Dental problems can be painful, but most common issues are avoidable. Here are eight of the most typical dental problems, along with tips for treating and avoiding difficulties.
1) Bad Breath
Known as halitosis, bad breath can occur for a number of reasons. Most people develop it due to poor dental hygiene. That said, it can also be a sign of tooth decay, gum disease and dry mouth. You can temporarily reduce bad breath by using mouthwash and chewing gum; however, to permanently prevent it, you must address the underlying cause.
2) Tooth Decay
This occurs when oral bacteria consumer food particles and excrete corrosive acids that break down tooth enamel. You can prevent tooth decay by brushing and flossing every day. You should also get bi-annual dental checkups. Tooth decay treatments include sealants, fillings, crowns and, in severe cases, root canal therapy.
3) Gum Disease
Dubbed gingivitis in the earliest stages and periodontal disease during later stages, gum disease is inflammation and/or an infection of the gums. Poor brushing habits, smoking, diabetes and dry mouth can all increase your risk. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss. Dentists usually treat gum disease with scaling and root planing.
4) Tooth Sensitivity
This common issue causes discomfort or pain when teeth are exposed to cold or hot foods and drinks. In some cases, flossing and brushing can also cause discomfort. Abscesses, gum recession and cracked teeth can cause tooth sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity treatments range from bonding to desensitizing toothpaste to root canal therapy.
5) Chipped or Cracked Teeth
Teeth can chip or crack when exposed to trauma. People also tend to experience dental damage when they chew on ice or bite into hard candies. Depending on the severity of the damage, your dentist may use a tooth-colored filling, veneer or crown to fix your tooth. If you experience pain below the gum line, root canal therapy may be needed.
6) Canker Sores
Often caused by bacteria or viruses, canker sores develop inside the mouth. Although they can be painful, the sores are typically not serious. Most of the time, they will go away on their own after a few days or a couple of weeks. Over-the-counter creams can provide relief. If you have a lingering sore in your mouth that won’t go away, see your dentist to make sure it isn’t oral cancer.
7) Teeth Grinding
Also called bruxism, teeth grinding can occur due to stress, sleep problems and a misaligned bite. Over time, grinding can result in nagging headaches, a sore jaw and damaged teeth. Dentists can often treat grinding issues with a custom-made mouthguard you wear while you sleep.
8) Tooth Stains
Stains can develop on teeth for a variety of reasons. Food, beverages, medications and trauma are all common culprits. Poor dental hygiene is also a big reason why many people develop discolored teeth. Most tooth stains can be lightened or removed with professional teeth whitening treatments at your dentist’s office.