Your teeth can be under a lot of strain – chewing, grinding, talking, biting, and aging every single day of your life. To keep them healthy and strong, give them the TLC they need.
This means regularly brushing and flossing your teeth, attending routine dental examinations and check-ups and sticking to a healthy diet. Avoid consuming sugary and sticky foods and drinks, and invest in preventative dentistry services.
But even with an excellent dental care routine, problems may occur. Thus, it is crucial for you to be able to spot the signs of any dental issues and know how to solve them. Though your dentist can fix up your teeth, the responsibility for their good health still lies within you. You should know how to identify the signals for danger so you can quickly and efficiently respond.
Here are some of the common dental problems and tips for treating them.
1. Tooth Decay
Tooth decay happens when the bacteria in plaque is given the opportunity to settle into your teeth. The acids these bacteria produce will slowly eat away your tooth enamel, thereby forming holes. Usually, bacterial activity is high after eating starches and sugars so you should limit exposure by eating a healthy diet.
The better your daily oral care, the less chances that you’ll suffer from tooth decay. But children and older people are at high risk since their tooth enamel is more sensitive.
Prevention is the best approach to dealing with plaque. Remember that once you have cavities, the damage is irreversible – your only option is to get them cleaned and filled. So while you still can, you must save your enamel by brushing and flossing regularly, limiting the consumption of sugary foods, and keeping to your routine dental exams.
Once you detect a cavity, have it treated by your dentist right away. When left untreated, it can progress into an abscess or infection, causing pain and discomfort. Repair procedures may be in the form of a crown, a standard filling or a tooth extraction.
2. Tooth Infection
When the root of your tooth becomes infected, it will damage the nerves and the pulp tissue inside the tooth. Infection may be caused by a cavity, fracture or deep crack.
The best solution for a tooth infection is a root canal treatment. This is a lengthy and complex treatment that requires the use of anesthesia.
First, your dentist will drill a hole on top of the infected tooth. Then, he will insert a special file to grind away the inside of the tooth until a clear tunnel has been made. He will them use a suction tool to remove the infected nerves and pulp tissue. Lastly, he will fill the empty tooth structure with a tough material to prevent bacteria from entering.
3. Gum Disease or Periodontitis
Periodontitis is a bacterial infection caused by the accumulation of plaque in your mouth. The bacteria then proceed to eat away your gums along with the ligaments that hold your teeth in place.
Since there are five stages of gum disease, you have plenty of time to reverse its progress. For instance, the symptoms can be reversed during the early phases of gingivitis with an immediate treatment of the underlying infection and proper oral care routine. But once it progresses to the third and fourth stages, it becomes harder to treat.
When your gums often bleed, you must consult your dentist right away. This way, a routine exam can be made. This involves your dentist gently probing at the pockets in the gum tissue. If, upon touching these pockets, your gums become painful or start to bleed, they are most likely to be infected. Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat the condition.
4. Enamel Degradation
Enamel degradation is characterized by noticeably discolored enamel surfaces. This is often caused by exposure to corrosive materials like sugary snacks and fizzy drinks. Sometimes, even overzealous brushing is the culprit.
Once the material has eroded, you cannot get it back. This means that prevention is the best cure for enamel degradation. As much as possible, swap out acidic drinks for water. And if you often drink fruit juices, make sure to clean your teeth immediately after, and restrict drinking these beverages to mealtimes.
You may be advised to switch to a toothbrush with soft bristles so as not to further erode your tooth enamel. Bonding support may be required when the surface of your teeth is severely damaged. The earlier enamel erosion is detected, the better your chances of reversing it.
Similar to any other body part, your mouth is less likely give you trouble if you take good care of it. Vigilance and a practical attitude are key to maintaining excellent oral health.
Dr. Yvette Porter is the founding dentist at Apple Dental in Newstead, Brisbane, which she started over 11 years ago, and continues to own and practice there today. She works with a team of female dentists who aim to provide gentle, and affordable dental care to patients in Brisbane. Dr. Porter is a member of the Australian Dental Association and is passionate about family, and children’s dentistry, hoping to make their dental experience truly pleasant.