COMMON DENTAL & ORAL HEALTH CONCERNS
People In the Greater Nashua Area Have a Variety of Concerns About Dental & Oral Health, and Dr. Joseph Columbus Has the Answers.
The list below addresses concerns about dental and oral health, and those most-often expressed by the patients who come into Columbus Dental Care. Please take a look. If you do not see the concern you have addressed here, feel free to Send an Email, and we will do our best to get you an answer.
A dental abscess may occur when a cracked or broken tooth, or one with a deep cavity reveals the inner pulp of the tooth, allowing it to become infected. The infection then can spread to the root of the tooth and infect the gum, which leads to abscess.
Abscess is a very painful condition that signals a problem that should be dealt with immediately, or much worse problems can ensure, including periodontal (gum) disease, bone loss, and loss of one or more teeth.
Common dental treatments associated with dental abscesses include:
- Incising (cutting) and draining the abscess.
- Tooth extraction, which may be called for if the tooth is too badly damaged to save it any other way.
- Dental implants, which may be required in order to replace missing teeth.
- Root canal procedures, in which the infected material is removed from the subject tooth, the root severed and the canals cleaned out, the void areas filled with a gutta-percha material, and the cavity filled or the broken tooth covered with a porcelain cap called a crown.
- Dentures or partials, if the problem results in such massive loss of teeth that there is little else than can be done.
- Periodontal treatments
- Bone grafting
Most people look at the list above and decide that regular brushing, flossing, and professional cleaning by the hygienists at Columbus Dental Care, is a lot less painful and far less expensive. You should, too.
Bad breath can interfere with your personal, professional and social life, and nobody wants to have it. The causes of bad breath include poor personal oral hygiene, infected gums, tooth decay, and build-up of bacteria on your tongue and in your mouth. People who don’t brush and floss a couple of times a day often have bad breath.
The most common cause of bad breath is excess bacteria in the mouth that hardened or imbedded itself and cannot be removed by a toothbrush or floss. This bacteria engages in a metabolic process that releases tiny amounts of Sulphur-compounded gases. You can also have bad breath due to post-nasal drip, and due to gastric reflux – contents of your stomach being expelled into your esophagus and mouth.
You can prevent or lessen bad breath by:
- Brushing your teeth at least twice each day, and preferably after every meal.
- Floss at least once at the end of the day, after you brush and then rinse with an antibacterial rinse.
- Scrape your tongue once a day, with a special tongue scraper. Your Columbus Dental Care hygienist has them on hand.
- Have your teeth cleaned by one of our dental hygienists at least two to four times per year, or every six months.
- If you have post-nasal drip or acid reflux, see your family physician for a treatment solution.
If you break a tooth, you should seek immediate treatment from Dr. Joseph Columbus – you risk damaging the tooth further if you wait.
Treating a broken tooth depends on the location of the tooth and how badly it’s damaged. If a small chip has broken off, it can usually be repaired in one office visit. A severely broken tooth may require longer and more costly treatment.
Options for treating a broken tooth include:
- Dental crowns, also known as onlays, cover the broken tooth and take the place of its surfaces.
- Porcelain dental veneers, which are thin outer shells can cover chips, cracks and minor breaks.
- Root canals are sometimes necessary to repair and save teeth if the root has been exposed by the break and become infected.
- Tooth-colored fillings, also known as inlays, can be used to fill in less-severely damaged tooth areas, and blend perfectly with the rest of the tooth.
- Dental bonding also blends with the damaged tooth, and provides an added layer of protection.
The enamel that covers your teeth is the hardest material in your body, but it does have limits. If you chip a tooth, there are several options the dentists at Columbus Dental Care can suggest.
Option to repair chipped teeth include:
- Dental bonding, which employs a tooth-colored composite resin to fill in and build up the tooth, returning it to a natural look.
- Porcelain veneers, thin shells can hide the chipped area, especially of front teeth.
- Dental crowns, made of bonded ceramic materials, for a severely damaged tooth.
Clenching & Grinding Teeth (Bruxism)
You can do severe damage to your teeth if you clench or grind them, and most people don’t even realize they do it, especially in their sleep. Clenching and grinding, clinically known as bruxism. can wear teeth down to the nubs, and also lead to the very painful condition known aa TMJ Syndrome.
If you know or have been told that you clench or grind, but do not experience jaw pain, the simplest solution for you is a mouth guard, also known as an occlusal guard or dental splint. This protects your teeth from the clenching and grinding actions.
If your teeth are noticeably worn, or you are experiencing frequent jaw pain, you should consult with Dr. Joe Columbus about further options.
Better smiles begin at Columbus Dental Care, and there are many times when getting you that better smile means straightening out crooked teeth.
Teeth can become crooked for a number of reasons, including overcrowding, gaps between teeth that allow them to move, permanent teeth coming in before “baby” teeth have fallen out, and tooth loss leading to tooth movement.
The Columbus Dental Care options for crooked teeth include:
- Traditional braces, which use metal brackets and wires to move your teeth into proper position.
- Ceramic braces, which do the same job as traditional metal braces, but employ tooth-colored brackets and wires, so they are less noticeable.
- Invisible aligners, a set of plastic trays that fit over you natural teeth, each shaped so to progressively move your teeth to their new positions.
- Dental veneers, which are an option for teeth that slightly crooked or gapped – the veneers are sized and shaped to mask the problems.
Dry mouth can be caused by numerous things. It is a common side effect of many prescription medications and more common with age. But long-tern dry mouth can contribute to a number of dental problems including cavities and gum disease.
The easiest ways to avoid dry mouth include:
- Drinking plenty of water
- Avoiding certain food and drinks (straight alcohol, for instance)
- Chewing sugarless gum (in private, of course)
If doing these things don’t alleviate your dry mouth symptoms, talk to Dr. Joe about more aggressive options.
Gaps in teeth are more common with children than adults, although there are several prominent figures on TV today who still have gaps in their front teeth (David Letterman and Mike Tyson, for example).
Children develop gaps between their teeth as their jaws get bigger while their baby teeth remain the same size. This changes one larger permanent teeth move in to fill the spaces.
Gaps in adult teeth appear most often between the two upper front teeth, though they can occur between any two teeth. Gaps are normal, and may result from a mismatch between jaw bone size and teeth size.
If you are concerned about gaps between your teeth, the options to reduce them that are available from Columbus Dental Care include:
- Dental bonding, which adds material to a tooth or teeth, to fill in smaller gaps.
- Porcelain veneers, which can be sized and shaped, then affixed to your teeth to hid bigger gaps.
- Invisible aligners, also known as invisible braces, a series of plastic retainer-like trays that fit over your teeth, and are configured to move them over time, like braces.
- Traditional braces, which can be used not just to straighten teeth, but also to correct a number of other alignment problems.
- Six Month Smiles, a cosmetic braces system that focuses just on the teeth in your smile and provides much faster improvement.
Your gums are an important part of a healthy smile, and receding gums can affect your smile, your overall health, and lead to massive gum and tooth loss.
The easiest and simplest things you can do to avoid gum recession include:
- Brushing daily – but gently – at least twice per day, with a soft-bristled brush, using an up and down motion. Don’t scrape your gums from side-to-side using a hard brush!
- Floss at least once per day, making sure to get under the gum line, to get out as much material and bacteria build-up as possible.
- Have your teeth and gums professionally cleaned at least twice a year by a dental hygienist at Columbus Dental Care
- Get regular dental check-ups, to make sure there are no problems with your teeth that may also affect your gums.
If you consistently experience jaw pain, especially where your jawbone meets on the sides of your face, near your ears, there is a good chance you are experiencing TMJ – Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, the most common causes of which are clenching and grinding your teeth.
Jaw pain also is often a symptom of excessive tooth decay and gum disease, when an infected tooth has led to abscesses in your gums and then infected your jaw bone.
If you experience any type of jaw pain for more than a few days, you should consult with the dental professionals at Columbus Dental Care.
It used to be that metals were the only materials used to fill cavities – amalgams of silver, gold and, sometimes even mercury. Mercury is known to be toxic to the human body, and many people have had health disappear after having mercury fillings removed.
Columbus Dental Care is a metal-free practice – we only use tooth-colored fillings made from composite resins to fill cavities in your teeth. These composites provide excellent durability and resistance to fracture in small to mid-size fillings, and they look like they are part of your natural teeth.
Missing teeth can really ruin your smile and are the source of frequent embarrassment and lost self-esteem. In addition to ruining a smile, missing teeth can also affect your speech and your ability to bite and chew food.
Dr. Joseph Columbus has several options for dealing with missing teeth, including:
- Dental implants and crowns
- Traditional removable dentures
- Partial dentures and bridges
- Implant-supported dentures
Periodontal (Gum) Disease
Gum disease results from inadequate removal of bacteria from the surface of teeth and the gum line. The bacteria can then move deep into the gum tissue, causing swelling, bleeding and, eventually, infection. Left untreated, this leads to tooth loss, as the bone structures that hold the teeth in place are eaten away by the infection.
As with gum recession, the best ways to avoid gum disease are daily brushing and flossing, and periodic professional dental cleanings and exams with the hygienists and dentists at Columbus Dental Care.
Root canal treatment is also known as endodontics, and is needed when tooth decay has broken through the outer enamel and infected the heart of the tooth. Left untreated, this condition can lead to infection, abscesses, gum disease, tooth loss and worse.
During a root canal procedure, Dr. Joe Columbus uses special tools to get inside the tooth, remove the infected pulp, snip the nerve roots, and clear the root canals. The “empty” tooth is then filled with a gutta-percha material, and either treated with a composite resin filling (inlay) or a porcelain crown (onlay).
Sleep apnea is a condition, affecting millions of Americans, during which breathing is interrupted for an extended period of time – 10 seconds or more in adults – up to 100 times per hour.
If you are constantly tired during the day, are told you snore and snort in your sleep, or wake up in the middle of the night gasping for breath, you probably have sleep apnea. Dr. Joseph Columbus is a certified sleep dentist, and can show you dental options for dealing with sleep apnea, perhaps in lieu of using a CPAP machine.
Stained or Discolored Teeth
Are your teeth not the color you wish they were, stained, gray or yellowish?
There are several causes for discolored teeth, including:
- Prescription medications
- Long-term consumption of coffee, tea, wines and other “staining” beverages
It’s also very common for the canine teeth to be a deeper color that your front teeth, because they are thicker and stronger, for biting, and the extra enamel absorbs more light.
If you want brighter, whiter teeth, Dr. Joe can recommend:
- At-home bleaching kits that can bring your brightness up several shades over the course of six weeks or so.
- Zoom!® laser whitening, which can bring brightness up several shades in a hour or less.
- For deeply-yellowed or discolored teeth, porcelain veneers are the recommended option. It’s a more expensive one, but veneers are guaranteed to give you the whitest, brightest smile you could possibly imagine.
Tooth decay, better known as cavities, occurs when plaque has built up on your teeth and begun to eat away at the enamel. Left untreated, bacteria in the plaque convert what they eat into acid, which eats its way into the heart of your tooth – and that can cause serious problems.
The best way to avoid tooth decay is regular brushing, flossing and professional cleaning, and periodic dental exams at Columbus Dental Care usually catch cavities before it’s too late.
Any time you have tooth ache, you should get in touch with Dr Joseph Columbus, because it could be a symptom of something serious. Wisdom tooth pain, too, if you still have your wisdom teeth.
Tooth pain is associated with several different conditions, including:
- Chipped or broken teeth
- Clenching or grinding your teeth
- Loose teeth
- Movement of teeth
- Impacted wisdom teeth
The goal of the dentists at Columbus Dental Care is to keep all of your teeth as healthy as possible, for a better smile and happier life.
Most tooth sensitivity is cause by the exterior root of the tooth being exposed to temperature changes, because of gum recession. Hot and cold beverages, especially, come in contact with the root surface, which is thinner at the gum line, so the heat or cold transfers more readily to the nerves themselves. Your teeth may also be sensitive to sugars, acids and touch.
There are several over-the-counter toothpastes and rinses that reduce sensitivity, and Dr. Joe Columbus can also treat more severe cases of dental sensitivity with dental bonding at the root surfaces, or treatment with more aggressive desensitizers.
Dr. Joseph Columbus is always guided by the principle that good health begins with good oral and dental health. Do you have a dental health concern? Contact Columbus Dental Care today, and let us put your mouth at ease.