Dental Problems Handbook

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Abscessed Tooth

An abscessed tooth is an infection caused by tooth decay, periodontal disease or a cracked tooth. These problems can let bacteria enter the pulp (the soft tissue of a tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue) and can lead to pulp death.

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

An estimated sixty-five percent of Americans have bad breath. Over forty-million Americans have "chronic halitosis," which is persistent bad breath. Ninety percent of all halitosis is of oral, not systemic, origin. Americans spend more than $1 billion a year on over the counter halitosis products, many of which are ineffective because they only mask the problem.

Bulimia Nervosa

People with eating disorders can suffer from oral health problems as well. This is because many of the behaviors associated with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa—such as binge eating, self-induced vomiting, and use of diuretics or laxatives—cause changes in the mouth.

Canker/Cold Sores

People sometimes confuse canker sores and cold sores, but they are completely unrelated. Both can be painful, but knowing the differences can help you keep them in check. A canker sore is typically one that occurs on the delicate tissues inside your mouth.

Cavities and Tooth Decay

What Is Tooth Decay? Tooth decay is caused by a variety of things; in medical terms, cavities are called caries, which are caused by long-term destructive forces acting on tooth structures such as enamel and the tooth's inner dentin material. These destructive forces include frequent exposure to foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates.

Toothaches

Simple toothaches can often be relieved by rinsing the mouth to clear it of debris and other matter. Sometimes, a toothache can be caused or aggravated by a piece of debris lodged between the tooth and another tooth. Avoid placing an aspirin between your tooth and gum to relieve pain, because the dissolving aspirin can actually harm your gum tissue.

Diabetes

People living with diabetes are vulnerable to a host of systemic problems in their entire body. Unfortunately, the mouth and teeth are not immune from such problems, and many diabetics with oral problems go undiagnosed until conditions become advanced.

Dry Mouth

Saliva is one of your body's natural defenses against plaque because it acts to rinse your mouth of cavity-causing bacteria and other harmful materials. Dry mouth (also called Xerostomia) is a fairly common condition that is caused by diminished saliva production.

Fluorosis

Fluorosis is a condition in which your body has been exposed to too much fluoride. In normal doses (typically found in a safe drinking water system and an ADA-approved toothpaste), fluoride is a healthy compound that promotes strong teeth, which has the ability to fight cavities and other problems.

Gum Disease, Bleeding Gums (Gingivitis)

Gingivitis is the medical term for early gum disease, or periodontal disease. In general, gum disease can be caused by long-term exposure to plaque, the sticky but colorless film on teeth that forms after eating or sleeping. Gum disease originates in the gums, where infections form from harmful bacteria and other materials left behind from eating.

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that erupt in the back corners of the upper and lower normal adult mouth. Unfortunately, most people experience problems from wisdom teeth; in most cases, this is because the teeth erupt too close to existing permanent teeth, causing crowding, improper bites, and other problems.

Lacerations and Cuts

Any kind of cut to your face and the delicate soft tissues inside your mouth should be addressed immediately in order to prevent further tissue damage and infection. If a traumatic injury involves a broken facial bone such as the jaw, nose, chin or cheek, maxillofacial surgery may be required.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is one of the most common cancers today and has one of the lowest survival rates, with thousands of new cases being reported each year. Fewer than half of all people diagnosed with oral cancer are ever cured. Moreover, people with many forms of cancer can develop complications—some of them chronic and painful—from their cancer treatment.

Plaque

Plaque is a film of bacteria that forms on your teeth and gums after eating foods that produce acids. These foods may include carbohydrates (starches and sugars), such as candy and cookies, and starchy foods such as bread, crackers, and cereal. Tooth decay, commonly known as cavities, occurs when plaque remains on your teeth for an extended period of time, allowing the bacteria to ‘eat away’ at the surfaces of your teeth and gums.

Sensitive Teeth

Is the taste of ice cream or a sip of hot coffee sometimes a painful experience for you? Does brushing or flossing make you wince occasionally? If so, you may have sensitive teeth. Possible causes include: Tooth decay (cavities) Fractured teeth Worn fillings Gum disease Worn tooth enamel Exposed tooth root In healthy teeth, a layer of enamel protects the crowns of your teeth—the part above the gum line.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is often viewed as a harmless, though annoying, habit. Some people develop bruxism from an inability to deal with stress or anxiety. However, teeth grinding can literally transform your bite relationship and worse, severely damage your teeth and jaws over long periods of time.

Jaw Pain

Many adults suffer from chronic jaw and facial pain. Some common symptoms include pain in or around the ear, tenderness of the jaw, pain when biting, or headaches. Many things can cause facial pain, which can make it difficult to diagnose and treat.

Oral Piercing Infection

Body piercing is a popular form of self-expression. Oral piercings or tongue splitting may look cool, but they can be dangerous to your health. That’s because your mouth contains millions of bacteria, and infection and swelling often occur with mouth piercings.

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