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5 Common Dental Problems and How to Avoid Them

Your mouth is a window into your health in so many ways, and when it’s not healthy, it’s devastating. We use our mouths to smile and signal friendliness to others, to chew our food for nourishment, and to speak to convey our thoughts.  Without our mouths, we’d be mute and incapable of sustaining ourselves.  For such a small space, the mouth is hugely importance- and thus, the task of keeping it healthy should have a meaningful, substantial place in your daily routine.

The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth, thoroughly, twice a day.  Additionally, flossing daily is extremely important, as it pulls out anything stuck between the teeth and strengthens the gums. As part of a daily routine, we recommend brushing your tongue to cleanse it, as well as examining your mouth for changes like tooth discoloration, cracks, or changes to the appearance of gums & tongue.  All of this simple, preventative maintenance can limit the time you spend in the dentist’s chair, and will prevent much of the chronic problems that bring in repeat patients.  Below are some of the most common dental problems we see, and some of the ways you can avoid them.

Gum Disease:

Gum disease is typically caused by three factors: bad oral hygiene, smoking and genetic susceptibility. According to the NIH, gum disease sufferers don't often show symptoms until their 30's and 40's, though teenagers can often have gingivitis, which is the milder form of the disease. 

Periodontitis is the more severe form of gum disease and, according to the Mayo Clinic, can put you at greater risk for heart attack or stroke. How? Bacteria can be inhaled or enter your blood through the gums, eventually affecting your heart and lungs.

Symptoms of gum disease include things like constant bad breath, swollen or bleeding gums and loose or sensitive teeth. The NIH reports that treatment often includes a deep cleaning or scraping tartar from below the gum line,

Tooth Sensitivity:

There can be many causes of tooth sensitivity, but the biggest one tends to be exposed root surfaces. When gums recede, even by just a tiny bit, the root of the tooth can become permanently exposed.  The root surface if porous, which allows those hot and cold fluids you ingest to stimulate the nerve in the center of the tooth, resulting in pain.  However, there are many causes of tooth sensitivity- when in doubt, you should see your Southfield dentist.

Yellow Teeth:

Teeth yellow over time due to what we consume.  Red wine & coffee are major culprits, but over time many different foods and drinks can cause yellowing.  While yellowing is primarily a cosmetic concern, it’s a major detriment to some people: our smile is one of the first things people see and judge us on, and for those individuals who make a career of interacting with people (actors & actresses, sales people, leaders, etc), having a dingy looking smile can affect them deeply. 

For those people looking to whiten and brighten their smile, we have multiple solutions.  Zoom Whitening is a fantastic choice with a long track record of results, and is often very cost effective. Contact us today if you’re interested in teeth whitening, and we’ll walk you through your options.

Cavities:

Bacteria and people are a lot alike- we both love to much of sugars and starchs.  When you eat your delicious blueberry muffin and follow it with a glass of orange juice, your next move should be to brush your teeth.  Why?  Because the bacteria in your mouth will devour the leftover sugars and starches left on your teeth, then secrete an acid waste product.  This acid dissolves enamel, and leaves cavities behind- the perfect place for bacteria to lodge inside so that you can’t reach them easily through brushing and flossing.

Prevention is key here.  Brushing and flossing after meals is hugely important to avoid cavities- once they form, they need to be treated with a filling, a crown, or a root canal

Wisdom Teeth:

Some lucky people never have to worry about this, but others are bound to need their wisdom teeth removed.  Why?  Because those who don’t have enough space in their jaw for them will have wisdom teeth that only partially erupt, which often leads to infection.  Bacteria can enter into the soft gums around a partially erupted wisdom tooth, and cause a painful infection.  When this happens, the best course of action is removal of the wisdom teeth, which reduces pressure the teeth might be placing on the rest of the teeth as well. 

Wisdom teeth removal is a simple procedure, despite being terrifying for most people.  Often sedation and numbing occurs, and once the teeth are removed the patient will need pain medication for a day or so, after which time the pain usually has subsided.  If your wisdom teeth are partially erupted, ask your friendly Southfield dentist if they look healthy or if they’re a candidate for removal.

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