4 Pains In The Mouth That Could Indicate A Dental Problem

Many of patients don’t think about their teeth much until they are hurting, and by that point a serious dental issue may have developed. Regular check-ups with our dental experts can help you avoid this predicament. But if pain does strike, here are four of the most common types of dental pain we see and what they are caused by.

1. Hot/Cold Sensitivity

In normal circumstances, you shouldn’t have a painful reaction to relatively hot and/or cold substances. If you find that you are bothered by temperatures that don’t seem to register with others, you may have heightened sensitivity. The enamel on your teeth is a protective shield, but when that enamel becomes compromised via decay or a loose filling, you will feel it! Especially if the decay is severe enough that your nerve is exposed. Nerve pain is no joke. The sensitivity can also be traced back to gum recession that has exposed the roots of your teeth.

2. Swollen or Tender Gums

Healthy gums are firm and pink. If you notice your gums are swollen, inflamed or red in a particular area, it may be a red flag indicating that you have developed a periodontal abscess. Abscesses are often accompanied by a fever and or a strange taste in your mouth.

By definition, an abscess is a collection of pus caused by bacteria. When an accumulation of bacteria forms in your mouth, your body attempts to contain it by creating a barrier around the infection site in the form of pus. This pus has no way to drain and therefore it puffs up, swells and causes pain and pressure.

Abscesses can also form inside your teeth, these are known as periapical abscesses.

If you notice this happening, get into our office as soon as possible so we can relieve your pain and address the problem.

3. Painful Jaw Clicking

While this “pain in the mouth” is technically outside of your actual the mouth, it is still very related to your dental health. Temporomandibular joint disorder causes painful clicking, popping and tenderness of the jaw. This issue occurs when your jaw joints move out of proper alignment, are shifted by impact or eroded by age.

While TMJ pain might not be as urgent as some of the other types of dental pain, if left untreated it can cause tension headaches and other issues.

TMJ is fairly easily diagnosed here at the office. If you notice pain and come in to have it checked out by our dental team, we will perform a simple exam of the area and we may also do a dental x-ray. Then we can suggest the proper therapies or procedures for you.

4. Dull Ache

If your teeth have a dull ache, especially right when you wake up, you may be suffering from bruxism. Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, afflicts approximately 8 percent of adults and even more children according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Other signs of bruxism include tender and sensitive teeth as well as visible fracturing and chipping of teeth or dental work. Some of our patients describe the pain as more intense on their upper teeth.

If we suspect bruxism is the cause of your aching teeth, we can do an examination and fit you for a mouth guard or splint to protect your teeth while you sleep. There are also other stress management techniques and therapies you can try to eliminate the grinding entirely.

These are just four common types of pain, but if you are experiencing ANY kind of mouth pain, get into our office ASAP. Our goal is to help you identify the source of yoru pain and resolve it permanently.

At What Age Should My Child First See A Dentist?

If you’ve seen (or experienced) children visiting the dentist, you may have seen very upset and unhappy children. So when it comes to your own child, you may be wondering how long you can delay the inevitable first dentist visit.

When it comes to especially young children without all their teeth, it can seem unnecessary to bring them in to see the dentist until all their teeth have emerged.

However, the basic guideline is that your child should see a dentist 6 months after their first tooth has erupted. A child’s first tooth generally comes out by the time they are 6 months old, but if your child’s teeth developed late, visiting the dentist at the 1 year mark is the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

Children And Baby Teeth

A child’s primary (baby) teeth are important to their overall health and development and can have a lasting impact on their adult life. Here at Taylor’s General & Cosmetic Dentistry, we know the value of healthy teeth at every age.

Some of the side-effects of damaged primary teeth are:

  • Unable to chew correctly and miss out on nutrition that is only obtained through chewing.
  • Poor speech patterns from missing or damaged teeth distorting their speech.
  • If primary teeth are missing, permanent teeth can erupting in either the wrong spot or crowd out other teeth.
  • Having damaged teeth can affect your child’s self-esteem as they see other children with undamaged teeth.

If at all possible, a child’s primary teeth should remain intact and in place until the permanent teeth pushes them out. There are options if the teeth are damaged beyond saving, so be sure to consult with your dentist to make sure you know all your available avenues.

Get Your Child For Their First Dental Visit

Since you want your child’s teeth to stay health and don’t want them terrified of their first dental visit, there are some steps to take to get your child ready for their first dental visit.

  • Start brushing early – Part of what makes dental visits scary for children is that the children aren’t used to having cleaning tools in their mouths. Parents should use soft toothbrushes and begin brushing their baby’s teeth even before the first tooth erupts. This will discourage bacterial growth in the infant’s mouth and keep their gums healthy.
  • Talk them through – If you talk your child through what happens at the dentist, and how their own visit will go, this can lessen the fear for your child. When they have an idea of what to expect, it can be less terrifying. You may need to do this several times before visits as they likely not remember the initial talks.
  • Speak positively – Many people casually talk of their hate of the dentist, but all this does for children is teach them that the dentist is someone to fear. Keep your language and tone positive, as this is likely what your young child will pick up on.

In some cases, your child may be apprehensive no matter what you do. But if you bring your child to the dentist young and help them keep up their dental health, the dentist won’t stay a scary place for them.

What Is The Best Toothbrush?

A lot of my patients ask me which is the best toothbrush, or which toothbrush they should use. This last year I discovered what I believe to be the best toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouth rinse, but this short note will only touch on the toothbrush (more to come with the toothpaste and mouth rinse).

Hard Toothbrushing Will Scrub Away Your Teeth

When looking for a toothbrush, look for something SOFT. I seriously don’t understand why dental product companies make anything but soft toothbrushes. Medium bristled and especially hard bristled toothbrushes can, overtime, seriously damage your teeth and gums from abrasion. If you couple a hard bristled toothbrush with an aggressively abrasive toothpaste, you could literally be scrubbing your teeth away, little by little. You may feel like nothing is changing in your mouth, but over 20-30 years you could lose enough enamel and dentin for two or three life times.

Also, whatever soft toothbrush you decide to use, make sure you change the toothbrush every 3 months. Over time the soft bristles will break and wear out, making the toothbrush more abrasive.

My Family And I Use A Very Soft Toothbrush

Which toothbrush do I use? I absolutely love the Nimbus toothbrush. I call it the cloud brush because it is so soft it kind of feels like you’re brushing your teeth with a cloud. The inventor of this brush is a retired periodontal specialist, so he obviously is very knowledgable about what your teeth and gums need in order to be healthy.

When you use it the first time, especially if you’re used to brushing with a hard bristled brush, you may feel like the brush isn’t hard enough. Don’t worry about this and don’t brush too hard. The Nimbus is doing everything it needs to, as long as you’re spending 2-4 minutes brushing, and making sure to brush every surface of every tooth.

The nimbus comes in three different sizes: regular, compact, and the Nimby for children. You can order then from the Nimbus website directly, or from Amazon, or you can stop by my office and if you’re already a patient of record I’m happy to just give you one to try. So, if you’re like most people, throw that hard bristled brush in the trash and get the cloud brush, the Nimbus.

3 Signs You Are On The Path To Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a problem that afflicts as many as half of all Americans. It is definitely an issue we encounter daily in our dental office. We always strive to catch the first signs of the disease and counsel our patients accordingly. Here are 3 things we watch for:

1. Gums that bleed after flossing.

Periodontal disease is caused by the failure to remove plaque and bacteria from in and around your teeth. The first stage is gingivitis, and the most common sign of gingivitis is gums that bleed after you floss. If you notice this happening, ask yourself when the last time you flossed was. If it has been a while, gingivitis may be to blame.

There are a couple of other circumstances that might cause your gums to bleed that are unrelated to gingivitis. Certain medications can thin your blood and make you more prone to bleeding. These medicines actually cause gingival overgrowth and swelling. Common culprits include seizure medications, immuno-suppressants and drugs used to treat high blood pressure. These side effects were first discovered in the 1960s after a new drug to treat children experiencing seizures was released and bleeding gums were reported.

Pregnancy can also cause bleeding gums as your hormone levels shift.

If you notice bleeding gums and dedicate yourself to better oral care habits going forward, you can expect the bleeding to continue for a couple weeks until your gums get used to the pressure and toughen up.

2. Gum Recession

All of us are born with a certain amount of gum tissue. Some people have more than others, but gums that are decreasing in size or length are receding, and can be an early sign of gum disease. One way to analogize the concept is to think about a house plant. If you removed all the dirt (gum tissue) from the pot, the roots (your teeth) would begin to shrivel up and they would eventually wither away. The same idea applies to your gums. If you gums keep receding, your teeth don’t have the foundation they need and they eventually can fall out.

When you come into our office for a cleaning and exam, we measure the length of your gums in millimeters. If we notice a decrease from a previous appointment we will let you know and talk to you about possible causes and solutions. It’s harder for patients to spot gum recession on their own at home, which is one of the reasons why twice-yearly checkups are so important!

3. Bad Breath

Bad breath is not just embarrassing, it can be a early sign that you are developing periodontal disease. When you fail to remove the food particles in between your teeth, bacteria pops up and the presence of bacteria releases unpleasant odors. If you leave this unchecked, gum disease and eventually periodontal disease can form.

So before you start popping mints and gum like crazy, consider the original source of your bad breath and put more diligent effort into daily brushing and flossing. If this doesn’t seem to help, it may be a cause unrelated to your gums.

*If you are concerned you may be exhibiting any of these signs of early gum disease, make an appointment to come in and get a thorough examination. If you already have periodontal disease, let us help you get back on track with periodontal therapy. We have several different services and levels of treatment that we would love to share with you.

4 Phases of Periodontal Therapy

According to a 2012 report from the Center for Disease Control, one out of every two Americans over 30 has some form of periodontal disease. As we age, the prevalence rate increases to 70 percent. If periodontal disease affects half of the country, it’s time we do something about it. Our office offers an array of services aimed at mitigating this progressive condition. Here are the four phases of periodontal therapy.

It is important to note that we aim to solve the problem with the least of amount of invasive procedures. Which means that after each phase of therapy we will allow time for healing and then will assess the success of the treatment.

1. Prevention

While technically this is not periodontal therapy per se, we have to mention that periodontal disease prevention is always the best option. Daily brushing, and especially daily flossing, are key. So are regular dental appointments.

2. Non-Surgical Treatment: Scaling and Planing

If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, one of the first steps is to do a non-surgical periodontal cleaning treatment. This involves removing tartar and plaque buildup that has accumulated. We will remove the calculus (calcified plaque) that you are unable to remove at home with a toothbrush.

The best way to remove these hardened debris is with scaling and planing done by a dental hygienist.. A scaler is a hand-held instrument with one end that is shaped like a hook or curved blade. The hygienist will scrape off plaque with this edge. Ultrasonic scalers are also used and they are especially effective because they create tiny air bubbles and bacteria can’t survive in the presence of oxygen.

Root planing is the process of removing plaque that has accumulated below the gumline. Any time you are addressing an issue below the gumline is it considered subgingival treatment. Conversely, cleaning above the gumline is referred to as supragingival cleaning.

After this removal process, we will apply an antimicrobial solution to sanitize the area.

For many people, non-surgical procedures are successful and they can maintain gum health on their own with consistent hygiene habits.

3. Surgical Treatment 1: Pocket Reduction Procedures

If your periodontal disease has progressed to the formation of pockets of gum that are not snugly attached to the tooth, pocket reduction surgery can be done. These pockets need to be eliminated because they are breeding grounds for bacteria to accumulate and can eventually lead to bone deterioration.

Measuring the size of your pocket will help us know whether or not a pocket reduction surgery is needed. Pocket depth of 5 or more millimeters is typically cause for concern.

The procedure involves folding back your gum tissue, removing the offending bacteria and then securing the gum tissue back into place. This procedure is important not only because the bacteria needs to be removed, but also because when a pocket becomes very deep it is difficult for you to clean at home and reducing the size will make it more manageable for home care and prevention.

We also may smooth the bone tissue during this procedure to allow your gums to adhere more securely to your tooth.

We can also apply a special protein, enamel matrix derivative (EMD), to the area to biomimetically stimulate tissue regrowth.

4. Surgical Treatment 2: Gum & Bone Grafting


If pocket reduction techniques cannot successfully repair the damage done by periodontal disease, gum and bone graft procedures can be done. When it comes to gum grafting, we can use connective tissue taken from underneath a flap on the roof of your mouth and place it on the area that is receded.

We can also harvest gum tissue directly from the roof of your mouth, this is called a free gingival graft.

Yet another option is the pedicle graft method where we collect graft material from the gums adjacent to the tooth in need of repair. In a pedicle procedure and we cut away a flap, pull it over the receded area and then sew it back into place. This method is only feasible if you have plenty of gum tissue near the tooth.


Bone grafting is definitely the last resort option for attempting to repair the damage done by advanced periodontal disease. It is an intense procedure that should only be done if all other avenues have not yielded results. It is often done in conjunction or in preparation for a dental implant.

In a bone graft, we fold back the gums, clean out the bacteria and then bone tissue is inserted. The bone graft tissue is commonly harvested from your own chin or jaw. If more tissue is needed, it may be collected from the hip or shin bone. Synthetic material is also available or we can also use bone tissue from a cadaver or cow.

Flossing: Highly Recommended Since 1819

Flossing should be part of your daily preventative care routine. Simply put, if you want great teeth, reach for the floss! But have you ever wondered how it came to be? Read on and find out.


While there is a wealth of scientific data to back it up, many believe that the first primitive form of flossing was using horse hair to dislodge material in between your teeth.

One of the earliest evidences of flossing begins in 1819. A dentist based in New Orleans, Levi Spear Parmly, started recommending that patients use waxed silk thread to clean between their teeth. He had a theory that the food and germs left between our teeth caused disease. His ideas about what causes cavities were actually quite remarkable if you consider the lack of credible knowledge about tooth health at the time.

According to the Journal of Dental History, Parmly was one of the premier dentists of his time. He published some of the first books on the subject and spread important information about how to take care of your teeth.

The New York Times explains that Parmly’s ideas weren’t received as the revolutionary ideas that they were, simply put “people just expected their teeth to fall out.”

While historical documents credit Parmly with inventing floss, the Times explains that it is Asahel M. Shurtleff who was given the first official patent for what was considered “floss” at the time.


Later, in the 1940s, Dr. Charles C. Bass created the first nylon floss, which was a much less expensive alternative to silk floss. This availability of nylon floss and Bass’ research helped the practice become more popular.

Then in 1882, flossing became more accessible when Codman and Shurtleft started mass-producing unwaxed silk floss. A few years later in 1898, Johnson & Johnson saw the potential in selling floss and patented dental floss specifically and went on to provide several types of waxed and unwaxed floss.


Flossing picks were created to helps users floss more easily, which is especially helpful for anyone with dexterity issues, like the elderly or children. They first hit the scene in 1888 and major improvements were made every few years. Here is a breakdown.

  • The first flossing picks were made in 1888 by B.T. Mason. The contraption was a string wrapped around a tooth pick.
  • In 1916, J.P. De L’eau created and patented a dental floss holder between two vertical poles.
  • In 1935 F. H. Doner created a pick that resembles the Y-shaped flossers many of us use today.
  • The f-shaped pick was first created by James B. Kirby in 1963. The official patent document explains that the design “emphasized the cleaning of interdental surfaces and curved surfaces leading to the opposing faces of two adjacent teeth.”
  • In 1972 Richard L. Wells upped the ante by giving picks a single handle configuration.
  • Things get even better when Harry Selig Katz created disposable picks.


Floss has since been improved upon over the years and many of these changes are to improve user comfort and convenience. Dental tape has a smooth glide and flossing picks are a great solution for people who like to floss on the go. Waxed and unwaxed are also personal preferences you can opt for and flavored floss is also very popular — especially among kids. Whatever product will help you keep a consistent flossing regimen is the best product. Consumers are responding to the variety of products available and sales of dental floss in the US accounted for more than 198 million dollars in 2014!


Here is a brief recap of the basics of flossing.

  • Floss once a day, preferably before you brush your teeth.
  • When using traditional floss, pull out about 18 inches and wrap the ends around your index fingers.
  • Pull the floss around the curves of your teeth and the base of your gums gently.
  • Choose the right floss for your teeth. Waxed floss tends to glide over top teeth more gently.
  • If you have a hard time flossing consistently, try a flossing pick and keep it in your car or at your desk to encourage flossing on the go.
  • If you have braces or dental implants, flossing will be a little bit more tricky, but still SO important. Talk to one of our dental experts about the best way to floss with your circumstances. Providing tips and tricks to our patients is one of the best services we can provide here at the office.


We won’t bore you with all the traditional benefits of flossing (cavity prevention, fighting gum disease) that have been drilled into your head for years. Instead, here are a few lesser-known benefits of flossing to wrap your head around.

  • Studies have suggested that poor dental health may be linked to Alzheimer’s and dementia. Researchers looked at the brains of those who had dementia and found that a certain gum bacteria was present in a significant number of those who had dementia and it was not present in those without dementia.
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy can make you extra susceptible to gum disease, which means flossing during pregnancy is key. Research has shown that pregnant women are more likely to have receding or bleeding gums than non-pregnant women. And according to the Journal of Periodontology, pregnant women with periodontitis were more likely to have delivery complications like pre eclampsia, high blood pressure and low birth weight.
  • You might think that brushing is enough to thwart bad breath but flossing is just as important. Have you ever noticed that your floss doesn’t smell great after you use it? That is because it has just removed bacteria and debri from between your teeth. While brushing removes surface particles, flossing removes debris lodged in between your teeth that is just waiting to turn into plaque which can give you bad breath.

Why Your Bridge or Implant Sometimes Needs Replacing

Dental bridges are implants are both functional and aesthetic solutions for replacing missing teeth. But if your bridge or implant is damaged, broken, loose or doesn’t fit properly anymore, you might need a replacement.


First let’s talk about bridges. Dental bridges are fill missing teeth gaps by placing two or more crowns on either side of the gap, forming a bridge. One of the main things that can cause a dental bridge to fail and need replacement is decay in the abutment teeth, or the teeth on either side of prosthetic tooth. If you fail to maintain oral care habits like brushing and flossing, plaque and tartar can appear, which eventually lead to bacteria and then decay. One of the things that makes it harder to detect decay in abutment teeth is the fact that they are covered with a crown so we may not be able to immediately see small cracks. Because of this, we strongly encourage all of our patients to tell us about any sensitivity they might feel immediately. Then Dr. Taylor can inspect your crown and abutment teeth. If there is decay, we will break the crown, remove it, remove any residual cement, treat the abutment teeth and then replace the crown

Sometimes your bridge just needs to be repaired. If the porcelain coating on the bridge is chipped or fractured, we can repair that coating without having to completely replace the bridge. A good dentist will not only do the initial service of placing the bridge, they will continue to maintain their work with repairs and replacements when necessary.

Bridges and implants have long lifespans, but they do not last forever. Typically, bridges last an average of 5 to 15 years. The good news is that you as the patient have a lot of control over the longevity of your implant. The better you take care of it, the longer it will last.


Dental implants are quickly becoming the gold standard when it comes to replacing missing teeth. They look natural, don’t require any work on the surrounding teeth and have an extremely high success rate.

Another major benefit of implants is that they are long lasting and durable. In fact, a properly-placed and well-cared for dental implant can last a lifetime. This of course is dependent on how old you are when you receive the implant. If you get it at 25, you might have to replace it when you are older, but if you receive it at 50, you are probably set for life!

Complications and issues that may cause you to need an implant replacement include peri-implantitis, failed osseointegration, nerve or tissue damage, allergic reaction, body rejection or an injury.

Peri-implantitis is an infection around the implant caused by bacteria. The best way to prevent this is with good oral hygiene habits. Failed osseointegration is when the jawbone fails to fuse properly with the implant. Usually your dentist can identify and fix this in the process of receiving the implant, but in some cases you might have it for a for a year before it is discovered. If your implant is placed too close to the nerve, it may cause pain that would necessitate removing the implant. The implant being damaged or being rejected by your body all other possibilities as well.

The important thing to keep in mind with these failure causes is that they are rare. Remember the 98 percent success rate? All of these complications fit into that sliver of 2 percent failure rate. With a quality dental team like Taylor Cosmetic Dental, you will be educated about all possible scenarios and we will do our best to make sure they never happen!

Virtually Pain Free Dental Work With Laser Dentistry

Dental work isn’t known for being particularly enjoyable or relaxing — but laser dentistry is changing that! Here at Taylor Cosmetic Dental we are proud to provide laser dentistry services.


More and more dentists are reaching for a laser instead of their drill or scalpel. Why? Less pain! While it does require our office to invest in laser equipment and training time, the pain-free benefits to our patients are worth it.

Laser dentistry is less painful than a drill because it uses light and energy to vaporize tissue on contact. These is less bleeding because the laser beam cauterizes the tissues. Less bleeding means less mess, shorter recovery, and less pain medication.

Traditional dental procedures done with a drill actually grind away your tooth material. That action (and the annoying sound that comes it) creates heat and pressure that result in pain. Many patients are also bothered by the vibration of dental drills. Laser dentistry eliminates these irritants.

Laser dentistry also eliminates the need for anesthetic in certain procedures. Many times to numb up your mouth for a treatment, we have to give you a shot — and for some, the shot is the worst part of the entire procedure! Some dentists estimate that laser dentistry allows them to do cavity repair prep with no local anesthesia in up to 70 percent of patients.


Lasers are also extremely hygienic and sterile. When we use a dental drill, we sterilize our instruments. But laser dentistry eliminates this opportunity for human error completely because the laser beams are sterile and no instruments need to be changed or cleaned.


Lasers are less invasive because they treat only the infected area and leave all other surrounding tissue alone. While dentists are very skilled at using dental drills, everything the drill comes in contact with can be damaged or disrupted. Lasers shrink the window of error in this regard.


Gum surgeries are some of the most common laser dentistry procedures. Lasers are very effective at cutting and shaping soft tissue with precision. Other soft tissue use of lasers includes the removal of sores and lesions, frenectomies, crown lengthening, and biopsies.

Laser treatments can also be performed on hard tissue to prepare teeth for fillings or take care of small cavities. For instance, we can use a laser to sterilize and enlarge a root canal. Lasers can even be used to help speed up the teeth whitening process!

Interested in laser dentistry? Chat with one of our friendly staff members about what types of procedures are available to you and your family.

Signs It’s Time To Make An Appointment For Advanced Periodontal Therapy

Healthy gums are a huge part of oral health. When they become unhealthy, things can go downhill fast! One of the specialized services we offer here at Taylor Cosmetic Dental is advanced periodontal therapy, including surgical and non-surgical options. Here is a rundown of 4 signs you may need to seek treatment.

1. Red, Bleeding, or Inflamed Gums

Healthy gums are typically a nice shade of pink. But when we fail to remove debris from our teeth, bacteria grows and eventually it turns into tartar and then plaque. That plaque leads to gingivitis, which is defined as “mild form of gum disease” according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

Gingivitis can cause your gums to become swollen and inflamed. They also tend to bleed when you attempt to floss or brush vigorously. While red gums are considered an early sign of advanced periodontal disease (gum disease), they should still raise a big red flag for you.

2. Bad Breath

If you regularly brush and floss your teeth but a bad smell lingers, periodontal disease may be to blame. Periodontal disease usually involves bacteria and bacteria is known for creating foul odors. Not only is this bad breath embarrassing, it’s a sign of dangerous gum disease that needs to be addressed.

3. Periodontal Pockets

Healthy gums are attached snugly to your teeth. Unhealthy gums on the other hand actually start to pull away from the tooth and pockets of space can appear. When these periodontal pockets are greater than 3 millimeters, therapy may be needed. The pockets are caused by the swelling of your gums and they create a perfect environment for more harmful bacteria and plaque to nest. If untreated, these pockets can get out of control and actually cause your tooth to fall out.

4. Abscesses

When a periodontal pocket is not addressed, often times an abscess forms inside of the pocket. Abscesses often contain pus and are extremely painful. Pus is your body’s response to an infection. Abscesses can lead to cysts, bone damage and tooth loss. Draining the abscess will relieve pain and pressure but the gum disease that caused it still needs to be addressed. If you develop an abscess, call our office immediately.

If you feel you may be experiencing any of these problems, or a combination of them, call us to schedule an appointment! We can diagnose and treat any perio problems you’re experiencing to prevent worse and more expensive problems down the road.

8 Common Dental Problems That X-Rays Can Uncover


Dental X-Rays are an amazing tool that we use to properly diagnose and treat your teeth. They allow us to diagnose damage that is invisible to the naked eye. They are great at preventing the most common dental problems our patients face. In fact, there are 8 problems in particular that they help us catch.


When you come into our office with tooth pain, we can treat your cavity. But wouldn’t it be better to stop your cavity before it gets out of control and to the point of causing pain? That is one of the main things x-rays help us do. After the x-ray is taken, we examine it looking for an changes in density of your tooth and/or dentin. This often shows up a dark spot. These dark spots and lines appear because decayed tooth material is less dense and the x-ray light penetrates it more easily, which exposes the film more.


Most of the time when we think about cavities we think about holes in our molars, but did you know that you can also develop a cavity in between your teeth? This type of decay is called an interproximal cavity and it shows up on a dental x-ray as a deep dark line in the area between your teeth. Often times the cavity is deeper than it shows up on the x-ray.


Periapical x-rays show us your entire tooth from the root to crown. We like using these x-rays to look for any issues below the jawline like an abscess. If the abscess is advanced, it can show up on the x-ray as a dark halo around the tooth. This is because the pressure may have worn away some of your tissue.


Dental cysts are sacs of tissue that contain fluid or soft matter inside. They can pop up in your mouth and are often visible on dental x-rays as dark holes. While some are completely harmless and sterile, a cyst may become infected and wreak havoc in your mouth — which is why it is important we examine them and treat them if necessary. Sometimes they are caused by trauma, a genetic condition or they can even form at the end of a dead tooth.


When gum disease is not taken care of, it can actually cause you to have bone loss in your jaw. Dental x-rays, specifically the bite-wing x-ray, shows us that damage. We measure the centimeter length of your dental pockets and if they appear very deep on your x-ray there is a chance your have lost bone mass due to decay. This is important for us to know as it affects your ability to receive certain dental treatments like dental implants.


Cephalometric x-rays capture an image of your entire head from the side. They are often used by orthodontists to map out treatment plans for straightening teeth. It shows us the angle of any bite issues and your current jaw position. From this information we can hypothesize the course of your bite’s progression and adjust our treatment plan accordingly. Interestingly, these x-rays are also used by ear, nose and throat doctors to treat sleep apnea or airway disorders.

7. TMJ

Your temporomandibular joint connects your jaw to the to your skull at the temples. It is the joint that allows you to talk and chew. While discomfort, popping or locking may alert you to an issues with the joint, the only way to know for sure is a dental x-ray that allows us to look at that connection point and detect any abnormalities. Digital x-rays that allow us to view your structure as a 3-D image are the best for this diagnosis.


An impacted tooth is a wisdom tooth that is unable to fully erupt because it is blocked by other teeth. This situation can cause pain and can lead to other dental problems. On a dental x-ray we can see easily spot these teeth sprouting up and help you take care of them.