Let’s review the most common oral conditions that patients experience, the signs and symptoms associated with these conditions, and ways to help prevent and treat these conditions.
Cavities are one of the most common dental conditions in children and adults. They are holes in the tooth’s structure caused by bacterial accumulation called plaque. Cavities can occur on the biting surfaces, gum lines or between the teeth, leading to infection and tooth loss if left untreated. Cavities are treated with dental fillings, which are used to fill in and replace the decayed tooth structure. To prevent cavities, maintain good oral hygiene and use toothpaste containing fluoride. Also, be sure to limit your exposure to sugars.
Another prevalent oral condition is gum disease. Gum disease starts out as gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums. When left untreated, gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, an infection of the bone and ligament surrounding the teeth. Signs and symptoms of gum disease include bleeding/ tender gums, bad breath, gum recession and loose teeth. Good oral hygiene and regular dental visits are vital to preventing gum disease.
Tooth staining and discolouration can happen for many reasons and sometimes occurs with time and age. There are two types of staining, external staining (caused by dietary choices such as coffee and tea or smoking) and internal staining (caused by factors such as health, trauma and past dental work.) Internal staining can be removed at a simple dental cleaning and is easier to prevent. To remove internal staining, whitening products containing hydrogen peroxide should be considered. Prevent staining by maintaining good oral care, rinsing your mouth after coffee, tea and red wine, and quitting smoking.
A chipped tooth occurs when a portion of the enamel, and sometimes even the underlying structure called the dentin, chip off due to trauma. This may occur for many reasons, such as a blow to the face, clenching or grinding or biting on something hard. Chips are challenging to prevent but can usually be fixed with dental fillings.
The most commonly impacted teeth are the wisdom teeth. These are the 3rd molars that tend to erupt around 18 years old if there is space for them. If no room exists for these molars to erupt, they are considered impacted and may need to be extracted. Impacted wisdom teeth can lead to pain, infection and even cavities on neighbouring teeth.
Tooth sensitivity is a common oral condition experienced by most patients at some point. It isn’t always possible to identify why sensitivity occurs, but it can be related to aggressive brushing, gum recession, tooth erosion, or wear. The best course of action is to use sensitivity toothpaste twice daily for prevention.
If you have any questions or concerns about these common oral conditions, we encourage you to contact our office today to schedule an appointment.