If you thought dental health could take a backseat amidst other demanding health problems, you surely haven’t experienced the unbearable pain of tooth cavities. Problems pertaining to your teeth could be many. From open nerve endings to weak and brittle teeth, anything could plague you. To take proper care of your teeth, you should visit your dentist frequently.
A few basic ways to maintain healthy teeth
Sudden tooth pain is usually a sign of cavities or dental caries. This is the most common form of oral disease that affects people across the world. A cavity can affect a person at any age. Caries can be categorized under two headings: pit and fissure caries and surface caries. The former usually affect the horizontal planes of the molars and the back planes of the teeth in front. Surface caries are usually found at the joints between two teeth and the gum line.
Dental caries are formed over a period of time. The earlier they are addressed, the less the damage caused and the less painful it is. Bacteria is the root cause of this problem. This bacteria causes sugar in your food to turn into acid. When the acid and bacteria are combined together, it forms plaque. This plaque dissolves the minerals in the enamel coating of a tooth and creates pits. These get larger with time and gradually the softer dentin layer below the enamel also gets decayed. This is when the patient feels a toothache. If the tooth is not addressed at this stage, the roots of the tooth can also get decayed leading to the tooth needing to be extracted.
Dental caries usually have no symptoms until the damage is done. The only way to diagnose it in its early stages is by a dental examination. Hence, it is essential to schedule dental exams every six months. If you skipped a dental exam, a toothache or increased sensitivity to hot or cold food can be taken as a sign of a cavity.
The treatment for a cavity depends on the extent of the damage caused.
A filling is the most common form of treatment for a cavity. This involves the removal of decayed tooth material and the use of a material such as silver, gold, porcelain or composite resin to replace it.
Your dentist may also choose to fit a crown on the tooth. This is done is there is extensive tooth damage and only a limited tooth structure is left. As with a filling, the decayed part of the tooth is removed and a crown made of gold or porcelain is fitted over the tooth.
If the cavity reaches an advanced stage where the nerve within the tooth dies; your dentist may want to perform a root canal. This involves the removal of the inner part of the tooth along with all the pulp and nerve cells. A sealant is then filled into the emptied areas.
Dental abscess is characterized by pus formation in the teeth or the gums. This infection may occur either in the gums or the tip of the tooth. It usually occurs due to a bacterial infection which may enter the mouth through food, thus causing accumulation of plaque. If the plaque is not removed by following proper dental hygiene, then it may result in abscess.
The various factors that increase your chances of getting affected by dental abscess are a sugar rich diet and poor oral hygiene. You should brush your teeth to prevent symptoms of dental abscess. A diet that has too much sugar may lead to cavities that increases your risk of dental abscess.
Dental abscess may be classified into three types:
Entry of bacteria through holes in the teeth may result in breaking down of the soft tissue under the enamel. The infection may result in the hole to penetrate the pulp in the teeth. The bacteria thus infects the bone present in the teeth causing Periapical abscess. The bacteria that infects as a result of plaque accumulation may lead dental abscess. This may also lead to formation of gaps in the teeth leading to infection in the inner areas of the teeth.
The symptoms of dental abscess are:
We wonder why some people have more cavities even if they don't eat more sugar and they brush two times a day, whereas other people who eat alot of sugar and brush once don't get cavities.
Actually, there are a lot of factors associated which lead to cavities.
Cavities damage the enamel covering your teeth. An untreated cavity can lead to an infection in the tooth. Untreated tooth decay also destroys the inside of the tooth (pulp. And in some cases, the only option left with is to extract the tooth. So visit your dentist regularly and avoid the progress of caries.
Children are much more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disorders than grown-ups. This is because the gum and teeth in toddlers are very delicate. Moreover, children are more attracted to sweets and other food items, which cause damage to the teeth.
Here are several ways to protect the teeth of your little one:
Children are quite prone to teeth disorders and decay in the teeth. Hence, measures must be taken to protect the teeth of children from any kind of disorder.
More sugar we consume more cavities we will get. This is a myth. Actually, the frequency of sugar intake is important than the amount of sugar intake. When we consume anything, bacteria present in our mouth start digesting food and produce acids. Lactic acid acts on the tooth and starts demineralizing it meanwhile buffers present in saliva start neutralizing those acids. This whole process takes 30-45 mins. More frequently we eat more acid production, tooth stays in non-acidic conditions for less time which means more cavities.
Add sugar with your meals doesn't increase the amount of cavities.
It is said that oral health is the best indicator of a person's health. Bad oral hygiene translates down to the rest of the organs, reflecting poor health. And, like all other organs of the body, the oral cavity also is ageing and therefore, requires extra attention to maintain good health and requires a longer time to heal and get back to its original state. So, as the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure.
The following are some reasons why oral health in older patients is very important:
Food/Nutrition: Be it the regular decay or the more rare cases of oral cancers, poor oral health means reduced food intake. In the elderly, the tissues supporting the teeth (periodontium) deteriorates, leading to loosening of the teeth and inability to eat and chew food. This gets into a vicious cycle, and for the elderly, good healthy nutrition is very important for overall health. If decayed teeth and weak teeth are not allowing them to eat well, the overall health takes a toll too.
Overall health: Poor oral health is associated with a higher incidence of diabetes and heart disease. Also, in diabetics especially, the periodontal tissue is easily affected and prone to infection. This leads to not just tooth mobility but also root caries. The incidence of abscess and cyst associated with root caries is much
higher than decay in the crown portion of the tooth. The simple logic is that there is more tooth structure covering the crown than the root, and therefore, the decay reaches the pulp a lot more quickly.
Medications and side effects: Dental pain, those who have experienced will swear to be one of the worst pains to go through. And in old age, it is something that is best avoided. So, better oral care and hygiene measures become all the more important. Once pain sets in, the antibiotics and painkillers become necessary, bringing with them a host of side effects.
Simple Management tips:
- Brush twice a day using fluoridated toothpaste
- Rinse with each meal with a mouthwash is possible, else with plain water
- Floss regularly to prevent interdental caries
- Routine bi-annual visits to the dentist, especially if you are prone for decay or have dry mouth. Whether it is a small decay or a lesion, the dentist will be able to detect it early and arrest and/or treat it
- Don't ignore lumps or sore throat that is persistent
- Quit smoking, use of tobacco (if applicable)
- Healthy diet that is rich in fibre
To avoid the vicious cycle of dental symptoms and complications and their effect on general health, it is advisable to do some basic hygiene measures.
A root canal is a treatment to repair and save a badly damaged or infected tooth. The procedure involves removing the damaged area of the tooth (the pulp), cleaning and disinfecting it and then filling and sealing it. The common causes affecting the pulp are a cracked tooth, a deep cavity, repeated dental treatment to the tooth or trauma. The term "root canal" comes from cleaning of the canals inside the tooth's root.
Millions of teeth are treated and saved each year with root canal, or endodontic, treatment. Learn more about root canal treatment and how it can relieve your tooth pain and save your smile.
Local anesthesia is then administered to numb the affected area.
A rubber sheet is then placed around the tooth to keep the area and prevent it from the saliva.
A hole is then drilled in the affected tooth, following which the decayed pulp and nerve tissues are removed.
The removal is done by using root canal files which are inserted into the hole and then used to scrape and scrub the insides of the tooth.
After the scraping, water is used to clean and flush out the debris.
After the tooth is cleaned, it is sealed after administering medications to prevent infection.
The sealing process involves filling the inner portion of the teeth by a rubber based compound and a sealer paste.
Modern endodontic treatment is very similar to having a routine filling and usually can be completed in one or two appointments, depending on the condition of your tooth and your personal circumstances. You can expect a comfortable experience during and after your appointment.
Saving the natural tooth with root canal treatment has many advantages:
Normal biting force and sensation
Protects other teeth from excessive wear or strain
Once the treatment is done, the tooth may become sensitive due to inflammation of the tissues for the first few days.
It is advised to avoid any chewing by the affected teeth as it can slow down the repair process. You can brush and floss your teeth regularly.
Is the taste of ice cream or a sip of hot coffee sometimes a painful experience for you? does brushing or flossing make you wince occasionally? if so, you may have sensitive teeth.
Possible causes include:
Sensitive teeth can be treated. The type of treatment will depend on what is causing the sensitivity. One of the following treatments may be provided: -desensitizing toothpaste. This contains compounds that help block transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve, and usually requires several applications before the sensitivity is reduced.
Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing sensitive-tooth pain.