Most dental problems can be avoided by scheduling regular dental exams and cleanings but we understand that sometimes life can get in the way. Here are 5 common dental problems and their treatments. If you are suffering from any of these problems, schedule an appointment with us today.
- Gum disease is caused by a combination of the bacteria we have in our mouths, along with mucus and other particles which form plaque on our teeth. Plaque is easily treated by regular brushing and flossing, if the plaque is left to harden it turns into tartar, which can’t be cleaned by brushing. Tartar can only be removed by a professional cleaning that is done by a dentist or dental hygienist.
Gingivitis is a common gum disease that occurs when plaque and tartar have been on teeth for a long time, the bacteria causes inflammation of the gums which is known ad gingivitis. The gums become swollen, and turn red, which leads to the gums bleeding. Gingivitis can be treated with regular brushing of the teeth, flossing, using antibacterial mouthwash, and regular cleaning by a dentist. Gingivitis does not affect the bones and tissue that hold teeth in place.
Periodontitis is another gum disease that occurs when gingivitis is left untreated, when this occurs, gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets that become infected. The immune system fights the plaque as it spreads below the gums, which cause the bones to break down, as well as the tissue holding the teeth in place. If it is left untreated, the bones and tissue get completely destroyed, leading to tooth loss.
Periodontitis can be treated with surgical and nonsurgical methods; the non surgical methods are used if it is not in an advanced state, and are generally less invasive.
The nonsurgical procedures used are:
- Scaling: This is when a dentist uses instruments or an ultrasonic device to remove the bacteria and tartar from tooth surfaces and beneath the gums.
- Antibiotics: The dentist may use oral or topical antibiotics to stop the bacterial infection; they include antibiotic mouthwash, or gels that are put in the pockets after teeth cleaning.
- Root Planing: This smoothes the root surfaces, preventing further tartar buildup.
The surgical methods used to treat periodontitis are:
- Flap Surgery: This is also known as pocket reduction surgery, the periodontist makes small incisions in the gums to lift a section of the gum tissue back. If there is bone loss, the remaining bone gets recontoured before the gum tissue is lifted back.
- Soft Tissue Graft: This procedure replaces damaged gum tissue with some tissue from the roof of the mouth to reduce gum recession and to cover the exposed roots.
- Guided Tissue Regeneration: This allows the regrowth of bones damaged by bacteria, a biocompatible fabric is placed between the existing bone and tooth to prevent unwanted tissue from getting into the healing area, which allows the bone to grow back.
- Bone Grafting: This is performed when the disease has destroyed the bone surrounding the tooth root; small fragments of the patient’s bone are grafted to hold the tooth in place.
- Tooth decay is caused by a combination of food and bacteria, the bacteria in the mouth feeds on the sugar people eat, forming acids which attack the teeth for over twenty minutes after eating. After some time, the acids destroy teeth enamel, causing tooth decay. Tooth decay is treated differently depending on the severity, mild cases can be treated with fluoride, the dentist can also fill the cavities with another substance, usually referred to as fillings. Severe cases are treated with a root canal, and in some extreme cases the tooth is removed.
- Tooth Loss occurs for a number of reasons like trauma, which occurs when people put too much pressure on their teeth by using their teeth to open bottles, cracking nuts, and even chewing on pens and pencils. Another cause of tooth loss is gum disease; people who don’t observe proper oral hygiene are at risk of losing their teeth. Tooth loss can be prevented by not putting unnecessary pressure on teeth, and by practicing good oral hygiene.
- Halitosis is also known as bad breath; it is caused by a buildup of bacteria in the mouth. It can also be caused by acid reflux or diabetes. Halitosis can be treated by brushing at least twice a day, flossing regularly, using mouthwash, and regular visits to the dentist. People who practice good oral hygiene but still have bad breath should see a doctor to find out what the cause is.
5. Toothaches are generally caused by a tooth fracture, damaged fillings, tooth decay, or infections at the root of a tooth or between a tooth and gum. Treatment of toothaches depends on the cause. If it is damaged filings, a dentist can put new fillings in the affected cavity. If it is nerve damage, the patient will have to undergo a root canal. Dentists can prescribe antibiotics for infections, and there are over the counter medication that can help with the pain.