Possible Causes of a Toothache

Possible causes of a toothache - Shreveport's Dentist Dr. KacosWhat Causes a Toothache?

Even with excellent oral hygiene habits that include brushing and flossing, a toothache can strike at any time. As an emergency dentist in Shreveport, LA, a toothache is one of our patients’ concerns most frequently. Determining your tooth pain can be difficult because you don’t know if it results from something minor or whether it is something more serious. Knowing what causes a toothache can allow for the right treatment plan to be worked up. In the article below, we explore some of the possible causes of a toothache. 


Toothaches are commonly caused by tooth decay. Cavities begin by eating away at your tooth enamel and eventually forming holes in the hard surface of your tooth. Over time, dental cavities form, which causes permanent damage to your teeth. So, how do you avoid getting cavities? Dr. Ben Kacos encourages all patients to stick to an oral hygiene routine and limit sugary drinks and snacks. Your hygiene routine should consist of brushing your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day and flossing daily. Dr. Chris Green, a family dentist in Denver, CO, recommends establishing a good oral hygiene regimen at a young age. This will help prevent future dental problems. 

Symptoms of a Cavity

Symptoms of gingivitis include:

  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums
  • Discolored gums
  • Tender gums
  • Receding gums
  • Swollen gums

When cavities and tooth decay progress further, periodontitis, also known as gingivitis, forms. The symptoms of periodontitis include these additional symptoms:

  • Painful chewing
  • Loose teeth
  • Abscessed teeth

Grinding Teeth

Teeth grinding or clenching occasionally happens to everyone. Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, is only a problem when it becomes a daily occurrence. You may be grinding your teeth because of additional life stressors or too much caffeine. If you believe you’re grinding your teeth, be sure to visit your dentist in Shreveport, LA.

Symptoms of Teeth Grinding

Regular teeth grinding can cause pain in both the teeth and the jaw. Dr. Kacos explains that other teeth grinding symptoms typically include headache, earache, facial pain, disrupted sleep, broken fillings or teeth, and worn-down teeth.

Tooth Abscess

Another common cause of toothache is a tooth abscess. This occurs when a bacterial infection causes a pocket of pus to form around the tooth. Tooth Abscesses can be extremely painful and can make it difficult to talk, eat, or drink. You’ll need to see a professional get rid of the infection. 

Symptoms of a Tooth Abscess

The symptoms of a tooth abscess are usually a lingering or throbbing pain. This can eventually spread to the jaw. You may experience swelling and sensitivity to hot or cold things. When a tooth abscess ruptures, the pain would be relieved, followed by a rush of salty fluid that both tastes and smells foul. If you have an abscessed tooth, contact your emergency dentist in Shreveport, LA, for an evaluation. We need to address your tooth infection immediately. 


Dental injuries are pretty common. If you experience a blow to the face or mouth due to an accident or sports injury, you may feel a little tenderness or discomfort. This is normal, but the severity of the trauma will determine if you need to see a dentist or not. A chipped tooth is relatively minor, so you won’t need to contact an emergency dentist. However, if you’ve knocked out your tooth or cracked your tooth, you should contact an emergency dentist. If treatment is delayed, you may need a tooth extraction. So, it’s important to visit an endodontist in Shreveport, LA. Note, they will do everything they can to save your tooth before recommending a tooth extraction. 

Sinus Pressure or Infection

When you experience sinus inflammation, you can feel an uncomfortable pressure in your face. This can put pressure on the teeth. The teeth that are likely to be affected are located in the back, closest to the sinuses. Seeing your doctor for a sinus infection will help relieve the pain. 

Visit Your Shreveport Dentist Regularly

Visiting the dentist regularly is crucial in preventing dental problems. Following a good oral hygiene regimen is also necessary. When you visit, Dr. Ben Kacos, one of our dental hygienists, will thoroughly clean your teeth and remove any built-up tartar. For dental care in Shreveport, LAcontact Dr. Kacos

Does a Tooth Extraction Hurt?

does a tooth extraction hurt? - Shreveport's Dentist Dr. KacosAsk Dr. Kacos: Does a Tooth Extraction Hurt?

Although the teeth are designed to last an entire lifetime, tooth extractions are among the more common dental procedures in America. The thought of having a tooth pulled out makes many cringe. Yet, most emergency dentists in Shreveport LA would rather find ways to save the tooth than remove it. However, some circumstances call for tooth extraction, and it is usually a simple and straightforward procedure. So, does a tooth extraction hurt?

It’s natural to be apprehensive of a procedure like a tooth extraction. Roughly 9% to 20% of Americans avoid going to the dentist due to dental anxiety. A lot more have to steel their nerves before getting into the dentist’s chair. However, extracting teeth is a relatively simple procedure, and your dentist can use either sedation or sleep dentistry in Shreveport to keep it entirely painless.

When Should I Have a Tooth Extracted?

Most dentists would rather save a damaged tooth than remove it, says Dr. Kacos, an endodontist in Shreveport, LA. Teeth that are broken or damaged by decay can be treated with dental crowns, fillings, or other treatments. However, if the tooth’s damage is severe and cannot be salvaged, it will have to be extracted. Here are a few scenarios where tooth extraction would be the best way to go:

Gum Disease

In its advanced stages, gum disease causes degeneration of the gum tissue, ligaments, and bones that surround the teeth. Without something strong to hold on to, the teeth will become loose, and they will have to be extracted before the condition is treated. Dr. Hoang, an emergency dentist in Bethlehem, GA, says that gum disease is one of the most common reasons for tooth extraction.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is the most common reason for tooth extraction, says Dr. Leeson, an emergency dentist in St. Petersburg. Decay starts at the enamel and eats its way down through the dentin and into the center of the tooth. Once bacteria reach the pulp at the center, it results in a tooth infection.

Baby Teeth

Your baby teeth didn’t fall out in time for the permanent teeth to come in.

Overcrowded Teeth

Overcrowded teeth which make it hard to bite and to brush and floss. Extracting a tooth or two will give the remaining teeth enough room to be pulled into proper alignment. Tooth extraction due to overcrowded teeth is mainly common among children and teenagers.

Impacted Teeth

Impacted teeth can either be partially erupted beyond the gum line or haven’t erupted at all. Overcrowded teeth can cause tooth impaction, a tooth that comes out twisted or at a wrong angle, or a tooth that comes in displaced. You can also have impacted teeth if your jawbone isn’t large enough to accommodate the erupting teeth. Wisdom teeth usually come out in the late teens, or early twenties can also become impacted and require extraction.

Broken Tooth

A tooth breaks near or at the gum line may not provide enough visible tooth structure for restoration measures like dental crowns. Such a tooth would have to be extracted.

Starting Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontic treatments like braces may need a few teeth to be extracted to provide room for the remaining teeth to be pulled into alignment. 

What is the Procedure Like?

Once your emergency dentist in Shreveport, LA, has determined that extracting your tooth is the way to go, he will thoroughly review your medical and dental history and take x-rays of your mouth. The x-rays will show your dentist the length, shape, and position of the affected tooth and the surrounding bone tissue. This will also determine the kind of anesthesia that will be administered to you before the procedure.

If you have any of the following conditions, please inform your dentist:

  • A congenital heart defect
  • Diabetes
  • Liver disease
  • Thyroid disease
  • Hypertension
  • An artificial joint
  • Renal disease
  • Damaged heart valves
  • An impaired immune system
  • History of bacterial endocarditis

Your dentist may prescribe you antibiotics in the days leading up to the extraction. Dr. Kacos, the best dentist in Shreveport LA, recommends avoiding tobacco in the days leading up to the procedure. If you have a cold or had nausea or vomiting the night before, tell your dentist as you may need to use different anesthesia or reschedule entirely. 

Simple vs. Surgical Tooth Extraction

Depending on whether your tooth is impacted or visible, the tooth extraction will be either surgical or simple. With a simple extraction, you will receive a local anesthetic that will numb the area around your tooth. There will be no pain, but you will feel pressure as the dentist uses a tool called an elevator to loosen the tooth and forceps to remove it.

For a surgical extraction, you will receive both local and intravenous anesthesia. You may also receive general anesthesia, which will render you unconscious if you have any medical conditions. The oral surgeon or Shreveport’s dentist will then cut a small incision into your gum, and they may have to cut the tooth as well or remove some of the bone around it before it can be extracted.

You will receive anesthesia before your procedure, whether it’s simple or surgical, so rest assured it would be pain-free. If you are receiving general anesthesia, make sure to have someone drive you home as it won’t have fully worn off once the procedure is complete. 

Visit Dr. Kacos for a Tooth Extraction in Shreveport 

Are you suffering from any of the symptoms above? Tooth extractions can help retain the integrity of your gums and jawbone before restorative measures like dental implants and crowns are taken. Contact Shreveport’s dentist, Dr. Kacos, today for a consultation.

Do I Need a Tooth Filling?

Do I Need a Tooth Filling

Do I Need A Tooth Filling?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about nine out of ten adults in the U.S. have suffered from dental caries. Many of these people go on to get fillings, but some people aren’t aware of this problem and it progresses to the level where they need to undergo a root canal. You don’t have to wait for a cavity to worsen to notice because there are many signs that can alert you of a cavity early on. In this article, Dr. Ben Kacos reveals some of those signs. 

Tooth Pain

If you develop tooth pain as you eat, this may be a warning sign that you have a cavity and need a tooth filling. If the pain is spontaneous, you may have a tooth infection that has spread to the pulp inside your tooth. To preserve that tooth, you may need to undergo root canal therapy which can be performed by Dr. Ben Kacos, an endodontist in Shreveport, LA.

Teeth Sensitivity

If your teeth are sensitive when you consume sugary substances, hot or cold things, then you may have cavities that have eaten into your tooth enamel. You’ll need to get a dental filling so that the gap created by the damage doesn’t worsen. We asked our friend, Dr. Kristina Neda, a dentist in Georgetown, KY, about tooth sensitivity and cavities. Dr. Neda says if you’re not sure if you have a cavity, visit your dentist. They’ll let you know if you have a cavity or just sensitive teeth. Make sure you get your filling if that’s the case. If you don’t get a filling, you’ll likely lose the whole tooth.

Dark Spots or Noticeable Holes

You may also need to see your dentist in Shreveport for a dental filling if you can see visible dark spots on your teeth or if you can feel holes on the surface of a tooth when you move your tongue over it. 

Bad Breath

The bacteria that eats into your teeth and causes cavities can also cause your breath to smell bad. Bad breath can be a sign that you need a dental filling even after you brush and floss regularly. 

Common Questions About Dental Fillings

These are some of the questions that patients frequently ask Dr. Ben Kacos about dental fillings.

Do Fillings Hurt?

Getting a dental filling doesn’t hurt because Dr. Ben Kacos uses a numbing mechanism so that you wont feel anything. The pain that you experience when you leave the hole in your tooth is far greater than any discomfort that you could ever feel during the process of getting a filling.

How Long Does the Procedure Take?

It requires approximately 30-60 minutes to get a filling at your Shreveport’s dentist. However, the time needed may increase if you have more than one tooth that needs a filling. Larger cavities also require more time, so the surest way to know how long your procedure will take is to talk to Dr. Ben Kacos before the procedure is scheduled.

Are Fillings Affordable?

Dental fillings have been around for hundreds of years and they have been getting more affordable over the years. For most people, their dental insurance is sufficient to cover the cost of this simple procedure. 

Does a Tooth Feel Different After a Filling?

Your teeth may feel different immediately after you have received dental fillings. However, this strange feeling will quickly disappear in a day or two.

Prevention Is Always Better

Many people don’t experience any of the symptoms discussed above until the cavities have become so large that they have reached the dental pulp. By that time, it may be too late to save the tooth or the necessary treatment may be costly and invasive.
Therefore, the best course of action is to do what you can to prevent having to get fillings. These preventive measures include brushing and flossing on a daily basis as well as visiting Dr. Ben  Kacos every six months for a checkup and teeth cleaning. The checkup provides a surefire way to catch cavities early, so make it a point to see Dr. Ben Kacos for your preventive dental care.


Can You Reverse Enamel Erosion?

Can You Reverse Enamel Erosion?

Can You Reverse Enamel Erosion?

Although it is the hardest substance in your body, yes it is even harder than your bones, the enamel is still prone to decay. Similar to bones, once it is gone, the portion lost cannot be replaced naturally and requires restorative dentistry. However, if it has weakened, its restoration is possible. In both cases, your local Shreveport dentist, Dr. Ben Kacos, is happy to find a solution not only for enamel erosion but also for any other dental troubles you might be facing.

What is tooth enamel, and what does it do?

Enamel is the outer shell, a thin layer, which covers the tooth crown and protects the more sensitive parts of the tooth. You can think of it as a barrier which shields the sensitive inner layers of your teeth from the adverse effects of acids, plaque, and other hot and cold foods. Enamel acts as an insulator against harmful temperatures and chemicals. Enamel also protects your teeth from daily wear and tear caused by chewing, biting, crunching, and grinding. Although it is very hard, it is still prone to chips, cracks, and decay. Since there are no living cells present in the enamel, once it’s chipped or cracked, the damage is permanent.

What are the causes of enamel erosion?

The primary cause of enamel erosion is the acid caused by bacteria present in the mouth, which can wear away the enamel on the teeth. Enamel erosion can also be caused by several other factors, some of which are:

  • Soft drinks: Soft drinks contain high levels of phosphoric and citric acids, both of which are harmful to the teeth and higher their consumption, higher the risk of enamel erosion.
  • Excessive consumption of fruit juices: Citric acid is high in fruit juices, and sometimes the acids in fruit drinks can be as erosive as battery acid.
  • Medical conditions: Some medical conditions like Acid reflux (GERD), gastrointestinal problems, and inherited genetic conditions also become the cause of enamel erosion.
  • Dry mouth: Also known as xerostomia, can cause enamel erosion. This is because saliva helps wash away bacteria and harmful acids, and less saliva means less protection from tooth decay.
  • Diet: A diet rich in sugar and starch can be a cause of enamel erosion as bacteria in the mouth feeds on sugary foods

How can you spot enamel erosion?

We asked our friend, Dr. Jordan Smith, a dentist in Georgetown, KY, about enamel erosion. Dr. Smith says it is imperative to identify and treat enamel erosion early on, and here are some indicators:

  • Yellow teeth: This shows that your enamel has become so thin that now you dentin (inner layer of the tooth) is visible, as yellow is the color of the dentin.
  • Sensitivity: If consuming hot and cold foods hurt your teeth, it means that your gum line has been exposed to air, and it is an indicator of enamel erosion.
  • Tooth fracturing: weaker enamel means weaker teeth, which increases the chances of cracks and fractures.
  • Spots: White spots indicate demineralization, and dark spots could be showing the presence of a cavity.

How to treat enamel loss?

The treatment of enamel loss depends on the problem and its severity. There are several options available when it comes to the treatment of enamel loss to restore its function. In less severe cases, tooth bonding can be used to protect the tooth and improve its cosmetic appearance.

In the case of severe enamel erosion resulting in significant enamel loss, we at Shreveport’s dentist usually recommend covering the damaged tooth with a dental crown or veneer to prevent it from further decay.