Tooth decay, also known as caries or cavities, is an oral disease that affects many people. Unlike other diseases, however, caries isn't life threatening and is highly preventable, though it affects most people to some degree during their lifetime.
Natural bacteria live in your mouth and form plaque. The plaque interacts with deposits left on your teeth from sugary and starchy foods and produces acids. These acids damage tooth enamel over time by dissolving, or demineralizing enamel, which weakens the teeth and leads to tooth decay.
Foods containing carbohydrates (starches and sugar), such as soda pop, candy, icecream, milk and cake and even some fruits, vegetables, and juices, may contribute to tooth decay.
When infants are born, almost all of their primary teeth already have formed. These teeth are still hidden in the gums. they usually begin to erupt or cut through the gums at about six months of age. Some babies get teeth earlier, and some get them later. That's o.k. Usually, the two front bottom teeth come in first. Next are the four front top teeth and two more bottom teeth. From here, teeth slowly begin to fill the mouth. Teeth usually come in two at a time, one on either side of the jaw. Your child should have all 20 primary teeth by the time they turn 3 years old.
Baby teeth usually have spaces between them. These spaces help make sure there is enough room for the permanent teeth. In fact, lack of space between the baby teeth can sometimes mean that adult teeth will be "crowded"
or not enough room to come in.
People with diabetes get gum disease more often than people who don't. Once a gum infection starts, it can take a long time to heal. If the infection is severe, teeth can loosen or even fall out. Good blood sugar can prevent gum problems. Keeping your teeth is important for healthy eating. Natural teeth help you chew foods better and easier than you can with dentures. Because infections can make gums sore and uneven, dentures may not fit right. Be sure to tell your dentist if your dentures hurt so they can be adjusted for comfort. Smoking makes gum problems worse.
Toothache or tooth pain is caused when the nerve to a tooth is irritated. Dental (tooth) infection, decay, injury, or loss of a tooth are the most common causes of dental pain. Pain may also occur after an extraction ( tooth is pulled out). Pain sometimes originates from other areas and radiates to the jaw, thus appearing to be tooth pain. The most common areas include the jaw joint ( temporomandibular joint or TMJ), ear pain, even occasional heart problems.
Bacteria growing inside the mouth can contribute to gum disease, plaque, and dental decay. These problems can become painful. The cause and prevention of dental disease has been well investigated.
One can prevent the majority of dental problems through flossing, brushing with fluoride toothpaste, and having teeth professionally cleaned twice a year. The dentist may apply sealants and fluoride, which are especially important in children.
- The cause for TMD is not clear, but dentists believe that symptoms arise from problems with the muscles of the jaw or with the parts of the joint itself. Injury to the jaw, temporomandibular joint, or muscles of the head and neck- such as from a heavy blow or whiplash- can cause TMD. Other possible causes include: grinding or clenching the teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the joint. Dislocation of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket. Presence of arthritis in the TMJ. * STRESS* which can cause a person to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth.
Temporomandibular disorders occur as a result of problems with the jaw, jaw joint, and surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and moving the jaw. These disorders are often incorrectly called TMJ, which stands for temporomandibular joint. The temporomandibular joint is the hinge joint that connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the temporal bone of the skull, which is immediately in front of the ear on each side of the head. The joints are flexible, allowing the jaw to move smoothly up and down and side to side and enabling you to talk, chew, and yawn. Muscles attached to and surrounding the jaw joint control the position and movement of the jaw.
Sugar in pop combines with bacteria in your mouth to form acid. Diet or "sugar free" pop contains its own acid. Acid in soft drinks, whether they contain sugar or not, is the primary cause of weakening tooth enamel. The acid attacks your teeth. Each acid attack lasts about 20 minutes. The acid attack starts over again with every sip! Ongoing acid attacks weaken your tooth enamel. Bacteria in your mouth cause cavities when tooth enamel is damaged. If you have a receding gum line, acid does more damage below the gum line than above it. This is particularly a concern for adults.
With the presidential election decided, implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will ramp up. States are expected to move quickly to build health exchanges in which individuals and eligible small business owners can purchase medical and dental benefits. In states that do not act as required, the federal government will launch exchanges. Dental insurance carriers continue to work toward ensuring that pediatric oral services, one of the mandated essential health care benefits required under the ACA, can be provided competitively. We're urging the federal government and individual states to make plan selection as simple and transparent as possible for the millions of consumers who will shop on exchanges beginning January 1, 2014, when they are scheduled to open for business.
Also known as third molar extractions. An impacted tooth may have begun to grow into the mouth in the wrong direction and may be blocked from fully coming in by bone and adjacent teeth. Allowing impacted teeth to remain in place may result in infection and/or cyst formation which may destroy bone, damage the roots of adjacent teeth from pressure of the mal-positioned tooth or teeth and/or create a food trap which may increase the possibility of tooth decay. Risks of not having the extractions performed, whether the tooth/teeth in question are impacted, partially impacted, or not impacted at all include, but are not limited to, infection, swelling, pain, periodontal disease, malocclusion, systemic disease
Most dentures are repairable if they are broken in half, missing a tooth, or cracked. Dental offices don't usually employ a denture lab, and the denture has to be sent out. There are a few offices with an in-house lab that can repair or reline your dentures while you wait. If you purchase denture repair material over-the-counter, read the label. Some material will make it impossible to repair professionally in the future. DO NOT use superglue. Not only is it toxic, it will permanently damage the denture.
Dr. James L. Johnson