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Why Does My Tooth Hurt?

Cavities are not the only cause of a toothache. Schedule an appointment with us to know what's causing the pain.

Cavities are not the only cause of a toothache. Schedule an appointment with us to know what’s causing the pain.

Most of us have experienced some type of toothache at some point in our lifetime, and the possible causes for the discomfort are numerous. At the first sign of tooth pain, many people immediately begin to fear that they have developed a cavity. It’s an understandable first impression, however, it’s also not uncommon for these same people to learn that their pain wasn’t coming from a cavity at all. A trip to the dentist is often the only way to get to the bottom of the problem.

Basic Dental Anatomy

A basic understanding of your oral anatomy will help you to better understand the source(s) of a toothache. Your teeth are alive! They have nerves and a blood supply to keep them healthy. The outer layer of your teeth, the enamel, helps to protect everything on the inside of your tooth.

Directly underneath the enamel is the dentin, another hard layer that’s composed of microscopic tubes that communicate with the nerves inside your teeth. If these tubes become exposed, it can result in an increased sensitivity to heat, cold, sweets, and/or other stimuli. The pulp houses the tooth’s nerve and blood supply. If the nerve becomes inflamed, it can become extremely sensitive to temperature fluctuations.

Why do I have a Toothache?

As mentioned previously, toothaches result from a number of different causes:

  • A cavity is the result of bacteria eroding holes through the enamel of a tooth, thereby exposing the dentin and/or pulp.
  • Losing an old filling also exposes your tooth’s sensitive interior, which can cause discomfort as well.
  • A dental abscess (infection) results in a build up of pressure around the root of your tooth, which can cause varying degrees of discomfort.
  • Grinding your teeth can also cause toothaches by wearing away the enamel on your teeth and/or causing gum recession that can lead to irritation of the tissues around the teeth.
  • Gingivitis and periodontal disease (gum disease) begins with bacterial growth in your mouth that can lead to destruction of the tissue that surrounds your teeth if not properly treated.
  • Believe it or not, pain in your upper teeth can even be the direct result of a sinus infection.

We hope that this information serves as a jumping-off point for you if you’re experiencing any sort of oral discomfort. It’s extremely important for everyone to note, however, that it is impossible to know the absolute cause of a toothache without paying a visit to a qualified dental professional. West Meade Dental will provide you with the comprehensive dental care necessary to keep you smiling confidently for years to come. Schedule an appointment to come and see us today!

The Damage Smoking Can Do

We don’t need to tell you that smoking is bad for your health. But since we help current and former smokers deal with the damage smoking causes to their teeth on a daily basis at West Meade Dental, we figure it’s worth talking about some of the specific dental problems that come along with cigarettes.

Smoking can damage your beautiful smile and cause serious health problems.

Smoking can damage your beautiful smile and cause serious health problems.

How Smoking Affects Dental Health

The Nicotine and tar in cigarettes each take their toll on teeth. Tar contributes considerably to the yellow and brown staining many smokers complain about. Nicotine brings along far more serious issues too.

Nicotine directly affects the blood vessels in your mouth, minimizing the blood flow to your gums and the bone that supports your teeth. That does two particularly bad things: It limits your body’s ability to fight infection there, and hides the response to infection, so you’re potentially unaware of the problem until it gets more serious. Nicotine also affects your saliva, minimizing its ability to dull acids that come from the foods we eat. Add that all up, and you have the recipe for serious tooth trouble.

Let’s Talk About Gum (Or Periodontal) Disease

You’ve likely heard the term “gum disease” plenty of times through the years, from your dentist or in mouthwash and toothpaste commercials. But here are some specifics about gum disease (or periodontal disease) that are well worth knowing about, particularly if you’re a smoker.

– If you’re diagnosed with periodontal disease, it means that you have an infection in your gum tissue and/or the bones supporting your teeth. And like any infection, if it isn’t dealt with, it’ll spread and get worse.

– Symptoms can include persistent bad breath, red and swollen gums, receding or bleeding gums, even loose or lost teeth.

– In its milder form (Gingivitus), the infection is more confined to the tissue in your gums, and since sufferers usually don’t experience pain, it’s common that it goes unchecked and untreated. With more serious periodontal disease, or Periodontitis, the bone that holds your teeth can be affected, leading to tooth loss.

– You’re more likely to have periodontal disease if you smoke. According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a little over eight percent of adults ages 20 to 64 surveyed were periodontal disease sufferers. If you’re looking at current smokers, the percentage is almost twice as high.

What West Meade Dental Can Do To Help

Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your dental health. If you’re dealing with damage brought on by smoking, there are some things West Meade Dental can do to help you.

Professional Cleaning
During a cleaning, we can remove plaque and tartar buildup to limit the likelihood of gum separation and gum disease.

Teeth Whitening and Porcelain Veneers
Tooth yellowing or discoloration from smoking doesn’t have to be permanent. In a lot of cases, we can whiten your smile considerably and make you feel more comfortable and more confident with our professional teeth whitening services. More significantly stained teeth that are still relatively healthy could benefit from porcelain veneers, which attach to the front of your teeth to bring a bright new appearance.

Other Cosmetic Dentistry
If you’ve lost teeth due to gum disease or other issues, West Meade Dental can bring your smile back. We specialize in porcelain crowns and bridges, implants and full or partial dentures, and we can tell you what approach will work best for your needs.

If you have any questions about the effects of smoking on dental health, don’t hesitate to call West Meade Dental – we’re always glad to help.

Beware of Gum Disease

What You Need to Know About Gum Disease

Are you having trouble eating properly because you’re tooth hurts? Have you experienced brushing your teeth for the fifth consecutive time already but still your breath smells bad? It’s time you learn why this is happening and how you can prevent this from worsening.

Periodontal or gum disease is the inflammation of the soft tissue and the loss of fragile bones surrounding your teeth and gums. The usual symptoms of gum disease is bad breath and bleeding due to sensitive gums .This is caused by the accumulation of bacteria found in “plaque”; a clear sticky substance produced by the mouth. The bacteria feed on the food you put in your mouth thus producing harmful toxins. These toxins irritate your gums making them bleed every time you brush.

If your gums are swollen or bleeding, it is time to schedule a visit with your dentist. This is a symptom of gingivitis, which can develop into gum disease.

If your gums are swollen or bleeding, it is time to schedule a visit with your dentist. This is a symptom of gingivitis, which can develop into gum disease.

This “plaque” can harden, if not properly cleaned by a dentist. This can then transform itself to become tartar or calculus which can worsen the irritation and slowly pull your teeth away from each other. If left unattended, this can cause gingivitis which is characterized by swollen gums and massive bleeding. This is milder compared to periodontitis where your teeth might eventually get loose and need immediate removal.

Aside from the main cause of gum disease which is “plaque”, other factors can cause this as well. If you think that smoking can only affect your lungs, you’re wrong. It can also affect your mouth as well. The hazardous chemicals it has can cause your gums to swell.

Poor nutrition and stress can also put you at risk. Because you’re not getting the right amount of nutrition in your body, it makes it hard for your immune system to fight the infection in your gums.

Medications also affect your susceptibility to this disease. Drugs like antidepressants, oral contraceptives and over the counter prescriptions can affect your oral health. This reduces the production of saliva in your mouth which serves as protection to your gum line. Your mouth then becomes vulnerable to infection. Some medicines cause abnormal growth of gum tissue thus making it harder to keep them clean.

There are some, despite all the necessary precautions made, who are genetically susceptible to the disease. This is a matter of a long line of ancestors with the same problem. This can still be prevented by thorough check-ups and regular cleaning from your dentist.

Legacy Hill Dentistry provides the best of health care services in dentistry with their state of the art equipment and tools. They are composed of a team of excellent dental hygienists that can clean and fix the damages of gum disease; making sure it can never happen again. They have been serving the people of Smyrna, Tennessee since 1995 and have since become the choice of many satisfied customers. You are sure to leave with a pearly white smile on your face.

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