Q: All Of My Teeth Hurt.
A: I don’t know why I was naïve. I don’t know why I allowed myself to be so easily duped. Well, maybe because it wasn’t that long ago that I what I wished for really happened. Will I experience another repeat? The answer is no. What is the subject of this complaint? It is not a complaint. It is more of a disappointment. Let me tell you what I am talking about. I work up last Thursday to find the ground all covered with snow. I woke up to see that the temps were in the ‘20s. The wind was howling, and it looked like a regular January in Cleveland. I was secretly hoping that we would have a repeat of the mild winter that we had a few years ago. It just wasn’t going to occur. So, what does my weather report have to do with my patient complaint? It has a lot to do with teeth hurting. As the weather turns very cold many of us experience mild to severe pain with our teeth. Why is this so and what can be done to help in this situation? To understand this phenomenon, we need a short lesson in tooth anatomy. When we first start to develop and grow teeth, they form from small and live entities that we call tooth buds. These buds are filled with tissue that controls how these teeth grow. It has mapped in them to turn back teeth into large molars and front teeth into square beauties that allow us to flash a great smile. These little buds begin to deposit and grow a hard covering. This covering has two components. The first part is right next to the little bud. The second layer is around the first hard covering and offers protection.
The hard-inner covering is called dentin. The hard-outer covering is called enamel. So once the tooth is fully formed, it has 3 layers. The innermost layer is filled with soft and live tissue. This is called the pulp. The segment that surrounds it is called dentin and the final outside layer is called enamel. The outer layer of enamel which is our coat of armor takes on all types of assaults. Its goal is the protection of what is underneath. Acids, chewing forces, bacteria all work to break down the enamel and penetrate inside. The inside layer, the dentin, and the pulp are sensitive to touch and outside stimuli. Cold and hot are examples of outside stimuli. If we don’t have our outer layer of enamel, then hot coffee or cold pop or a blast of wind from off the lake will cause us to wince. If we don’t have an outer layer of enamel due to acid erosion from bacteria, help is attainable. Usually, it is one or two teeth that may have this issue. We call this dental decay or merely a cavity. Modern bonding and other techniques allow us to fix the area or areas quite easily and quickly. If it is more severe than that, then more comprehensive methods such as a root canal procedure or in the most damaging case even removal of the tooth may be necessary to relieve the discomfort. Milder cases of missing enamel due to over brushing can also be fixed with bonding, but oftentimes some sort of desensitizing medicine is all that we need. Which category did my patient fall into? Only a thorough exam and careful listening on my part can answer this question. Most of the time it is an easy fix. So, if you are reading this and many of the points ring true, maybe it is time to call Megan and make an appointment to check it out. We all know that when we catch something early, the solutions are comfortable, and the success rate is high. I don’t run away for the winter and am here to help you. Dress warmly and be careful outside. Fortunately, spring is just about 2 months away.
The Healthy Smile 34586 Lakeshore Boulevard (¼ mile west of Route 91 on Lakeshore Blvd) Eastlake, Ohio 44095 440-951-7856 Severance Medical Arts, Suite 603 5 Severance Center Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118 216-371-2333 www.jeffreygrossdds.com