Correcting problems with crowded and crooked teeth not only gives you a better smile, it also leads to a healthier mouth.
Malocclusion, also known as “bad bite”, involves teeth that are crowded or crooked.
Sometimes, the upper and lower jaws may not meet properly and, although the teeth may appear straight, the individual may have an uneven bite.
Problems such as protruding, crowded or irregularly spaced teeth may be inherited. But thumb-sucking, losing teeth prematurely and accidents also can lead to these conditions.
As well as spoiling your smile, crooked and crowded teeth make cleaning the mouth difficult. This can lead to tooth decay, gum disease and possibly tooth loss.
A bad bite can also interfere with chewing and speaking, cause abnormal wear to tooth enamel and lead to problems with the jaws.
Orthodontic treatment can help correcting these problems giving you a better smile but, more importantly, creating a healthier mouth.
Your dentist will advise you on how orthodontic treatment could help you.
You’ll give yourself the best chance of good oral health if you build a strong relationship with your dentist.
That can sometimes mean asking the right questions and helping them to assist you in the best way possible.
So you want to make sure you have a dentist who will first of all explain techniques that you should use to help prevent dental health problems. They should be willing to show you step-by-step what you need to do.
You should also choose a dentist who is willing to take time to answer your questions, especially when they are recommending a course of treatment.
If you don’t understand any part of what your dentist recommends, don’t be afraid to ask for more information.
You may want to ask if there are other options to the solution they recommend. For example:
– How do the options differ in cost?
– Which solution will last the longest?
– Do all the options solve the problem?
Ask the dentist which treatments are absolutely necessary, which are elective and Which are cosmetic.
Ask which procedures are urgently needed, and which ones are less urgent. Your dentist will help you prioritize between problems which need immediate attention and those that are less urgent.
Often, treatment can be planned over a period of time but make sure you understand any consequences of delaying treatment.
It’s naturally also important to make sure that you are given full information about fees and payment plans before treatment is scheduled.
Gum disease – also known as periodontal disease – is an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth and it’s a major cause of tooth loss in adults.
But it’s usually painless so you may not even know you have it.
It’s caused by plaque – a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria create toxins that can damage the gums.
The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. In this stage, the gums can become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, you can usually still reverse the disease by daily brushing and flossing.
The more advanced stage of gum disease is known as periodontitis. At this stage, the gums and bone that support the teeth can become seriously damaged. The teeth may then become loose, fall out or have to be removed by a dentist.
It’s therefore very important to look out for any signs of gum disease. These signs include:
– Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
– Red, swollen or tender gums
– Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
– Bad breath that doesn’t go away
– Pus between your teeth and gums
– Loose teeth
– Change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
– Change in the fit of partial dentures
If you notice any of these signs, contact you dentist quickly and they’ll help you take action to make improvements.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s important that you let your dentist know so that they can give you the best care possible.
As more than 15 million Americans have diabetes, your dentist will be familiar with the issues and will give you the specialist care you need.
This is important because diabetes can lower your resistance to infection and slow the healing process.
It’s important to tell your dentist:
– If you have been diagnosed with .diabetes
– If the disease is under control
– If there has been any other change in your medical history
– Names of all prescription and over-the-counter drugs you are taking
The most common oral health problems associated with diabetes are:
– Tooth decay
– Periodontal (gum) disease
– Salivary gland dysfunction
– Fungal infections
– Infection and delayed healing
– Taste impairment
If you have regular dental checkups – and keep your dentist informed about your status – they’ll be able to help you reduce and manage these risks.
The Invisalign system is a series of clear, thin, mouthguards that fit over the teeth and can gradually straighten them.
These have been called “invisible braces” as they can be an effective alternative to metal braces in some circumstances.
The big advantage of Invisalign is much improved appearance and comfort.
Invisalign mouthguards can be removed during eating and when brushing and flossing. As traditional braces may trap food and plaque, this is another major benefit of Invisalign.
While the system has advantages, it also has some drawbacks.
For example, it is more expensive – costing 25-50 percent more than metal braces.
Also the fact that you remove the mouthguards more often means that you may forget to wear them and it could take longer for you to achieve the desired results.
Invisalign is better suited to some people than others – for example, it may be particularly suitable for adults who have slight to moderate spacing or crowding of their teeth.
Your dentist will be able to tell you if you might be a suitable candiate for Invisalign.
You will get more detailed advice from an orthodontist who has been certified in the Invisalign system.
With many people concerned about the taste and purity of tap water, the sales of bottled water have increased significantly in recent years.
Tap water goes through a process of purification designed to eliminate suspended materials, remove tastes and odors and kill microorganisms.
Fluoride is added to most tap water supplies with the aim of reducing cavities.
Fluoride becomes incorporated into our teeth as they develop and makes them more resistant to decay. It can reverse the progress of early cavities and reduce the need for dental treatment.
Mass water fluoridation has played an important role in reducing tooth decay.
The problem with bottled waters is that they usually don’t contain fluoride.
So there is a risk that drinking bottled water can increase the risk of cavities for some people.
If you drink a lot of bottled water, you can make up for this by using fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse.
Your dentist may even suggest a fluoride supplement if they notice an increase in cavities.
Sensitive teeth is a common problem that causes many people to feel discomfort with hot or cold foods and drinks.
It can also make it uncomfortable to brush or floss the teeth and therefore can lead to further oral problems.
However, sensitive teeth can be treated.
If you suffer from this, your dentist may suggest that you try a desensitizing toothpaste, which contains compounds that help block transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve.
For desensitizing toothpaste to work, you normally have to make several applications.
If the desensitizing toothpaste does not help, your dentist may suggest further solutions.
For example, fluoride gel – which strengthens tooth enamel and reduces the transmission of sensations – may be applied to the sensitive areas of the teeth.
If the sensitivity is caused by receding gums, your dentist may use bonding agents that “seal” the sensitive teeth.
The sealer is usually made of a plastic material.
If there is severe hypersensitivity which cannot be treated by other means, there is the option of endodontic (root canal) treatment.
Sensitive teeth is a problem that can stop you enjoying your food but is one that can often be solved.
Orthodontic treatment is the process of straightening out crooked and crowded teeth, often using appliances such as braces.
Most dentists are trained to treat some minor orthodontic problems but, if they feel a patient needs specialist treatment, they will provide a referral to an orthodontist.
An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.
One of the main aims of orthodontics is to straighten teeth and correct jaw alignment through braces, corrective procedures and other “appliances”.
Braces are the most common appliance and there are two types:
– Fixed, which are worn all the time and can only be removed by the dentist
– Removable, which the patient can take out of the mouth
Most patients wear braces for between one and three years, depending on what conditions need correcting. This is followed by a period of wearing a “retainer” that holds teeth in their new positions.
There may be a little discomfort during treatment but modern braces are more comfortable than ever before. They apply a constant, gentle force to move teeth and usually require fewer adjustments than older apparatus.
While braces work best when children are still growing, they can be effective at any age.
Young people today choose to make a variety of fashion statements affecting not just the clothes they wear but also their bodies through tattoos and piercing, for example.
Oral piercing may be something they feel looks good but it can lead to problems where they end up needing medical or dental treatment.
Oral piercing can often lead to symptoms such as pain, swelling, infection, increased saliva flow and injuries to the gum tissue.
There can be severe bleeding if a blood vessel is in the path of the needle during the piercing.
Swelling of the tongue is also a common side effect and, in extreme cases, this can block the airway and lead to breathing difficulties.
Other possible problems include chipped or cracked teeth, blood poisoning or even blood clots.
Infection is a very common complication of oral piercing because of the millions of bacteria in your mouth.
Of course, the jewelry itself also causes risk. It can be swallowed or cause damage to your teeth.
So, while young people may feel piercings in the mouth look cool, a great smile will look a lot better in the years to come.
Bad breath – also known as halitosis – is an unpleasant condition that can cause a great deal of embarrassment.
And, for many people, it’s made even worse by the fact they don’t even know that they have it.
There are many possible causes for bad breath so, if you think you might have the problem, talk to your dentist.
What you eat affects what you breathe out. Certain foods, such as garlic and onions, contribute to objectionable breath odor and even dieters may develop unpleasant breath from infrequent eating.
If you don’t brush and floss daily, particles of food remain in the mouth, collecting bacteria, which can cause bad breath.
Bad breath can also be caused by dry mouth (xerostomia) which occurs when the flow of saliva decreases.
One of the reasons why it’s especially important to talk to your dentist about bad breath is that it may be a sign of an underlying medical problem such as respiratory tract infection or gastrointestinal problems.
Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth can also be a warning signs of gum disease.
Smoking can also cause bad breath, stain teeth and reduce your ability to taste foods.
For all these reasons, you shouldn’t put up with the problem of bad breath. Talk to your dentist and find out what might be causing the problem.