Most people will experience a dental concern or two throughout their life. While a dental complication it isn’t a pleasant experience – and can be painful or uncomfortable – it isn’t necessarily a sign of ill-health and can be remedied relatively easily.
To find out what the most common dental problems are – and how to fix them – keep reading.
1. Tooth decay
Tooth decay is a common dental issue for people all over the world. Also known as cavities, tooth decay is when there is a buildup of plaque combines with the sugars from food consumed, which then causes the acids to break down the enamel of the tooth.
Symptoms of tooth decay include the tooth becoming discolored or black. Some may assume that they’re in need of teeth whitening, but the cause could be far more sinister – decay. A person who is suffering from tooth decay may also experience tooth sensitivity and pain, and if this is left untreated it will worsen and the tooth will eventually become infected. In this case, a root canal procedure may be necessary.
A root canal procedure is when the rotting “pulp” area at the center of the tooth (made up of blood vessels, connective tissues, and nerves) is entirely cleaned out to relieve the sufferer of pain and discomfort. The tooth doesn’t need the nerve in order to live inside of the mouth, so removing the pulp is not damaging in any way. The only difference it will make is that the individual will no longer be able to distinguish between hot and cold with that particular tooth.
People assume that the root canal treatment is painful. In actuality, it is not the procedure that causes pain – as the procedure is relatively painless. Instead, it is the root canal disease itself that is most uncomfortable. During the procedure, a local anesthetic is administered to the problem tooth and an incision is then made to suck out the infected pulp. This is known as pulpectomy. Once this has been done, the center of the tooth is then filled with a cement-like material called gutta-percha to block any further infection.
If an infected tooth is not subject to a root canal procedure, there is a risk that it will cause an abscess on the surrounding gums and in turn cause the face, neck, and head to swell. This is incredibly painful and uncomfortable for an individual and requires emergency dental assistance.
One of the main causes of plaque buildup and tooth decay is bad dental hygiene. Therefore, in order to avoid any harmful dental complications, it is recommended to brush twice daily, floss regularly and visit the dentist for checkups at least biannually.
2. Gum disease
Gum disease, also known as Periodontal, is another common dental issue faced by many. It is also one of the main causes of tooth loss among adults – young and old – and anyone can fall victim to it.
Gum disease is when a buildup of plaque causes swelling and inflammation of the gums, which is a condition known as Gingivitis. Symptoms of this condition include dry mouth (which leads to bad breath), tender or swollen gums, sensitivity or pain whilst chewing and bleeding whilst brushing teeth (which is the symptom that causes most people to take action).
Gingivitis isn’t totally malign and can be rectified through the use of over-the-counter treatments. However, if it is left untreated the gums can become seriously infected and the mouth’s bones can begin to break down. It’s this deterioration which can cause a tooth to become disconnected from the bone (its anchor, effectively) and fall out altogether – and this is a far harder scenario to reverse.
The solution of gum disease is all about taking preventative measures. Individuals are advised to practice excellent dental hygiene, to not smoke (as this will increase the buildup of plaque) and seek professional advice as soon as they experience any symptoms.
3. Bad breath
The common dental issue that causes the most embarrassment to its sufferers is bad breath. This condition, also known as halitosis, can actually hinder social relationships, as it causes insecurity and a lack of confidence.
While bad breath doesn’t necessarily indicate ill health and is not harmful in a physical sense, it is believed that 85% of people who do suffer from bad breath have a dental condition – most likely tooth decay. Otherwise, a common cause of bad is poor dental hygiene – not brushing or flossing often enough – but this can be easily fixed.
There are different types of bad breath. These include:
Morning breathes – morning breath is an incredibly human; no person is immune it. It occurs because during the night the mouth becomes dry and so there is less saliva to wash away any food debris or odor. However, by taking extra time to brush and floss their teeth and swirl mouthwash around their mouth the night before, a person may lessen the intensity of morning breath.
Persistent bad breath – persistent bad breath may be a sign that a lot of odourful foods like garlic, onion, and tuna are consumed (in which case better dental hygiene is required). Or, it could mean that the individual in question suffers from gum disease and should seek professional assistance.
Symptoms of persistent bad breath include:
- The buildup of plaque or food around teeth
- A constant dry mouth
- A white coating on the tongue, especially at the back
- A sour, bitter taste in your mouth
- Thick saliva
When it comes to improving bad-smelling breath, the solution is to improve dental habits, drink plenty of water, brush teeth after all meals, use a high-strength mouthwash and chew on mint-flavored chewing gum and mints.
Most common dental concerns can be remedied at home with over-the-counter supplies and stricter dental hygiene. However, leaving a tooth that is painful or causing discomfort untreated can lead to serious health complications later down the line.
Whilst going to the dentist for regular checkups is seen as an unenjoyable chore for many people, it can seriously simplify any dental concerns and alleviate the need for surgery. So, book a checkup with your healthcare professional today and find out about the health of your mouth.