Although you shouldn’t, many people use pain as their guide for when they should see a dentist. And when you have a serious toothache, it’s hard to do anything else until that gets treated.

The problem is that toothaches can be very difficult to pinpoint. The pain might feel like it’s coming from an entirely different tooth than is really the problem. The source of pain may not even be in the teeth themselves. But because the patient is in so much pain, they demand action, and dentists, sometimes, respond by performing inappropriate procedures, including fillings, crowns, root canals, and even extractions unnecessarily.

That’s why we have invested in some of the most advanced dental technology to help us identify the source of your toothache so we can get it resolved with the right procedure the first time.

woman with toothache

Diagnodent Laser Cavity Detection

Many toothaches are caused by cavities. But not all cavities can be easily seen with the naked eye, on x-rays, or even with a magnified image from an intraoral camera. That’s why Diagnodent is a very helpful tool.

Using a laser, Diagnodent allows us to detect variations in density of your tooth. This can pinpoint areas of reduced density that can cause sensitivity to temperature or pressure. It can also detect cavities that look very small on the outside, but expand into larger, cavernous spaces inside the tooth. That way, we can find the toothaches caused by cavities that don’t look like cavities. Once we’ve identified the cavities, we might treat them with a tooth colored filling or dental crown as appropriate.

T-Scan Digital Bite Measurement

But cavities aren’t the only source of toothaches. Toothaches can sometimes be caused by teeth that are put under too much pressure by a bad bite or poorly fitted restoration. When the tooth gets irritated by pressure, you might not feel much at the moment there’s pressure. Instead, the pressure can cause the pulp inside the tooth to swell up and become inflamed. This creates a permanent state of very high pressure on the inside of the tooth, which leads to constant pain.

T-Scan allows us to measure the amount of bite force that each tooth experiences at several different places. The measurement allows us to see when and where excessive pressure develops. And because the measurements are taken in real time, T-Scan allows us to identify places where your tooth experiences excessive pressure only briefly before the bite pressure levels out. Once we have identified the source of your tooth pressure, we can determine whether the problem is local to the tooth or might be related to temporomandibular joint problems.

K-7 Temporomandibular Evaluation

The cause of your excessive bite pressure might not be the teeth themselves. Instead, it might be bite or jaw problems that cause your tooth pressure. To help us track down the cause of your bite pressure, we utilize the K-7 system. The K-7 actually combines three different measurements into a single comprehensive evaluation of your jaw joint system. Digital motion tracking allows us to determine whether your jaw is compensating for imbalance or displacement with irregular movement. Electromyography allows us to determine whether your muscles have acquired excess tension from the jaw joint imbalance. And electrosonography allows us to listen to your jaw joints with digital precision so that we can identify sounds of poor jaw function long before you could hear or feel them, and to characterize those sounds according to what type of dysfunction they might be related to.

Once we have identified the cause of your joint imbalance, we can make a treatment plan that will allow us to restore your bite to proper balance so that you will no longer experience these tooth pains.

CT Scan Imaging

A CT scan is something we will rarely recommend in tracking down a toothache, but it is part of our armamentarium for accurate diagnosis. A CT scan is essentially a series of x-rays from various angles that allows us to construct a highly detailed 3D model of your entire mouth and jaw. That way we can track down potential problems that will not show up in other ways.

Accurate Diagnosis and Accurate Treatment–No Guesswork

At Top Down Dental, we strive to provide the most accurate diagnosis of any oral health problem you may be facing, from a minor toothache to a major joint problem. That way you can get the right treatment for your condition every time.

If you have a toothache in San Jose or other symptom that you are having difficulty getting treated, please call (408) 354-5600 today for an appointment with Los Gatos dentist Dr. Nancy Nehawandian at Top Down Dental.