Dental Problems & Their Solutions

Almost everyone faces a dental problem at some point in their lives. Sometimes dental issues are caused by the care you take of your teeth, or lack of, while other times they are caused simply by your heredity. The good news is that advances in dental care have made going to the dentist nearly pain free. Dental problems are never any fun, but most of them can be easily prevented. Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, eating properly and regular dental check ups are essential in preventing dental problems. Educating yourself about common dental problems and their causes can also go a long way in prevention. Some of the most common dental problems seen today are :

1. Bad Breath

If you suffer from bad breath, you are not alone. Bad breath, also called halitosis, can be downright embarrassing. Gum disease, cavities, oral cancer, dry mouth and bacteria on the tongue are some of the dental problems that can cause bad breath. Using mouthwash to cover up bad breath when a dental problem is present will only mask the odor and not cure it. If you suffer from chronic bad breath, visit your dentist to rule out any of these problems.

 Ways to Detect Bad Breath

  •  The easiest way is to ask your confidante, however there are other simple ways to check like scraping the back of your tongue with a wooden spatula and smelling the debris collected on it.
  •  Another way is to lick the back of your hand and let the saliva dry then smell your hand.

 If you find the smell to be unpleasant, please follow the methods recommended at Dr Swarup's to help you solve this embarrassing problem.


Ways to Prevent Bad Breath

  •  Prevent bad breath by brushing your teeth and flossing twice a day.
  • Brush your tongue/try using a tongue scraper, to remove any trapped food and plaque caught in the tiny hair-like fibers on the tongue.
  • Finish off your brushing by rinsing thoroughly with water or mouthwash.
  • Bad breath can be prevented by the treatment of dental problems such as tooth decay, gum abscesses, and abscessed teeth.
  • Place a few drops of tee tree oil or peppermint oil on your tongue or use the oil on your toothbrush along with your toothpaste.
  • Quit smoking, as this is the only way to eliminate bad breath from the use of cigarettes, which is also responsible for periodontal disease.
  •  Avoid foods known to cause bad breath such as garlic, onions, cabbage, certain spices, and coffee.
  • A dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a major factor when it comes to bad breath. Sip water, chew sugar-free gum to help produce more saliva.
  • If you are using breath fresheners on a regular basis, consider choosing one that contains xylitol, a sweetener that some studies have shown to reduce cavities. Avoid products that contain sugar to prevent the accumulation of plaque.
  • Occasionally use a mixture of 50% hydrogen peroxide and 50% water, as a mouth rinse. Hydrogen peroxide will help kill the bacteria that cause bad breath.
  •  Prevent bad breath by visit your dentist on a regular basis (every six months or as indicated by your dentist) for a complete examination of your teeth and gums and thorough cleaning.

2. Tooth Decay

Tooth decay occurs when plaque, the sticky substance that forms on teeth, combines with the sugars and / or starches of the food we eat. This combination produces acids that attack tooth enamel. The best way to prevent tooth decay is by brushing twice a day, flossing daily and going to your regular dental check up. Eating healthy foods and avoiding snacks and drinks that are high in sugar are also ways to prevent decay.

Ways to Prevent Cavities

  • Brush Your Teeth
  • Floss Daily
  • Eat Healthy
  • Visit Your Dentist
  • Have Sealants Placed
  • Use a Mouthwash
  • Chew (Sugarless) Gum!

3. Gum (Periodontal) Disease

Gum disease is an infection in the gums surrounding the teeth. Gum disease is also one of the main causes of tooth loss among adults. There are two major stages of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Regular dental checkups along with brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily play an important role in preventing gum disease. Studies have shown that periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is linked to heart attacks and strokes.


Ways to Prevent Gum Disease

You usually can prevent gum disease by brushing and flossing regularly, having regular dental visits for exams and cleaning, and eating a balanced diet.

Practice good dental habits:

  • Brush your teeth two times a day, in the morning and before bedtime, using fluoride toothpaste. Clean all sides of your teeth, and also brush your tongue. Plaque on the tongue can cause bad breath and is an ideal environment for bacteria. If you can't brush, chew sugar-free gum, especially one with xylitol.
  • Try an electric toothbrush that has a rotating and oscillating (back-and-forth) action. This type of toothbrush is better at removing plaque than a regular toothbrush
  • Use an antiseptic mouthwash or antiplaque mouthwash.
  • Floss once a day. Any type of floss works, so choose a type you like. Curve the floss around each tooth into a U-shape, and gently slide it under the gum line. Move the floss firmly up and down several times to scrape off the plaque.
  • Use disclosing tablets periodically so you can see if you are brushing effectively. Disclosing tablets are chewable and will color any plaque left on the teeth after brushing. They are available at most drugstores.
  • See your dentist regularly as recommended to have your teeth cleaned and checked.

If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, the bleeding should stop as your gums become healthier and tighter to your teeth. But bleeding gums may be a symptom of gum disease and should be brought to the attention of your dentist.

4. Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is a common problem that affects millions of people. Basically, tooth sensitivity means experiencing pain or discomfort to your teeth from sweets, cold air, hot drinks, cold drinks or ice cream. Some people with sensitive teeth even experience discomfort from brushing and flossing. The good news is that sensitive teeth can be treated.

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space placeholder.What Is It?
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Many of us say we have "sensitive teeth." We usually mean that we feel twinges of pain or discomfort in our teeth in certain situations. These may include:
  • Drinking or eating cold things
  • Drinking or eating hot things
  • Eating sweets
  • Touching the teeth with other teeth or the tongue

There are two types of tooth sensitivity:

Dentinal sensitivity occurs when the dentin (middle layer) of a tooth is exposed. Normally, the dentin is covered by enamel above the gum line and by cementum below the gum line. Dentin is made up of tiny openings called tubules. Inside each tubule lies a nerve branch that comes from the tooth's pulp (the nerve center of the tooth). When the dentin is exposed, cold or hot temperature or pressure can affect these nerve branches. This causes sensitivity.

Dentinal sensitivity occurs when the outer protective layers of enamel or cementum are removed, exposing the dentin. It can affect one or more teeth. Some causes of dentin exposure include:

  • Brushing your teeth too hard. This wears away the enamel layer.
  • Poor oral hygiene. This may allow tartar to build up at the gum line.
  • Long-term tooth wear
  • Untreated cavities
  • An old filling with a crack or leak
  • Receding gums that expose the tooth's roots. Receding gums often are caused by periodontal diseases or by brushing too hard.
  • Gum surgery that exposes a tooth's roots
  • Tooth whitening in people who have tooth roots that already are exposed
  • Frequently eating acidic foods or drinking acidic beverages

Pulpal sensitivity is a reaction of the tooth's pulp. The pulp is a mass of blood vessels and nerves in the center of each tooth. Pulpal sensitivity tends to affect only a single tooth. Causes include:

  • Decay or infection
  • A recent filling
  • Excessive pressure from clenching or grinding
  • A cracked or broken tooth

If you feel a sharp pain upon biting, you may have a broken or cracked filling. Pain when you release a bite is a sign of a cracked tooth.

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space placeholder.Symptoms
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Both dentinal and pulpal sensitivity usually involve reactions to temperature or pressure. Sensitivity to cold drinks or foods is the most common symptom. Less often, the teeth are sensitive to hot temperatures. If a single tooth becomes sensitive to heat, the tooth's nerve is dying. In this case, root canal treatment is necessary.

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space placeholder.Diagnosis
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Your dentist will look at your dental history and will examine your mouth. You also will need X-rays to show if there is decay or a problem with the nerve. He or she will ask about your oral habits. Grinding or clenching your teeth can contribute to sensitivity. Your dentist also will look for decay, deep fillings and exposed root surfaces. He or she may use an explorer — a metal instrument with a sharp point— to test teeth for sensitivity.

A tooth may be sensitive to cold for several weeks after a filling is placed. The metals in amalgam (silver) conduct the cold very well, transmitting it to the pulp. Bonded (tooth-colored) fillings require etching the tooth with acid before the filling is placed. In some cases, this etching removes enough enamel to make the tooth sensitive. However, advances in bonding now make it less likely to cause tooth sensitivity.

Your dentist or endodontist can conduct tests to see if you need root canal treatment.

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space placeholder.Expected Duration
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If your tooth becomes sensitive after a deep filling is placed, the problem may go away in several weeks. Sometimes the filling is too high and that puts too much pressure on the tooth when you bite down. Your dentist can reduce the height of the filling. If the sensitivity does not go away over time, the tooth probably needs a root canal.

Sensitivity in more than one tooth may disappear in a short time or it may continue. It depends on the cause of sensitivity. Every case is different. Some people have sensitive teeth for only a month or two. Others have the condition for years.

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space placeholder.Prevention
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Dentinal sensitivity — You might be able to reduce your chances of dentinal sensitivity by:
  • Brushing twice a day and flossing daily
  • Using a soft or ultrasoft toothbrush and brushing gently up and down, rather than side to side
  • Using a fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse
  • Using a toothpaste that provides protection against sensitivity
  • Getting treatment for grinding or clenching your teeth (bruxism)

Pulpal sensitivity — If a tooth needs root canal treatment, there is no good way to prevent pulpal sensitivity other than to get the needed treatment. Delaying root canal treatment is not recommended. It may result in further problems.

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space placeholder.Treatment
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Dentinal sensitivity is quite treatable, whatever the cause.
  • Your dentist or dental hygienist will clean your teeth. If your teeth are too sensitive to be cleaned, your dentist may use a local anesthetic or before the cleaning.nitrous oxide

  • After a cleaning, your dentist may apply a fluoride varnish to protect your teeth. This temporarily reduces sensitivity. It also strengthens your teeth. Your dentist may apply an in-office treatment for sensitivity. These products block the openings (tubules) in your teeth and reduce sensitivity. A newer approach is to use a dental laser. The laser treatment also alters the tubules to reduce sensitivity.

  • Using fluoride toothpastes and fluoride mouth rinses at home also will help to reduce sensitivity. Toothpastes are available just for sensitive teeth.

  • Talk to your dentist about which fluoride rinses you should use. Some over-the-counter rinses are acidic. Others are not. You should choose a fluoride mouth rinse that uses neutral sodium fluoride.

Pulpal sensitivity will be treated with a root canal if the tooth's nerve is damaged or dying. The nerve will be removed and a non-reactive substance (gutta percha) will be placed in the space where the nerve was. The tooth no longer will have a continuous protective enamel barrier. Therefore it will be restored with either a composite filling or a crown.

To reduce pain due to grinding or clenching, the dentist will make a plastic night guard that you should use while you sleep.