If you’re missing one or more teeth, it probably affects your smile and you may also notice a difference in chewing and speaking.
But there are options available to help you restore your smile and limit other problems.
For example, a bridge – sometimes called a fixed partial denture – replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth.
Bridges help maintain the shape of your face, as well as reducing the stress in your bite by replacing missing teeth.
They literally bridge the gap where one or more teeth may have been previously.
The restoration can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain or a combination of these materials and it is bonded onto surrounding teeth for support.
Bridges can be removable so that you can take them out and clean them or fixed and so can only be removed by a dentist.
An implant bridge attaches artificial teeth directly to the jaw or under the gum tissue.
Your dentist will recommend which approach is best for you.
Whatever type of bridge you choose, its success depends on its foundation. So it’s very important to keep your remaining teeth healthy and strong.
When someone is undergoing cancer treatment, its important that they involve their dentist in their program of care.
They should schedule a dental exam and cleaning before the treatment actually begins and then repeat it periodically during the course of treatment.
Its important that they tell the dentist that they are being treated for cancer and that they also discuss any dental procedures, such as extractions or insertion of dental implants, with the oncologist before starting the cancer treatment.
Its therefore a good idea to ensure that the dentist and oncologist have each others details to enable them to discuss any issues to help the patient.
And the dentist and physician should be informed about any issues such as bleeding of the gums, pain, or unusual feeling in the teeth or gums, or any dental infections.
Maintaining excellent oral hygiene during cancer treatment is vital to reduce the risk of infection and to help aid the treatment process.
A healthy mouth is a good indication of your overall health and helps you to keep a great smile and continue eating what you want for many years to come.
There are a few steps you can take to make sure your mouth is as healthy as possible:
– Brush your teeth twice a day using a good quality toothbrush
– Renew your toothbrush regularly. It will only keep your mouth healthy if the brush is in good condition and the bristles are strong. You should replace it at least every three or four months
– Clean between your teeth. Your toothbrush can’t reach everywhere and bacteria can linger between the teeth so it’s important to clean between them every day using floss or an interdental cleaner
– Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleaning and oral examinations
Your dentist will be able to give you tips on what other products you should consider to help improve your oral health.
For example, antimicrobial mouth rinses and toothpastes can reduce the germs in your mouth and reduce the risk of gum disease.
Also, fluoride mouth rinses can help reduce and prevent tooth decay. Studies have shown that using mouth rinses provides valuable protection over and above that provided by fluoride toothpaste alone.
Look out for the ADA seal when buying toothbrushes and other dental products. This is a sign that the product has met American Dental Association standards for safety and effectiveness.
Following these steps can help ensure that you continue to enjoy great oral health.
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.
Many patients ask whether wisdom teeth are really necessary since so many people have them removed.
The fact is that wisdom teeth are a valuable asset to the mouth when they are healthy and properly positioned.
However, problems can occur that sometimes make it better to have them removed.
For example, when the jaw isn’t large enough, the wisdom teeth can become impacted – misaligned or unable to grow in properly. They may grow sideways, emerge only part way from the gum or remain trapped beneath the gum and bone.
The reasons wisdom teeth may have to be extracted include:
– The teeth have only partially erupted. This leaves an opening for bacteria which cause infection.
– There is a chance the wisdom teeth will damage adjacent teeth.
– A cyst forms which may destroy surrounding structures such as bone or tooth roots.
Ask your dentist about the health and positioning of your wisdom teeth.
Your dentist will tell you if there are any issues and will recommend any steps needed.
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.
Bad breath – also known as halitosis – is an unpleasant condition that can cause a great deal of embarrassment.
And, for many people, its 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 its 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.
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 years 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.
Mouth sores can be very annoying and painful and can have many causes.
The causes can range from infections – bacterial, viral or fungal – to a loose orthodontic wire or a denture that doesn’t fit or a sharp edge from a broken tooth or filling.
But mouth sores may be symptoms of an underlying disease or problem.
So, if you’ve had any mouth sore that lasts a week or longer, its a good idea to get your dentist to check it out.
Here are some of the most common mouth sores:
Canker sores: These are small ulcers with a white or gray base and a red border. They appear inside the mouth and are not contagious though they often return. Problems such as poor immune systems, viruses or fatigue and stress may be involved. They usually heal on their own after a week or two.
Cold sores: Cold sores are annoying and painful. They are also known as fever blisters or Herpes simplex and are groups of fluid-filled blisters. They often erupt around the lips and sometimes under the nose or around the chin. Cold sores caused by herpes virus type 1 are very contagious and the virus stays in the body. Cold sore blisters usually heal in a week by themselves.
Candidiasis: This fungal infection (also called moniliasis or oral thrush) occurs when the yeast Candida albicans reproduce in large numbers. It is common among denture wearers and people who have dry mouth syndrome are very susceptible to it. The focus is on preventing it or controlling the conditions that caused the outbreak.
Any mouth sores that last more than a few days should be checked with your dentist.
As people are living longer and enjoying good health for many years, dentists are increasingly offering improved services to recognize the special needs of older adults.
This growing segment of the population is wearing fewer dentures and they are keeping their natural teeth longer. They are also concerned to maintain good health and a great smile for many years.
However, patients in this group sometimes require special consideration because reduced mobility and dexterity may make daily oral hygiene difficult.
And certain medical conditions and impairment may make them more anxious when visiting the dentist.
For example, problems with vision or hearing loss may cause worry. Always let the dentist and staff know if you have any concerns so that they can adjust their treatment and their pace to meet your needs.
Older patients can sometimes put up with problems such as toothaches, bleeding gums and clicking dentures because they are not aware of the wide range of treatments and techniques now available.
Dentists are increasingly sensitive to the special needs of and the importance of dental health in the older patient.
As many older patients are more health conscious than ever before, regular visits to the dentist ensure their oral health is an important part of their overall health.