What Is The Most Common Dental Issue?

When it comes to visiting the dentist, many people wonder what they could face upon arrival in the reclining chair. From tooth decay to gum disease, knowing the most common dental problems and their solutions can put your mind at ease. There isn’t necessarily just one sign of poor oral health; there are many things that our patients typically have in common.

This detailed guide to your most common dental problems will help you to better prepare for your next dental appointment:

Tooth Decay

Perhaps the most common concern for dental health is tooth decay, often referred to as dental cavities or dental caries. If your dentist pronounces that you have tooth decay, it means that a sticky substance known as plaque has built up on the surface of the tooth.

This could be the result of poor oral hygiene from a lack of brushing and flossing. The sugary and acidic foods you eat build up on the outside of the tooth, known as the enamel. Enamel erosion often leads to tooth decay, but it can be avoided with some simple at-home actions.

For example, you can stick with a routine of brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day. Try to minimize your intake of sugary beverages or foods that could get stuck in the teeth between your brushings. Parents of younger patients may want to consider sealants to help protect the tooth’s enamel from decay.

If you’re unable to prevent tooth decay in the first place, you can rest assured that the treatment is relatively easy. Dentists typically fill the cavities to keep the problem from worsening.

Gum Disease

Another issue caused by dental plaque is gum disease. It occurs when you have plaque buildup in the space between the tooth and gums. Most of the time, it results in swollen gums and minor irritation.

Left untreated, gingivitis segues into periodontitis which is a more serious version of gum disease marked by receding gums, bleeding gums, and difficulty chewing. In the most advanced gum disease, you may even lose the tooth altogether.

Treating gum disease isn’t as easy as placing a filling. Instead, your dentist may try to scale the plaque out from between the tooth and gum. This can sometimes reverse the progression of gum disease. A dentist may also prescribe antibiotics for a tooth infection.

Periodontal Disease

If your gum disease is not treated early, it can transform into a much more serious issue: Periodontal disease. This takes the infection one step further, from the gums and into the jaw, where it can cause pain.  The result is inflammation throughout the entire body that wreaks havoc on your immune system and overall well-being.

To start treating periodontal diseases, your dentist may set you up with more regular dental cleanings and check-ups where they can scale the area between the teeth and gums more closely. It may take several visits to remove the buildup in these pockets. They may also issue you an antibiotic to lower inflammation and infection throughout the body.

Of course, this should all go hand-in-hand with good oral health practices like brushing twice a day and flossing, particularly along the gum line. If you use tobacco products of any kind, this is a good time to kick the habit before it worsens your periodontal disease.

Receding Gums

Another issue that goes directly with the two previous common dental problems is receding gums. In this case, your gums may recede to the point where the nerve ending of the tooth is exposed. As you might imagine, this can cause immense pain.

Proper brushing habits can go a long way toward helping eliminate the issue of receding gums. However, if it persists, you may need a gum graft surgery to restore your gum line and minimize discomfort.

Tooth Sensitivity

One of the most common dental problems that people make an appointment for is tooth sensitivity. When you have difficulty eating certain foods, it might be time to see a dentist. In particular, this usually means that you have trouble eating foods that are either very hot or cold.

Sometimes, an increase in sensitive teeth surfaces when the enamel of the tooth actually sustains some damage or wear and tear. Instead of  the enamel protecting the nerve endings of the tooth, cold or hot foods actually touch the nerve and cause discomfort.

This is something that you may be able to lessen at home with some good oral health products designed specifically for tooth sensitivity.

Cracked or Broken Teeth

Unlike tooth decay which is often caused by poor oral hygiene, cracked or broken teeth can happen to anyone at any time. A cracked tooth can surface from playing rough contact sports, chewing on something too hard for the strength of your enamel, or through any other sustained injury.

Unfortunately, you may not know right away that a tooth is cracked. Instead, you might notice little changes in your oral health, such as sensitive teeth or pain. When you start to feel discomfort of any kind in the mouth, you should contact a dentist to be on the safe side.

The treatment for a broken tooth depends on the severity of the crack. Your dentist may be able to put on a crown at best or remove the tooth at worst.

Crooked Teeth and Other Cosmetic Issues

Of course, many people will come to see the dentist for issues that are seemingly unrelated to their dental health. Crooked teeth are one of the leading causes of dental appointments, but there are other cosmetic reasons to visit the dentist as well. For example, you might have yellow teeth or gaps between teeth.

Many dentists also offer orthodontic treatment to help alleviate issues related to the spacing of your teeth. The most common are braces, but retainers and other devices can also be used. You may even be able to use invisible retainers that realign how your teeth are structured without the bulk of metal brackets and wires.

Veneers are another option for dealing with gaps between teeth or minor alignment issues. These adhere to the outside of the tooth and are a long-lasting solution.

Last but not least, your dentist may recommend teeth whitening if you’re concerned about the appearance of your teeth. This is a perfectly safe treatment that can improve the appearance of yellow teeth, brightening them by a few shades in a single session. Extremely discoloured teeth may require multiple sessions to achieve the desired results.  However these treatment may increase tooth sensitivity although usually this is temporary and can be minimized with use of desensitizing toothpaste.

Missing Teeth

Whether you had to have a broken tooth removed or a tooth simply fell out due to an injury or gum disease, you might not want to deal with the appearance of a missing tooth. To this end, your dentist can help you fill in the gap in your smile with dental implants.

In most instances implant crowns look exactly the same as the rest of your teeth and even function the same as natural teeth. If you’re missing multiple teeth, you may be able to opt for a bridge that covers a span of several teeth.

It may take several visits to get your new implant in place, but it will be well worth the time invested when you can have a smile that you are truly happy with.

Tooth Erosion

While similar to dental caries, tooth erosion is slightly different. Instead of plaque wearing away at tooth enamel, erosion occurs when the acidic foods in your diet rest on the teeth and eat away at the enamel. If your diet consists of foods with high acidity you may be at risk for tooth erosion.  Examples include citrus fruits, vinegars and soda.

Keep in mind that those that suffer from dry mouth lack the saliva that clears away some of these harmful chemicals, making erosion more likely in this population.

What can be done for tooth erosion to improve your overall oral health? Perhaps the only effective treatment for erosion is to manage the symptoms. A dentist can apply resin to the tooth to try to protect it from further decay, place veneers over damaged enamel, or place a crown.

No matter what you do, you won’t be able to turn the tide of tooth erosion. The only thing you can do is prevent it from worsening.

Bad Breath

One of the most embarrassing issues for many people is bad breath or halitosis. This can impact your confidence and your social life if you don’t take care of it early on. Unfortunately, the cure for bad breath is not as easy to pinpoint as one might imagine. 

Many things can impact the state of the mouth and the smells that come from it.

For example, dry mouth allows residue from your meals to linger and causes odours. Bad breath can also be caused by poor oral hygiene, like not brushing and flossing. An infection in the mouth, acid reflux, and even certain types of medication can all contribute to halitosis.

Sometimes, it can be easy to pinpoint the source of the smell when you eat odiferous foods like onions. However, it may not be that clear-cut. Have your dentist do a thorough cleaning and check-up to determine what could be causing your overall bad breath.

Oral Cancer

You should also use your dentist appointment to manage symptoms related to oral cancer. A dentist can identify any lumps and bumps that are out of the norm in the mouth, including around the lips, tongue, and even the tonsils. If you have mouth sores that don’t heal on their own or continue to resurface, it might be time to let a dentist take a look.

Anyone can have oral cancer, but it’s most common in those who smoke or use chewing tobacco. Alcohol consumption can also fuel the flames of oral cancer and sores within the oral cavity.

Like all cancers, oral cancer can be treated if caught early enough. This is reason enough to schedule regular dental appointments.

Impacted Teeth

Another common dental problem that makes people uncomfortable at best and in pain at worst is an impacted tooth. This means that your tooth hasn’t been able to come through the gums, usually because it lacks the space that it needs. Instead, it may try to crowd out the other teeth around its designated location.

You won’t be able to tell if you have an impacted tooth right away because it’s hidden below the gum line. However, you’ll certainly feel it if you have a tooth that’s impacted. It can cause substantial pain in your jaw and gums. You may even have difficulty opening your mouth due to this pain.

Sometimes impacted teeth can be left alone if they are not causing any problems but otherwise the treatment for an impacted tooth is either to help the tooth to come through the gums or remove the impacted tooth via oral surgery.

Get the Dental Check-Up You Need

Don’t wait until you’re in pain to take control of your oral health. You need regular dental check-ups to catch some of these problems right from the start. Fresh Dental can take care of all your oral health conditions under one roof, allowing you to get the treatment you need to start living your best life with a smile you’re happy with.

Reach out to us today to learn more about how we can help you with any discomfort, pain, or cosmetic issues that you may be facing.