Charles F. Orth, DDS/PA

6 Tips For Managing and Overcoming Dental Anxiety

As a periodontal and dental implant practice in Dallas, we understand that many people experience anxiety when faced with the need for any kind of professional dental or oral healthcare. From routine cleanings to more invasive procedures, simply the idea of hands and tools poking and prodding around in your mouth can cause any level of concern (from hesitation to panic). First we simply want to acknowledge that anxiety related to dental care is very real and is perhaps more normal than not. And secondly, we want to offer some helpful tips for managing and overcoming dental anxiety.

Why? Because your oral health is a critical component to your overall health and wellbeing.

Patient with Dental Anxiety

6 Tips for Managing and Overcoming Dental Anxiety

#1: Acknowledge your fears.

As with many things, acknowledging your feelings regarding professional dental and oral healthcare is necessary in order to address it in a healthy manner. Be honest with yourself. Ask yourself: “Which part of my upcoming appointment or procedure is causing the anxiety?” Is it the idea of keeping your mouth open for extended periods of time? The fear of pain? The sound of the tools used? Is it that you don’t feel confident in your provider or the treatment plan? Being honest about your anxiety and then connecting your anxiety to something specific is a helpful first step.

#2: Talk with your provider about your anxiety.

Dr. Charles Orth and our team want nothing more than for your to have an exceptional experience for every procedure and treatment. Please talk with us (or any other dental or oral healthcare provider you may see) about your concerns. When you schedule your appointment, let our scheduling coordinator know about your fears. When you begin your appointment or consultation, share your questions, anxieties and concerns with Dr. Orth or your hygienist.

#3: Become familiar with your surroundings.

Sometimes anxiety is caused by lack of familiarity. During your appointment, ask your provider about the different tools or treatments that will be used during your procedure. Ask about the technology. If the tray of tools causes concern or the sounds they make, ask which tools will be used for your procedure, what the names of the tools are, and why they are necessary. Understanding what is around you and also the competency of your provider with those tools may help the entire experience to seem less intimidating.

#4: Bring someone with you.

Especially if you are undergoing a procedure that includes sedation dentistry (because this is usually required anyway). But even if it is a routine cleaning that causes anxiety, having a trusted companion (even if they have to wait in the car due to social distancing concerns) present can help you feel more comfortable and at ease.

#5: Practice good dental hygiene.

Practicing good dental and oral hygiene in between visits can give you greater confidence and awareness about your oral health…which creates a more positive atmosphere when arriving at your dental or oral healthcare providers office. Brush and floss twice daily. Use mouthwash. Avoid tobacco. Swish or rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking sugary or acidic foods or drinks. Sometimes dental anxiety can be caused by a feeling of failure in your oral health hygiene. You can eliminate that fear by starting new, healthy habits today. Not sure if you’re oral and dental hygiene habits are what they should be? Call us or talk with your provider at your next appointment so that you feel confident and empowered in your daily routine.

#6: Know that you are in control.

Ultimately your dental or oral healthcare visit is YOURS. You may feel like you are at the mercy of the dentist or the hygienist or the surgeon, but the reality is that you are in control of your healthcare and your experience. Our team is trained to explain to you how you can signal to us at anytime if you are feeling discomfort or uneasy. Good healthcare providers will respond immediately to your concerns.

Of course there is no magic wand that can be waved in order to eliminate all fear and anxiety associated with dental and oral healthcare. If you are experiencing anxiety regarding any aspect of your upcoming appointment or procedure at our Dallas periodontal and dental implant practice, please let us know. And if you are living with dental or periodontal pain and discomfort because of your fear of dental procedures, please call our office. Dr. Orth and our team will be happy to do everything we can to alleviate your concerns and make your experience as comfortable as possible. Your health is worth it!

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Sports and Your Teeth: Which Sports Rank Highest For Dental Injuries?

Happy Monday, everyone! The rain is gone, Texas is heating up, and school is just about over for students in Dallas. Of course, all of this means that summer is just around the corner. While we may not love the heat, summer does bring with it all kinds of enjoyable pastimes (Texas Rangers, anyone?). One of the most common summer activities, of course, is sports. Basketball at the park or local YMCA with friends. Baseball or softball. Swimming. Biking. Soccer. Disc golf. Flag football. Dallas is a great city for parks, athletic centers and team sports. And summer is a great time to enjoy everything our city has to offer.

Whether on an organized team or just casually with friends or your kids, staying active through playing sports is such a positive way to boost your overall health and well-being, both physically and emotionally. But as with any physical activity, sports naturally includes various risks. Dental injury due to sports is a common risk that is not just limited to children or high-contact sports like football. Interestingly enough, football is not highest-ranked sport for dental injuries. So what sport reports the highest number of dental injuries in adults? Hockey? Boxing? According to a study of intercollegiate athletes and dental injury, basketball is the highest ranked sport for dental injuries.

basketball is the ranks highest among sports for dental injuries

This is surprising considering the fact that basketball is considered a “no-contact” sport, which one would expect to rank lower than traditional contact sports. However, contact sports require or conventionally use head or face protection that is not common among no-contact sports. As such, other contact sports may have previously held higher percentages of dental injuries, but over the past several decades, the severity and commonality of dental injuries have decreased in proportion to rising awareness and use of protective gear such as helmets and custom-fitted mouth guards.

Basketball, however, is not the only “no-contact” sport that ranks high in dental injuries. Ball and stick games can be considered “no-contact” sports and yet result in a high number of dental injuries. How does that happen though? Why would basketball and baseball or softball be higher risk for tooth loss than contact sports? Those are good questions, and ultimately it seems to come down to the lack of use of mouthguards. One study states, “Although some studies cite low incidence of dental injuries,6,20 baseball and basketball have frequent orofacial trauma, but few participants wear mouth guards.9 In basketball, dental trauma often occurs from contact with other players, whereas orofacial injury in baseball is usually the result of contact with the ball.21

If you intend to play sports regularly this summer – even if you think its not a high-risk sport – we strongly encourage you to make sure you are wearing proper protective gear. And if you experience any dental injury or trauma, please contact a dental professional immediately. Untreated dental injuries can result in long-term damage and costlier procedures. So please don’t wait.

Not sure if your sports-related dental injury necessitates tooth replacement? The best way to find out is to call our office to schedule a consultation.

Masks are coming down, and smiles are coming out…4 tips to promote your health and well-being

All across North Texas masks are starting to come down. With the increase in fully-vaccinated individuals and cases on the decline, businesses throughout Dallas are starting to loosen mask and social distancing restrictions. It is just so refreshing to start to see smiles again. Of course as a periodontics and dental implant office, we get to see people’s mouths all the time. However, getting to see people out in public smile at each other once again – there is something special about that. Does the prospect of removing your mask and showcasing your smile once again have you thinking even more about your oral health? If not, it should. Your oral health is linked both to your overall well-being (and may even be a significant factor in your body’s response to COVID…see this study for more details) and should be on the forefront of our minds as we all consider how to promote and protect our community’s health moving forward.

Because your oral health affects your overall health and wellbeing, board-certified Dallas periodontist and dental implant specialist, Dr. Charles Orth, would like to offer some simple tips for promoting and protecting your oral health.

BRUSH DAILY

You hear it often because it’s true. Brushing your teeth properly is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. When brushing, be sure to do the following:

  • move the brush in a circular motion several times using small, gentle strokes
  • use some pressure but not so much that you feel any discomfort
  • clean both the outside surfaces and the inside surfaces of all your teeth
  • change the position of your brush as often as necessary to reach and clean all surfaces
  • gently brush the surrounding gum tissue
  • brush your tongue (doing this will can prevent potential problems and remove the presence of bacteria)
  • rinse vigorously to remove loosened plaque

FLOSS DAILY

Flossing allows you to clean the surface of your teeth that your toothbrush cannot reach. If you avoid flossing, then you are neglecting approximately 40% of your tooth’s surface! When flossing, be sure to do the following:

  • use a thread of floss at least 18″ long, wrapping the floss around the middle finger of each hand
  • use a back and forth motion to slide the floss down between your teeth
  • floss  thoroughly by gently moving the floss up and down on the side of each tooth and below the gum line
  • don’t forget the back side of the last tooth on both sides (upper and lower)
  • rinse vigorously with water to remove plaque and food particles
  • don’t be concerned if during your first week of flossing, your gums bleed – as you floss daily, your gums will heal and the bleeding will stop

AVOID TOXIC INFLUENCES

Many factors can negatively affect the health of your gums, which in turn negatively affects your overall health. Some of these factors, such as genetics or various medications or treatments for diseases such as cancer, cannot be avoided. But some factors that increase your risk for periodontal disease (which is the leading cause of tooth loss for adults over the age of 35) and also increase your risk of the negative effects of developing periodontal disease CAN BE AVOIDED. If possible, avoid the following toxic influences on your oral health:

  • stress – yes, we know that this one can be hard to avoid; but consider adding some relaxing activities to your daily routine in order to help manage and relieve stress
  • clenching and grinding teeth – if you are unsure whether or not you are clenching or grinding your teeth, discuss this with Dr. Orth at your next appointment
  • poor nutrition – a good rule of thumb regarding nutrition is that the more natural, the better
  • tobacco usage – tobacco users experience greater incidence of calculus formation on teeth, deeper pockets between gums and teeth, and a greater loss of the bone and fibers that hold teeth in your mouth

RECEIVE ROUTINE PROFESSIONAL CARE

Regular professional examinations and cleanings are an essential part of promoting and protecting your oral health. For most people, the recommended routine is to visit your dentist for a cleaning and exam at least 2 times every year. During your routine visit, your dentist or hygienist may recommend a consultation with a periodontist if they finds signs of periodontal disease. But you may also experience certain symptoms that indicate you should seek periodontal treatment, even without a referral from your dentist. Symptoms you should watch out for include:

  • bleeding while brushing or eating normal foods
  • bad breath (haliotosis) which continues despite rigorous oral cleaning
  • loose teeth and gum recession
  • related health concerns such as heart disease, diabetes, osteopenia, osteoporosis

If you have any questions about your oral health or especially if you have neglected your oral health and routine cleanings during this past year of COVID, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at our Dallas periodontal and dental implant office without delay.

What are the leading causes of tooth loss in adults?

If you are concerned about your oral and dental health, then a question you may have asked yourself or your dentist (or other dental health professional) is: “What are the leading causes of tooth loss in adults?” And the answer may surprise you. You may think that the answer is related to trauma, cavities (dental caries), or smoking, all of which contribute to poor oral and dental health. But the evidence continually indicates that periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

According to a recent study, “periodontal disease accounts for the majority of tooth extraction in patients older than 40 years.” According to another study referenced here, “gum (periodontal) disease was the leading reason for tooth loss.” And according to the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research, “Periodontal disease is the most common cause of tooth loss among adults.”

Of course, periodontal disease is something is preventable and treatable. So what are some ways that you can lower your risk factor and protect yourself against periodontal disease that may lead to tooth loss? The best method of prevention is to practice good oral hygiene with daily tooth brushing and flossing, and then include regular professional examinations and cleaning in your oral health routine. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent health routines, people can still develop some form of periodontal disease. Risk factors for that can negatively affect the health of your gums include: tobacco usage, stress, clenching and grinding teeth, some medications and poor nutrition. If you do develop periodontal disease, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress. For more information about proper oral hygiene, read this article on our website.

So what are some other leading causes of tooth loss in adults?

  • Cavities
  • Physical injuries
  • Certain diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and arthritis

If you have lost your teeth or if you suffer from the diseases and conditions that put you at a greater risk of tooth loss, Dr. Charles Orth is a board-certified periodontist and dental implant specialist who can help preserve your natural teeth or provide information about options for tooth replacement. Tooth loss can be a life-altering circumstance as it can negatively affect both your physical and psychological wellbeing. Call Dallas periodontist and dental-implant specialist, Dr. Orth, today to discuss how you can live with comfort and confidence again.

Dental implants can restore the appearance and function of your smile

Fascinating Facts About Fluoride

Fluoride may not be something you think about often. You may not even be aware of its significance or its presence in your daily life. Did you know that fluoride is something you consume daily? Fluoride itself is a naturally occurring mineral found in water, soil, plants, rocks, air, and is also in your bones and teeth. The ionic compound fluoride is derived from fluorine, which is the 13th most abundant element and is released into the environment naturally in both water and air. Fluoride is created when salts from the element fluorine combine with minerals in soil or rocks.

So why does it matter? How does fluoride help?

One of the primary benefits of fluoride is the prevention of tooth decay. When fluoride and water mix with saliva and are absorbed by dental plaque, the fluoride bonds with any weakened tooth enamel thereby strengthening the enamel and preventing tooth decay. Although fluoride is naturally present in earth’s water supply, the concentrations are generally low and not quite sufficient to provide the oral health benefits needed. Increasing the concentration of fluoride to an optimal level for drinking water has made a substantial impact on oral health. According to the CDC, tooth decay has declined in the United States since fluoridation began in 1945. And he Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named community water fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

So where did fluoridation begin in the United States? Grand Rapids, Michigan, was the first US city to fluoridate its public water supply in 1945. A mere five years later, the schoolchildren of Grand Rapids were found to have significantly fewer cavities than children from surrounding communities. Soon other cities and communities across the US began following in their footsteps. And now more than 200 million people (approximately 75% of the US population) drink water with enough fluoride to help prevent tooth decay.

Of course additional fluoride treatments and sources are available as well. Fluoride can be found in toothpaste, mouth rinses and supplements. If you have any questions about fluoride or how it is used to help prevent tooth decay and improve your oral health, the dental hygienists at the office of Dallas periodontist and dental implant specialist, Charles Orth, DDS, would be happy to assist you.

 

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Why are your gums so important?

Do you ever wonder why your gums are so important? And not just to your teeth, but why are your gums so important to your overall health? Gums, or gingiva, are an essential part of your oral and dental health, but having health or unhealthy gums can also play an important role in your overall health and wellbeing.

the benefits of healthy gums

What do gums do for your oral and dental health? For starters, your gums encase your teeth, teeth roots and the bones of your jaw. These soft encasements provide protection against harmful bacteria or debris, protect your tooth roots from exposure, and create support for the overall structure of your teeth and mouth. Your mouth is actually a complex eco-system of bacteria, both helpful and harmful, so the protection that your gums provide for your teeth is absolutely essential…if you want to keep your teeth, that is. So without your gums covering the vulnerable root of your tooth, food debris and bad bacteria could easily find their way into the root and cause instability and ultimately tooth loss.

But in addition to protecting your oral and dental health, your gums are also teeming with tiny blood vessels that can potentially transport harmful bacteria throughout the rest of your body. Since your mouth is the warm and cozy home to over 700 different kinds of bacteria (again, some good and some bad), prioritizing healthy gums and preventing or treating gum disease is a way of investing in your overall health. Untreated gum disease can actually pave the way for bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Researchers say that, over time, this can result in damaged heart and brain blood vessels, while other studies have shown the association between gum disease and other serious health problems. Many of these studies cannot prove a particular cause and effect relationship, but the correlative relationship is undeniable.

Healthy gums then provide strong protection for your teeth and your overall health, while unhealthy gums actually pose a serious risk to more than just your teeth. The good news is that healthy gums are always a possibility and prioritizing periodontal health is always a good idea. If you are looking for a periodontist in Dallas who specializes in exceptional care and providing you with the experience and expertise you deserve, call board-certified periodontist and implant specialist, Dr. Charles Orth, today.

Happy April Fools!

Happy April Fools Day! Just curious…but does anyone still do April Fools Day pranks? As a kid, it was always a blast to have a day where pulling pranks was perfectly acceptable and when you never knew if you might just have one pulled on you. Being targeted by an April fools prank usually meant you were loved and someone put a lot of thought into making you laugh. 😂

And since “laughter is the best medicine”…here is a classic, dental-themed April fools joke that you could try on just about anyone…

April Fools Joke with toothpaste in an oreo

Some pranks can get out of hand or lose their humor if pulled on the wrong person, but this one is a classic that never goes out of style. And it’s even funnier if you only replace the Oreo creme on a few of the Oreos instead of the entire pack. Seriously…Try it on your kids. Try it on your partner. There’s still plenty of time left in the day to enjoy a little bit of April 1st humor!

And if you avoid pulling pranks because you don’t enjoy smiling because you are self-conscious about your teeth, gums or oral health, then call our office today! Our periodontal and dental implant practice in Dallas, TX, specializes in exceptional care and in giving you the smile and oral health you deserve.

Spring Cleaning…For Your Teeth!

Spring is back in Dallas, and it is beautiful. The weather has been pleasant. The rain is helping bring some life back to our struggling landscape (thank you, winter-pocalypse 2021). And hopefully everyone enjoyed a relaxing spring break last week. We certainly did! As our patients know, Dr. Orth’s periodontal & dental implant office in Dallas was closed for spring break so that our staff could enjoy some much-needed time off.

But now we are back and ready to help our patients and community with “spring cleaning”…for your teeth!

Just like the difference between daily “picking up” and the regular deep cleanings for your house, your mouth needs much the same care. Your daily routine should, of course, include brushing, flossing and mouthwash, and then regular cleanings by a dental professional. However, sometimes your mouth needs a good deep cleaning when a routine dental cleaning simply won’t do. Those “deep cleanings” are your periodontal cleanings, otherwise known as periodontal “scaling & root planing”. While it’s probably typical to assume that periodontal cleanings and dental cleanings are the same, the difference between the two is important to understand, especially as it relates to prevention and treatment of periodontitis.

So what does scaling and root planing include? Why is scaling and root planing necessary? How are dental cleanings and periodontal cleanings different?

Let’s start with that last question first, shall we? How are dental and periodontal cleanings different?

The essential difference between dental cleanings and periodontal cleanings has to do with the depth of the cleaning. Regular cleanings are intended to remove the buildup of bacteria and tartar that accumulates in between the teeth and gums. Regardless of how excellent your daily dental hygiene routines might be, this build-up naturally occurs and needs to be removed by a dental professional. With proper cleanings, brushing, and flossing, bacteria is kept to a minimum to keep the gums healthy. Sometimes, however, a larger amount of bacteria and tartar build up occurs and then fills “pockets” in your gums. Scaling and root planing is then necessary because this process gets down deep to the gum and root level.

What does scaling and root planing include?

While the actual process can be quite extensive and delicate, scaling is the removal of the plaque and tartar from the tooth’s surface and also the gum pockets, while root planing is the removal of these from the surface of the root. For more technical information about the process Dr. Orth uses in his periodontal and dental implant practice in Dallas, check out our page on Scaling & Root Planing, complete with helpful animations.

Why is scaling and root planing necessary?

Scaling and root planing is necessary because, if left untreated, the build up of plaque and tartar and the presence of bacteria in these gum pockets and at the root can lead to other health complications and eventually tooth loss.

So what are the benefits of scaling and root planing?

If treatment is successful, scaling and planing may have many periodontal benefits. One is that it can help prevent disease. Research has proven that bacteria from periodontal infections can travel through the blood stream and affect other areas of the body, sometimes causing heart and respiratory diseases. Scaling and root planing remove bacteria that cause these conditions.

Another benefit of treatment is protecting teeth against tooth loss. When gum pockets exceed 3mm in depth, the risk for periodontal disease increases. As pockets deepen, more bacteria are able to colonize, eventually causing a chronic inflammatory response by the body to destroy gingival and bone tissue. This leads to tooth loss.

Finally, scaling and root planing may make the mouth more aesthetically pleasing, and should reduce bad breath caused from food particles and bacteria in the oral cavity. Superficial stains on the teeth will be removed during scaling and planing, adding an extra bonus to the procedures.

So if you’re thinking about some deep cleaning this spring, remember that your mouth needs that same kind of care and love. Call Dr. Orth’s office today to schedule your next cleaning and give yourself the gift of a lifetime of oral health.

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What is the difference between dentures and dental implants?

When people think about tooth loss replacement, many people think of dentures. Oftentimes we have in mind a jovial grandpa who spits his dentures out during family reunions just to get a dramatic reaction out of his grandkids. In fact, you may have actually experienced this exact scenario. 🙂 And whether you found it hysterical or disgusting, this type of experience influences our perspective on the available options for replacing lost or severely damaged teeth.

So what are the available options for tooth loss?

Depending on your particular situation, multiple options are available for tooth loss replacement. You can read about some of the different options available here. If you are seriously considering your options for tooth loss replacement, you should schedule a consultation with Charles Orth, DDS, at his periodontal & dental implant practice in Dallas. Dr. Orth specializes in excellent care and will provide you with a thorough evaluation and consultation in order to help you achieve your cosmetic AND oral health goals.

But to give a brief breakdown of two of the most common tooth loss replacement options, keep reading.

Dentures and dental implants are perhaps the most common options for people who have lost single or multiple teeth. But what is the difference between dentures and dental implants? Are dental implants better than dentures? Are dentures more affordable than dental implants? Are dental implants more comfortable than dentures? You may have all kinds of questions about dentures and dental implants. And we believe you should have your questions answered because we want all our patients to be empowered to make informed decisions about their dental and oral health.

So let’s start with the basics:

WHAT ARE DENTURES?

Dentures are essentially prosthetics that you wear in your mouth, meaning that a denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. Two types of dentures are available – complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain. Standard dentures, whether full or partial, are unsecured prostheses with inherent limitations. Most often, dentures are painful, inconvenient and unstable.

 

 

Implant-supported dentures bridge the gap between dentures and dental implants. The Implant Supported Overdenture treatment concept replaces your missing teeth with a full dental bridge supported by dental implants. Fewer implants are needed and overall treatment time and cost is reduced. An Implant Supported Overdenture solution also ensures greater stability in the bone, reducing the need for bone graft surgery to increase bone volume.

WHAT ARE DENTAL IMPLANTS?

Dental implants essentially replace the entirety of your tooth, starting at the bone and finishing with a natural-looking crown. A natural tooth consists of a root and a crown. If you compare natural teeth to implant-supported replacement teeth, you’ll see they have the same basic parts. Both have a crown (the visible part used to chew food). Both have a root that holds the tooth securely under the gum and is anchored into the jaw. The difference is that the implant is made of titanium – the same time-tested material used by surgeons for artificial joints. When you lose a tooth, you lose both the root and the crown. To replace the tooth, the surgeon first replaces the root with a small dental implant.

SO WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DENTAL IMPLANTS AND DENTURES?

Essentially the primary difference to keep in mind is that dental implants get to the root of the problem (pun intended!) and provides a permanent, comfortable solution, while implant supported overdentures provide an alternative to standard dentures with a unique set of advantages. For more information about the process of dental implants and to see the dramatic results that Dr. Orth can provide, click here.

Ultimately though, every person is entirely unique in their oral health needs and goals. If you are currently using dentures and would like to consider alternative tooth replacement options or would like to know more about the tooth replacement options provided at our practice in Dallas, we recommend that you schedule a consultation with Dr. Orth. Dr. Orth’s expertise and experience allows him to help patients make informed decisions and achieve optimal results.

Why are my teeth sensitive in winter?

Well, Dallas, it looks like we experienced an entire winter in one week. Welcome to Texas, right? But all jokes aside, so many have been so seriously impacted by this winter storm. Our hearts go out to everyone who is still recovering, and we wish the best for our patients and community here in North Texas.

Of course there are many pressing concerns that are taking priority in our lives right now – electricity, running water, restocking pantries, and so on. But we want to take a minute and just address something that may have occurred during this past week of extreme temperatures that might have escaped your notice in the midst of all the chaos but is important to be aware of: teeth sensitivity.

Tooth sensitivity is something that can be triggered by a variety of environmental factors or health conditions. One common environmental factor is breathing in cold air…which we have had in abundance over the past week here in Dallas. If your teeth have felt particularly sensitive over the past few weeks or throughout the winter months, it is important to share that information with your dental and oral healthcare provider in order to properly diagnose the cause of your tooth sensitivity.

WHAT ARE SOME COMMON CAUSES OF TOOTH SENSITIVITY?

GUM RECESSION – Gum recession can leave your root surface and dentin exposed (more about dentin below), which can cause sensitivity or pain in your mouth. The pain may not be persistent though. Instead the sensitivity or discomfort may be triggered by particular activities or conditions such as cold weather or drinking hot beverages.

TOOTH DECAY AND WORN ENAMEL – Tooth decay, worn or leaky fillings, worn enamel or broken teeth can expose your tooth’s dentin. What is dentin? The crown of your teeth (the visible part) has three layers: enamel, cementum, and dentin. Dentin is less dense than the protective coverings of cementum and enamel. The dentin contains microscopic canals called dentin tubules. When enamel or cementum wears away or becomes damaged, the dentin becomes exposed. Additionally, when your gums recede and expose the dentin, the tubules allow fluid to flow in them and are affected by heat and cold, which causes the nerves in the tooth to have sensitivity and pain.

Woman with tooth sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity can be triggered by extreme temperatures and often indicates more serious conditions.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I EXPERIENCE TOOTH SENSITIVITY?

GET EXPERT HELP – Dr. Orth and his team of oral health professionals should evaluate your symptoms and properly diagnose the root cause of your tooth sensitivity. Because tooth sensitivity may be indicative of more serious oral health concerns, including periodontal disease and tooth decay, you should be evaluated as soon as possible in order to prevent further damage and persistent pain.

PRACTICE PROPER PREVENTION – Avoid using hard-bristled toothbrushes or brushing too aggressively. Choose soft-bristle toothbrushes and toothpaste for sensitive teeth. If you have questions about the best toothbrush, proper brushing techniques or toothpaste for sensitive teeth, be sure to ask your hygienist or Dr. Orth at your next appointment. Additionally, try avoiding acidic foods and drinks, which can also wear down the enamel on your teeth. If you choose to eat and drink acidic substances, use a straw in order to limit contact with your teeth and drink water right after in order to balance the acid levels in your mouth.

Remember: even if you do not have sensitive teeth, practicing proper prevention and oral health care will help prevent tooth sensitivity over time. Dallas periodontist, Charles Orth, DDS, specializes in providing excellent care for those whose underlying causes of sensitivity need professional or surgical intervention, but we prefer to educate and empower our patients on how to preserve their natural teeth in order to achieve a lifetime of oral health.

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