Maintaining healthy gums and teeth are a long-lasting commitment. The earlier you start with good oral habits such as brushing, flossing, and limiting your sugar intake, the better you’d be able to avoid costly dental procedures and long-term health-related issues. One way to keep dental problems away is to go for a routine dental check-up twice a year. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is another way to enjoy good oral health. Lastly, don’t ignore dental problems. If you have toothaches, it is best to get them checked as delays in treatment can cost you dearly.
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Common Dental Problems and Their Treatment
A toothache is a pain in or around a tooth and caused due to cavities, tooth decay, or infection. Toothaches are caused when the pulp nerve is irritated or infected by bacteria. The severity of the toothache can differ based on the cause. For example, temporary gum irritation can cause a minor toothache. But, if you notice any swelling or pus around the tooth or have a slight fever, it could be a sign of an abscess. In such a situation, it is best to see a doctor right away.
Treatment: A visit to the dentist is the best way to treat a toothache. The dentist will examine your teeth, gum and surrounding areas to determine the exact cause of pain and recommend treatments accordingly. If, however, visiting the dentist right away is not an option, you could take a painkiller to alleviate tooth pain and eat soft foods to ensure the toothache doesn’t worsen.
2. Tooth Decay (Cavities)
It is estimated that one out of four adults has an untreated cavity. Cavities are bad news as they damage the area in and around the tooth surface, resulting in tiny holes. It is one of the most common dental problems, especially among children. Cavities are a result of sticky bacteria (known as plaque) that coats the teeth, slowly destroying the tooth’s enamel. Adults can experience tooth decay at the gum line.
Treatment: The best way to stop cavities from spreading is to visit a dentist at the earliest. To avoid cavities, it is important to brush your teeth twice a day. Flossing, at least once a day, is also essential, plus use a mouthwash. Most importantly, avoid eating processed food and sugary beverages, as these are the main culprit that damages your tooth enamel, leading to cavities.
Further Reading: How To Brush Your Teeth: Effective Brushing Techniques (Infographic)
3. Tooth Sensitivity (dentin hypersensitivity)
If you have sensitive teeth, you may feel pain or discomfort after having hot or cold beverages or food items. Tooth sensitivity is also experienced after a root canal treatment or teeth filling. Other reasons for tooth sensitivity can be gum disease, receding gums, a cracked tooth, worn-down fillings or crowns. Also, some people have naturally sensitive teeth due to the thinner tooth enamel.
Treatment: A dentist may recommend specific brands of toothpaste and mouthwash for people with sensitive teeth. Sensitive teeth can also be treated through a change in your daily oral hygiene regime.
4. Tooth Erosion
The outer layer of teeth (called enamel), protects the inner layer of the tooth, namely the dentin and pulp. Tooth enamel is the first line of defence against tooth decay. However, over the years, the tooth enamel can wear off due to the presence of bacteria in the mouth that thrives on sugar. This acid attack by the bacteria can eat away at the enamel, leading to tooth erosion. The teeth problems caused by tooth erosion can range from teeth sensitivity to other severe dental problems.
Treatment: Tooth erosion can be easily prevented with the right oral care. This includes brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash daily. Routine dental check-ups and teeth cleaning also helps. Plus, avoid highly acidic foods and drinks. Instead, eat foods that are good for your teeth and overall general health.
Further Reading: Best And Worst Foods For Your Teeth [Infographic]
5. Discoloured (Stained) Teeth
There are numerous reasons why your teeth may get discoloured. The primary reasons are the food you eat, tobacco, smoking and excessive drinking. Teeth can also lose their shine and lustre due to medication. Plus, they can naturally lose their shine or become stained due to age.
Treatment: Professional teeth whitening is the best option available for treating discoloured teeth. Here, you have the option of in-office bleach or at-home bleach.
6. Gum (Periodontal) Disease
Are your gums tender? Do they bleed? Gum disease is when an infection grows around your teeth in the gums. It is one of the prime causes of adult tooth loss. Smoking plays a significant risk factor, however, gum disease is extremely common after the age of 30. The main symptoms of gum disease are bad breath, sensitive teeth, pain while chewing, and red, swollen, tender or bleeding gums. An advanced gum disease known as Periodontitis can lead to tooth loss and other serious health complications.
Treatment: Visit the dentist for a Periodontal exam. Regularly brush and floss your teeth to prevent gum problems. Plus, to avoid losing a tooth, visit the dentist as soon as you experience any symptoms.
7. Mouth Sores
Mouth sores are a common ailment that affects many people at some point in their lives. They are also called canker sores and fever blisters/cold sores.
Treatment: Mouth sores aren’t usually something to worry about unless they last for more than two weeks. In extreme cases, they can lead to mouth cancer or an infection from a virus, such as herpes simplex. This needs further treatment.
8. Dry Mouth
The saliva in the mouth is a natural defence against tooth decay. Lack of moisture can lead to various dental issues. Dry mouth is often a side-effect of some medication. Other reasons for a dry mouth could be tobacco or smoking. A dry mouth can also lead to bad breath.
Treatment: Staying hydrated is important to prevent dry mouth. Also, limit your intake of caffeine and tobacco. Moreover, a salivary test can help in preventing dental treatment planning.
9. Halitosis (Bad Breath)
Though not a serious dental problem, halitosis (bad breath) can be embarrassing. It could be due to dental conditions such as gum disease, cavities, oral cancer, dry mouth or bacteria in the mouth
Treatment: Use mouthwash as a bad breathe cure if the symptoms are mild. However, for constant bad breath, it is advisable to consult with a dentist to discern the reason behind it.
10. Root Infection
Root infection occurs when the bacteria infect the roots of your tooth. It can be extremely painful, and if not treated at the earliest, could lead to tooth loss. Sometimes you may dismiss the discomfort caused by the infection, thinking it is a regular toothache. However, eventually, an abscess will form in the affected area to indicate an infection.
Treatment: For root infection, you need to undergo Endodontic treatment (root canal treatment), in which the dentist removes the affected tissues. This treatment will clean the inner infection and seal the tooth, thereby protecting your tooth from subsequent infections.
11. Wisdom Teeth
This is another common dental problem. Most people have at least one wisdom tooth that is impacted or partially grown. Some of the issues caused by a wisdom tooth are cavities, damage to neighbouring teeth, and gum disease.
Treatment: Wisdom teeth generally come in at the age of 17-25. If they cause severe discomfort, wisdom tooth extraction is the best option.
12. Chipped/Broken/Cracked Tooth
You could be playing a sport without a mouthguard, chomping on some candy, or have an accidental fall, all of this could lead to a cracked tooth. In most cases, cracked/chipped/broken tooth requires emergency dental care. Until you visit the dentist, it is advisable to eat soft food. To bring down the swelling, you could also apply a cold pack.
Treatment: In the case of a cracked tooth, a dental crown is used to prevent the crack from worsening. If the crack is above the gum line, you may need to get a root canal along with a crown. A deeply cracked tooth could even mean tooth loss, in which case the dentist might recommend a dental implant.
13. Impacted Tooth
A permanent tooth that doesn’t grow properly is called “impacted.” It usually occurs because of crowding, lack of space or when a tooth is stuck against another tooth, bone, or soft tissue.
Treatment: If it isn’t hurting you, a dentist may recommend leaving it alone. But if it hurts or may cause problems later on, surgical removal of impacted teeth is often recommended.
14. Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding, also known as Bruxism, is a condition that can affect adults and children and can occur during the day or night. In this condition, you grind, gnash or clench your teeth. Stress, misaligned teeth or sleep issues are the main culprits.
Treatment: Sleep bruxism is considered a sleep-related disorder that can affect adults and children. If you clench or grind them during sleep, ask your dentist to fit you with a mouthguard.
15. Crooked Teeth
Straightening crooked teeth and aligning your bite is a key part of improving your overall dental health. It can also help relieve symptoms like jaw pain.
Treatment: An orthodontist may use metal braces, trays, aligners or retainers to straighten your teeth.
16. Gap Between Teeth
A gap between teeth may not seem like a problem, but it can affect your smile. Small gaps are hardly noticeable. However, large gaps can make you conscious and lower your confidence.
Treatment: To fix the gap in your teeth, you may need a smile makeover. This will help fix your teeth, moving them closer through composite bonding or other techniques.
17. Teeth Crowding
Teeth crowding can cause alignment issues leading to jaw problems and misaligned bites. The causes of dental crowding could be genetics, a smaller jaw or losing your baby teeth too early.
Treatment: Braces are the go-to treatment option for teeth crowding. It is used for both aesthetic and functional reasons. While primarily it used to treat teeth crowding issues in kids, adults braces are also available to treat the gap between the teeth, and for crooked and crowded teeth.
18. Missing Teeth
Missing one or more teeth may affect your speech and the way you eat. With missing teeth, it may become harder or uncomfortable to chew properly. Over time, it could cause other dental Missing teeth can change the shape of your jaw, causing your mouth to shift. You bite may also change to compensate for the extra room. This leads to other teeth problems such as tooth sensitivity, tooth grinding, and difficulty chewing.
Treatment: Dental bridges, dental implants, or dentures are a few possible treatments for missing teeth.
Preventive dentistry is the best way to stay away from common dental problems. Brushing, flossing, practising oral hygiene, and regular dental check-ups are a few tips that you should follow to maintain good oral health. This will, in turn, help you to improve your overall general health.
For more information, you can get in touch with a dentist at Sunshine Coast.
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