Just about everyone knows what cavities are or has at least heard of them at the very least. In fact, it is common knowledge that brushing your teeth and visiting your dentist’s office regularly are essential parts of preventing cavities from developing. Gum disease is another dental problem that is regularly talked about on toothpaste commercials or by your dentist. While tooth decay and gum disease are two of the most common and most well-known dental problems, they are not the only dental problems that exist. Unfortunately, there are some other common dental problems such as:
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth are the third molars that erupt during early adulthood. Unfortunately, many people don’t have enough space in their mouth for their wisdom teeth to erupt properly. This ultimately leads to impacted wisdom teeth. There are two types of impactions that can occur: partial and complete. Partial impactions are when part of the tooth has erupted over the gum line, while complete impactions are when the entire tooth is trapped beneath the gum line. To prevent future complications associated with impacted wisdom teeth, they will usually need to be extracted.
Although tooth enamel is the strongest substance in the human body, it is not entirely immune to becoming damaged. In fact, bruxism, sports accidents, falls, using the teeth as tools to hold or open things, and biting down on hard foods are all common causes of tooth damage. When a tooth becomes damaged, a small piece can either chip off or the tooth can crack, or fracture. Both types of damage can be restored with different types of restorative treatments.
When a single tooth is colored in such a way that it does not match the surrounding teeth, this is usually an indication something isn’t right. The most common discolorations are teeth that appear pink, grey, or black. Teeth with a pink color have usually undergone some type of trauma. As long as the tooth returns to its original color, no action needs to be taken. Teeth that are grey or black, however, are usually an indication of dental pulp that is infected or dead. In these cases, your dentist will need to perform a root canal to remove the pulp and restore the tooth.
Oral thrush is a fungal infection that occurs within the mouth and looks like a chalky, white film. It is commonly seen in people who have medical conditions that compromise the immune system, such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, or unmanaged diabetes. Oral thrush is also a common complication in people who wear dentures. Since it is a fungal infection, oral thrush can easily be treated with prescription medication.
Teeth Grinding or Clenching
Teeth grinding or clenching is a stress-related habit that often occurs unconsciously while sleeping. Unfortunately, the constant force of pushing the teeth together can cause the enamel to wear down and possibly become damaged. Additionally, teeth grinding and clenching also places additional pressure on the jaw joint which can eventually lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
Dr. April Toyer became a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry in 2011 and is proud to be a consultant for the Committee of Sedation and Anesthesia within the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.