DENTAL PROBLEMS & EMERGENCIES

To learn more about dental problems click on the topics on the left hand side.

Loretta_Smith@att.net | 773-445-7777 | 9035 S. Western AVE, Chicago, IL 60643

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dental marketers est. 1990
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Loretta_Smith@att.net| 773-445-7777 | 9035 S. Western AVE, Chicago, IL 60643

ABSCESSED TOOTH

An abscessed tooth is one that has become infected. Tooth decay is often the culprit; when tooth decay advances deep into the tooth, it can cause destruction of the pulp, the core of the tooth. When this happens, the pulp gets infected and swollen and pus builds up near the jawbone.

 

Left untreated, infected pulp can cause more serious problems, including damage to surrounding tissue and bone.

 

Dr. Smith can perform a root canal which is the most common form of treatment for an abscessed tooth. Root canal treatment involves removing the infected tissue, cleansing and sealing the canal of the tooth and restoring the tooth with a crown, or cap.

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to speak with Dr. Smith or one of our team members today.

 

BAD BREATH (HALITOSIS)

Bad breath is a common affliction with many people. When it advances or doesn't go away, it becomes known as chronic halitosis.

 

Bad breath is caused by decaying particles of food and bacteria that pass into your bloodstream and to the lungs, where odor is emitted from breathing.

 

While people spend lots of money on products that treat the symptoms of bad breath, they often neglect to take steps to address the root causes of bad breath-such as bacteria, and decaying food particles remaining in spaces between the teeth, on the gums and on the tongue. In many cases, good daily oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing and rinsing, can keep bad breath in check. This also applies to denture-wearers.

 

Other conditions, such as gum disease, can cause persistent bad breath. Under normal conditions, your saliva acts to cleanse your mouth of the particles that can decay and later cause bad breath. People with a condition known as dry mouth, in which saliva production is diminished, can sometimes suffer from bad breath. Of course, if you eat certain kinds of food (like garlic and onions), take certain kinds of medications, or smoke cigarettes or cigars, you may also experience symptoms of bad breath.

 

In some cases, persistent bad breath may be a sign that you have a more serious health problem, including a gastrointestinal, respiratory or sinus problem.

 

In most cases, over-the-counter mouthwashes and rinses will temporarily freshen breath, but only mask the root cause. The American Dental Association acknowledges the effectiveness of some anti-microbial mouth rinses that are shown to reduce plaque and gingivitis. Good oral health habits can contribute to reducing and eliminating halitosis: brushing and flossing daily as well as regular professional cleanings performed by Dr. Smith.

 

CANKER/COLD SORES

People sometimes confuse canker sores and cold sores, but they are completely unrelated. Both can be painful, but knowing the differences can help you keep them in check.

 

A canker sore is typically one that occurs on the delicate tissues inside your mouth. It is usually light-colored at its base and can have a red exterior border.

 

A cold sore or fever blister, on the other hand, usually occurs on the outside of the mouth, usually on or near the nose or lips. A cold sore is contagious because it is caused by the herpes simplex virus, and it is usually painful and filled with fluid.

 

In most cases, patience is the best medicine for treating canker sores. A healthy diet and good oral hygiene are usually the best remedy, but some special rinses and anesthetics can help. Cold sores can be treated effectively with some over-the-counter topical creams; sometimes, an antiviral medication will be prescribed by your doctor.

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to speak with Dr. Smith or one of our dental team members today.

 

CAVITIES & TOOTH DECAY

What Is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay is caused by a variety of things; in medical terms, cavities are called caries, which are caused by long-term destructive forces acting on tooth structures such as enamel and the tooth's inner dentin material.

 

These destructive forces include frequent exposure to foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates; soda, candy, ice cream-even milk-are the common culprits. Left inside your mouth from non-brushing and flossing, these materials break down quickly, allowing bacteria to do their dirty work in the form of a harmful, colorless sticky substance called plaque.

 

The plaque works in concert with leftover food particles in your mouth to form harmful acids that destroy enamel and other tooth structures.

 

If cavities aren't treated early enough, they can lead to more serious problems requiring treatments such as root canal therapy.

 

Preventing Cavities

The best defense against cavities is good oral hygiene, including brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing and rinsing. Your body's own saliva is also an excellent cavity fighter, because it contains special chemicals that rinse away many harmful materials. Chewing a good sugarless gum will stimulate saliva production between brushing.

 

Special sealants and varnishes can also be applied to stave off cavities from forming.

If you have any of the following symptoms, you may have a cavity:

  • Unusual sensitivity to hot and cold water or foods.
  • A localized pain in your tooth or near the gum line.
  • Teeth that change color.

 

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby bottle tooth decay is caused by sugary substances in breast milk and some juices, which combine with saliva to form pools inside the baby's mouth.

 

If left untreated, this can lead to premature decay of your baby's future primary teeth, which can later hamper the proper formation of permanent teeth.

 

One of the best ways to avoid baby bottle tooth decay is to not allow your baby to nurse on a bottle while going to sleep. Encouraging your toddler to drink from a cup as early as possible will also help stave off the problems associated with baby bottle tooth decay.

 

If you have any questions about cavities & tooth decay, please feel free to speak with Dr. Smith or one of our Chicago team members today.

 

TOOTHACHES

Simple toothaches can often be relieved by rinsing the mouth to clear it of debris and other matter. Sometimes, a toothache can be caused or aggravated by a piece of debris lodged between the tooth and another tooth. Avoid placing an aspirin between your tooth and gum to relieve pain, because the dissolving aspirin can actually harm your gum tissue.

 

Broken, Fractured, or Displaced Tooth

If you have a dental emergency, please call our Chicago office to schedule your appointment.

 

A broken, fractured or displaced tooth is usually not a cause for alarm, as long as decisive, quick action is taken.

 

If the tooth has been knocked out, try to place the tooth back in its socket while waiting to see your dentist.

 

First, rinse the mouth of any blood or other debris and place a cold cloth or compress on the check near the injury. This will keep down swelling.

 

If you cannot locate the tooth back in its socket, hold the dislocated tooth by the crown - not the root. Next, place it in a container of warm milk, saline or the victim's own saliva and keep it in the solution until you arrive at the emergency room or dentist's office.

 

For a fractured tooth, it is best to rinse with warm water and again, apply a cold pack or compress. Ibuprofen may be used to help keep down swelling.

 

If the tooth fracture is minor, the tooth can be sanded or if necessary, restored by the dentist if the pulp is not severely damaged.

 

If a child's primary tooth has been loosened by an injury or an emerging permanent tooth, try getting the child to gently bite down on an apple or piece of caramel; in some cases, the tooth will easily separate from the gum.

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to speak with Dr. Smith or one of our team members today.

 

DRY MOUTH

People living with diabetes are vulnerable to a host of systemic problems in their entire body. Unfortunately, the mouth and teeth are not immune from such problems, and many diabetics with oral problems go undiagnosed until conditions become advanced.

 

Infections and other problems such as receding gums and gum disease, or periodontal disease, are common afflictions among diabetics for many reasons; for instance, diabetics often are plagued by diminished saliva production, which can hamper the proper cleansing of cavity-causing debris and bacteria from the mouth. In addition, blood sugar levels that are out of balance could lead to problems that promote cavities and gum disease.

 

As with any condition, good oral hygiene, including regular brushing, flossing and rinsing, as well as the proper diabetic diet, will go a long way in preventing needless problems.

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to speak with Dr. Smith or one of our team members today.

 

GUM DISEASE (GINGIVITIS)

Gingivitis is the medical term for early gum disease, or periodontal disease. In general, gum disease can be caused by long-term exposure to plaque, the sticky but colorless film on teeth that forms after eating or sleeping.

 

Gum disease originates in the gums, where infections form from harmful bacteria and other materials left behind from eating. Early warning signs include chronic bad breath, tender or painful swollen gums and minor bleeding after brushing or flossing. In many cases, however, gingivitis can go unnoticed. The infections can eventually cause the gums to separate from the teeth, creating even greater opportunities for infection and decay.

 

Although gum disease is the major cause of tooth loss in adults, in many cases it is avoidable.

If gingivitis goes untreated, more serious problems such as abscesses, bone loss or periodontitis can occur.

 

Periodontitis is treated in a number of ways. One method, called root planing, involved cleaning and scraping below the gum line to smooth the roots. If effective, this procedure helps the gums reattach themselves to the tooth structure.

 

Pregnancy has also been known to cause a form of gingivitis. This has been linked to hormonal changes in the woman's body that promote plaque production.

 

If you have any questions or concerns regarding gum disease, please feel free to speak with Dr. Smith or one of our dental team members today.

 

PLAQUE

Plaque is an insidious substance: a colorless, sticky film that blankets your teeth and creates an environment in which bacteria erode tooth enamel, cause gum irritation, infection in inner structures such as pulp and the roots, and in extreme cases, tooth loss.

 

Some of the biggest culprits causing plaque are foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates, including soda beverages, some juices, candy and many kinds of pasta, breads and cereals.

 

Plaque also can attack fillings and other restorations in your mouth, which can lead to more costly treatment down the road.

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to speak with Dr. Smith or one of our team members today.

 

SENSITIVE TEETH

Many people suffer from sensitive teeth: a condition in which hot and cold foods or liquids, and even sudden puffs of air can cause discomfort and pain.

 

Tooth sensitivity can be caused by a number of things. An unnoticed cavity or abscessed tooth can sometimes be a culprit. But over time and as you age, changes in temperature, as well as such behaviors as tooth grinding (bruxism) and overly aggressive brushing, can cause small, often microscopic cracks or fissures on the chewing surfaces of your teeth (or near the gum lines), which exposes the inner structures called dentin.

 

Hypersensitive teeth can cause people to change their eating habits, avoid social situations, or even avoid proper oral hygiene because the simple act of brushing or rinsing causes pain. Relief can sometimes be had by using a desensitizing toothpaste, sealants, or special fillings.

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to speak with Dr. Dental or one of our team members today.

 

TEETH GRINDING (BRUXISM)

Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is often viewed as a harmless, though annoying, habit. Some people develop bruxism from an inability to deal with stress or anxiety.

 

However, teeth grinding can literally transform your bite relationship and worse, severely damage your teeth and jaws over long periods of time.

 

Teeth grinding can cause abrasion to the chewing surfaces of your teeth. This abnormal wear and tear will prematurely age and loosen your teeth, and open them to problems such as hypersensitivity (from the small cracks that form, exposing your dentin.) Bruxism can also lead to chronic jaw and facial pain, as well as headaches.

 

If no one has told you that you grind your teeth, here are a few clues that you may suffer from bruxism:

  • Your jaw is often sore, or you hear popping sounds when you open and close your mouth.
  • Your teeth look abnormally short or worn down.
  • You notice small dents in your tongue.

 

Bruxism is somewhat treatable. A common therapy involves use of a special appliance worn while sleeping. Less intrusive, though just as effective methods could involve biofeedback, and behavior modification, such as tongue exercises and learning how to properly align your tongue, teeth and lips.

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to speak with Dr. Smith or one of our team members today.

 

EMERGENCIES

Dr. Smith and her dental team suggest that when you have an oral health emergency, call us immediately!

 

A knocked out tooth or bitten tongue can cause panic in any parent, but quick thinking and staying calm are the best ways to approach such common dental emergencies and prevent additional unnecessary damage and costly dental restoration. This includes taking measures such as application of cold compresses to reduce swelling, and of course, contacting our office as soon as possible.

 

If you do not get our office when you call our phone number, call your local hospital.

 

Dr. Loretta Smith logo

Address: 9035 S. Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60643

 

Phone: 773-445-7777

Email: Loretta_Smith@att.net