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Infection Control

How clean is the dental office?

Dentists are highly trained in infection control. Dentists use what is called "universal precautions" with every patient, and use Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) protocols to clean everything between patients. All dental instruments are sterilized at very high heat. The risk of a patient getting any type of illness from the common cold to HIV or AIDS at a dental office is extremely low.


What is a dental abscess?

A dental abscess is an infection in the mouth that can be caused by a tooth or gum condition. Dental abscesses can be very painful, or not painful at all. A true abscess is a collection of pus in the bone and or gum tissue. Many times it can be seen on the gum tissue and look like a blister. To treat the condition, the assiciated tooth must either have a root canal or be extracted. However, if it is related to the gums, a proper dental cleaning may be able to resolve the condition. Only a dentist can make these assesments, and perform the proper treatment!


Why does my tooth hurt?

A toothache can be from a varitey of problems. Once a tooth begins to hurt, this indicates that the pulp (or nerve) of the tooth is irritated. This can be from a crack in the tooth, a gum condition, a cavity or other conditions. The treatment options range from a filling, to a root canal, a deep cleaning, or an extraction. Only a dentist can properly assess the situation, and the more it is delayed, the worse it can become!

Tooth knocked out of line

What do I do if a tooth is knocked out of line?

Contact a dentist ASAP! The doctor will try and move the tooth back in line, or advised you how to do so over a period of time.

Knocked-out tooth

What to do if a tooth gets knocked out.

Contact a dentist ASAP! Keep the tooth clean and moist. Do not scrub the tooth; only rinse any dirt or debris off of the tooth with water. Store the tooth in your cheek, in some milk, or at least in a glass of water. The doctor will likely put the tooth back in its proper position.


What is a toothache?

Inside of the hard surface of a tooth is the pulp (or nerve) of the tooth. This area contains the blood vessels and nerve fibers of the tooth. When the pulp is irritated either by temperature changes, a cavity or a fracture, the pulp becomes inflamed. An inflamed pulp causes pressure to build inside the hard tooth structure, causing discomfort.

Broken Tooth

What do I do if I broke my tooth?

Contact a dentist ASAP! If the missing piece can be located, keep it clean and moist. You may either keep the piece in your cheek, in some milk, or at least in a glass of water. The doctor may be able to put the tooth back together, or treat it as needed otherwise. If you cannot reach a dentist, you may be able to sand down a sharp piece of the broken tooth with an emery board.

Post-extraction discomfort

What can I do to reduce discomfort after an extraction?

One may use a warm compress to sooth the area. This will help promote circulation and speed healing. Biting a moist teabag releases tannic acid which helps naturally relieve discomfort. Taking 2-3 ibuprofen with 1 extra-strength acetaminophen can be as effective as prescription pain killers as well (be careful not to exceed the maximum dose!).

Why does my tooth hurt after I got a restoration (filling/crown/inlay/onlay)?

Why does my tooth hurt after I got a restoration (filling/crown/inlay/onlay)?

The most common reason is that the pulp (or nerve) of the tooth is inflamed. The most common sensitivities following a restoration are to cold and biting. The cold sensitivity will usually go away after a couple of weeks, but if the tooth is sensitive to biting it needs to be adjusted by the doctor. In some cases, the pulp may be irreversibly damaged by the decay that was present prior to the filling. In this case, the new filling has sealed the tooth so well, that the pressure builds inside the tooth and a root canal may be necessary.