Tag: gingivitis

Blog posts, information and advice which mention Gingivitis

Why do I have tooth sensitivity?

Many people suffer from sensitive teeth for a variety of reasons, this article highlights why you may suddenly develop sensitive teeth, what you can do about it at home, what treatments the dentist may be able to offer you and how to reduce the pain from tooth sensitivity.

What causes tooth sensitivity?

diagram of a toothYour teeth are made up of three primary layers:

  1. The nerve and pulp. This is the deepest living part of your tooth, it contains the nerve and has blood flowing through it to keep your tooth alive, it is protected by two out of protection layers.
  2. The dentine. This is the softer portion of your tooth, it gives the tooth it’s primary colour and its role is to support the hard yet brittle outer enamel.
  3. The enamel. This is the hardest substance in the human body and protects the outer portion of your tooth.

Sensitivity occurs when hot or cold substances, such as eating ice cream, get too close to the nerve, there are many reasons this could happen, including:

  • Tooth wear caused by over brushing.
  • Gum recession caused by over by over brushing or general ageing.
  • Cracked teeth caused by trauma.
  • Decay in teeth caused by poor oral hygiene.
  • Tooth grinding or clenching.

Why are my teeth suddenly sensitive?

The key to understanding this is to think about how the hot or cold feeling may be getting through to the nerve. If you have had a recent trauma then perhaps the tooth is correct. If you haven’t been to the dentist for a while perhaps there is an area of tooth which is decayed.

The image below shows gum tissue recession around the gum line, possibly caused by over brushing. The enamel is thin in this area which can easily lead to teeth sensitivity.

Image Credit: www.implantdentist.co.nz/procedures/gum-regeneration/
Image Credit: www.implantdentist.co.nz/procedures/gum-regeneration/

If you can’t immediately identify what the problem is then visiting a dentist or dental hygienist may be best option.

How do you stop sensitive teeth pain

If you have sensitive teeth with no obvious cause then you may find that using a protection and relief toothpaste such as Sensodyne may help.

How does Sensodyne work?

These toothpastes work because there are tiny holes, called tubules, in the dentine of your tooth. If the enamel becomes eroded away then these tubules can transmit the hot and cold through your tooth. These toothpastes work by quickly creating a barrier so that the hot and cold feeling can’t be transmitted to the nerve.

However, it’s worth noting that these types of toothpastes WILL NOT work if the sensitivity is caused by excessive enamel or dentine loss such as cavities, excessive wear or cracks caused by trauma.

How long does tooth sensitivity last?

Tooth sensitivity is usually only instantaneous when the nerve becomes exposed to hot or cold. Remove the hot or cold and the sensitivity goes away. However, the reality is that this is not practical to do on a day by day basis, we have to eat and drink after all! Unfortunately, if your teeth are sensitive they won’t get better on their own, you will either need to use a relief and protection toothpaste or visit a dentist to ascertain why your teeth are sensitive.

What does the dentist do for sensitive teeth?

The basic premise for reducing tooth sensitivity is to protect the outer surface of the tooth to prevent the hot and cold sensations been transmitted through to the nerve, or in extreme circumstances to remove the nerve itself. There are a variety of ways of treating sensitivity at the dentist, including but not limited to:

  • Fluoride treatments to strengthen tooth enamel. These fluoride gels can be applied topically at the dentist or trays can be provided for use at home.
  • Bonding. Composite bonding materials can be used to bonded to the outer surface of the tooth to rebuild the enamel where it has been lost. This can cover up the dentin hypersensitivity.
  • Surgical gum graft (Please see the explanation video below). If the sensitivity is caused by excessive gum resorption which exposes the more sensitive root of the tooth then a gum graft to replacing some of the gum tissue may be undertaken to cover up some of this exposed area around the gum line.
  • Root canal. In extreme circumstances a root canal can be used to remove the nerve of the tooth. This is not normally a preferred option and will only be undertaken in extreme circumstances.

Summary

One of the key things to focus on is brushing your teeth and maintaining good dental care throughout your life, ensuring you brush and floss regularly. Tooth sensitivity is a common problem, particularly in later life as the gum becomes more exposed and the teeth wear. Certainly, this is one of the best ways to prevent tooth sensitivity. If you are older then be aware about using a soft bristled toothbrush, watching to ensure you don’t consume too many acidic foods and drinks and be aware if you grind your teeth. Cold air can also affect sensitivity, so you may find you need to wear a scarf in cold weather.

 

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit is the founder and principal dentist of Blue Court Dental. Patients enjoy his relaxed, friendly and gentle approach while experiencing his meticulous attention to detail. He has a special interest in providing smile makeovers, natural-looking white fillings and cosmetic braces, but also provides a range of treatments from preventative and general dental care to complex dental rehabilitation.
Dr Nishan Dixit

How to prevent gum disease – part 2

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit is the founder and principal dentist of Blue Court Dental. Patients enjoy his relaxed, friendly and gentle approach while experiencing his meticulous attention to detail. He has a special interest in providing smile makeovers, natural-looking white fillings and cosmetic braces, but also provides a range of treatments from preventative and general dental care to complex dental rehabilitation.
Dr Nishan Dixit

Last week on 30 August we posted the first of our two-part article about the prevention of gum disease, we talked about the risks of gingivitis and periodontitis and explained some of the symptoms of both of these conditions. In this second blog post we talk in more detail about the treatment of both gingivitis and periodontitis. Read the first blog post by clicking here.

Treating gum disease

The best way to treat all gum disease is to practise good oral hygiene, lower your stress levels and improve diet. Visit your dentist or hygienist for treatment.

Good oral hygiene involves:

  • Brushing your teeth for 2-3 minutes twice a day
  • Using an electric toothbrush
  • Using toothpaste that contains fluoride
  • Flossing your teeth regularly
  • Not smoking

Mouthwash

Your dentist or hygienist may recommend using an antiseptic mouthwash that contains chlorhexidine.

Antibiotics

On their own, antibiotics are not effective at treating periodontitis, and they may only be recommended in severe cases of gum disease. Metronidazole and Amoxicillin are the most common antibiotics prescribed. Your dentist will advise you accordingly if required.

Dental Treatments

The following dental treatments may be recommended to treat gum disease and periodontitis.

Scale and polish

To remove plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) that can build up on your teeth. This is a “professional clean” carried out by your dentist or hygienist.

Root Surface Debridement

In some cases of gum disease or periodontitis, root surface debridement may be required. This will involve several visits. It is a ‘deep clean’ under the gums removing the plaque and tartar deposits and bacteria from the roots of your teeth and the pockets.

Before having the treatment, you may need to have an anaesthetic to numb the area. You may experience some sensitivity after the procedure.

Further treatment

If you have severe gum disease or advanced periodontitis, you may need further treatment which requires a referral to a periodontist (gum specialist) who can carry out advanced treatments such as periodontal surgery.
However in some cases, it may be necessary to remove the infected tooth.

It is important to visit your dentist and hygienist at least every six months so any problems with teeth and gums can be detected and treated early.

If you have had problems with gum disease and periodontitis in the past, or you have increased risk of developing gum problems, for example, if you smoke or have diabetes, you may be advised to visit your dentist and hygienist more frequently so your teeth and gums can be closely monitored

How to Prevent Gum Disease

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit is the founder and principal dentist of Blue Court Dental. Patients enjoy his relaxed, friendly and gentle approach while experiencing his meticulous attention to detail. He has a special interest in providing smile makeovers, natural-looking white fillings and cosmetic braces, but also provides a range of treatments from preventative and general dental care to complex dental rehabilitation.
Dr Nishan Dixit

By failing to look after your gums you increase the risk of the gums becoming inflamed and turning into gingivitis. If this is left untreated it can progress into the more serious condition periodontitis which can ultimately lead to tooth loss. Not only is this unattractive but it can be costly to replace missing teeth, and so we recommend that you do everything you can to look after your teeth and gums.

In this series of two blog posts we will look at gingivitis and periodontitis, what causes these conditions, how you can spot them and then in the second blog post we will look at the treatments on offer.

Gum disease and gingivitis

tooth-diagramGum disease, which includes periodontal disease, is inflammation and infection that destroys the tissues that support the teeth, including the gums, the periodontal ligaments and the tooth sockets (alveolar bone). Gum disease affects more than half of the adult population with natural teeth. It can be treated by a dentist or hygienist and in the early stages the effects can be reversed. There are two main types of gum disease:

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis is due to the long term effects of plaque deposits on your teeth. Plaque is a sticky material made of bacteria, mucus and food debris that develops on the exposed parts of the teeth. If you do not remove plaque, it turns into a hard deposit called tartar (or calculus) that becomes trapped at the base of the tooth. Plaque and tartar irritate and inflame the gums. Bacteria and the toxins they produce cause the gums to become infected, swollen and tender. You may notice bleeding on brushing or a bad taste in the mouth.

Risks for gingivitis

  1. Certain infections and systemic diseases
  2. Poor dental hygiene, stress and smoking
  3. Pregnancy
  4. Uncontrolled diabetes
  5. Misaligned teeth, rough edges of filling, ill- fitting mouth appliances (such as braces, dentures, bridges and crowns)
  6. Use of certain medications

Symptoms of gingivitis

  • Bleeding gums
  • Red or purple appearance to gums
  • Tender and swollen gums
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Shiny appearance to gums

Periodontitis occurs when inflammation or infection of the gums (gingivitis) is untreated or treatment delayed. Infection and inflammation spreads from the gums to the ligaments and bone that support the teeth. Loss of support causes the teeth to become loose and eventually fall out. Periodontitis is the primary cause of tooth loss in adults. Plaque and tartar build up at the base of the teeth.

Inflammation causes a pocket to develop between the gums and the teeth, which fills with plaque and tartar. Soft tissue swelling traps the plaque in the pocket. Continued inflammation leads to damage of the tissues and bone surrounding the tooth. Because plaque contains bacteria, infection is likely and a tooth abscess may develop, which increases the rate of bone destruction and may lead to eventual tooth loss.

Risks for periodontitis

  1. Genetics i.e family history
  2. Diabetes
  3. Poor nutrition, smoking and stress
  4. Pregnancy-may lead to delivery of pre-term babies
  5. HIV and associated infections
  6. Rheumatoid arthritis
  7. Clenching/grinding teeth
  8. Some medications
  9. Cardiovascular disease

Researchers have found that people with gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary heart disease. This type of heart disease occurs when plaque (deposits of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other material) form in the walls of the coronary arteries causing the walls to become thicker. This limits the amount of oxygen and nutrients that are necessary for proper heart function.

Bacteria from gum disease enters the bloodstream and connects to the plaque in the coronary arteries, possibly contributing to the formation of blood clots.

Watch out for the second post in this series which talks about the treatments for both gingivitis and periodontitis, this will be posted on this blog on Friday, 6th September.