Sensitive Teeth – Treatments for Sensitivity

If you have sensitive teeth, there are a variety of treatments for sensitivity. Sensitive teeth may reroute your daily lifestyle due to the temporary shooting pain that’s experienced. Certain sensations, like “sourness” from candy, or temperatures, like hot tea, cause discomfort. Anyone can experience teeth sensitivity, regardless of their dental health.

Some factors of your oral health may contribute to sensitivity, including:

  • gum diseases
  • teeth chips or cracks
  • clenching and grinding
  • plaque buildup
  • acidic foods or drinks
  • aggressive brushing or hard bristles on your toothbrush
  • gum recession
  • teeth whitening treatments

Improve the symptoms of sensitive teeth by choosing a variety of treatment options. A proper diagnosis from a dentist will help guide you to the right treatment. Treatment of sensitive teeth varies with each patient, from changing your toothbrush to a softer head, to receiving a deep cleaning.

Treatment for sensitivity includes:

  • a custom night guard from your dentist
  • using a soft bristled toothbrush
  • switching to “sensitive” or “desensitizing” toothpaste
  • a dental cleaning from your hygienist
  • adding fluoride mouthwash to your daily routine
  • a fluoride treatment from your dentist or hygienist

If you experience sensitivity to hot/cold foods and more, take a trip to your dentist for evaluation. Sensitive teeth are an indication that you may need to change your oral care routine or receive treatment. Learn more about sensitive teeth in our blog “Sensitive Teeth,” at https://www.serenityhavasu.com/uncategorized/sensitive-teeth-what-causes-tooth-sensitivity/

To learn more about choosing the right toothbrush, we recommend visiting: https://oralb.com/en-us/oral-health/why-oral-b/electric-toothbrushes/types-of-toothbrushes

To learn more about choosing a sensitive toothpaste, we recommend visiting: https://oralb.com/en-us/oral-health/solutions/toothpaste/pain-relief-toothpaste-sensitive-teeth

Sensitive Teeth – What Causes Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity can cause you to avoid hot and cold foods and beverages because of the overwhelming sensation. Sometimes, simply brushing teeth can be painful! Tooth sensitivity occurs when dentin becomes exposed in your teeth. Dentin is beneath the enamel (hard, outermost layer of your tooth). Increased exposure of dentin can cause more serious problems to your teeth, such as tooth decay!

Tooth sensitivity is the most common type of “toothache.” The pain that is experienced with sensitive teeth can be described as sharp and shooting.

Gum disease, grinding, harsh brushing, post-whitening treatment, and diet are all leading contributors to the experience of tooth sensitivity.

Sweet, acidic, and hot/cold food and drinks are major causes of tooth sensitivity if they are able to sit on the surface of your teeth for long periods of time.

Read more of our blogs on how to prevent and treat tooth sensitivity. If you’re in pain, please contact us at Serenity Dental so we can help relieve you and help you enjoy your smile.

Gum Disease – Gingivitis and Periodontitis

In adults, gum disease is a leading cause for dental problems and losing teeth! It may be hard to tell if you have gum disease because it typically painless. Your dentist, hygienists, and assistants are all knowledgeable in the signs and symptoms of gum disease. With regular check ups, you can avoid and potentially reverse gum disease.

Some problems can signal the presence of gum disease, including:

  • gums that bleed easily
  • tender, inflamed, and/or red gums
  • bad breath or taste
  • loose permanent teeth
  • change in bite
  • change in the way partial dentures fit

The risk of developing gum disease can increase with some factors:

  • poor or inconsistent oral hygiene
  • tobacco products and smoking
  • some medications
  • diabetes or other health conditions
  • crooked teeth that are hard to clean effectively
  • pregnancy

Early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, which includes symptoms of red, swollen, and bleeding gums. Luckily, gingivitis is reversible in most cases! Receiving a deep cleaning from your dental hygienist can help you regain a healthy mouth, followed by good daily oral hygiene.

Periodontitis is advanced gum disease. Over 45% of adults in the United States suffer with chronic periodontitis! Consequently, tissue and bone in the mouth are both affected over time. Aggressive periodontitis causes rapid loss of both bone and tissues and could occur in the entire mouth.

Researchers and doctors are starting to link the onset of systemic diseases (such as heart disease) to periodontal disease. it is important to schedule regular dental check ups and cleanings. Outside of the dental office, great oral hygiene helps maintain your smile for a lifetime to come!

Invisalign Clear Braces

Invisalign may be a better option for straightening your smile because it avoids the use of traditional metal braces. Clear and discreet, Invisalign aligners ditch the metal appearance and are made of a safe, thermoplastic called SmartTrack, which is FDA approved. Invisalign aligners do not contain BPA, latex, or gluten.

Instead of at home services, it is much safer to see a trained orthodontist or dentist for Invisalign clear braces because they can ensure your treatment is custom to you and safe. Some patients only need 6 months of daily Invisalign treatment! This may vary depending on your unique smile alignment, though Invisalign is the easiest treatment option as a removable upper and lower appliance.

Invisalign works by tracking your use and alignment through 3D technology and digital planning. You likely will receive new Invisalign aligners with each visit to your dentist or orthodontist to continue the process of straightening your smile.

There are so many reasons that Invisalign may fit your ideal treatment:

  • Clear, Invisible look
  • Easy to clean and take care of the aligners
  • Removable for eating/drinking
  • Comfortable material that won’t cut the gums and lips like metal braces
  • 3D impressions – no gooey material!
  • Dentists/Orthodontists that provide Invisalign are certified
  • Compliance Indicators – show if you’re wearing your aligner enough

Call us today to schedule a consultation to see if Invisalign is your treatment of choice for a beautifully straight smile!

Water Flossing Vs. Traditional Flossing

Both traditional dental floss and water flossing are effective ways to thoroughly clean the spaces between your teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach.

Dental floss is guided by your fingers to reach contact between teeth and under the gums. To effectively use dental floss, guide the floss to make a “C” shape around the side of the tooth – like the floss is hugging it. Dental floss and handheld flossers are both effective as long as you can reach all of your teeth.

A water flosser is a powered flossing tool that uses water pressure to clean the spaces between teeth and under the gums. It’s long head is very easy to handle, making it a breeze to reach all areas of the mouth.

There are pros and cons to each flossing method, but the most important habit to keep would be daily flossing, however you find it best.

Dental Floss Pros

  • Easy to travel with
  •  Very inexpensive
  • Comes in different thickness and types for your unique smile
  • Effective tool for removing plaque and food from between teeth

Dental Floss Cons

  • May be hard to gain the proper technique
  • May be hard to reach all areas of the mouth
  • May “pop” between your teeth or be hard to guide between teeth

Water Flosser Pros

  • Very easy to access all teeth
  • Comes with different speeds for sensitivity
  • Can mix water with mouthwash for a fresh feeling
  • Can work in a specific area for as long as needed – such as a deep pocket

Water Flosser Cons

  • May take counter space
  • May cause sensitivity in the gums due to water pressure
  • May cause gum recession if improperly used

Laser Dentistry Benefits

What is Laser Dentistry?

Lasers in dentistry work by delivering energy in the form of light and can be used for a variety of procedures, offering several benefits to patients. Lasers can:

  • be used to remove the decay and prepare the tooth for a filling. 
  • reshape gums and remove bacteria when receiving a root canal. 
  • be used as a pain free cutting instrument for a biopsy and relieve canker sore pain. 
  • can speed up in-office teeth whitening procedures.

Receiving dental treatment with a laser rather than a dental drill may

  • reduce the need for numbing
  • reduce anxiety that a patient may have with drilling
  • reduce bleeding and swelling
  • and more!

With the different types of tissues in the mouth, there are several more applications of lasers that dentists are happy to provide.

  • In hard tissues, lasers are used as cavity detectors, providing early detection of small cavities. Lasers can also be used to seal the tubules at the root of teeth, which helps remove the feeling of having sensitive teeth.
  • In soft tissues, lasers can lengthen the look of teeth and eliminate the look of a gummy smile. Also, lasers are used for frenulas (“tongue-tied” children) and patients with speech impediments. 

Laser dentistry has shown helpful in various treatments for patients and will continue to become more popular as more dentists use laser in their work.

Please contact us today at Serenity Dental if you are interested in incorporating laser dentistry into your treatment!

 

What to Expect With Dental Veneers

Have you ever seen a smile that you won’t forget? Have you ever looked to Hollywood celebrities and wondered how they were born with perfect teeth? Believe it or not, these smiles most likely were crafted by a dentist. Hollywood celebrity smiles are almost all credited to cosmetic dentistry and dental Veneers. All parts of a smile can be changed by cosmetic dentistry with Botox and Juvaderm injectables, dental bonding, Invisalign and clear braces, teeth whitening, implants, and dental Veneers, right in your dentist’s office.

Dental Veneers (sometimes called Porcelain Veneers) are an increasingly popular way to enhance and change the esthetics of your smile by crowning (capping) your existing teeth with vibrant, natural looking Veneer crowns. Depending on what you want through a smile makeover, every tooth, only the top teeth, or only the “smile teeth” (the teeth visible when you smile) can be crowned to achieve a new look. Don’t expect a perfect smile in one visit to your dentist, though. To achieve a “perfect” smile, it requires planning and a good relationship with your dentist. Any parts that you don’t like about your smile or envy about another’s smile can be made for you during planning with your dentist. Tooth color, size, straightness, angle, shape, and even personality, can be chosen when planning the look of your dental Veneers. Try-in or 3D models of your future teeth can be made so that you can actually see a new smile before committing to it.

To permanently seal your dental Veneers, your dental office will schedule you for a few visits. First, there will be a consult where you and the dentist will talk one-on-one to agree on your smile makeover’s product. Secondly, a “Build-Up” appointment will be scheduled, where the dentist gently shapes your existing teeth to properly house your dental Veneers. This feels like a filling or regular crown appointment, and shouldn’t cause anxiety. The dentist will make you temporary crowns until your dental Veneers are ready. Next, an “Impressions” appointment will be scheduled or even on the same day as the Build-Up, where impressions (a mold) of your teeth are taken to send to the lab designing and hand-crafting your dental Veneers. Improvements in dental technology have been to use 3-D scanners and avoid the gooey impression material all together in some offices. After a few weeks, your new smile is ready to be “seated,” as a dentist would say, meaning permanently bonded to your existing teeth to house a new, improved smile.

On the day of your Seat appointment, get ready to get emotional and feel vibrant. In several cases, such as the viral videos of makeovers – people get emotional when they see their new smile – and it’s contagious to the dentist and staff caring for your makeover. Get ready for lots of photos and a perfect smile every time!

Your Gum Tissue ‘Biotype’ Could Determine How Gum Disease Affects You

Periodontal (gum) disease can cause a number of devastating effects that could eventually lead to tooth loss. However, you may be more prone to a particular effect depending on the individual characteristics of your gums.

There are two basic types of gum tissues or “periodontal biotypes” that we inherit from our parents: thick or thin. These can often be identified by sight — thinner gum tissues present a more pronounced arch around the teeth and appear more scalloped; thicker tissues present a flatter arch appearance. While there are size variations within each biotype, one or the other tends to predominate within certain populations: those of European or African descent typically possess the thick biotype, while Asians tend to possess the thin biotype.

In relation to gum disease, those with thin gum tissues are more prone to gum recession. The diseased tissues pull up and away (recede) from a tooth, eventually exposing the tooth’s root surface. Receding gums thus cause higher sensitivity to temperature changes or pressure, and can accelerate tooth decay. It’s also unattractive as the normal pink triangles of gum tissue between teeth (papillae) may be lost, leaving only a dark spot between the teeth or making the more yellow-colored root surface visible.

While thicker gum tissues are more resilient to gum recession, they’re more prone to the development of periodontal pockets. In this case, the slight gap between teeth and gums grows longer as the infected tissues pull away from the teeth as the underlying bone tissue is lost. The resulting void becomes deeper and more prone to infection and will ultimately result in further bone loss and decreased survivability for the tooth.

Either of these conditions will require extensive treatment beyond basic plaque control. Severe gum recession, for example, may require grafting techniques to cover exposed teeth and encourage new tissue growth. Periodontal pockets, in turn, must be accessed and cleaned of infection: the deeper the pocket the more invasive the treatment, including surgery.

Regardless of what type of gum tissue you have, it’s important for you to take steps to lower your risk of gum disease. First and foremost, practice effective daily hygiene with brushing and flossing to remove bacterial plaque, the main cause of gum disease. You should also visit us at least twice a year (or more, if you’ve developed gum disease) for those all important cleanings and checkups.

If you would like more information on hereditary factors for gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Genetics & Gum Tissue Types.”

Word Quiz on Oral Hygiene

Yes, you brush your teeth every day. But how much do you really know about this important habit? Test your knowledge with our quiz on dental vocabulary.

Choose the correct meaning for:

  1. Oral Hygiene
    1. Clean language
    2. The practice of keeping your teeth and gums clean
    3. A shade of lipstick
    4. A type of dental surgery
  2. Biofilm
    1. A movie about a person’s life, such as “Ray Charles”
    2. A new kind of cling wrap
    3. An accumulation of bacteria that forms a whitish, sticky film
    4. A tooth whitener
  3. Dental plaque
    1. A type of instrument used to clean teeth
    2. Bacteria that accumulate on teeth and gums
    3. An award given at the Dental Oscar ceremony
    4. Your dentist’s framed diploma
  4. Inflammation
    1. The body’s response to harmful bacteria
    2. A condition in which your gums become red and swollen and bleed easily
    3. A cause of gingivitis
    4. All of the above
  5. Periodontal disease
    1. Any disease caused by bacteria
    2. Tooth decay
    3. Whitish sores on the lips
    4. Gum disease caused by dental plaque
  6. Disclosants
    1. Simple dyes that can stain plaque and make it visible
    2. Television reality shows
    3. Dental x-rays
    4. A section of your annual tax report
  7. Gingivitis
    1. Any infection in the oral area
    2. Tooth decay
    3. Inflammation of the gums that can lead to periodontal disease
    4. All of the above
  8. Dental caries
    1. Gum disease
    2. A task carried out during your teeth cleaning
    3. A technique of orthodontia
    4. Tooth decay
  9. Fluoride
    1. A mineral that has been found to prevent tooth decay
    2. The location of a famous dental school
    3. A gasoline additive
    4. A type of house paint
  10. Inter-dental Area
    1. Referring to the area between your teeth
    2. The area regular proper flossing will keep clean
    3. Area that wood points and specially designed brushes can be used to clean
    4. All of the above

Answers: 1. b, 2. c, 3. b, 4. d, 5. d, 6. a, 7. c, 8. d, 9. a, 10. d

How did you do on our quiz? The more you know about keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy, the better you will look and feel. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to discuss your questions about oral hygiene. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor article, “Oral Hygiene Behavior.”

Which is Better for Cleaning Your Teeth: Ultrasonic or Hand Tools?

Dental plaque (a film of bacteria that forms on your teeth) is known to be the main cause of periodontal (gum) disease. When the bacteria settle on your teeth they form a whitish film called biofilm. Those that are not removed cause formation of “pockets,” areas of separation between the teeth and their surrounding gums, in which plaque hardens into deposits known as calculus or tartar. The purpose of having your teeth cleaned regularly by a trained professional hygienist is to remove deposits of plaque and calculus. Removal of hard deposits on your teeth is called “scaling.” This can be done either by using hand-held scalers or by newer technology: ultrasonic power scalers.

Let’s take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of both types of instruments.

Power Scalers

How they work: These instruments use the energy of ultrasonic vibration to crush and remove hard, calcified deposits of calculus. They also create shockwaves that disrupt bacterial cells. Use of these tools includes washing and flushing the pockets and any exposed root surfaces with water.

Pros: They are as effective as manual instruments for calculus removal in shallow gum pockets and significantly more effective in pockets greater than 4mm. They are very effective in removing calculus from root surfaces and from within periodontal pockets. Their small tips can penetrate deeper into periodontal pockets than manual instruments and are more comfortable to experience, and they are more effective for cleaning difficult nooks and crannies. Coolant sprays flush the area and remove bacteria and their by-products. They require less time than manual instruments.

Cons: A contaminated mist may form so that the hygienist needs to wear protective equipment. The vibration of the ultrasonic instruments may make it difficult to feel if the root surface is completely smooth and free of calculus. Power scalers affect some heart pacemakers.

Conventional Hand-held Scalers

How they work: These depend on the skill and knowledge of the hygienist to manipulate them and scrape away calculus (tartar) from teeth and within pockets.

Pros: They are equally effective for plaque and calculus removal from shallow gum pockets. They do not interfere with electronic equipment like heart pacemakers. They can be used more easily on teeth in which there are areas of demineralization (areas where minerals have been removed from the tooth’s enamel, making it more vulnerable to decay). They are easier on the tooth’s surface and are thus better for use with porcelain or composite restoration, or sensitive teeth.

Cons: They take longer to complete a cleaning. Sometimes they cause more discomfort than ultrasonic scalers.

In most cases the choice of scalers is not really an either/or situation. Most experts say that the best results come through using both types of instruments. As a result, cleanings can be done with effective and efficient outcomes and greater patient comfort.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about dental cleanings. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article, “Dental Cleanings Using Ultrasonic Scalers.”