Your teeth are meant for more than just breaking down the food for digestion. They also play an important role in your overall appearance. Clean, white teeth and fresh breath can make a good impression anytime. Develop a beautiful smile without drilling holes in your wallet with our comprehensive help resources on common dental problems and oral health treatments. Get benefited from our vast dental health tips for better oral health.
We will collectively address all dental problems in this section so that it becomes easier for you to understand common issues and their triggers.
Symptoms of dental problems
Most people wait for symptoms or oral health problems to occur to visit a dentist. It is advised that one must go to a dentist annually if not quarterly. This helps in identifying underlying problems beforehand and prevent them. Meanwhile, here are some warning signs or symptoms that you are having a dental or oral problem as told by Dr. Payal Agarwal, Dental Surgeon- Periodontology & Implantology:
- Mouth sores and ulcers
- Swollen and bleeding gums
- Tooth sensitivity to cold or hot beverages
- Toothache or tooth pain
- Receding gums
- Dry mouth
- Loose teeth
- Bad breath
- Cracked or broken teeth
- Jaw clicking
- Pain while biting or chewing
- Swollen cheeks and face
While these are common symptoms, if you suffer from fever and facial or neck inflammation, it could be a serious condition. Seek immediate medical attention for the symptoms and get treated.
Causes of dental problems
Your mouth is a hub of bacteria and viruses. Some are good bacteria that buildup the flora of the mouth while some bad bacteria and viruses enter the mouth through the food we eat. Small quantities of these microorganisms are fine and harmless but when they multiply, it can cause oral problems. Consuming sugary foods can increase bacteria in the mouth that release acid. This acid can cause oral cavities and dissolve tooth enamel.
Similarly, bacteria inside the mouth can cause plaque build-up. Over time, this plaque accumulates at the gum line, it hardens and migrates towards the tooth. This can cause gum inflammation that leads to gingivitis. Thus, it is important to brush and floss your teeth daily.
Long-term gum inflammation can cause periodontitis where pus gets collected in between teeth and gums due to the gap created by inflammation.
The other causes of dental problems are:
- Not brushing regularly
- Consuming sugary foods and beverages
- Hormonal changes
- Heartburn or acid reflux
- Certain medicines that cause dryness in the mouth
- Genetics or family history
Common Dental Problems
There are different dental and oral health problems that are caused differently. When a person doesn’t take proper care of their teeth and oral health, they are highly likely to get affected by multiple dental problems. Oral hygiene can prevent most issues but you may experience one or the other dental issue in your lifetime. Here are some common dental problems that people suffer from.
Cavities are also known as tooth decay or caries. This is highly common as it causes decaying of the tooth due to excess sugar consumption, aerated beverages or soda drinks, etc. These damage your tooth and create a cavity that looks like a hole in your tooth. Initially, plaque is formed on the tooth and it starts to damage the tooth gradually. If not treated on time, this can cause permanent damage to your tooth.
Gum disease (gingivitis)
This is the gum inflammation or swollen gums problems that eventually lead to gingivitis over time(if left untreated). This is also caused by plaque build up when people don’t brush and floss their teeth regularly. So, when you brush after several days, it may cause swelling in your gums followed by bleeding.
This is a severe form of gingivitis wherein untreated gum infection can progress to severe infection that not only affects gums but spreads to jaws and bones. This can even generate an inflammatory response in the entire body.
Cracked or broken teeth
A broken or cracked tooth is another common dental issue that is caused due to several factors including consumption of hard-to-chew foods, teeth grinding habit, mouth injury, etc. People ignore this to be a minor issue but it can trigger other major issues and so, getting it checked by a dentist is a must.
According to Dr. Neetha Shenoy, Lecturer, Dept. of Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics, Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Manipal, sensitivity is when you feel a tingling sensation or sharp pain after consuming something very cold or very hot. This could also be due to any underlying serious issue. The other term for tooth sensitivity is dentin hypersensitivity. This can also be caused after a dental treatment but other reasons for this condition are receding gums, cracked teeth, gum disease, thinner enamel, etc.
This is not common but a chronic dental disease that includes cancers of the gums, tongue, cheek, lips, and mouth. Mostly, people who consume tobacco or smoke are at risk of developing oral cancer. This can only be identified by a dentist and one should not ignore any unusual sign in their mouth that is signaling towards oral cancer.
How are dental and oral problems treated?
First and foremost, visit your dentist regularly to check your dental health. While you might be brushing and cleaning your teeth on a regular basis, professional cleaning should also be conducted on a regular basis. This helps in preventing any sort of plaque build up that can trigger oral problems. The other treatment options for various dental diseases are explained below.
For most problems, the initial solution is a professional dental cleaning. Only brushing daily is not sufficient to keep your teeth and gums clean. Due to our eating habits, tartar and plaque may accumulate on the teeth. To remove that and prevent oral problems, cleaning is a must. The dentist will clean your mouth to remove all the tartar and make your teeth healthy. Besides, deep cleaning is also done to remove tartar from the gumline which cannot be cleaned otherwise with regular brushing and cleaning methods.
This is also a dental cleaning procedure where your dentist would use fluoride to deep clean your teeth and gums. Fluoride is very effective in teeth cleaning as apart from cleaning, it also strengthens tooth enamel and prevents cavities. This treatment is best for people who tend to get cavities faster.
If there is any gum infection, dentists may prescribe antibiotics to you. This helps in killing the infection-causing bacteria and preventing them from spreading to teeth and jaws. Gels, oral tablets, mouth rinse, etc. are some antibiotic products.
Fillings and crowns
If there is a cavity then the dentist might fill it with amalgam or composite material to prevent further infection. This can be done to teeth that have minor damages, cracks or cavities. Filling prevents infection. Crown, on the other hand, is placed on a tooth to secure it. This helps in giving support to a cracked or broken tooth.
Root canal treatment
This is a popular dental treatment that is done to save a damaging tooth. This treatment is performed with precision as it is done deep inside the tooth and close to the nerve. When tooth decay reaches the nerve, a root canal is the only option to save a tooth. It takes several dental sessions to perform this treatment. After it is done, your doctor may ask you to get a crown to support the natural tooth that has become weak after the root canal. However, this depends on the condition of the tooth.
How to keep teeth and gums healthy?
Here are some tips that can help in preventing dental problems by keeping your teeth and gums healthy:
Brush your teeth twice daily. If you encounter dental problems often, use fluoride-based toothpaste. For sensitive teeth, ask your dentist to prescribe one for you.
Floss your teeth regularly as it helps in eliminating the hidden food particles, plaque in between your teeth. This prevents cavity.
Get dental cleaning done every six months by a professional. Besides, report your dentist about any unusual symptoms that you may see or experience in terms of oral health.
Prevent consumption of sugary foods and beverages. Limit them to once in a while.
Avoid tobacco and smoking if you don’t want to damage your teeth.