Why are my teeth so sensitive?

If you suffer from sensitive teeth, you’re not alone: tooth sensitivity is one of the most common dental complaints we hear from our patients. Maybe your teeth hurt when you drink cold water, eat hot foods, or even just when you take a deep breath and the air hits them. Whatever the cause of your sensitive teeth, it’s likely we can recommend a treatment and care plan that will lessen or eliminate the sensitivity.

From our team at Tim Chauvin D.D.S. & Associates, here’s what to know.

Reasons for Tooth Sensitivity

First, it may be helpful to understand the basic structure of your teeth. You probably know that a strong layer of enamel is what protects the surface of your teeth. Underneath the enamel is another layer called cementum, and under that is a layer called dentin. Dentin is made up of many tiny tubes, and if you’re suffering from tooth sensitivity, it means the protective covering of your teeth has been compromised and these tubes are allowing sensations to travel to the nerves in your teeth.

Some potential causes of enamel breakdown include:

  • tooth decay,
  • a cracked tooth,
  • worn fillings,
  • improper oral hygiene, and
  • gingivitis (early gum disease)

It could also be that you have a cavity that needs to be treated, or maybe you’re experiencing a reaction to at­ home bleaching or whitening products. Because there are so many different causes and it’s important to directly treat the cause of your issue, you should schedule a visit with your dentist before starting any self ­treatments.

In more serious cases, you may require surgery like a root canal or gum graft.

Can You Prevent Tooth Sensitivity?

It’s possible to prevent or limit tooth sensitivity by using these tips:

  • Practice proper oral hygiene. Floss and brush twice a day; brush your teeth in a gentle, circular motion.
  • Use a soft­ bristled toothbrush.
  • Limit acidic foods and drinks (examples: soda, oranges). If you’re going to drink them, use a straw to limit the exposure to your teeth and drink water after to re­balance. Don’t brush your teeth directly after consuming acidic foods or beverages, as this can contribute to enamel breakdown.
  • Use a desensitizing toothpaste as part of your oral regimen.
  • If you grind your teeth, get a mouth guard to protect teeth from unnecessary wear and tear. These are available over ­the ­counter, or visit us to be professionally fit for one.

Contact Our Lafayette Dentist Today!

One of our dentists at Chauvin Dental will be able to examine your teeth, diagnose your problem, and then recommend an appropriate plan of treatment. Depending on what’s causing your sensitive teeth, the dentist may recommend at­ home or in ­office topical treatments or a procedure like a filling or crown. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!

Your childs first dental visit and what to expect

A common question that many new parents have is, “At what age do I take my child to the dentist?”

The answer is that your child should see the dentist for the first time by their first birthday. That may seem early, but considering that some children develop cavities before they’re age two, it’s not entirely outlandish. National studies have shown that 1 in 4 kids have a cavity by age 4! And decay in baby teeth actually increases the risk of having decay in their permanent teeth.

Read on to learn more about your child’s first dentist visit from Lafayette dentist Dr. Tim Chauvin.

Finding a pediatric dentist

Pediatric dentists actually have additional schooling beyond the average dental degree. Working with children is completely different than working with adults!

So even if you want to bring your child to your dentist for the sake of ease, it’s better to find a dedicated pediatric dentist in your area. In addition to the specialization, they’ll have a more kid-friendly environment, and the sight of other children may put your child at ease.

What happens at the first dental visit?

The first dentist visit is important because it will evaluate your child’s risk for cavities. There is usually very little treatment. They’ll examine your child’s bite, check for decay, and look for potential gum, jaw, teeth, or other oral issues. If needed, they’ll do a teeth cleaning, and determine whether or not your child needs fluoride.

Depending on the dentist, you may be asked to hold your child or wait in the waiting room. The ultimate goal is to build a relationship between child and dentist – that way they aren’t scared of going to the dentist, a problem affecting up to 75% of adults!

Their dentist will also cover some topics with you, including:

  • How to properly care for your baby/toddler’s mouth
  • How to properly use fluoride
  • Ways to prevent accidents that could damage their teeth
  • What oral habits to watch out for and curb (thumb/finger sucking)
  • Teething milestones
  • The link between oral health and a proper diet

What happens after the first dental visit?

After the assessment, the dentist will set up a schedule for visits. It will depend on the state of your child’s teeth and if they are at risk for any dental issues. Typically, children should be seen every 6 months. As time goes on, that schedule may change.

In between visits, make sure to care properly for your child’s teeth. If they’re under age 8, you should help them with their teeth cleaning.

Contact Dr. Tim Chauvin’s Office Today

 Need to find a dentist for your child? Our team at Tim Chauvin, DDS & Associates is here to help make sure your little one keeps their teeth and mouth giving you the beautiful smile you love! Call us today to set up an appointment.

How Pregnancy Affects Dental Health

Pregnancy is an exciting time in a woman’s life that brings many changes along with it. While symptoms such as morning sickness and swollen feet are more widely publicized, pregnancy can also affect dental health in different ways. If you think or know you are expecting, it’s best to tell your dentist as soon as possible so that together, you can plan your care accordingly.

Pregnancy causes a surge in hormones, which can allow plaque to build up faster than usual and increase a woman’s chances of developing gum disease. Another issue many pregnant women experience is gum tenderness or sensitivity, or gums that bleed easily. This is also referred to as “pregnancy gingivitis.” Pregnant women are at a higher risk for dental problems and in some cases, issues with teeth or gums can cause babies to be born preterm. It’s important to treat problems appropriately to avoid the risk of affecting the baby’s health.

From Lafayette dentist Dr. Chauvin, here’s what to know about dental health during pregnancy.

Professional Dental Care

If you need dental work while pregnant, the ideal time to have it is during the second trimester. Your baby is developing rapidly during the first trimester, and it’s best to postpone dental treatments until after, if possible. However, don’t delay in seeking emergency care if you have a true dental emergency.

It’s absolutely safe to continue your standard cleaning appointments with your dentist. While optional dental work should typically be postponed until after pregnancy, ask your dentist if you have questions.

At-Home Dental Care

If you’re experiencing morning sickness, try to swish afterward with water and a teaspoon of baking soda. This will help counteract the acid exposure on your teeth. Avoid brushing right after vomiting so as not to destroy your teeth enamel – try to wait about an hour before you brush.

Continue to follow your at-home dental care plan, which should include brushing gently twice a day and flossing once a day. If you don’t use a mouthwash already, you may want to consider adding one to your routine.

Diet and Lifestyle Changes

Your baby’s teeth begin to develop around the end of the first trimester, and your diet plays a big role in your baby’s health. Evaluate what you eat, and try to especially limit or avoid sugary foods. Sugar is the main cause of dental decay and gum disease.  Good sources of nutrition to consider include: fruits, veggies, whole grains, and healthy protein choices. Talk to your doctor about taking a prenatal vitamin, and remember to drink lots of water.

Schedule an Appointment with Dr. Chauvin

With a little bit of planning, you can help ensure your teeth are the least of your concerns during your pregnancy. As always, come see us at Chauvin Dental if you have any questions during this exciting time in your life!


5 Tips for Preventing Gum Disease

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, occurs when the tissues within the mouth become inflamed or infected.

Gum disease is generally separated into two categories: gingivitis, which refers to inflammation in the early stages of gum disease, and periodontitis, which is when damage happens to the gum tissue. While gingivitis is highly treatable if caught early, periodontitis is the leading cause of tooth loss in the adult population, making it essential to prevent gingivitis from advancing.

From leading Lafayette dentist Dr. Tim Chauvin, here’s what you need to know about gum disease and how to prevent it.

Preventing gum disease in Louisiana

Because most cases of gum disease are caused by plaque buildup, the ways we recommend to prevent it typically center around reducing or removing plaque buildup from the mouth.

Here are 5 tips you can use to prevent gum disease:

  1. Lessen your sugar intake. Sugar is a leading cause of tooth decay and when you consume sugary foods, the bad bacteria in your mouth multiply rapidly. Even worse, sticky candies can stay on the teeth surfaces for long periods of time, making it even more risky. Consider swapping out sugary foods and drinks for healthier choices and if you must satisfy your sweet tooth, choose items like chocolate that melt fast and won’t stick on your teeth.
  2. Stop smoking. Smoking, or use of any tobacco products, greatly increases your chance of developing gum disease and oral cancer. In addition, smokers have a harder time healing from dental procedures and when they get gum disease, it’s harder to treat than in non-smokers. Even if you’ve been a lifelong smoker, you can still reap many health benefits by quitting today.
  3. Make proper at-home dental hygiene an integral part of your routine. A solid at-home regimen is a crucial part of preventing gum disease. You should be brushing twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and flossing at least once a day.
  4. Visit your dentist at least twice a year. Even if you’ve got no problems with your mouth, you should still go in for regular dental checkups. Your dentist and hygienist will be able to remove more plaque with their instruments than you can with your toothbrush. You will also have regular X-rays to monitor your oral health.
  5. Know and manage your risk factors. Managing your overall wellness is key to making sure your teeth stay healthy. Speak with your dentist about how any diseases or medications you have may affect your oral health. For example, if you’re diabetic, it’s important to keep your blood sugar well controlled so you’re not at increased risk for dental issues.

Make an appointment with Dr. Chauvin Today

Gum disease is very common and usually quite treatable. Be sure to take steps within your control to lessen your risk and see your dentist regularly to be sure your oral health is on track. Contact the highly skilled team at Chauvin Dental if you have any questions about preventing gum disease or any other oral health questions!

Choosing the right mouthwash

We’ve talked toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss – but what about mouthwash? If you’d like to add a mouthwash or rinse to your oral care routine, it’s important to be aware of just what a mouthwash or rinse does. Some freshen breath, others provide an anti-cavity benefit from fluoride, while others contain germ-killing ingredients to help prevent plaque buildup.

You have many options, and the right mouthwash or rinse for you is the one that meets your dental hygiene needs for the health of your teeth and gums, and taste preference. Of course, mouthwash should be used along with other oral hygiene practices, but when used together with flossing and brushing, it can help to keep the entire mouth healthy. However, it can often be difficult to choose the best mouthwash for you and your oral needs. Dr. Chauvin and his team in Lafayette, Louisiana,  can offer some suggestions for choosing the correct mouthwash.

Types of mouthwash

  • Fluoride mouthwash:
    • Recommended for those who are cavity-prone. In the United States, tap water contains small amounts of fluoride in order to promote dental health for society as a whole. However, for those who need extra protection, a fluoride mouthwash can create a protective film over the teeth.
  • Antibacterial mouthwash:
    • This type contains chemicals to help fight against gum disease and other infections. Mouthwashes made specifically to fight bacteria can be a great preventive method for developing infections in the mouth. However, if an infection is already present, a dentist can prescribe a more powerful antibacterial mouthwash to treat the infection and prevent it from spreading.
  • Alcohol Mouthwash:
    • This type works as an antiseptic. It clears the mouth of germs and some viral infections (that’s where the burning sensation comes from). However, if you have issues relating to dry mouth, alcohol can exacerbate the problem. If this is the case, consider using an alcohol-free mouthwash. This will free your mouth from the drying effects of the alcohol base.

Schedule an appointment with Lafayette dentist Dr. Chauvin today

Remember that mouthwashes are to be used as one part of an entire oral hygiene program. Visiting Dr. Chauvin twice a year, brushing and flossing daily, along with using mouthwash are all necessary aspects of a full oral hygiene program. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.

Importance of Screening for Oral Cancer

Did you know that oral cancer is one of the deadliest diseases in the United States? Oral cancer has an incredibly high mortality rate, with half of all patients diagnosed dying as a result of their disease. Often oral cancer is only discovered when the cancer has made its way to another location, usually the lymph nodes of the neck. Prognosis at this stage is significantly worse than when it is caught early because in its early stages it may not be noticed by the patient due to its lack of pain or symptoms.

The good news is that when caught early, oral cancer has one of the highest survival rates of other cancers. More than 8 out of 10 oral cancer patients will survive the disease with early detection.

From Dr. Tim Chauvin in Lafayette, here’s what you need to know about oral cancer.

Am I at risk for oral cancer?

Some people are more at risk for oral cancer than others. For example, men tend to be more susceptible than women.

Other common risks include:

  • Age of 40+
  • Smoking
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • HPV
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Prologued sun exposure

People who have been diagnosed with oral cancer usually have at least one of these risk factors, but there is a growing rate of people who are diagnosed with no risk factors at all.

This means that oral cancer screenings are still important in maintaining your overall health.

Oral Cancer Symptoms

Some symptoms of oral health can point to signs of oral cancer.

Your dentist will look out for the following symptoms at your appointments:

  • Red or white patches in your mouth
  • Spots that continuously bleed or don’t heal
  • Numbness or pain when you bite down on your teeth
  • A lump in the mouth, throat or on the lip
  • A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, or the lining of the mouth
  • Bleeding, pain, or numbness in the mouth
  • A sore throat that does not go away
  • Difficulty or pain when chewing or swallowing
  • Swelling of the jaw
  • A change (hoarseness) in the voice
  • Pain in the ear.

Oral Cancer Treatment and Prevention

The best way to prevent oral cancer is through regular oral cancer screenings during your checkups.

Your dentist won’t be able to diagnose you during the exam, but they will send a sample of your tissue to a lab to determine if it is cancer.

Make an appointment with Dr. Chauvin today

Once a dentist receives the lab results confirming oral cancer, they can start to treat the cancer before it progresses. Come into Dr. Chauvin’s office in Lafayette Louisiana today to get your oral cancer screening!



What happens when a filling falls out - dr chauvin lafayette louisiana dentist

What happens when a filling falls out?

How many of you has this happened to: sitting there eating, minding your own business, then feel something small, oddly-shaped, and hard in your mouth. There’s always that moment of panic, “Did I just lose a filling? Or is that something in the food?”

The good news is that usually there’s no need to panic! Be careful, though. It is possible to inadvertently inhale (which can lead to infection) or swallow the filling. 

From our team at Dr. Chauvin’s office here in Lafayette, Louisiana, here’s what to do when a filling falls out.

What to do when a filling falls out

There’s no need to save the filling unless it was gold or ceramic inlay, as your dentist may be able to put those back into place.

Most dentist offices have emergency appointment slots available for things like this. It’s very important to get in as soon as possible.

Depending on the location and depth of the filling that was lost, leaving it alone for too long could cause serious problems. After all, the inside of the tooth is exposed! If the pulp gets infected, you could be looking at a root canal or extraction!

Make sure you practice extremely good dental hygiene while waiting for your appointment. Brush the hole gently to remove debris, and rinse with warm saltwater after eating to prevent food buildup.

An appointment for a filling that has fallen out

Once you get to your appointment, your dentist will take an X-ray and take a look at the tooth.

If the tooth’s integrity is still largely intact, you’ll simply need a replacement filling and be on your way. If too much of the tooth is compromised, you’ll need a crown or cap. This just depends on how old the filling was and how well you’ve taken care of your teeth in the interim.

If it’s a fairly new filling, that means the filling never bonded to the tooth properly and your dentist should replace it free of charge or at a reduced rate.

Fillings don’t last forever, and during dental checkups, your dentist can identify open margins (if the filling has begun to separate from the tooth). When a filling isn’t sealed correctly, it creates a tiny gap that bacteria can enter. This opens the door to additional cavities or infections. A cavity forming behind a filling will most likely result in a root canal.

Schedule your appointment with Dr. Chauvin today

The key is being proactive – visit your dentist for regular checkups, especially if you’ve had dental work done before. At these appointments, your dentist will determine whether a filling replacement is necessary. Have you lost a filling? Call Dr. Chauvin’s office so we can get it fixed!

dr chauvin lafayette la dentist energy drinks affect dental health dr chauvin lafayette la dentist

How energy drinks affect dental health

You can’t walk into a gas station or grocery store without seeing an entire cooler (or sometimes several) devoted to energy drinks. They claim to have vitamins and other compounds that can give you the pick-me-up you need when your energy starts to flag.

Regardless of whether their ability to provide energy is true or not, there is one effect energy drinks definitely have on a person – they wear away your enamel. From celebrated Lafayette dentist Dr. Tim Chauvin, here’s what you need to know about how energy drinks affect dental health.

Citric Acid and Energy Drinks

Citric acid is a preservative and flavor enhancer that you find in many different things; fruit juice, soda, sports drinks, etc.

In energy drinks, it is found in much greater quantities, which is where the problem lies. Citric acid will eat away tooth enamel, which is what protects your teeth from decay. And tooth enamel does not grow back. Once it’s gone, that’s it.

Not only does this acid affect enamel, but it can also cause kidney stones and lead to the loss of bone mass – especially since people are drinking more energy drinks and less milk.

How do we know citric acid is bad for our teeth?

In order to measure the effects of citric acid on teeth, researchers took some sliced-up molars and exposed them to a variety of energy and sports drinks for 15 minutes. Then they exposed them to artificial saliva for two hours.

They repeated the process four times a day over the course of five days. They looked at pH, fluoride levels,and titratable acidity. Titratable acidity is, in a nutshell, how long it takes saliva to neutralize acid in the mouth.

Although both types of drinks removed enamel, they found that energy drinks did far more damage than sports drinks.

What does this mean for your dental health?

The American Beverage Association doesn’t want to point fingers at one specific type of drink for bad dental health.

It claims, “It is irresponsible to blame foods, beverages or any other single factor for enamel loss and tooth decay (dental caries or cavities).” And they go on to say that other factors such as a person’s dental hygiene behavior, lifestyle, diet, and genetic makeup, contribute to cavities on a case-by-case basis.

Regardless, the effect that energy drinks have on tooth enamel is astounding. It’s best to avoid them altogether – especially teenagers.

A good night’s sleep will be much better for them than an energy drink. The damage from the citric acid, caffeine, and sugar on a growing body is just not worth it.

Contact Dr. Chauvin Today

If you are concerned about your or your child’s dental health due to energy drink consumption, or any other dental issue for that matter, call Dr. Chauvin’s office to set up an appointment.

Is over brushing your teeth possible?

Have you ever heard of “toothbrush abrasion?” If you think that sounds like a complicated way to say “you’re brushing too hard,” you’d be right! Proper brushing technique is very easy, but a lot of us put way too much force into it. It is possible to have too much of a good thing!

From our experienced dentist Dr. Tim Chauvin in Lafayette, Louisiana, here’s what you need to know about brushing habits.

Are you over brushing?

Most people don’t even realize that they’re over-brushing. Here are some tips for proper brushing technique:

  • Don’t think of toothbrushing as scrubbing, think of it as massaging
  • Use a soft bristle brush (that you change out as soon as the bristles fray or become discolored, usually around 3-4 months, although some dentists recommend changing your brush every four weeks)
  • Have the bristles at a 45 degree angle from the gums, and if the bristles splay out, you’re applying too much pressure
  • Make small, circular motions – instead of just moving back and forth
  • Brush for a full two minutes

Many people don’t actually brush for this long, trying to compensate for the shortened time by applying more pressure. This does not work. In fact, brushing too hard can cause the following:

  • Wearing down the enamel of the teeth – ultimately resulting in sensitive teeth
  • Receding gums (which open the door to things like periodontal disease, cavities on the roots, etc)
  • Other damage to the tooth structure

In reality, plaque is very soft and could be removed with a rag! However, with all of the nooks and crannies in our teeth, it would be impossible to completely clean the surface, which is why we need toothbrushes.

How does over brushing damage the teeth?

If you were to take a new toothbrush and look at it under a microscope, you’d see that the nylon bristles (which have sharp jagged edges normally) have been rounded at the ends. This makes them way less abrasive. Over time, those rounded edges are worn away. Between those jagged edges, and the extra pressure, you are essentially sanding down your teeth. That’s why it’s so important to replace your brush often and use minimal pressure.

Contact Dr. Chauvin’s dental office in Lafayette today

Our teeth do not heal. The enamel does not grow back. If your teeth get damaged, a dentist is the only person that can fix it. That’s why it’s so important to take proper care of your teeth, and to maintain regular dental check-ups. A dentist will notice if problems start to develop long before they get serious, as long as you see them when you’re supposed to. So come in for an exam and let’s make sure everything is on the up and up!

How Smoking Affects the Teeth, Gums, and Tongue

At this point, it’s no secret that smoking is bad for you: even a pack of cigarettes comes with a boldly printed warning label saying as much. Although smoking does seem to be on a slow decline as far as people who are regular smokers, there are still a vast number of Americans who do smoke. According to the CDC, in 2015 almost 18% of Americans smoked. That’s over 42 million people! Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and is currently responsible for about 20% of deaths.

Nicotine is an incredibly addictive substance that, combined with the many other chemicals in tobacco products, can have some extremely powerful and negative effects on a person’s health. Most commonly, smoking causes lung cancer, but did you know it has strong effects on a smoker’s oral health too? Smoking, or using any tobacco products, does impact the teeth, gums, and tongue.

So how does smoking affect your oral health, specifically?

When we talk about smoking in this article, we are referring to tobacco products in general, including all smokeless products.

Tobacco consumption in general is harmful and can cause the negative side effects listed below:

  • Increased buildup of plaque
  • Yellow or discolored teeth
  • Stained tongue
  • Bad breath
  • Bone loss in the mouth/jaw
  • Gum disease that is more severe and harder to treat than in non-smokers
  • Poor results or healing with dental surgery/procedures, such as dental implants
  • Higher risk of gum disease and oral cancer
  • Gum irritation or sensitivity
  • Inability to taste foods
  • Tooth loss
  • Leukoplakia, or thick white patches in the mouth


If you are a smoker, share that information with your dentist and doctor. Your dentist may want to see you more often than twice a year to monitor your teeth and gums for any issues.

Although you may lessen the negative effects on your oral health by reducing the amount you smoke, the best thing to do is to quit smoking. Even if you have smoked for many years, you can still reap a multitude of health benefits by quitting now. There are many resources, medications, and over the counter products available through your doctor or community if you choose to quit.

And as always, whether you smoke or not – and perhaps it is of particular importance if you do – be sure to practice good dental hygiene. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss once a day, and visit your dentist at least twice a year for your scheduled cleanings.