Ask The Dentist – October 2022 – Part 1

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Written and Medically Reviewed by

Medically Reviewed

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts. Dr. Daniel Cho strives to provide unbiased and honest feedback regarding dental topics. This article contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.

What Do My Headaches Have To Do With My Teeth?

Headaches are caused by many factors, however one aspect that isn’t discussed very often is whether or not your teeth and jaws are contributing to your headaches. The temporomandibular joint is a very complicated joint and dysfunction can lead to headaches, muscle spasms, pain, and even headaches. The short story is when the jaws are not in the correct position relative to each other, it can stress the joint and muscles that are used when chewing. This typically doesn’t cause any problems for a few years, but as time goes on the tolerance of the constant dysfunction can lead to the previous symptoms. If you are having jaw pain, difficulty opening, constant tension in the neck, head, with headaches, speak with your dentist who may have a solution for you.

Why Is One Of My Front Teeth Dark?

If the entirety of a single front tooth becomes dark, the most common cause is due to loss of vitality of the nerve. This can be the result of a few things:

  • A dead nerve – either due to decay or trauma
  • Previous root canal therapy
  • Calcification of the nerve chamber

If the tooth is otherwise healthy with no decay or periodontal disease, the most common reason is that the tooth got banged up which resulted in the nerve either dying or calcifying. An examination will be able to tell which has happened and whether or not treatment needs to be done. 

Why Do I Get Canker Sores?

Aphthous ulcers, also known as canker sores, are these small ulcerations that typically form on the inside of the lips or cheeks. While they can form on other parts of the mouth, these are the more common areas. The truth is, we don’t actually know the exact cause. There are some theories that it is caused by stress, dehydration, some type of pathogen such as a virus, minor abrasions or scratches, or even lack of sleep. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see a cause ever being determined because it self resolves. Since it goes away by itself, there is no money in determining why they form since there’s no money in treating it. But perhaps we will know in the future.

How Can I Get Rid Of My Canker Sores?

The best way to get rid of canker sores is with time as they go away naturally within a week or two. There are some thoughts that canker sores can be resolved quicker with laser therapy, however that has not been well established yet. Time will tell on this treatment option, so for now the best thing to do is to treat the symptoms. Topical numbing gels can give temporary relief and keeping it really clean with antiseptic mouth rinses or saltwater can also aid in the natural healing process. However, just leaving it alone and trying your best to not touch it will resolve itself within 2 weeks. If it doesn’t resolve within 2 weeks, it may not be a canker sore and you should see your dentist for an evaluation. 

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