05 Jul, 2019

Dental pain could be either caused due to any form of injury to the teeth or surrounding soft tissues and muscles. This injury could be in the form of dental decay, trauma or neglect.

Following any form of trauma, an infection may develop. An infection usually shows five signs namely- redness, swelling, increase in temperature, pain and loss of function. Even slight dental pain if left neglected, can lead to excruciating pain in the future. The infection may become severe and develop pus. Not only can the infection increase in intensity, but it can also spread to surrounding gums and teeth and even into the bloodstream causing systemic disease.

Once any form of infection or decay has started in the teeth it cannot be reversed only treated. Based on the severity of the insult to dental tissue it can be restored with a composite filling (if mild), root canal and crown (if medium) and extracted (if severe).

A once salvageable tooth can be lost due to neglect. Thus, it is important to seek treatment during early stages of dental diseases. 

What is a root canal procedure?

A tooth has three layers. The outermost protective layer called the Enamel, the middle sensitive layer called the Dentin and the innermost layer called Pulp which is rich in blood vessels and nerve. When dental decay reaches pulp, it means that infection has reached the nerve and the only treatment to save the tooth in this scenario is root canal. 

The procedure is initiated by giving anaesthesia to minimize pain and discomfort to the patient. This is followed by removal of the infected nerve tissue from the root and the area being disinfected with the help of chemical agents. Once this is done, an artificial root filling material is placed in the canal space and a tooth coloured filling is used to cover the top portion of the tooth. The decision to place a cap over it varies from case to case and also depends on the practitioner. 

This procedure usually takes place in a single sitting. However, if the infection is severe, additional sittings may be required.

How to maintain your oral hygiene?

Our oral health can have a significant impact on our general health and welfare. Thus it is important for us to take proper care of it. This can be done by performing meticulous oral hygiene techniques such as brushing, flossing and the use of mouth washes.

Brushing is an important part of your dental care routine. It is recommended that this be performed a minimum of twice daily for good oral hygiene. Moreover, if done correctly, this can help prevent a large number of dental diseases. The correct brushing technique is as follows-

  • Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.

  • Gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes. 

  • Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.

  • To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.

  • For the remaining smooth surfaces of the teeth a wide circular motion is advised

It is recommended to replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months as they tend to wear out reducing their cleaning ability.

Flossing is a way of cleaning between teeth. This removes plaque and food particles in places where a tooth brush cannot reach. The correct way of using a floss is to guide it gently in between two teeth and to avoid snapping or popping the floss. There are various flosses available in the market such as waxed and non-waxed threads, water flossers, etc.

While not a replacement for daily brushing and flossing, use of mouthwash (also called mouth rinse) may be a helpful addition to the daily oral hygiene routine for some people. They are antibacterial in nature help reduce plaque built up. There are two types of mouthwashes available in the market- medicated and non-medicated. 

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