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Mark Bornfeld, DDS
Mark Bornfeld, DDS, Dentist
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 6017
Experience:  Clinical instructor, NYU College of Dentistry; 37 years private practice experience in general dentistry, member Academy of General Dentistry, ADA
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I have sore gums and sensitive teeth ONLY on one side of my

Customer Question

I have sore gums and sensitive teeth ONLY on one side of my mouth. Please tell me how to take care of this problem. My dentist gave me tetracycline a seven day supply to take. It has now been 5 days and there has been NO improvement, none. Can you please help me so I can tell my dentist what to do?????
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Dental
Expert:  replied 6 years ago.
Welcome to JustAnswer, and thank you for putting your trust in me!

Because tooth sensitivity and gum soreness are both non-specific symptoms that could potentially signify a wide range of dental disorders, your first step would be to have your dentist (or some other dentist) implement a formal diagnostic protocol.

I will infer that there is some suspicion of inflammatory periodontal disease, based on your dentist's use of tetracycline. This broad-spectrum antibiotic is sometimes used as a adjunct as part of a more comprehensive plan for periodontal therapy. However, the important thing is that chemical management of periodontal disease is only a small part of periodontal therapy, and a small part of it, at that. Therefore, your failure to respond to a course of tetracycline does not in itself mean that you don't have periodontal disease. Of course, it doesn't mean that you have periodontal disease, either, so you must go back to fundamentals here.

Some dentists are better at diagnosing oral disease than others. If your dentist is unable to identify the cause for you symptoms, you stand a better chance of receiving satisfactory resolution of your problem by consulting with a specialist. Based on your symptoms, my feeling is that the most appropriate type of specialist with whom you should consult would be a periodontist. Your dentist can provide you with a referral, or you may consult the online directory of the American Academy of Periodontology.

Good luck!
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
the dentist I went to was new and she barely looked inside my mouth. She also tried to clean my teeth and the coldness of the instrument made my teeth hurt. She looked in my m outh and decided that I did not have any cavities. She prescribed the tetraclycline without knowing what was wrong with me at all. That was my first visit to a new dentist because I did not have to wait for an appointment.
Expert:  Mark Bornfeld, DDS replied 6 years ago.
Your dentist's de-emphasis on the diagnostic process is almost incontrovertible proof that... you will need to find a new dentist. It is impossible for any clinician to prescribe an appropriate therapeutic course of action without first determining what needs to be treated. It is fortunate that you don't have a long record of attendance at this dentist, because there is nothing lost (except the time and money spent to date) in finding another.

I would strongly recommend that you find another dentist and schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Until you can have your appointment, you will need to treat yourself symptomatically with oral analgesics, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, and avoid those activities or stimuli that provoke pain.

I believe in the principle of having a primary care dentist-- a general dentist who provides basic diagnostic and therapeutic service and serves as a "gate-keeper"-- a coordinator of the patient's specialist referrals. You will need to find such a dentist, because continuity of care is important for optimal care. However, based on your description above, it seems like seeking out a periodontist may still be the quickest path to resolving your current issue. To that end, I still recommend that you consult the American Academy of Periodontology web site to find contact information for a periodontist in your community.

Good luck! If my answer has been helpful, please remember to click "accept".
Thank you!