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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.


What is the difference between Dental Crowns and Root Canals

What is the difference between Dental Crowns and Root Canals


So, you’ve made an appointment with your dentist because you have a tooth that’s been bothering you. It doesn’t hurt all the time, but every once in a while, it starts to throb. One of your friends even said, “I bet you need a root canal or a crown.” She seemed to know a lot about what she was saying, but she isn’t a dentist and you’ve never needed any dental work, so you have no idea what she’s talking about. The good news is, until you see the dentist, you don’t know what or if something actually needs to be fixed. The truth is, there are times when a crown is enough. A crown is used to cover a damaged, discolored, or disfigured tooth. Getting a dental crown can either be a necessary, or a cosmetic procedure. However, a root canal is only done when there is a problem, and it is always followed by the placement of a crown to protect the tooth. So, for peace of mind, here’s a little information on the difference between a dental crown and a root canal.

 

 

Tooth Anatomy

 

To understand a root canal, or a crown, it helps if you know a little about the anatomy of a tooth. There are several layers in every tooth. The outermost, and hardest, part of the tooth is the enamel. It is what you see when someone smiles. The next layer under the enamel is the dentin. It is softer and has millions of narrow tubes that lead directly to the center of the tooth, where the pulp is found. This is where all the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth are located. The pulp is very important as your teeth are growing and developing, because that is how nourishment gets in. However, after the tooth is fully developed, the pulp is not as important because other structures can provide nourishment to the adult tooth. What is important to note is that decay can affect all layers of the tooth, but the deeper inside the decay is, the more serious the problem.

 

What is a Root Canal?

 

A root canal is a procedure that is necessary when someone has inflammation or an infection in the pulp of the tooth. There are a number of ways that this can occur. If you have deep decay, bacteria can get into the pulp and cause an infection. It can also occur if you have a chip that provides an opening into the tooth. Repeated dental work, or injury from trauma can also cause the problems that will require a root canal. If any of these things are left untreated, you will not only experience severe pain, but may develop an abscess or even more serious infections.

 

To determine if you need a root canal, your dentist will examine you and take X-rays. Next, he or she will numb the area with local anesthetic injections. To get to the pulp, your dentist will have to make an opening in the crown (outside) of your tooth, through the enamel and dentin and into the pulp. This will be done with a small drill. Next, the dentist will use tiny instruments, or files, to clean out all of the damaged or infected pulp from inside of your tooth.  At this point, he or she might put an antibacterial solution inside the tooth to minimize the risk of further infection. Finally, your tooth will get a temporary filling and will then be sealed. The entire procedure may take one or two visits, and with modern dentistry, you should feel minimal or no discomfort. Your tooth may be a little sensitive for a few days but if you have any true pain, you should notify your dentist immediately. So, now that your tooth has been rid of any disease or infection, you will be ready to get a crown in a few weeks.

 

What is a Dental Crown?

 

A dental crown is a permanently attached structure that is cemented to your tooth, or to a dental implant. It is used to completely cover either a damaged tooth, or a tooth that is misshapen or discolored. The reason it is used after a root canal is to protect the tooth and give it strength and stability.

 

Before a crown can be cemented into your mouth, your existing tooth has to be reduced in size with a drill, by your dentist. Next, an impression of soft material will be taken, so that a mold can be made. The products of the impression will then be sent to a lab so that your crown can be made to your dentist’s specifications. A temporary crown will be placed on your tooth until the permanent crown can be put in. Once the final crown is received, and cemented into your mouth, it is permanent and can only be removed by a dentist. This is also true of crowns placed on dental implants, except of course; the implant will not need to be reduced in size before the crown is placed.

 

There are a number of different materials that a crown can be made of, depending on the location and the function of the crown. For instance, porcelain or ceramic crowns can be made to match the color of your teeth, are the most natural looking, and are best for your front teeth. However, gold and other metals are stronger than porcelain and may be recommended for teeth that are in the back and not in plain view.  It is important to discuss your options and the recommendations by your dentist before the crown is ordered from the lab.

 

So, while a root canal is only used to address a dental problem, crowns are not only indicated to cover the tooth that has had the root canal, but are also used for a number of other reasons. They can be used to cover a tooth that has been weakened from a fracture, or one that has a very large filling in it. It can also be used to cover a dental implant or to fix a fractured tooth. Sometimes a bridge (which is a complete replacement of a missing tooth) can be attached to a crown to fill a gap. And finally, crowns can be used for purely cosmetic reasons, to improve the look of a misshapen or a discolored tooth.

 

How Should I Care for My Teeth After Either Procedure?

 

Crowns should last a lifetime, although sometimes the cement loosens and it may come out. If this happens, you can try to reattach the crown using toothpaste or denture glue, but notify your dentist immediately so that it can be reattached with permanent cement as soon as possible.  Care for your crown should include good oral hygiene to prevent decay, and the avoidance of eating hard foods like ice or candy that might cause damage.

 

After a root canal, good oral hygiene is key to keeping your teeth and gums healthy and strong. This includes brushing and flossing daily, as well as cleanings and dental check-ups at least every six-months. The root canal should fix the problem at hand, but that doesn’t mean you will never have an issue with that tooth again. In some cases, root canals may need to be repeated, even years later. So, see your dentist regularly and contact them if you experience any new pain.

 

If you have any more questions about root canals or crowns, or have any other dental concerns, please call El Portal Dental at (209) 385-1479 today, or schedule an appointment online. We are here to meet all of your dental needs.

 


The Complete Guide to Root Canals
The Complete Guide to Root Canals

Dental anxiety is very common, especially if you are already in pain. And it doesn’t help when you think about the sounds of drilling that you associate with serious dental work. Have you ever been to the dentist and you get the bad news that you need a root canal? Perhaps it’s the name that scares people, or the guilty fear of what happens when we don’t take care of our teeth properly. Well, don’t fret. A root canal is one of the most well-practiced dental procedures, and your dentist will keep you pain free, and have you done in no time. Sometimes, just being more informed can ease your nerves.

What is a Root Canal?

Once your teeth are fully developed, the pulp is no longer needed inside your teeth. The pulp in your teeth is made up of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue to help your teeth grow. However, sometimes this pulp stays in your teeth for a long time, and can lead to a painful infection. If left untreated without a root canal, not only will pain persist, you can lose your tooth.

The root canal procedure takes around 30-90 minutes depending on the severity of the root canal and the person’s mouth. In some cases where pain and infection are present, your dentist may be able to prescribe antibiotics and pain medication. The procedure is done as follows:

  1.  A local anesthetic will be applied to the nerves that lead to the tooth
  2. A rubber suction will be placed around the tooth to keep the area clean during the treatment
  3. A small hole will be drilled into the tooth
  4. The infected pulp will be removed
  5. The root canal space is disinfected

6.     The endodontist will then fill the root canal space with a biocompatible material called Gutta Percha. The access cavity will be covered with a temporary material, and will be assessed for permanent restoration

You may be a candidate for a root canal if:

  •      You’re experiencing sensitive teeth for a prolonged period (hot and cold)
  •       Your gums and jaw are painful and swollen
  •      Your jaw and tooth hurts
  •      You have a fractured or cracked tooth

A root canal will not only relieve your pain, and in most cases the procedure itself is relatively painless. The procedure is not what it used to be, so if you have reservations make sure to talk to your dentist.

If you’re experiencing dental pain, or it’s just time to schedule your next checkup, call El Portal Dental Group at (209) 385-1479 to request an appointment, or request one online.


Relieving the Pain After Your Root Canal Procedure
Relieving the Pain After Your Root Canal Procedure

Getting a Root Canal

If your dentist has advised you that you need a root canal, you probably have some form of infection or serious decay that must be removed in order to save the tooth. A root canal, also called endodontic therapy, involves removing the damaged, inflamed or infected pulp material inside the tooth. Sometimes it also means removing the nerve as well. Once removed, the tooth is sealed with a crown and allowed to heal. Sometimes patients report that their tooth pain has actually increased after the procedure. Below are some helpful tips to help relieve the pain following a root canal procedure.

Why it Hurts

If the tooth was especially inflamed or painful, the root canal may actually temporarily aggravate the area, causing you more discomfort that normal. Additionally, the healing process can take a little time to calm things down. This is frequently caused by stretching on the periodontal fibers and ligaments that hold the tooth in place. They are likely to be inflamed by the infection, or the root canal procedure itself. Your jaws may also be sore from having them opened so wide for the time it takes your dentist to complete the work.

Even if the nerve has been removed, some patients report a kind of “ghost” nerve pain because of the sudden severing of the nerve from the major nerves that run along the pathways of your jaws and gums. Over time, this pain normally recedes by itself. However, you should tell your dentist about any continuing pain or discomfort.

Patients should avoid chewing on hard or crunchy foods following a root canal. Chewing on the opposite side or eating only soft foods is a good way to allow the tooth to rest and heal. It can also reduce your pain. If the pain continues or gets worse after a root canal, you may need additional treatment and should notify your dentist as soon as possible.

Relieving Pain After a Root Canal

  • First and foremost, follow all of your dentist’s instructions
  • Make sure to take any prescribed medications or antibiotics, as directed
  • Make sure to allow the tooth to heal and chew on the other side when possible for a few days
  • Report all bleeding, signs of infection such as pus or redness, fever or swelling to your dentist
  • Ask the dentist if you can take over the counter medications or if they can prescribe something for pain

If you need treatment for an abscessed tooth or want more information about dental care such as a root canal, call El Portal Dental Group at (209) 385-1479 today or schedule an appointment online. Our compassionate and gentle dentists are always happy to help you with the superior dental care you and your loved ones deserve.


Preparing for Your Root Canal
Preparing for Your Root Canal

You’ve just gone to the dentist and have been told that you need root canal therapy. You’ve certainly heard of it before, but do you know how to prepare for one or what you should expect?

First it’s important to understand why a root canal has been recommended for you. In short, your teeth contain one or more canals that contain pulp. This pulp consists of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. When it becomes infected (usually from a cavity that has been left untreated), it can cause extreme pain and can lead to serious infections spreading throughout the body. In order to treat this, root canal therapy is prescribed.

Now that you know why it’s being done, let’s take a look at how it is done.

After being numbed or sedated, your dentist will use a drill to make a small hole in the top or back of the tooth so he or she can remove the infected pulp. Your root canals are then measured, cleaned, and filled with anti-infection medication. Your tooth may be filled with a temporary filling and then permanently sealed with a crown. You may also be given an antibiotic to help clear the infection, which might take a bit more time.

Preparing for a Root Canal in Merced

So, what can you do to prepare for your root canal? Below is a list of helpful tips that will make your root canal experience as stress-free as possible.

  1. Wear comfortable clothing. The procedure can be lengthy, so your comfort during this time is important.
  2. Before your procedure, talk with your dentist about all the medications you are taking to see if any should be stopped the day of your root canal.
  3. If you choose to be sedated, plan your transportation home, as you will not be able to drive.
  4. Avoid alcohol 12 hours before your root canal (and for 48 hours after your procedure).
  5. Do not smoke 12 hours before your root canal (and for 72 hours afterwards).
  6. Stock up on soft foods you’ll be able to eat after the procedure, such as mashed potatoes and applesauce, as your affected tooth may be sensitive from the procedure and crown.
  7. Discuss any concerns or questions with your dentist prior to the day of the root canal.

Our root canal dentists in Merced are experienced and friendly, willing to answer any questions you may have and put your mind at ease about your procedure.

Tooth infection? Tired of suffering from tooth pain? Schedule an appointment online today or call El Portal Dental at (209) 385-1479 to discuss root canal therapy or other treatment options for tooth pain.


CRACKED TOOTH

Do you have a cracked tooth?

Sometimes it is hard to tell if a tooth is cracked.  If you have pain, you may also not be able to tell which tooth hurts.  Cracks sometimes are invisible to the eye and may not show on an x-ray.  Your dentist will discover it during the exam.

A tooth that is cracked can be painful.  It also can lead to disease of the tooth.  How do you know if you have a cracked tooth?  Look for these signs:

  • Sharp pain when biting down that quickly disappears

  • Pain that comes and goes

  • Pain when eating or drinking

  • Feeling that something is stuck between your teeth

  • Or you may have no signs of symptom at all

Why does a tooth crack?

It can be one of these many reasons:

  • Chewing on hard objects

  • An accident

  • Grinding or clenching of teeth

  • Uneven chewing pressure, especially if a nearby tooth is missing

  • Loss of tooth structure through wear

  • Loss of tooth structure due to large fillings or other restorations

  • Exposure of tooth enamel to extreme hot and cold temperatures

Why does a cracked tooth hurt?

A crack in the enamel travels through to the nerve pulp.  This type of cracked tooth may hurt when you bite down or when you stop biting.  The crack may be too small to see, but when it opens, the pulp inside the tooth may become irritated.  The pulp is soft tissue inside the center of the tooth that contains the nerves and blood vessels.  If the crack extends into the pulp, the tooth may become sensitive to extreme heat and cold. 

How is a cracked tooth treated?

Treatment depends on the size, location and direction of the crack, as well as your symptoms.  Your dentist will discuss the treatment and will recommend the best treatment plan to you.  Types of treatment can be:

  • Repairing the tooth with fillings

  • Placing a crown (cap) on the tooth to protect it from further damage

  • Endodontic (root canal) treatment if the pulp is involved

  • Extracting the tooth if it is severely cracked and cannot be saved

Regular dental checkup is important because they let your dentist diagnose and treat problems at an early stage.  A cracked tooth can become a bigger problem if left untreated.  If you think you may have a cracked tooth, give El Portal Dental Group a call at 209-385-1479.  We will make sure you are taken care of.