Dental Emergency

Toothpick Can Cause Severe Damage To Teeth

Toothpick is one of the most earliest ways people use as a dental cleaning tool.  However, if used incorrectly, it may cause severe irreversible damage to teeth.

Toothpick is usually used to clean out food debris in gum in between two adjacent teeth.  Food sometimes would get caught in the gum pocket area.  If we use the toothpick incorrectly, the tip of the toothpick might create mechanical abrasion on the root surface area of the tooth.  Overtime, a hole is created and food again is more likely to get caught in it.  This creates a  cycle of continual food impaction.  Decay is eventually formed.  However, this type of decay is especially hard to treat because its location is almost at the gumline.  And sometimes, the decay can very easily spread very quickly and decay may progress into the nerve at the center of the tooth.

I would suggest to use dental floss, toothbrushes and medicated rinses for daily oral hygiene.  Also I would encourage routine dental visit where dentist can use special instruments to clean out the harded plaque from those hard-to-reach area.

 

 

Toothpick causes damage to teeth

Cavity is formed at the location where the toothpicks were inserted and irreversible damage to the root surface area of the tooth.

 

 

Toothpick Damage Repaired Xray Image

Decay at the root surface area can spread quickly and the tooth becomes painful. To treat, root canal therapy, buildup and crown procedures are necessary to be performed for saving the tooth.

 

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, Please call 480-820-6131

Genral Dental Office in Tempe AZ — White Tooth-Colored Fillings, Porcelain Crowns, Veneers, Inlays, Onlays

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist

Is Root Canal Therapy Scary and Painful?

The short answer is no because patient would be given anesthetics and the tooth would be numb.  However, there are a number of factors influences the comfort level of the treatment.

It is true that the patient would be given anesthetics but sometimes when the patient has a severely infected tooth, the area might be more difficult to become anesthetized because the bacteria and pus would decrease the effectiveness of the anesthetics and the doctor would have to administer an extra dose of anesthetics to achieve the therapeutic effect.  And also patient’s anxiety level can also affect how the tooth responds to anesthetics.

Patient might sometimes experience some post-treatment soreness after the root canal therapy is given.  This can be part of the normal recovery process because the infected area needs time to clear up the toxin and pus caused by the bacteria.  Often dentist would prescribe antibiotics to help decrease the post-operative inflammation and pain medication to manage pain.

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, Please call 480-820-6131

Genral Dental Office in Tempe AZ — White Tooth-Colored Fillings, Porcelain Crowns, Veneers, Inlays, Onlays

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist

Catastrophic Fracture of a Tooth And How to Prevent It

Tooth crack is a common dental problem.  Our teeth are subject to tremendous mechanical pressure from the food chewing each meal every day.  Often, the tooth would develop internal micro-fractures.  The fracture line might become visible on the tooth and routine dental examination can help detect these fracture lines.

For example, this tooth has visible fracture line on the side wall of a posterior molar tooth.

Visible fracture line on the tooth.

Visible fracture line on the tooth.

With a visible fracture line, the tooth is at greater risk of further fracture and this would potentially cause dental emergency with great pain and discomfort.  The option to protect the tooth is to put a dental crown on the tooth.  The dental crown would offer the so-called “full coverage” protection.  The crown would help holding the tooth together and prevent the fracture from spreading further.

However, the consequence of delaying the treatment might be catastrophic.  The tooth might have catastrophic fracture and the end result could be tooth loss.

The tooth has catastrophic fracture and the tooth cannot be saved.

The tooth has catastrophic fracture and the tooth cannot be saved.

Dentist can give a detailed examination and help detect if your tooth has any fracture.

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

Family Dentist Office in Tempe AZ

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing Family Dentist

Untreated Dental Infection: Signs, Symptoms And Treatment

Dental emergency such as dental infection is caused by bacterial infection to the dental nervous tissue, in which usually began from a small dental cavity.  The bacteria can travel from the dental pulp to the surrounding bone tissue and may spread to various facial planes.

Dental Infection Spreads to Facial Tissue and Causes Facial Swelling.

Dental Infection Spreads to Facial Tissue and Causes Facial Swelling.

 

The cause of dental infection is from untreated dental cavity which has progressed to affect the dental nerve pulp.

The cause of dental infection is from untreated dental cavity which has progressed to affect the dental nerve pulp within the dental nerve canal.

 

The treatment involves incision and drainage of the affected intraoral tissues.  A small incision is made on the intraoral tissue containing the abscess.  Pus is then drained.  If the dental pulp is infected, the root canal therapy is to be initiated.  Patient is usually put on a course of antibiotics, usually Penicillin VK, which is effective in killing bacteria in dental origin.  Then the patient is to be returned to have the root canal therapy completed and the tooth is to be sealed and crowned for full coverage protection.

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

Emergency Dentist Office in Tempe AZ

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist

Crack Tooth Syndrome: Crown as a Treatment

We talked about Crack Tooth Syndrome in the previous post.  Now we can talk about the type of treatment for the crack tooth syndrome.

The crack tooth syndrome begins with a tooth having the signs and symptoms of a crack tooth.  It can either be visually obvious or it requires xray image to determine the presence of a crack line.  The type of treatment depends on the location of the existing crack or defect and the patient’s symptoms.

The location of the existing crack or defect plays an important role in determining the type of treatment for crack tooth.  If the defect is away from the central nervous tissue within the tooth and the patient does not have any painful symptoms, a crown can often be the definitive treatment for treating the crack tooth and to restore the tooth back to its functional state.  I will illustrate this concept with a recent patient case.

This patient had an existing large amalgam filling done more than 10 years ago and now he bites into something hard and the filling cracked off.

Tooth with Large Filling

Tooth with a Large Dental Filling

 

Crack Tooth with No Nerve Exposure

Crack Tooth with No Nerve Exposure

Upon examination, patient does not have any unusualy painful symptoms.  The defect seems large so we have to take an xray image to determine if the nerve is involved.  The xray image reveals that there is a good distance (approximately more than 1 mm) between the defect and the central nerve pulp.  Since it doesn’t seem that the central nerve pulp is affected, the tooth does not need the root canal therapy.  The defect is large so the treatment of crown was offered to patient to restore the tooth.  Also the crown would help strengthen the tooth so to prevent the tooth from further fracture.

Even though the tooth seems to be infection free and patient does not have any symptoms, the tooth might become symptomatic if there are some unforeseen microscopic crack exists within the tooth which may lead to future infection.  This is the risk that associated with crack tooth.  Patient was warned of the need of additional root canal therapy if the tooth develops unforeseen infection problem after the treatment of crown is rendered.  The patient accepts the risk and agrees to proceed with the treatment of crown.

This is now the tooth looks like after the crown is put on.

Crown Fixing Crack Tooth

The patient is comfortable after the crown and to this date, the tooth is trouble free.

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

Genral Dental Office in Tempe AZ — White Tooth-Colored Fillings, Porcelain Crowns, Veneers, Inlays, Onlays

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist

What is Dry Socket?

Dry socket is a common term describing the painful condition after the tooth extraction.  It happens when the blood clot is dislodged from the extraction site, thus exposing the underlying bone and tissue to external environment.  The exposed bone and tissue will be more sensitive to external stimulus such as cold, hot and air.  Also the area is more prone to infections.

One way to avoid dry socket is to have the patient bite down on the cotton gauze for a couple of hours until the bleeding stops.  The pressure from biting down on the cotton gauze will help stop the bleeding.  Also it will help keep the blood clot stays within the extraction site under the gauze, thus help promoting blood clot and wound healing.  Also if there is saliva or trace of blood, patient is encouraged to open the mouth and allow it to flow out from the mouth, instead of forcefully spitting it out.  Spitting out saliva would dislodge the blood clot.

If dry socket occurs, patient will know by having painful symptoms at the extraction site.  It may follow by swelling.  The way to treat dry socket is to put medicament into the wound site.  Usually over-counter medicament cannot treat the dry socket.  It is best to go to your dentist to have it looked at and treated.

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

Cosmetic Dental Office in Tempe AZ — White Tooth-Colored Fillings, Porcelain Crowns, Veneers, Inlays, Onlays

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist

Crack Tooth Syndrome: Xray Image

Crack Tooth Syndrome describes the toothache due to the presence of crack within the tooth.  It usually elicits painful response to biting and also sensitivity to cold and hot.  It may develop without any apparent trauma.  There could be no visible crack.  Often it requires the xray image to detect any presence of crack.

This is an example of the tooth which develop crack over time  The patient comes in for routine checkup and we take xray images to see there is no big changes to the teeth.  The radiograph typically shows normal teeth.

Routine BW Xray image shows normal teeth

Routine BW Xray image shows normal teeth

 

However, within a year, the tooth becomes symptomatic to biting pressure.  We take an updated xray image and we can clearly see that the vertical crack line develops within a tooth.

Crack Tooth Xray Image.  Vertical crack extends from the nerve chamber to the surface of the tooth.

Crack Tooth Xray Image. Vertical crack extends from the nerve chamber to the surface of the tooth.

 

To control the symptoms, a root canal therapy is performed on the tooth and a crown is put on to prevent the tooth from further breaking.

 

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

Cosmetic Dental Office in Tempe AZ — White Tooth-Colored Fillings, Porcelain Crowns, Veneers, Inlays, Onlays

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist

Toothache and Irreversible Pulpitis

Dentist treats toothache all the time.  Some toothache can be easily fixed with a filling or fluoride desensitizer paste.  However, some toothache requires a closer examination and more involved treatment.

A simple toothache is a toothache that does not linger.  However, if the toothache is in response to cold stimulus and it lingers for more than 10 seconds, the pulp within the tooth is said to be degrading or dying.  It is in the process of having irreversible damage to the pulp.  One important criteria for irreversible  pulpitis is lingering painful response to cold stimulus and is an indication for root canal therapy.  The dentist would perform clinical examination by doing percussion, palpation and cold test on the tooth.  If the tooth does not other aggravating conditions such as deep crack or severe decay, the tooth can be saved and the painful symptoms can be treated with the root canal therapy.

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

Cosmetic Dental Office in Tempe AZ — White Tooth-Colored Fillings, Porcelain Crowns, Veneers, Inlays, Onlays

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist

Pain Is Not The Only Reason to Fix A Tooth

<<  Topic in General Dentist Dentistry Dental Office in Tempe AZ >>

I would like to point that many people have misconceptions that a tooth only needs to be fixed, i.e. getting a dental filling, if there is pain.  If a tooth is already becoming painful or starting to becoming more sensitive, the nerve within the tooth might be affected and the tooth might require some additional treatment like the root canal therapy to alleviate the pain.  A filling is not enough to fix the tooth.  That’s because there might be some underlying dental problems such as dental cavities and infection that is so severe that it affects the nerve within the tooth.  Nerve chamber of the tooth is located at the most inner part of the tooth and only a deep cavity can affect the nerve to elicit painful response.

Another misconception is that some people will wait out the pain.  They might have some pain initially but they would not see the dentist because they hope that the pain will go away.  Sometimes the pain will go away.  Sometimes the pain goes away for the wrong reasons.  If there is an infection to the nerve within the tooth, the bacteria will continue to damage the nerve until the nerve dies.  The deaden nerve will not sense pain but it will continue to rot.  A tooth would sense pain only if there is dental problems.  It is best to see the dentist before the infection gets worse.

There are many other good reasons to see the dentist.  Dental cavity, ulcers, bad breathe, gum recessions, clenching and grinding habits can affect your teeth.  It is best to fix a small cavity before it gets too big.  If you can feel the pain, the cavity may already be too big.  A big cavity takes more effort and costs more to fix.  I as the dentist would recommend people to get routine dental checkup and cleanings at least two times a year.

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

Dental Office in Tempe AZ

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist

Calcified Plaque Can Cause “Toothache”

Calcified plaque are unremoved food debris that become hardened and adhered onto the surface of a tooth.  Within the calcified plaque, millions of bacteria can grow which causes localized inflammation to the gingival tissue around the tooth.  Also, the gingival pockets will enlarge and external stimulants such as cold water, sour beverages, etc can penetrate to the root surface of the tooth and causes “toothache.”  The root surface of the tooth is usually more prone to sensitivity because it does not have the outer enamel layer as the coronal portion of the tooth does.  So whenever there is stimulant reaching the root, the tooth is more susceptible to the stimulation.

The cure to this problem is to mechanically remove the calcified plaque within the sulcus of the tooth.  This can be done by a regular cleaning procedure if the person does not have periodontal disease.  However, if there is periodontal disease, then periodontal treatment such as scaling and root planing procedure, would be necessary.  Also, rinsing with medicated mouth rinse can help decrease the bacteria level and this decreases the inflammation.

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

Dental Office in Tempe AZ

Practicing Family Dentist Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona.