Prosthodontics, Implants, Cosmetic & Reconstructive Dentistry

Common Tooth Problems That May Indicate You Need To See Your Dentist

Your teeth are living organisms that need as much care as any other part of your body. They are also under a lot of strain thanks to chewing, talking, grinding, biting, and continuous aging. That’s why it's critical to take proper care of your teeth every day. You should brush after every meal or at least twice per day. Flossing and gaggling your teeth at least twice daily with mouthwash is also a great way to maintain your oral health.

However, despite your great oral health practices, you might experience some conditions that require you to visit your dentist. The guide below highlights some of the common tooth problems that may indicate you need to see your dentist. 

When You Experience A Toothache

A toothache is a sharp pain you experience either inside or around your tooth. The pain can be caused by tooth decay, infected gums, tooth fracture, damaged filling, or by grinding your teeth.  Some of the toothache symptoms include a sharp constant, or throbbing pain in or around the tooth. You can also experience pain when you apply pressure on the tooth. The area surrounding the aching tooth can also swell. Another sign of a toothache is a throbbing headache.

If the pain is too much, you can manage it before you arrive at the dentist. You can rinse your mouth with warm water to lower the pain’s intensity or take over-the-counter medication to lessen the pain.

It’s advisable to visit your dentist if the ache is severe or lasts for more than one or two.

Treating A Toothache

Your dentist will first examine your medical history to determine the best approach in treating your toothache. They will also perform a physical examination to determine the extent of the ailments. The dentist will ask questions such as the severity of the pain, when the pain started, where it's located, and other similar questions. Your dentist will also inquire if the pain becomes worse or better at any time and what causes the changes in its intensity. They will examine your neck, tongue, throat, gums and jaws to verify their diagnosis of the toothache.

The treatment your dentist will administer will depend on the cause of the pain. If a cavity is causing pain, the dentist will either fill the cavity or extract the tooth if the damage is severe and extraction is the only viable option. The dentist can perform a root canal if the tooth’s nerves are the cause of the pain.

Is It Possible To Prevent A Toothache?

The best way to prevent a toothache is by observing high levels of oral hygiene. You should brush at least two times per day or after every meal if possible. You should use fluoride-based toothpaste since fluoride protects the enamel. You should also floss once per day. Using a mouthwash too at least once a day will also help keep your teeth healthy. Don’t forget to visit your dentist at least twice per year for dental checkup. 

Cavities Can Also Warrant A Visit To The Dentist

Cavities are small or large holes that develop in your teeth. They are caused by plaque which is a result of bacteria accumulation. The plaque continuously destroys the other covering of the tooth called the enamel, thus causing the holes. You should brush your teeth at least twice per day or after every meal to avoid cavities.

Cavities are also known as caries or tooth decay.

Symptoms And Signs Of Cavities

When the cavity is small, you might not be aware of its presence since it doesn’t have any symptoms. But as the cavity increases, you might start to notice some symptoms like spontaneous pain in your tooth. You can also start to develop tooth sensitivity or sharp pain when you take hot or cold food or drinks. Other signs and symptoms of cavities include white, brown, or black staining on your tooth, holes in your teeth, or pain when you bite down.

Causes Of Cavities

Plaque is the number one culprit for causing tooth decay. Plague is a sticky film that coats your teeth caused by eating sugary food and failing to clean your teeth well. The sugars are a breeding ground for bacteria which causes plaque. If the dentist doesn’t clean the plaque, tartar can form, which is much more difficult to remove and causes irreversible gum recession. 

The plaque attacks your teeth by releasing an acid, which causes erosion to the tooth’s outer covering. Once the enamel is destroyed, the acid and bacteria start destroying the second layer of your teeth, known as dentin. Dentin is softer than dentin, and the plaque and bacteria destroy it quite fast. 

Once the plaque and acid destroy the dentin, they start to attack your inner part of the tooth, known as the pulp, and it swells. The pressed nerves cause the pain.

Chipped Teeth Is Another Condition That Can Warrant A Visit To The Dentist

Enamel is one of the strongest substances in your body. Despite its strength, it can also break. Your teeth can chip If you sustain a blow to your teeth through a fall, sports, or an accident. The result of chipped teeth is disfiguring, sharp, and distorted teeth appearance. Chipped teeth can also be a result of biting down on hard foods like nuts. Grinding your teeth can also cause your teeth to chip.

Causes Of Chipped Teeth

Your teeth are more likely to chip if they are weak. Some factors that can weaken teeth include tooth decay and cavities, wearing down of enamel through grinding your teeth and overeating spicy food that produce acids. Other factors which can weaken your teeth include taking sugary foods often. As you age, your enamel also becomes weaker.

Although all your teeth are prone to chipping, the lower molar teeth are more prone to chipping because they are instrumental in chewing. The front teeth are also prone to chipping due to exposure to blunt blows from accidents and falls. You might not notice the chip, especially if it isn’t on your front teeth.

Symptoms Of Chipped Teeth

Some of the signs and symptoms of chipped teeth include a feeling of a jagged surface when you run your tongue on the surface of your teeth. You might experience some irritation near the gum where the tooth is chipped. If the chip is near the base of the tooth, you might experience some pain while chewing.  Your dentist might identify a chipped tooth through physical examination or x-rays.

The Treatment Of A Chipped Tooth

The treatment will depend on the symptoms, severity, and location of the tooth. A chipped tooth isn’t a medical emergency unless it interferes with your feeding or sleep. However, you should visit your dentist as soon as possible when you discover a chipped tooth. Your dentist can simply polish and smooth your tooth to treat the chip if it isn’t severe. The dentist uses other complicated treatment options for more severe cases, including bonding, veneers, and dental onlays, among other similar treatments.

Impacted Teeth

Another problem that can warrant a visit to the dentist is an impacted tooth. An impacted tooth is a tooth that doesn’t have enough room to emerge. Although most impacted teeth don’t cause any problems, some are problematic. They can cause pain, damage other teeth and cause a myriad of other dental complications.

Symptoms Of An Impacted Tooth

Although some impacted teeth are only discoverable through x-rays, others cause problems. Some of the signs and symptoms of impacted teeth include swollen and red gums, jaw pains, experiencing an unpleasant taste in your mouth and bad breath.

The wisdom teeth are the most impacted teeth because they are the last to grow and, at most times, don’t have enough room to emerge. The maxillary canines, also known as upper eye teeth or cuspid, are also common culprits. When the wisdom teeth become impacted, the dentist might recommend extraction as a treatment method. The case is different for the maxillary canines since they are instrumental in chewing. Your dentist will most recommend other alternative treatments to allow these teeth to erupt.

Various Treatment Option For Impacted Teeth

One of the treatment options for impacted teeth is the wait-and-see approach. Dentists use this approach when your impacted tooth doesn’t cause any issues. They regularly monitor your impacted tooth to check if it will cause any problems.

  1. Surgery

If your impacted tooth is causing problems, your dentist can decide to extract the tooth surgically, especially if it’s the wisdom tooth that is impacted. The dentist can also recommend surgical extraction if the impacted tooth is affecting the other teeth.

  1. By Using Eruption Aids

Apart from surgery, the dentist can use eruption aids to encourage the tooth to erupt, especially in the case of canine teeth. Some of the eruption aids include brackets, braces, or extracting the tooth, which is preventing the canine from erupting. Eruption aids are particularly effective on younger people.

If your impacted tooth is painful, you can use over-the-counter pain medication to manage the pain. Aspirin is one of the most effective pain relievers for mild to moderate tooth pain. However, should the pain be unbearable, book an appointment with your dentist for the best treatment option. 

Cracked Tooth

Another condition that can cause you to see your dentist is a cracked tooth. Although the term might sound like a severe condition, most adults have a cracked tooth. Your dentist can recommend various treatment options to rectify the condition. Some of these treatments include crowns, root canal, or tooth extraction if the case is severe.

Like the other conditions that warrant a visit to the dentist, the treatment of a cracked tooth will depend on the severity of the crack. If your dentist notices the cracked tooth early enough, they are better positioned to treat the condition and save the tooth. It’s prudent to make an appointment with your dentist as soon as you suspect you might have a cracked tooth.

A crack can be superficial, where it only affects the enamel. It can also be more extensive where it extends to the root of the tooth. Physical examination might miss small cracks. In some cases, your dentist only notices the cracks through x-rays or by using dental dye. Although all the teeth are at risk of cracking, the molars are more susceptible to the condition. Teeth with large and multiple filings are also more likely to crack.

Although you can’t entirely prevent a crack, biting on hard foods or clenching can result in cracks. Blunt force to the tooth can also result in a crack. 

Signs and symptoms of a cracked tooth

Although it might be challenging to identify a crack, especially when it's small, some signs and symptoms become prevalent in a crack. Some of these signs include pain when you bite down or as you chew. The affected tooth might become sensitive to hot or cold food and drinks. You might notice discoloration on your tooth or a line running vertically on your tooth.

You should book an appointment with your dentist as soon as you notice any of these signs and symptoms. The crack can cause oral disease or an infection if it’s not treated.

Hypodontia Or Too Many Teeth.

Hypodontia is a condition that leads to the growth of many more teeth in your mouth. The extra teeth are also called supernumerary teeth. The excess teeth can grow anywhere in your curved jaw. When you’re a child, the deciduous or primary teeth are the first to erupt. In due time, 32 stronger and more permanent teeth replace the primary teeth. Hypodontia is more common with primary teeth, although you can also experience the condition with your permanent teeth.

Signs And Symptoms Of Hyperdontia

The usual signs and symptoms of hyperdontia is the presence of extra teeth close or just under your permanent or primary teeth. You are twice as likely to suffer the condition if you’re a man. The condition isn’t usually painful. At times though, the extra teeth can add pressure to your jaws and gums. This extra pressure can cause pain and swelling. Hyperdontia can also cause your teeth to be crooked.

The cause of the condition isn’t apparent, but experts associate some conditions with hyperdontia. These conditions include Gardner’s syndrome, Ehlers- Danlos syndrome, cleft palate and lip, among other conditions.

Identifying And Treating The Condition

Identifying the condition is relatively easy as the extra teeth are clearly visible, especially if they have fully or partially emerged. Even if the extra teeth haven’t emerged, they clearly show on x-ray scans. The treatment of the condition depends on its severity. At times, you don’t need any treatment. At other times though, the dentist has to extract the extra tooth or the permanent teeth to create room for growth of the extra tooth.

Malocclusion Is Another Common Condition Which Can Cause You To Seek Treatment

Malocclusion is the condition where your teeth are misaligned. The condition is also referred to as an open bite, crossbite, underbite, overbite, or crowded teeth.  When your teeth are misaligned, you might have a challenge chewing or speaking clearly.

Ideally, your teeth should be in perfect alignment inside your mouth. They shouldn’t be overly twisted or rotated.

Causes And Diagnosis Of Malocclusion

The condition is usually inherited, which means parents can pass down the condition to their children. Your dentist usually diagnoses the condition through physical examination during your routine dental checkup. They may also use an x-ray to have a better view of the condition. The dentists classify the condition into three major classes according to the severity of the condition.

Treatment Of The Condition

You won’t require any treatment if you’re suffering from mild malocclusion. However, the case is different if your condition is severe. Your dentist can recommend various treatments, including braces that correct the position of the teeth. They might also propose retainers or other dental appliances which realign your teeth. If your teeth are overcrowded, the dentist might extract some teeth to treat the condition. Reshaping, capping, or bonding is another treatment option.

How Can You Prevent Malocclusion?

Preventing the condition is tricky since it's largely hereditary. However, you should reduce the use of a pacifier and bottle in young children since they can affect the jaw’s development. You should also encourage your kids to stop sucking their fingers as early as possible. Identifying the condition earlier on can give the dentists a better chance of better treating the condition.

Call A Dentist Near Me

Teeth aren’t only important for chewing and biting, but they are also critical for aesthetic appeal. Therefore, it's critical to take proper care of your teeth. Despite your best efforts to maintain healthy teeth, some problems can arise that prompt you to visit your dentist. Some of these conditions include toothaches, cavities, cracked teeth, among other similar conditions. The above guide highlights these conditions and the treatment your dentist will likely administer to treat the condition.

If you or your loved one is in Tarzana, California, and you need dental services for any of the above conditions, don’t hesitate to visit Tarzana Dental Care. We have a wealth of experience treating patients with dental issues in Tarzana and the larger state of California. You can set up an appointment by contacting us at 818-708-3232.