Suffering from a dental problem? You’re not alone. Here are 6 common dental problems and how to fix them.
- Tooth decay
Patients suffering from a toothache are likely dealing with tooth decay. Depending on the severity of the decay, the best treatment will likely be either a filling or the placement of a dental crown. Both treatments are designed to restore the tooth’s strength and health.
- Crooked teeth
Crooked teeth are problematic not only because they are unattractive, but also because they can hinder a patient’s ability to chew and speak normally. In addition, crooked teeth can be difficult to keep clean. Patients with crooked teeth can benefit from orthodontic treatment such as Invisalign clear braces, traditional metal braces, or other appliances.
- Discolored teeth
Teeth can become stained or discolored by the foods and beverages patients consume, the use of medications, or aging, among other factors. For many patients whose teeth are discolored, a professional whitening treatment can make a significant difference. For patients with very stubborn staining, veneers can hide the stains and result in much whiter smiles.
- Gum disease
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about half of American adults have some form of gum disease. In its earliest stage, gingivitis, patients can receive in-office treatment, which includes removing plaque and tartar, and then improve their oral health habits.
- Wisdom teeth
Some patients’ wisdom teeth will grow in properly without causing problems, but for many patients, this is not the case. Wisdom teeth often grow in crookedly or only partially erupt. This can lead to painful infections, among other problems. Having the wisdom teeth extracted is often the best option for many patients.
- Missing teeth
Having missing teeth makes it more difficult to eat, talk, and smile confidently. For patients who are missing teeth, there are multiple options. Some patients benefit from dentures, partials, or appliances such as fixed bridges. For many people, however, dental implants are the ideal treatment because they are a permanent solution that looks and feels natural.
Crowns and fillings are both effective treatments used to save teeth that have suffered decay. The better choice of the two will really depend on the severity of the decay within the tooth.
Of course, a dental exam is necessary to determine which treatment will be best, but here are a few factors our dentists consider.
When are Fillings Used?
If a tooth has only minor decay, a filling is usually the best choice. A filling becomes necessary when a cavity develops; the decayed tooth matter must be removed in order to restore the health of the tooth. In addition, a tooth that has suffered significant wear may benefit from a filling.
Getting a filling is typically a simple procedure. The decayed tooth matter is removed and then a material – usually silver amalgam, ceramic, porcelain, or tooth-colored composite – is used to fill in the spaces. For many patients with cavities, fillings will be the proper treatment.
When are Crowns Used?
Crowns are used to provide strength and stability to a weakened tooth. A tooth that has become vulnerable due to decay may not be able to support a filling, in which case it can be covered with a crown.
If a decayed tooth has cracked or broken, the dentist will likely recommend a crown to avoid extracting the tooth and instead preserve as much tooth structure as possible.
In addition, a crown is usually placed after a root canal to ensure the tooth has the strength to stand up to chewing.
To place a crown on a decayed tooth, one of our dentists will usually utilize filling material to create a larger and more ideal surface for the crown. Then, the crown is cemented to the tooth.
In short, the right treatment will depend heavily on the patient’s individual case. Patients who are experiencing cavity-like symptoms should call our dentists as soon as possible for best results.
It can be embarrassing and discouraging to have crooked teeth. It’s tough to smile with confidence when you are worried that others are noticing your smile imperfections – but then again, it’s also hard to smile proudly when you have a mouth full of metal braces.
Fortunately, there is a solution for patients who want to fix their smiles without resorting to traditional braces: the Invisalign clear braces system.
The Basics of Invisalign
The basic concept of Invisalign is simple: rather than getting metal brackets bonded to their teeth, Invisalign patients wear clear, removable trays made of hard plastic. Over time, the trays are traded out to guide the teeth into their proper places.
The Many Benefits of Invisalign
Why endure months or even years of metal braces when you don’t have to? Using the Invisalign system, you can correct your uneven bite or crooked teeth without any of the downsides of traditional braces.
- The most obvious benefit of Invisalign aligners is that they are clear. Most people don’t even notice when others are wearing them. This is one of the main reasons many teenagers and adults choose Invisalign.
- Since the clear trays are removable, patients do not have to adjust their diets as they would to protect metal braces. They can enjoy all their favorite foods, and they won’t have to worry about getting food stuck in them. Of course, the fact that they are removable also means it is much easier for patients to brush and floss properly, too.
- Many patients find Invisalign to be more comfortable to wear than metal braces, as the trays are made of smooth plastic rather than mouth-irritating metal.
- Patients can whiten their teeth as they straighten them. Invisalign trays can do double duty as whitening trays!
The Invisalign system makes it easy for patients to achieve their dream smiles without making it obvious to anyone else. Invisalign straightens crooked teeth effectively and discreetly. Getting orthodontic treatment has never been so attractive!
Gum disease is a condition that threatens your oral health as well as the health of your whole body.
It is extremely prevalent; according to the American Academy of Periodontology, half of American adults have some form of gum disease.
Unfortunately, many people are unaware they have the condition until they visit a dentist or begin experiencing symptoms.
What Causes Gum Disease?
- Gum disease is caused by bacteria, which form plaque on the teeth. The plaque hardens on the teeth and irritates the gums, causing unpleasant symptoms. At this stage the condition is known as gingivitis, and it can be reversed with proper treatment from a dentist.
- If gum disease is allowed to progress, however, the patient is at risk for serious problems. Patients with advanced gum disease may suffer loss of teeth, bone, and tissue, as well as an increased risk of heart disease, and potentially a higher risk of developing certain cancers.
- Pregnant women with gum disease are also at risk for premature birth.
Signs of Gum Disease
Though some people have gum disease without knowing it, the condition often presents itself with one or more of the following symptoms:
- Redness or swelling gums
- Bleeding gums, including when you brush or floss
- Gum tenderness/pain when chewing
- Gum recession (pulling away from teeth)
- Persistent bad breath
- Teeth or dentures not fitting together properly
- Teeth becoming loose
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s time to see your dentist.
Gum Disease Treatment
Gum disease treatment varies depending on the individual case. Often, it includes a procedure called planing and scaling and/or the use of antibiotics. Patients with advanced gum disease will need to see their dentist regularly to control the condition.
Remember, by catching gum disease in its earliest stage (gingivitis), you can reverse the disease and restore your oral health.
If gum disease is allowed to advance, however, you put yourself at risk for tooth loss and other major problems.
Seeing your dentist on a regular basis is an easy way to prevent gum disease, but if you are already experiencing symptoms, it’s best to schedule an appointment right away.
Most people are aware that choosing the right oral health care tools can benefit the entire family’s health, but it can be difficult to know which type of toothpaste is best.
To reduce confusion the next time you wander the toothpaste aisle, here are a few tips for choosing the right toothpaste for your family.
Choosing Toothpaste: What to Look For
- Make sure your toothpaste carries the ADA seal of approval, which indicates that the product will work effectively.
- Select a toothpaste that contains fluoride, a mineral that strengthens tooth enamel and helps prevent decay. This is especially important if your drinking water does not contain fluoride.
- If you are shopping for toothpaste for your children, try choosing a toothpaste with their favorite characters or flavors. This makes brushing fun, and it may make it easier to get them to do it.
- Choose a toothpaste that meets your individual needs. For example, if you have sensitive teeth, use a toothpaste designed to reduce sensitivity, and if you have mild stains or discoloration, choose a whitening toothpaste.
Gel or Paste?
Toothpaste typically comes in gel or paste form, so people often wonder if one is better than the other. The answer is that it comes down to a matter of personal preference.
Gels and pastes typically have the same ingredients and work the same way, so you can use whichever type you prefer. Ideally, you should purchase the type of toothpaste that you are most likely to use on a regular basis!
During your dental appointments, you can talk to one of our experienced dentists about what types of toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwashes, and other oral care products will benefit you most.
With good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist, you can take great care of your teeth and enjoy them for a lifetime.
Veneers are one of the most effective and versatile cosmetic dental treatments available. They are custom created for each patient to provide unmatched results.
No matter what you would like to correct about your smile, chances are, veneers are a suitable treatment.
How can veneers change your smile?
- An attractive smile is one that is proportionate to the rest of the face, and veneers make it possible to make your teeth the perfect size. Veneers can easily be used to make your teeth look larger, so if your teeth are smaller than you’d like them to be, veneers may be your best option.
- The shape of your teeth makes a big difference in the overall appearance of your smile. Veneers allow you to achieve a shapely, symmetrical smile.
- Teeth that are chipped or cracked are unattractive and can make you appear unhealthy. Veneers are a great way to hide these flaws and make your smile look healthier.
- Veneers can disguise stains and discoloration, and are a great option for patients who find themselves unable to achieve their desired results from teeth whitening. Whether you are a coffee drinker with minor discoloration on your teeth or you have severe staining due to medication, veneers can completely cover them. If your goal is a sparkling white smile, veneers might be the very best option.
- Teeth that are slightly crooked or have minor gaps between them can be disguised with porcelain veneers. Rather than waiting to correct these problems with orthodontic treatment, getting porcelain veneers can instantly hide these issues.
Whether you wish to correct only minor imperfections or you want a completely new smile, porcelain veneers can give you the results you desire.
Life is too short to live with a smile that doesn’t make you feel good about yourself. If you’re ready for a smile makeover, talk to one of our dentists about porcelain veneers.
Patients who have recently been diagnosed with diabetes face several challenges, including a greater risk for dental problems. Fortunately, with proper management, these problems can be avoided.
Here’s what to expect for your oral health after you have been diagnosed with diabetes.
Impact of Diabetes on Oral Health
- Having diabetes can impact your oral health, and your oral health can impact your diabetes. Therefore, it’s important to keep both in check.
- Diabetics are more susceptible to dental problems due to higher blood sugar levels. When a patient’s diabetes is not well controlled, his or her saliva contains increased amounts of glucose, and this glucose-filled saliva will cling to the teeth and create plaque. Plaque can ultimately lead to tooth decay, tooth loss, and gum disease.
- The presence of gum disease can cause higher blood sugar levels, causing the diabetes to progress.
Managing Your Dental Health With Diabetes
After your diagnosis, going to the dentist on a regular basis becomes even more important. Just as you’ll need to monitor your blood sugar, your dentist will need to monitor your oral health closely.
- See your dentist every six months for regular exams and cleanings. Make sure your dentist is aware that you are diabetic.
- As your mouth is now more susceptible to decay and gum disease, be vigilant about brushing twice a day and flossing once a day.
- Keep your diabetes under control to the best of your ability. This is good for your overall health, but in particular, it helps keep your blood sugar in check, which decreases your risk for cavities and gum disease.
Having diabetes means it becomes even more important to take care of yourself. By taking a little extra time to maintain your oral health, you can improve the health of your entire body.
There are many oral conditions that don’t show symptoms in their early stages.
In order to detect these conditions in time to have them treated sufficiently, it is crucial to see your dentist every six months, even if your teeth aren’t hurting and nothing feels out of the ordinary.
Here are a few reasons it is so incredibly important to see a dentist on a regular basis:
- If you haven’t seen your dentist recently, you may have tooth decay and not realize it. When the tooth first begins to decay, you may not experience the pain or sensitivity typically associated with a cavity. Any decay should be treated immediately to avoid the need for a root canal or losing the tooth; by catching it early, the procedure is much simpler.
- Many people unknowingly have gingivitis, which is the earliest stage of gum disease. The condition is treatable, but if it advances to become periodontitis, the condition can only be managed rather than cured. Gum disease threatens the health of your entire body, so it is wise to detect and treat it as early as possible.
- During your routine exam, you will receive an oral cancer screening. If anything is found during your screening, you can be referred to a specialist and begin treatment as soon as possible.
- If you are unhappy with your bite or the way your smile looks, your dentist can offer suggestions. You may discover there are treatments that can significantly improve your smile.
It’s much better to detect and treat problems as soon as possible than to wait until they become painful, expensive, and perhaps even irreversible.
Even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms, there may be an underlying problem threatening your oral health.
Make it a priority to schedule your dental checkup every six months to prevent serious conditions and enjoy consistently good dental health.
In addition to eating well and receiving prenatal care, it is very important to maintain good oral health during pregnancy.
Many moms-to-be worry about whether they should continue their regular dental appointments or undergo treatment for any conditions that may develop during pregnancy.
Rest assured, going to the dentist when you’re pregnant is not just safe, it’s highly recommended.
Dental Exams are Safe During Pregnancy
- During pregnancy, the main purpose of dental visits is to minimize the risk of infection. Any slight risks involved with seeing the dentist during pregnancy are overshadowed by the benefits of maintaining the patient’s oral health. Pregnant patients should see the dentist for regular appointments, but should avoid cosmetic/elective procedures until after the baby is born.
- Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to gum disease due to increased levels of the hormone progesterone. This results in gums that are swollen and in danger of infection. Left untreated, the condition can cause bone and tissue loss as well as health problems in other parts of the body, such as heart disease.
- New moms can actually pass their bacteria on to their children if the baby’s mouth comes into contact with mom’s saliva. By maintaining good oral hygiene and detecting decay ahead of time at dental appointments, the risk to baby is minimized.
Safety During Dental Appointments
As always, it is important to discuss any medications you are taking with your dentist prior to treatment. Patients who have high-risk pregnancies should consult their OB-GYNs before scheduling a dental appointment.
Overall, though, most pregnant women can only benefit from going to the dentist.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, the second trimester is the ideal time to undergo dental work.
If ever you feel uncomfortable with going in for dental appointments during your pregnancy, our dentists at Fixari Family Dental encourage you to discuss it with your doctor, as well as with us. Your oral health is more important than ever at this time.
Moving to a new city or state comes with many challenges, one of which is finding a new family dentist. Selecting your family’s dentist is just as important as choosing a pediatrician, as your child’s dentist will have a major impact on his or her health.
Here are a few things to consider that may help you make your decision.
How to Find a Great Family Dentist
- One of the main things to look for when choosing a family dentist is to seek out one who has extensive experience in working with children. A dentist who sees young patients on a regular basis will be better equipped to work with your child, put his or her mind at ease, and develop a healthy dentist-patient relationship. If your child enjoys dental appointments early on, it will make future appointments easier on the entire family.
- Pick a dentist who takes the time to talk to you and explain any treatments or findings. If you feel like you are being rushed out the door and don’t have time to ask questions, find a new dentist.
- Feel free to schedule an appointment with a potential new family dentist without actually being seen so you can get to know him or her and learn more about the practice. This “trial appointment” also enables you to learn more about the dentist’s training and lets you see whether the office is up to your standards.
- Location is definitely a factor that should be taken into consideration. Choose a dental office that is close to your home to make it easier to get to regular appointments. Plus, in the event of a dental emergency (which is not unlikely when children are involved), it’s better to be close to the office.
Finding a new dentist that is right for your family may take some time, but it’s well worth the effort.
Few things are as important as your family’s health, and finding a good dentist will go a long way toward maintaining it.