The Link Between Toothaches And Headaches

The Link Between Toothaches And Headaches

Often, what causes a person to seek out dental services is dental pain. A toothache can start as a small, nagging pain, but if it is ignored for too long, the discomfort can become more intense and trigger a headache.

Dr. Taylor—our dentist here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry—is often asked about why toothaches cause headaches. The short answer is that toothaches trigger headaches due to a cranial nerve connection. However, the long answer is a little more complicated.

What Causes Toothaches To Trigger Headaches

Toothaches can be caused by a number of dental issues, such as a cavity, an impacted tooth, cracked or chipped teeth, an abscess, and other oral health problems. Since most of these issues don’t come with visible signs, the pain of the toothache is one of the few noticeable indicators that something is wrong.

Now, for how the pain of your toothache causes a headache. There are twelve cranial nerves, and the nerve that senses how the majority of your face feels—gums, lips, and teeth—is called the trigeminal nerve.

This nerve has branches all over your teeth, lips, and gums, so when you have a dental problem causing pain, the trigeminal nerve sends that painful sensation information to your brain.

Dental Problems Referring Pain To The Head

This transmission of pain is also called referred pain. While there is no pain point in your head that triggers the headache, the pain of your toothache can create the sensation of pain.

In fact, you may not notice the toothache if you are dealing with a sufficiently painful migraine. Some people end up going to their primary care physician about migraines and tension headaches when the issue really is a problem with their oral health.

Another example of referred pain would be headaches triggered by bruxism and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). Bruxism is when you clench your jaw or grind your teeth without actively meaning to do it. Often, bruxism occurs in your sleep, and you may wake up with a sore jaw, aching teeth, and a headache.

With TMJ, the issue is generally caused by an issue with your jaw joint as well as the surrounding muscles. Along with causing toothaches, TMJ can make the area around your jaw joint, ear, neck, and temple ache. This aching pain can trigger headaches, tension headaches, and migraines.

Ways You Can Prevent Headache-Causing Dental Issues

Naturally, if you have a cavity, abscess, impacted teeth, or other issues that are triggering headaches, you will need to have them addressed by Dr. Taylor. That way, you can start to heal and not be plagued by dental pain and potentially migraines.

On top of having the immediate dental problems taken care of, there are other ways you can

  • Have regular dental cleanings – By having regular, biannual dental cleanings, you can protect yourself from future headaches brought on by toothaches. Our staff will be able to detect problem areas, and Dr. Taylor can advise you on treatments to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
  • Consider a custom nightguard – If you struggle with bruxism, you can prevent the morning headaches caused by teeth grinding and clenching with a custom-made nightguard. As a custom nightguard is made by Dr. Taylor taking an impression of your teeth, the guard will fit you excellently and help protect your teeth from grinding and clenching.
  • Focus on optimal oral care – Taking care of your daily oral care is one of the best things you can do to prevent future toothaches. Brushing your teeth at least once in the morning and at night, as well as flossing once a day can help maintain your oral health. You may also want to consider using a mouthwash that helps eliminate bacteria.
  • Use toothpaste for sensitive teeth – Should you have sensitive teeth that trigger headaches, you may want to ask Dr. Taylor about what toothpaste for sensitive teeth would be best for you. That way, you can enjoy things like ice cream or hot soup without your teeth hurt.

If you are having dental troubles and want compassionate, expert care to help you manage your oral health, then you should contact us for an appointment. No matter what shape your teeth are in, Dr. Taylor will help get you back on track.

How Do Dentists Treat A Tooth Abscess?

How Do Dentists Treat A Tooth Abscess?

 

Ever wonder why dentists like Dr. Taylor here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry stress the importance of addressing cavities and not putting off having the tooth decay treated?

Well, naturally, part of it is due to the fact that tooth decay can spread to other teeth, and the cavity can impact your overall health. But part of the concern stems from trying to prevent a tooth abscess.

What Is A Tooth Abscess

A tooth abscess—also referred to as an abscessed tooth or a dental abscess—is when a pocket of pus is created by bacteria that has infected your tooth. A tooth abscess can be quite painful, with the pain generally located around the area of the jaw that is infected, to your ears, and your neck.

Along with the pain associated with a tooth abscess, this dental condition can become a serious condition if left untreated. In fact, along with killing the tooth, if the infection enters your bloodstream, you could die from the resulting spread of infectious bacteria.

Types Of Tooth Abscess

There are three basic types of tooth abscesses that you might experience. Where the dental abscess is located will be how its type is classified.

  • Periodontal abscess – With this type of abscess, it is located your gums near the root of the infected tooth. Due to its position, a periodontal abscess may spread more quickly to the surrounding gum tissue and jawbone.
  • Periapical abscess – A periapical abscess is positioned at the tip of your tooth’s root. It does usually expand as quickly as a periodontal abscess, but it can quickly cause the infected tooth to die if untreated.
  • Gingival abscess – This type of abscess is located on your gums. It may or may not break through the gums to be externally visible.

Signs You Have A Tooth Abscess

You may have a variety of signs and symptoms that come with a tooth abscess. Often, throbbing, frequent pain in your gums centered around a tooth is a good indicator that it is time to visit our dental clinic. This pain often comes on all at once and will grow worse.

Other potential signs of an abscessed tooth are:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Swelling of the face and overall redness
  • Increase of pain when you lie down
  • Constant bad breath
  • Fever
  • Pain when biting or chewing
  • Loosened tooth
  • Radiating pain in jaw, ear, or neck
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Swollen or tender lymph nodes in the neck

You may have several of these signs and symptoms, though you aren’t likely to experience all of them. Once you notice a couple of these signs, it is to come in to see Dr. Taylor and get your tooth abscess taken care of properly.

How An Abscessed Tooth Is Addressed

As part of our dental services, Dr. Taylor can address an abscessed tooth. Generally, he will begin with an x-ray. With this dental x-ray, he can gain a better idea of the severity of the abscess, the location, and determine the best treatment for your needs. Some of the potential treatment options are:

  • Root canal – As abscessed teeth are often caused by infected teeth, a root canal will allow our dentist to remove the infected material, seal the area, and likely crown your tooth to protect it.
  • Abscess drain – Depending on the location of the abscess, Dr. Taylor may opt to drain the abscess. He would make an incision to release the pocket of pus and cleanse the area to help prevent further infection.
  • Object removal – Sometimes, something small like a popcorn kernel can be the cause of a tooth abscess. Our dentist will remove the foreign object and clean the area.
  • Dental extraction – At times, the tooth where the abscess developed is too damaged and needs to be removed to properly drain the abscess. There are a number of dental replacement options that you can explore after the extraction and the tooth abscess has healed.
  • Antibiotics prescription – When an infection stemming from the abscess spreads, it can require antibiotics to combat the problem. Depending on your needs, Dr. Taylor may prescribe antibiotics to clear out any remaining infection.

Depending on your tooth abscess, one or more of these treatment options will be utilized to address the issue.

When it comes to caring for your dental health in Billings, MT, you can count on Dr. Taylor and the rest of our dental staff. If you are ready to set up your dental check-up or would like to consult with Dr. Taylor about a smile makeover, feel free to contact us for an appointment.

What You Can Do About Receding Gums

Receding Gums

When the gums begin to pull back from the teeth and start to expose the root of the teeth, that is called receding gums. In some cases, receding gums can be caused by a lack of preventative care, but there can be many other causes. However, the main question our patients ask is if there is a way to reverse receding gums.

While gum tissue does not grow back, cosmetic dentists like Dr. Taylor can provide treatments to manage and address receding gums.

What Causes Receding Gums

As we said before, there are many triggers that can cause your gums to recede. Some of the most common reasons why people struggle with receding gums are:

Nicotine use – The use of nicotine products restricts the flow of blood. This restriction of blood flow can cause issues with blood and oxygen reaching the tissue in your gums, leading them to die and recede.
Poor dental hygiene – Without proper oral care, plaque can build up on a person’s gums and teeth. This plaque can harden and turn into tartar, and as it separates your gums from your teeth, bacteria can move in and cause the gums to recede.
Bruxism – Forceful teeth grinding caused by grinding can put too much pressure on your gums, causing the gums to recede. Also, misaligned teeth can have a similar effect.
Harsh toothbrush or technique – While it can be tempting to brush your teeth more firmly when you notice a dental issue, that hard brushing can be causing some of the problems. Harsh teeth brushing techniques can irritate your gums and cause them to recede, as well as wear down the enamel of your teeth. Also, hard-bristled toothbrushes can cause issues with your gums and teeth as they can be very abrasive.
Genetic predisposition – Some people simply have a genetic predisposition to gum disease, which means no matter how well you care for your teeth, you may still struggle with gum disease.
Hormone changes – Women undergoing hormonal changes such as menopause, puberty, and pregnancy can have more sensitive gums that can be vulnerable to receding gums.

Ways A Cosmetic Dentist Can Help With Receding Gums

Once someone has had gum recession, you will need the dental services of a cosmetic dentist like Dr. Taylor to correct the issue. There are three main ways that receding gums can be addressed.

Gum Graft

One of the more invasive options, a gum graft requires a cosmetic dentist to take gum tissue from another section of your mouth. Generally, the inside roof of the mouth can be used. This tissue is then surgically placed in the areas of your mouth where your gums are receding.

Not only can a gum graft significantly improve the appearance of receding gums, but it can also prevent future problems with having the roots of your teeth exposed.

Flap Surgery

More in-depth than root planing and scaling, during flap surgery, our dentist will make a small incision in your gums to allow him to lift the tissue up. With the gum tissue moved out of the way, it is easier for our dentist to reach further and remove the rest of the bacteria causing your receding gums.

After the bacteria is removed, then Dr. Taylor will resecure your gum tissue. With the bacteria removed, the danger of further recession, bone loss, and gum disease are significantly diminished.

Bonding

Bonding focuses mostly on improving the appearance of receded gums. This procedure used gum-colored resin and places them over the exposed roots of your teeth.

Not only does the bonded resin reduces the appearance of your receded gums, but the bonding can help protect the sensitive and delicate roots of your teeth.

How To Stop Your Gums From Receding

While there are some gum recession factors out of your control, there are some that you can control and ways to prevent your gums from receding further.

  • Root planing and scaling – Less invasive than flap surgery, root planing and scaling by our dentist can remove built-up plaque and help clean out pockets of bacteria. That way, your gums can heal and stop receding.
  • Quit smoking or vaping – Products with nicotine will continue to impact your health if you continue to use them. Try to quit their use as soon as possible to ensure the health of your gums.
  • Use soft-bristle toothbrush – A soft-bristled toothbrush is best for your teeth’s enamel and your gums. Brush twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and be sure to floss at least once in the evening.
  • Attend regular dental check-ups – Attending your biannual dental cleaning is a great way to help stop your gums from receding, particularly if you are prone to plaque build-up. Our staff can help deep clean your teeth, and Dr. Taylor can catch warning signs before they become a serious issue.

If you would like to consult with our dentist about your gum concerns, feel free to contact us to set up your appointment.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

Dental x-rays are a common feature of any dental cleaning visit here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry. With dental x-rays, Dr. Taylor is able to uncover hidden issues that can impact your oral health. But, since dental x-rays are still a type of radiation, there have been some patients who have been concerned with the safety of the procedure.

In short—dental x-rays are safe as they produce the least amount of radiation exposure when compared to an x-ray of your abdomen, mammogram, pelvis, and chest, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Only having your hand or foot x-rayed will produce less radiation.

But if you aren’t positive that you need dental x-rays, let’s take an in-depth look at why our dentist uses x-rays, how they work, and more.

Why Dentists Use Dental X-Rays

While there are times where a dentist can examine your teeth and see what the problem is, there are many times where using dental x-rays can help. Some of the main reasons why dentists will use x-rays during your biannual check-up are:

Find Oral Health Issues

There are many common dental issues that are uncovered by x-rays—ranging from finding hidden cavities to detecting abscesses. These issues can be difficult to almost impossible to see with just a visual inspection, so by using dental x-rays, our dentist can provide you with better dental care overall.

Monitor Oral Progress

If there were issues that have been recently addressed—TMJ, healing abscesses, etc.—an x-ray may be needed to be assured that the problem is healing properly. That way, if there is an additional problem that could halt your oral health progress, it can be caught and treated early on.

Determine If Treatment Is Necessary

An x-ray can provide insight into whether or not dental treatment is necessary. For instance, say that a cavity is found during your dental cleaning. The x-ray will be able to show if the cavity requires intervention or if less invasive steps can be taken. Also, x-rays can help show that your oral health is in good enough condition for you to receive cosmetic dental treatments.

Types Of Dental X-Rays

Depending on your oral health needs, there is a variety of different dental x-rays that may be used.

  • Cone beam computerized tomography (CBCT) – This type of x-ray imaging technique is used to create a specialized cone of radiation. It creates a 3D image of the area to help our dentist when you need a dental implant. That way, your implant will fit seamlessly with your natural teeth.
  • Cephalometric (ceph) – In a dentist office, a cephalometric x-ray is used when you are considering orthodontic treatment. It is used to help the dentist determine how orthodontic treatment will affect the shape of your mouth and jaw.
  • Bitewing – With a bitewing x-ray, only one distinct section of the mouth is highlighted. In the small section of imaging, your upper and lower crowns will be displayed. This focused x-ray helps our dentist identify if you have any hidden cavities and the state of your current fillings.
  • Panoramic – One of the most common forms of dental x-rays, this type of x-ray takes a panoramic picture of your entire mouth. That way, our dentist can get an overall view of the state of your oral health.
  • Periapical – Similar to a bitewing x-ray, a periapical x-ray shows a section of your teeth, from the root to crown. However, it will only show the upper or lower teeth in one section.
  • Occlusal – With occlusal x-rays, the teeth aren’t the main focus of the x-ray. Instead, this type of x-ray focuses either on the floor or roof of your mouth. That way, unerupted teeth, jaw fractures, or other issues can be detected.

Are X-Rays Harmful During Pregnancy

When it comes to dental x-rays and pregnancy, we have had some of our patients ask about safety. And with the appropriate shielding—such as a lead apron—having a dental x-ray should not harm your developing baby in any way. However, if you prefer, your x-ray can be delayed until after you have given birth.

If you still have questions or concerns about how your dental x-rays work, that’s okay. Our staff is happy to talk to you about your concerns during your next dental cleaning, so feel free to contact us to set up your next appointment!

Direct From The Dentist: What Too Much Soda Does To Your Teeth

Most people are aware that soda isn’t the best for your overall health. Not only is soda linked to type 2 diabetes, weight gain, and obesity, but did you know that it can have a severe impact on your teeth? Well, your friendly local dentist at Taylor Cosmetic Dental is here to tell you all about how too much soda affects your teeth.

How Soda Interacts With Your Teeth And Mouth

Before we jump right in, let’s lay some groundwork information. First, there are hundreds of types of bacteria which live in your mouth. A lot of this bacteria is helpful and assists in breaking down your food and helps clean your mouth to a certain extent. However, there are harmful bacteria that come to eat leftover food particles, especially sugar, and that bacteria excrete acid that wears down the enamel of your teeth.

So, you already have acid being created in your mouth by these bacteria, then you add soda. All types of soda, both full sugar as well as sugar-free soda, have their own acid. The acid from the soda adds to the wear and tear that the bacteria starts, leading to significant dental damage. Also, as the sugar in soda interacts with the bacteria in your mouth, it creates another type of acid which can hurt your teeth.

Also, you may think, “Well, I’ll just use a straw! Then the soda won’t hit my teeth.” While it’s not a bad thought, it doesn’t really work that way. Since the straw doesn’t go from your cup to your throat, some of the soda will interact with your teeth, especially your back molars.

What Soda Does To Your Teeth

Okay, now that you have a clear idea about how soda and bacteria produce acid that harms your teeth, let’s talk about exactly what kind of damage we are talking about.

Soda erodes your teeth – The outer layer of your teeth is covered in enamel, a hard protective layer for the sensitive dentin and nerves below. When you drink soda, you are giving your enamel an acid bath, which slowly erodes the protective enamel.

Soda strongly contributes to cavities – The wear and tear on your teeth don’t stop at the enamel. As soda erodes the protective enamel of your teeth, the acid can make its way down to the next layer, which is the dentin. Once these openings in your teeth are made, cavities are a natural result, and you will need our dentist’s services to resolve the cavities and other issues that can arise.

Ways To Prevent Dental Damage From Soda

There are several ways you can prevent soda from damaging your teeth. Below are some of the top things that our dentist Dr. Taylor recommends:

  • Lower soda consumption – Moderation in all things, especially your soda consumption, can significantly help your teeth. Do your best to stick to one soda a day to help give your teeth a break from the sugar and acid bath that comes with soda.
  • Rinse with water – Immediately after you finish a soda, rinse your mouth out by drinking water. The neutral quality of water can help lessen the impact of your soda and help wash away the acid and sugar. In fact, if you can keep water handy to sip on after drinking a soda, you can also prevent getting up for another soda.
  • Stick to scheduled dental cleanings – If you are a regular soda drinker, then it is even more important that you come into our dental office for your biannual dental cleaning. That way, any issues which crop up can be caught early before they become a big issue.
  • Don’t sip soda – As you drink your soda, don’t slowly sip on it. By sipping soda over the course of an hour or more, you are constantly bathing your teeth in acid and sugar, inviting more bacteria and acid to build up and damage your teeth. So, if you are going to drink soda, do it quickly.
  • Use a straw – While we did say using a straw won’t protect you completely, it does offer some protection at least for your front teeth. By using a straw, you can minimize how much of your teeth come in contact with the corrosive soda acid.
  • Avoid soda before bed – Drinking soda before bed is probably one of the more harmful ways to consume soda since the acid will sit on your teeth as you sleep. So, if you want something to drink by your bedside, stick to water.
  • Wait to brush teeth – It may seem counterintuitive, but you shouldn’t brush your teeth right after drinking soda. With the soda acid on your teeth, your teeth are more vulnerable, and the bristles of your toothbrush can create harmful friction against your teeth, leading to more damage. It’s best to wait at least 30 minutes to an hour after drinking soda before brushing your teeth.

If you are prepared to come in for your dental cleaning and have your teeth checked by Dr. Taylor, contact us. We are ready to help you reach your healthiest and ideal smile!

Direct From The Dentist: What You Need To Know About Gingivitis

Direct-From-The-Dentist-What-You-Need-To-Know-About-Gingivitis

When it comes to oral hygiene, sometimes people can become a little careless, forgetting to brush before bed or skipping flossing. However, this can lead to gingivitis.

What Is Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a mild and more easily reversible form of gum disease. This gum disease occurs when plaque is allowed to build up on your teeth. Plaque naturally occurs and is a sticky film that contains bacteria.

Not all plaque is bad. The film can help protect your teeth throughout the day, especially as you consume things with high acidity levels. However, you do need to remove the plaque daily through brushing and flossing as well as practice good preventative care, as plaque will produce toxins that will irritate your gums over time.

This irritation will lead your gums to become inflamed. This inflammation can present as either redness or a swollen and puffy appearance, which will often lead to your tender gums bleeding when pressed.

Gingivitis Symptoms And Signs

Many people are surprised when they come into Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry and find out that they have gingivitis. But gingivitis is very common, and most Americans will experience this mild form of gum disease at some point in their lives.

To help you recognize when you have gingivitis so you can start taking steps to correct it, here are the most common symptoms and signs:

  • Gums that bleed, especially if it happens when you floss or brush your teeth.
  • Unexplained tooth sensitivity or pain, which occurs as gingivitis causes your gums to pull away from your teeth and expose your sensitive roots.
  • Swollen, red gums.
  • Gums that are sore and stay uncomfortably tender.
  • Bad breath that you can’t get rid of no matter what since the bacteria in built-up plaque creates smelly waste products.
  • Differences in your bite or loose teeth, which can mean your gum disease has progressed from gingivitis to periodontitis.

How Do You Get Gingivitis

One of the easiest ways to develop gingivitis is by slacking on your oral hygiene, from skipping your twice-daily toothbrushing routine and your biannual dental cleanings. But there are also other ways to trigger gingivitis, which are:

Stress – Being under stress can tax your immune system, making it easier for gum diseases like gingivitis to take hold.

Lingering plaque – Many people don’t brush for the recommended two minutes, which means it’s easy to miss cleaning off all of the plaque that has gathered on their teeth.

Nicotine use – Using nicotine products like cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and vaping can all hid the signs of gum disease and weaken your teeth so that plaque has an easier time adhering to the surface of your teeth.

Poor nutrition – Your body needs the right nutrients to help prevent infections, and without a balanced and nutritious diet, it is easier for gum disease to occur. Also, if you are pregnant, you will need to take extra care with your nutrition, as your developing child will leach nutrients you need to keep your gums and teeth healthy.

Chronic disease – Some chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes can make it difficult for your body to fight off infections like gingivitis.

Hormone changes – When you experience hormonal fluctuations, your gums can become more sensitive and prone to infections.

Medication – There are a variety of medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, that can impact your oral health. Be sure to discuss your medications with Dr. Taylor when you come in for your preventative cleaning so you can see if you need to take extra steps to protect your oral health.

Ways To Prevent Gingivitis

As gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease, you can actually easily prevent it by implementing a steady oral hygiene routine.

  • Brush twice a day – With a soft-bristled brush, clean your teeth twice a day. Be sure to brush gently along the gumline to ensure no plaque is left behind.
  • Floss carefully once a day – Flossing can help you reach those place that your toothbrush can’t. It is best to do it at night before your last toothbrushing session. That way, any lodged food particles can be removed.
  • Using anti-gingivitis mouthwash – Not only can rinsing with mouthwash help you have fresher breath, but mouthwash particularly formulated as anti-gingivitis can help prevent future infections.
  • Replace your toothbrush – Every three months, you should be replacing your toothbrush since the bristles will start sticking out in the wrong directions and clean less.
  • Come in for dental cleaning – Coming in for your biannual dental cleanings can help our dentist see if you have a gingivitis infection starting and help prevent it from progressing to more serious stages of gum disease.

To schedule your gingivitis-preventing biannual dental cleaning, contact us for an appointment with Dr. Taylor today.

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT:406.652.9204