Posts for: September, 2018
Our nerves serve a vital purpose, alerting us to bodily discomfort, injury or disease — we couldn’t remain in good health for long without them. But when they malfunction due to genetics or disease, they can themselves become a source of pain and discomfort.
One such nerve disorder that affects the face is known as trigeminal neuralgia (TN) or tic douloureaux (from the French for “painful”). The nerves in question are the trigeminal, a pair that travel up from the brain stem through the skull into each side of the face where they each branch into the upper, middle and lower parts of the face and jaw. The pain can radiate from one or more of these branches.
TN is characterized by recurring episodes of brief but severe pain with accompanying muscle spasms. It may begin as a short twinge recurring over weeks, months or years before becoming increasingly painful. The slightest actions can trigger a painful episode: chewing, speaking, shaving or even the wind blowing on your face.
While it may be hard to determine its exact cause, it often seems to result from an artery or vein pressing on the nerve, causing it to signal pain at the slightest stimulation and then failing to stop transmitting when the stimulation is removed. It’s also associated with other inflammatory disorders like multiple sclerosis where the protective insulation around a nerve is damaged.
Before receiving treatment you should undergo a complete examination to rule out any other facial pain causes like temporomandibular (jaw joint) disorders or a dental abscess. You may also need to undergo a neurological examination and possible MRI imaging to pinpoint the exact cause, like a tumor or blood vessel pressing on the nerve.
Although the condition may not be curable, there are several effective management treatments. The more conservative approaches usually involve medications to block the nerve’s pain signals or decrease its abnormal firing. If this isn’t sufficient to diminish symptoms, there are surgical options: passing a thin needle through the nerve to selectively prevent fibers from firing, or moving aside a blood vessel pressing on it. High-dose targeted radiation may also be effective, especially with older patients.
The best treatment approach will depend on the exact cause, your age and overall health. Whatever the approach, you can gain significant relief from the pain of TN.
Tooth pain is a very obvious indication that there is something amiss with your smile. Though it can come from many sources, tooth pain almost always means that you have a cavity which is too far gone for a dental filling and requires a root canal. Ignoring your tooth pain can lead to serious dental complications and cause issues like tooth loss. Find out more about tooth pain and what it means in regards to you or your child’s smile with Cosmic Kids Dentistry in Lake Havasu City, AZ.
What causes tooth pain?
Tooth pain means that the tooth’s nerves, which lie inside the tooth’s inner pulp chamber, have become damaged or irritated. This condition often indicates advanced teeth decay or injury to the tooth. While an injury is more obvious, teeth decay grows slowly, beginning on the outside of the tooth and eating its way through to the inner soft tissues to infect the nerve. In the case of the soft tissues being infected or damaged, your dentist will suggest a root canal to clean the inner tissues from the inside of the tooth and preserve the tooth’s natural outer structure. This also avoids requiring extraction of the tooth altogether.
What happens during a root canal?
A root canal always begins with your dentist administering a local anesthetic to ensure that there is no pain or discomfort during the treatment. Then, your dentist removes the inner soft tissues from the tooth via a small access hole created in the crown (top) of the tooth. Then, your dentist scrubs the inside of the tooth to clean it thoroughly and ensure no infected or damaged tissue remains behind. Then, a composite resin material fills the tooth and, in most cases, a dental crown covers the tooth to protect it from future damage.
Tooth Pain Treatments in Lake Havasu City, AZ
For more information on tooth pain and its treatments, please contact Cosmic Kids Dentistry in Lake Havasu City, AZ. Call (928) 855-7717 to schedule your child’s appointment with their dentist today!
Starting college is one of life’s biggest transition moments, the first time many young people can truly say they’re on their own. Their freshman year can be both exhilarating and frightening.
The reason for this seeming dichotomy is that both exciting opportunities and harmful pitfalls abound in college life. One such pitfall that’s often overlooked involves dental health: it’s all too easy to neglect good habits and adopt bad ones. But while it may not seem as harmful as other dangers, inattention to your dental health could create consequences that plague you long after graduation.
But being diligent about dental care can help you avoid serious problems now and in the future. At the top of the list: brush and floss your teeth daily and continue seeing a dentist at least twice a year. Hopefully, your parents or guardians have trained you in these vital habits—and they’re definitely habits you should continue for the rest of your life.
Close in importance to good oral hygiene is a healthy diet. Besides eating primarily “natural” food—fresh fruits and vegetables and less-processed foods—you should also set limits on your sugar consumption. This carbohydrate is a primary food for disease-causing bacteria, so limiting as much as possible the sugar you eat to just meal times will lower your risk for tooth decay.
Another area in which you should tread wisely is alcohol consumption. Besides the obvious consequences of alcohol abuse, immoderate drinking can also cause dental problems. Alcohol (and smoking) tends to dry out the mouth, which can increase the levels of oral bacteria and in turn increase your risk of both tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease.
Finally, avoid getting piercings involving the lips, mouth or tongue even if it’s the thing to do. Piercing hardware can chip teeth and contribute to the shrinking back of the gums (recession). And be sure you practice safe sex: unprotected sexual activity could expose you to viral infections that cause oral problems including cancer.
Your college years should be an exciting and memorable experience. By practicing these and other common sense dental habits, you’ll be sure to remember these years fondly.
If you would like more information on dental care during college, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “10 Health Tips for College Students.”