Most people are affected by dental problems at some stage in their lifetime. From broken teeth to tooth abscesses, dental issues can significantly impact your ability to function because not only are such problems often painful but they make eating difficult. Infections in the teeth can also spread causing problems elsewhere in the body. In fact, infections in the teeth can spread to other parts of the body making you very sick. It is therefore very important that dental issues be dealt with as quickly and as effectively as possible.
It is very common for people to have dental cavities, and in fact, almost everybody has a dental cavity at least by the time that they are adults1. In addition, about one-third of people around the world have no natural teeth left in their mouths, so dental issues are a big problem for many individuals.
Gum disease and tooth loss
Periodontitis is an inflammatory response of the body that weakens the gums and this is often the result of bacteria in and on the teeth affecting the gum tissue in the mouth. Periodontitis often causes tooth loss, and bacteria could enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, which is even more of a problem in people who already have a chronic illness such as diabetes. Periodontal illness can actually worsen diabetes since the inflammatory response makes it harder for the body to use insulin. Inflammation is your own cells attacking the foreign bacteria that occur in your body. The inflammatory response is a part of the immune system of the human body, but too much inflammation can, unfortunately, harm your own cells and tissues.
Periodontitis is the more severe type of gum inflammation and disease that occurs. Many people first have gingivitis which is the beginning stages of gum issues3. Gingivitis usually starts where the teeth meet the gums were many small pieces of food tend to get stuck. This is why flossing and brushing properly after eating is so crucial; you need to get rid of food particles that can buildup on the teeth and gums leading to bacterial buildup, and flossing helps to remove particulate matter that sticks between individual teeth. The particles of food attract and feed bacteria in the mouth which then leads them to grow into large numbers. Substances that you drink may also be very acidic and cause breakdown of the enamel and drinks such as coffee can cause teeth to discolor and become stained.
Oral cancer is another concern and can occur in people who chew tobacco or smoke cigarettes. If you have sores or growths in the mouth that don’t go away, then this may be a sign that you could have cancer in your mouth4.
Symptoms of dental problems
Some signs that you may have problems with your teeth include feeling pain when you drink or eat, especially when you drink or eat something cold or hot. Chipped and broken teeth and sores in the mouth also indicate dental problems. You may also find that your gum swells in the part of the mouth where you feel pain. This can indicate that you have an abscessed tooth, which is a badly infected tooth.
Receding and bleeding gums and teeth that feel loose may all be indications of problems such as gingivitis. It is very important to see a dentist as soon as you start to notice symptoms of dental or mouth problems.
Treatment options for dental problems
Gingivitis needs to be treated before it progresses to periodontal disease. The problem is that bacteria can spread to the teeth and cause infections. An infected tooth usually requires a root canal. This is when the dentist removes the pulp and nerve of the tooth5. The crown is the part of the tooth that you can see that extends above the gums. Crowns are used to replace chipped and weakened teeth. In cases where a tooth has to be pulled, a dental implant may be an option. With a crown, the remaining part of the natural tooth has to be filed down by the dentist and prepared. A temporary crown is used first and then a permanent crown is attached later.
Dental implants are strong and consist of a part which screws into the jawbone, and then a part that is an artificial tooth that is visible above the gum line. Implants are expensive but are the best way to achieve a functional and attractive tooth. The Vera Clinic is a place that does dental work including dental implants. With implants, the process does take a while because the metal part that screws into the jawbone has to fuse with the bone of the jaw. This process of osseointegration does take time but once the system is fused, the structure is then ready for the crown part of the tooth to be attached. The result is an aesthetically attractive false tooth that is very strong and able to act as a natural tooth.
Other restorative options for missing teeth include dental bridges that can either be attached to natural teeth, provided they are strong enough or dental implants. Dental bridges are false teeth which are usually constructed of porcelain6 in such a way as to match your own teeth. Besides dental implants, a bridge can also be attached to one or more dental crowns. The lowest cost option for missing teeth is dentures, but these are not as strong or functional as dental implants.
Stained teeth can be treated using various whitening agents or even having dental veneers added to the teeth. These are thin pieces of material that are glued onto the front teeth and can allow you to improve on your smile.
The best advice is to eat healthy food and commit to good oral hygiene and brush and floss often. Your dentist can give you more advice on how to keep your teeth and mouth healthy to avoid many of the problems discussed here.