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Buckner Family Dental Blog


Why do the gums behind my molars hurt?

If the gums behind your molars are causing you a lot of pain, there’s a possibility you may have developed a condition known as pericoronitis. This is a fairly common dental issue that causes the gum tissue behind your molars to become infected and swollen, which can be quite painful. It most commonly occurs around the wisdom teeth as they erupt.

What are the causes of pericoronitis?

Pericoronitis usually develops when the wisdom teeth only partially erupt through the gums. This gives harmful bacteria and opening to make their way in around the tooth, causing an infection to develop. In many cases, a piece of food or a buildup of plaque can get caught underneath the small flap of the gum around the tooth. Eventually the gum will become irritated, leading to pericoronitis. If the condition become severe, the swelling may spread into the jaw, neck, and cheeks.

Symptoms of pericoronitis

Pericoronitis can vary in intensity and include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling in the gums
  • Infection
  • A bad or metallic taste in the mouth
  • Problems opening and closing the mouth
  • Swelling in the neck’s lymph nodes

If you experience these symptoms, let our dentist know right away. If pericoronitis is suspected, your dentist will check your wisdom teeth to ensure they are coming in properly. A dental x-ray may be taken in order to make your wisdom teeth are aligned properly.

Treatment for pericoronitis

If the pain and swelling of your pericoronitis hasn’t spread beyond the tooth, it may be treated by rising your mouth a few times a day with warm salt water. Ensure that the gum flap hasn’t trapped any food particles underneath it. However, if the area around the tooth, as well as your cheek and jaw become swollen or very painful, you need to see your dentist as soon as possible. The infection can be treated with antibiotics, and a prescription pain reliever may be recommended as well. Until you receive these prescriptions, try controlling your pain with over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

If the inflammation is very severe, or if your pericoronitis is a recurring condition, you may need oral surgery in order to remove the wisdom tooth or gum flap. Usually removing the wisdom tooth can provide you with nearly immediate relief, as well as preventing future dental issues that will require further treatment.


When your tooth feels loose, it can make brushing your teeth and eating incredibly uncomfortable, or even painful. Many patients experience a sensation of looseness in the morning that gradually seems to tighten back up as the day progresses, with the tooth feeling normal by evening. Because it seems to correct itself, it can be tempting to ignore this issue; however, it is important to see your dentist if you notice this happening. Any loosening of your teeth can be an indication that a serious dental health issue exists that needs to be evaluated and treated.

What causes a tooth to loosen?

A number of dental health issues can cause your tooth to feel loose. The most common of these is oral trauma that has injured the tooth. When a tooth suffers from unusual pressure or an impact, it can cause the ligaments that hold your teeth in place to stretch. These periodontal ligaments surround the tooth in a way that resembles the springs on a child’s trampoline. Ordinarily, these ligaments allow your tooth to withstand the daily pressures of chewing and minor trauma without injury. However, a truly hard impact or significant oral trauma can stretch these ligaments out of shape, causing your tooth to feel loose.

A tooth (or several teeth) that feels loose in the morning, but tightens back to normal through the day usually indicates that you are suffering from nighttime tooth grinding, or bruxism. This condition causes you to sleep with your teeth tightly clenched, which subjects your teeth and periodontal ligaments to unusual pressure for far longer than normal. As you move through the day, the lack of this pressure allows your periodontal ligaments to contract back to normal, causing your tooth to feel as though it has tightened back to normal.

Finally, if your teeth are becoming loosened, it may also indicate that you are suffering from the early stages of gum disease. Plaque build up on the teeth that is not removed properly through regular professional cleanings and proper brushing technique can harden into tartar. This material collects on the teeth and below the gums, which can breed bacteria. This infection will eventually destroy your gum tissue and may also damage the ligaments holding your teeth. If left untreated, gum disease can result in tooth loss.

Can loose teeth be treated?

Most of the time teeth that have loosened can be easily treated. Which treatment you receive will vary, based on the cause of your particular case. If you have suffered an oral trauma that has loosened your tooth, it will first be stabilized using a dental splint. This is applied to either side of your tooth, and will anchor it to the surrounding teeth in order to allow the periodontal ligaments to heal. This generally talks around two weeks.

In the case of bruxism or nighttime tooth grinding, your dentist will provide you with a specialized mouth guard. This will be worn while you sleep in order to prevent your teeth from clenching tightly together and grinding against one another while you sleep. Even if you do clench or grind your teeth while wearing the guard, the teeth will simply slide easily back and forth against the smooth surface of the mouth guard. Not only does this protect your periodontal ligaments, it can help to protect the surface of your teeth from damage as well.

If your teeth are loosening due to gum disease, your treatment may be more involved. First, you will undergo a deep cleaning in order to remove all of the plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth and gums. Next, your dentist will smooth the surface of your tooth roots in order to prevent bacteria from building up in these areas again. You will most likely also be given antibiotics and perhaps other medications, depending on the severity of your gum disease. In extreme cases, gum disease treatment can require surgery in order to return the teeth and gums to full health.

Unfortunately, not every loose tooth can be saved. In some instances, it may be better for the health of your remaining teeth and gums to extract the tooth, and replace it with a dental implant or other dental device. This helps to prevent additional dental health issues in the future, protecting your smile and keeping you as healthy as possible.


Any pain in your tooth should not be ignored, no matter the cause. When tooth pain occurs only during meal times and then fades, it can be tempting to ignore the experience. However, any toothache can be a sign that a more serious dental issue exists, and should be treated in our office right away.

What causes tooth pain during meals?

There are a number of dental issues that can cause you to say “my teeth hurt when I eat.” One of the main causes is a condition known as dentin hypersensitivity. This causes teeth to become very sensitive to certain tastes, most commonly sweets. In addition, teeth may also become extremely sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. The tooth pain usually occurs suddenly and is quite severe, but only lasts for a short period of time.

Another cause of tooth pain when you eat is tooth decay. When a cavity forms, it exposes the dentin and tooth nerve, which can become irritated when food particles enter the cavity. This causes sharp, aching pain that may take some time to fade. Once the debris is brushed away, the sensation in the tooth often returns to normal.

Finally, a tooth that has previously had a root canal may become sensitive to hot and cold foods. This pain feels very similar to dentin hypersensitivity, and usually occurs when you bite down. This occurs as the area inside your tooth heals following the root canal, and should only last for a few weeks. If the sensitivity persists beyond this point, it is important that you contact Dr. Osorio.

How is this type of tooth pain treated?

If you are experiencing tooth pain when you eat, the treatment will depend largely upon the cause of your pain. In the case of dentin hypersensitivity, you may be advised to change your brushing technique. Many adults mistakenly use a hard-bristled toothbrush, which can damage the teeth, causing them to be sensitive.

In some cases, poor diet can also cause dentin hypersensitivity. It is important to make sure that you are receiving proper nutrition, particularly correct amounts of Vitamin C. Failing to do so can cause your teeth to become very sensitive. If Dr. Osorio believes that poor nutrition is the cause of your sensitivity, he may advise that you begin taking a vitamin supplement to help protect your dental health.

If you experience tooth sensitivity following a root canal or other dental appointment, you may need to use a special toothpaste that is designed to eliminate this symptom for a time. Contact our office as soon as the pain begins to occur so that Dr. Osorio can recommend the product that would be best for your situation. In some cases, and antibiotic or anti-inflammatory medication may also be recommended.


Tooth discoloration occurs to many dental patients and has a number of causes. While it is largely considered to be a cosmetic issue, teeth that are beginning to turn yellow could be a sign of a more serious dental issue developing, and should be evaluated and treated as soon as possible in order to prevent any tooth damage from occurring.

What causes tooth discoloration?

There are a number of things that can cause your teeth to yellow or become otherwise discolored. These include:

  • Diet – certain fruits and vegetables can stain your teeth, as can soda, coffee, tea, wine and fruit juice.
  • Tobacco use – smoking and chewing tobacco are some of the main causes of yellowing or discolored teeth.
  • Medical conditions – some illness can lead to tooth discoloration, as can certain antibiotics and other medications.
  • Age – as you get older, the enamel on your teeth will naturally begin to thin, exposing the yellow dentin underneath.
  • Hygiene – poor dental hygiene practices can allow plaque to build up on the teeth, giving them a yellow or discolored appearance.
  • Trauma – an injury to the tooth may cause the tooth to become discolored.

How is tooth discoloration treated?

The treatment for your tooth discoloration will depend largely on the cause. If dental hygiene is the cause, beginning to use proper techniques following a dental cleaning or deep cleaning may provide adequate treatment. In other cases, you may want to schedule whitening treatments or consider dental bonding or porcelain veneers.
It is important not to ignore a tooth that has been injured. Once a tooth loses blood flow, it can begin to die, and will eventually loosen and fall out if left untreated. If you have experienced any sort of oral trauma, it is important that you seek treatment as soon as possible.

Is tooth discoloration preventable?

It is possible to prevent certain types of tooth discoloration with a few minor adjustments to your daily habits. If you use tobacco products, it is important for your dental health that you begin taking steps to stop. Avoiding beverages like soda, coffee, and dark teas can also help to prevent tooth discoloration. Making these small changes in addition to maintaining a regular schedule of visits to our office for cleanings and check ups can help keep your teeth free from staining and discoloration.

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