How To Get Rid Of Sleep Apnea In 5 Simple Ways

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition in which air does not pass through your respiratory system properly when you’re asleep. As a result, you do not breathe well when you’re sleeping. Consequently, you may gasp for air in your sleep and wake up tired, or with a dry mouth.

How do I know if I have sleep apnea? 

If you snore too loudly, wake up exhausted with a dry mouth, tend to be too sleepy during the day or experience interrupted sleep, chances are that you may have sleep apnea.

How bad is it?

Sleep apnea can trigger mental health issues, lead to poor immune function, contribute to memory loss, and even increase your risk of heart failure, as per an article published by Healthline.

What is the traditional treatment for it? 

CPAP treatment, and in some instances, even surgeries are the most common traditional treatments for sleep apnea.

If you read about CPAP therapy, you would realize that maybe not everyone could possibly tolerate the treatment. This is why some may wish to have alternative solutions to sleep apnea. The following is a list of 5 alternative sleep apnea treatment options:

1. An oral appliance

An oral appliance is the best alternative therapy for sleep apnea for those patients who cannot tolerate CPAP therapy. It works by holding the tongue in position and opening up the airway in the process. “Oral sleep apnea treatment devices prevent the airway from collapsing by holding the tongue in position or by sliding the patient’s jaw forward so patients can breathe while they sleep. A sleep technologist can titrate an oral appliance fitted by a dental professional trained in sleep medicine.”

2. Proper exercises

Proper exercises can help you breathe better. Practice some breathing exercises. Since sleep apnea involves lack of oxygen in the body when it’s asleep, increasing energy levels through proper exercise increase oxygen intake and reduce sleep apnea. It is highly recommended that you practice yoga. Yoga is associated with improved breathing, increased energy, and a healthier heart.

3. Change some of your daily habits

According to an article published on helpguide.org, sleep apnea can be reduced if you do not have any heavy meals or caffeine within a couple of hours before going to bed, and even by maintaining consistent sleep hours.

Also, consider reducing smoking and drinking. They are known to cause your airways to inflame and swell up.

4. Weight loss

Maintaining a healthy weight is highly effective in getting rid of sleep apnea. Being overweight means that you have narrow air passages. This, in turn, blocks the airflow and causes you to gasp for air or snore. Keeping a healthy weight keeps the airway properly open and facilitates airflow.

5. Using humidifiers 

Healthline recommends you to use humidifiers to get rid of your sleep apnea to some extent. This is because moist air facilitates breathing. “Humidifiers are devices that add moisture to the air. Dry air can irritate the body and the respiratory system. Using a humidifier can open your airways, decrease congestion, and encourage clearer breathing. For added benefits, consider adding lavender, peppermint, or eucalyptus oil to a humidifier. These three essential oils have known anti-inflammatory and soothing benefits.”

Just because you snore does not mean that you have sleep apnea. Ask someone to check if you snore too loudly or gasp for air in your sleep to find out. In some instances, sleep apnea patients do not even snore. Thus, look for the other symptoms listed earlier in the article to suspect sleep apnea. It is a disorder that can take some serious turns. Hence, if you do have sleep apnea, start the 5 alternative treatments from today itself!

Dental Surgeries and its Variants

Have you ever wondered why dental surgery is a totally separate arm of medical science? In fact, if not measured in size, your oral health is as important as your overall health! Oral health complications can add up to make a long list and therefore, the types of surgical interventions related to them are many in number too. In this article we would take a glance of the different kinds of dental surgeries, their needs and purposes.

Being a vast field in itself, dental surgeries are better segregated by classifying them under two broad categories: Endodontic and Prosthodontic. The former concerns the inner part of the tooth whereas the latter, concerns the overall tooth itself. The nature and scope of the different types of surgeries will let you have an idea of two broad categories.

1. Endodontic Surgery :

Root Canal Treatment : The most common endodontic surgery is that of a root canal. It is done especially when you have a rotten tooth with infected pulp and root inside it. The procedure basically involves accessing the infected pulp in order to pull it out and replacing the empty space with a filling material. Root canal treatment is mainly of three types:

  1. Pulpotomy: This is a preliminary stage of the root canal treatment. The dentist works on the tooth, primarily the pulp chamber and drains all the infection out of the tooth.
  2. Pulpectomy: This involves removal of the entire pulp in the tooth. This also aids in suppressing the temporary pain.
  3. Apicoectomy: The root of the tooth is known as Apex. Thus Apicoectomy is a root-end resection wherein the dentist removes the root of the tooth. In the process the infection is also drained off.

2. Prosthodontics Surgery :

Prosthodontics today, quite popularly include a range of treatments that work to better the visual appearances of your teeth. The various procedures include:

  1. Crowns: These are also known as caps. They are artificial teeth that functions as covers for a decaying or damaged tooth. Caps or artificial crowns that are available in the market are made of different material including CMC/PMC (ceramic/porcelain metal composite), gold or a tin or aluminum mixture and even more.
  2. Veneers: Veneers are meant for the front portion of your teeth. They are artificial covers for your decaying and damaged teeth too (like crowns). The only difference is that a slight portion of your enamel (and not the tooth itself) needs to be scrapped in order to apply veneers.
  3. Implant: Dental implants are one the latest effective and popular techniques of lost teeth restoration. They are basically posts made of titanium that are embedded into the jawbone over which artificial tooth crowns are placed.
  4. Dentures: Dentures are essentially a set of artificial teeth that are attached to your palatal surface. So if you lost more than one tooth, dentures are your right choice.

A knowledge of the different variants of oral surgeries would indeed help you during your decision making phase, while you are in need of any such treatments. However, this post has specifically dental with dental surgeries, which only constitutes a major part of your oral health. A set of healthy and beautiful teeth in fact, speaks volumes about a good oral health.

How does Fluoride Help in Dealing with Tooth Sensitivity?

Why does teeth turn sensitive at all?

Sugary and acidic foods are the prime responsible factors for damaging the tooth’s enamel. The outer covering or layering of our tooth is called the enamel. It is said that enamel is even stronger than bones that are made of calcium! While citrus fruits and other acidic foods attack the tooth’s enamel directly, sugary items like candies, soda, sweetened chewing gums, jams, berries, etc break down into acids inside the mouth. This is because, certain bacteria inside your mouth feasts on the carbohydrate supplies that are obtained from these foods. This turns them into acids which in turn attacks the tooth enamel.

Once the outer protective layer, that is the enamel is under attack and is worn out partly, the tooth becomes highly susceptible to cavities and decay.

So, what is the exact role of fluoride in the entire episode of dental health?

Our saliva contains calcium and phosphate which continuously bathes our teeth and keeps it healthy and protected. When fluoride steps in through various sources like toothpaste and drinking water, it combines with these salivary minerals to form the compound ‘fluoroapetite’. it forms the best defense against the cavity causing bacteria within your mouth!

Reliable Sources of Fluoride for Your Teeth

Fluoride can be obtained from several sources such as:

      • Foods with a fluoride content
      • Drinking water supplies (often the local municipality supply) is often fluoride infused and therefore healthy for your teeth
      • A tooth containing fluoride, especially one that comes with the ADA (American Dental Association) seal on it.
      • Fluoride treatments received in-office.

Foods that Contain Fluoride:

      • Tea as well as coffee
      • Water and the foods that are prepared in that water
      • Foods like potatoes, grapes and shrimps etc.
      • fish eaten along with their bones
      • infant formula

Besides taking this list into your knowledge, you must realize that, we are unable to determine whether our body is getting the adequate amount of fluoride. The easiest remedy to this is getting an ADA approved in-office fluoride treatment, where the right levels of fluoride are determined by your dentist before being applied on your teeth.

How is Fluoride Treatment Administered In-Office?

A professional fluoride treatment may be administered by your dentist in several forms, such as: gels, varnishes, foam or a highly concentrated rinse. To apply the treatment in-office, your dentist uses a tray, mouthwash, swab or a brush. The fluoride concentration in these products are much higher than that available in the OTC (over-the-counter) toothpastes.They take only a few minutes to apply and for the next 30 minutes, you are simply asked to avoid eating or drinking. That is enough for the fluoride to get fully absorbed.

Depending on the status of the oral health however, the frequency of fluoride treatment is determined. It may be recommended every three, six or twelve months. Additionally, preventive measures may also be suggested by the expert, if you are at a high risk of developing caries!

Teeth Discolorization : Common Causes & Remedies

 

Tooth staining is usually a common problem. Everybody’s teeth stain gradually over time. If dental enamel became more porous it attracts stains from all the food and drinks you consume. And those who regularly smoke and drink red wine or coffee for them the stain become deeper.

Other than eating and smoking habit there are some other factors which can cause and aggravate tooth staining, including age, starting color, translucency and thinness, drugs and chemicals, grinding, and trauma.

Co-relation Between Ageing & Teeth Staining: 

A direct correlation exists between tooth color and age. Usually, the older the teeth the more the teeth are stained due to accumulation and general wear and tear. Teenagers will likely experience immediate, drastic results from whitening because their teeth have not accumulated a large build up of stains. In the twenties when the teeth begin to show a yellow cast, teeth-whitening may require slightly more effort. Teeth in their forties begin to change hues from yellow to brown, indicating more maintenance in teeth-whitening efforts. By the fifties, the teeth have absorbed a host of stubborn stains which can prove difficult, but not impossible, to remove.

The starting color of teeth varies from person to person and ranges from yellow-brownish to greenish-grey and becomes more pronounced as we age. Yellow-brown is generally more responsive to bleaching efforts than green-gray.

The genetic traits of translucency and thinness become more apparent over time. While all teeth show some translucency, those that are opaque and thick have an advantage: they appear lighter in color, show more sparkle and are more responsive to bleaching. However, teeth that are thinner and more transparent (most apparent in the front teeth) may not be able to be bleached as the teeth lack the necessary pigment. According to cosmetic dentists, transparency is the only condition that cannot be corrected by any form of teeth whitening.

Some Causes of Teeth Discoloration:

  • Eating habits are a contributing factor in tooth staining. The habitual consumption of red wine, coffee, tea, cola, carrots, oranges, and other deeply-colored beverages and foods causes considerable staining over the years. Enamel erosion is caused, in part, by consuming citrus fruits, vinegar, and other acidic items. When combined, these two factors cause the surface of the tooth to become more transparent and more of the yellow colored dentin shows through.
  • Smoking habits can alter the color of teeth. Smoking has been proven to leave brownish deposits which slowly soak into the tooth structure and cause intrinsic discoloration.
  • Drugs and chemicals can have an adverse effect on tooth color. The antibiotic tetracycline when used during a child’s formative years, produces dark grey or brown ribbon stains which are extremely difficult to remove. Excessive consumption of fluoride causes a condition known as fluorosis which is associated with areas of mottling.
  • Grinding your teeth can affect tooth color. Most frequently caused by stress, teeth grinding can add to micro-cracking in the teeth and can cause the biting edges to darken.

Prevention & Treatment:

Coffee, tea, colas, smoke, acidic juices, certain medications, and highly pigmented foods play havoc on the pearly whites. Tooth staining can be prevented with proper oral hygiene. Treatment like Sealing or bonding may be used to protect teeth from wear and tear. But these procedures are permanent or semi-permanent.

There are certain natural ways for teeth whitening which can be followed at home. Not all tooth discolorations respond to whitening treatments, however.

There also remain many over-the-counter products can eliminate tooth discoloration. A person will usually see results after 1–2 weeks, though there is no guarantee.

Some of the over the counter product includes:

  • whitening mouthwashes and rinses containing hydrogen peroxide
  • whitening toothpastes containing sodium hypochlorite
  • whitening strips containing carbamide peroxide
  • tray whitening systems containing carbamide peroxide bleaching gel

There are several natural remedies and teeth whitening products available. However, the treatment provided by a dentist is much stronger compared to any natural home remedies. But to prevent your teeth from staining follow a consistent oral health routine which includes twice-daily tooth brushing and daily flossing, a twice-yearly visit to a dentist near you, restraining from smoking and limiting your consumption of teeth-staining beverages.

Some health issues related to your Oral Hygiene

Since I am kind of an introvert, social gatherings don’t attract me much. Office parties are equally boring. It was only this year that I had some different experience as I got to meet someone from a different field of expertise. He was a friend of my boss. He happened to be an assistant in a dental office.

We were discussing work-life hassles casually. I was suffering from a bad headache since the past few months and was telling the same to him. It was then that I came to know about his profession. In lending me a piece of advice on dealing with my headache, Mr. Richard (the friend of my boss), went on to explain how a person’s dental health could trigger several other health issues!

Interestingly enough, I not only listened to whatever Mr. Richard related that day, but also came back home and researched a lot on the topic.

How does your oral health interfere in your overall well-being?

You can consider the mouth to be like a “window” to your inner body. Since the oral cavity is hugely responsible for whatever enters your body, a good oral care is crucially necessary for maintaining a healthy body. Lack of proper brushing and flossing can lead to building up of plaque inside your mouth. Remember, not only the number of times you brush is important, but also the duration for which you brush!

Oral Hygiene To-Dos for a better living 

  1. Brushing at bedtime is a must– It is essential to get rid of the germs and plaque that accumulates in between our teeth all through the day. So, brushing before going to your bed is a golden habit for your oral well-being
  2. Clean your tongue too– Gently brush your tongue each time you brush your teeth, because, plaque can build up in the tongue also, thereby causing a foul breadth.
  3. Use fluoride containing toothpaste– Fluoride has been clinically proven to be most effective in fighting germs and preventing tooth decay. Therefore, fluoride is an important factor to be considered, much more than the whitening powers or flavors of your toothpastes!
  4. Flossing once regularly – Flossing is not only needed to get rid of the tiny bits of food from between the teeth gaps, but it also stimulates your gums thus keeping them active. Even older people with arthritis who find it painful to floss should try to do it just for once in a day, even if for a lesser duration.
  5. A mouthwash– When flossing becomes too difficult or painful for any other dental issue, a mouthwash does the job. Make sure you make use of either of these for an enhanced oral care!
  6. Avoid sugary and acidic foods– Foods with a high sugar content turn acidic inside the mouth. Acid adversely affects the teeth enamel by eroding it partly. Therefore, too much of not only citrus foods, but also sugary juices harm your teeth! Even if you are consuming them, preferably get your teeth brushed and your mouth cleaned thoroughly after having them.

So what happens when you neglect your oral health?

When bacteria builds up to such a level, that it spreads and enters your body, you might be in serious trouble! Let us check out the various health issues that are related to your oral health, in this post:

  • Premature Birth:  Medical issues like premature birth or low birth weight are often related to oral illnesses like periodontitis (inflammation of the gums caused by bacterial infection.)
  • Endiocarditis:  Endocardium is the inner lining of your heart. An infection in this area is known as endocarditis. It occurs when germs from other parts of the body, such as the mouth, spread through the bloodstream and attach the damaged areas of the heart!
  • Heart diseases:  Research suggests that certain cardiovascular problems could be related to oral infections.
  • Dementia:   Bacteria from gingivitis may enter the brain through the nerve channels in the head or through the bloodstream. This might lead to the development of an Alzheimer’s disease.

Now, conversely, there are certain health conditions that affect your dental health condition. In fact, the number of illnesses than can adversely affect oral health are indeed many. To list a few among them are:

Diabetes:  Raised blood sugar levels puts the gums at greater risk. Therefore, people with diabetes are found to be more prone to periodontal diseases than others,

HIV/AIDS:  Oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions, are common in people who have HIV/AIDS.

Osteoporosis:  Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become weak and brittle. Therefore, it is often responsible for loss of jawbone mass and tooth loss as a consequence.

Alzheimer’s disease:  People with Alzheimer’s disease face this. As the alzheimer’s disease progresses, a person oral health deteriorates too.

As mentioned above there are many other conditions that render oral problems. For instance, the Sjogren’s Syndrome is an immune system disorder that causes dry mouth syndrome in the victim. A good oral hygiene is therefore almost a dire necessity, if you wish to stay fresh and healthy for as long as you can.

 

 

The River Within

Have you ever stood beside a rushing river and watched the current carry wood and leaves quickly past? Your blood pulses through your body at a similar pace. Every twenty seconds, blood completes a round trip from head to toe. This closed system averages 100,000 miles of veins, arteries, and capillaries and delivers many vital components to sustain life.

Sometimes the system breaks open and dangerous invaders enter the bloodstream. While we often think of a cut or scrape on the skin as the entry point, the lining of the mouth offers an ideal backdoor. Over thirty square inches of tissue cover the mouth and provide a home to billions of bacteria. A unique collar of gum tissue surrounds each of the teeth, and a few potent strains of bacteria can take up residence in this hidden enclave. These microorganisms produce toxins, and the immune system reacts to them with a rush of inflammation. The delicate vessels of the gums deteriorate from the reaction, and bleeding begins.

It doesn’t take long for potent bacteria to enter the river of life. Within seconds, they’re reaching the fine vessels of the brain and slipping through the coronary arteries. They’re meandering into joints, organs, and fetuses of expectant mothers. In 2010, scientists at Case Western Reserve University were asked to investigate a stillborn case in a 35-year old mother who suffered from gum disease. Plaque samples from the woman’s teeth tested positive for the precise strain of oral bacteria discovered in the stomach and lungs of the fetus.

“Once the bacteria are in the blood, they can go almost anywhere,” Yiping Han, a Case Western Reserve professor of periodontics and pathology said. “The placenta is an immuno-suppressed organ, compared to other organs like the liver and the spleen. And that makes it easy for the bacteria to colonize the placenta.”

While this single case shouldn’t create anxiety for expectant mothers, it highlights the importance of dental health. Oral bacteria may aggravate the body in different ways, and damage may come in various forms. From a 30,000 foot view, chronic inflammation anywhere in the body can exacerbate other conditions. Diabetes is known to worsen gum disease, but the opposite is also true: Gum disease negatively influences control of blood sugar. On a microscopic level, oral bacteria have been identified in the lining of damaged coronary arteries.

Read More: Periodontitis is stated to be the sixth complication of diabetes. Prevalence of severe periodontitis in diabetics as compared to non-diabetics has been found to be 59.6%

Cancer, Too?

As the search for a cancer cure intensifies, a preventive focus still promises the best defense against the disease. While many people don’t correlate unhealthy gums with cancer, recent research does draw a link. In a study of 48,000 men, those with a history of gum disease carried a 36 percent increased risk of lung cancer, a 49 percent increased risk of kidney cancer, and a 54 percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer. We still don’t know all the reasons why, but saving your teeth could mean saving your life.

If bleeding gums could be patched together, they’d be equivalent to a 2×2 inch open wound on the skin. Saturated with bacteria, a gash of this size anywhere on the body needs attention. When gum disease remains uncontrolled in the mouth, the door stays open indefinitely as a large wound. As a result, a steady supply of bacteria ends up in areas of the body they don’t belong.

Here’s To Your Health

Every effort you make to keep your mouth healthy helps ensure you’ll keep your teeth for the rest of your life. The evidence continues to build that a preventive focus may add years to your life, too. Dental care that combines your efforts with our periodic oversight will keep you smiling and active for years to come!

Soda, Sports Drinks and Teeth

Every time you step into a mini-mart, you’re faced with a host of options to squelch your thirst. A rainbow of colors in plastic bottles compete for your attention, and creative marketing often transforms sugared water into a fountain of youth. When it comes to your teeth, does it matter what you choose? How does a bottle of cola or a sports drink affect your teeth and general health?

Everybody knows most of these drinks include a lot of sugar, but it’s easy to overlook how much they carry. A little quick math can help you visualize the carbohydrate burst that occurs with the first sip. The nutritional label reports the number of grams of sugar in a serving, and there are 4 grams of sugar in a teaspoon. If a bottle shows 20 grams in a single serving, picture it as 5 teaspoons.

While a 12-ounce soda used to be the norm, 20-ounce bottles are now considered standard. But many of the labels show the grams of sugar for an 8-ounce serving, and they frequently report 2.5 servings in a bottle! Calculating the numbers on a typical label indicates you’ll consume over 19 teaspoons of sugar in this soft drink. Take a look at this one:

The bacteria that cause cavities use sugar for energy and produce acidic waste that erodes tooth enamel. Syrupy drinks provide an ideal power source to keep this population thriving while instigating an insulin spike in the bloodstream. The colossal sugar load also drives the liver to convert sugar into fat. Chronically elevated insulin creates insulin resistance, a condition that contributes to a range of diseases. From cavities to cancer, sugared drinks help fuel many of the health problems afflicting people today.

An Acid Problem

Sugar forms a vital part of the formula that produces tooth decay, but it’s the acid that ultimately causes enamel to dissolve. The normal pH of your mouth rests around 7, but tooth structure begins to erode when the acidity drops to 5.5. Soda can send the pH of the mouth into a nosedive, making the mouth 1000 times more acidic than needed to start damaging teeth. A review of many ingredient labels shows citric, phosphoric, and carbonic acids in the mix. It may take 15 minutes for the mouth’s pH to return to normal after the last sip, and that means a steady diet of sugary drinks can alter the mouth for hours each day.

Diet sodas often hover around a pH of 3.2, far into the range that damages teeth. It’s a good thing that sugar is missing, but a steady exposure to high acidity can still lead to a weakening of tooth enamel. Artificial sweeteners may have long-term general health effects that we’re yet to understand fully.

Limit The Damage

The best strategy for the sake of your teeth and overall health is to enjoy fresh water on a regular basis. If you’re going to drink soda, consider the following tips:

  • Drink soda or sports drinks through a straw to minimize your teeth’s exposure.
  • Rinse with water right after drinking one of these beverages.
  • Avoid brushing your teeth for 30 minutes after drinking the beverage. This practice allows your mouth to return to normal pH before the teeth undergo the light abrasion of brushing.
  • Avoid drinks that list acids on the ingredient label.

If you consume a sports drink during strenuous exercise or enjoy an occasional soda with a meal, there’s not a lot of reason to worry. Commit to keep sugar exposure to a minimum and drink more fresh water: Your teeth and your body will thank you!

Why do Some Dental Cleanings Cost More?

Not all dental cleanings are created equal. Find out why some hygiene appointments cost more than others and learn how you can save time and money in the dental chair.

A “regular” cleaning is clinically called prophylaxis or a prophy cleaning and is a preventative measure to prevent periodontal disease. It includes removing plaque and tartar from tooth surfaces and just below the gum line. Sometimes, especially if you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, the buildup of tartar and plaque is too much to remove with the hand instruments that our hygienists use and, in some cases, requires the use of anesthetic and more than one visit, resulting in a costlier dental appointment.

This is when a “simple cleaning” goes from being a preventative measure to a treatment and maintenance measure. When this happens, you might be told you need a periodontal cleaning, root planing, or a deep scaling. These cleanings remove the tartar that wedges itself below the gum line and irritates and inflames the gum, causing what’s called gingivitis.

Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums causing bleeding, red swollen gum tissue, and bad breath. A cleaning and more frequent professional hygiene appointments can treat and usually reverse this stage of gum disease so long as you follow a regular at-home maintenance routine and commit to a strict professional hygiene schedule.

Time to Deep Clean

If gingivitis is left untreated, it can turn into periodontitis. At this stage, tartar builds up between the gum and tooth root creating periodontal pockets that can no longer be cleaned with regular at-home care. A more frequent recare schedule, usually every three to four months, and specialized equipment including ultrasonic scalers can remove the buildup and help the pocket stay clean, so no further damage is done. Think of tartar as a wedge between the tooth and the gum. The more it builds up, the harder it is for you to clean yourself. And the more the tartar builds up, the more the gum is pushed from the tooth. It’s a cycle, and the only way to effectively clean below the gum line is having a qualified dental professional remove it with specialized equipment.

dentist-and-patient

Once periodontitis progresses to a point where the bone starts to recede, it is considered advanced periodontal disease which includes bone loss due to extensive pocketing. This causes loose teeth which can result in lost teeth and a shift in your bite if not properly taken care of. If too many teeth are lost, it can radically alter your bite and cause worse problems than a gap in your smile. At this stage, regular cleanings are no longer effective, and we may recommend one of many procedures to help manage the infection, like laser periodontal treatments, bone grafting, or time release antibiotics placed in the periodontal pocket itself. Each of these treatments requires dedication to an excellent home care routine, so the efforts of your hygienist and dentist don’t go to waste.

An Ounce of Prevention

The good news is, gum disease can be prevented with regular professional cleanings and a good home care routine that includes daily flossing and brushing for two minutes at least twice a day. A little extra time spent on proper home care and regular cleanings can help save a lot of time and money down the road.

Not Just Pulp Fiction: The Truth About Dental Abscesses

What is an Abscess?

An abscess is an infection. There are two types of dental abscesses. A periapical abscess, which happens at the root of a tooth and a periodontal abscess which happens in the gum. A periapical abscess can occur when decay gets into the nerve chamber, killing the nerve and pulp tissue. Sometimes a traumatic injury or crack in a tooth can damage the delicate nerve inside, resulting in the death of the nerve. Periodontal disease is a chronic gum infection that can weaken the bone and may result in bone and tooth loss if untreated. It can also trigger widespread infection throughout the mouth. Regardless of where in the mouth the infection occurs, if it goes untreated for too long, a pus-filled area forms and that is called the abscess.

What are the Symptoms?

patient-mouth-pain

Symptoms of an abscess include:

  • Severe pain and a throbbing toothache that can radiate to the jawbone, neck, or ear
  • Hot or cold tooth sensitivity that lingers
  • Pressure sensitivity
  • Fever
  • Facial swelling
  • Bad breath
  • Soreness in your neck and jaw from swollen lymph nodes
  • Rotten or sour taste in your mouth

It’s important to mention that sometimes an abscess causes no pain, or sometimes the pain goes away suddenly. The discomfort of a toothache is usually caused by the buildup of fluid or gases inside the tooth as the nerve dies. Sometimes the infection works its way into the gum, creating a bubble on the gum. Once this bubble pops, the infection begins to drain into the gum tissue and mouth, and the pain goes away. This doesn’t mean that the infection is getting better, it just means the pressure is relieved.

Treatment

Once an abscess has been diagnosed, there are a few methods of treatment. Antibiotics can be prescribed to destroy the bacteria, but the central issue of an infected tooth, dying nerve, or periodontal disease must still be dealt with.

toothbrush-floss

If your abscess is due to a dying nerve, a root canal may be recommended to clean out the infected tissue, shape the canals and place a rubber-like material in the canals to seal them. A crown or cap might be put over the tooth to help preserve the remaining tooth and prevent further breakage.

If the infection has gone too far and affected the root of the tooth, an extraction might be suggested, and an implant with a crown on top may be put in its place.

If your abscess is due to periodontal disease, root planing and scaling may be done. This is a deep cleaning done with anesthetic and specialized instruments. Sometimes lasers are used to help sterilize the pocket to help prevent bacteria from reinfecting the area.

Preventing an Abcess

While you can’t always avoid a sudden traumatic impact causing a nerve to die, there are plenty of ways you can prevent decay-related infections and periodontal disease:

  • Visit your dentist for regular checkups and professional cleanings
  • Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day
  • Replace your toothbrush every three or four months and never, ever share it with anyone
  • Drink tap water or fluoridated bottled water
  • Watch your sugar and carbohydrate intake because they are bacteria’s favorite food
  • Use a mouth rinse before bed so it can sit on your teeth overnight

With a little care, you can help prevent an abscess and periodontal disease before they develop, saving yourself the inconvenience and pain of a toothache and the expense of major treatment.