I had a check up. I told my dentist that I’ve been having some pain in my teeth/gums. It’s kind of a low-value pain (say on a scale from 1-10 being about a 4 0r 5), but it feels like someone is grabbing my tooth and then letting go. He checked me over and even did some x-rays. He said it looks like I grind my teeth, but I have no cavities or anything and my mouth looks fine. What could be the cause of the pain?
Jen H. – Milwaukee
Regardless of what your dentist says, if you grind your teeth everything is absolutely not fine. In fact, the grinding issue needs to be addressed. It’s obvious your dentist is just a cavity / filling type of dentist. However, there are some other dental issues that need to be addressed in your case, such as the strong possibility you have gum disease, TMJ, and possibly occlusion issues. Some of these can be quite serious. Do not allow your dentist to brush this off.
You’ll have to bear in mind that I haven’t actually examined you and can only just make educated guesses from your descriptions. The pain could be from progressive gum disease or from your grinding. If either are left untreated you will lose your teeth. If it’s gum disease, your teeth will come loose and fall out. If it’s from the grinding, you will literally grind your teeth down to nubs. Additionally, this can lead to some serious TMJ issues.
If you treat this conditions early, it will be a lot simpler and a lot less expensive. For gum disease, your dentist will have you come in for some extra cleanings. He’ll probably prescribe some fluoride to you as well. He may suggest some other things as well, depending on the severity of your case.
Even if gum disease is what is causing your pain, you need to address the grinding. The simplest solution is to wear a night guard. If there are some other occlusal issues, some additional treatment might be necessary.
I don’t think your dentist is qualified to address your grinding/tmj issues. I strongly recommend you find a dentist with specific TMJ training. Look for someone who was trained with either the LVI, Dawson Academy, or Spear.
This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.