I hate my sensitive teeth.

My teeth are super sensitive because the roots are exposed. I can’t even brush my teeth near the gum line without irritation. I have tried many different toothpastes, but nothing seems to work. Do you know if there is anything that can be done to help?

– Paul in Florida

Paul,

Root exposure and the sensitivity associated with it is terrible. I would meet with your dentist to explore your options. There is fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse that my be helpful. One kind of fluoride is made of sodium and if that one doesn’t work for you, there is another that is stannous based. The latter seems to be more popular among patients. Give this method a try and give it some time, approximately six weeks or so. If that is unsuccessful, there is a fluoride treatment that can be applied to the exposed roots. This can be done at a normal cleaning or checkup. This will likely not be covered under your dental insurance. But the fee is small. Relief from this treatment should last for about six months and can be reapplied when you go in for dental cleanings.

If you still haven’t found that these options work for you, it may be recommended that you have the root surfaces covered with white composite fillings. This should work almost immediately, but it is usually not the first route that dentists will try. Typically dental insurance will cover this treatment, but you will be responsible for a co-pay. Most patients don’t require any anesthetic for white fillings. A gentle dentistry technique is music or movies to distract you. Or if you are particularly anxious, many dentists offer everything from nitrous to sedation dentistry.

Hopefully this information was helpful.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

How long do I have to wait to get my dentures?

I have my surgery scheduled for next week to have the reminder of my teeth removed. I think they said it would be like six months or so before I can actually get my dentures. Is that really how long it takes for the bone to heal? That just seems like a really long time to wait.

I’m not looking forward to having this done. I have had such bad dental experiences. Any insight you have would help put me at ease.

– Cheryl in Virginia
Cheryl,
Typically it only takes a couple of weeks to heal from getting your teeth extracted surgically. So I’m not sure why they are suggesting you wait six months to get your new denture. The six month mark is significant because that is when the bone reshapes and fills in the areas where the teeth have been removed. If that were indeed the whole time period it would be pretty embarrassing and difficult to go without any teeth. Although,  it will be longer before you need the denture relined. But you will continually need to have the denture relined because the bone will be resorbed over time and the shape will continue to change. The relining ensures the best fit.

There is a procedure called same day dentures or they are also called an immediate denture. With this treatment, the denture is placed at the same appointment as the tooth extractions. So there will be no time where you have to go without teeth. When the denture is placed right away it protects the surgical area too. The bone will still continue to reshape so it will still be important that you go in and get the denture relined after six months or so.

An immediate denture may cost a little bit more, but denture patients tell us repeatedly how nice it is to not have any time where they have absolutely no teeth. If you are trying to avoid the extra cost, waiting a couple months for the reline would allow your body to do most of the reshaping.

Dental implants are an excellent choice to help stabilize and secure the denture into place. They are definitely more expensive but bring many benefits over the long run. One of the most important advantages is that they prevent bone loss around the implant which helps to avoid facial collapse.

Try not to be fearful. You will be sedated so you won’t be in any pain.
This post is sponsored by Parma dentist Hylan Dental Care.

I don’t think I need fillings.

Last week I decided to see a different dentist. Let me start by explaining that I have excellent dental hygiene. I brush and floss everyday, both in the morning and at night. I stay away from sugary foods and soda too. I work really hard to take good care of my teeth and my previous dentist has told me that my teeth are in great shape. Well, the new dentist I just saw told me that I have five cavities on my back teeth. I had them filled with the composite material.

Ever since that dental appointment, I have been in pain. It hurts when I bite down and I really am wondering if I really had any cavities in the first place. I’m suspicious enough to take my recent x-ray to a new dentist for a second opinion. I saw that x-ray and I didn’t see anything. I know I’m not a dentist but I guess I kind of want to find out if there were really cavities or not. It all just seems fishy to me that I’m now in pain and at my last check-up last year I didn’t have any cavities.

– Rhonda in Oregon

Rhonda,

It may be a possibility that you did have cavities last year and your previous dentist didn’t see them. Sometimes dental x-rays may not be done at the appropriate angle, so it is not out of the realm of possibilities that your last dentist missed them.

Although, if you are feeling suspicious than that is a valid concern. You can request the x-rays and take them for a second opinion. If you decide to follow through with this than you need to tell the new dentist very little to let them make the determination on their own. Also, don’t share the name of the dentist you are checking out. Simply request a second opinion on some recent dental work you had done without planing any seeds of doubt or suspicious activity. You don’t want the dentist to agree with your assessment just so you will come to see him. Also, if the dentists are acquaintances you may not get the best opinion because they may not want to criticize the other one. If you really are after an honest, unbiased opinion you can always go to another city.

In regard to your concern about the pain after your white composite fillings. It is possible that they were not bonded correctly. One way to test that theory is when you clench your teeth together, does it hurt? Or is the pain only while chewing? If the pain happens only when you are chewing, there may be an issue with the bonding. If clenching your teeth hurts, a simple bite adjustment may do the trick. But if the pain continues, it is possible the fillings may need to be replaced.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Related links: mercury-free dentist, holistic dentist

Do all dentists offer sedation dentistry if I’m terrified?

I am trying to find out if every dentist will offer sedation dentistry to help with anxiety? I get pretty worked up at the thought of going to the dentist and was wondering if all dentists have this option or if I need to see a special dentist that advertises for it.

– Gentry in Ohio

Gentry,

You are totally not alone if you are scared of the dentist. Not every dentist offers sedation dentistry. But there are many dentists out there that actually build their practice and cater to cowards in helping fearful patients. If you are extremely fearful, you may want to do your homework and look around at your options. A gentle dentist uses techniques to help distract you like letting you watch movies or listen to music. Nitrous oxide is another option that may be available, which is often referred to as laughing gas. Another gentle dentistry technique is that they will also go very slowly and will stop to answer any questions you have and help you work through any discomfort.

The petrified dental patient will be lucky to even set foot in the office. Oral sedation is a completely safe and effective service that helps fearful patients get the care they need. All you have to do is take a pill about an hour before the appointment that the dentist prescribes. The medication will make you feel sleepy and it is pretty likely that you won’t remember anything about the dental procedure. Often times a very fearful patient may need a lot of work done at once. Sedation can help the dentist to do several procedures during this time which may have been difficult otherwise.

The bottom line is to have a trusting relationship with open communication. If you find the right dentist, hopefully you won’t even need sedation. But the right dentist won’t make you feel bad for how long it has been since you were in and will help you to get back into a regular routine of cleanings and office visits with the right demeanor and approach.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.