I’m hoping you can give me some guidance. I’ve never had a cavity before so I don’t know what a cavity feels like but am wondering if I’ve developed my first one. I had a check-up just a month ago and my dentist said everything looked fine, so it would have to be pretty new. It is a bit hard to describe but feels a bit like someone is pulling my back teeth and then letting go. It only lasts a short time, but it is distracting and I don’t want to ignore if anything is wrong. My husband says I grind my teeth when I’m sleeping. Could that be it? Or is this what a cavity feels like?
I know you said everything was fine at your last check-up, but if you are a tooth grinder, everything is not fine. I’m worried you are not getting adequate care. Some discount clinics only focus on cavities and don’t pay attention to important issues such as gum disease, bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching) or other occlusion issues such as TMJ Disorder. Overlooking these things can cause serious long-term problems.
I haven’t examined you and wish I had an x-ray to look at, but what you are describing does not sound like decay to me. The two possibilities that come to mind immediately are gum disease or damage from the grinding. Either one of these would need to be dealt with and the sooner the better.
If You Are Grinding Your TEeth
Grinding your teeth is an urgent matter, especially if you’ve been doing it for a while. You can end up cracking your teeth or grinding them down to nubs. This will cause you to need a full mouth reconstruction which requires placing a porcelain crown on every tooth.
There is a simple fix for this which can save your teeth. Your dentist can make a custom-fitted night guard. This will protect your teeth from the grinding as well as pressure if you clench. It’s much better to get a night guard than to leave your teeth unprotected and end up having to spend tens of thousands of dollars crowning every tooth.
If You Have Gum Disease
Gum disease is also serious. If left untreated, your teeth will eventually fall out. Then you’ll need expensive tooth replacement options, such as dental implants.
As I said earlier, I’m not sure you’re getting adequate care from your current dentist. I’d like you to see another one, sooner rather than later.
This blog is brought to you by East Cobb Dentist Dr. Cristi Cheek.