Category Archives: Gum Disease

What to Do in the Event of a Chipped Tooth

Chipped Tooth - Norwich, ConnecticutOh no, you have a chipped tooth! Maybe you fell. Maybe you were hit in the face or mouth. Maybe you bit down on something hard. At first, you thought everything was okay, but running your tongue along your teeth, you feel a jagged edge that wasn’t there before.

Tooth enamel is a very strong material. It has to be for all the chewing that we do. Nevertheless, teeth can break and chip, and sometimes you may not even realize it because there’s no pain. However, if you have a major break, it’s likely that the nerve inside the tooth has been exposed and even damaged, and that’s when the pain starts. If hot or cold drinks or even air touch those nerve endings, it can be quite painful. Fractures occur from accidents, cavities, or old fillings that crack.

You might not be in pain, and you might think your tooth looks and feels just fine, but call your dentist anyway. On the other hand, if your tooth hurts non-stop, it’s a serious sign that the nerve might be damaged, so you definitely need to call.

So what can you do in the mean time for your chipped tooth until you get to the dentist office?

 

  • First, rinse your mouth with warm water. It might be a bit painful but do it anyway.
  • If you’re bleeding, apply pressure with gauze to try to stop the bleeding. Tea bags will also work.
  • Go ahead and put a cold pack on your cheek or lip near the broken tooth. This will help keep the swelling down. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, too.
  • If it’s going to take you a while to get to the dentist, purchase dental cement from a local pharmacy and cover the cracked part of your tooth as a stopgap repair.

 

What will my dentist do?

The dentist will do an exam to find out why and how the tooth broke in the first place. Different fractures are repaired differently. It can range from smoothing out a minor crack to putting on a crown. Serious breaks that expose the nerve require more involved procedures. If the nerve is in jeopardy, you will most likely need a root canal. Certain teeth like molars have more than one root, so multiple roots might need repair. In some cases, the root can’t be saved and your dentist will pull the tooth. He or she may recommend a replacement artificial tooth. If your break is due to tooth decay, the damage is sometimes very extensive. The decay may go down into the bone, and teeth are typically removed in this instance as well.

Just remember, for a tooth chip, crack or fracture, contact our office as soon as you can. You will have a better chance of saving that tooth if you do! In the event that you have a chipped tooth or another form of dental emergency, call us immediately at (860) 887-2231.

What is Dental Scaling and Who Needs it?

Dental Scaling - Norwich, ConnecticutWe here at Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry believe that knowledge is power. Knowing more about good oral health practices can lead to not only a brighter smile but also a healthier overall life. Which is why we constantly remind our patients that one of the best preventative measures against poor dental hygiene is scheduling regular teeth cleanings every 6 months. But did you know that not all cleanings are created equal? Some individuals actually need a more in-depth cleaning than others, and this is where dental scaling comes into the conversation.

What is Dental Scaling?

Dental scaling is a process that your dentist uses to remove excessive plaque buildup, tartar (calculus), and biofilm from the surfaces of your teeth. An ultrasonic instrument is typically used for sonic vibrations to remove the scale and tartar buildup on your teeth as well as below the gum line. After the ultrasonic part is completed, the dentist or hygienist may use a hand instrument scraper-like device to reach any surfaces not reached by the ultrasonic method.

How is it Different From a Routine Cleaning?

Usually referred to as a “deep cleaning”, scaling differs from the typical cleaning process in a number of ways. It is a non-surgical procedure done as a routine part of your professional cleaning at your visit every six months. In the event that there are apparent signs or symptoms of gum disease or periodontal disease, your dentist will perform dental scaling as a treatment. Patients that put off scheduling their bi-annual cleaning appointments are at higher risk of oral health conditions going unnoticed. When inflammation of gum tissue and the interior of the mouth from built-up plaque and tartar goes untreated for too long, it can drastically affect the condition of your teeth and the underlying supporting bone structure. Thus requiring dental scaling to prevent further damage.

Ideally, ordinary cleanings are recommended every 6 months. However, depending on the severity of your gum disease, it may be necessary to descale your teeth up to four times a year. This will help to maintain the status of your condition and prevent it from progressing further. If your dentist has determined that you have periodontal disease, he or she will perform dental scaling and may possibly recommend periodontal surgery; which can be much more invasive.

How Do I Know if I Might Require Dental Scaling?

As always, the best prevention to needing future extensive dental work is a great home hygiene routine that you stick with daily. But even the most avid brusher and flosser can still develop an oral health condition. Until your next visit to the dentist, there are a few things you should personally keep an eye on. Since gum disease can be relatively painless, it’s important to note if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Receding gums that move away from the tooth
  • Red, tender, swollen or bleeding gums
  • Halitosis (bad breath) or a bad taste in your mouth
  • Visible pus around the gums
  • Loose teeth or shifting teeth

Healthy gum tissue fits snugly against each tooth, but when plaque buildup is present, the area around the gums can be affected, as well as deep pockets from where bacteria dwell. Scaling keeps tartar, plaque, and bacteria from getting underneath the gumline so your gums can properly heal and fit more snugly against the tooth. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, contact your dentist to schedule an examination as soon as you can.

What to Expect Afterwards?

Most patients handle dental scaling fairly well, as it is not a significantly painful procedure. You may be advised to stay away from certain foods or drinks that can aggravate your teeth and gums after scaling, and your dentist will possibly recommend using a desensitizing toothpaste. Though there is no real ‘recovery period’, it is likely that you will be asked to schedule a follow-up visit in 2-4 months to evaluate your oral status. The majority of patients will begin to notice a significant decrease in red, swollen and bleeding gums and even see that their gums are more pink and firm after scaling.

The key to maintaining ideal dental health and avoiding future oral complications is to not ignore the warning signs. What may seem like a little light gum bleeding could potentially evolve into something that can not only be uncomfortable but also costly. Stay educated on ways you can prevent gum disease and keep a healthy, vibrant smile! One way we like to keep our patients informed is through our Facebook page, so be sure to connect with us!

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Everything You Need to Know About Dental X-Rays

Dental X-RaysTechnology is an integral part of modern dentistry. High-resolution imaging, laser technology, and state-of-the-art cleaning tools are all used to provide the best quality dental care possible. Among these advancements, x-ray imagery plays a prominent role in the pursuit of ideal oral care. However, some patients may not be familiar with the process and intent behind taking x-ray images of their mouth. That is precisely why we would like to explain the importance of dental x-rays as part of your oral care regimen.

Dental X-Rays Defined:

Dental x-rays are transparent images of the teeth, surrounding bone and soft tissue to get a closer look at the interior of the mouth. They help dentists detect underlying issues like cavities, bone loss, or problematic wisdom teeth that cannot be detected by mere visual examination. At your first dental appointment, your dentist will order a full-mouth x-ray called a periapical image, which provides a highly detailed view of the eWisdom Teeth Removal - Dental X-Raysntire tooth and underlying bone structure. This allows a deeper look to detect issues below the gum line. After that, bitewing x-rays are taken at each checkup to look for cavities, especially those that occur between the teeth. Younger patients might have an occlusal x-ray to look for extra teeth or teeth that haven’t yet erupted from the gum line, such as wisdom teeth. Your dentist may also do a panoramic x-ray to include a broader view that includes the jaws and sinuses.

Why Do I Need an X-Ray?

These images help dentists look for tooth decay and any damage to the underlying bone that supports the teeth. Dentists also look for any injuries that may have occurred to the tooth roots and other structures. Dental x-rays are much higher resolution than the naked eye, which allows a more thorough visual inspection. With this clearer view, your dentist can better detect oral health issues early before symptoms arise and before more serious conditions can develop, such as oral cancer. Tumors, cysts or abscesses can show up very clearly in x-rays. Children’s teeth are examined with this technology as well to keep an eye on the development of permanent teeth, making sure they are erupting straight and in the right location. Similarly, wisdom teeth are monitored through x-rays, giving your dentist a better idea of whether or not they will have to be removed or if they’re affecting your other teeth.

How Often Should X-Rays Be Administered?

Dental X-rays are scheduled when you need them based on your age, risk for disease, and signs of disease. As a norm, the bitewing x-rays are done at every checkup, but you may need them less frequently if everything checks out; or more frequently if there is a condition or area of concern the dentist is monitoring. Skipping your routine x-ray could cause your dentist to miss any early signs of tooth decay and other serious issues like tumors or oral cancer.

Are They Safe?

The x-ray pictures use a very small amount of radiation and are very safe. As an extra precaution, dentists usually advise pregnant women to wait until after the birth of their child to receive x-rays just ensure proper development of the baby. A lead bib is also applied over the patient’s clothing, covering their reproductive organs to protect the area from the minimal radiation. Simply put, dental x-rays are completely safe!

If you’re a new patient at Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we can easily set you up with your initial appointment which will include a complete overview of your oral health status. Dental x-rays will be administered as well as a thorough examination and cleaning.

To schedule your first appointment with us, call us at (860) 887-2231.

Periodontal Maintenance or a Regular Cleaning: Which Might You Need?

Periodontal MaintenanceWhen it comes to having your teeth cleaned, there are actually a couple of options to strongly consider. Most people assume that they are perfectly fine with regular cleaning every six months. However, depending on a number of different factors, a periodontal maintenance cleaning may be recommended, or even required. What is periodontal maintenance and how does it differ from regular teeth cleaning? We’d like to elaborate on the differences between these two oral care options.

Periodontal Maintenance Defined:

Periodontal Maintenance is a method of deep cleaning for your teeth. The purpose of this is to clean both above and below the gumline and down the length of each tooth. A regular cleaning only cleans above the gumline and slightly below. Because it is a more in-depth process intended as a deeper means of cleaning, periodontal maintenance should be performed every three to four months.

When is Periodontal Maintenance Necessary?

Your dentist will be able to determine if you require this form of teeth cleaning by the following factors:

  1. You have periodontal disease or gingivitis

    Deep cleaning is necessary for those with either of these conditions. A routine cleaning is not thorough enough to treat the sensitivity and severity that gingivitis or periodontal disease carry.

  2. You have bone loss, an infection, gum pockets that are deeper than four millimeters, exposed root surfaces or bleeding gums

    The above conditions will only become worse without consistent and comprehensive cleanings. Simply scheduling routine cleanings won’t address these issues that can escalate into extensive pain and/or further damage to your teeth. In regards to bleeding gums, this can sometimes be caused by lack of flossing, so consult with your dentist to discuss why this may be occurring.

Benefits:

  1. Maintains gum and bone health

    The body will destroy bone and gum tissue as colonies of bacteria cause inflammation. If inflammation occurs it can cause teeth to shift, become unstable or fall out altogether.

  2. Removes plaque and tartar

    If plaque and tartar buildup is ignored, it can cause further complications. Although proper dental hygiene at home is crucial, the eye of an experienced dentist with specialized equipment is invaluable. They will be able to detect and treat more buildup and underlying issues than you can do on your own.

  3. Monitors pocket depths

    As pockets in the gums become deeper, they will house more bacteria. This bacteria can be extremely dangerous and travel to and infect other parts of the body through the bloodstream, including the heart.

  4. Slows or halts the progression of periodontal disease

    By cleaning out this harmful bacteria more often, it can help to keep your disease from worsening.

What to Expect:

  1. Routine x-rays and exams

    Regular x-rays and exams are needed to keep an eye on the status of your oral health. The x-rays will show the extent of your gum recession and bone loss.

  2. Supragingival cleaning

    The area above the gum line is cleaned thoroughly with scaling tools.

  3. Subgingival cleaning

    This part of the process is the most essential as it removes bacteria and calculus from gum pockets as well as beneath the gumline.

  4. Root planing

    During this stage, the root of the tooth is smoothed in order to remove any remaining bacteria.

  5. Medication

    Antimicrobial or antibiotic creams may be placed into the gum pockets to help promote healing and ease any pain or discomfort that follows the cleaning.

Your teeth are a valuable asset towards living well. If you experience any of issues mentioned in this article, be sure to schedule your next dental appointment right away! Addressing complications with your teeth and oral cavity immediately is the best defense against needing periodontal maintenance in the future.

If you would like to schedule an appointment at Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry but aren’t sure if your insurance will cover it, check out the list of dental insurance plans that we accept.

 

Adult Braces: What to Consider and Prepare For.

Adult BracesHappy New Year! Now that we have officially welcomed 2017, many people are thinking in terms of resolutions. The most common ones include losing weight and improving your nutrition. Another aspect of your health that you could consider for a New Year’s resolution is improving your oral health. Oral health could refer to hygiene as well as the condition of your smile. Maybe you’ve always been dissatisfied with your teeth because they aren’t as straight as you would like. If this is the case, braces could be the answer for you. Contrary to popular belief, they’re not just for kids! Adult braces are more popular than ever. This is why we’d like to shed some light on the process in the event you wish to improve your smile for the New Year and beyond.

What to Keep in Mind When Considering Adult Braces.

What Are They?

Braces are orthodontic devices applied to or around the teeth in order to straighten them over time and improve overall oral health. In addition, they can also align your jaw to improve your bite, close gaps in your teeth or space out crowded teeth. Typically, a dentist will evaluate if someone is a prime candidate for braces between the ages of 7 and 10 years old. Although this may be a requirement for some during childhood to prevent future and long-term dental complications, braces can be applied at any age for a more esthetically pleasing smile.

Types of Braces:

As a child, you may have noticed other children with the most common type of braces at the time; metal brackets applied to the surface of the teeth. Like many things, technology for orthodontics has improved exponentially over the past two decades. Aside from the traditional metal braces, lingual braces are another option. Lingual braces are also metal but are installed on the interior of the teeth. Braces made out of transparent ceramic material are another viable option. Clear aligners are by far the most popular style of braces due to their removability and because they are virtually invisible. These aligners act just like a mouth guard that surrounds the teeth. Although they are highly desired over the traditional brackets, clear aligners do not work for those who require more extensive alignment.

If you are interested in invisible aligners to straighten your teeth, consult with one of our dental professionals to determine if you are a prime candidate for our ClearCorrect treatment.

Receiving Braces At a Young Age Versus an Older Age:

When you get braces at an older age, there are a few age-related concerns that must be considered. Bones no longer grow in your older years. This, combined with aging tissues, makes the process of adjusting teeth more difficult. Lack of room in your mouth can also cause conflict with bite correction without extracting teeth. A particular complication can occur for those who have had teeth previously extracted. Existing teeth are not able to shift into locations where teeth have been removed.

Health concerns Involving Adult Braces:

Patients who have been diagnosed with gum disease should postpone any orthodontic procedures. It’s important to treat the disease first before inquiring about any form of braces. As an older individual receiving braces, you are also susceptible to root resorption, which leaves the tooth without an anchor. Once root resorption occurs, it is not treatable or reversible.

Maintenance Requirements:

Proper oral hygiene habits become much more crucial when you have braces. You need to make sure you’re brushing and flossing longer than you otherwise would have. Flossing itself will take longer as you’ll be threading specially designed floss around and between all of the wires. Since food can easily get deeply wedged into the many crevices of the braces, flossing becomes especially important.

What to Expect?

Any form of braces will take some getting used to. Naturally, they can cause some discomfort and soreness when they are first applied or adjusted. Regular checkups must be scheduled every four to six weeks to monitor the progression of your teeth and adjust your braces accordingly.

It goes without saying that there are a number of food items to avoid to obtain the best results. Anything sticky such as gum or gummy candies can easily get stuck in between brackets where it can be difficult to remove. Hard foods such as dense candies, certain pizza crusts, or beef jerky should also be avoided.

It’s never too late to consider adult braces and improve the first thing that people usually notice about you: your smile! If you’re considering any form of braces in the New Year but dread the costs due to lack of insurance, we can help! Learn more about how Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry can provide you with cost-effective dental treatments through our Dental Savings Club!

Can Fad Dieting Be Harmful to Your Teeth?

Fad Dieting_Fruit Juice GlassesWith the 2016 year winding down, the overwhelming majority of New Year’s resolutions are bound to involve some sort of dieting or wellness practices. But there’s simply no denying the link between a person’s dental health and overall health. What some people don’t realize these days is that healthy dental habits and proper dental care aren’t always enough to maintain one’s oral health. A major factor that determines the well-being of your teeth and oral cavity is your everyday diet. With the excess of dietary options available intended to provide specific results for each individual, it can be easy to fall into the trap of choosing a diet plan that may decrease your waistline, but could also harm your long-term oral health. Furthermore, certain ‘fad diets’ are catered solely for the purpose of weight loss and ignore how they impact your health in general. Studies have found that fad dieting such as the juice diet and the low-carbohydrate diet could be detrimental to a person’s teeth.

For further clarification, we’d like to focus on two particular types of fad dieting:

 

The Juice Diet:

Perhaps one of the most popular modern-day fad dieting crazes is known as the juice diet. People who partake in this diet typically get all of their daily calories and nutrients from fruit juices. The idea is that by eating or drinking nothing but fruit for several days at a time, the body gets naturally cleansed of toxins, resulting in quick and easy weight loss. Unfortunately, while fruit is good for the body, it can be bad for the teeth. Specifically, the acids and sugars found in fruit can wear away tooth enamel – and once enamel is gone, it can’t grow back. Weakened enamel makes teeth more prone to decay and cavities, while the acidity in fruit juice can also irritate sensitive gum tissue. Furthermore, once teeth lose their enamel they become increasingly sensitive to things such as cold, hot, spicy, and acidic foods and drinks…such as juices.

The Low-Carb Diet:

Another popular diet trend of today is the low-carb diet, which typically requires a person to eat anywhere between 20 and 100 grams of carbohydrates per day. This eventually results in the body going into a state of ketosis, where fat is burned instead of carbs for energy. The result is drastic and quick weight loss, but what impact does this diet have on teeth? When the body goes into ketosis, it releases ketones, which often result in bad breath (halitosis) that won’t go away, no matter how many mints a person pops or how often he or she brushes.

For those determined to make weight-loss their primary resolution for the New Year, fad dieting may do the trick. However, before committing to any sort of diet plan, consult with your physician to determine which one is the best fit for you. Individuals who already suffer from weakened enamel or other dental issues are urged to try alternative weight-loss programs other than the juice diet or low-carb diet. Don’t allow the latest dieting crazes compromise your long-term oral health. The most recommended approach to losing weight has withstood the test of time – through portion control, proper vitamin and nutrient intake, and daily exercise.

If you haven’t scheduled your teeth cleaning or any other pending dental procedures in preparation for the New Year, give us a call at (860) 887-2231. You can also kick-start 2017 with additional dental tips and information by visiting Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry on Facebook!

Oral Health Resolutions: Kick-Start the New Year!

Oral Health Resolutions Norwich CTEvery year, as January begins to approach, you set goals to improve your life in the form of a ‘Resolution’. These self-promises could be anything from joining a new gym, eating healthier or traveling more often. However, there is one area that most people overlook when it comes to New Year’s resolutions; oral health. Taking care of your teeth, gums and oral cavity should be a priority throughout the entire year, so if you haven’t been doing as well as you should so far, this is your chance to make a concrete improvement! There are a few simple practices that you should consider starting in 2017 to improve your oral health for the new year and beyond. Here is a list of oral health resolutions that you can choose to incorporate into your routine.

1. Choose Healthier Foods and Drinks:

Eating healthier is a popular resolution choice for many people, but is more often in the pursuit of weight loss. Making healthier food and beverage choices are just as important for your oral health. Almonds and leafy green vegetables are excellent for promoting strong teeth as well as plenty of Vitamin D. Or, for the sweet tooths out there, simply cutting back on sugar can make a world of difference in protecting your teeth and avoiding cavities.

2. Consider Braces:

Braces certainly aren’t necessary for everybody, but consult with your dentist to see if it is a wise choice for you. Typically applied during adolescence, (but can be recommended at any age) braces are designed to straighten misaligned teeth in the effort to prevent future dental complications and create a more stunning smile. Teeth that do not erupt from the gums properly or teeth that shift over time can cause pain, discomfort, difficulty chewing, and even more susceptibility to cavities. If you are a prime candidate for braces, consider investing in them as one of your oral health resolutions.

3. Schedule Any Outstanding Dental Work:

Dental issues left unattended for long periods of time are a ticking time bomb. Any time you require extensive restorative dental work, it is advised to address it as soon as possible whether it is a new year or not. Ignoring a toothache, chipped tooth, or any other dental procedure that you have been putting off only serves to harm your long-term dental health.

4. Quit Smoking & Other Tobacco Products:

This is another example of a popular resolution for obvious reasons. In addition to the well-known damage that cigarettes and other tobacco products can do to the body, they can also cause negative cosmetic issues such as yellowed teeth and bad breath. More importantly, tobacco can create far worse complications in the mouth such as gum disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, and even oral cancer which can become fatal. Since tobacco products are highly addictive, this type of resolution can be difficult to achieve. Surround yourself with a strong support system and take advantage of resources such as www.quit.com if you have trouble kicking the habit.

5. Basic Preventative Measures:

If you’re not brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day, now is the time to start! The best way to avoid painful and sometimes expensive dental treatments in your later years is to begin a consistent oral regimen early on to minimize the chances of complications down the road. Simply brushing and flossing regularly can keep your mouth free of harmful bacteria that can cause cavities, gum disease, and other oral health concerns.

6. Schedule Routine Dental Visits:

Unless it is necessary to have extensive treatments performed that could require multiple visits to your dentist, a quick exam and teeth cleaning are recommended twice a year. By keeping up with these regular preventative appointments, you can maintain a cleaner, healthier mouth while also being informed of the status of your overall oral health.

7. Update Your Dental Insurance (if applicable):

Insurance policies and benefits tend to expire starting January 1st. The very first thing on your oral health resolutions list should be to update your current dental insurance or purchase new coverage. This will ensure that you and your family’s dental needs are met and properly compensated not only for routine cleanings but in the event of a dental emergency. For those without dental coverage, have no fear! Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry offers a cost-effective alternative for uninsured patients called the “Dental Savings Club”.

In addition to other resolutions that you might make for 2017, strongly consider the recommendations above to improve and maintain ideal oral health. Our office is always more than happy to help all of our patients on their journey towards stronger teeth and a more dazzling smile! If one of your goals is to obtain whiter, more vibrant teeth, learn more about our Teeth Whitening Treatments by Clicking Here!

Gum Recession: What it is and What to Do About it

Gum RecessionWhen it comes to oral health, gums can often be overlooked, but poor maintenance of your gums can lead to its own list of complications. One of the most common is gingival recession, otherwise known as gum recession. Gum recession is usually marked by the shrinking of your gums making your teeth look longer and causing increased sensitivity in your teeth and gums. It can be painful, and if left untreated, can cause even more trouble down the road.

Causes of Gum Recession:

 

  • GUM DISEASE AND GINGIVITIS: The infection will attack the tissue in your gums. This can be caused by poor oral health, and as a result, gums will recede over time.
  • SMOKING AND TOBACCO: Both smoking and using chewing tobacco lead to poor oral health and can cause a wide range of gum-related diseases such as oral cancer.
  • AGGRESSIVE CLEANING: This can be grouped with a wide range of poor habits. Brushing too hard can cause gum tissue to wear away. Using toothpicks and alternative flossers too frequently/aggressively can also cause damage. It is recommended to brush your teeth for about two minutes twice daily, but be sure to do so gently.
  • AGING: Regardless of how efficient you are in your oral habits, gum recession can be inevitable for some individuals as they age. The phrase ‘long in the tooth’, which is used to describe old age, is related to this.
  • HORMONAL CHANGES: Rapid hormonal changes can cause gum recession, most notably during pregnancy and menopause.
  • GRINDING YOUR TEETH: Grinding and clenching teeth at night, whether it’s due to stress or poor habits, places added pressure on your gums. If you have a tendency to grind your teeth while you sleep, consider consulting with your dentist to discuss a custom-fitted mouth guard to avoid extensive gum recession.

 

How to Treat Gum Recession:

 

One of the most important factors is to be vigilant and careful in maintaining good oral hygiene. This works preventatively first, but also, regular hygiene and maintenance can increase the odds of catching gum recession early. If detected early, you can avoid expensive, and in some cases, pain-staking treatments.

Even so, if you are experiencing gum recession, you may need to re-think your brushing and flossing routines. There are many softer toothbrush options available as well as electric brushes that will automatically stop if too much pressure is applied while brushing. Toothpaste designed specifically for sensitive teeth and gums is also available in just about any drug or grocery store.

If you do require treatment for receding gums, however, you will need to work with your dentist alongside a periodontist who specializes in gums. They may try deep cleaning and root planing in order to curb the recession, but in some cases, a surgery known as a gum graft might be necessary.

A routine check-up at Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry can help you determine if you show signs of premature gum recession. To consult with one of our dental professionals, make an appointment today by calling us at (860) 887-2231. You can even print out all necessary Patient Forms prior to your visit with us simply by clicking here!

Have a Toothache? It’s Not Always a Cavity

ToothacheMost adults in the United States have cavities; one study found that 91 percent of adults between the ages of 20 and 64 had dental caries, the scientific name for cavities and tooth decay. Untreated tooth decay affects 27 percent of adults.

Yes, cavities are one of the most common causes of toothaches. However, they are not the ONLY things that could be causing your tooth pain.

Chipped or broken tooth:

Whether your tooth has been cracked, chipped, or totally broken, this common dental problem can cause excruciating pain when it comes to eating certain foods. Broken teeth can leave nerve endings in the pulp exposed; cracked and chipped teeth can irritate the pulp and nerves.

Infected gums:

Gingivitis, or gum inflammation, is a serious condition that can precede an even more serious condition, periodontitis, or gum disease. Gum inflammation and infection can be caused by a buildup of plaque, which can cause symptoms like chronic and consistent bad breath, bleeding or swollen gums, pain when chewing, and receding gum lines.

Teeth grinding:

Bruxism, or the involuntary habit of teeth grinding, is most common when an individual is sleeping. For that reason, the majority of people who grind, gnash or clench their teeth have no idea of the damage to their teeth they are causing. Aside from tooth pain, bruxism can cause a sore jaw, constant headache, and aching teeth, especially in the molars.

An infection at the root of the tooth:

Also known as an abscessed tooth, these infections happen when the nerve of the tooth becomes infected, the pulp becomes damaged, and a painful cyst appears. Typically, this infection causes a gnawing, throbbing or shooting pain, as well as other infection symptoms, like a fever or swollen glands. A root canal is the most common treatment.

Damaged fillings:

If you’ve had a cavity in the past, you’ve most likely had a filling put in to prevent the spread of the decay. When you’ve lost or broken your filling, you may feel increased sensitivity, a rough or jagged area, or may even feel the missing part of the filling. The treatment is usually to replace the filling, although larger damage may require a crown.

An abnormal bite:

Malocclusion, which is a misalignment, can cause under and over-biting, among other conditions. Due to the poor alignment, you might find that teeth have different wear patterns that can cause an alteration in the facial appearance, pain when chewing or biting, and biting the inside of the mouth more often. There are several different treatment options that are decided upon following an x-ray.

Aside from cavities and these more frequently found problems, tooth pain can be caused by a number of different underlying conditions. Sinus infections, enamel issues and even repetitive motions can all cause severe tooth pain.

To get to the root of the issue, it’s important to call our office immediately if you are experiencing ongoing or chronic tooth pain. Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry can schedule your appointment and have you on your way back to a happy, pain-free lifestyle! Call us at (860) 887-2231 or click here to make an appointment today.

Oral Piercings: Not a Hot Look for Your Dental Health

Oral Piercings For as long as modern culture has existed, fads and fashions have sprung up with astonishing rapidity, only to disappear again a few years later to be replaced by something new. Some fads, however, tend to stick around; and although most are harmless, some can be damaging in a multitude of ways. Tongue and lip piercings aren’t a new fad, but certainly a trend that isn’t going away anytime soon. However, cool or not, they can have a highly negative impact on your teeth and your oral health. Here are a few ways these piercings can be bad for your teeth, their development, and your oral health:

1. Chipped Teeth

Metal piercings can chip your teeth both while they are being installed and later when they are already a fixture in your mouth. The procedure of piercing can knock against your teeth and lead to a chip, or the metal of the piercing can rub and catch against your tooth to pry off the enamel. This can cause problems because a small chip can become a bigger one, which eventually reaches the nerve of the tooth and causes cavities as sugar and bacteria collect in the gap left behind by the chip.

2. Tooth Loss

Tongue piercings, which most commonly are metal barbells, often catch against the sides of the mouth and especially the gums, slowly wearing away the gum tissue and leading to receding gums. Slowly vanishing gums cause tooth loss in the long term because your teeth will begin to decay and will no longer be able to stay rooted in the gum.

3. Nerve Damage

Nerves in your mouth can be damaged during the process of piercing if something goes wrong; however, they can also suffer harmful effects afterwards, through the collective processes of tooth decay and receding gums. Exposed nerves that result from both of these will begin to cause pain in your teeth and may be difficult to fix after a while.

4. Periodontitis

Periodontitis, commonly known as Gum Disease, occurs when bacteria form colonies in pockets of pus within your mouth and gums, and then expand to your entire oral cavity. It is extremely painful and causes redness, swelling, tooth decay and loss – and often, bacteria can be introduced through pierced holes.

In addition to the long-term damage that oral piercings can cause, the slightest shift of metal objects in your mouth can create a number of dental issues. Anything from a chipped tooth to a laceration of the gums could turn into a dental emergency. In events such as these, Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry can help! To learn more about our emergency dental services, click here.