Dealing with Sensitive Teeth

We will all deal with sensitive teeth at some point in our lifetime. Sometimes the cause is acute and can come on suddenly. Other times, we may deal with chronic sensitive teeth for long periods of time. Either way, it’s important to know what causes sensitive teeth and what you can do to treat and prevent this common problem.

bearded man holds his jaw because of sensitive teeth

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

If you’ve noticed an unusually uncomfortable feeling when eating hard, cold, or hot foods, you may be dealing with sensitive teeth. You aren’t alone. Approximately 1 out of every 8 American adults suffers from sensitive teeth, with women experiencing this more than men. Sensitive teeth are affected by hot and cold air and food, and can feel tender upon touch or biting down. The causes of sensitive teeth are varied. Chronic tooth clenching, cavities, or a dental infection can all cause your teeth to feel pain. That’s why it’s always best to see a dentist when you notice new or worsening pain. We can help treat urgent and chronic problems and help you find relief.

How to Prevent Sensitive Teeth

Chronic tooth clenching, or bruxism, is an extremely common condition that means you grip your jaw shut. Often, this happens at night while we are sleeping. If you wake up with a sore jaw, headache, or neck ache, you may have bruxism. Bruxism can cause enamel to wear away and break down, causing sensitivity. If you think you have bruxism, a simple night guard will help prevent tooth sensitivity. To prevent other causes of dental pain, like cavities and tooth decay, you need to take great care of your teeth. Each day, brush with a soft-bristled brush for two minutes, twice a day. Be sure to floss once daily. Make sure to have your teeth regularly cleaned and examined by a dentist. All of these actions will help to prevent the causes of acute dental pain.

How to Cure Sensitive Teeth

Although chronic tooth sensitivity will come and go, there are ways to reduce your pain and discomfort. First, avoid eating and drinking foods that trigger a response. Ice, soups, hard candy, anything that may bring you pain should be avoided until the condition improves. We recommend using a toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth. These types of toothpaste contain ingredients that will help relieve pain, while building strength in your enamel.

We Care About Your Oral Health!

As always, let us know about pain in your mouth and teeth, especially if it comes on suddenly. This could be a sign of a condition that needs to be treated right away. Taking good care of your teeth is key to preventing tooth pain. If it’s time to schedule a check-up, contact us today!

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!

Are Invisalign or Braces Better?

For patients interested in a straighter smile, the decision between Invisalign and traditional metal braces can be a difficult one. The two treatments have many differences and it can be tough to determine which one is the best fit for you. If you’re interested in orthodontic treatment, a consultation with Dr. Desai can recommend the better option depending on the type of treatment you need, your personal goals, and your budget.

What Kind of Orthodontic Treatment Do You Need?

Invisalign is a system of clear aligners that uses a new aligner every two weeks to gradually straighten your teeth. Invisalign can treat issues like misalignment, gaps, and overcrowding. However, more severe issues may require traditional metal braces for effective treatment. Our team can tell you which treatment is the best fit for you depending on the scope of the work you need.

invisalign teeth straightening treatments

What Are Your Goals?

If your goal is for your orthodontic treatment to be as subtle and convenient as possible, you may opt for Invisalign. Unlike traditional metal braces with their brackets and wires, Invisalign aligners are invisible. You can also remove Invisalign while you eat, allowing you to continue to enjoy your favorite foods and drinks during your orthodontic treatment.

What Is Your Budget?

Once we determine the scope of your orthodontic treatment, our team will have a better estimate of the cost. Typically, traditional metal braces are the more affordable option. We offer multiple payment and financing options to help you fit orthodontic treatment into your budget.

During your consultation for orthodontic treatment, our team will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan that meets your goals, fits your budget, and delivers you the smile of your dreams. To ask us any questions about orthodontic treatment or to schedule your consultation, contact our office today!

Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

Suffer From Chronic Snoring? Sleep Apnea Treatment Can Help!

Has anyone ever told you that you’re a major snorer? Or maybe your partner is currently being driven crazy by your chronic snoring. If that’s the case for you, you might want to consider getting diagnosed for sleep apnea. While snoring doesn’t definitely mean that you have sleep apnea, it is a common symptom of those with the condition. Sleep apnea treatments won’t just help you sort out your snoring issues, but it’ll also ensure you don’t suffer negative effects from a serious health condition.

cartoon man snoring with sleep apnea

The Connection Between Snoring & Sleep Apnea

Snoring happens when your airway is partially blocked and this leads to vibration during breathing, which in turn causes the snoring sound. Obstructive sleep apnea is the form of the sleep disorder where your throat muscles relax to the point where your airway gets blocked and causes pauses in your breathing. This commonality of a blocked airway is why many people who have obstructive sleep apnea also snore.

Basics of Sleep Apnea Treatment

The goal of sleep apnea treatment is to stop your airway from being blocked so you can breathe seamlessly while you sleep. To do this, a dental professional can make you a custom mouthpiece that repositions your jaw and opens your airway. Opening your airway can also take care of the cause of your snoring! Getting to enjoy uninterrupted sleep and no more snoring sounds like a win-win to us!

If you’re curious to know more about sleep apnea treatment, or you’d like to get started on your own treatment, contact North Richland Hills Dentistry today. We are happy to answer any and all questions you have, and we can provide our patients with sleep apnea relief.

Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

The Pros & Cons of Chewing Gum

At North Richland Hills Dentistry, we have mixed opinions on chewing gum. On the one hand, it can be a great quick fix to freshen breath and clean teeth. On the other hand, it can lead to tooth decay and excess wear on your teeth. Today, we want to take a closer look at the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to chewing gum and your oral health.

girl blowing a bubble gum bubble

The Good: Freshen Breath & Fight Cavities

When you chew gum, it stimulates saliva production in your mouth. Saliva can not only wash away leftover food residue on teeth before bacteria have a chance to feed on it and produce acid — it also contains an enzyme that can fight off the number of bacteria in the mouth. When fewer bacteria are present, your breath smells fresher!

If you’re looking for benefits of chewing gum, reach for a pack of sugar-free gum sweetened with Xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar free sweetener that can neutralize the pH of your mouth and keep acid from wearing away on teeth and causing cavities.

The Bad: Chewing Gum May Loosen Dental Work

For folks with retainers, oral appliances, or dental work like fillings and crowns, chewing gum can create more problems. It can loosen fillings, crowns, and bridges or limit their longevity. If you have had dental work done, consult with our office if you are unsure whether you can chew gum.

The Ugly: Chewing Gum Can Lead to Tooth Decay

If you chew gum that contains sugar, you may be unknowingly contributing to the growth of cavities in your mouth. Bacteria feed on sugar to produce acid, so chewing gum with sugar may result in more bacteria and acid in your mouth. Without proper care, this can lead to cavities and tooth decay.

While chewing sugar-free gum is a great way to clean teeth and freshen breath, chewing gum that contains sugar can actually damage teeth. If you do decide to chew gum, choose wisely! To ask our team any questions about chewing gum or to schedule your next appointment, contact our office today!

Contact us to schedule an appointment today!