Do your gums bleed when you brush your teeth? If so, you may be suffering from periodontal (gum) disease. Bleeding gums are often caused by a build up of plaque along the gum line. Plaque gets into the pockets of the gum and hardens into tartar. As you brush or floss your teeth, this irritates the sensitive gum tissue and can cause bleeding or soreness.
Bleeding gums are also common during pregnancy because of hormonal changes taking place in the body. It is important to maintain routine visits to the dentist during pregnancy to monitor gum health.
If your gums are bleeding, it is important that you make an appointment with the doctors to be evaluated for gum disease.
Gum disease has a better prognosis, the earlier it is treated.
What’s causing my pain? When your teeth don’t fit together properly and/or the two small joints in front of your ears – TMJ joints – don’t function smoothly, pain and pressure results. You may experience migraine headaches or unexplained facial, neck, shoulder, or jaw pain. Tooth wear, teeth grinding, tingling extremities, and chronic earaches are also on the long list of common problems caused by TMJ disorder.
Missing teeth should be treated as quickly as possible. Once a tooth is lost, the bone begins to deteriorate. It will continue to deteriorate if no treatment is sought, making replacement options more and more difficult and potentially affecting other teeth.
Tooth cavities are, unfortunately, a very common dental problem for both kids and adults. Your dentist can usually identify cavities before you experience symptoms, so it is important to visit the dentist regularly for screenings and tooth cleanings.
Common Signs of Tooth Cavities Include:
- Tooth pain
- Sensitivity to hot or cold foods/drinks
- Holes in the teeth
- Sore gums or bleeding gums
What Causes a Tooth Cavity?
Diet and hygiene are two of the biggest factors contributing to tooth cavities. Plaque is constantly forming in the mouth. When it interacts with sugar or starch from the food and drink we consume, the bacteria that it forms will eat away at the tooth. This can lead to a cavity. Brushing twice a day and flossing is the best way to prevent cavities. In addition, you should maintain a healthy diet that includes plenty of water, fresh fruits and vegetables. Limit the number of sodas and candy in your diet to avoid cavities.
Treatment for Tooth Cavities
If you do have a tooth cavity or if your teeth are showing signs of decay, your dentist may recommend a number of general dentistry treatments to restore the tooth to proper health and minimize the risk of further decay. A dental filling is usually the first line of treatment for a tooth cavity. Drs. Smallberg and Satornino may use a composite resin dental filling, porcelain filling/onlay or gold filling/onlay. Dental crowns are used on teeth that are more severely affected by tooth decay. If the tooth decay is advanced and infecting the tooth pulp, a root canal may be needed to restore proper health and alleviate associated pain.
Tooth grinding, or “bruxism” is clenching or grinding your teeth. Most people are not even aware that they are doing this. In the United States, bruxism affects about 30 million to 40 million children and adults.
Some people grind their teeth only during sleep. This is called “nocturnal bruxism” or “sleep-related bruxism.” Others grind or clench their teeth during the daytime as well. This is thought to be related to stress or anxiety.
Bruxism can have a variety of causes. Some experts view bruxism as nothing more than a habit. It also can be a result of the body’s reaction when the teeth do not line up or come together properly. Bruxism also can be a symptom of certain rare diseases of the nerves and muscles in the face. In rare cases, bruxism may be a side effect of some medicines that treat depression.
People with severe bruxism can break dental fillings or damage their teeth. Rubbing the teeth together can cause the outer layers of enamel to wear away, exposing dentin. This can result in tooth sensitivity. Severe bruxism also has been blamed for:
- Some cases of jaw dysfunction, also called temporomandibular disorders (TMD)
- Headaches when you wake up in the morning
- Unexplained facial pain
If your bruxism is related to tooth problems, your dentist probably will correct tooth alignment. In severe cases, your dentist may need to use onlays or crowns to entirely reshape the biting surfaces of your teeth. The dentist also may make a mouth guard or bite splint that fits your mouth and teeth. This will help prevent further damage to the teeth. In some cases, it may help your teeth and muscles to realign.