In our last issue we discussed some of the most common dental problems seen in dental offices today. We discussed Toothaches, Cavities and Chipped Teeth. In this issue we will continue our series focusing on the Cracked Tooth, Impacted Wisdom Tooth and Sensitive Teeth.
A cracked tooth is sometimes difficult to diagnose. Patient often complain of pain when they bite down on something. With 3D imaging and a peri-apical x-ray we are able to determine a small fracture line within the tooth. The condition of the cracked tooth determines the specific treatment that may be done. In most cases, it is recommended to construct a dental crown to cover the entire tooth and prevent deep and large cracks.
If you have teeth that are sensitive to temperature, the situation is more complicated. When the crack spreads to the gum line, the dentist may perform root canal treatment and restore with a full crown. In case of a deeper crack, you may need to have the tooth removed. Dental fillings sometimes increase the chance of a crack.
The two most common scenarios to find a cracked tooth are teeth with large silver fillings and teeth that were root canal treated These situations are reasons why dentists strongly suggest to protect these teeth with full crowns.
Impacted Wisdom Tooth:
Three out of four young adults have problems with their wisdom teeth. An impacted wisdom tooth means the tooth is trapped below the gum and/or bone at the back of the jaw. Often time the wisdom tooth pushes on the tooth in front of it, especially if it is leaning forward. This situation tends to create a plaque and food trap often resulting in an infection of the tissues surrounding the impacted tooth. This condition is called “pericoronitis”. In the majority of cases there is little or no pain and only a panoramic x-ray or 3D image scan can discover the details.
The most effective treatment for impacted teeth is extraction, usually by an oral surgeon or experienced dentist.
Sensitive teeth are common complaints by many patients. Many persons realize their teeth are sensitive when they eat something cold, like ice cream or drink a cold beverage. The cause of the sensitivity could be cavities, worn tooth enamel, fractured teeth, or exposed roots. Some of the other causes are below:
- Aggressive brushing or poor brushing technique or using a hard bristled brush
- Eating acidic foods such as citrus fruits, kiwi, pickles, etc. which gradually erode the teeth’s protective layer.
- Using an abrasive tooth paste like baking soda, sand, charcoal, etc
- Using mouth rinses that contain alcohol
- Have gum disease and with exposed roots
- Cracked or decayed teeth.
Here are a few home remedies to manage teeth sensitivity:
- Brushing twice per day with desensitizing toothpastes
- Rinsing with warm salt water in a ratio of 50/50
- Rinsing with hydrogen peroxide (50/50 ratio)
Desensitizing toothpastes contains fluoride that help to shield nerve endings from irritants. After a few uses, your sensitivity should decrease. Dentists also recommend using a soft-bristle toothbrush and low-acid or fluoride mouth rinses.
Salt and hydrogen peroxide mixed with water also are effective antiseptics and it can also help to reduce inflammation.
In closing, the recommended home remedies to manage acute pain associated with these common dental problems are not cures. It is therefore important that your follow good oral practices.
- Practice good oral hygiene: Brush your teeth after every meal and before bed, using floss to remove food particles in between teeth.
- Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to prevent irritation and abrasion.
- Limit your intake of acidic foods and drinks to prevent tooth enamel from being destroyed.
- Use a mouthguard at night if you grind your teeth.
- Schedule a dental visit every 6 months
Dr. Kendal V. O. Major is Founder and CEO of Center for Specialized Dentistry which is a comprehensive family dental practice operating in Nassau. He is the first Bahamian Specialist in gum diseases and dental implants since 1989. He also is a certified Fast braces provider. His practice is located at 89 Collins Avenue, Nassau at (242)325-5165 or [email protected].