"What can I do about a toothache?"

Q: What can I do about a toothache?

A: If you have a toothache, whether it comes on and then doesn’t go away or if it keeps going away and coming back, you should make an appointment with your dentist for proper diagnosis and treatment. Until you see your dentist, there are various things you can do to try and relieve some of your pain.

* Floss your teeth, thoroughly but very carefully. This way, it’s possible you’ll remove some food particles that are stuck between your teeth or along the gumline. Don’t be too rough, or you risk aggravating your mouth even more.

* Rinse your mouth with warm water and spit it out. This may loosen up any food particles stuck in your mouth, and it may sooth irritated gums. Adding a pinch of salt can help to control infection, but be sure not to swallow the salty water.

*Use over-the-counter pain medication like aspirin, or use a topical gel containing benzocaine. But never put aspirin or other painkillers directly on the sore spot, or they’ll burn!

If you have a toothache, visit our office in Los Angeles and we’ll be happy to help you.

Dr. Natalie Khadavi sees patients in the Los Angeles area. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

What are the symptoms of oral cancer?

Q: What are the symptoms of oral cancer?

A: Oral cancer is a frightening and potentially deadly disease, but your chances of survival are greatly increased if you catch it early. Tobacco and alcohol are the two common pathways to devloping oral cancer, along with exposure to the human papilloma virus (HPV).

Watch for the following symptoms:

* Lumps, rough spots, crusts, eroded areas or thickenings in the mouth.
* Numbness, tenderness or pain in your lips or mouth.
* Trouble moving the jaw or tongue, chewing, swallowing or speaking.
* A color change in your oral tissues.
* A change in the way that your teeth are fitting together.
* Sores that don’t heal, or sores that bleed easily.

If you have any symptoms of oral cancer, consult your dentist or visit our office soon for a thorough evaluation.

Dr. Natalie Khadavi sees patients in the Los Angeles area. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

Q: My baby is teething and is obviously in pain. What can I do to help?

A: Teething in a natural part of life for your growing baby, and typically begins when the baby is three to twelve months old. Most often, it begins between six to nine months. Common symptoms include fussiness, extra drooling, refusal to eat or drink, pulling on the ears, and swollen gums. A slight rise in body temperature is possible, but a baby should not be running a high fever during teething. Some babies don’t experience much or any pain when teething, but for many babies the process is uncomfortable. Fortunately you can help make teething less painful for your baby.

Some parents help their children during teething by using teething rings, or teethers. You can also let your baby gum a cold, wet washcloth, or try placing a cool spoon in the baby’s mouth for a while. (Note that the spoon should not be left in the mouth of an unattended baby, as it poses a choking risk.) To help your child sleep at night, you can give them Children’s Tylenol or Children’s Motrin for pain. Make sure that you’re giving your child the appropriate dose for their weight.

If you’re concerned about your child’s teeth, visit our office and we’ll be happy to discuss it with you.

Dr. Natalie Khadavi sees patients in the Los Angeles area. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

Q: What can I do about grinding my teeth at night?

A: Teeth grinding – properly known as bruxism – is a very common problem. Symptoms include waking up in the morning with a sore jaw and a jaw that clicks when you chew.

If you suffer from bruxism, it’s very important to treat it as soon as possible. Left untreated, bruxism can cause extreme mouth pain and cracked or lost teeth. Stress is one of the main causes of bruxism, but there are other potential causes, including a crooked bite. If you show symptoms of night grinding, talk to your dentist about it soon.

Your dentist will probably suggest a custom-fit, plastic guard that you wear in your mouth while you sleep. This guard will prevent your upper and lower teeth from being able to come together, so you won’t grind your teeth at night. Over-the-counter guards are available at many drugstores, but these guards don’t fit as comfortably and they’re not as effective as custom guards.

Your dentist may also prescribe muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatory medications to help you stop grinding your teeth. If your grinding is caused by a problem with the shape of your teeth, this can be corrected by removing the high points of the grinding teeth, or using crowns, inlays or orthodontic treatment.

If you want to learn more about bruxism and what you can do to stop it, visit our office in West Los Angeles.

Dr. Natalie Khadavi sees patients in the Los Angeles area. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

Will getting my tongue pierced harm my teeth?

Q: Will getting my tongue pierced harm my teeth?

A: Unfortunately tongue piercing can be very harmful to your teeth, gums and other parts of your body… including your brain!

A recent study reveals that some people with tongue piercings have actually developed gaps between their upper front teeth from repeatedly tapping their tongue studs against the back of their teeth. This unconscious habit causes the teeth to slowly move apart. More seriously, the hard jewelry can also chip or crack the teeth, and there have even been cases of infected tongue piercings leading to brain abscesses.

To quote professor Sawsan Tabbaa of the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, “The best way to protect your health, your teeth and your money is to avoid tongue piercing.”

Dr. Natalie Khadavi sees patients in the Los Angeles area. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

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