If you sometimes find the taste of something hot or cold painful on your teeth, you may suffer from sensitive teeth.
Sensitive teeth is a common problem which may be caused by cavities and fractured teeth.
But it can also be caused by worn tooth enamel, a cracked tooth or an exposed tooth root.
Tooth enamel is the strongest substance in the body and it protects the crowns of healthy teeth. A layer called cementum protects the tooth root under the gum line.
The part underneath the enamel and the cementum is called dentin, which is less dense than enamel or cementum.
The dentin contains small hollow tubes or canals called tubules. When the dentin loses its protective covering, the tubules allow hot, cold, acidic or sticky foods to reach the nerves and cells inside the tooth.
This causes hypersensitivity and occasional discomfort but fortunately, the irritation does not cause permanent damage.
Following proper oral hygiene helps prevent the gums from receding and causing the pain of sensitive teeth.
Brushing your teeth incorrectly or even brushing too much can cause gum problems.
Your dentist will advise you on the best daily routint to maximize your oral hygiene.
Having a good relationship with your dentist means they should be able to explain things clearly to you and talk to you in language you understand.
The challenge for the dentist is that, as with any type of medical and professional training, they have to learn many unusual and technical terms.
This jargon has a purpsoe as it allows professionals to communicate clearly with each other on the same basis.
But often there is no need to use this terminology with the patient. Using these terms becomes a habit and they forgat to translate for the patient.
Soemtimes. it’s easier to say what you are thinking to a patient rather than have to translate it into something he or she will understand. And the dentist is usually thinking using the jargon.
Many common dental words such as restoration (filling), dentition (set of teeth) and occlusion (how the teeth come together) can easily be translated into terms patients understand.
Your dentist wants to help you understand as much about your dental health as possible so they would prefer that you stop them and ask what terms mean or simply ask them to speak in plain English.
They often slip into jargon out of habit or because it allows them to communicate more easily with others on the team.
They want you to get the treatment you need and be satisfied. So they won’t mind if you stop and remind them to communicate more effectively.
You probably don’t give too much thought to the saliva in your mouth but, if you think of it like a bloodstream you’ll realize how important it is.
Like blood, saliva helps build and maintain the health of the soft and hard tissues.
It removes waste products from the mouth and offers first-line protection against microbial invasion that might lead to disease.
Saliva is derived from blood and therefore can also be used to detect disease.
Saliva enhances enamel protection by providing high levels of calcium and phosphate ions. It contains the minerals that maintain the integrity of the enamel surface and helps protect against caries.
When salivary flow is reduced, oral health deteriorates – much in the same way body tissues suffer if blood circulation is disrupted.
Patients with dry mouths (xerostomia) experience difficulty chewing, speaking and swallowing. A major cause of dry mouth is medication – almost eighty percent of the most commonly prescribed medications lead to dry mouth.
Chewing gum after a snack or meal stimulates salivary flow, clearing food from the mouth and neutralizing plaque acid.
Your saliva is important to your oral health both for preventing disease and in helping to diagnose problems.
Invisalign is a system of clear mouthguards that can be used instead of braces to help straighten teeth.
The big advantage is that Invisalign looks better and is more comfortable than braces.
However, not everyone is a candidate for using the system so you with have to check with your dentist.
If an orthodontist certified in Invisalign says you can benefit from the system, they will take impressions of your mouth, write up a detailed specification and then send everything to a high-tech lab.
Next, the lab will show the orthodontist a preview of the appliances.
The lab then makes a series of “aligners” – depending on the situation, you may need between 12 to 48 aligners.
After the impression of the teeth is taken, it will normally require a visit to the orthodontist every six weeks.
Some patients will be advised to wear metal braces for a period and then switching to Invisalign when their mouth is ready.
For many people Invisalign provides an ideal way of making their smile look better.
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.
Some people get a bit nervous about the idea of going to the dentist.
As a result of the major progress that has been made in diagnosis and treatment, the process gets more comfortable all the time. So you may be worrying unnecessarily.
But, if you’re in any way tense or anxious, tell your dentist and the dental staff.
They will understand and will be able to adapt the treatment to your needs.
It can also help if you choose a time for your dental visit when you’re less likely to be rushed or under pressure. Dashing out from a busy day at work may make you feel more stressed.
For many people, that means making an early-morning or a Saturday appointment helps a great deal.
There are also other steps than can help. If the sound of the drill bothers you, take a portable audio player and headset so you can listen to your favorite music.
You can also help to relax by simply visualizing yourself somewhere you feel relaxed.
Sometimes these simple steps can help you feel a lot better. So why not give it a try on your next visit?
Maintaining proper nutrition is important for everyone, young or old but many older adults find it difficult to eat a balanced diet.
They may avoid meats, raw vegetables and fresh fruits because they have trouble chewing or swallowing.
These problems can be caused by painful teeth, ill-fitting dentures, dry mouth or changes in facial muscles.
Others find their sense of taste has changed, sometimes due to a disease or certain medications.
As a result, older adults often have diets lacking in calcium, protein and other nutrients essential to dental and overall health.
A balanced diet has to be based on the five food groups:
– Milk and dairy products
– Breads and cereals
– Meats and dried beans
Sometimes a multi-vitamin or mineral supplement will help but it’s best to use supplements only after discussion with your physician.
If your teeth are stopping you from eating the food you enjoy – or that you need for good health – your dentist will be able to help you find a solution.
Modern cosmetic dentistry has created many opportunities that did not exist before for people to improve their appearance and change the way they feel about themselves.
Although cosmetic dentistry really did not exist a few yaears ago, it now attracts interest from a wide range of people.
There are few people who don’t want to improve their appearance by making their teeth straighter and whiter so that they look better when they smile.
New technology and procedures have created many more opportunities for dentists to help patients look better.
One of the most important opportunities for doing this is porcelain veneers.
These are custom-made wafers that the dentist places over the front of the teeth to repair damage and make them look better.
They can overcome many cosmetic dental problems such as whitening stained or discolored teeth, closing gaps between teeth or correcting a crooked smile without the need for braces.
They can also cover up chips and imperfections so that the smile looks much better.
Another important cosmetic trend is the increased use of white fillings.
White fillings now are more lifelike than ever and they last longer than previously.
They have become the material of choice for many dentists as they blend in with teeth and look better.
If you feel your smile is less than perfect, talk to your dentist about how it could be better.
These days many people like to use a mouthwash and there is a huge range of options to choose from.
The key to choosing the right one for your needs is being clear about what you are using it for.
Many people opt for mouthwash because they want to have fresh breath.
But many mouthwashes contain alcohol which can cause the mouth to dry. It’s best to minimize the chances of suffering from dry mouth as it can increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Therefore if you want fresh breath, a breath spray or drops may meet your needs better.
Another reason for using mouthwash is when you’ve been told you have a gum disease such as gingivitis. In this case, you’ll need to choose a mouthwash that contains ingredients known to kill the bacteria that cause gingivitis.
If you like to use a mouthwash that improves your oral health, use one that contains fluoride.
Read the directions of your mouthwash and make sure you spit it out.
Don’t assume that the most expensive mouthwashes are best. Think carefully about your needs and check the ingredients.
Your dentist will be able to advise you on the best choice of mouthwash.
While local anesthetics are often used in dental treatment, there is sometimes a need for anti-anxiety agents – such as nitrous oxide – or sedatives to help people relax during dental visits.
Dentists may use these agents to induce “minimal or moderate sedation”.
In this case, the patient reaches a relaxed state during treatment but can respond to speech or touch.
Sedatives can be administered before, during or after dental procedures by mouth, inhalation or injection.
More complex treatments may require drugs that can induce “deep sedation”.
This reduces consciousness and causes a loss of feeling which helps to reduce both pain and anxiety.
Sometimes patients undergo “general anesthesia” where the drugs lead to a temporary loss of consciousness.
A dentist may recommend deep sedation or general anesthesia for certain procedures with children or with adults who have severe anxiety or for people who have difficulty controlling their movements.
While these techniques to control pain and anxiety are used to treat tens of millions of patients safely every year, its important that you let your dentist know anything that might affect your ability to benefit from them for example, tell them about any illnesses or health conditions, whether you are taking any medications and if you’ve had any problems with allergic reactions to medications.