Dental Conditions Our Austin Dentists Treat
Keeping your teeth strong and healthy is always our goal at myDental. Our dental providers are highly trained in all aspects of dentistry. We provide preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry to treat a full spectrum of conditions that may affect your oral health.
Cavities / Tooth Decay
A cavity is tooth decay, or the destruction of your tooth enamel, caused by a buildup of plaque on the tooth. Plaque is a thin, sticky film that forms over your teeth.
Causes & Symptoms: When you eat sugary or starchy foods, the sugar combines with bacteria in plaque to form destructive acids. If you do not practice good oral hygiene (brushing at least twice a day and flossing), the acids in plaque eventually break down the outer layers of the tooth, the enamel and dentin.
You may not have any symptoms of a cavity until it reaches the dentin. At that point, you may feel pain in your affected tooth or it may be sensitive to hot and cold temperatures.
Diagnosis & Treatment: Your dentist will diagnose a cavity by examining your teeth and looking at X-rays. Cavities are treated by removing any decay and restoring the area with a filling or a crown.
Gingivitis / Gum Disease
Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease or periodontitis, a leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease.
Causes & Symptoms: Gum disease results from high levels of bacteria in plaque that trigger enzymes to destroy the tissues and bone that hold your teeth in place. The gum starts to separate from the tooth, creating a pocket, which fills with plaque. As the gums pull or recede further from your tooth, its roots become exposed, which can lead to tooth decay and increase your risk of tooth loss.
Early symptoms of gum disease may include swollen gums, gums that bleed when you brush or floss your teeth, or bad breath. As the disease progresses, your teeth may feel loose or shift easily due to pockets forming between your teeth and gums. Pain is usually a symptom of advanced gum disease.
Diagnosis & Treatment: Your dentist can diagnose gum disease by examining your teeth and gums and measuring the amount of gum detachment and depth of pockets. Initial treatments usually include a professional dental cleaning with scaling and root planing. Your dentist may apply antibiotics to infected areas and prescribe an antimicrobial mouth rinse to fight the bacteria that contribute to gum disease. Advanced periodontitis may require tooth extraction and surgical treatment.
Infection / Abscessed Tooth
An abscessed tooth is an infected tooth. The interior of your teeth and root canals contain pulp. An untreated cavity can lead to infection forming in the pulp (an abscess).
Causes & Symptoms: Pulp can be infected as a result of damage, trauma, and tooth decay. You may not have any symptoms until the infection progresses, when you may experience pain and swelling around the affected tooth. Your tooth pain may increase dramatically when you bite down, touch, or put pressure on the tooth. Your tooth may become very sensitive to hot or cold foods and beverages.
Diagnosis & Treatment: Your dentist will perform a dental exam, take X-rays, and test the sensitivity of your tooth to diagnose an infection. Abscessed teeth are treated with root canal therapy. If left untreated, an abscessed tooth will eventually need to be removed.
Causes & Symptoms: There are a number of reasons why you might experience the loss of a tooth. Teeth can get knocked out as the result of an accident, or you might require a tooth extraction due to severe tooth decay or infection.
Diagnosis & Treatment: Your dentist will examine your teeth and take X-rays to diagnose a cavity. He or she will also test the sensitivity of your tooth to diagnose an infection. Teeth that are knocked out or have to be extracted can be replaced by several methods, including dental implants, crowns, bridges, or dentures.
Chipped, Broken, or Cracked Teeth
Causes & Symptoms: Teeth can become damaged for any number of reasons, including injury, grinding or clenching your teeth, or chewing on hard objects. You may experience pain that comes and goes, or sensitivity to hot and cold foods in the affected tooth.
Diagnosis & Treatment: Your dentist will examine your teeth to diagnose a chipped, broken, or cracked tooth. Damaged teeth need to be treated to prevent tooth loss. Treatment will depend on the extent of damage to the tooth.
If you have a minor chip, your dentist may be able to repair your tooth with bonding. In more severe cases, a crown will be placed on your tooth to protect it and restore stability. If the pulp of your damaged tooth is affected, you may need a root canal treatment. If the crack extends below your gum line, you may need to have your tooth extracted.
Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Also known as chronic halitosis, bad breath may be a sign of an oral health problem that needs to be addressed, such as gum disease.
Causes & Symptoms: Chronic halitosis is often the result of poor dental hygiene such as not brushing and flossing often enough. If food particles are left behind in your mouth, they can combine with bacteria to emit a foul odor.
Bad breath may also be caused by cavities, gum disease, or an underlying medical condition, such as nose, sinus, and throat issues with postnasal drip; dry mouth; even gastric reflux, diabetes, liver or kidney disease.
Diagnosis & Treatment: Improving dental hygiene habits can reduce or eliminate bad breath. Brush twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste and floss once a day.
Jaw pain is also known as temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ. Your lower jaw attaches to your skull by muscles and the two temporomandibular joints located near your ears. Your jaw opens, closes, and moves from side to side when you chew and speak.
Causes & Symptoms: Emotional stress and physical stress of nearby structures can cause TMJ. Teeth grinding and clenching can also contribute to the condition. Symptoms may include headaches, jaw aches, and pain near your ears.
When you open and close your mouth, your jaw may make a clicking or popping sound or catch in a certain position. You may notice a difference in your bite pattern or the way that your teeth come together when you close your mouth.
Diagnosis & Treatment: Your dentist can evaluate and diagnose TMJ by reviewing your medical and dental history and conducting an examination and X-rays.
The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms. Treatment may include muscle-relaxant, pain relieving, or anti-inflammatory medications. If you clench or grind your teeth, your dentist can make you a mouth guard to wear at night. Relaxation techniques or counseling can help reduce stress. Jaw surgery is a last resort when all other options have failed.
If you experience any of these conditions or pain in your teeth or gums for any reason, visit myDental for a consultation with one of our dentists. Call the office closest to you or use our online form to request an appointment.