We tend to think of our teeth as fixed structures attached to the skeletal system. Yet, our teeth are living organs with tissues and nerves that suffer when we consume too much sugar or carbonated beverages, fail to brush and floss regularly, and smoke or chew tobacco. Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry offers the best dental care to help patients get back on track when smiles have faded due to the five most common dental problems in America.
1. Dry Mouth
Dry mouth may not seem like an issue worth of a visit to the dentist, but it is important to remember the calcium and phosphate in saliva is what demineralizes the teeth, protecting them from premature decay. People with dry mouth report difficulty swallowing, cracked lips, a metallic taste, persistent bad breath, and sticky mouth feel. Some people experience unquenchable thirst, while others do not. Over 400 medications cause dry mouth as a side effect. It can also result from smoking, traumatic damage to the salivary glands, autoimmune disorders, cancer therapy, drug abuse, stress, and age. At home, you can sip water all day, avoid caffeine, or chew sugar-free gum. Dentists can prescribe saliva substitutes, check for signs of decay, and recommend special toothpastes or gels designed to treat this common issue.
2. Tooth Sensitivity
People with sensitive teeth experience discomfort when exposed to hot or cold beverages, with the worst cases yielding pain while brushing or flossing. Sensitivity can be related to something as mild as worn tooth enamel, or as major as tooth decay, worn fillings, and exposed tooth roots. Gum disease can also cause tooth sensitivity. You can replace acidic drinks with water, use soft-bristled toothbrushes, and avoid at-home teeth whitening products.
3. Periodontal / Gum Disease
The CDC reports that nearly 50 percent of adults over the age of 30 — about 65 million people – have signs of gum disease that range from mild to severe. This common condition, also referred to as “periodontal disease,” starts with gum inflammation called gingivitis and progresses to a bacterial infection caused by microbes that get underneath the gum tissue. As the body responds to this attack, the gums and underlying bone erode. Teeth loosen and chewing becomes painful. A cosmetic dentist may need to remove dysfunctional teeth. Researchers have identified a connection between oral infections and diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, so it’s important to seek treatment at the first sign of gum disease – bleeding while brushing. Regular dental checkups are necessary to catch gum disease before it progresses.
4. Tooth Infection & Decay
More than 90 percent of US adults have at least one cavity, and 1 in 4 people have untreated cavities. The tooth itself can also become filled with bacteria. Following a crack, fracture, or cavity, bacteria attacks the inner pulp tissue of the tooth and the nerves. Sometimes teeth decay simply due to age, as the roots soften and grow more exposed. Severe infections can result in painful swelling and difficulty chewing. The best way to prevent tooth infection is by brushing and flossing daily. Dentists can do root canals to fix the problem. They may also recommend special fluoride rinses, dental sealants, or caps. Bridges, dentures, or dental implants are used to fill in the gaps from missing teeth.
5. Oral Cancer
More than 49,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer each year, and roughly 9,750 people will die from it. Slightly more than half of those diagnosed with oral cancer this year will live more than five years. The likelihood of developing oral cancer generally increases with age starting after 40, but is more commonly associated with smoking, heavy alcohol use, and persistent Human Papilloma Virus infections. Regular checkups improve the chances of catching oral cancer early, when it starts as a tiny white or red spot. As the disease progresses, bleeding sores that don’t heal within two weeks, thick hard lumps, numbness, pain, hoarseness, persistent earache, or misaligned teeth may be observed. Treatment requires a multidisciplinary approach with surgeons, oncologists, dental practitioners, nutritionists, and rehabilitation experts.
Get your Long Island dental problems fixed sooner, not later!
Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry offers a full suite of cosmetic dentistry services to fix these issues and help you protect your smile for years to come. Call (631) 296-0602 to book an appointment with Dr. Nick or Dr. Elliott in our Rocky Point, NY office. Here you’ll find fair prices and compassionate service that meets your highest expectations.
Additional “Dental Problems in Adults” Resources:
- Huffington Post – 6 of the Most Common Dental Problems, Fixed!, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/6-of-the-most-common-dental-problems-fixed_us_58346501e4b099512f84b510
- CDC – Oral Health At A Glance (2016), https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/pdf/aag-oral-health.pdf