Have you ever experienced sensitivity to cold or hot foods while eating? How about some discomfort upon biting or chewing? Or maybe your tooth has constant sharp or dull pain. As different as they may seem, all of these are symptoms of a tooth ache and just like the various symptoms, there are also various possible problems that can be causing your tooth ache.
In order to understand why the dental pain occurs it is interesting to know that every tooth is formed by two surrounding layers of hard structure and also has an inner network of blood vessels and nerves that is known as the pulp. In a healthy tooth, the pulp is completely sealed off from the outside environment, but in the event of brake through this natural shield, an inflammation of the pulp could occur and a tooth ache may persist. The most common reasons for a tooth ache are: tooth decay, inflammation of the pulp, a crack in the tooth, or a dental infection.
Tooth decay refers to a cavity formation on the outer layers of the tooth. This typically occurs over time by plaque accumulation (a sticky collection of bacteria that accumulates from sugar and starches). When plaque continues to build up it produces acidity that will demineralize the hard enamel of the tooth, resulting in weak areas and eventually holes in the tooth. Over time the enamel brakes down and that is when a cavity forms. Even though tooth decay is for the most part painless, as the decay spreads towards the inner layers of the tooth it becomes more sensitive. This sensitivity will be felt by the pulp of the tooth.
Inflammation of the Pulp (Pulpitis)
When the tooth decay extends deep into the pulp, reaching the network of blood vessels and nerves, it could become inflamed. The inflammation can lead to pressure could build up inside the tooth and surrounding tissues. Inflammation of the pulp may not only occur from tooth decay, other conditions that could possibly lead to pulpitis are trauma to the tooth or the result of a series of invasive procedures in the past on the tooth. The main symptom of pulpitis is an exaggerated sensibility with various stimulus, mostly temperature related being either cold or hot.
A cracked tooth is a frequent encounter associated with excessive force applied when biting on certain hard objects such as ice or popcorn, it could also be associated with severe clenching, grinding, or trauma to the mouth (such as a blow to the face in sports or a car accident). The American Association of Endodontics had identified five types of cracked teeth: craze line, fractured cusps, cracked tooth, split tooth, vertical root fracture. Symptoms of a cracked tooth may include sharp pain when biting, chewing, or sensitivity with cold, hot or even to sweet or sour foods.
A dental infection will typically occur in association with an untreated deep cavity or pulpitis. As previously mentioned for a cavity and pulpitis, a dental infection will likely begin with a build up of bacteria inside the pulp network. The infected pulp will have only one place to drain – at the tip of the root. The pressure from the draining infection into the surrounding areas will be perceived as constant pain that will likely worsen when chewing on the tooth or even the slightest tap on the tooth. If left untreated, pain may become severe and swelling can occur.
After looking through the different symptoms and possible reasons of a tooth ache, it is important to know that regardless of the source of pain, any ongoing symptoms should be addressed by a dentist for further assessment and treatment that will help relive the pain and save your natural tooth.
Heritage House Dental invites you to join us for our Free March Break Camps. That’s right! Camps at the dental office!! Camps are free, fun and educational. This is a great opportunity to bring your little one as a first introduction to the dental office.
Kids will enjoy:
Fun and interactive presentation by a Registered Dental Hygienist
Crafts and games to help your child learn how to maintain a healthy smile for life
Introduction to our Sugar Bugz Be Gone program with an invitation to become a Tooth Hero
Goody bag to take home with educational materials on dental health to further their learning experience
The following dates are available: Monday, March 16, 2020 Thursday, March 19, 2020
View the video below to see all the fun we’ve had in previous years.
This year we celebrated our 10th Annual Victorian Christmas, a fantastic tradition that grows in popularity every year. This year was very well attended, with Ron Starr, our Mississauga Councillor, dropping by to say hello to the big man himself, Santa Claus.
Every year, we make sure that Santa has his annual dental check-up while he is in town, and we are happy to report that he has been cavity free for the 10th year in a row! Mr. Starr and many children were excited to have their photo taken with Santa after his check-up. Some of these children have been attending our Victorian Christmas every year for ten years, and we love to watch how their bond with Santa grow each time they see him.
Our guests also had lots of fun singing carols, and savouring many tasty baked treats during this event. To help the Sugar Bugz get home after indulging in these sweets, we introduced the children to our popular Sugar Bugz Be Gone program. Children love these fun, colourful cartoon characters, and they are a great way to teach the wee ones how to maintain healthy smiles for life.
Heritage House Dental would like to thank everyone that attended this wonderful event. We also thank you for the donations to our food drive and for your continued support. We look forward to seeing you next year at our 11th annual Victorian Christmas!
It’s that time of year again and like every year, to kick start the holiday season, Heritage House Dental is proud to donate to the 2019 Basketeers.
Each year violence and abuse drive more than 100,000 women and children out of their homes. Basketeers is an organization that assists these women as they transition back into the community after leaving a shelter.
The simple necessities and niceties of life are bundled in a basket and gifted to women as they embark on the next chapter of their lives. Many of us would take the contents for granted but they are invaluable to these courageous women and their children, as they embark on a new beginning.
The doctors and staff at Heritage House Dental take pride in giving back to the community. We wish everyone a Happy Holidays!
On Sunday November 3rd, our Dental Dream Team stepped up their game… 1,776 steps to be exact! This was our first year attending The Greater Toronto United Way’s CN Tower Climb. It was a fun day, spent with great people, raising funds for a fantastic cause.
All together we had 12 climbers, and are proud to announce we raised $1,585 that will go towards helping communities in the Greater Toronto Area rise from poverty to possibility, creating opportunities for a better life for thousands of individuals and families!
This was definitely a day filled with feelings of accomplishment and we look forward to the 2020 climb!
We love Halloween! Instead of our usual staff, patients and Tooth Heroes were entertained by all sorts of surprise visitors, from Alice in Wonderland to a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, a Vampire, a Social Butterfly, and even a Prisoner! While we love giving out goodies, Halloween spirit was alive and well at Heritage House Dental. We hope everyone’s Halloween was as Spooktacular as ours was!!
Victorian Christmas at Heritage House Dental turns ten years old this year! This event has become a favourite family tradition in Mississauga. If you have been to one of our previous Victorian Christmas celebrations, we would love to see you again. If you haven’t attended one yet, come and see what all the fun is about.
Enjoy live Christmas music throughout the day, and have your photo taken with the famous jolly man himself, Father Christmas. Of course, no celebration is complete without yummy treats, so we will have lots of those as well. See below for our agenda and mark your calendars for some festive family fun on December 1st!
12:00pm – 4:00pm Pictures with Father Christmas.
Victorian era inspired refreshments will be served throughout the day’s festivities.
Write your Christmas wish list for Santa or bring your own letter to Santa.
Enter to win a Christmas gift basket.
We can’t wait to see you at the 10th Annual Victorian Christmas Celebration!
Be sure to view the video below of a previous Victorian Christmas.
Heritage House Dental once again proudly participated in the Dress for the Cause campaign to help raise awareness for Breast Cancer Research. We all have women in our lives that we love; a mother, a sister, a daughter, a niece, a friend… the list goes on. Fighting cancer is everyone’s fight and every dollar raised means new research and one step closer to a cure!
We dressed in pink to support all the women in our lives we love. Thank you to everyone who made a donation to this great cause. We appreciate all the support in raising awareness and funds for Breast Cancer Research and we are looking forward to participating again in 2020!
When counselling my patients about tooth decay, tooth sensitivity, and gum disease, the topic of diet inevitably comes up. The new Canada Food Guide was released in early 2019, after much rigorous research by scientists and review by Health Canada, to guide Canadians when it comes to food and drink choices. The new Food Guide places much emphasis on reducing risk factors for leading diseases in Canada, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. As a dentist, I am very pleased to see that the Food Guide offers guidance for achieving better oral health as well, because many key changes made in updating the Food Guide overlap with advice for prevention of oral diseases.
Here are some notable changes:
Increased emphasis on fruits, vegetables, and plant-based proteins.
Decreased emphasis on meats and higher-fat dairy products.
Push to replace sugary drinks with water and to avoid exposure of teeth to sugar.
Caution on dried fruit, as it is sticky and increases your risk of cavities.
Categorizing 100% fruit juice as a “sugary drink” that is associated with tooth decay, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, instead of the previous recommendation of fruit juice as an equivalent to a serving of fruit.
Emphasis on vegetables and fruit as health snacks—choose frozen fruit for added convenience.
I am also glad to see that some of the changes made can reduce specifically tooth erosion by acid wear, an importance cause of tooth sensitivity. Acidic drinks and foods, especially when consumed multiple times a day, may cause dental erosion over time. These include not only the obvious culprits such as vinegar and lemon juice, but also colas, wine, and fruit juices in general. An important factor is also frequency. Acidic foods consumed three or more times a day is linked to 13 to 14 times the chance of having tooth erosion, compared to once a day or less. In addition, the risk of acidic foods and drinks eroding your teeth is almost halved when they are consumed with meals, as opposed to between meals. In other words, not only does the choice of food and drink matter to your dental health, so does the timing and frequency of consumption.
Finally, in terms of gum disease, the emphasis on fruits and vegetables ensures adequate intake of vitamin C, which has been linked with better healing following dental scaling in patients with gum disease. It is equally important to note that although the new Canada Food Guide reduced the emphasis on dairy products, dairy remains one of the few dietary sources of vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential to bone and teeth health, and helps the body absorb calcium from what you eat. Some studies have even shown that inadequate vitamin D is linked with higher risk of gingivitis, gum disease, and loss of bone supporting the teeth.
The new Canada Food Guide is certainly a valuable update that is the culmination of the hard work of numerous scientists. It is an essential tool for maintaining both general health and oral health. So, next time you shop for groceries, be sure to keep in mind this information to help achieve a healthier body and stronger teeth!
Dr. Yolanda Li
Beaudette JR, Zamatta CAR, Ward WE. 2019. The new Canada food guide: Considerations for periodontal health. Oral Health. 109(10): 60-63.
Canada’s Food Guide. 2019. Health Canada. [accessed 2019 October 28] https://foodguide.canada.ca/en/.
New Canada Food Guide connects oral health and general health. CDA Essentials. 2019. 6(2): 16-17.
O’Toole S. 2019. Helping patients with erosive tooth wear change dietary habits. CDA
Essentials. 6(2): 27-30.