Good dental hygiene is essential for a healthy smile. Unfortunately, tooth and gum issues are incredibly common, and it can be difficult to know when you should be seeking professional help. At Commonwealth Dental Clinic, we understand how overwhelming this can be. To help you out, we’ve put together a guide to the five most common tooth and gum issues that patients face, including causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention of these issues, as well as when it’s important to see a dentist. With this information, you’ll be able to make the best decisions for your oral health.

Tooth decay

Tooth decay is one of the most common tooth issues we see at Commonwealth Dental Clinic. It occurs when the enamel, which is the protective outer layer of the tooth, is damaged by acids produced by bacteria in the mouth. The bacteria feed on the sugars and carbohydrates left behind in the mouth after eating and drinking, creating these acids that erode the enamel.

If left untreated, tooth decay can lead to cavities, which are permanent holes in the teeth. Symptoms of tooth decay include toothache, sensitivity to hot and cold, and visible holes or pits in the teeth.

Treating tooth decay typically involves removing the decayed portion of the tooth and filling it with a dental filling. In more severe cases, a dental crown or root canal therapy may be necessary. Preventing tooth decay is essential and can be done through regular brushing and flossing, using fluoride toothpaste, and limiting sugary and acidic foods and drinks.

If you suspect you have tooth decay or are experiencing any symptoms, it’s important to see a dentist as soon as possible. They can diagnose the issue and provide appropriate treatment to restore your oral health. Remember, early detection and treatment are key in preventing further damage and maintaining a healthy smile.

Gum disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is caused by the buildup of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, on the teeth and gums. This plaque can harden into tartar, which can irritate and inflame the gums. The early stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis, which is characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums.

If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to more severe forms of gum disease, such as periodontitis. In periodontitis, the gums begin to pull away from the teeth, forming pockets that can become infected. This can lead to bone and tooth loss if not treated promptly.

The good news is that gum disease is preventable and treatable. Practicing good oral hygiene, including regular brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings, can help prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar. In addition, quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can also reduce the risk of gum disease.

If you already have gingivitis, your dentist may recommend gingivitis treatment to help reverse the condition. This may involve professional cleaning to remove the plaque and tartar from the teeth and gums. In some cases, antibiotics or antimicrobial mouthwashes may be prescribed to help reduce inflammation and fight off infection.

It’s important to address gum disease early on to prevent further damage and maintain optimal oral health. If you notice any symptoms of gum disease, such as red or bleeding gums, bad breath, or loose teeth, it’s crucial to see a dentist as soon as possible. Taking care of your gums is just as important as taking care of your teeth for a healthy smile.

Tooth sensitivity

If you experience a sharp, sudden pain or discomfort when consuming hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods or drinks, you may have tooth sensitivity. This occurs when the protective layer of enamel on your teeth wears down or your gums recede, exposing the sensitive dentin underneath. 

The causes of tooth sensitivity can vary. It can be a result of brushing your teeth too hard, using a toothbrush with hard bristles, grinding your teeth, or even gum disease. The good news is that tooth sensitivity can often be treated. Using a desensitizing toothpaste or applying a fluoride gel can help reduce sensitivity over time. In some cases, your dentist may recommend a dental procedure, such as a dental sealant or a crown, to help protect and strengthen your teeth. 

Preventing tooth sensitivity is important, and it can be done by practicing good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush, and use a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. Avoid consuming too many acidic or sugary foods and drinks, and be mindful of any habits that may contribute to tooth sensitivity, such as teeth grinding. 

If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, let your dentist at Commonwealth Dental Clinic know when you come in for an appointment. We can evaluate the cause of your sensitivity and recommend the best treatment options for you so you can enjoy your favorite foods and drinks without pain.

Cracked or chipped teeth

Cracked or chipped teeth can happen to anyone, whether it’s from biting down on something hard, a sports injury, or even just a fall. 

When you have a cracked or chipped tooth, it’s important to see a dentist as soon as possible. They will assess the extent of the damage and recommend the best course of treatment. In some cases, a filling or dental bonding may be sufficient to repair the tooth. However, if the damage is more severe, a dental crown or veneer may be necessary to restore the tooth’s strength and appearance. 

Ignoring a cracked or chipped tooth can lead to further problems, such as tooth decay or infection. It’s important to address the issue promptly to prevent any complications. In the meantime, you can try to alleviate any discomfort by rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater, avoiding biting down on hard or chewy foods, and using over-the-counter pain medication as directed. 

Preventing cracked or chipped teeth can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to minimize the risk. Avoid chewing on ice or hard candies, and be mindful of any habits that may put excessive pressure on your teeth, such as grinding or clenching. Wearing a mouthguard during sports activities can also help protect your teeth from injury. 

A cracked or chipped tooth may seem like a minor issue, but it’s always best to consult with a dental professional to ensure your oral health remains intact. Book an appointment at Commonwealth Dental Clinic for expert advice and treatment.

Tooth discoloration

For some people, the natural color of the teeth can become stained or discolored due to consuming certain foods and drinks, tobacco use, poor oral hygiene, and aging. 

Treatment for tooth discoloration can vary depending on the cause and severity of the discoloration. In some cases, a professional teeth whitening treatment may be recommended to restore the brightness of the teeth. This treatment involves the use of bleaching agents to remove stains and lighten the tooth color. For more severe cases of tooth discoloration, cosmetic dentistry options such as dental veneers or crowns may be suggested.

You can help prevent tooth discoloration by maintaining good oral hygiene practices such as regular brushing and flossing, avoiding foods and drinks that can stain the teeth, and quitting smoking. It’s also important to visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and professional cleanings, as they can help remove any surface stains and identify any underlying dental issues that may be causing the discoloration.

Remember, consulting with your dentist is essential for determining the most appropriate treatment for your specific dental issues, such as cavity treatment or gum disease treatment. Get in touch with the professionals at Commonwealth Dental Clinic.