Why Do My Teeth Hurt?

Pain in your teeth is such a unique yet unpleasant feeling. The zings and throbbing that come along with a toothache are enough to make you miserable. We get it, and even though we don’t wish toothaches on anyone, the truth is, they happen. But sometimes the hardest part of treating a toothache is finding out what’s causing the pain in the first place. That’s where your dentist in Reno comes in. 

Common Reasons Why Your Teeth Hurt

A toothache is often different from other pains we experience throughout our bodies. Most of the time, we can’t see that anything is wrong with our teeth, but we sure can feel it. While it’s important to have your dentist properly diagnose the source of a toothache, here are some of the most common reasons behind tooth pain. 

  • Cavity

A cavity is essentially a hole in the tooth. If left untreated over time, the cavity will become larger. If the cavity gets so big that it gets too close to the nerves, you will feel it. Cavities can usually be fixed through fillings, but cavities that are too big and too deep may require a root canal. 

  • Abscess

Caused by a bacterial infection, an abscess is a pocket of pus that can pop up on different areas of our mouths. The pain is usually a throbbing type and it can move into the ears and jaw. Sometimes, an abscess also causes facial swelling or a bad taste in your mouth. 

  • Broken Tooth

Believe it or not, you can break or chip a tooth and not know it, that is until you feel it. A broken or chipped tooth can expose the nerves and cause pain. 

  • Clenching or Grinding

Habitually clenching your teeth when you’re stressed out or grinding your teeth at night can cause tooth pain. These habits can also lead to broken teeth as well as jaw pain. 

  • Gum Disease

It can be difficult to tell the difference between gum pain and tooth pain, and sometimes what we think is a toothache is actually a sign of gum disease. If not treated, gum disease can progress into more serious forms and increase pain, cause tooth loss, and even lead to other problems throughout the body. 

The best way to find out why your teeth hurt is to schedule an appointment with your dentist in Reno. We’ll perform an in-depth examination and take any x-rays we may need to find out once and for all what’s causing your tooth pain. After we know the culprit, we’ll know exactly how to fix it. 

What To Do For a Toothache

While you’re waiting for your dental appointment, there are several at-home toothache remedies you can try such as: 

  • Rinsing With Salt Water – Mix warm water with salt, take swig, swish, spit, and repeat. This can dry out any fluid that may be putting pressure on your nerves and ease the pain. You can repeat this several times throughout the day.
  • Applying Ice – There’s a reason doctors recommend using ice to treat any injury — it works! Ice reduces inflammation and, in turn, can relieve any pressure on the nerves. Apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel directly to the outside of your cheek next to the painful area.
  • Taking Anti-inflammatories – Another way to reduce inflammation is to take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine. Take these as directed and if your health history allows, and never apply an anti-inflammatory medication directly on your gums or teeth. 
  • Using Anesthetic – The next best thing to getting your toothache treated is to temporarily numb the area through the use of an anesthetic. Pharmacies and grocery stores carry over-the-counter oral anesthetics for this exact purpose.

Depending on what’s causing your tooth pain, some of these tips may work better than others. Try a few and find what gives you the most relief. But remember, these remedies are temporary. It’s still important to get a proper diagnosis and treatment from your dentist in Reno

How to Prevent Tooth Staining

Many everyday things can cause tooth staining, from your daily cup of coffee to your nightly glass of red wine. But don’t worry, your dentist in Reno has some good news. You don’t necessarily need to stop enjoying all the things that can stain your teeth. In fact, there are several things you can do to help prevent or reduce tooth staining from happening in the first place. 

Brush After Eating

There are tons of foods and drinks that can cause tooth discoloration, including wine, pasta sauce, coffee, and soft drinks. In fact, the longer a staining agent is left around, the more serious the stain can be, and the harder it can be to remove. But if you’re diligent about brushing your teeth after every meal, you can reduce tooth staining. 

When in Doubt, Rinse Your Mouth

Let’s face it, there are going to be times when you don’t have a toothbrush readily available or when you simply won’t be able to brush your teeth after a meal. When this happens, the next best thing to do is rinse your mouth out with water. Water can help neutralize acids that can lead to decay and, in turn, discoloration, and it can also wash away any staining agents from your dinner. 

Use the Right Tools

If you know you consume a lot of things that can stain your teeth, you may benefit from using a whitening toothpaste as well as an electric toothbrush. Whitening toothpaste can effectively remove surface stains but you should make sure to use one that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. These kinds of toothpaste have been evaluated, for both safety and efficacy. Additionally, using an electric toothbrush may help you brush your teeth more efficiently and remove stains, bacteria, and plaque. Talk with your dentist in Reno to find the best toothpaste and toothbrush for your teeth. 

Stick to a Straw

When you’re drinking tooth-staining liquids you can actually reduce the amount of staining by simply choosing to drink with a straw. Sipping through a straw reduces the amount of liquid that comes in contact with your teeth, as well as the amount of time the liquid has on your teeth, therefore reducing the likelihood of staining. 

While these tips can help reduce tooth staining, the fact of the matter is nothing will ever completely eliminate it. Over time, our teeth will become dull even if we follow the above suggestions perfectly. But there’s good news. Your dentist in Reno has cosmetic dentistry treatments available to help whiten teeth or cover up stains. 

If you’re looking for ways to get a whiter smile, we welcome you to contact us today. 

Can Your Dentist Tell If You Smoke? 

Many smokers try to disguise their habit by covering up the smell with gum, mints, or mouthwash. But the truth is, your dentist in Reno can probably still tell that you’re a smoker even if you don’t share that information. In actuality, there’s a lot your dentist can tell about you and your health simply by looking in your mouth. 

Your bi-annual dental visits are a great opportunity for both you and your dentist to catch up, share and discuss any changes that may have happened in your oral or overall health, and for your dental team to thoroughly clean and exam your teeth. But did you know that it’s important to share your habits and health history with your dentist? It’s true! Talking with your dentist about things, even if you’re embarrassed by them, can help make your dental care better. Additionally, there are even some things your dentist can tell about you even if you choose not to disclose that information.  

3 Things Your Dentist Already Knows

  • You Bite Your Nails

Your dentist in Reno doesn’t need to be a trained manicurist to know that you bite your nails. How? Nail biters tend to have tiny chips and cracks in their teeth more often than those who don’t bite their nails. And that’s not all. A nail biter’s front teeth can appear worn down, shortened, or flat. Both of these side effects of nail-biting are concerning as they can lead to other problems. Chips and cracks provide a place for bacteria to nest, increasing the risk of decay. These tiny imperfections can also become bigger over time and cause sensitivity and broken teeth. Lastly, the change in tooth shape can throw off your bite and cause jaw pain for TMD/TMJ disorder. 

  • You Only Floss Right Before Your Appointments

While we’re impressed with your last-minute flossing session and we appreciate the attempt, we will know if this is the only time, or one of the only times, since you’ve flossed since your last appointment. The truth is, while you probably did a good job at removing anything that was lingering in between your teeth, your gums can still tell on you. When you don’t floss regularly, your gums will often be red and puffy and will most likely bleed during your hygiene visit. A common misconception is that everyone’s gums bleed at the dentist, and this simply isn’t true. Healthy gums that are flossed regularly won’t bleed. 

  • You Don’t Brush Your Teeth

Patients that don’t brush their teeth twice a day, every day, or those who do a bad job at thoroughly brushing will have several tell-tale signs that your dentist in Reno will see immediately. The proof is in both the health of your gums as well as what’s left lingering on your teeth. Avid brushers typically have healthy, pink gums and minimal tartar buildup whereas casual brushers usually show larger areas of tartar and red, swollen gums. 

We always encourage you to share any habits or concerns with your dentist in Reno. Don’t be afraid to talk to your dental team, even if it’s something you feel like you should hide. Your dentist, like your physician, is a crucial part of your healthcare team, and the more they know, the better they can care for your teeth and overall health.

Diabetes & Oral Health

November is Diabetes Awareness Month and strives to raise awareness of a chronic disease that affects nearly 30 million Americans. But what does this have to do with your dentist in Reno? Well, the truth is, there is a strong connection between oral health and diabetes, and it’s ever more important for diabetics to take care of their teeth. In fact, research shows that diabetes can result in complications throughout the body including heart, kidney, nerve, eye, and gum disease. Here are a few easy ways to protect your teeth and your overall health. 

The Importance of Oral Hygiene

One of the best ways for diabetics and non-diabetics to reduce their risk of gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene. This means brushing your teeth at least twice a day, gently brushing your tongue, and flossing daily. However, just quickly brushing or using the wrong tools won’t do much to protect your teeth. Make sure you brush for two minutes, use fluoride toothpaste to protect teeth against decay, and use gentle circular motions to effectively remove plaque and bacteria without damaging your enamel. 

Additionally, it’s also incredibly important to see your dentist in Reno at least every six months for a deeper professional cleaning that will remove plaque buildup that at-home brushing alone won’t touch.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Diabetics know just how important it is to choose healthy foods to maintain their blood sugar levels. But eating a well-balanced diet can also help protect oral and overall health. Fresh crunchy fruits and crisp vegetables can fuel your body with essential nutrients and can also help gently scrub bacteria off of your teeth in between brushings. And of course, your dentist in Reno would caution anyone, especially diabetics, of eating too much sugar. This includes hidden sugars that are often found in foods with a lot of carbohydrates. Make sure to work with your doctor to find a dietary plan that works for you and your body. 

Check Your Blood Sugar Regularly

While this is a regular part of every diabetic’s life, checking and maintaining healthy blood glucose levels is crucial to protecting your health. This is true for oral health, too. If your numbers are not controlled properly, you can experience loose teeth, gum disease, and other issues. But that’s not all. If there is an infection such as gum disease in the body, blood glucose levels will become elevated and can be difficult to control. 

Our dental office in Reno is dedicated to doing our part to help raise awareness about how diabetes can affect oral health during Diabetes Awareness Month and all year long. To help us better care for you, make sure to share your health history with your dental team and discuss any changes in your mouth or overall health with your dentist at each visit.

Whole-Body Benefits of Good Oral Health

You may have heard the saying that the eyes are the window to the soul. While that may be true, your dentist in Reno wants you to know that the mouth is in fact the window to overall health. Years of research continues to show just how important oral health is to overall health and how issues with your teeth or gums could increase your risk for more severe health issues elsewhere in your body, which makes proper oral hygiene even more important. 

What Oral Health Can Say About Overall Health

Your mouth can actually give your dentist in Reno a glimpse at what may be happening in other areas of your body. Several whole-body problems can even first show signs in the mouth before anywhere else… and before you even suspect a problem. In fact, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, more than 90% of all systemic diseases display symptoms in the mouth including: 

  • HIV/AIDS
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney Disease
  • Oral Cancer

Seeing your dentist in Reno regularly can help catch these problems early and get you into treatment sooner. 

Gum Disease & Your Health

The connection between oral health and overall health doesn’t end there and goes even deeper to show a link between gum disease and other diseases throughout the body. According to the Mayo Clinic, gum disease is often related to other health issues such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Preterm births
  • Pneumonia
  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia 

Protect Your Teeth, Protect Your Health

Having good oral health clearly has whole-body benefits, so it’s more important than ever to practice good oral hygiene habits. Make sure to:

  • Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day. 
  • Floss daily to remove bacteria from hard-to-reach places that brushing alone won’t reach.
  • Keep sugary foods and drinks to a minimum and focus on eating a diet rich with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and proteins.
  • Avoid tobacco use.
  • See your dentist every six months. 

If it’s been a while since you’ve seen a dentist, we’re here to help. Our welcoming team is dedicated to caring for each and every one of our patients, no matter what. There is no judgment in our office, only genuine care and an unwavering commitment to oral and overall health. Call today to schedule an appointment.

October is National Dental Hygiene Month

Every October, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and Colgate sponsor a month-long celebration for dental hygienists around the country. Dental hygienists are crucial members of your healthcare team and are responsible for keeping patients’ mouths (and bodies) healthy. This year, the theme for National Dental Hygiene Month is Faces of Courage, and rightfully so. Join your dentist in Reno as we celebrate our dental hygienists by sharing just what they do and promote how you can become one yourself. 

Duties of a Dental Hygienist 

Your dental hygienist plays a key role in helping your mouth stay healthy and cavity and disease-free. They’re also often the first line of defense as well as the first person you’ll meet with when you visit your dentist in Reno. Even though the main responsibility of a dental hygienist is to clean teeth, they also do a lot more including: 

1) Cleaning Teeth – Let’s talk about the most obvious responsibility of a dental hygienist — cleaning teeth. Now, even though you may brush and floss every day, the cleaning you get from your hygienist is different than the one you get at home. Hygienists are trained to gently remove plaque and tartar buildup that a regular brushing won’t touch, which gives you a super-clean feel and super-protected mouth. 

2) Learning About Your Health – But as we’ve mentioned before, your dental hygienist does so much more than clean your teeth. One of those additional duties is learning and getting to know each and every patient on a personal level. This means your hygienist will often talk with you about your oral health and overall health history, discuss concerns you may have, and review medications or ailments. Doing so allows them to both know you better and treat you better every time you visit your dentist in Reno

3) Educating Patients – Our dental hygienists are passionate about teeth and are committed to doing everything they can to help patients stay healthy. They’re always quick to offer up tips on the best way to brush your teeth, how to floss, and can even tell you what products to use so you can maintain excellent oral health. 

4) Focusing on Prevention – There’s a good reason we recommend a dental cleaning every six months — to prevent problems from happening in the first place. To do this, your hygienist will often apply fluoride or sealants to protect teeth from the damaging effects of acids and bacteria. 

Keep in mind, different states and different regions have different rules, so some of these responsibilities can change from area to area and office to office.

How Many Years Does it Take to Become a Dental Hygienist? 

Depending on the program and degree level, it takes anywhere between 2-4 years to become a dental hygienist. Dental hygienists must complete at least two years of schooling at a community college, technical school, or university. Usually a hygienist will earn an associate’s degree, but higher-level degrees are also available. After earning a diploma, hygienists are then required to take a state, local, or regional licensing test before they can practice in a dental office. 

Now that you know a little bit more about all of the things dental hygienists do to keep you healthy, make sure you thank them the next time you visit your dentist in Reno.

How Cancer Treatment Affects Your Mouth

 

As we head into the month of October, we tend to see pink ribbons everywhere in support of breast cancer research and breast cancer patients. Cancer is one of those scary words nobody wants to hear, and it can cause feelings of uncertainness and weariness of what treatment will bring. While there are sure to be many thoughts racing through your mind following any cancer diagnosis, there’s one thing you may not immediately think of — seeing your dentist in Reno. However, this visit, and follow up visits, can actually help make cancer treatment more successful. 

 

Chemotherapy

The cancer treatment we tend to be most familiar with is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy has been used for many years and can help kill cancer cells. However, it certainly doesn’t come without side effects. While these side effects can affect any area of the body, there are certain ones that directly affect the mouth. Sometimes these side effects are so serious that your medical team may decide to temporarily stop treatment until the side effects are resolved. To help avoid this, it’s important to see your dentist in Reno prior to starting chemotherapy. 

Chemotherapy and Oral Health

As we’ve mentioned, chemotherapy can be really effective at killing cancer cells. But it can also harm healthy cells in the process, including cells in the mouth. This damage can affect any part of your mouth from your teeth to the soft tissues such as your gums and the glands that create saliva. Some common oral health side effects of chemotherapy include: 

  • Pain with eating or talking
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dry mouth
  • Sores or ulcers
  • Peeling, burning tongue
  • Infection

These side effects can happen to anyone, and they do tend to vary from person to person. Make sure you talk with your cancer treatment team as well as your dentist in Reno during treatment so any side effects are caught and treated early. If they’re not, some infections or side effects can be so severe they’ll cause a delay or pause in your cancer treatment. 

The Importance of Regular Dentistry

Seeing your dentist every six months is recommended for everyone, but those undergoing cancer treatment may need to visit more often. After all, your dentist in Reno is a key part of your cancer treatment team, and seeing them regularly can help avoid or keep serious side effects at bay. Additionally, if you see your dentist before treatment begins, you can rest assured that you’ll start treatment with an already healthy mouth, reducing the risk of complications. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer, schedule an appointment with your dentist, ideally one month prior to beginning treatment.

How to Fix a Gummy Smile

Having a gummy smile can affect someone’s self-confidence, and if you’re someone who sees more gum tissue than teeth when smiling or talking, you may know exactly what we’re talking about. In fact, it’s not uncommon for your dentist in Reno to hear patients say they’re embarrassed by their smiles, and some even avoid smiling as much as possible because they’re so worried about their appearance. This is no way to live, especially when there are treatments available to fix a gummy smile. 

The Best Way to Fix a Gummy Smile

If you’ve been bothered by your gummy smile for a while, you may have been searching for a solution for quite some time. But fixing a gummy smile isn’t as easy as a one-size-fits-all solution. Your dentist in Reno will first need to perform an exam and oftentimes x-rays and other photos in order to get an accurate picture of what’s causing your gummy smile and determine the best way to fix it. Depending on your specific situation, some of the potential treatments to fix your gummy smile may include:  

  • Scaling & Root Planing

Sometimes a gummy smile is caused by an infection of the gum tissue. This infection can cause gums to become swollen and inflamed, covering more of your white teeth than you’d like. If this is the case, your dentist in Reno will most likely want to start with a deep teeth cleaning called scaling and root planing. A scaling and root planing treatment removes bacteria up under the gum line and can help remove infection, inflammation, and the gummy look. However, if this treatment alone doesn’t resolve the infection or give you the appearance you’re looking for, additional gum disease treatment or cosmetic dentistry treatment may be appropriate.

  • Gum Lift & Crown Lengthening

Many times a gummy smile is the result of the way our teeth erupted, and genetics may be to blame. As our adult teeth are forming and erupting, sometimes there’s just too much gum tissue covering the teeth. The good news is often there’s healthy enamel hiding just under the gum overgrowth all we have to do is uncover it. This is when a gum lift or crown lengthening comes into play. A gum lift procedure does exactly what it sounds like — lifts and removes the excess gum tissue to reveal more of each tooth. Now, when there’s an overabundance of tissue, your dentist may recommend a crown lengthening. This procedure removes and restructures the gum tissue as well as the bones around the teeth. The result of both procedures is fewer gums and more teeth. 

  • Lip Lowering

Another likely cause of a gummy smile is a hyperactive upper lip which occurs when the muscles of the upper lip are too active. This can cause the upper lip near the nose to protrude up too high and show off more of the gums than normal. The best way to fix a hyperactive upper lip is through lip lowering treatment. During this procedure, a small section of the gum tissue under the upper lip is removed, and then the remaining top and bottom are reconnected, ultimately shortening the lip and making it impossible for the upper lip to rise as high as it used to. 

  • Orthodontics

Orthodontics, including traditional metal braces as well as invisible aligners such as Invisalign and ClearCorrect, may also be the best way to fix a gummy smile, especially if you have a bad bite. You see, a bad bite occurs when the top jaw and bottom jaw don’t align properly. This can cause several oral health problems, including jaw pain, and when the top jaw protrudes out farther than it should, a gummy smile. Fixing the bite can resolve a gummy smile and give you super-straight teeth at the same time — bonus! 

Nobody should have to live a life where they are embarrassed to smile and laugh. They should feel confident about the way their smile looks so they can truly share their emotions with the world. If you’re embarrassed by your gummy smile, don’t wait any longer. Schedule an appointment with your dentist in Reno today and start living a life full of confidence and smiles!

4 Things That Cause Teeth to Fall Out

 

 

When many of us think about losing our teeth, we may assume that this is something that just happens as we get older. But, according to the American Dental Association, more Americans are keeping their teeth longer than ever before, which is great news! However, this doesn’t just happen naturally and there are things we need to do to increase our chances of keeping all of our teeth for life. Because of this, your dentist in Reno wants to share some of the most common things that cause teeth to fall out so you can do everything you can to avoid them. 
 

Gum Disease

The number one cause of tooth loss in American adults is gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Gum disease occurs when bacteria work their way up under the gum tissue and settle in, causing an infection. This infection can be treated if caught early, but if it’s not taken care of, it will begin to destroy both the gum tissue and the jaw bone — both of which help hold teeth in place. Without this support structure, teeth will become loose and eventually fall out. 

Cavities

Almost all of us have experienced at least one cavity and know the discomfort that can come along with it. The reason cavities hurt is that a cavity is essentially a tiny hole in a tooth that may affect the inner workings of the tooth where the nerves and roots are held. The result is the all too familiar zing of tooth pain. Cavities can be treated quickly and easily by your dentist in Reno if they’re caught early. However, when they’re left untreated, cavities can destroy a tooth from the inside out and either require a root canal or result in a lost tooth. 

Accidents or Trauma

Even if you take perfect care of your teeth you may still experience tooth loss as a result of an accident or trauma. Tooth loss is an incredibly common side effect of many sports injuries and even car accidents or falls. While we can’t do much to completely avoid accidents or trauma to our teeth, we can take certain preventive measures such as wearing a mouthguard every time we play a sport. 

Whole-Body Health Concerns

Other common causes of tooth loss in adults don’t initially appear to have anything to do with the mouth and actually originate and directly affect other areas of the body. However, there is a strong correlation between what happens in our bodies and what happens in our mouths. Therefore, there are several whole-body health concerns that can increase the risk of tooth loss, such as: 

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Poor Diet
  • Arthritis

Nobody wants to experience tooth loss, but the good news is there are some simple things you can do to give yourself the best chance of keeping your teeth for life. Make sure you brush and floss your teeth every single day, avoid smoking or using tobacco products, and of course, see your dentist in Reno at least every six months for regular checkups and cleanings

Is Getting a Root Canal Really That Bad? 

When someone tells you that they need to have a root canal, do you immediately grimace and start thanking your lucky stars that it’s not happening to you? You’re not alone. Many people who hear the words “root” and “canal” together shudder in fear. After all, this dental treatment doesn’t have the best reputation. But we’re here to tell you that all the horror stories, all of the overdramatic representations of root canals on television, and all of the terror surrounding them are unnecessary. That’s right, your dentist in Reno wants you to know that getting a root canal isn’t really all that bad.  

Why Are People Scared of Root Canals? 

Historically, and before the dental technology that we have now, getting a root canal may have been a bit different than today. That, paired with how root canals are represented in entertainment, has created a long-standing assumption that root canals are terrible, horrible, and super painful. However, thanks to advances in technology, root canal treatment is very similar to that of having a cavity filled. 

What Does a Root Canal Do for Someone? 

A root canal may be recommended by your dentist in Reno if decay or infection has moved deep into the inner workings of the tooth and a filling alone won’t fix the problem. This level of decay or infection also tends to come along with tooth pain, but a root canal will successfully remove the decay and actually ease the pain. So thanks to a root canal, your pain will be relieved and your tooth will be saved.

What’s Involved in a Root Canal Treatment? 

Understanding a root canal treatment can really help decrease fear or anxiety and overturn old assumptions of what treatment is like. Let’s take a closer look at how a dentist in Reno performs a root canal. 

  • First, your dentist will completely numb the area so you won’t feel a thing. This makes a root canal virtually pain free. 
  • Next, a tiny hole is made in the affected tooth which allows your dentist to access the inside where all the roots and nerves are located.
  • Then, the area is thoroughly cleaned out. Your dentist will empty out the tooth canals and remove everything inside including, any infection, pulp, and nerves. This completely eliminates that tooth’s ability to feel anything, alleviating the pain you had prior to treatment. 
  • Finally, the canals are sealed and capped off with a dental crown to keep anything from getting back inside the tooth. 

Do You Need a Root Canal? 

Besides tooth pain, there are other signs that you may need a root canal including: 

  • Increased pain while chewing or with applied pressure
  • Sensitivity to heat or cold that doesn’t go away quickly
  • A small raised bump on the gums near the tooth that hurts
  • Tooth discoloration 
  • Gum inflammation  

Any of the above or any combination thereof may indicate that you need a root canal. However, not every case of tooth pain, sensitivity, or inflammation automatically means a root canal is in your future. Talk with your dentist in Reno to find the source of these problems as well as the best treatment for your specific situation. 

If you think you may need a root canal, schedule an appointment with your dentist sooner rather than later. Getting treatment earlier can make all the difference in saving your tooth. And if you do need a root canal, remember that it’s to help make the pain go away, not to cause it.