Posts for: January, 2018

By James P. Watts, DMD
January 19, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: toothache  
WhatsCausingYourThrobbingToothache

There are few more painful experiences than a toothache. You can't ignore it: it's as if your mouth is screaming for relief.

But while the throbbing pain can tell you something's wrong, it may not be clear exactly what's wrong. There's more than one possibility — it could be with the tooth itself, the gums around the tooth or a combination of both.

In the first case, a toothache could be a sign of severe tooth decay within the tooth's innermost layer, the pulp. The pain you feel comes from the nerves within the pulp under attack from the infection.

For this level of decay there's one primary way to save the tooth and stop the pain: a root canal treatment. In this procedure we remove all the infected and dead tissue from the pulp and fill the empty chamber and root canals with a special filling. We then seal and crown the tooth to prevent further infection.

Another source of toothache happens when your gums have become painfully inflamed due to infection. This is usually caused by periodontal (gum) disease, triggered by a thin film of bacteria and food particles on tooth surfaces known as plaque. In this case, we must remove all plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) from tooth and gum surfaces, including on the roots. Your gums can then heal and return to health.

But your situation could be more complex. Untreated tooth decay can advance to the roots and subsequently infect the gums. Likewise advanced gum disease can pass the infection from the gums to the root and into the pulp.  For such cases you may need a specialist, either an endodontist specializing in root canal issues or a periodontist specializing in the gums.  They can better diagnose the origin and extent of the problem and offer advanced techniques and treatments to deal with it.

It's possible in these more complex situations your tooth has become diseased beyond repair and must be replaced. It's important, then, that you see us if you experience any significant tooth pain, even if it seems to go away. The sooner we diagnose and begin treating the cause of your pain, the better your chances of regaining your dental health.

If you would like more information on treating dental disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Confusing Tooth Pain.”


By James P. Watts, DMD
January 15, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Do you have missing teeth? You can get your smile back with dental implants. Dental implants are the gold standard for the replacement of dental implantsmissing teeth. Dental implants are root-like structures made of titanium. Dr. James Watts is one of the finest dentists in Mystic, CT. He offers a complete range of dental services, including dental implants. Here are five smart reasons to consider dental implants.

1. Improve Your Look

By replacing your missing teeth, you will enhance your appearance and take years off your look. Dental implants are the next best thing to healthy, natural teeth. Dental implants look like real teeth. Don't you owe it to yourself to get your beautiful smile back?

2. Easier Eating

When you are missing teeth, eating can be a challenge. The ability to chew food improves dramatically with dental implants. With implants, you will be able to eat the foods you have previously avoided because of your missing teeth.

3. Prevent Teeth Shifting

When you lose a tooth, the neighboring teeth begin to shift at an accelerated rate. It can be disheartening and frightening for patients to see their teeth drifting out place. Dental implants can close the gaps in your smile and prevent your healthy, natural teeth from drifting out of place.

4. Improved Speech

Missing teeth can affect your ability to speak. Even a few missing teeth can lead to mumbling and slurred speech. Dentures can also move around in the mouth, resulting in mumbling and slurred speech. Dental implants can improve your speech and allow you to feel confident when speaking in public. And no more worrying that your denture might slip.

5. Stop Jawbone Loss

A healthy jawbone is important in order to support your teeth properly. Leaving a missing tooth unreplaced can lead to loss of bone in the jaw. The bone in the jaw is preserved through the pressure and stimulus of chewing. Implants are the only tooth replacement option that stops bone loss. Consult with your dentist in Mystic, CT, to find out if dental implants are right for you.

Want a great life? Start with your smile. Call our dental office at (860) 536-6446 now to schedule a dental consultation with Dr. James Watts in Mystic, CT. Dental implants will give you the freedom to enjoy life again.


By James P. Watts, DMD
January 04, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
EdenSherandtheLostRetainer

Fans of the primetime TV show The Middle were delighted to see that high school senior Sue, played by Eden Sher, finally got her braces off at the start of Season 6. But since this popular sitcom wouldn’t be complete without some slapstick comedy, this happy event is not without its trials and tribulations: The episode ends with Sue’s whole family diving into a dumpster in search of the teen’s lost retainer. Sue finds it in the garbage and immediately pops it in her mouth. But wait — it doesn’t fit, it’s not even hers!

If you think this scenario is far-fetched, guess again. OK, maybe the part about Sue not washing the retainer upon reclaiming it was just a gag (literally and figuratively), but lost retainers are all too common. Unfortunately, they’re also expensive to replace — so they need to be handled with care. What’s the best way to do that? Retainers should be brushed daily with a soft toothbrush and liquid soap (dish soap works well), and then placed immediately back in your mouth or into the case that came with the retainer. When you are eating a meal at a restaurant, do not wrap your retainer in a napkin and leave it on the table — this is a great way to lose it! Instead, take the case with you, and keep the retainer in it while you’re eating. When you get home, brush your teeth and then put the retainer back in your mouth.

If you do lose your retainer though, let us know right away. Retention is the last step of your orthodontic treatment, and it’s extremely important. You’ve worked hard to get a beautiful smile, and no one wants to see that effort wasted. Yet if you neglect to wear your retainer as instructed, your teeth are likely to shift out of position. Why does this happen?

As you’ve seen firsthand, teeth aren’t rigidly fixed in the jaw — they can be moved in response to light and continuous force. That’s what orthodontic appliances do: apply the right amount of force in a carefully controlled manner. But there are other forces at work on your teeth that can move them in less predictable ways. For example, normal biting and chewing can, over time, cause your teeth to shift position. To get teeth to stay where they’ve been moved orthodontically, new bone needs to form around them and anchor them where they are. That will happen over time, but only if they are held in place with a retainer. That’s why it is so important to wear yours as directed — and notify us immediately if it gets lost.

And if ever you do have to dig your retainer out of a dumpster… be sure to wash it before putting in in your mouth!

If you would like more information on retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers” and “Why Orthodontic Retainers?