Proper dental hygiene consisting of regular brushing and flossing, along with routine dental check-ups can go a long way towards identifying early signs of disease and preventing many common oral health problems.

But sometimes, in spite of best efforts, we still get cavities, suffer injury to the mouth or experience other problems with the teeth and gums. Having these concerns evaluated early can keep things from escalating to more complex issues.

But even if signs have been ignored, advanced oral health concerns can still be treated with specialized interventions designed to relieve pain and save your smile.

Tooth Pain

Pain is always a indicator that something is wrong, and whether it’s a new, small cavity or crack that is sensitive to heat or cold, or deep decay that prevents you from chewing or laying on one side of your head, it should be professionally evaluated.  Treatment begins by assessing overall oral health and the source of discomfort to determine if a tooth-colored filling will do the trick, or if an extraction may be necessary. A tooth is only extracted once it’s determined that it can not be saved by a root canal or other dental intervention.

Cracked, Chipped or Missing Teeth

Missing or cracked teeth due to decay, gum disease or injury can affect both one’s appearance and ability to chew certain foods.  The can become very painful when missing or compromised tooth structures leave sensitive roots exposed.

Dental restoration appliances like bridges and crowns are capable of covering large cavities and worn-down or decayed teeth, as well as filling voids in the smile.

Customized to each person’s mouth, bridges literally “bridge” gaps in the teeth, while crowns slide over individual teeth that may be damaged but are still in place, solving a host of dental issues and offering dramatic cosmetic improvement.

Root Infection

When a tooth is affected by deep decay or injury, its nerve and pulp can become inflamed and infected. Without treatment, an abscess may form. A chronic toothache that radiates across the jawline is an indicator this is the case.

If antibiotics prove ineffective at resolving infection, a root canal is often necessary to repair and save the tooth.

During a root canal procedure, the nerve of the tooth is removed and the pulp canals are cleaned and sealed. While this may sound drastic, it is a very common and safe procedure that does not affect the way the tooth works but can dramatically affect the way you feel.

Discolored Smile

There are a number of reasons your teeth may begin to look yellow or brownish over time. Poor oral hygiene early in life, aging/genetics, medications, disease, diet and lifestyle all can contribute.

Fortunately, teeth whitening is now a common and safe process designed to reveal whiter teeth without damage or sensitivity to teeth and gums.

Because everyone (and sometimes every tooth) responds differently to teeth whitening procedures, it is best to have it done professionally, so you can not only determine which whitening procedure will work best for you but so your dentist can monitor progress against your goals along the way.

Teeth Grinding/Jaw and Headache Pain

Sometimes patients are aware they grind or clench their teeth during stressful times or when sleeping because they suffer frequent headaches or jaw pain.  Others are unaware until their dentist shows them flattened tooth surfaces and worn-down enamel.

In both cases, grinding and clenching can cause irreparable tooth and jaw damage over time.

During your oral exam, your dentist will look for signs of teeth grinding and discuss potential causes such as sleep disorders, TMJ, bite issues, and other concerns that might need further evaluation.

They may also recommend a mouthguard to keep teeth from making contact when you are most likely to grind.  This is often when you’re sleeping but may be during other stressful times, such as during your work commute or when you’re on a deadline.

A mouthguard, sometimes called a night guard, is a custom-fitted appliance designed to prevent teeth from making contact, as well as align and relax the jaw muscles. This not only protects teeth from further damage, but substantially reduces — often even eliminates — pain in the jaw joints and the frequency of headaches a person may experience.

2X Year

When you maintain the recommended twice-yearly oral cleaning and check-up schedule, many of the most common dental issues can be identified and discussed when simpler interventions, such as fillings or appliances, will work instead of more drastic — and often more expensive — procedures being needed later on.

In the event of injury or other situations resulting in acute pain, emergency exams can always be scheduled.

Issues that affect your oral health or the confidence you have in your smile can be both physically and emotionally uncomfortable.  Some dental concerns, such as chronic bad breath, ulcerations and gum disease can even be a sign of other more serious, systemic health problems.

Regular dental check-ups are a vitally important part of keeping your smile clean and bright, and managing your overall health and wellness.

Contact Oak Hill Dental today to schedule your comprehensive cleaning and exam.