Toothaches: Cause, Remedies and Long-term Solutions

If you have ever held your head in agony through a toothache, you have come to the right place. As a mom and a nurse, I have helped many people deal with all kinds of pain including toothaches, and I have suffered through many toothaches myself. I am the type of person who likes to help others, so I decided to create this blog. In this blog, I plan to post entries on the causes of toothaches and how to alleviate toothache pain, but I also plan to explore long-term solutions such as fillings and sealants and more. I hope you enjoy reading, and I thank you for stopping by.

How to deal with toothaches

Almost everyone experiences the pain of a toothache at least once in their life, ranging from dull pain that acts as little more than a discomfort to extreme pain that can make eating, sleeping and even just opening your mouth a difficult experience. Whatever the cause behind it, toothaches can be prevented or cured by following a number of basic steps. How do you prevent a toothache?  As with many dental related issues and illnesses, your risk of getting a toothache can be prevented by taking good care of your teeth and mouth. Toothaches in particular can be caused by a host of things including infections of the teeth or gum, more serious abscesses, tooth decay, cavities and more.  You can fight against these and ensure that you’re maintaining adequate oral hygiene by sticking with the usual round of brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing regularly, using mouthwash to kill bacteria and booking an appointment with your dentist for a standard check up at least once every six or so months. In addition to this, you should watch your diet. Starchy and sugary foods and drinks, such as sweets and soft drinks, can speed up the build of plaque, a substance made from a combination of saliva, bacteria and food particles, and lead to tooth decay. How do you easily fix a toothache? If your toothache is mild, there are a few things you can do to alleviate the uncomfortable sensation. Start by applying something cold, such as an icepack or a bag of frozen vegetables covered in a clean dishcloth, to the part of your face closest...

What You Need to Know about Wisdom Teeth Removal

Evolution does not appear to have been a friend when it comes to the development of wisdom teeth. These four teeth, two in the upper jaw and two on the lower, are supposed to break through the skin during late adolescence. However, for many people this doesn’t happen properly, and in most cases, they simply need to be removed. What can you expect during this procedure? Are they Impacted? While wisdom teeth appear to be superfluous to your needs, the good news is that their extraction represents one of the more common dental procedures in Australia. The only potential complication happens should they be misaligned for some reason. Sometimes these wisdom teeth develop and grow in an unusual direction, perhaps angled outward or inward or toward your existing back teeth (second molars). In this case, they can cause issues with bacteria or can sometimes trap food particles and debris leading to decay. If teeth are impacted, the procedure will be a little more involved. First Things First The first step is to get a complete set of X-rays and a full inspection by your dentist. The dentist will advise you about the best procedure to follow. Sometimes a more involved process will include removal of a small portion of bone that may be getting in the way and making it more difficult for the tooth to be removed. In situations like this, it is also fairly usual to use a special technique called ultrasound in order to break the tooth into smaller portions for ease of removal. While the tooth removal is often done under local anaesthetic, depending on the...

Keeping Gingivitis at Bay

Keeping your teeth clean and white is easy if you follow a simple and regimented oral care regime. However, if you don’t maintain your teeth, then you’re more susceptible to dental plaque and tartar, which can lead to more serious conditions such as gingivitis, and may require teeth whitening if it begins to affect your confidence.   Plaque Dental plaque is caused by the build-up of over 1000 different types of bacteria on the teeth and gums. Bacteria will always grow in the mouth because of the damp, warm conditions and presence of food debris; however, it needs to be kept in check with regular brushing. It’s recommended that you brush for two minutes a day, once before bed so that the bacteria doesn’t have as much time to grow, and once at another time during the day. When you finish, do not rinse your mouth with water; many people do this but fail to realise that they are washing away the fluoride which is designed to continue cleaning the mouth. Mouthwash and floss are good supplements that can help to reach between the teeth where a lot of the bacteria build up, and they help to remove food debris that can speed up bacterial reproduction.  Tartar If you fail to remove the dental plaque with regular brushing, you risk it calcifying and hardening into an unsightly yellow substance called tartar. On average, it takes about 48 hours for the plaque to begin to harden and 10 days for it to fully calcify.  At this point you will need to seek the help of a dentist who will need to scrape...

Natural Oral Care for Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry is a popular way to brighten up your smile and improve the aesthetics of your teeth using crowns and veneers. However, despite improving your smile, it’s still important to maintain good oral health and protect the gums and enamel, which still have the opportunity to harbour harmful bacteria, which leads to bad odours. Any cosmetic dentist will be able to give you solid advice about protecting your teeth after the surgery, which will help to prolong their life and save you money on replacements.  Oil Pulling Oil pulling is an old and very effective method of cleaning your teeth, with its roots deep in ancient Indian medicine. It requires you to ‘swish’ coconut oil around the mouth as a mouthwash, and draw it through the teeth and gums.  Coconut oil is known for its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties, all of which help to kill off plaque which in turn reduces the chances of tartar build-up, a hard yellow substance made of calcified bacteria that can damage gums and loosen veneer and crown fixtures. Other oils such as sunflower oil and sesame oil can also be used to moisturise the inside of the mouth and minimise inflammation around the gums. Homemade Toothpaste Removing stains using natural homemade products makes this daily routine not just enjoyable but tasty too. Coconut oil mixed with mildly abrasive, acid-neutralising baking soda, combines the effectiveness of oil pulling with the stain removing power of shop bought toothpaste, yet without the chemicals. You can even add a couple of drops of essential oil to add a distinct flavour and increase the anti-bacterial properties. Oils such as...

Leukoplakia: What You Need to Know About this Dental Condition

If you have noticed any white or grey patches on your tongue or the inside of your cheeks, you may be suffering from leukoplakia. Although these patches are painless, the condition can be a sign of other more serious problems. Below is a guide to commonly asked questions about leukoplakia. What is leukoplakia? Leukoplakia is caused by an abnormal growth of keratin within your mouth. This light-coloured growth will feel rigid and rough when you run your tongue over it. Keratin is a protein that is found in your fingernails and hair. It normally develops in the mouth in response to irritation of the soft tissue. Leukoplakia will often resolve itself after a short time. If it does not, you should book an appointment with your dentist. How is leukoplakia diagnosed? Your dentist will perform an examination of your mouth to rule out any other possible causes of the discolouration, such as thrush or vitamin deficiency. Your dentist will take a biopsy of the affected area by removing a very small amount of the affected tissue. This will be done under a local anaesthetic to prevent any pain or discomfort. Testing will be carried out on this sample in order to diagnose the cause of the problem. What are the possible causes of leukoplakia? Leukoplakia is normally caused by prolonged irritation of the soft tissues in your mouth. Possible sources of irritation are the following: Excessive Alcohol: Drinking to excess can cause irritation to the mucous membranes in your mouth and can also lead to constant dehydration, both of which can trigger leukoplakia. Smoking: Tobacco smoke can cause irritation...

Herbal Teas and Your Teeth: What You Need to Know

Everybody knows that drinking regular caffeinated tea can have a negative impact on your teeth causing bad breath, staining and discolouration. But what about herbal teas? They have many established general health benefits, but what effect do they have on your dental health?  The good news  Drinking herbal alternatives to black tea reduces the risk of discolouration. This is because the chemical agent in caffeinated tea which causes staining (tannin) is absent from herbal alternatives. People who make the switch from regular to herbal tea will often notice an increased brightness to their smile as a result.  Properties of certain teas may also help to address other oral health issues. For example, mint and eucalyptus teas have certain antibacterial properties which can help to reduce levels of oral bacteria and tackle bad breath. Similarly, chamomile tea has anti-inflammatory properties that could soothe damaged or bleeding gums.   The bad news Sometimes manufacturers can add flavourings to their teas. If you are buying herbal teabags, it is always a good idea to check the ingredients for additives such as flavourings and sugars that could have negative effects on your teeth.  Also, watch out for fruit teas. Though often very tasty, these can have high sugar content. They may also contain fruit acids or highly acidic flavourings. High acid levels can erode tooth enamel,which can potentially lead to serious dental problems. If you enjoy fruit teas, a good idea is to drink them cold as this will allow you to drink them more quickly meaning less exposure for your teeth to harmful acid or sugar content.  For a healthy mouth and...

The Lure of Luxury: Six Benefits of Gold Dental Crowns

If you need a crown put on your tooth, you can choose from a range of materials including gold. Wondering what the benefits of gold crowns are? Take a look: 1. Mimicking ancient smiles If you love vintage jumpers or t-shirts from the charity shop, a gold dental crown can be another way to tap into old timey styles. In fact, gold has been used in dentistry since long before the common era, and historians and anthropologists believe that some women in ancient times used to purposely remove healthy incisors just so they could have the privilege of replacing them with fake and flashy gold teeth. 2. Standing out among the crowd While gold prosthetics and dental crowns were popular for over 2,00 years, their popularity has fallen by the wayside in recent years. In fact, over the last five years, demand for gold in dental work has fallen by nearly 60 percent. That indicates that gold teeth are no longer trendy, but it also indicates that gold is a great way to show off your unique smile. 3. Showcasing unique patterns Its unique colour is not the only benefit of a gold crown; you can also create a unique pattern in your gold crown. Want a textured tooth? Something with an embedded jewel? There are lots of possibilities. Talk with your dentist about which crown designs are available in your case. 4. Offering strength Of course, gold teeth didn’t endure for thousands of years simply because they’re pretty. These crowns also maintained popularity because of their strength and durability. Gold is naturally resistant to plaque, and it’s also...

3 Orthodontic Treatments You Have Probably Never Heard Of

Most dental patients are aware of retainers and braces. They are perhaps the most frequently used treatment options provided by an orthodontist. However, retainers and braces are by no means the only way an orthodontist treats misaligned teeth. Below is a simple guide to 3 lesser-known treatments an orthodontist may use on teeth. Fixed Palatal Cribs A fixed palatal crib is a device which is used to discourage a child from sucking their thumb. Under normal circumstances, most children will stop sucking their thumb between the ages of 2 and 4. However, if your child continues to suck their thumb after this age, it can result in their teeth becoming misaligned as they develop and grow. A fixed palatal crib is made of semi-circular stainless steel wires. Metal bands are used to fix the palatal crib to your child’s molars, with the wires running behind your child’s front teeth. These wires prevent the thumb from placing pressure on the teeth. Tongue Beads Tongue beads are used on dental patients who have a problem with tongue-thrusting. Tongue-thrusting is when a person presses their tongue against their front teeth. This often occurs while chewing on food or talking. The pressure created by the tongue hitting the back of the teeth can cause them to become misaligned. Tongue beads are usually made of acrylic. An orthodontist will install a tongue bead in the rear of the mouth by securing it to the rear molars using wires. The wires, which have a bead attached, arc over the roof of the mouth. The bead encourages the patient to place their tongue in the correct...

No Toothbrush? No Problem! How to Clean Your Teeth Without a Brush

Have you ever found yourself without a toothbrush? Perhaps you are unexpectedly staying over at a friend’s house or you forgot to pack one when going away on a trip. Below is a guide to 5 ways you can keep your teeth clean when you don’t have access to a toothbrush. Finger magic  If you can get hold of some toothpaste—there’s likely to be some lying around in the bathroom—you could try the classic toothpaste on the finger trick. Simply use your finger as a substitute brush. You won’t be able to reach all the surfaces of your teeth but try to be as thorough as possible. Remember to thoroughly wash you finger beforehand to avoid introducing bacteria into your mouth.  Use fabric  Find a clean piece of fabric—this could be a piece of clothing or a clean cloth—and use it to rub the surfaces of your teeth clean. If you can find toothpaste, squeeze a little onto the cloth beforehand, if not you can still give them a basic clean this way. Once you have rubbed your teeth as thoroughly as possible, rinse your mouth out with water.  Mouthwash If you can find some mouthwash in the bathroom, give your mouth a good long rinse. This is a good quick fix. It won’t clean your teeth thoroughly but will help kill bacteria in your mouth and will generally make you feel fresher.  Snacking  If you have access to the fridge, why not make yourself a tooth cleansing snack? Crunching your way through vegetables like carrots and celery can help to clean your mouth by scraping away bacteria from...

What to Expect After Your Root Canal Treatment

If you have just undergone or are about to undergo root canal treatment, you may be wondering what lies ahead in terms of your recovery. Although 67 percent of Americans say they fear root canal treatment, with 15% going as far as to avoid dental care altogether, the procedure itself is less painful than the alternative. With the right post-treatment care, your recovery should take from a few days to a few weeks. How you choose to care for your tooth will usually determine the length of time it takes for you to be able to comfortably use it.  Pain, Swelling and Sensitivity  For the first few days you may experience pain, sensitivity and in some cases, swelling. This is perfectly normal. According to dental research, 40% of patients experience some discomfort after endodontic treatment. In general, most patients begin to experience discomfort several hours after root canal treatment and this could last from a few hours to several days with the pain gradually decreasing as time goes by.  A study conducted in 2006 followed a group of 112 post endodontic treatment patients and found that 80% reported no pain after two days, with 8% citing slight pain and 12% of patients reporting moderate to severe levels of pain.  Any discomfort you experience, including pain, sensitivity or swelling, is normal and usually caused by inflammation of the tissues surrounding your tooth’s root. However, if the pain is severe and continues for more than a few days, you should contact your dentist or endodontist to check for the cause.  How to Care for Your Pre-Root Canal Tooth Until your tooth is fully...