What Are Teeth Made Of?

closeup of a woman's teeth

Have you ever thought about what your teeth are made of? Here, we’ll give you a rundown of what’s inside your pearly whites.

Teeth

But first, let’s discuss what exactly is inside your mouth. Most adults have 32 permanent teeth, meaning the teeth that come in after you’ve lost your baby teeth. The middlemost four teeth on your upper and lower jaws are called the incisors and there are 8 in total. Next are the 4 canines, the pointed teeth that are next to the incisors on both the upper and lower jaws. Then there are the 8 premolars which are the teeth that are in between the canines and molars on the upper and lower jaws. Next are the molars, which are the 8 flat teeth in the back of the mouth that are used to grind up your food. Last are your 4 wisdom teeth all the way in the back. These are usually removed after they’ve erupted in order to prevent them from displacing other teeth.

Now onto what’s inside your teeth.

Enamel

The first layer of your tooth is called the enamel. It is the hardest part of your tooth and made of calcium phosphate. It acts as the first line of defense against any dental issues such as cavities. Acid can weaken the enamel and lead to tooth decay.

Dentin

Dentin is the next layer and is hard tissue that contains microscopic tubes. It’s more delicate than your enamel and if that outer layer is weakened, cold and heat can reach the dentin and cause tooth sensitivity. Naturally yellow in color, if your enamel has thinned out, the dentin layer can show through and cause your teeth to look discolored.

Pulp

The next layer is called the pulp. This is the soft, living inner structure of the tooth, considered living because connective tissue, nerves, and blood vessels run through the pulp to nourish the tooth. The pulp has two parts: the pulp chamber, located in the crown of the tooth, and the root canal, located in the root of the tooth. Blood vessels and nerves enter the root and go through the canal into the pulp chamber.

Cementum

The cementum is the next layer, and is composed of connective tissue that covers the outside of the root under the gum line. Cementum is hard as bone and firmly binds the roots of the teeth to the gums and jawbone.

Periodontal ligament

The last part of your tooth is called the periodontal ligament. This is a tissue that holds the teeth against the jaw.

We Care About Your Teeth!

We care about your teeth and overall oral health. If you have any other questions about the composition of your teeth, any oral health concerns, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today!

Can Problems with Teeth Give You a Headache?

curly haired girl holding her jaw with a toothache that has led to a headache

Sometimes, dealing with the side effects of a dental problem can feel like a headache. Other times, your teeth may be directly responsible for your headache! Today, we want to discuss some of the ways your teeth and mouth can be responsible for your headaches so you can get the answers and treatment you need to feel your best.

Grinding Your Teeth Can Lead to Headaches

Do you grind your teeth at night? In addition to potential damage to your teeth from grinding, nocturnal teeth grinding (also known as bruxism) can lead to headaches during the day. Grinding your teeth at night puts additional strain on your jaw muscles that can cause tension headaches. In order to treat tooth grinding and alleviate the resulting headaches, our team will work to determine the root cause of your teeth grinding. Common causes include stress, bite alignment issues, and sleep apnea.

Jaw Issues & Headaches

A misaligned bite can cause ripple effects throughout your head and mouth. When your bite is off, the muscles in your jaw need to work harder to help you chew and talk. This results in muscle strain along with popping, clicking, and locking in the jaw. Even worse, this can cause pain to radiate throughout your head and cause headaches. To treat alignment issues, Dr. Desai may turn to orthodontic options or a custom oral appliance that gently shifts the position of your jaw while you sleep.

Toothaches & Headaches

Toothaches resulting from cavities and infections can also lead to headache pain. However, headaches caused by tooth decay are typically just on one side of the head and can be eased by treating the damaged tooth through root canal therapy, fillings, or through other means.

Contact Us for Treatment Options

If you’ve been living with regular headaches, our team wants to help. The first step in treating your headaches will be to determine the root cause. Then, we will work together to come up with a treatment plan that gives you the relief you need. To ask our team any questions or to schedule an appointment, contact us today!

What Is a Dead Tooth?

Of all the tooth trouble you could be faced with, a dead tooth might sound the most dire by name, and certainly the creepiest. In this blog post, we’ll let you know how to spot a dead tooth, and help you understand why you might have one.

What’s a Dead Tooth?

When a tooth is healthy, the pulp and the nerves that reside within its hard, outer shell are healthy, and it’s considered alive. When that matter within the tooth is damaged, thanks to decay or injury, it is possible for blood flow to the tooth to halt, causing the tooth to die.

woman punching man in the jaw with boxing gloves causing a dead tooth

What Causes a Dead Tooth?

One possible cause is trauma. If you have an accident and your tooth gets hit with enough force, the tooth might end up dying. That death can occur quickly, or it might take months. Poor dental care is another common cause of tooth death. If you fail to brush and floss regularly and visit the dentist for your biannual cleaning and exam, you’re putting your teeth at risk and a dead tooth can come as a result. Without proper oral hygiene, cavities are nearly inevitable. If left untreated, that decay targets and infects the tooth pulp, leading to that loss of blood flow and the eventual loss of the tooth’s vitality.

Spotting a Dead Tooth

The most apparent and outward sign of a dead tooth is discoloration. While healthy teeth should be a shade of white, if a little bit yellow, a dead tooth will stand out amongst the other teeth as discolored. Dead teeth can be yellow, brown, gray, or black, and that discoloration tends to deepen over time. Additionally, if you’re dealing with a dead tooth, you may feel pain, experience foul breath and/or a bad taste in your mouth, or see swelling around the affected tooth.

If you think you might have a dead tooth, it’s crucial that we tend to the tooth quickly so that the problem doesn’t spread. Make an appointment to come see us here at North Richland Hills Dentistry as soon as you can.

Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

What Is Phantom Tooth Pain?

Phantom tooth pain—also variously known by the technical names “atypical facial pain,” “atypical odontalgia,” and “neuropathic orofacial pain,” is one of the most mysterious conditions in the field of oral health. Chronic pain in a tooth or teeth is the defining characteristic. However, unlike the typical toothache, there is no evidence of decay, periodontal disease, injury, or other identifiable cause.

man holding his head in pain from phantom tooth pain

Symptoms

Constant throbbing or aching in a tooth, teeth, or extraction site that is persistent and unremitting is how phantom tooth pain is usually described. In addition, hot or cold sensations do not significantly affect the pain, and even local anesthetic often cannot relieve it. The intensity ranges from mild to severe.

What Causes It & Who Is Most Likely to Get It?

It is theorized that phantom tooth pain is caused by changes in parts of the brain that process pain signals, causing a persistent sensation of pain even when an identifiable source of pain does not exist. Why this happens, however, is not known. Genetics, age, and gender seem to play a role, with women and those older than middle-age being the most affected.

How Is It Diagnosed & Treated?

If a review of the patient’s history, a thorough clinical examination, and radiographic assessment cannot identify the source of pain, a diagnosis of phantom tooth pain is often made. Various medications have been used in an attempt to treat it, with tricyclic antidepressants being the most common. Generally, treatment is successful in reducing the pain but not eliminating it completely.

If you have any symptoms of phantom tooth pain, be sure to contact us at North Richland Hills Dentistry right away so Dr. Desai can evaluate your specific situation and help you determine the best course of action.

Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

What Is a Frenectomy?

A frenectomy sounds serious and scary, so when your dentist says you may need one, it’s common to feel a little nervous. We’ll explain what this procedure actually entails, and if you should take any precautions with your oral health before or after you’ve had one.

What Are Frenula?

A frenulum is just a small bit of tissue that helps prevent a particular organ from moving much. They are very helpful in keeping everything in their place, giving you more control over those particular parts of your body.

wide open toothy mouth displaying frenula

Frenectomy Definition

A frenectomy involves removing a frenulum. There are three types of frenectomies that are common in dentistry:
1. Lingual: Removal of the tissue that connects your tongue and mouth floor.
2. Labial: Removal of the tissue that connects your upper lip to the gums of your upper teeth.
3. Gingival: Removal of the gum tissue that connects two teeth.

Why Would I Need a Frenectomy?

Sometimes, frenula can actually cause harm, especially when they are overgrown and begin to add unnecessary discomfort and pressure on surrounding tissues. We have seen this occur with the aforementioned frenula, which can cause pain, gum recession, gaps between teeth, ability to properly speak and eat, and impact the function of teeth.

Frenectomies usually happen while the frenula are still developing or have just developed, so they are more common in children (either before or just after permanent teeth come in) in order to prevent further damage.

Frenectomy Procedure

Frenectomies are easy and painless procedures, and involve a simple laser to remove the excess tissue. In fact, the procedure usually lasts for around 20 minutes, and there isn’t much down time necessary after the procedure is over!

Your child’s dentist will be able to check their frenula growth during their exams, which is one of the reasons why it’s so important to schedule routine dental appointments and examinations twice a year. At North Richland Hills Dentistry, we’re dedicated to delivering superior service to all of our clients. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

Relax at the Dentist with Dental Sedation

A dark-haired man with a beard wears a hat against a cloudy sky and breathes deeply to help him relax

Does the thought of a dental appointment make you nervous? You’re not alone. Dental care has come a long way, and it’s more comfortable now than ever to receive a dental treatment. That being said, dental anxiety is a real issue, and it can prevent you from having a beautiful, healthy smile. Dental sedation allows you to have a relaxed, stress-free visit so that you can reap the benefits of top-notch dental treatment without the fear. Here is a handy guide of 3 types of dental sedation so you can determine which can best help you.

1. Nitrous Oxide

Commonly known as “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide allows you to feel completely at ease yet conscious during your procedure. With this sedation technique, a small mask will be placed over your nose so you can inhale the nitrous oxide. Once your procedure is over, the effects of nitrous oxide dissipate quickly so you won’t need someone to drive you home and you won’t feel groggy hours later.

2. Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral conscious sedation helps you feel restful during your procedure while also allowing you to be conscious and awake. All you have to do is take a prescription medication one hour before your treatment to feel the effect. It does take a few hours to wear off after your treatment is over, so make sure to set aside time to rest and recover after your treatment and arrange a ride home beforehand.

3. IV Sedation

Intravenous sedation dentistry is great for those who aren’t scared of needles. It’s a very powerful form of dental sedation, and many patients don’t realize how much time has passed from the moment that they receive sedation to the moment that they wake up! If you’re worried about how much pain you will experience during your treatment, then this is a great option for you.

Visit Our Comfortable Office!

It’s our priority to deliver comfortable, expert care here at North Richland Hills Dentistry, so dental anxiety and the fear of discomfort don’t hold you back from taking care of your oral health. We encourage you to visit our office, ask questions, and take advantage of our wonderful amenities. Don’t forget to take a look at our patient specials. To schedule your next appointment or to ask our friendly team questions about our dental sedation options, contact us today!