Every time I eat or drink something cold, my teeth feel sensitive. What could that mean?
Sensitivity to cold food can indicate several dental conditions. Tooth decay, gum recession, clenching and grinding the teeth can all cause cold sensitivity. It can be looked into by a dentist and is often treated by applying a desensitizer to the exposed root surface. Other solutions are placement of a filling is a decayed tooth or making a guard to protect the teeth at night. Fortunately, cold sensitivity is usually reversible. Sensitivity that disappears quickly after the offending stimulus is removed has a better prognosis than sensitivity that lingers. A lingering sensitivity could mean that the tooth may be irreversibly involved and in need of a root canal.


My teeth are sensitive every time I consume a hot beverage or hot soup. What could that mean?

Sensitivity to hot food is more serious than cold sensitivity; especially if the pain lingers. This could mean that a nerve is dying in a tooth. If you experience this condition you should get it evaluated by a dentist quickly. A combination of heat sensitivity and pain on biting and /or swelling should be subjected to instant professional attention. This may indicate an infection of a tooth and the underlying bone.

My gums bleed profusely every time I brush and floss. Should I be concerned?

Bleeding gums indicate many serious problems. It can be the result of local accumulation of food, plaque (bacteria & food) or tartar around the teeth. When such conditions persist, the gums react with inflammation, a condition called gingivitis. When such accumulations are ignored for a long period and if you happen to have a genetic predisposition to develop gum disease, bone loss and gum infection may ensue, leading to a condition called periodontitis. Gingivitis can be reversed by having a professional cleaning and inculcating a proper habit of brushing and flossing; along with special rinses. If there is bone loss and infection, treatment can also involve the placement of medicine directly under the gum, and perhaps surgical intervention depending on the magnitude of the damage. The key to success is giving proper attention as quickly as possible. On rare occasions, bleeding gums can indicate systemic disease and is also possible among some pregnant women.

I have trouble sleeping. My wife tells me that I snore loudly and I often doze off during the day. What could this mean?

This could be signs of sleep apnea.Sleep Apnea is a serious condition. Left untreated, it can lead to or worsen high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and other complications. Schedule an appointment for a sleep consultation. You might also require a comprehensive analysis of your specific condition from a ‘sleep laboratory’. It is possible that a dental sleep appliance may solve your problem. It helps open your airway while sleeping to decrease your snoring.

The sides of my face hurt, and my jaw clicks and sometimes locks so that it won’t open all the way. What could that mean?

This could be due to a temporomandibular disorder (TMD) called a ‘disc displacement’. It might also be further complicated by the fact that you have the habit of grinding or clenching your teeth while sleeping. The intermittent locking can lead to the need for surgical correction in future; if treatment is not initiated. You can start with a comprehensive TMD consultation, followed by a detailed medical and dental evaluation, a thorough examination of the joints and the muscles that control the jaw and any imaging studies (x-rays, CT or MRI). Such details will help to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. Further treatments often involve an intraoral appliance, medication and physical therapy.

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