April 2022

what is cracked tooth syndrome and how is it treated 62a2076d8e856

What Is Cracked Tooth Syndrome and How Is It Treated?

Seek treatment for your tooth pain.

It can happen in a flash: you bite down on a piece of food or take a sip of a cold drink and are met with a sudden stab of pain in one of your teeth. The pain is often hard to pinpoint to a specific area and is gone almost as quickly as it appeared, so it’s easy for many people to brush it off as a fluke. If you notice this happening, however, especially if it’s happening repeatedly, it’s important not to ignore it! Pain is often your body’s way of signaling that there’s a problem, so it could be a sign of an oral health issue, like cracked tooth syndrome, that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. When it comes to your health, it’s always better to be safe than sorry! Seeking answers for your tooth pain early on is a vital part of getting a diagnosis before a major problem arises, allowing your teeth to become healthy again with minimal treatment.

But if you’ve never heard of cracked tooth syndrome before, you might find yourself wondering what it is. We understand just how important it is to understand potential diagnoses, so we’ve put together a guide on cracked tooth syndrome to help you learn more about this condition, how to know when you should contact your dentist about potential symptoms, and what a diagnosis might mean for you.

What is cracked tooth syndrome?

Cracked tooth syndrome is a term for what happens when a tooth develops a crack that’s difficult to identify. This is usually because the crack is underneath the gumline, where it can’t be seen during an oral exam, or it’s too small to show up on X-rays. This type of crack can happen on any of your teeth but appears most commonly on molars. After all, your molars are the teeth that tend to endure the most force as you chew or crunch down on food.

What causes cracked tooth syndrome?

Teeth are incredibly durable because they’re covered by a protective layer of enamel, which is the strongest known biological material on earth. Under ideal circumstances, this helps your teeth last a lifetime, but they’re far from indestructible. Tooth enamel is very strong, but it’s also relatively brittle. As a result, there are several ways you can crack your teeth and develop cracked tooth syndrome. Two obvious causes are biting down on hard food, such as ice or popcorn kernels, or using your teeth as tools to open packaging or crack nuts. It’s also very common to injure your teeth by falling or taking a blow to the face while playing a sport.

Your teeth can also easily damage each other if you habitually clench or grind them with a habit called bruxism. Some people clench or grind their teeth when they’re awake, often to release pent-up anxiety, and some people do it in their sleep without realizing it! In some cases, the way your teeth come together can put too much pressure on one of them, eventually causing a small crack to develop. Additionally, teeth that have undergone root canals or received large dental fillings in the past are generally weaker and more brittle than other teeth, so they’re often more susceptible to developing cracks.

What symptoms does it cause?

Even when the crack on your tooth is small enough to escape notice on an X-ray, it can cause noticeable symptoms, including quite a bit of tooth pain. This pain is often sharp and stabbing, appearing when you put pressure on the tooth to eat. It’s often hard to pin down to a single tooth, though, and it doesn’t continue throbbing all day—at least, not at first.

If the crack goes untreated for a long time, it may eventually become infected, which can cause the more constant, throbbing pain that’s common with tooth decay. That’s why seeking treatment for tooth pain early on is so important. You want to identify the source of the problem while it’s still minor and easy to fix! Aside from pain when you eat, a cracked tooth will also often cause tooth sensitivity in response to hot and cold temperatures as well as sweet foods. In some cases, there can be mild swelling around the tooth, but this isn’t a guarantee.

How is cracked tooth syndrome treated?

Unlike bones, teeth don’t heal when they’re damaged. Instead, dental treatments are used to strengthen your tooth and restore its health while protecting it from future damage. In many cases, cracked teeth can be saved, allowing you to continue using them for a lifetime! As with any dental treatment, however, the best treatment for your cracked tooth will depend on the location and extent of the crack as well as how long it’s gone undiagnosed and if there is any decay present.

Minor cracks on the cusp, or the visible portion, of your tooth that are discovered relatively early can often be resolved with a minor procedure, such as dental bonding. This seals the crack in your tooth, protecting it from future damage and restoring its appearance. If the crack extends from the cusp of your tooth beneath your gumline, you may need a more advanced treatment, especially if the crack has reached the pulp at the center of your tooth. In this case, you will likely need a root canal to prevent the tooth from becoming infected as well as a dental crown. The crown strengthens the tooth so the crack doesn’t spread and keeps the tooth functioning and looking great.

Cracks that start on the root of your tooth and are located beneath your gumline often cause fewer symptoms at first and are more difficult to diagnose early. They’re often found after the tooth has become infected, so they’re more likely to need more advanced treatment. In some cases, the entire tooth will need to be extracted and replaced with prosthodontics, like a dental implant. But Dr. Bentz may be able to save it by surgically removing only the fractured part of the tooth. Every person and cracked tooth is different, so Dr. Bentz will always work with you to choose the treatment that will do the best job of protecting and restoring your oral health in the short and long term.

How do you prevent cracked tooth syndrome?

While you can’t predict and prevent every type of injury, the good news is there are plenty of ways you can reduce your likelihood of experiencing cracked tooth syndrome. For the most part, it’s simply a matter of being kind to your teeth! Don’t use them as tools to open packaging or crack open nuts, and do your best not to crunch down on items, like ice or corn kernels. If you play a contact sport or are taking part in an activity where you might fall or take a blow to the face, wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth and gums from injury. Additionally, take steps to prevent injuries from bruxism by lowering your anxiety or stress levels or talking to Dr. Bentz about wearing a nightguard to sleep.

It’s also incredibly important to schedule a checkup with Dr. Bentz if you notice any potential symptoms of cracked tooth syndrome. We know it’s easy to brush aside intermittent pain, but remember that pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. Ignoring tooth pain can quickly lead to worse issues, like decay. When you schedule preventive appointments to address tooth pain and get professional cleanings, you give Dr. Bentz the best chance to spot issues, like cracked teeth or decay, early. Catching issues early often means simpler, less invasive, and less expensive treatments, so it’s worth paying attention to your symptoms!

Dr. Bentz and his team are here to help.

Cracked teeth aren’t always visible, but they can lead to serious issues for the long-term health of your tooth. This is why it’s so important to listen to your body when it sends you signs like tooth pain to let you know there’s something wrong. If you’re experiencing tooth pain or need to schedule your six-month checkup, feel free to schedule an appointment with Dr. Bentz at any time!

you can avoid jaw bone loss after a tooth is pulled 62a20772ac907

You Can Avoid Jaw Bone Loss After a Tooth Is Pulled

Are you aware of jaw bone resorption as a result of tooth loss?

If you have had a tooth extracted or lost a tooth and didn’t have it replaced, you could be losing density in your jaw bone. This is because there is no longer a tooth root stimulating the bone and your body starts to reabsorb it. Socket preservation and dental implants can protect your jaw, and the dental specialists at Bentz Dental Implant and Prosthodontic Center have the experience and skill to help fix missing teeth and prevent future jaw bone resorption.

Common Reasons For Tooth Loss

More than 120 million people in the US are missing at least one tooth, so it is quite a common problem. There are many reasons why people need tooth extraction or lose teeth. Here are some of the main ones.

Broken or Damaged Teeth

If you are in an accident or if you break a tooth by biting down on something hard, that tooth may need to be removed. After your tooth extraction, you can have a dental implant put in to restore the function of your teeth, but first you will need socket preservation to ensure that you don’t experience jaw bone resorption because of the missing tooth.

Tooth Decay

It’s very common for people to have teeth fall out or break because of cavities caused by tooth decay. Tooth decay is bacteria that starts to eat through the enamel of your tooth when you don’t brush and floss effectively. Over time, that bacteria will eat through your enamel and all the way through your tooth until it gets to the pulp of your tooth. The hole that the decay creates as it travels through your tooth can cause teeth to break, fall out, or need to be extracted.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease can also cause tooth loss. Periodontal disease is a more advanced stage of gum disease and occurs when bacteria irritates your gums, which react by pulling away from your teeth, forming pockets. Unfortunately, these pockets just give bacteria an ideal home to collect and grow in, which causes more plaque and more irritation. Periodontal disease is irreversible, and if not treated by a dental professional, will eventually lead to loss of your tooth.

Crowded Teeth

If your teeth are very crowded your dentist may need to remove teeth in order to relieve the crowding and allow you to bite, chew, and speak normally. Your dentist may also recommend removing teeth if you’re undergoing a smile makeover so your teeth have room to shift into the ideal position. Straighter teeth also have the benefit of being easier to clean and less susceptible to cavities and tooth decay.

What happens to your jaw when a tooth is missing?

When you bite and chew with your natural teeth, these motions send signals to your body to send cells (called osteoblasts) to build up your jawbone and teeth. When there is no tooth in the socket and no activity, your body starts to reabsorb that bone. Jaw bone resorption may cause changes, such as:

  • Differences in your bite.
  • A change in your facial structure (giving you a “sunken in” look).
  • Difficulty chewing.
  • Shifting or loosening of your teeth.
  • Lips that look like they are sinking inward.
  • Deep wrinkles or loose skin around your mouth.
  • Headaches, facial pain, and jaw pain.
  • Difficulty forming words or speaking.
  • Changes in the way your dentures fit.

If you are starting to see any of these symptoms of jaw loss, you should immediately talk with your dentist about socket preservation and dental implants to see how you can stop further damage.

What is socket preservation?

Socket preservation is a dental procedure that can protect your jaw bone or, in some cases, replace missing jaw bone. If your jaw bone loss isn’t too severe, the dentist can place a collagen plug where the tooth was until a dental implant can be inserted. Putting in a collagen plug will preserve your natural bite and chewing pattern, which will signal your body to continue building up bone in that area.

If you have lost a significant amount of bone already, you may need a bone graft. In that case, an oral surgeon would graft a small amount of bone onto your jaw bone, place a collagen layer over it, and suture your gum. The bone will replace the bone that you have already lost and preserve the structure of the bone until you are ready to have an implant placed..

How do dental implants help?

A dental implant is a replacement for your natural tooth that is surgically installed into your jaw bone. It is made up of a titanium post, which is the part inserted into the bone, and a natural-looking crown. The implant’s post replicates the role of your tooth root, stimulating your jaw bone, and signaling to your body to maintain the density of the bone. Your body will continue to build up the jaw bone and keep it strong and healthy.

Jaw bone preservation is one of the biggest benefits of dental implants, but it’s not the only benefit. Dental implants function just like natural teeth, so when you have an implant, you can chew, bite, and speak naturally again. And since implants look like natural teeth, you will have a healthy, attractive smile again, with no gaps.

If you’re missing a tooth or multiple teeth, and you want to find the best dental implant dentist in Philadelphia, book an appointment with dental experts at Bentz Dental Implant and Prosthetic Center today. We can help you prevent bone loss from missing teeth and restore your smile.

foods that hurt and foods that heal gingivitis 62a20777064af

Foods that Hurt and Foods that Heal Gingivitis

What You Eat Can Worsen or Heal Gingivitis

If you have gingivitis, you’re not alone. According to the CDC, nearly 48% of adults over 30 have some form of periodontal disease, like gingivitis. Managing gingivitis can be a struggle, but working with dental specialists like the pros at Bentz Dental Implant and Prosthodontic Center can make it easier to keep gingivitis under control and even heal from it.

Professional dental cleanings and dental care are a must for treating gingivitis—so is good oral hygiene, and that includes brushing twice a day and flossing every day. But what you eat also plays a big role in the severity of your gingivitis. When you combine regular dental care with good daily oral hygiene and a healthy gingivitis-fighting diet, you increase your chances of beating gingivitis and preventing periodontal disease and tooth loss.

What you put in your mouth plays a big role in your oral health, so knowing what to eat and what not to eat to heal gingivitis can make a big difference.

What not to eat to heal gingivitis.

There are three primary categories of foods and drinks that you should avoid at all costs if you want to heal your gingivitis. These foods and drinks cause bacteria to grow at very fast rates, and that can make gingivitis worse. If you have gingivitis you should be avoiding the following.

Acidic Foods

Acidic foods can make gingivitis worse because the acid in the food wears down the enamel of your teeth and allows bacteria to thrive. Some acidic foods seem healthy, like citrus fruit or fruit juice, which does contain healthy vitamins, but the acidic qualities makes those foods risky for anyone with gingivitis. Acidic foods that you should avoid if you have gingivitis are:

  • Alcohol.
  • Any pickled foods or pickles.
  • Citrus fruit and citrus fruit juice.
  • Coffee.
  • Black tea.
  • Sodas, including diet soda.

Sugary Foods

If you want to keep your gingivitis under control—or get rid of it completely—then you also need to stop eating sugary foods. This can be tough for some people, but sugar is something that can make gingivitis and periodontal disease much worse. The bacteria that cause gingivitis and gum disease live on sugar, so the more sugar you eat, the more bacteria you will have in your mouth. If you have a massive sweet tooth and you can’t give up sweets, then at least eat sweets that are made with sugar substitutes . But you should try to give up sugar altogether, even if means giving up foods like:

  • Candy.
  • Cookies and cakes.
  • Drinks that contain sugar like smoothies, sodas, and milkshakes.
  • Sauces that contain sugars.
  • Donuts and pastries.

Even some types of gum contain sugar, so always read the product label before buying a pack of gum and opt for sugar-free options containing xylitol.

Foods and drinks that dry your mouth out.

When your mouth is dry, it can make gingivitis worse. To avoid dry mouth you should stay away from things like:

  • Crackers and chips.
  • Coffee or caffeinated beverages.
  • Energy drinks.

Make sure to drink lots of water throughout the day to keep your mouth hydrated.

What you should eat to heal gingivitis.

It might seem like there’s a pretty long list of foods and drinks that you need to avoid if you want to heal gingivitis. But the good news is that there are still plenty of foods and drinks that you can eat that will help heal gingivitis. You should be eating a lot of these foods to get rid of gingivitis.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 Fatty acids can help reduce inflammation and boost your body’s immune system, which will help your mouth kill the unhealthy bacteria that cause gingivitis. Some foods that are packed with Omega 3 Fatty Acids are:

  • Fish.
  • Nuts.
  • Peanut butter.
  • Eggs.
  • Yogurt.
  • Flaxseed.
  • Kale.
  • Broccoli.

Beta Carotene

Beta Carotene is another powerful anti-inflammatory. It also gives your body what it needs to make Vitamin A, which in some studies has been shown to heal gingivitis. Foods that contain a lot of beta carotene are:

  • Carrots.
  • Spinach.
  • Lettuce.
  • Broccoli.
  • Sweet Potatoes.
  • Squash.
  • Leafy greens.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is essential for good oral health. It also provides a strong boost to the body’s immune system. Citrus fruit is what most people eat to get Vitamin C, but it’s not the only source of Vitamin C. Because citrus fruit can be acidic, people with gingivitis should limit their intake of citrus fruit and eat more:

  • White potatoes.
  • Bell peppers.
  • Strawberries.
  • Brussel sprouts.
  • Cabbage.

You can also drink herbal teas that have Vitamin C in them.

Regular dental care is also important.

Experts recommend taking a three-pronged approach to managing gum disease. You need to eat the right foods, practice good oral hygiene, and get regular professional dental cleanings and evaluations. For help managing your gingivitis, and the best dental care in Philadelphia, book an appointment with Bentz Dental Implant and Prosthetic Center today.

10 migraines causes and what to do about them 62a2077b4b272

10 Migraines Causes and What to Do About Them

Learning what triggers your migraines can help you handle them better.

If you get migraines, you’re likely familiar with the way they seemingly come out of nowhere, bringing an immediate end to your day. It’s easy to feel like the only thing you can do is find somewhere dark and quiet while you wait for it to pass. Despite how random migraines sometimes seem, few things are truly random. So what causes your migraine?

Migraines have several common causes, and while it’s not always easy to pinpoint what’s triggering them, doing so can be a crucial key to learning how to prevent them or navigate around them. To help you get started, we’ve created a guide on 10 common migraine causes and what you can do about them.

1. Stress

There are a few ways high stress levels trigger migraines, which makes it a major trigger for many people. When you’re stressed, you tend to tighten a lot of your muscles without realizing it, creating extended tension in your shoulders, neck, and jaw that can easily lead to a migraine. Stress also changes the levels of feel-good chemicals, like serotonin, in your brain. Instead of your body adjusting smoothly to these fluctuations, this change can trigger a migraine. Similarly, if you’re stressed for a long time, the sudden change in these chemical levels when your stress goes back down can cause a migraine as well.

Thankfully, though, if this is what causes your migraine, there are a lot of ways to manage your stress. You can start by setting priorities and limiting your responsibilities so you’re not overcommitting yourself. Building good habits, like setting aside time to relax every day, getting enough sleep, exercising daily, and practicing mindfulness or journaling, can also significantly reduce your stress levels. Figuring out the right way to manage your stress can be a bit of a journey, but it can cut down on how often you get migraines!

2. Genetics

Genetics play a surprisingly major role in whether you’re susceptible to migraines. Studies have indicated that up to 80% of people who experience migraines have an immediate relative who also gets them. Still, even if there’s a genetic aspect to your migraines, you’ll have migraine triggers. Identifying those and addressing them will be just as helpful as they’d be without the genetic aspect. Additionally, while you can’t change your genetics, being aware of a family history of migraines is incredibly helpful for your doctor to know as they come up with a treatment plan for you.

3. Hormonal Changes

Women are three times more likely than men to experience migraines. This is largely due to the hormonal changes that are a natural part of women’s cycles. The fluctuations in estrogen levels that occur right before menstrual cycles, during pregnancy or ovulation, and during menopause can trigger migraines. Hormonal birth control helps reduce the frequency of some women’s migraines, but it can worsen migraines for others.

As a result, there’s a bit of trial and error that goes into reducing or preventing hormonal migraines. It’s far from impossible, though! If this is what causes your migraine, the best thing you can do for migraines linked to your hormones is to discuss them with your doctor. They deal with these issues all the time with many different people, so they’ll likely have several methods you can try!

4. Jaw Issues

Even by themselves, issues with your jaw like those caused by arthritis and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome aren’t fun. In addition to their usual symptoms, they often cause muscle tension or inflammation that can lead to migraines. In some cases, doing gentle jaw exercises to strengthen the muscles around the joint of your jaw improves discomfort and reduces the frequency of migraines. You can also try icing the area or taking anti-inflammatory pain medications to reduce swelling or inflammation in the joint. If you don’t have a diagnosis for what’s causing your jaw issues, you should seek one! Knowing the root cause will help you come up with a more targeted treatment for your discomfort and the migraines it’s causing. Ask your dentist about temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD.

5. TMD

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is an umbrella term for issues involving the joints, muscles, ligaments, or nerves in your jaw. It has a range of potential causes, including joint disorders, injuries, a misaligned bite, bruxism, and more. TMD leads to a range of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) symptoms, from painful chewing or lockjaw to migraines. Just like with other jaw issues, TMD can cause migraines because of muscle tension, inflammation, or swelling around your jaw. Since there are so many potential causes of TMJ, the best thing you can do is contact your dentist about your symptoms.

The good news is there are plenty of TMJ treatments out there, and finding the right one for you should relieve your migraines as well as any other symptoms you’re experiencing! Dr. Bentz will identify the root cause of your TMD and suggest treatments, which could include anything from daily jaw exercises to orthodontics or Botox. While it might sound strange at first, we sometimes use Botox as a TMJ treatment because it forces the muscles in your jaw to relax, bringing you relief from your symptoms and helping to prevent migraines.

6. Sensory Stimuli

For many people, sensory stimuli, like bright light, sudden or loud sounds, and strong smells like perfume and secondhand smoke, trigger migraines—sometimes quite suddenly. While you can’t avoid all sensory stimulation, you can do your best to limit it. Wear sunglasses when you go outside, and don’t be afraid to wear them inside if fluorescent lights are too bright for you. Ask people to be mindful of your sound sensitivity whenever possible, and bring ear plugs or sound-canceling headphones if you know you’re going to be in a noisy place. Avoid wearing perfume or cologne, and ask your loved ones to do the same around you. You can also do your best to air out rooms with fans or open windows if you’re going to be working with strong scents, like cleaners or paint.

We live in a world full of stimuli, so we know it’s not easy to limit how many you encounter each day. Despite this, you might be surprised by how much simply making the people around you aware of these things and taking a few small steps to lessen major stimuli can help cut back on your migraines!

7. Changes in the Weather

Weather is quite variable, and its changes often affect us more than we think. Variations in weather patterns, like storms, changes in barometric pressure, humidity, and heat, are common migraine triggers. Since we can’t control the weather, this is admittedly a very difficult trigger to actively prevent. In this case, sometimes the best you can do is work around the weather. Figure out which weather changes trigger your migraines, then watch the forecast carefully and plan your schedule around it. If your trigger is heat, staying inside when you can and trying to get errands done either early or late in the day when it’s cooler can help minimize your migraines.

8. Diet

The foods you eat help fuel your body and give you the nutrients you need to function at your best, so not eating enough or going too long between meals are both common migraine triggers. What you eat can also impact your migraines. Some people notice that certain foods, like nuts or cultured dairy products, trigger migraines for them, while others notice that additives, like aspartame, are responsible for theirs. Consuming too much caffeine—or quitting your usual caffeine intake cold turkey—are also common culprits.

If you’re not sure what causes your migraines, try making a food chart. Write down everything you eat and drink, then make note of when you get migraines. After a while, if there aren’t any obvious answers, check the ingredients of products you ate before getting a migraine to see if they have any additives in common. Once you’ve identified them, you could cut back on problematic foods or eliminate them entirely to significantly reduce your migraines. Of course, always consult your primary doctor before making drastic changes to your diet.

9. Unusual Sleep Pattern

Sleep is essential for your health because it’s when your body renews and repairs itself. The average adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. If you get too much or too little, you can wind up with a migraine. Similarly, sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, that keep you awake or make it hard to get quality sleep often cause migraines.

Thankfully, your sleep schedule is usually easy to fix! Do your best to get to bed around the same time every night at a time that’ll allow you to get enough sleep. If you don’t feel rested enough with just seven hours of sleep every night, plan for a little more! If you’re still getting migraines and waking up tired despite sticking to your schedule, you may need to consider looking into treatment for a sleep disorder. Diagnosing issues like these is incredibly important for your overall health, and you’ll feel so much better with treatment!

10. Physical Activity

Some people experience exertion migraines, where physical activity, like exercise, triggers them. These kinds of migraines are particularly common when people work out in a hot or humid environment because it’s very easy to become dehydrated. Exertion migraines don’t mean you have to give up on exercising or living the healthy lifestyle you want to! There are several things you can do to combat them. The first is to always make sure you stay hydrated. You can also pay attention to the weather. If it’s going to be hot and humid, you might be better off exercising indoors or doing your outdoor exercises early in the day before it gets hot.

Additionally, you should always be careful to go through a warm-up and cool-down routine when you exercise. This can help acclimate your body to the different levels of activity you’re putting it through. If you notice certain activities are more likely to trigger migraines, you can also limit or eliminate them from your exercise routine. When you do these steps, you can keep the exercise routine you want with fewer migraines.

Bentz Dental Implant and Prosthodontic Center can help manage your headaches.

Once you’ve identified one or more of your migraine triggers, you’ll be able to take steps to prevent them so you can live a happier, more active life. If you’d like to learn more about your TMJ and how it could be causing your migraines, feel free to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bentz at any time.

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