The 15 most common tooth problems

Did you know that some kinds of tooth problems are almost as prevalent as the common cold? That means a lot of us are suffering oral discomfort and concerns…frequently. It’s important to be aware of signs and symptoms that may mean a tooth problem is looming. If you are experiencing pain and discomfort, it’s time to contact your dentist for help!

Bad breath: Bad breath – also called halitosis – is usually caused by some sort of dental issue. Cavities, oral cancer, gum disease and mouth bacteria can all cause bad breath. Mints, gum and mouthwash are not a fix for the problem.  Visit your dentist to help you determine the cause, so you can find a solution.

Dry mouth: Saliva protects against tooth decay, because the calcium and phosphate in saliva prevent demineralization of teeth. If you have trouble swallowing, a metallic taste in your mouth, a sticky feeling in your mouth or have dry lips, you could suffer from dry mouth. This can be caused by age, medications or even a blow to the head. Sipping water or enjoying sugar free candies or gum can help stimulate saliva production. Your dentist may also be able to prescribe a saliva substitute or over the counter solution.

Tooth decay: Tooth decay – commonly referred to as cavities – can happen to anyone at any age. Cavities form when plaque on teeth combines with sugars and starches in food you eat. This combination creates acids that attack your tooth enamel and eventually lead to tooth decay. Dry mouth and certain kinds of medications can also lead to cavities. Avoiding sugary snacks and drinks can help prevent tooth decay.

Gum disease: Gum disease – sometimes called periodontal disease – is an infection of the gums in the mouth characterized by red, tender or bleeding gums, difficulty chewing and sensitive teeth. Gum disease most often happens to those over 30, but it can happen to anyone. Gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss, and is sometimes tied to heart disease. Regular brushing and flossing and routine dental visits can help you minimize this painful and serious condition.

Oral cancer: Oral cancer is most often seen in people over 40 and is frequently caused by tobacco and alcohol use, and is characterized by sores, lumps or rough areas in the month. It can also cause difficulty in chewing and swallowing. Routine dental visits can help catch oral cancer early, when it is most treatable.

Mouth sores: Common mouth sores include fever blisters, cold sores and canker sores. Canker sores are not contagious and are not a concern unless they do not subside in two weeks. Fever blisters and cold sores are contagious and will recur. Mouth sores can also be caused by oral thrush or candidiasis, a mouth yeast infection that is common in babies, those who wear dentures, those enduring chemotherapy and others.

Tooth Erosion: Tooth erosion is the wearing away of the protective enamel on the teeth.  This can lead to tooth sensitivity, cracking, and other concerns. Regular checkups with your dentist can help you address this issue and keep larger problems from developing.

Sensitive teeth: People with sensitive teeth have a heightened oral awareness of hot and cold. Certain foods and beverages may cause pain or discomfort. While tooth sensitivity can be caused by a cracked tooth or tooth abscess, some tooth sensitivity can be easily treated by with special toothpaste and other methods.

Toothaches: Tooth pain can be caused from cracked or abscessed teeth, sinus pain and pressure, cavities or other causes.  Some causes of tooth pain are easily treated…others require more intervention.  It is important to seek care from your dental care provider as soon as you notice an issue.

Unattractive smile: Some people experience crooked teeth, a gap between teeth, overlapping teeth and other oral issues.  These concerns can lead to mouth discomfort, chewing and speaking issues and decay. It is important to discuss any issues with your dentist and orthodontist.

Stained teeth: Stained teeth can be caused by medications, trauma, coffee or wine, but may also be caused by the erosion of tooth enamel.  Regular visits to your dentist for periodic cleaning can eliminate some stain concerns, but other treatments and bleaching options may be necessary.

Chipped tooth: The most common type of dental injury, chipped teeth can be caused from a blow to the mouth or biting down on something hard…like a popcorn kernel. Chipped teeth can be repaired by a bonding resin, veneer or crown, depending upon the severity of your situation.

Impacted teeth: When teeth do not come into the mouth properly and are stuck against another tooth, soft tissue of the gum or a bone, they are considered impacted. Depending on your situation, your dentist may suggest leaving the impacted tooth alone, or oral surgery may be required.

Grinding or clenching teeth: Teeth grinding and clenching can effect anyone at any age and can happen when you are awake, when you are sleeping or both.  Grinding and clenching are damaging, because they wear down tooth dentin and leave teeth susceptible to decay, cracking and pain.  Dental work such as crowns and bridges can also be damaged by grinding and clenching.

Dental Emergencies: Dental emergencies can happen to anyone.  Teeth can be chipped, cracked or knocked out. Teeth can develop abscesses or other painful conditions.  Dental emergencies can be very painful and scary. It is important to seek help from your oral care provider immediately if you any concerns.

No matter what sort of tooth problem you face, it is important to visit your dentist regularly for check-ups. And if you face unexpected tooth pain or another concerns, make an emergency appointment with your oral care provider immediately.  Tooth pain and dental issues can be scary and cause dental anxiety.  But putting off issues will only lead more problems.

If you do require oral surgery, extensive dental work or dental procedures to correct to you tooth pain issues, there are tools and techniques available to ensure that taking care of your oral health is as painless as possible.  Ask your dentist about DentalVibe, a tool that completely eliminates the pain of dental injections. If you dentist doesn’t use DentalVibe, you can tell him more about it, or you can search for a DentalVibe dentist here. Take charge of your oral health.  Don’t let problems become bigger problems.  Conquer dental concerns by partnering with a dentist that can help you manage your oral health and dental anxiety to ensure that you have a beautiful smile for years to come.

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