Wisdom teeth are the third molars and, if you have them in your mouth, the last teeth in your mouth. There are four wisdom teeth. They are the last teeth to erupt or grow into your mouth, if ever. Some people have all of them present in the mouth and a lifetime of function. Most people, however, will have some type of complication with their wisdom teeth. As we have evolved as humans, the mandible, or lower jaw, has shortened and there is typically not enough room for these teeth.
Sometimes, wisdom teeth never erupt out of the bone. Other times, the teeth are partially in and partially out of bone. In the case where these teeth are partially out of the bone they can peek out into the mouth. This can cause problems as food, plaque and bacteria can be trapped in the area causing pain and swelling because these areas are difficult if not impossible to clean.
Wisdom teeth can be angled, or impacted, whether inside the bone or out. This misalignment can cause problems with the teeth next to them. They can move teeth, lead to bone loss on other teeth, promote cavity formation, make areas in the gum tissue difficult to clean, and be overall problems.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Wisdom tooth extraction can be a fairly straightforward procedure or it can be more complicated. This depends on many factors including: age, position of the teeth, size and shape of the teeth, and other medical and dental factors.
A thorough consultation with x-rays will give you and the Team at Northern Westchester Dental Care a good idea of the situation. Often, all four wisdom teeth are extracted at once, but sometimes only one, two or three are done. This can also affect the potential complications of the surgery.
Depending on the situation, you may have the procedure done with nitrous oxide, laughing gas, or with a deeper sedation. This is something to discuss with the doctors in our office. Also, ask questions about recovery time. Again, every person and every situation is different. There can be swelling and some soreness or even pain after the teeth are out. You should think about rest for a day or two after the surgery.
Ask questions and be informed about any dental procedures. The more you understand, the easier it will be for you and the Team to make decisions. Having wisdom teeth extracted can lead to a much healthier mouth. At Northern Westchester Dental Care, we do a terrific job of communicating.
Tooth pain can present in many different forms. Unfortunately, if gone untreated, it can be debilitating and very dangerous. It is always a good idea to consult with one of our doctors if you have any concerns, feel pain or sense that something isn’t right. Please contact us so we can quickly and efficiently treat your pain. You should never feel embarrassed or concerned about
contacting our office with any pain or dental concerns.
In order to help diagnose any underlying issues, there are some things basic concepts and questions to answer. You should start with a self-assessment. Ask yourself these questions:
- What type of pain are you experiencing and where?
- Do you see anything in your mouth that doesn’t look right?
- Has anything changed recently?
- Did you hear or feel something when eating?
- Did you experience any type of trauma like a fall or blow to the face?
- Is there something that makes the pain feel better or worse?
- Do you have pain with hot, cold, biting or spontaneously?
- Does the pain go away quickly or stay around and if so for how long?
- Does the pain radiate to eye, ear or down your neck?
Answers to these questions can help you communicate with our Team and understand what may be happening. Try to understand if the pain is on the top or the bottom and whether it is in the back or the front. Once you think you have it generally located, look in the mirror with a flashlight or with the light on your phone. You can also enlist the help of someone else if needed. See if there are any noticeable breaks in the tooth or missing fillings or tooth structure. Look around the teeth at the gums and try to see if there are any red areas, swelling, or white areas like a pimple.
Is it one-time pain?
The best possible outcome is a mild, one time pain. Sometimes teeth can be sensitive without any real underlying issue. If you feel something once and it is short in duration and a 1 or 2 on the pain scale (a scale from 1-10, “1” being very mild sensitivity and “10” being debilitating, worst pain possible), give it some time and you may not feel it again.
Do you have an infection?
Abscess or infection in the bone around the tooth can cause significant pain and swelling. The infection can sometimes find a way of the bone and cause a pimple or “fisula” in the gum area. This is a dangerous situation. You may notice this pimple come and go with or without pain and with or without swelling. This does not lessen the need to be seen by a dentist immediately! Do not let this go untreated. Patients will also convey that they had a bad taste in their mouth which can also be a sign of a draining infection. Contact Northern Westchester Dental Care immediately if you have any of these conditions.
Is it caused by food/drink?
There is a generalized, consistent or intermittent type of pain that can be caused by eating or drinking hot/cold things or certain types of foods. This is often felt on several teeth or in a particular area of your mouth. You should speak to one of our dentists and hygienists about this type of pain. There are certain toothpastes that can help. Also, we can recommend certain other ways to care for your teeth or avoid certain foods or drinks.
Does it hurt randomly?
Some pain is difficult to pinpoint because it comes and goes without any real consistency. You may not remember exactly where, when or why you feel the pain. Keeping a log or jotting down a note of when you feel the pain, the type of pain and how long it lasts, is very helpful. A pattern may emerge and you may notice that there is pain when you drink something cold or when you lie down at night. This information should be communicated to one of our dentists.
Where is it coming from?
As you move up in the pain scale, it is often clearer where the pain is coming from. You may notice that every time you eat or drink something there is pain. Again, make a note of where in your mouth you feel it and try to see if there is anything out of place. Common sense dictates that you should avoid doing the things that bring about pain. Don’t tap the tooth or stick your fingers in your mouth, this can only cause more issues.
How long does it last?
You should be concerned with cold and hot (more hot) sensitivity from eating or drinking that stays around for 20 seconds or more. Be aware of pain caused from biting or tapping pressure that lasts the same amount of time. Pain radiating (traveling) to the eye, ear or neck is not a good sign either. Swelling is also a dangerous sign. If the swelling is bad enough that you are having trouble breathing or there is obstruction in your airway, call 9-1-1. Contact our office with any of these symptoms. See your dentist immediately. NSAIDs like Advil, Aleve, or Tylenol can sometimes help. Read the label, speak to a dentist at Northern Westchester Dental Care, another healthcare provider, or the pharmacist to understand the indications and risks for each of the medications. You can cause damage to your body with too many pills.
Do you have a broken tooth?
Broken fillings or teeth are sometimes easier to diagnose because you can see and feel them. It may be difficult though if it is toward the back of your mouth especially on top teeth. Sometimes you will know because the area feels rough or different with your tongue. If it is not possible to come in right away, you can get some temporary filling material in the pharmacy to place until you can get in to see us.
How can you prevent tooth pain?
There are many other causes of tooth and mouth pain. Be a good recorder of information and think about when it hurts and where the pain is. Record what, if anything, makes it feel better or worse. Try to see if there are any red or white areas on the gum tissue or in your mouth and if you have a broken tooth or filling. Contact us right away with your concerns as oral health directly affects systemic health.
Root Canal Treatment
Root canals, or endodontic treatment, save millions of teeth every year.
The term often brings with it negative thoughts. However, the procedure itself is typically very comfortable for the patient. A root canal treatment is most often necessary when the nerve tissue inside of the tooth is infected. The infection can cause the nerve to die or be on its way to dying.
There are some signs and symptoms that a tooth may need a root canal:
- Be aware of pain that is more than just a little sensitivity. If a tooth or an area of the mouth is painful for more than 15-20 seconds with hot or cold, this may be a sign of an issue.
- Radiating pain to the eye, ear or down the neck is a sign that a tooth is in trouble.
- Sometimes a tooth may feel raised or that the bite has changed.
- Pain with biting down is a possible sign of trouble.
- A draining infection, almost like a pimple on the gum tissue, can sometimes be seen in the area of an infected tooth.
Tooth decay causes infections.
Most often, the nerve becomes infected due to tooth decay. The bacteria from outside the tooth can break though the hard outer portion of the teeth, the enamel, and the softer dentin protecting the nerve. Once the outside is connected to the inside, the nerve becomes infected. The bacteria will then travel through the nerve and can cause an infection in the bone called an “abscess.”
Other tooth defects cause issues.
Tooth trauma, fractures, and other tooth defects can also necessitate a root canal. If the infection goes untreated, pain, swelling and the possibility of the infection traveling to distant parts of the body become possible. Infection from the mouth and the teeth have been shown to cause damage to all parts of the body. The infection can run down the immune system and ultimately, in rare circumstances, lead to death if not treated.
The procedure is straightforward.
The procedure is often completed in one or two visits. An anesthetic is utilized to ensure patient comfort. The tooth nerve is accessed with a dental handpiece or drill and specific instruments are used to clean and shape the nerve or root canal. All of the infection and tissue is removed and the canal is filled with a medication called gutta percha.
A tooth with a root canal most often needs a crown in order to protect it. Once this is complete, the tooth should be kept in place for the life of the patient barring any other issues. Please contact us today if you think you need a root canal or have similar symptoms.
TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joints on either side of the jaw. Often, disorders of the TMJ, referred to as TMD (temporomandibular dysfunction), can lead to headaches and neck pain, jaw joint and cheek pain, ear aches and a myriad of other symptoms.
There are many causes of TMJ disorders and jaw joint pain including: cartilage wear and tear, clenching and grinding, misaligned bite, and arthritis. Some of the symptoms are jaw joint pain, ear pain, headaches and tooth pain.
At Northern Westchester Dental Care, we can provide highly customized treatment solution for you to reduce the pain and discomfort caused by TMJ/TMD.
Treatment time typically ranges from one to three years, depending on the growth of the patient’s mouth and face and the severity of the problem.
Schedule an Appointment
Please call or email the practice for an appointment to discuss x-rays, cleanings, diagnostic and treatment plans, fillings, and general consultations. The doctors will review your individual needs and explain all of your treatment options.
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Flexible Payment Options
The Northern Westchester Dental Care Team will discuss the cost of care and payment options.
We work with major dental insurance plans, offer 0% financing with CareCredit, accept checks, and all major credit cards.