Even with regular check-ups and routine cleanings, dental problems can arise. We’ve listed the most common problems and suggestions on how to address them below. If you don’t see your problem listed and are a returning patient, please give us a call for more information or to set up an appointment.
If you’re tired of dentists drilling, filling, and billing you with no concern for your physical and financial comfort, then it’s time you visited us.
If you would like to be a new patient at Restorative and Aesthetic Dental Associates then the first step is to set up a consultation. To do that you can give us a call at (207) 773-6331. For more information, you can also visit our New Patient page. We look forward to getting to know you!
Toothaches can be caused by many different problems including cavities, fractured teeth, abscessed teeth and gum disease. To help with the pain you can rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss or an interdental cleaner to ensure that there is no food or other debris caught between the teeth. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums because it may burn the gum tissue. If the pain is significant or persists make an appointment with us for an examination to prevent the situation from becoming worse.
If a baby tooth is knocked out:
A knocked-out baby tooth usually looks worse than it actually is, and is not likely to have any long-term effect. If it looks like more than the tooth is injured (soft tissue injury, blow to the head, etc) go to an emergency room to be checked by a physician. If it’s just the tooth, do the following:
- Apply direct pressure to the gum with a clean washcloth or rolled-up piece of gauze. Bite down on it gently.
- Find the missing tooth and put it in a small plastic bag. It can't be reinserted, but your dentist may want to see it.
Call your dentist. Depending on the injury and how the tooth looks, we may take an x-ray to look for nerve damage, tooth fragments, or damage to other teeth. You may want to put your child on a soft diet for 48 - 72 hours.
If an adult tooth is knocked out:
If you knock out a permanent tooth, we will probably try to re-implant it. But for the best chance of success, you will need to act quickly.
- Rinse the tooth in water (don't scrub it)
- Put it back in the socket if possible.
- If it is not possible to place it back in the socket, put it in milk or saliva.
- Go to the dentist with the tooth or, if it's after-hours, the emergency room.
A filling can come out for a variety of reasons. Decay around the filling, grinding of your teeth, and general wear and tear can all cause a filling to fall out. If you are in pain, call us immediately. We’ll need to figure out why your filling came out and determine the best solution. Tooth colored fillings, porcelain or gold inlays and onlays, and crowns are all options to replace a lost filling. Even if there is no pain you will want to see your dentist as soon as possible to prevent decay and further damage to the tooth.
Teeth break because of decay, grinding, wear and tear, and genetic weakness. The treatment for a broken tooth depends on whether it is a front tooth or a molar and how much of it has broken off. If you are in pain, call us immediately. Once the pain is managed we can determine the best solution. Sometimes all that is needed is a tooth colored filling. Other times the tooth needs to be reinforced with a crown so it doesn’t break again. We’ll be happy to discuss the choices with you and help you make an informed decision.
Swelling of the face or mouth is often a sign of infection and therefore it is very important to get professional help as soon as possible. Swelling can become a life threatening situation if not treated quickly. It can be caused by an abscessed tooth, infected gums or blocked salivary glands. If the swelling becomes significant it is advisable to go to the emergency room and then follow-up with a dentist.
The most common cause of loose teeth is trauma. Trauma may break the root, damage the supporting bone, or just loosen the tooth within the bone. The second most common cause is gum disease which has dissolved the supporting bone. Either way it is important for you to have the loose tooth evaluated by a dentist. We will take an x-ray, check for hidden disease and damage, and develop a plan to save the tooth.
The most common cause of pain during biting or chewing is a cracked tooth. In addition to pain, you might feel sensitivity to temperature or notice that you are subconsciously chewing only on one side of your mouth. A cracked tooth can be caused by biting on a hard object, grinding your teeth, or weakening near large fillings or root canals. It is important to treat cracked teeth as soon as possible to avoid larger fractures and loss of the tooth. Treatments include a temporary filling followed by a crown, a root canal, or even an extraction if the fracture is severe.
If your chipped tooth is causing pain, call us immediately. Sometimes teeth chip because of something you ate or an accident. But chipped teeth can also be an indication of decay, nighttime grinding, or some other chronic problem. The tooth can be repaired with a tooth colored filling, resin bonding, a porcelain veneer or a crown, depending on the situation. Your dentist will try to determine the underlying cause and, if necessary, discuss strategies to address it.
Teeth become sensitive when tooth decay, cracks, worn enamel, and/or gum recession leave the nerves less protected. Because there are different causes for sensitive teeth, it is important to see us as soon as possible. Temporary treatments include desensitizing toothpastes or fluoride treatments. These help the sensitivity but do not address the underlying cause. We can help you discover the best, long-term treatment which could include fillings or crowns.
Many adults suffer from chronic facial pain. This includes pain in or around the ear, tenderness of the jaw, clicking or popping noises when opening the mouth, or headaches and neck pain. We can help identify the source of the pain with a thorough exam and appropriate x-rays. The pain may be from a sinus problem, a toothache or an early stage of periodontal disease. For some types of pain, the cause is not easily diagnosed. The pain may be related to the facial muscles, the jaw or the TM joint (jaw joint), and can be caused by the way the upper and lower teeth fit together (the bite). Stress and teeth grinding are also possible factors. Temporary treatment of TM joint pain can include a soft diet, moist heat and anti-inflammatory medications (i.e. Ibuprofen). It is important that we evaluate the pain to determine the actual cause and proper treatment.
Most people do not have room in their mouths for their third molars (wisdom teeth). This can result in a variety of problems – or none at all. Pain could be caused because the teeth have emerged but, because they are difficult to clean, they may have decay. Pain can also be caused because the wisdom teeth are pressing against other teeth or your jaw and they can’t properly emerge. Or you may be experiencing pain because of cysts around your wisdom teeth. We can usually pinpoint the cause during an exam or with x-rays. Depending on the situation, the teeth may just need a filling or crown like any other tooth or they may need to be extracted.
Cavities are holes in your teeth created by decay. Untreated cavities generally grow larger leading to pain, sensitivity, and further damage to the tooth. Treating large cavities is significantly more complicated than treating small cavities. So it is very important to catch and treat cavities while they are small and can be filled to restore the strength, comfort, and health of the tooth.
Sore spots or cankers in your mouth are not fully understood. Potential causes include stress, food allergies, poor nutrition, hormonal changes in women, mouth injuries, and side-effects from other medications. Cankers can also be related to and indicate the presence of more serious illness. If the sores heal within a few days you don’t generally need to do anything else. But if they recur or don’t seem to heal you may want to see your dentist or doctor. If the sores are uncomfortable, try rinsing your mouth with salt water (1/2 tsp salt to 8oz of water). If that doesn’t help, we can suggest other treatments to minimize discomfort.
Burning mouth syndrome is a painful and frustrating condition that can include a dry or sore mouth, numbness and tingling, and a bitter metallic taste. The most common causes include menopause, diabetes, nutritional deficiencies, oral yeast infections, cancer therapy (radiation or chemotherapy), and psychological problems. Treatments include altering your diet, medications, elimination of certain mouthwashes and acidic liquids, and anti-fungal agents. If we believe the symptoms are caused by non-dental issues we will refer you to your physician.
Bleeding gums are a sign of gingivitis or infection of the gums. For women this can be made worse by hormonal changes. Bleeding gums can usually be treated with a cleaning and follow up brushing and flossing. Gum disease has been connected to heart disease, diabetes and preterm birth in pregnant women - so though it may seem like a minor inconvenience, bleeding gums can be a sign of more serious problems. We will conduct an evaluation to determine why your gums are bleeding and to treat any gum disease.
Gasping for air and not breathing during sleep are signs of sleep apnea. Millions of people have undiagnosed sleep apnea, and the results are significant health issues and early deaths. The most common treatment is to sleep with a CPAP machine or a small oral appliance. If you suspect you have sleep apnea you need to begin by having a sleep evaluation in our office or at your doctor. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, Dr. Corwin, one of few members of The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine in Maine, can fabricate an oral appliance to help you manage the condition.
Millions of people have undiagnosed sleep apnea, and the results are significant health issues and early deaths. There are treatments to manage sleep apnea. The most common treatments are either a CPAP machine, or a small oral appliance that we can make for you. Dr. Corwin is one of few members of The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine in Maine with the training to fabricate the correct oral appliance for you and manage its use. Diagnosis is the first step. Our simple sleep evaluation can start you on the path to better sleep and a healthier, longer life.
Receding gums are typically a sign of damage to the bone that holds the teeth or of teeth grinding. A gum exam and x rays are required to fully diagnose the cause and treatment of this condition. If you grind your teeth at night, treatment will include a nightguard.
Dirty teeth are typically caused by poor brushing, long times between dental cleanings, stains related to your diet or other causes, and genetic factors. Having your teeth professionally cleaned is the first step to better looking teeth. Most people follow the recommended cleaning schedule of every 6 months. But a few people prefer more or less frequent cleanings. In a few people regular cleanings need to include work beneath your gums and polishing. Our doctors need to fully examine your teeth and gums and usually take x rays to recommend a cleaning plan that is right for you. In addition to improving your smile, cleanings can treat and prevent disease. There is a strong connection between gum disease and heart disease, diabetes and premature or preterm birth. So getting your teeth cleaned really can be the difference between life and death!
Stains can be caused by many things including coffee, tea, foods with pigment, and by some over the counter tooth products. Cavities and old failing fillings can also give stain a place to start. Treatments can include a simple whitening (or bleaching) system from our office or the use of veneers, crowns, tooth colored fillings, or other cosmetic procedures.
Everyone’s teeth darken with age. Permanent teeth are darker than baby teeth. Old tooth colored fillings stain with time. You can whiten your teeth with an at home bleaching system available in our office. Sometimes old fillings and crowns will not whiten as much as the natural enamel. Before you start bleaching your teeth we will evaluate your teeth and gums to determine if any restorations will need to be corrected as part of the whitening procedure.
Missing teeth, whether caused by an accident, an extraction, or genetics, creates a space in your mouth that will lead to shifting teeth, increased stress on remaining teeth, and the gradual breakdown of your teeth and gums. For the long term health and stability of your mouth, it is important to replace missing teeth. There are 3 ways to replace missing teeth. Dental implants are the most like natural teeth, while fixed bridgework is a close second. Removable partial dentures are an option when implants or bridgework is not desired or possible. We can evaluate your situation and discuss which option will work best for you.
Grinding or clenching, also called bruxism, is a common problem. Though it is often painless it can cause long-term damage to your teeth, facial muscles, or jaw joint. Grinding and clenching can cause sensitive teeth (often to cold), aching muscles, or joint pain and should be evaluated by a dentist. If you grind at night, we may suggest a night guard to help manage your bruxism.
Jaw clicking and popping is often a sign of an internal problem of the TM joint (jaw joint). The click is the result of the cartilage disc on top of the lower jaw popping on and off the bone. This can be the result of trauma (i.e. a car accident or injury) but is most likely the result of a chronic “micro” trauma from excessive force on the joint because of jaw clenching and grinding. It is important to see a dentist to determine the exact cause and explore possible treatments. Without intervention the problem can get worse leading to jaw locking or pain. There are techniques we can use to adjust your bite and improve the clicking and popping.
A smile makeover is a great way to improve your appearance, your confidence, and your health. There are a variety of factors to consider when doing a smile makeover and it’s key to talk with your dentist about your concerns, your goals, and the available options. The first step is a detailed exam to identify specific opportunities to improve your smile. After the exam we can present options and develop an appropriate plan.
Over time your teeth may become chipped and worn. And though the function or health may not be impaired, worn teeth are not very attractive or professional looking. There are many cosmetic techniques to restore your mouth to an attractive, functional, and long lasting smile. Cosmetic contouring, resin bonding, porcelain veneers, or crowns are all possibilities. We can evaluate your situation, discuss your options, and bring back the beauty, health, and function of your teeth.
Crooked teeth are often unattractive and may be more likely to chip or crack. Invisalign treatment (a series of retainers used to move teeth) can straighten teeth in some cases. And for minor cases, veneers or crowns may straighten the appearance. But more often the adjustment of teeth will require an orthodontist (a specialist in moving teeth and their bony support). A thorough evaluation of your teeth, gums, and jaw is always needed prior to moving teeth. In a complete exam we can discuss the best options for you.
A rough tooth is generally the result of some chipping, cracking, or wearing that could be normal wear and tear or could be due to decay or grinding. To minimize the risk of teeth breaking it is important to have them checked out. If the rough teeth are unhealthy or are bothering you, solutions may include smoothing the tooth out or using a tooth colored filling or crown.
A dry mouth is usually a symptom or side–effect of something else impacting your health. Dental issues that cause dry mouth include oral yeast infections, chronic tooth decay, periodontal disease, and burning mouth syndrome. Other causes include prescription medicine, radiation treatments for cancer, salivary diseases, and autoimmune diseases. Treatments usually address the underlying cause and can also include increasing fluid intake, using artificial saliva, chewing xylitol gum or candy, taking frequent sips of water, using alcohol-free rinses, and restricting caffeine intake. If you are experiencing a dry mouth we will help you pinpoint the cause and then develop a plan to help you.
Bad breath has many causes. The most common cause is gum disease. Bacteria forms on the teeth and under the gums leading to infection and destruction of the tissues. This condition can be treated with periodontal or gum therapy. We will discuss these treatments with you after evaluating your gums and the supporting bony tissues. Once the bacteria have been successfully eliminated your bad breath will most likely be gone.
CPAP is the primary treatment for sleep apnea but many people struggle to use CPAP or just can’t. Fortunately there is an alternative. Oral appliances have been recommended by physicians at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea who don’t want to use CPAP. For severe cases, the Academy recognizes some benefits for sleep apnea patients who can’t use CPAP. Dr. Corwin is one of few members of The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine in Maine with the additional training to fabricate the correct type of oral appliance for you and manage its use. Our simple sleep evaluation can help us determine if an oral appliance is right for you and start you on the path to better sleep and a healthier, longer life.
Many people are uncertain about the safety of mercury amalgam fillings. Although there are no studies that show any danger from amalgam, we appreciate the concerns people have and we stopped using mercury many years ago. Besides the health concerns, silver fillings may stain your teeth over time. We are happy to replace silver fillings with composite resin, porcelain, or gold fillings.
Sealants are small conservative fillings placed in the grooves of teeth to prevent decay from invading deep tooth structures. Grooves in teeth are more likely to decay because they are difficult to clean. If not treated, decay widens and deepens and creates a cavity. Sealants are placed in teeth to prevent decay from forming deep in the grooves. Sealants are not permanent and may require replacement from time to time. Although optional, we will discuss sealants with you if you have deep grooves or a history of problems with decay.
Snoring is an annoyance, but it can also lead to damage in the carotid artery and an increase in the risk of strokes. Snoring is also the most obvious sign of life threatening obstructive sleep apnea. We can help you stop snoring, and just as important, we can help you find out if you have sleep apnea. Dr. Corwin is one of few members of The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine in Maine that has the additional training to fabricate the correct type of oral appliance for you and manage its use. Our simple sleep evaluation can start you on the path to better sleep and a healthier life.
We are happy to provide free second opinions on treatment recommendations you have received from another practice. Second opinions are frequently requested because dentistry is complex and there are usually several ways to accomplish things. Sometimes insurance requires a second opinion. Or perhaps the explanation of the treatment has left you confused. Whatever the situation our complementary review may help you make the right decision. Contact us anytime for an appointment.
- 650 Brighton Ave. Portland, ME 04102