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15
May
2019
Any part of a tooth can be cracked.
The crack may be visible, though this is not always the case.  If a person experiences pain when chewing food, or if teeth suddenly become sensitive to hot and cold, one tooth may be cracked.

Any pain associated with a cracked tooth tends to come and go. This can make it more challenging for a dentist to locate the crack, especially if it is very small.

Anyone who suspects that they have a cracked tooth should make an appointment with the dentist as soon as possible. Leaving a cracked tooth untreated may lead to more problems, pain, and discomfort over time.

What are the symptoms?

When left untreated, a cracked tooth can lead to further pain and discomfort.

A cracked tooth will not necessarily cause any symptoms. People often have cracked teeth without even realizing it.

Some types of cracks are harmless and do not require treatment.

However, if a person notices the following symptoms, they may have a more extensive type of crack that requires dental treatment:

  • pain when eating, particularly when chewing or biting
  • swollen gums around the cracked tooth
  • teeth that have suddenly become sensitive to sweetness
  • teeth that have suddenly become sensitive to hot or cold foods
  • pain that tends to come and go
  • discomfort around the teeth and gums that is hard to pinpoint

What might cause teeth to crack?

There are many different reasons why teeth can crack.

Causes of a cracked tooth include:

  • biting down too hard on a piece of food
  • excessive grinding of the teeth
  • physical injury
  • a large existing filling, which can weaken the remaining tooth structure

A  sudden temperature change can also crack a tooth. For example, this could happen if a person burns their mouth while drinking tea, then drinks a glass of cold water to soothe the pain.

How are cracked teeth diagnosed?

A dentist will examine a person’s tooth before making a diagnosis.

A cracked tooth is not always simple to diagnose.

If the crack is not visible, a dentist will try to make a diagnosis by asking the person about their dental history and symptoms they are having.

The dentist will then examine the teeth, possibly using a magnifying glass to help to identify cracks.

They may also use a pointed instrument called a dental explorer, which catches on any rough, cracked edges on the teeth’s surface.

A dental dye can also make cracks more visible.

During the examination, the dentist will check the gums for signs of swelling because cracks in teeth tend to irritate the gums. They may also ask the person to bite down on something, to try and pinpoint the source of the pain.

A dentist may take an X-ray of the teeth. X-rays do not always show where cracks have formed, but they can reveal problems in the pulp of the teeth. If the pulp of a tooth appears to be unhealthy, this can suggest a crack.

Anyone who suspects that they have a cracked tooth should make an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible. It is especially important to do so when there are pain and discomfort.

In the meantime, the following home remedies can relieve uncomfortable symptoms:

  • rinsing the mouth with warm water, to keep it clean
  • taking over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen
  • using a cold compress against the cheek to help reduce swelling

The longer that a cracked tooth goes untreated, the more difficult it may be for a dentist to save the tooth. Complications may also occur, such as infection.

Tooth cracks are  more common in people over the age of 40, and women develop them more often than men.

Cracks can vary in length, depth, and the location on the tooth.

The smallest cracks are known as craze lines, and they develop within tooth enamel. A person is unlikely to notice a craze line, and no treatment is necessary unless it causes symptoms.

Treatment options

A dentist may use a crown to cover a cracked tooth.

The best treatment depends on the location of the crack and the extent of the damage.

If a crack is tiny and causes no discomfort, no treatment may be necessary.

Treatments for cracked teeth include:

  • repairing the crack with plastic resin, in a process called bonding
  • using a filling
  • using a crown, which is a cap that entirely covers the cracked tooth

In the most severe cases, when a crack has penetrated the pulp of the tooth, root canal treatment may be necessary. If a tooth is badly cracked, a dentist may remove the tooth altogether.

If a tooth with a filling becomes cracked, a dentist may need to remove the filling to examine the damage more thoroughly.

Cracked teeth can cause complications, particularly if they are left untreated. For example, an infection may occur. Signs of infection include:

  • increased pain
  • swelling of the gums
  • increased sensitivity to hot and cold
  • bad breathe
  • sore neck glands

How can cracked teeth be prevented?

Cracked teeth are not always preventable, but a few strategies can help. These include:

  • avoiding foods that are hard to chew, such as ice and unpopped popcorn kernels
  • putting an end to habits that may damage the teeth, such as grinding or biting on pens
  • trying not to clench the teeth
  • wearing a mouthguard to protect the teeth while playing sports

If a person grinds their teeth or clenches their jaw in their sleep, they may wish to talk to their dentist about wearing a niteguard at night.

Please call us at 905-668-6301 if you suspect your may have a cracked tooth.

 

 

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8
May
2019

Stained Teeth


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One of the most common questions I get asked is: How can I get whiter teeth?

There are many ways to enhance and freshen your smile. But there are also many ways to stop your teeth from becoming yellow in the first place. Sure, normal wear and tear can stain your teeth, but certain foods and bad habits speed up the process.

Certain foods can stain your teeth. It is widely known that coffee and tea (even green tea) can really darken your smile. Think about when you leave coffee in a mug for a period of time. It creates a brown stain in your cup that sometimes won’t come off with washing. Now, what if you rinse that cup immediately? It won’t stain. The same thing is true with your teeth. As long as you don’t let the staining food or drink sit on your teeth, you should be safe. Wash it out by drinking water immediately after you eat or drink a staining food.

Here are a few foods and habits that can easily cause staining of your teeth:

1. Coffee
2. Tea
3. Red wine
4. Dark sodas
5. Smoking and smokeless tobacco
6. Dark berries

Here are some easy, inexpensive home remedies:

1. Rinse your mouth with water immediately after having the staining food or drink.
2. Chew gum afterwards to let your saliva rinse your mouth out.
3. Use over-the-counter whitening rinses.
4. Try whitening strips.
5. Gently brush or rinse with baking soda or hydrogen peroxide.
6. Floss regularly or use floss with whitening treatments.

You can always have your teeth professionally whitened by your dentist and then maintain your teeth by following the above steps. In addition, we highly recommend giving up smoking, smokeless tobacco and soda, which can lead to other dental problems as well as stains.

If you are concerned with the stains on your teeth please call us at 905-668-6301 to schedule a complimentary whitening consultation.

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2
May
2019

Bad Breath


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Diagnosis

Your dentist will likely smell both the breath from your mouth and the breath from your nose and rate the odor on a scale. Because the back of the tongue is most often the source of the smell, your dentist may also scrape it and rate its odor.

Treatment

To reduce bad breath, help avoid cavities and lower your risk of gum disease, consistently practice good oral hygiene. Further treatment for bad breath can vary, depending on the cause. If your bad breath is thought to be caused by an underlying health condition, your dentist will likely refer you to your primary care provider.

For causes related to oral health, your dentist will work with you to help you better control that condition. Dental measures may include:

  • Mouth rinses and toothpastes. If your bad breath is due to a buildup of bacteria (plaque) on your teeth, your dentist may recommend a mouth rinse that kills the bacteria. Your dentist may also recommend a toothpaste that contains an antibacterial agent to kill the bacteria that cause plaque buildup.
  • Treatment of dental disease. If you have gum disease, you may be referred to a gum specialist (periodontist). Gum disease can cause gums to pull away from your teeth, leaving deep pockets that fill with odor-causing bacteria. Sometimes only professional cleaning removes these bacteria. Your dentist might also recommend replacing faulty tooth restorations, a breeding ground for bacteria.

Lifestyle and home remedies

To reduce or prevent bad breath:

  • Brush your teeth after you eat. Keep a toothbrush at work to use after eating. Brush using a fluoride-containing toothpaste at least twice a day, especially after meals. Toothpaste with antibacterial properties has been shown to reduce bad breath odors.
  • Floss at least once a day. Proper flossing removes food particles and plaque from between your teeth, helping to control bad breath.
  • Brush your tongue. Your tongue harbors bacteria, so carefully brushing it may reduce odors. People who have a coated tongue from a significant overgrowth of bacteria (from smoking or dry mouth, for example) may benefit from using a tongue scraper. Or use a toothbrush that has a built-in tongue cleaner.
  • Clean dentures or dental appliances. If you wear a bridge or a denture, clean it thoroughly at least once a day or as directed by your dentist. If you have a dental retainer or mouth guard, clean it each time before you put it in your mouth. Your dentist can recommend the best cleaning product.
  • Avoid dry mouth. To keep your mouth moist, avoid tobacco and drink plenty of water — not coffee, soft drinks or alcohol, which can lead to a drier mouth. Chew gum or suck on candy (preferably sugarless) to stimulate saliva. For chronic dry mouth, your dentist or physician may prescribe an artificial saliva preparation or an oral medication that stimulates the flow of saliva.
  • Adjust your diet. Avoid foods such as onions and garlic that can cause bad breath. Eating a lot of sugary foods is also linked with bad breath.
  • Regularly get a new toothbrush. Change your toothbrush when it becomes frayed, about every three to four months, and choose a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Schedule regular dental checkups. See your dentist on a regular basis — generally twice a year — to have your teeth or dentures examined and cleaned.

Preparing for your appointment

If you’re going to have your bad breath evaluated by your dentist, these tips can help:

  • Dentists generally prefer morning appointments for testing bad breath to reduce the chances that foods you eat during the day will hinder the exam.
  • Don’t wear perfume, scented lotions, or scented lipstick or lip gloss to your appointment, as these products could mask any odors.
  • If you’ve taken antibiotics within the last month, check with your dentist to see if your appointment needs to be rescheduled.

What to expect from your dentist

Your dentist will likely start with an evaluation of your medical history, asking questions such as:

  • When did you first begin to experience bad breath?
  • Is your bad breath occasional or continuous?
  • How often do you brush your teeth or clean your dentures?
  • How often do you floss?
  • What kinds of foods do you eat most often?
  • What medications and supplements do you take?
  • What health conditions do you have?
  • Do you breathe through your mouth?
  • Do you snore?
  • Do you have allergies or sinus problems?
  • What do you suspect might be causing your bad breath?
  • Have other people noticed and commented on your bad breath?

If you suspect that you might be suffering from bad breath please call us to schedule an assessment at 905-668-6301.

(Information provided by the Mayo clinic)
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