Wondering why your tooth hurts? Abington, PA, dentists Dr. Cary Limberakis and Dr. Johnathan Limberakis share a few common causes of toothaches and discuss treatment options.
Cavities occur when healthy tooth structure is destroyed by tooth decay. If the decayed portion of your tooth isn't removed and replaced with a filling, the decay can eventually destroy your tooth or spread to adjoining teeth. Once decay has been removed from your tooth, the tooth will be filled with a composite resin filling in our Abington office. Composite resin, the newest type of filling material, is tinted to match your tooth color and isn't noticeable when you laugh or talk.
Grinding or clenching your teeth while you sleep can stress your teeth and jaw and lead to tooth pain. The problem can occur if grinding wears away the enamel layer of your teeth, exposing the sensitive dentin layer, or if you crack a tooth. If the crack is severe or extends into a tooth root, your tooth may need to be extracted. Crowns and root canals are often used to treat and restore cracked teeth. If your pain is caused by grinding, your dentist may recommend bonding or crowns to increase the length of your teeth and cover the exposed dentin, as well as a nightguard to prevent further damage to your teeth.
A dental abscess, a bacterial infection that affects the tooth pulp, can also cause a toothache. If you have an abscess, your tooth may hurt when you put pressure on it or expose it to extreme temperatures. The infection can make you feel unwell and may be accompanied by a fever, swollen lymph nodes and gums and facial swelling. Abscesses are treated with root canals and antibiotics.
A Problem with an Old Filling
Pain can occur if one of your fillings have cracked or become loose. Although you already have a filling in your tooth, it's possible for decay to develop around the filling material. Removing the old filling and new area of decay will ease your pain. If the treated area is now too large for a filling, you may need an inlay, a porcelain filling that fits inside the cusps of your teeth, or an onlay, a porcelain filling that extends beyond at least one cusp of your teeth. Both inlays and onlays are created in a dental laboratory.
Do you have a toothache? Call Abington, PA, dentists Drs. Cary and Jonathan Limberakis at (215) 886-8866 to schedule an appointment.
While it may not be one of your favorite features in the dental office, the dental drill is nevertheless necessary for treating problem teeth. It’s used primarily for removing decayed or damaged structure and preparing a tooth for fillings or other restorations.
Dental drills have been used for decades and are quite effective — but they have their drawbacks. Their rotating burrs often remove portions of healthy tooth structure along with decayed material. Friction from the drill action can cause discomfort, so local anesthesia is usually needed. Drills can also emit a high-pitched machine noise that’s unsettling to many patients.
There’s a growing alternative to the drill, known as air abrasion. Although the technology has been around since the 1950s, the development of new suction pumps that capture the resulting dust from its use has made it more palatable as an option to the traditional drill.
Also known as particle abrasion, the technique uses a pressurized stream of fine particles (usually aluminum oxide, an abrasive powder) directed at teeth to wear away (abrade) the tooth’s structural surface. We can be quite precise in the amount of surface material removed, so it’s useful for diminishing stains or roughing the surface for bonding materials like composite resin. We’re also able to remove decayed material with very little impact on surrounding healthy structure, and you may not need anesthesia during the procedure.
While this quiet alternative to the noisier drill is quite versatile, it does have its limitations. It’s not that efficient for preparing larger cavities for restoration or for removing older amalgam fillings. The teeth to be treated must be carefully isolated to prevent the fine particle dust produced from being swallowed by the patient or spread into the air. High-volume suction equipment is a must or the procedure will create a “sandstorm” of particles in the room.
Still, for situations suited to it and with proper isolation measures, air abrasion can be effective and comfortable. If the technology continues to improve, the dental drill may soon become a relic of the past.
If you would like more information on procedures using air abrasion, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Air Abrasion Technology.”
We've all had them — tiny sores that pop up seemingly out of nowhere under the tongue or the inside of the cheek. They're named aphthous ulcers, but are more commonly known as canker sores. For some people, they can be a recurring irritation.
Round with a yellow-gray center surrounded by reddened skin, aphthous ulcers seem to coincide with periods of anxiety or stress, or as a result of some minor trauma. Many people will feel a tingling or painful sensation a few hours or days before the ulcers appear. Once they appear they usually persist for a week to ten days before finally drying and healing. In the meantime they can be painful, especially while eating or drinking.
One form known as recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS) affects about a quarter of the population with outbreaks of multiple ulcers that occur regularly. RAS ulcers are usually one centimeter or more in size — the larger the sore the more painful they tend to be.
There are ways to ease the discomfort of an ulcer outbreak and help hasten their healing. A number of over-the-counter products can be used in minor cases to numb the area temporarily and cover it to facilitate healing. We can also apply steroids or inject other medications for more severe cases. You may also find curbing your eating of certain foods like tomato sauce, citrus or spicy dishes can help.
For the most part aphthous ulcers aren't dangerous. In some situations, though, you should seek dental or medical evaluation: a sore that doesn't heal within two weeks; increases in severity, frequency or duration of ulcers; or when you don't seem to ever be without an ulcer in your mouth. We may need to perform tests, including tissue biopsy, to make sure there aren't any underlying systemic conditions causing the ulcers.
More than likely, though, you'll only need relief from the aggravation caused by aphthous ulcers. Among the many remedies, there's one right for you.
If you would like more information on aphthous ulcers or other mouth sores, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Mouth Sores.”
What's an actor's most important feature? According to Vivica A. Fox, whose most recent big-screen role was in Independence Day: Resurgence, it's what you see right up front.
"On screen, your smile and your eyes are the most inviting things that bring the audience in" she said. "Especially if you play the hot chick."
But like lots of people, Vivica reached a point where she felt her smile needed a little help in order to look its best. That's when she turned to a popular cosmetic dental treatment.
"I got veneers years ago," Ms. Fox told Dear Doctor magazine in a recent interview, "just because I had some gapping that probably only I noticed."
What exactly are dental veneers? Essentially, they are thin shells of lustrous porcelain that are permanently attached to the front surfaces of the teeth. Tough, lifelike and stain-resistant, they can cover up a number of defects in your smile — including stains, chips, cracks, and even minor spacing irregularities like the ones Vivica had.
Veneers have become the treatment of choice for Hollywood celebs — and lots of regular folks too — for many reasons. Unlike some treatments that can take many months, it takes just a few appointments to have veneers placed on your teeth. Because they are custom made just for you, they allow you to decide how bright you want your smile to be: anywhere from a natural pearly hue to a brilliant "Hollywood white." Best of all, they are easy to maintain, and can last for many years with only routine care.
To place traditional veneers, it's necessary to prepare the tooth by removing a small amount (a millimeter or two) of its enamel surface. This keeps it from feeling too big — but it also means the treatment can't be reversed, so once you get veneers, you'll always have them. In certain situations, "no-prep" or minimal-prep veneers, which require little or no removal of tooth enamel, may be an option for some people.
Veneers aren't the only way to create a better smile: Teeth whitening, crowns or orthodontic work may also be an alternative. But for many, veneers are the preferred option. What does Vivica think of hers?
"I love my veneers!" she declared, noting that they have held up well for over a decade.
Would you like to join the approximately 4 million people who straighten their teeth without metal braces? If you would like to improve your smile discreetly and comfortably, come to Limberakis Family Dentistry in Abington, PA for a comprehensive Invisalign consultation. Invisalign is an innovative orthodontic system that corrects mild to moderate tooth alignment problems without the inconveniences, oral discomforts and "out there" appearance of conventional wires and brackets. Plus, treatment with Invisalign takes less time and fewer trips to the dentist's office. Interested? Read on.
Why we have orthodontics
People of all ages undergo orthodontic treatment because their crooked, gapped or crowded teeth detract from their facial appearance and gradually develop oral health problems such as gum disease and decay. Anyone who has lived with a poorly aligned smile knows how difficult it is to keep teeth clean and gums healthy. Plus, bad bites compromise speech and the ability to bite and chew effectively and comfortably.
So traditional metal or ceramic braces long have corrected a myriad of smile problems, and in fact, they still solve the most complex of orthodontic issues. However, for individuals with less severe problems, Invisalign offers an easier solution--custom-made, removable aligners that are smooth and easy to maintain.
How Invisalign works
The doctors at Limberakis Family Dentistry are preferred Invisalign providers. That means both doctors have special training in the actual Invisalign system and that the Invisalign lab will accept their cases and create the special acrylic aligners.
If you wish to see if your smile could improve with Invisalign, your dentist will examine your teeth and gums with an eye toward their health and the specific problems you wish to correct. Then, he'll take X-rays, CT imaging and photos, along with oral impressions, to devise the treatment plan just right for your needs.
Specifically, the typical 18 to 30 clear aligners straighten problems such as:
- Over and under bite
- Cross and open bite
- Tooth tipping and rotation
- Orthodontic relapse (teeth which shifted after removal of braces)
- Gaps and crowding
- Protruding front teeth
You change your aligner pairs according to your Abington dentists' instructions, wearing them for 20 to 22 hours a day to keep treatment progressing.
And yes, you can remove your comfortably smooth aligners for meals, oral hygiene and picture taking. There are no lengthy adjustments to endure at the dental office. Just see your dentist every four to six weeks for a fast progress check and to pick up your next aligner pairs.
Remarkably, average treatment time is a short year. Compare that against two to two and a half years or more for traditional braces, says the American Association of Orthodontists. When your treatment is completed, you'll wear a retainer to keep your smile in place and functioning for years to come.
Find out more
Contact Limberakis Family Dentistry in Abington, PA for more information on Invisalign. If you begin treatment, you'll receive a free teeth whitening for your best-looking smile yet. Call (215) 886-8866 for an appointment.
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