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What is your tooth pain telling you?

March 16, 2017

By Dr. Jeremy Jorgenson

Tooth Pain can be a PAIN, but there is a reason why our bodies try to notify us that something is wrong.  Tooth pain can be an indication of infection, irritation, injury, or decay. It can be lingering, persistent, sharp, dull, off and on, but just altogether awful!

When you experience tooth pain, it is best to get a professional opinion to ensure that you address dental issues immediately.  Waiting for tooth pain to go away on its own will undoubtedly lead to a more complex, and sometimes more costly, treatment later.

Anatomy of a Tooth

To explain tooth pain, you should first know more about how a tooth is structured.  infected-inflamed-pulp-tissue

The tooth is composed of layers.  The outermost layer, the enamel, is the hardest layer and the first defense in protecting the inner pulp or root from decay and infection.

A variety of factors including poor oral hygiene habits, lack of regular dental exams, diet, genetics, etc., all play a role in slowly eroding the protective enamel later.  As the enamel erodes, the softer, more sensitive layers inside the tooth become exposed.  Some patients experience pain with little to no enamel erosion and others don’t feel anything until the decay or infection has reached all the way down to the pulp or root.

This is why regular dental visits are so important.  Your dentist can inform you about decay or infection before it reaches the point of severe pain, or worse, more invasive, costly dental procedures that are required to try to save your tooth.  The worst outcome, of course, is loss of the tooth completely.

Why do I need Dental X-Rays

January 29, 2015

By Dr. Jeremy B. Jorgenson


Have you ever wondered why you need x-rays taken at the dentist? Although dentists are heroes, they don’t have x-ray vision. Dentists can identify areas of concern on the visible surfaces of the teeth, but a dental x-ray is necessary to see what is going on underneath the surface, in-between teeth, and at the root. Dentists can learn a lot of valuable information about the history of your teeth and the current state of your mouth by taking dental x-rays.

Different Types of Dental X-Rays

Your dentist will generally perform a set of Full Mouth x-rays (FMX) on your first visit, every few years, or if you experience any significant health changes. A set of Full Mouth x-rays takes images of all upper and lower teeth. More often, your dentist will take Bitewing and Periapical x-rays. Bitewing x-rays can be taken of both upper and lower teeth and are focused on just the crown of a tooth. A Bitewing x-ray can detect cavities or changes in bone density. Periapical x-rays can be taken of any tooth, but generally only show one to two teeth at a time and include the root to the crown of the tooth.

Panoramic x-rays are a type of extraoral (outside of the mouth) images. They take a picture of the entire mouth structure in a single photo. Ask your dentist for more information on other types of x-rays.

At Advanced Dental Care, we use digital x-rays which emit about half the radiation of traditional film x-rays. Digital X-Rays work by placing a rectangular sensor in the mouth that acts as a backdrop for the image of the tooth. The images are generated right into your chart and can be viewed instantly!

Occasionally, a patient will have questions about the safety of taking dental x-rays. The American Dental Association works very closely with the FDA on radiation safety. Digital x-rays combined with trained professionals and equipment monitoring provide for minimal doses of radiation exposure which have been found to be completely safe.

Digital x-rays have been a great technological advancement for the dental field. Ask your dentist to show you your crowns and roots at your next dental visit!