are digital X-rays?

Digital x-rays are one of the most important new advances that our profession has seen in quite some time. At Capitol Premier Dental Group we use this new digital technology exclusively. Digital sensors are more responsive than film so that less radiation is required to produce a digital image. The ability to reduce the exposure of radiation to the patient used by traditional x-ray while increasing the diagnostic proficiency has astounding implications. The reduction of the use of harsh chemicals and other waste materials associated with traditional x-rays is also an added benefit to our environment.

Comparatively, a traditional chest CT-scan exposes a patient to 2,800 times the radiation as a digital dental x-ray. Routine dental exams, which include 4 bitewings is about 0.005 mSv, which is less than one day of natural background radiation. It is also about the same amount of radiation exposure from a short airplane flight (~1-2 hrs). If you have a history of any cavities, we recommend dental X-rays every 6 months.

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