Dental or Oral health is an essential part of all well-being of an individual. Poor oral health can lead to gum diseases or dental cavities. It is said that if you ignore oral health, it may lead to many oral health conditions that include dental caries (tooth decay), oral cancers, periodontal diseases. It is observed that caries( tooth decay) is the most common disease seen with permanent teeth and for kids with primary teeth. No proper care of teeth or gums may lead to a variety of health problems.
Importance of Oral health :
- Reduces the risk of diseases
- Reduces the risk of cancer and dementia
- Helps to have a normal pregnancy
- Maintains the physical appearance of an individual
- Reduces the risk of tooth decay
- Reduces the risk of heart diseases
Dental Caries (tooth decay) often known as cavities, is damage to the tooth generally seen due to the breakdown of tooth enamel. It is the result of the breakdown of food and the acids produced by the bacterias in the mouth and ends up damaging the tooth. Caries is generally seen in children, teenagers, and adults who have a previous history related to teeth issues. Untreated caries may result in affecting deep layers of an individual’s teeth. Severe toothaches, infections, and tooth loss are commonly found results of it. The best way to protect your teeth against caries is by brushing properly, flossing, and regular dental visits.
Types of caries
- Smooth surface caries - occur on the smooth sides of your teeth
- Pit and tissue caries - occurs on the chewing surface of your teeth
- Root cavity - occurs on the surface over the roots.
Symptoms of caries include:
- Severe toothache
- Sensitivity of tooth
- Pits or visible holes in teeth
- Staining on the surface of the tooth
- Pains when biting or chewing the food
- Mild pains while having anything cold, hot, or sweet
Prevention of caries:
- Brushing with toothpaste containing fluorides after eating and drinking
- Rinsing your mouth
- Regular dental visits
- Avoid frequent sipping and snacking
- Preferring tooth-healthy foods
- Know about antibacterial treatments
The need for a check on caries is not when you are in severe pain or mouth pains but regular dental visits are the one and only solution for healthy and fit oral health. If you have severe cavities or caries, you may have pain interfering with your daily living, tooth loss, tooth abscess, weight loss, or nutritional problems with difficulty in eating and chewing. Following oral hygiene might result in overall well-being.
A Root canal Treatment also called an Endodontic treatment. Endodontics is the study of dental pulp. It involves diagnosis, prevention and treatment of the dental pulp. The Root canal treatment is a treatment that saves and repairs badly infected or damaged teeth. It is a procedure to treat a badly injured tooth pulp which can result in tooth extraction. It is a treatment for dental pain relief and saving the teeth from more infection and causing further diseases. Removal of the infected pulp from inside the teeth, cleaning, and filling the space is involved in the root canal treatment.
Causes of Root canal
The root cause of the Root canal is the infection or damage in the tooth’s nerve tissue or pulp. The breakdown of the infected pulp leads to the multiplication of the activities of the bacteria infecting the pulp chamber. This can cause a serious infection and abscessed tooth. An abscessed tooth is a pus-filled pocket that is formed at the end of the tooth root. It is due to the spread of infection from the tip to the ends of the roots of the tooth. The pulp needs to be immediately removed as it may cause swelling in the mouth and the areas of the neck, face, or head. It also affects bone loss around the tip of the root.
When is root canal treatment required?
- Severe pain while biting and chewing
- Cracked or chipped tooth
- Pimples on the gums
- Sharp sensitivity to cold or hot
- Swollen gums
- Darkening of the gums
- Deep decay in the gums
Procedure for a Root canal treatment
An Endodontist or a dentist performs a Root canal treatment. A dentist who specializes in the diagnosis, causes, prevention, and injuries related to the dental pulp or nerve of the tooth. The steps involved in Root canal treatment are
- Examination of the tooth along with radiograph of the tooth using X-rays and then with local anesthesia is given. Once the tooth is numb, a Small sheet of protection called “dental dam” over the area is applied to make it feel relaxed and keep it cream and free of saliva during the procedure. The area needs to be dry and clean during the treatment.
- Once the sheet is placed and the area is isolated, drilling access into the tooth is the next step. The bacteria, pulp, and decayed nerve tissue are removed from the tooth and an opening is made in the crown of the tooth. A small instrument is used to clean the pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals and to shape the space for the filling.
- After space is cleaned and shaped, the root canals are sealed with a biocompatible material called gutta-percha into the Root canal. This is a temporary filling placed in the opening and is removed before restoration of the tooth.
- The final step involves the restoration of a tooth. A crown is needed as the tooth may have a large filling or extensive decay or infection. A crown and other restoration are placed on the tooth to further protect and restore it to function naturally.
The cavity is one main tooth issue seen in children, teenagers, and adults. To treat the cavity, the dentist removes the decayed or the damaged portion from the tooth and then fills the affected area. Fillings are used to restore the damaged or cracked tooth that has been worn down.
There are five important types of dental filling:
Tooth-Colored Composite Fillings
Amalgam Tooth Fillings (Silver Fillings)
Gold Tooth Filling
Ceramic Tooth Filling
Glass Ionomer Tooth Filling
Tooth-Colored Composite filling: One of the main types of dental filling material is Composite Filling. Among all the other types of tooth fillings, this one is very popular and most of the patients prefer composite filling. Another reason to choose this filling is that the dentist can closely match the filling material with the color of your tooth. The tooth-colored dental filling is made up of a different resin, that is applied to the affected area of the tooth. To cover the cavity, a blue curing light is passed that helps to change the physical state of the affected area. It is a versatile material and helps fix small gaps in the teeth. The benefit of this filling when compared to the rest is that it does not damage the tooth because of the temperature changes. It is easy dental preparation and matches the natural color of the patient’s teeth.
Amalgam Tooth Fillings (Silver Fillings): To fight tooth decay, most dentists have been following this method of filling. It is one of the most commonly preferred tooth filling and especially is used on the back teeth It is durable and resists chewing pressure for long periods. The material used in this type of filling is made up of several components like tin, silver, mercury, and copper. Half of the mixture is a blend of mercury and the rest is other substances. Mercury in its liquid state acts as a binding agent with the other powdered substances that are filled in the spaces of the cavity. It is very affordable and as it has a visible silver color, it is also called Silver Fillings.
Gold Tooth Filling: Gold filling is understood by the name itself. Another type of dental filling is Gold filling. The supremacy of the Gold filling is that it is durable and very strong. Most of the patients prefer gold filling over a silver filling. The only disadvantage of the gold filling is that it is way costlier than the other fillings. It is a bad option if you don't want to show your filling as Gold filling is distinctly seen. It also needs more visits than compared to the other fillings.
Ceramic Tooth Filling: Ceramic filling is also an expensive filling and is mostly preferred over the other dental filling as per its tooth color design and its high resistance to scraping and staining. This is one reason it can be ranked above all the other fillings but cannot ignore the fact that it is also fragile. Ceramic tooth fillings are generally made from porcelain that is highly durable and is resistant to staining than composite resin material. This is as expensive as gold and lasts for about 15 years.
Glass Ionomer Tooth Filling: The Glass Ionomer Tooth Filling is made up of acrylic and a specific type of glass material. This type of filling is generally preferred for the fillings below the gum line and it releases fluoride that helps to strengthen the structure of the tooth structure. However, this is considered to be the weak filling over the other fillings as it is highly prone to wear and tear and is fragile. In addition to that, it also does not match the natural color of the tooth shade.
Gum diseases also known as Periodontics. This disease begins with the bacterial growth in the mouth. If this is ignored, it might be a cause for tooth loss and also destructs the tissues that surround the teeth. The primary cause for gum disease is plague however there are other factors like illness, hormonal changes, bad eating habits, medications and poor health hygiene that contributes to the development of gum diseases. It is a common disease that affects the soft tissues and the bone that supports the tooth. If the treatment is not done it might slowly lead to tooth loss. It is generally caused due to the bacteria that stick to the surface of the tooth and multiply in large numbers. It can also increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other health problems. Bacteria is a sticky substance that forms on the surface of the teeth and is the root cause for gum disease or Periodontitis. The best way to prevent periodontitis is good oral care.
The symptoms of periodontitis:
- Swollen gums
- Darkened gums
- Bleeding gums
- Bleeding while flossing or brushing
- Pus between your gums
- Bad breath
- Pain while chewing
- Loss of teeth
- Gaps in the teeth
Treatment of periodontitis:
The first and foremost way to treat periodontitis is good oral hygiene. The aim is to reattach the healthy gums to teeth, the depth of pockets and reduce swelling. The procedure involves cleaning out the bacteria from the pockets surrounding the teeth and restrain further damage of the soft tissue and bone.
First line treatment for gum disease/ periodontitis:
Scaling and cleaning
Use of medicated products
Surgical treatment for gum disease/ periodontists:
Flap surgery ( pocket reduction surgery)
Soft tissue grafts
Tissue stimulating proteins
It is always better to prevent gum disease/ periodontitis with good oral health and self care. Approach your dentist for healthy oral hygiene and follow the best routine for your teeth because you don't want to lose your teeth.
Your smile creates your first impression and a smile with a missing teeth /tooth is not a good choice. Having all of your teeth can make you feel self confident and you need not be conscious about your smile. Tooth loss is a major problem and needs to be addressed immediately to your dentist. There may be plenty of reasons for tooth loss like tooth decay, hereditary disorders, gum disease, failed dental treatment, injury to the mouth or gums. Missing teeth can lead to a negative impact on your mental and oral health, self confidence and increases risk of gum decay.
It is always important to replace the missing teeth for the below reasons:
- You can be more confident with all your teeth
- It helps to preserve the shape and bone of your jaw
- Helps to chew and lets you enjoy your meal
- Avoids teeth misalignment
With the advanced dental technology and ample options, now anyone can replace and restore their damaged teeth. If a patient approaches with a frightful request for replacement of his missing tooth, the treatment is dependent on the condition of the decay or the tooth. The basic diagnosis by your dentist is must to understand what treatment needs to be taken.
There are 3 main types of teeth replacement:
- Dental implants
- Dental bridges
Dental implants: Dental Implants is one of the most popular and approachable types of tooth replacement treatments. Dental implant undoubtedly is the most effective way to replace a tooth. The advantage of Dental implants is that they look like your natural teeth and are designed and customised to match the shade of other teeth. Implants require a surgical procedure and are quite expensive; however, it provides a long lasting artificial teeth with natural functioning.
Dental Bridges: This method of tooth replacement includes the procedure of fixing the missing tooth with the support of the adjacent teeth. It uses the neighbouring teeth to hold the replacement tooth. The teeth are fixed to a metal frame that is then cemented to support the healthy teeth. Getting dental bridges is a quick process over implants, however requires many visits till permanent fitting of bridge.
Dentures: Dentures is the ancient method and still is followed with new innovative methods. It is a removable replacement of missing teeth and helps restore your smile. There are generally two types of dentures - Partial and Complete. Complete dentures include replacement of all the patient's teeth. It is also called full dentures. It is customised and gives natural looking teeth. Partial dentures replace a few of the teeth. It is customised to fill the gaps created by the missing teeth. They can be removed if needed.
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry dealing with deformity of teeth and jaw. The main purpose of this treatment is to create a healthy bite which indeed is a part of tooth alignment and positioning jaw. Orthodontic treatment involves the procedure of correction of the improper positioning of the teeth and jaws. It improves the appearance of the teeth and helps the bite evenly and reduces the jaw and joint strain. Generally, the best time to treat your malaligned teeth is childhood, however, you can get the treatment as per your oral health. The treatment process involves a thorough examination and an X-ray if in case needed with a proper plaster model of your teeth.
Importance of Orthodontic treatment:
- Helps to get proper chewing and biting
- Contributes to a clear speech
- Repositioning of bad jaws
- Straightens the crooked teeth
- Looks attractive and improves self-confidence
- Helps improve chewing and digestive problems
- Avoids tooth loss
Treatment of orthodontics: The treatment process includes different types of fixed and removable devices that help to set the teeth, retrain the muscles, and affect the growth of the jaw. The type of treatment depends on the extremity of the tooth problem.
The two types of treatment include:
- Fixed devices
- Removable devices
i) Treatment with Fixed Devices:
Braces: A thorough examination of the teeth and mouth takes place with an X-ray to understand the exact position of the tooth and jaws. Initially, a cheek retractor is used to keep the teeth dry and visible all through the procedure to fix the dental braces. Before placing the brackets to form bonds properly, the teeth need to be cleaned, polished, and air-dried. As per the exact positioning of the teeth during the examination, dental cement is used to hold the brackets firmly. Excess of dental cement is removed and high-intensity light is passed through to strengthen the bond of brackets. Once the braces are in the desired place, the cheek retractor is removed and dental archwires are placed over the teeth. This procedure does not take a long time and is the most commonly used method.
Fixed Space Maintainers: A space maintainer is used in case of early shedding of baby teeth. It is fixed to keep the space open till the permanent teeth arise. A band is used to attach the tooth next to the empty space and on the other side of the space, the wire is extended to the tooth.
ii) Treatment with Removable Devices:
Aligners: Aligners are an alternative to traditional braces. A serial aligner is used to move the teeth just like the fixed appliances work to move the teeth in position. The best part of this aligner is they are invisible and can be removed for brushing, flossing, and eating.
Removable Space Maintainers: The removable space maintainers functions similarly to the fixed space maintainers. These are made up of an acrylic base that is fixed over the jaw. It has plastic wire branches between specific teeth to maintain space open between them.
Jaw positioning devices: It is also called Splints. These are usually worn on the upper jaw or lower jaw. These help in training the jaw to close in position. These are used for TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder).
Cheek and Lip Bumpers: These are designed in a manner to hold back the lips and cheek away from the teeth. These bumpers help in relieving the pressure exerted by the cheek and lip muscles on the teeth.
Removable retainers: Removable retainers are usually worn on the roof of the mouth in order to prevent the shifting of teeth to the prior positions. These can also be modified and used to prevent thumb sucking.