Sensitive Teeth – What Causes Sensitivity and How to Control the Pain

Just about everyone has, at one time or another, endured the pain of sensitive teeth. Whether it’s triggered by cold foods and liquids or simply chewing regularly, tooth sensitivity can become a bothersome burden if left unchecked.

Did you know that our teeth are most sensitive between the ages of 25 to 30? While your age could certainly be a causative factor in your tooth pain, the sensitivity usually comes from other sources.

The most common causes of tooth sensitivity are often related to some form of damage to the affected tooth (or teeth). Here’s a roundup of the usual suspects causing your dental discomfort:

  • Chipped, cracked or broken teeth can become infected and inflamed
  • Grinding your teeth (often while sleeping) can cause wear on your teeth
  • Some Tooth-Whitening products have been linked to sensitivity
  • Acidic foods and drinks can wear away at your tooth enamel
  • Some dental procedures can cause short term sensitivity
  • Loose or lost fillings can expose sensitive parts of your teeth
  • Cavities, tooth decay and gingivitis are common culprits of sensitivity
  • Plaque build-up can reach the surface of your roots and prompt the pain

While the above list isn’t entirely exhaustive, it is prudent to practice preventative care and avoid all of the possible causes therein. Proper dental care is the surest way to avoid tooth sensitivity.

So now we know what usually causes our sensitive teeth, but you may not be able to hop into the Dentist’s chair right away – so how do you cope in the mean time?

  • Continue to brush and floss regularly
  • Use a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth
  • Use a fluoride rinse after each brushing
  • Use an antiseptic mouthwash at least once per day
  • Try a soft-bristled tooth brush, or look for a toothbrush designed for sensitive teeth
  • Use a mouth guard at night to prevent teeth grinding while sleeping
  • For acute, high intensity pain from sensitivity, try an over-the-counter oral ointment

Furthermore, you may find relief in avoiding certain things that tend to cause more pain, such as:

  • Piping hot coffee or tea, soups and similar hot liquids
  • Ice-cold or frozen beverages and foods
  • Chewing hard candy, cough drops, ice and other hard crunchy foods
  • Sugary foods, sweets or chewing gum
  • Acidic foods, citrus fruits, sodas

Remember that the best solution for sensitivity is preventing it before it can manifest, which means proper dental hygiene and regular checkups with your dentist. Let us help you relieve your sensitive teeth and put the proper preventions in place today!

The Effects of Smoking on Oral Health

Patients in the Denver area can trust the team at University Dental Arts to offer the best dental care possible. This includes restorative dentistry procedures to improve health and wellness as well as cosmetic dentistry treatments to enhance smile aesthetics.

We also believe in preventative care and total wellness as a way of improving your smile. That’s why we’re always keen to help patients who are smokers. Smoking can have many negative effects on your smile, which we’d like to explore in more detail below.

Smoking Causes Bad Breath

One of the noticeable issues with smoking is that it causes you to have bad breath. Compared to the other problems we’re about to discuss, the bad breath is a minor issue, but already compelling on its own as a reason to quit.

Smoking Can Lead to Dental Stains and Discoloration

If you smoke regularly, it’s not uncommon for your teeth to become stained, particularly the front teeth. Many people who have smoked for years have smiles that are tinged with yellow or that are generally dingy or brown.

Smoking Makes Gum Disease More Likely

When people smoke, they increase their risk of gum disease. Infections and inflammation of the gums are more likely when any tobacco products are used, which means potential issues with bleeding gum, discolored gums, and gum recession. Left untreated, patients are more likely to suffer from advanced periodontitis due to smoking.

Smoking Can Make Tooth Decay Worse

In addition to affecting the gums, smoking has been shown to make plaque and tartar buildup worse in many patients. When more plaque and tartar is present, this offers oral bacteria an ideal means of attaching to a tooth’s surface and damaging the enamel and other layers of tooth structure.

Smoking Can Lead to an Increased Likelihood of Oral Cancer

One of the most significant issues with smoking is that it increases your likelihood of developing oral cancer. Smokers and people who use chewing tobacco are at significant oral cancer risk. The problems begin with sores, lesions, and pain, and if the oral cancer is not caught early, it can have a disastrous impact on your overall wellness.

Treatments for the Dental Problems Caused by Smoking

There are many different dental treatments out there that can help address the negative effects of smoking.

To improve the appearance of a smile that’s been yellowed by years of cigarette smoke, for instance, there is teeth whitening treatment, which bleaches discolored tooth structure.

To address gum disease and recession, there are many different periodontal procedures that will address infection and also rebuild damaged soft tissue.

For tooth decay and tooth erosion, restorations can be used rebuild compromised tooth structure. Common restoration options include fillings, inlays, onlays, and crowns.

As for oral cancer, dentists can screen for early signs of cancer so the problem can be treated as soon as possible. This is why regular dental visits are so crucial for ensuring total wellness.

Consult with Experts to Help You Quit Smoking

Quitting smoking is easier said than done. If you need assistance with quitting, you can speak with your doctor or with our team. We can discuss various techniques for quitting and the various resources available to you to help you kick the habit for good.

Speak with Our Advanced Dental Care Team

For more information on enhancing the appearance of your smile, improving your dental health, and achieving greater overall wellness, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The team here at University Dental Arts looks forward to your visit and helping you have the healthiest and most beautiful smile possible.

Root Planing and Scaling: The Deep Cleaning Process

At University Dental Arts, we are committed to helping patients in the greater Denver area achieve excellent dental health and wellness. This includes the latest in advanced restorative dentistry to ennhance dental health. That said, the old standbys are still important when it comes to general dental wellness, which is why root planing and scaling is important for achieving excellent dental health results.

What is root planing and scaling?

Also known as deep cleaning, root planing and scaling is an important part of achieving good dental health and wellness. This process involves the removal of plaque and tartar deposits down at the gumline. By performing root planing and scaling, dentists are able to prevent and treat tooth decay and gum disease, helping their patients be their healthiest and smile with confidence.

How does root planing and scaling differ from traditional dental cleanings?

While some people may assume that root planing and scaling is synonymous with a routine dental cleaning, that is not the case at all. In fact, they are quite different.

During a routine dental cleaning, the teeth are flossed, an electric toothbrush is used to polish the teeth thoroughly, and minimal scraping is involved.

By comparison, root planing and scaling gets deep down to the gumline to ensure that it is free from plaque and tartar, and it involves more precise and targeted scraping.

Ideal Candidates for Root Planing and Scaling

The best candidates for root planing and scaling are people who have significant build up of plaque and tartar along the gumline. They should have realistic expectations about the nature of treatment and what it entails, and also have a positive understanding of how the procedure helps prevent future dental health issues.

The Root Planing and Scaling Procedure

During root planing and scaling, local anesthetic is used in order to minimize pain and discomfort. Only one-quarter to one-half of the mouth is treated in a session in order to ensure reasonable treatment times. Breaking up treatment like this also reduces the inconvenience that patients face after treatment with regard to local anesthetic used on the mouth.

While root planing and scaling are often thought of as synonymous, there are actually two distinct actions. Root scaling is the removal of plaque and tartar, while root planing is smoothing out of root surfaces once infected or damaged tooth structure has been removed.

What to Expect After Root Planing and Scaling Treatment

After root planing and scaling treatment is completed, patients can expect temporary tooth sensitivity and tender gums. Avoiding foods and beverages that are hot or cold will prevent issues with tooth sensitivity, as will avoiding spicy foods. Patients should brush and floss at night as usual, though they should be extra-gentle.

Contact University Dental Arts

If you would like more information about root planing and scaling and how it can help you have a healthier and more beautiful smile, be sure to schedule a consultation at our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The team here at University Dental Arts looks forward to your visit and helping you achieve optimal dental health and wellness.

Halting Halitosis: Bad Breath Causes and Treatments

There is nothing that can affect a person’s self-confidence more drastically than learning that he or she suffers from bad breath. Bad breath can affect nearly every aspect of a person’s life, from professional relationships to romantic entanglements. Many people with chronic halitosis eventually just give up, hiding away in the privacy of their homes when they could be out and about enjoying life to its fullest.

Thankfully, advances in restorative dentistry allow for dentists to provide new leases on life to patients struggling with bad breath. At University Dental Arts in Denver, bad breath treatments can help patients regain their self-esteem and self-assurance, leading ultimately to an improved overall quality of life. Whether you suffer from bad breath, or you are living with someone who does, we can help.

The Causes of Bad Breath

Bad breath is usually caused by poor oral hygiene. In these cases, patients may be able to improve their breath significantly by improving their at-home oral hygiene regimens. For example, it is important that they brush their teeth and their tongues with fluoride toothpaste after every meal, and no less than twice a day. They should floss twice a day to remove food particles and bacteria from hard to reach places and use mouthwash after every brushing. Equally importantly, they should visit University Dental Arts twice a year for professional cleanings and oral screenings.

Other common causes of bad breath include:

  • Periodontal disease, especially periodontitis, the most advanced form of the disease
  • Tooth decay
  • Dentures that are not adequately cleaned
  • Cigarettes and cigars
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Certain diseases, including diabetes, liver disease, and bronchitis
  • Certain medications
  • Poor diet
  • Dehydration and chronic dry mouth
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Conventional metal braces and other dental appliances that can get in the way of basic oral hygiene

Some of these causes can be addressed through changes in lifestyle: give up smoking, drink more water, and eat healthier. Other causes, however, require more aggressive treatment.

Bad Breath Treatments

Before the most effective course of treatment for bad breath can be determined, Dr. David Redford must first evaluate your mouth and speak with you about your lifestyle and medical history. This diagnostic stage is essential to resolving your halitosis in both the short and the long term.

During your initial appointment, you will also receive a thorough cleaning of your mouth and be educated on the various ways you can improve your breath. As noted above, your treatment plan may entail significant lifestyle changes on your part, depending on the circumstances of your case. The more willing you are to make these changes, the more effective your treatment will be.

If Dr. Redford determines that your bad breath is rooted in an underlying oral health issue such as gum disease or tooth decay, we will devise a treatment plan to correct these problems. Your individualized dental plan may involve multiple treatments, including root canal and periodontal therapy, dental crowns, and medication, all of which will result in a healthier mouth and fresher breath.

Learn More about Bad Breath Causes and Treatments

To learn more about bad breath causes and treatments, please contact University Dental Arts today.

Dental Care Services for Families

As your child is growing, it’s important that he or she undergoes regular dental treatment. Those childhood years are crucial for overall growth and development. In fact, good habits and good dental care as a child can help improve overall wellness and dental health in the long run. That’s why it’s important that your child visit with a family and cosmetic dentist as soon as he or she starts teething.

Right now we’d like to devote special attention to children’s dentistry and pediatric dental care services. This will give patients a basic idea of what to expect when it comes to early dental care needs.

Dental Health Issues That Children Face

Some of the most common dental health issues that children face include:

  • Teething
  • Loss of baby teeth
  • Tooth decay
  • Tooth misalignment
  • Malocclusion
  • Tooth damage/injury
  • Growth of permanent teeth

Why Pediatric Dentistry is Important

Pediatric dentistry is a way for dentists to address the evolving concerns of a child’s dental health as he or she grows older. Like doctor visits, pediatric dentistry is so important because it helps identify and treat health issues as soon as they occur. Early detection and action is better than delaying treatment for later in life.

Below are some common pediatric dentistry services.

Basic Checkups and Dental Care

One of the most important things that a dentist can do for your child is the basics. When your child makes a routine dental visit, their teeth can be professionally cleaned, x-rays can be taken to monitor overall growth and development, and basic care can be provided.

Treating Tooth Decay

During these routine dental visits, many young patients may receive dental fillings to address cavities (dental caries). This is a common dental treatment for children and adults, and it helps save a tooth from extraction and serious problems down the road. For major tooth decay, inlays, onlays, and dental crowns may be used instead, though working conservatively tends to be the best for overall wellness.

Pediatric Orthodontics

In general, treating tooth alignment issues earlier in life when a child is still growing is much easier than treating the same issues when a patient is an adult. Pediatric orthodontics can help improve spacing and position of the dental arch, health of the jaw, overall dental alignment, and more.

Dental Care Emergencies

Accidents can happen, and it can be especially scary when such accidents involve your child. We can address many different kinds of dental care emergencies. We simply ask that children seek necessary medical attention first if the accident involves more than just tooth damage, tooth loss, or other forms of oral injury.

Patient Education

One of the most important things that we can offer young patients is education, whether it means discussing the causes of tooth decay or letting them know how to properly brush and floss. At each visit, we will do our best to help patients develop good habits that will last a lifetime. This can result in great dental health well into a patient’s adulthood.

Learn More About Your Dental Care Options

For more information about all of your options for advanced dental care, be sure to contact our Denver dental care center today. The entire team looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you and your child achieve excellent dental health for the road ahead.

Top Treatments for Cavities

One of the most common dental problems that people face is tooth decay, and yet there are many different misconceptions about what tooth decay is and what causes it to happen. The team at our Denver cosmetic dentistry center would like to take a moment right now to look at the basics of tooth decay and what treatments there are to address these problems.

What are cavities/what is tooth decay?

It might be a good idea to look at cavities themselves before we discuss the treatment options. Tooth decay is caused by the bacteria that naturally occurs in the mouth. This bacteria feeds on food particles on or between the teeth, creating a harmful, acidic substance known as dental plaque. This plaque is what eats away at the enamel and dentin layers of the teeth. This loss of tooth structure is a cavity/tooth decay. When performing routine check-ups, a cosmetic dentist in Denver will work diligently to identify these problems with tooth structure.

Preventative Care is Ideal for Fighting Tooth Decay

The best way to deal with cavities is to avoid getting them. This means brushing at least twice a day (ideally after every meal), flossing every night, and visiting your dentist for regular visits twice a year.

Dental Fillings for Cavities

If you do develop a cavity, the most common treatment for general dental care needs is a dental filling. These dental restorations are great for restoring small amount of damaged tooth structure.

Whereas they were made of metal in the past, today many dental professionals use tooth-colored dental fillings instead. These composite fillings are better for the aesthetics of smiles and for a patient’s dental health in the long run since they a) contain no harmful substances, b) will not warp due to temperature fluctuations, and c) require less removal of healthy tooth structure to place.

Inlays and Onlays for Tooth Decay

When patients have substantial cavities or more extensive tooth decay, regular dental fillings will not be enough. That’s where inlays and onlays come into play. Similar to dental fillings, inlays and onlays are larger and are able to restore substantial amounts of tooth structure, including the cusps (biting surfaces).

Dental Crowns for Tooth Decay

For major tooth decay, Denver dental crowns are an ideal option. Dental crowns are caps that fit right over severely decayed teeth. Dental crowns serve a number of functions. For one, they will protect a tooth from further damage and decay. In addition, they will restore bite strength. Lastly, they are able to reduce any pain or sensitivity that patients experience as a result of advanced tooth decay.

Ways to Deal with Advanced Tooth Decay

There are many other restorative dentistry options that can be used to address cavities and tooth decay. For cavities that occur under the gumline, for example, special crown lengthening procedures can be performed. We will be more than happy to discuss the other types of dental procedures for dealing with advanced tooth decay in more detail during your visit.

Learn More About Advanced Dental Care Treatments

For more information about your many different options for effective dental care, be sure to contact a Denver cosmetic and restorative dentist today. Our entire team looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you make the best possible decisions about the health and appearance of your smile.

Root Canal Therapy

You have probably heard of root canal therapy before but may be unaware of what it actually involves. That’s not surprising given how many different misconceptions there are about the root canal. In fact, its reputation for pain and undue discomfort is unwarranted given advances in dental technology and dental care techniques.

When you meet with a Denver cosmetic dentist you’ll be able to learn more about this and other dental treatment options in greater detail. We’d like to go over some of the basics of root canal treatment right now so you have a good general understanding of what is involved and what to expect from treatment.

The Structure of Your Teeth

Within each tooth is pulp chamber. This pulp chamber contains soft tissue known as dental pulp. The dental pulp helps nourish the tooth and also contains nerve endings that are connected to the tooth root and jawbone.

When the dental pulp within a tooth is infected by bacteria, advanced restorative dentistry treatment is needed to ensure the infection does not spread and lead to further dental problems. This procedure is known as a root canal.

What Root Canal Therapy Means for Patients

A root canal involves the removal of the diseased dental pulp following severe tooth decay or serious damage to the tooth. By undergoing a root canal, patients will ensure that their natural tooth is saved and will not need to be extracted. Avoiding extraction is ideal since maintaining as much natural tooth structure as possible ensures better dental health in the long run.

Ideal Candidates for Root Canal Therapy

The best candidates for root canal therapy are people who have experienced major tooth decay or a serious tooth injury that has caused harm to the dental pulp. We will determine if a root canal or another dental treatment will be ideal for a patient during the consultation process at our Denver cosmetic and restorative dentistry center.

The Root Canal Procedure

During the root canal procedure, local anesthetic is administered to reduce any pain or discomfort experienced. The tooth is carefully drilled into in order to access the pulp chamber. The pulp within the tooth is removed and the pulp chamber is sterilized to kill any remaining bacteria. An inert material is used to fill the tooth and the tooth is then capped with a dental crown to strengthen it and protect it from further harm.

Other Options for Restorative Dentistry

In some instances, a tooth will need to be removed if it cannot be saved with a root canal. There are different ways to address the issue of a missing tooth. Sometimes a dental bridge will be ideal, though in other cases it may be better for the patient to receive Denver dental implants. These artificial tooth roots will be able to support a bridge or an individual dental crown. We will go over all of your options for effective dental care during your visit.

Learn More About Advanced Dental Care Treatments

For more information about root canal therapy and your many other options for advanced dental care treatments, be sure to contact our Denver cosmetic and restorative dentistry practice today. Our entire team looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you make the best possible decisions about your dental health and dental care needs.