Good dental health is crucial to your overall well-being. Having healthy gums prevents the onset of diseases from bacteria, which can get into your bloodstream and cause cardiovascular and respiratory conditions.
Our dental health also plays a key role in our social lives; bad breath can be off-putting in social situations. Your smile and the ability to speak confidently contribute significantly to your personality and impression on others.
Thankfully, looking after your dental health is easy if you are diligent. Moreover, if you find a reliable center like ArabiaMD for good dentists, it becomes easier to maintain oral health with regular checkups. Don’t only go to the dentist when there is an emergency; create a habit of going in for regular check-ups instead. Further, be on the lookout for symptoms for these five common dental problems, and if you experience them, book a consultation immediately.
- Gum Disease
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is caused by excessive plaque attributable to poor dental hygiene, like irregular brushing. When left inside your mouth, this plaque discolors and hardens into tartar, which is significantly harder to remove from your teeth than plaque through brushing.
In its early stages, this disease is called gingivitis, and its symptoms include swollen or tender gums, persistent bad breath, teeth that seem to be getting longer as your gums recede, and bleeding during brushing and flossing. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you must visit your dentist! At this stage, scaling can remove much of the plaque and tartar, after which healthy oral hygiene practices, like regular brushing and flossing and perhaps using an antiseptic rinse, will be enough for you to maintain healthy gums.
If left untreated, this gingivitis can advance into periodontitis. Here there is a further deepening of the gums, shifting teeth, formation of abscesses, and destruction of supporting structures of your jaw. At this stage, more serious dental surgeries, like all-on-4 dental implants, which replace an entire arch of teeth, may need to be used. If you are at this stage, make sure you are partaking in regular periodontal check-ups and that you are not engaging in any activities that could worsen the condition of your gums, like smoking.
- Tooth Decay
Also known as dental cavities, these are the most common dental problem in the world. Here the outermost layer of the teeth, the enamel, gets damaged by bacteria, which interacts with the plaque on your teeth to produce an acid that harms this dental tissue. It is caused by poor oral hygiene, diets that include excess consumption of sugary foods and beverages, and certain medications which cause reduced flow of saliva.
Symptoms include random tooth pains and sensitivity to eating/drinking hot and cold substances. If you are experiencing this, examine the region where the pain is from for dark spots, pits, and holes.
If left untreated, this cavity can penetrate the enamel to reach the inner layers of your tooth, from the dentin to your gums, where it may infect the pulp. At this stage, these cavities can cause extreme pain and even the buildup of pus around the infected area, which harms the health of your gums and other teeth.
A simple cavity treated promptly will only require a basic filling procedure where the dentist extracts the parts of the infected enamel and replaces them with a resin or porcelain filling. Where the cavity has extensively damaged the tooth, the patient might need a dental crown to support the tooth’s structural integrity. In more extreme cases, where the tooth’s pulp is infected, a root canal will be performed to save the tooth. In some cases, an extraction might be the only solution.
- Misaligned Teeth
A dental misalignment or a malocclusion occurs when your teeth are not properly aligned. It includes various forms of misalignment, from an overcrowded mouth to gaps, overbites, underbites, and crossbites. There are many causes for dental misalignment: it can be because of genetics, or it may have to do with the shape and size of your jaw, or premature tooth loss.
While symptoms of misaligned teeth vary based on the condition, some common symptoms include protruding and crooked teeth and gaps and spaces between teeth. To identify issues in bite, close your mouth; if your upper and lower teeth are aligned, you have a healthy bite. If the upper teeth cover the lower teeth, it is an overbite, and vice versa for an underbite.
Fixing misaligned teeth is crucial to your health and overall well-being. Misaligned, specifically overcrowded teeth, create problems in maintaining good dental hygiene, which makes you more prone to tooth decay and gum disease. Bite issues can affect your ability to bite and chew food effectively, create speech impediments like lisps, and lead to jaw discomfort, which can cause more serious complications like a locked jaw.
Treatment includes orthodontic procedures, where braces straighten misaligned teeth, and retainers maintain this new alignment. In situations of significant overcrowding, the dentist may recommend tooth extraction so that the teeth have space to align.
- Tooth Sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity is when your teeth are overly sensitive to hot, cold, sweet, and acidic foods and drinks.
It occurs when the outermost layer of your teeth, the enamel, becomes worn down, and the dentin becomes exposed to external objects. Its causes include tooth decay, gum recession, excessive teeth grinding, and cracked, chipped, or broken teeth.
The treatment for tooth sensitivity depends on its underlying causes, which range from dental cavities to gum disease. Treatment for the symptoms of tooth sensitivity includes using desensitizing toothpaste to mute the painful sensations of sensitivity, avoiding trigger foods and drinks, and using softer brushing techniques to prevent further enamel wear. Additionally, the doctor may recommend fluoride treatment to re-harden the enamel of your teeth where the cause of the sensitivity is its erosion.
Dental hygiene is related to our overall physical health, in the sense that poor dental health can cause complications elsewhere, but also because we depend on our mouth and teeth to fulfill survival functions like eating and interacting with others.
So, maintain healthy oral hygiene practices, go for regular yearly consultations to check the health of your teeth and gums, and quickly respond to the onset of any of the symptoms listed in the article above.