8 of the Most Common Dental Problems – And Their Solutions!
Have you ever experienced a toothache? Have you ever had a cavity?
You’re not alone – these are just two of the most common dental problems people face.
Some of the issues patients present with are mostly aesthetic in nature, while others can be downright dangerous.
Educating yourself about the most common dental problems – and their solutions! – can help you take steps to avoid them.
What Are the Most Common Dental Problems?
In addition to preventing dental problems, learning about them can help you identify symptoms. When you know what to look for, you can take steps to resolve the issue more quickly.
Here are eight of the most common dental problems our patients face.
1. Dental Decay
People of every age can get a cavity – even children who are still on the bottle. In fact, tooth decay is the most common childhood disease, being five times more likely than asthma and up to 20 times more common than juvenile diabetes.
Dental decay is caused by sugar and bacteria. Oral bacteria feed on the sugars in the foods we eat. During this process, an acid is released that damages the enamel, resulting in decalcification, weakness, and eventually, a cavity.
In the early stages of decay, most patients have zero symptoms. Once the cavity progresses, you may experience:
- Sensitivity to sweet foods
- Temperature sensitivity
- Brown, black, or white spots on your teeth
- Bite pressure pain
Dental solution: Your Whittier dentist will first need to remove the dental decay. Then, they’ll perform restorative dentistry, filling the tooth with a strong composite resin.
2. Gum Disease
Gum disease is one of the most common causes of tooth loss in adults.
Plaque is sticky and oral bacteria are attracted to it. If you don’t remove the plaque regularly, it will continue to build-up. Eventually, the plaque calcifies into tartar, a substance that cannot be removed without professional dental instruments.
As tartar builds up below and under the gumline, it irritates the delicate gum tissue. Eventually, the gums start to recede, as will the bone if the disease is left untreated.
- Bleeding gums
- Red gums
- Sore, swollen gum tissue
- Difficulty flossing
- Gum recession
- Loose teeth
- Tooth loss
Dental solution: The best thing you can do is seek preventative dental treatment to avoid developing this disease in the first place. Regular dental cleanings remove the tartar on your teeth and root surfaces. This, together with daily oral hygiene practices, can reduce your risk of developing gum disease.
If you are diagnosed with periodontal disease, your dentist will recommend a dental care treatment plan that includes:
- Deep cleaning
- Antibiotic treatment
- Maintenance cleanings every three to four months
Everyone experiences occasional bad breath. Unfortunately, some people deal with chronic bad breath. The causes of this include:
- Eating certain foods
- Tobacco products
- Poor oral hygiene
- Gum disease
- Dental decay
- Dry mouth
- Oral infections
- Sinus infections
- Chronic inflammation of the throat or sinuses
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Dental solution: Your dentist will evaluate for gum disease, cavities, infections, and foreign bodies (food) trapped in your throat/tonsils. If you don’t have any of these conditions, they’ll refer you to your general physician for diagnostic tests.
If the issue is something your dentist can treat, they’ll create a custom treatment plan to:
- Arrest the gum
- Remove dental decay (filling or a dental crown)
- Treat infections
4. Tooth Sensitivity
According to some estimates, approximately 40 million people in the US suffer from tooth sensitivity.
- Sharp pain with temperature change (breathing in cold air, drinking hot or cold beverages, eating ice cream)
- Pain when eating acidic foods (oranges, tomatoes)
- Tooth tenderness during dental cleanings
Dental solution: Your dentist will first determine what’s causing the sensitivity. In some cases, this type of tooth pain is caused by dental decay, in which case a filling is warranted. In other cases, though, the sensitivity is caused by:
- Enamel wear
- Gum recession and exposed root surfaces
- Bruxism (teeth grinding, particularly at night)
- Tooth whitening products
To treat your sensitivity, your dentist will recommend:
- Using a soft bristled toothbrush
- Using a toothpaste specifically for sensitivity (like Sensodyne)
- Placing a fluoride varnish on your teeth and exposed root surfaces
- Investing in a nightguard to protect your teeth from nocturnal bruxism
- Investing in professional, in-office tooth whitening products (instead of often harsher over the counter products)
- Using a special desensitizing agent after whitening treatments
5. Chipped Teeth
Chipped teeth can be caused by trauma (getting hit in the face) or a misaligned bite.
Dental solution: While it may seem like repairing a chipped tooth is purely cosmetic, it’s not. A chipped tooth can lead to irritated gums and a sore tongue (because our ever-curious tongue will never stop playing with it!). Additionally, even a tiny chip can damage the integrity of the tooth, making it susceptible to further chipping, tooth cracking, and even a major fracture.
Therefore, it’s imperative to the health of the tooth to have your Whittier dentist repair a chipped tooth. We can do this with composite resin material.
However, we want to treat the root cause of the problem. If your teeth are chipping because of bruxism or a misaligned bite, we’ll recommend a nightguard and/or orthodontic treatment.
6. Cracked Teeth
A cracked tooth is caused by normal wear and tear, bite misalignment, or trauma.
- Sensitivity to bite pressure
- Sensitivity to temperature changes (particularly to cold)
- Dental decay
- Fractured tooth
Dental solution: A crack will not go away. It needs to be stabilized with a dental crown to stop its progression. Left untreated, the crack can become so deep that it allows bacteria not just into the tooth but into the root of the tooth. Once the nerve is irritated or infected, root canal treatment is needed.
Investing in a dental crown as soon as a dentist diagnoses a crack can help prevent the need for emergency dental care, root canal treatment, or a fractured tooth.
A toothache can be caused by gum disease, dental decay, trauma, root infection, bruxism, and even tooth impaction.
- Sharp, throbbing, constant pain
- Swelling gums around the tooth
- Bad breath
- Drainage from the infected tooth (abscess)
Dental solution: Emergency dental care is needed right away. An untreated infection can cause bacteria to spread to other parts of the body (including the brain) through the bloodstream.
Treatment can include:
- Root canal treatment
- Deep cleaning
8. Stained Teeth
Though mostly cosmetic, stains are one of the most common reasons why people see their dentist. In fact, the global teeth whitening industry is expected to reach $3.78 billion in revenue this year.
Staining can be caused by:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Tobacco or marijuana use
- Certain foods (wine, coffee)
Dental solution: Cosmetic dentistry procedures can restore surface-level stains, as well as deeper intrinsic staining. Fillings, bonding, whitening, veneers, crowns, and regular dental cleanings can all contribute to a whiter, brighter smile.
Dental Problems: It’s Not Just about Your Mouth
If you develop one or more of the dental issues mentioned above, getting dental care right away is imperative – not just to your oral health but also to your overall health.
The state of your dental health has a bearing on your general health, contributing to things like arthritis, heart disease, and stroke.
Thankfully, with help from your Whittier dentist, you can reduce your risk of developing these life-altering and threatening conditions.
Talk to your dentist today about implementing a preventative dental treatment plan so you can continue to live an active, happy, and healthy life for years to come.
Has it been a while since your last dental check-up? Contact us today to schedule a new patient exam and professional cleaning!