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Possible Remedies for a Chipped Tooth
Possible Remedies for a Chipped Tooth

Chipping a tooth is fairly common. Usually, a chipped tooth looks bad but doesn’t cause any health risks.

However, a chipped or cracked tooth may allow bacteria to enter into the person’s system if the tooth’s enamel is penetrated. If the enamel is compromised and the pulp is infected, then the possibility of tooth loss increases. 

There are several remedies for a chipped tooth that will help settle your fears. Let’s take a look at what they are:

What Should I Do if I Have a Chipped Tooth? 

A chipped tooth may or may not be painful, depending on the nature of the break and where it is located on the tooth. If the crack or chip is deep, it may affect the nerve and cause pain.

If the chipped tooth is indeed causing pain, you will need to see a dentist to have the tooth evaluated. In the meantime, there are things you can do to help the situation:

1. Rinse

After a tooth has been chipped, get a cup of warm water, add salt to the water, and use this solution to rinse out your mouth. The warm saltwater will help alleviate any pain and will also help to prevent infection. 

2. Ice 

Inflammation isn’t unusual with a broken or chipped tooth. When inflammation does happen, it exhibits in the jawline near where the tooth was chipped – so apply an ice pack near the location of the chipped tooth to help reduce the swelling. 

3. Use Dental Wax

You can also place soft dental wax (which you can buy at a drugstore) over the sharp edges of the chipped tooth. This prevents the tooth from scratching or cutting the inside of your mouth or from grinding against other teeth.

Sugarless gum can also be used if dental wax isn’t readily available.

4. Take Pain Relievers 

Eliminate pain with over-the-counter medication as necessary. If your tooth is sensitive after it’s been chipped, then avoid foods that are too hot or too cold. If necessary, only consume soft foods and liquids until the dentist repairs the tooth.

5. Save the Chip 

It may help your dentist if you were able to retrieve the chip of tooth that broke off. Carefully rinse off the chip with water, and place it in a sealed sandwich-style plastic bag. Make sure no one will think it is garbage; place it in your personal desk drawer and make a note for yourself so you won’t forget it.

Take the piece(s) with you to the dental appointment to have it fixed. There is a slight chance that the dentist can use the pieces to repair your tooth in a more natural way than if the dentist had to use bonding or other method. 

Dentists in Merced, California 

Our practice at El Portal Dental Group offers same-day emergency and weekend appointments. Whether you have a chipped tooth, a dental injury, or sudden soreness, we’re available to help.

To schedule an appointment with one of our outstanding dentists, call us today at (209) 385-1479 or fill out our appointment request form online. We look forward to serving you.


Why am I Grinding My Teeth?
Why am I Grinding My Teeth?

Why am I Grinding My Teeth?

Bruxism – the medical term for grinding your teeth – is a damaging habit that not only is bad for your teeth, but can be detrimental to your health in general. Those who grind their teeth during sleep hours are most often unaware they’re doing it. If you awaken each morning or even occasionally with a slight, but constant, headache, or if your jaw is sore in the morning, then you may have been grinding your teeth in your sleep. If you aren’t sure, ask your partner – you will be sure to get an honest response! If you have been grinding your teeth while you sleep, there could be a number of reasons why. Here are some possible reasons why your doctor likely will diagnose you with bruxism.

Why we Grind

What is interesting about bruxism is that it is an effect, not a cause. Teeth grinding usually is the result of a number of different scenarios. Some of include problems sleeping or sleep deprivation, crooked or missing teeth or an over- or under-bite.  Stress has been known to cause bruxism; it can also result from sinus and/or infections, colds, allergies, or other medical conditions.

Who Grinds?

There is no singular type of person who grinds teeth – both male and female; old and young may go through bouts of teeth grinding. The one thing they all share are the similar outcomes, which include:

-       Pain and discomfort, which can include earaches, toothaches, and sore jaw and facial muscles; not to mention, the joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull can be damaged as a result of clenching and/or grinding.

-       Tooth damage, especially to the enamel of both natural and restored teeth. And the more you grind, the more your teeth (to include caps, fillings, and crowns) will be affected. Additionally, the pressure from grinding result in loose or cracked teeth.

-       Sleep deprivation and exhaustion. If you find yourself (or your loved ones) exhausted during the day, it could be the result of your bruxism. And that lack of sleep can make you less productive, put you at risk for disease and accidents, as well as weight gain.

-       TMJ is a pain disorder that is localized in the jaw joint. Persons with TMJ will experience jaw pain, clicking of the jaw and sometimes the jaw will lock. Difficulty chewing is also a symptom.

Put an End to Chronic Teeth Grinding

Depending on the reason for your bruxism, you may be advised any number of solutions. Because bruxism occurs while sleeping, a mouth guard to protect your teeth is a good idea. Your dentist will devise a guard to fit your mouth so that your teeth are protected during sleep. This is the first line of defense, however a more deliberate approach may be in order, if stress is the reason you grind your teeth. There are options that will help you to reduce stress. Ask your healthcare provider or counselor for advice and techniques that will help.  Remedies may include exercises, muscle relaxants, or relaxation exercises. If sleep apnea is behind the grinding, then making an appointment to see a sleep specialist should be a priority.

Cutting back on alcohol and caffeinated drinks may help grinding to subside. Avoid chewing on anything that is not food (e.g., pens, pencils, hair); continuing to do so trains your jaw to clench which in turn causes teeth to grind.

Diagnosis

You still might not be sure about the grinding, unless someone is present during the time that you sleep and can hear and observe the grinding action. Otherwise, the only way to be certain that the symptoms you experience are related to bruxism is to see a dentist, who can confirm your suspicions. During your appointment, your dentist will be able to spot signs of bruxism and make recommendations accordingly.

If you suspect (or are being told) that you’re grinding your teeth at night, El Portal Dental Group can help relieve you deal with the problem. Call us to request an appointment to be examined. We will determine for sure whether you’re suffering from bruxism and will provide a solution to any of your dental needs. Call El Portal Dental Group today by calling 209-385-1479.


What Dental Procedures will Leave My Teeth Sensitive?
What Dental Procedures will Leave My Teeth Sensitive?

Some people have tooth sensitivity when they eat or drink cold, hot, sweet, or acidic foods or drinks. Sensitivity most often means that the root area is exposed somewhere in your mouth. However, tooth sensitivity can also happen after a dental procedure; usually, the symptoms go away on their own as the mouth heals after the procedure. Here are some dental procedures that may leave your teeth feeling sensitive.

Root canals

A root canal involves removal of infected pulp from inside the tooth to prevent further infection.  The area where the root is located contains nerve tissue, blood vessels, and other cells.  A root canal removes all of this, leaving the inside of the tooth hollow.  During the root canal, the dentist will clean out all contamination and then fill the void with a temporary, then permanent filling.  With root canals, the pain is temporary and over the counter, painkillers are generally good enough to deal with the pain. Your dentist can also prescribe medication to help deal with the pain.

Crowns

Dental crowns are needed if you have a cracked, decaying, or broken tooth. The crown is sort of a manmade tooth that covers an implant or is cemented to part of a broken tooth. When the crown is put in, it can irritate the nearby nerves and gums and cause some pain. It is common to feel pain after a crown is put in because of the inflammation. Fortunately, this pain is temporary and will go away on its own. You can control the pain symptoms through over the counter painkillers. If there is rubbing or sharp pains, see your dentist immediately; an improperly placed or jagged crown can irritate the gums and cause infection.

Tooth Extraction

You may need to get a tooth removed for any number of reasons – from tooth decay, crowded teeth, gum disease, and painful wisdom teeth to a baby tooth that refused to come out on its own.  Pain after an extraction is expected as it leaves nerves and the pulp under the tooth exposed. Dentists generally prescribe pain medication to control the pain and to prevent infection.

Gum tissue grafts

Gum tissue grafts are used to fix roots that have been exposed due to receding gums. You are more likely to feel pain and sensitivity while the wound heals. Your dentist or periodontist may prescribe pain medication as well as antibiotics to prevent infection.

If you recently have undergone one of these procedures will be getting one done soon, you should expect pain and sensitivity. However, if your symptoms last longer than a few days or get worse over time, it’s important to seek medical attention. Finally, there are many other dental procedures that can cause tooth sensitivity. If you are about to get any dental procedure done, make sure to talk to your doctor about what symptoms to expect and what you can do to reduce them.

Braces

Getting braces can result in sensitivity. After all, you are applying hardware to reform the placement of your teeth. Pain and sensitivity are to be expected as your teeth shift; if the pain comes from sharp wires or rough edges, see your dentist or orthodontist immediately to repair the wire or bracket.

At El Portal Dental Group in Merced, California, Dr. Khang Nguyen and his staff provide state-of-the-art dental care for you and your family. Dr. Nguyen offers general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, implant dentistry, and emergency dentistry services to adults and children in Merced, California in a comfortable and caring environment. In addition, we speak English, Spanish, Hmong, and Vietnamese. Dr. Nguyen can create beautiful, confident smiles that are as healthy as they are functional. Come and discover dental excellence at El Portal Dental Group. Request an appointment with Dr. Nguyen, cosmetic and family dentist in Merced, California. Call (209) 385-1479 today. Same-day emergency and weekend dental appointments are available.


Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?
Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are a third set of molars that typically start coming in during your late teens to early 20’s.  Sometimes they grow sideways impacted in the jawbone, or sometimes they come up into the gums and become impacted, causing pain and pushing the surrounding teeth sideways. When they only partially come up through the gums, they can cause infections from causing food to become stuck in your teeth. So if wisdom teeth can cause all of these issues, why do we have them?

The answer is found in human evolution. A very long time ago, our ancestors used to eat a diet of coarse foods, such as roots, leaves, nuts, and tough meat, that required very powerful molars. Over the course of evolution our jaws have become much smaller as we have developed techniques for cutting and breaking down our coarse foods and changing our diet to consist of many softer foods. The need for the third set of molars has diminished but they are still in the process of being phased out from non-use.

Aside from the pain that comes with impacted or developing wisdom teeth, they can also become a problem if they begin pushing on your other teeth to make room to grow. Cysts and tumors can also develop from impactions, besides infection.

Our dentists frequently perform wisdom teeth extractions, as these teeth should be removed as soon as possible when you start to feel the pain in the back of your mouth/jaw. However, treatment is not necessary if your wisdom teeth grow in properly aligned and do not cause irritation.

During your wisdom tooth extraction, we will numb the affected area before distributing a topical pain reliever and injecting pain reliever into the gums. After that, the procedure to remove your affected teeth is performed with little to no feeling in the area while you are under the medication.

Recovery consists of taking an antibiotic to prevent infection in the excavated area, and pain medication if necessary. Our El Portal dental team will provide you with aftercare instructions on how to care for your healing jaw, such as applying ice packs to reduce any swelling, as well as modifying your diet to consist mainly of soft foods.

Having regularly scheduled dental cleanings and checkups with the El Portal team allows us to monitor the progressive growth of your wisdom teeth. Through X-ray imaging, we can track and predict the pattern of your wisdom teeth before impactions become worse.

Have you seen your dentist yet this year?  Are you experiencing pain in your molars? Call (209) 385-1479 or request an appointment at our dental office in Merced online today.

Have you had your wisdom teeth removed due to pain or crowding? What was your favorite post-op food to eat?