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Your teeth are made of a hard, bonelike material. Inside the tooth are nerves and blood vessels. You need your teeth for many activities you may take for granted like eating, speaking and even smiling. But tooth disorders are nothing to smile about. They include problems such as cavities (also known as tooth decay), infections, and injuries.
The most familiar symptom of a tooth problem is a toothache. Others include worn-down or loose teeth. It's important that you see a dentist if you have any problems with your teeth. Fortunately, you can prevent many tooth disorders by practicing good oral health habits.
Tooth decay and gum disease are largely caused by plaque, a sticky combination of bacteria and food. Plaque begins to accumulate on teeth within 20 minutes after eating. If this plaque is not removed thoroughly each day, tooth decay will flourish. Over time, plaque will harden into tartar.
Plaque and tartar lead to a number of problems:
- Cavities (holes that damage the structure of teeth)
- Gingivitis (swollen, inflamed, bleeding gums)
- Periodontitis (destruction of the ligaments and bone that support the teeth, often leading to tooth loss)
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Abscesses, pain, inability to use teeth
Toothaches can result from cavities, infections or abscess in the teeth or gums, debris that has been trapped between the teeth and gums, and trauma to the face, teeth, or the jaw. Toothaches can even result from medical conditions.
The pain that stems from a toothache is usually intense and normally in the form of throbbing. It will normally intensify as time goes by, when you eat, lay down, or drink hot/cold liquids.
Anytime you start to experience a toothache, you shouldn't hesitate to make an appointment with your dentist to have it checked.
Cavities can best be described as tooth decay. As we all know, tooth decay is influenced by what we eat, how we take care of our teeth, and the amount of fluoride in our toothpastes. If your family has a history of tooth disease, you maybe more susceptible to dental problems.
Adults who suffer from a dry mouth are more at risk for cavities, as they have a lack of saliva in their mouth. Dry mouth is very common, and is normally the result of medications, illness, and radiation treatment. Tobacco users will also suffer from dry mouth, as the tobacco will use up the saliva in the mouth.
Cavities should be addressed promptly, and if left untreated, can result in the destruction of the tooth. It can also destroy the nerves as well, resulting in an abscess.
Your diet has a big impact on the likelihood of developing cavities. If you eat a lot of sweets or drink a lot of soda, you will be at a higher risk for cavities. Foods that are rich in sugar or starch are eaten by bacteria found in plaque, which will produce acids that eat through teeth.
Over time, the tooth enamel will start to break down beneath the surface of your tooth, even though the surface will appear to be fine. Once the acid has managed to eat away enough of the enamel below the surface, the surface will collapse, which results in a cavity.
Without visiting the dentist, it is usually impossible to tell whether or not you have a cavity if you aren't experiencing immediate pain. Most cavities develop below the gums, so they will not be visible. If you notice a color change or a blackened area in your tooth, you should make an appointment with your dentist immediately.
Cavities will more than likely develop in the pits of chewing areas around the back teeth, between your teeth, or near the gum line. No matter where they occur, the easiest way to spot them is to visit your dentist. Your dentist will be able to take x-rays to determine the scope of the cavity and offer you options for treatment.
In order for tooth decay to be developed in a tooth, that tooth must have acid producing bacteria around it, along with food for the bacteria to feed upon. Teeth that are susceptible to decay will have little to no fluoride in the enamel to fight the plaque. Fluoride can destroy decay, although it won't be able to do much once the decay has started to eat the teeth.
Poor hygiene habits will allow the plaque and tartar to build up around teeth and speed up the process of decay. Even though your mouth has a lot of bacteria that is always present, only one type will generate the acid that results in tooth decay. Some people have active decay that is always present in their mouths. Parents with active decay can easily pass the decay on to a child or loved one through eating, drinking from the same glass, or even kissing.
Once the decay has settled in the tooth'senamel, it will progress very slow. Once it has made it through to the second layer of the enamel, it will spread faster as it heads towards the pulp. The pulp is a vital area of the tooth, as it contains the nerves and blood supply. This is where the pain will be the most intense, as the decay will start to eat at the nerves.
Although decay can take 2 - 3 years to get through the enamel, it can make it from the dentin to the pulp in less than a year. Once it makes it to the dentin, the decay can destroy most of the tooth structure in a matter of weeks - or months. The most preventable type of tooth decay, known as smooth decay, also grows the slowest. It starts out as a white spot in the tooth, where the bacteria dissolves the enamel. Smooth decay is very common with those 20 - 30 years of age.
Pit or fissure decay is a bit more serious, forming along the narrow grooves in the chewing side of the molars. It progresses more rapidly, and can eat your teeth a lot faster than smooth decay. Due to the grooves being so narrow, it can be hard to clean them with regular bushing. Even though you may brush on a regular basis, this type of decay is hard to prevent without going to the dentist for your regular checkups and cleaning.
The last type of decay, known as root decay, begins on the surface of the root. Root decay is common with middle aged individuals. It is normally the result of dry mouth, a lot of sugar, or not taking care of your teeth Root decay is the most difficult to prevent, and the most serious type of tooth decay. It can eat teeth fast, leaving you no choice but to get the affected teeth removed.
Tooth decay should always be treated before it has time to spread and affect more of your teeth. Visiting your dentist for your regular checkups and cleaning can help prevent tooth decay from starting.
An abscess in the tooth refers to an infection that was caused by a pocket of pus residing in the tissue around the tooth. Abscesses are very serious conditions, and can lead to serious matters if they arenít treated immediately. When the pulp of a tooth dies due to damage or decay, bacteria will begin to grow from the dead tissue that is left. This bacteria will eventually spread from the root of the dead tooth into the tissue that is below and create a pocket of pus.
Gum disease is also a cause for a tooth becoming abscessed. Gum diseases causes the gums to pull back and away from teeth, leaving pockets behind When one of the pockets becomes blocked, the bacteria can grow and spread, or get backed up. When this happens, an abscess will start to form under the surface of the gums and become apparent will swelling as it gets bigger and spreads.
Once the infection has started to spread, your jawbone may start to dissolve as it makes room for the swelling in the area that has been infected. Once the bone starts to dissolve, the pressure will be greatly reduced, although the infection will still be there. ven though you will get relief, the infection will get worse - and the pain will always come back. Once more of the bone has been dissolved, there will be nothing left to support the tooth, meaning that it will become loose and end up needing to be extracted.
The symptoms of an abscessed tooth include severe pain in the affected area, red or swollen gums, a bad taste in your mouth, swelling around the area or the jaw, and possibly a high fever. An abscess cann cause excrutiating pain.
Abscesses mostly occur with back teeth, although they can happen in the front as well. Once your tooth has become abscessed, your dentist won't immediately pull it. If a tooth that has abscessed is extracted once the infection is still present, it can quickly spread. Your dentist will instead prescribe you some antibiotics that can help to destroy the bacteria.
The dentist can also perform a root canal, in an attempt to remove dead or decayed tissue. Last but not least, he can also drill a hole in the tooth to give the infection a chance to drain and try to remove any dead pulp. The most common treatment with an abscess is to use antibiotics to kill the infection, then get the tooth removed.
If you suspect that you may have an abscess, call us immediately.
Sensitive teeth ccan cause pain and discomfort that can make eating or drinking your favorite foods a painful experience. Normally, this condition causes pain after drinking cold liquid, eating hot or cold foods, or breathing cold air.
Tooth sensitivity can start when the gums begin to pull away from the teeth causing a loss of protection to the roots. The exposed root tips contain small tubules that lead directly to the nerves of the teeth. Whenever pressure, hot, or cold elements travel down the tubules, the nerves are triggered and pain results.
If you have chronically sensitive teeth:
- Reduce the pressure you use whenbrushing your teeth. You may want to try an electric toothbrush.
- Use a toothpaste developed specifically for people with sensitive teeth. They usully contain potassium nitrate, which helps to reduce pain and discomfort associated with sensitivity.
- Mouthwash can also help tooth sensitivity, providing it contains fluoride. Ask your dentist for a mouthwash recommendation.
If you are experiencing extreme pain from sensitive teeth, call us to arrange an appointment.
Fillings are a common way to repair a tooth that has suffered from decay or a cavity back to itís original shape. Your dentist will remove the decayed area of the tooth, clean around it, then fill in the area that he has removed with a special material that will cater to the shape and form of the tooth.
Fillings work by closing out the area where the bacteria enters into teeth, helping to prevent any type of decay in the future. The materials used for fillings include porcelain, gold, composite resin, and amalgam. Your reaction to different materials, the shape of the tooth, extent of repair, and where the filling is needed will be determining factors as to what material is used with your filling.
All dental problems require prompt treatment. See your dentist right away if:
- Your gums bleed often
- You see any red or white patches on the gums, tongue, or floor of the mouth
- You have mouth or jaw pain that won't go away
- You have sores that do not heal within two weeks
- You have problems swallowing or chewing