Healthy teeth are the foundation for a radiant smile and also to our general health and sense of self-esteem. No one expects a tooth to die. It is important to know what could cause this to happen, how to spot a dying tooth, and what your dentist can do to address this problem.
A tooth has three layers. At the center is pulp, soft tissue made of nerves and blood vessels. The middle layer, dentin, is semi-soft and acts as a barrier. The outer layer is the white enamel that we see when we look at a tooth.
A dead tooth is one that is no longer receiving blood supply. We may refer to this as “non-vital.” Once the blood supply has stopped circulating through all layers of the tooth, the tooth dies and will eventually fall out.
It is not wise to allow this to happen. A dead tooth is highly-susceptible to hidden infection that could cause serious health problems.
The two primary factors that could cause a tooth to die include tooth decay and injury.
Tooth decay is also known as a cavity. Cavities begin at the outermost layer, enamel, as a result of acidity. If a cavity goes untreated, it will deepen. A cavity that passes through the enamel and reaches softer dentin tissue can quickly spread infection to the center of the tooth, where the nerve lives. It is an infection in the pulp of the tooth that causes inflammation and pressure. The pressure cuts off blood supply to the nerve and other parts of the tooth. Not only can this cause intense pain but this will destroy the tooth.
An injury to a tooth can also cause the blood supply to be cut off. A fall or trauma during sports or other activities may cause no substantial visible damage but may disrupt blood supply enough that the tooth dies. This can happen within a day or two or could happen gradually.
It is not possible to bring a dead tooth back to a normal, healthy condition. However, the tooth structure can be saved if treatment is sought early. To save a tooth that has been badly damaged, a dentist will perform root canal treatment.
Root canal therapy is the procedure in which the dead and infected soft matter at the center of the tooth (pulp) is removed. The dental pulp contains the nerves that are causing pain, blood vessels, and soft tissue that buffers the nerve. After removing the infected tissue, the empty root canal is cleaned with a sterilizing solution. It is then filled with an inert material called gutta-percha. This closing of the canal prevents new bacteria from entering the space and causing recurring infection. The treated tooth may need to be restored with a dental crown to prevent breaking.
It is nearly impossible to estimate how long it takes for a tooth to die. When a tooth dies from an injury, blood supply may be diminished within a day, a few weeks, or over several months. If the signs of a dying tooth develop, such as discoloration or pain, it is important to see a dentist right away.
A dead tooth is defined as a tooth that is no longer receiving blood supply. At this time, science has not discovered a way to restore blood flow to a badly damaged or diseased tooth. Prompt dental care is advised for any indication that a tooth may be dying. Early care may save natural tooth structure but will not “revive” the blood supply that is necessary for the tooth to thrive.
A dead tooth itself does not cause a bad odor in the mouth. However, if a tooth dies and is not promptly treated, it can lead to an abscess. An abscess is an infection that develops either at the tip of the root of the dead tooth or in the gums beside the root. Signs of an abscess include a bad odor, bad taste in the mouth and, in some cases, a pimple-looking sore on the gums.
An abscess needs to be treated as quickly as possible. In addition to pain and swelling, this infection carries the risk of potentially serious health complications.
Teeth nerves do have the ability to heal, yes. However, there are degrees of damage that occur and it is only in certain circumstances that self-healing happens. According to endodontic specialists, once a tooth experiences spontaneous pain or pain with hot foods and beverages, the damage that has occurred is likely irreversible. Experts recommend that patients obtain dental care right away if a tooth develops pain when eating or drinking cold items because, at that time, there is a better opportunity to save the tooth with a filling or crown.
When a tooth is badly decayed, it loses color. The white enamel will dull and gradually turn gray or black. The smooth surface of the tooth may also turn rough at the edges. Additionally, disease may also have affected the gums around the tooth, making them appear red and swollen.
Nerve pain caused by a cavity or injury to a tooth can and will most often go away – eventually. The problem is that pain “goes away” because the nerve has died. The tooth has died. At some point, further injury and further pain will recur. Without blood supply, the tooth becomes brittle and could break. The dead tooth could also be developing an abscess hidden beneath the gums. When the nerve dies and an abscess develops, the pain can actually intensify due to the pressure buildup of the abscess within your jaw bone. Both of these consequences can be serious.
Bruxism, more commonly referred to as teeth grinding or nighttime teeth grinding, is a health condition that causes a person to tightly clench or rub their teeth back and forth on each other either at night while they sleep or during the daytime. Most people with bruxism do not realize that they are clenching their teeth or rubbing them together until either a dentist identifies the problem or a bed partner notices the tooth rubbing noise and mentions it. Alternatively, some people with bruxism visit their dentist for a chipped or cracked tooth only to find out that the underlying cause of the tooth damage is nighttime teeth grinding.
The tooth-on-tooth rubbing caused by bruxism results in damage to the tooth’s surface, as well as complications in other areas of the body. Bruxism most often leads to cosmetic issues, like cracks, chips, and uneven surfaces of the teeth. It can also cause chronic jaw pain, tension headaches, and other health problems when left untreated.
Bruxism is considered a sleep disorder, like sleepwalking or sleep talking. So, while there is currently no clear cause for bruxism, it may be caused by something similar to the causes of a sleep disorder. In addition, bruxism is closely associated with stress and anxiety. Doctors believe that tooth grinding during the daytime or at night could be caused by stress.
The most common symptoms of teeth grinding include:
Not only is the look and feel of a person’s smile affected by bruxism, but their overall oral health and dental health can also dramatically drop over time. Untreated teeth grinding could eventually lead to:
Tooth grinding can be treated by a dentist. Once your dentist has confirmed that you are suffering from bruxism, the next step is to determine the underlying cause of your bruxism. This can be done by evaluating any damage that has been done to your teeth or cheeks, feeling your jawline for signs of muscle tension, and looking at x-rays to see tooth damage below the outer surface. Once the cause is determined, your dentist can recommend the best solution to help you completely stop grinding your teeth.
Some of the possible treatment options for teeth grinding include:
In some cases, your dentist might also need to offer you dental treatments to address damage caused to your smile by bruxism. Most commonly, those who grind their teeth may need:
In addition to the above treatment options, many dentists will prescribe a night mouth guard. These guards can help prevent further damage to your teeth over time by offering a protective layer around the teeth, much like a mouth guard for sports. However, a bruxism night guard from a dentist is much more comfortable and smaller than a traditional sports mouth guard.
Teeth grinding night guards can be easily created at your dentist’s office during a short visit. Your dentist will mold the bruxism retainer to your teeth so that your night guard fits comfortably to your unique smile. Night guards can be replaced when needed and should be cleaned when you brush your teeth.
When used properly, night guards are a great way to protect your smile and prevent teeth grinding damage while you sleep. If you are suffering from bruxism, check with your dentist about getting a night guard to help protect your teeth.
Cavities are the number one cause of tooth loss, so it is important to know how to identify, prevent, and treat them. Known as “tooth decay” in medical terms, cavities are the most common dental problem and the second most common health condition after the common cold. Fortunately, cavities can be discovered in early stages and treated to avoid problems in the future.
When cavities are forming, they can have symptoms that are difficult to notice. These symptoms include a slight sensitivity to cold and mild discoloration of the tooth surface. As the cavity advances on the tooth’s dentin, a dark spot will appear and the tooth sensitivity will increase. If a cavity should affect the tooth’s pulp, it can become painful and you may experience bad breath and a bad taste in your mouth. If a cavity is not treated at this point, the tooth becomes prone to infection which can cause an abscess.
Depending on the cavity’s advancement, there are different types of dental procedures you can undergo. Fillings, crowns, and root canals are the alternatives for treating a cavity:
A toothache is characterized by pain that occurs anywhere on the tooth’s surface, tooth root, or inside the tooth. Toothaches can feel sharp and excruciating or mild, dully, and aching. Toothaches are a very common complaint, and almost everyone has suffered from some form of tooth pain during the course of their life.
Some people are more sensitive to tooth pain than others and the level of pain associated with a toothache could change depending on the underlying dental problem. Some of the most common causes of a toothache include:
If you notice tooth pain, consult a dentist right away–especially if the pain is overwhelming or long-lasting. If you have a toothache that lasts for more than a couple days, is severe, or causes fever, earaches, or jaw pain, it could indicate a more serious problem.
Toothaches are a signal from the body that something is not right. When pain is severe, it could mean that there is a serious dental issue, so it’s important to get in touch with your dentist as soon as possible.
To treat your aching tooth, a dentist will need to do a diagnostic exam of your teeth. You may be asked about your pain level, medical history, and other questions to help come to the most accurate diagnosis for your tooth pain. Your dentist may also evaluate other areas of your body (throat, sinuses, tongue, jaw, gums, other teeth, ears, nose, or neck), checking for clues that could point to an underlying condition.
Depending on the cause of your toothache, your dentist will then recommend a treatment option to alleviate your tooth pain and prevent future toothaches. Some of the most common treatments for dental conditions that cause toothaches include:
People often experience nighttime toothaches, which seem to be more severe than daytime toothaches. This is due to the position of your body while you are sleeping as well as the way your body circulates blood. When you go to bed at night, your body is laying down and more blood may rush to your head. This can make a toothache feel worse than when you are standing up because blood has rushed into these sensitive areas.
To treat a toothache at night, try one of the following:
Depending on the level of tooth pain and the underlying cause for the tooth pain, a toothache could go away on its own. Toothaches that are caused by cold food, a sinus infection, stress-related teeth grinding, or other minor problems could go away on their own in time. Always seek the professional guidance of your dentist right away if you are experiencing severe discomfort, including:
Even when a toothache is less severe, it’s recommended that you check in with your dentist when you can in order to avoid future problems. Sometimes, a toothache is due to the loss of a filling or a new cavity. Both of these examples of dental issues may only cause dull, achy pain at first, but over time, could lead to more severe pain and oral health complications.
Your toothache could come and go quickly; however, when tooth pain lasts longer than a day or two, it could be a sign of a dental issue that requires your dentist’s special care and attention. Any toothache that is severe or lasts longer than a day or two should be reported to your dentist for guidance.
When you have to endure a toothache between dentist visits, you can try some of these home remedies for tooth pain:
In addition to the above home remedies for a toothache, the best way to get rid of a toothache quickly is by scheduling an appointment with your dentist at the earliest possible date. Because most toothaches are a sign of an underlying problem, the best way to stop the tooth pain fast is by addressing the underlying condition quickly with a certified dentist.
An impacted tooth is a tooth that is unable to break through the gums and align with the teeth as normal. Sometimes, impacted teeth are only partially impacted, so a portion of the tooth is able to break through the gums but the full tooth is unexposed. Most commonly, a tooth impaction is caused by overcrowded teeth.
So, what causes overcrowded teeth? Tooth crowding, commonly associated with malocclusion of teeth (improper alignment of the teeth), could be the result of small jaw sizes or genetics. Whatever the cause, when adult teeth begin to grow in during adolescence, there may or may not be enough space for every tooth to break through the gum’s surface and sit evenly along the gum line. When there is not enough space, your teeth can become overcrowded, grow in crooked, or tooth impactions occur.
The most common teeth to become impacted are the wisdom teeth; however, other teeth can be impacted as well. An impacted tooth refers to a tooth that fails to erupt–or to break the surface and grow in fully alongside the rest of your teeth. Sometimes, a person could have an impacted tooth that they are unaware of for years. It’s important to visit a dentist regularly and undergo x-rays in order to see all of the teeth in your mouth–even those below the gum line.
In addition to wisdom teeth impaction, you could also experience tooth impaction in any area of the mouth. An impacted tooth may cause the following symptoms:
A similar dental problem is called an embedded tooth. Similar to an impacted tooth, when a person suffers from an embedded tooth, it means that the tooth fails to erupt through the gum’s surface. However, when a tooth is impacted, it is unable to break through the gum’s surface because other teeth are blocking its path. Alternatively, when a person suffers from a tooth that is embedded, the tooth fails to erupt due to a lack of eruptive power. Also called an unerupted tooth, an embedded tooth may also need dental work in order to correct the problem.
Sometimes, impacted wisdom teeth do not need to be removed if they are not causing you any problems; however, your dentist might suggest having them removed in order to avoid future problems. If you have an impacted tooth that is in another area of the mouth, you might also be able to fix the problem by correcting overcrowding in your other teeth. Your dentist may recommend braces or a retainer to help create more space for the impacted tooth to erect on its own.
Some of the possible treatments that may be used to correct an impacted tooth include:
Impacted teeth require medical treatment from a dentist to avoid complications. Impacted teeth that are left beneath the gums could lead to infection, cysts, or damage to bone support for other teeth. Most dentists recommend that impacted teeth–including impacted wisdom teeth–are removed as early as possible. If you believe you may have an impacted tooth, visit your dentist to discuss removal options as soon as you can.
An impacted tooth that has not been properly treated could lead to complications later in life. Some of the possible impacted tooth complications include:
If you’re suffering from pain due to an impacted tooth, your dentist may suggest one of the following remedies to help alleviate your pain:
A tooth abscess, also known as a tooth infection or an abscessed tooth, occurs when a pus-filled pocket forms anywhere on the tooth. Depending on where and why the tooth abscess occurs, it may be referred to by one of the following different names:
Most commonly, a person suffers from a periapical abscess, found above the gum line. So, what causes an abscessed tooth? A periapical tooth abscess can occur when bacteria builds up in the very innermost portion of the tooth. Bacteria can get inside the tooth through a small crack or a tooth cavity. Some of the risk factors that could lead to a tooth infection include:
If you notice any of the below symptoms of a tooth abscess, reach out to your dentist right away:
In addition, you could experience what is known as a tooth abscess rupture. When this occurs, the pus-filled tooth abscess bursts and you may experience the following symptoms:
If your tooth abscess ruptures, it’s important to seek help from your dentist right away. The tooth infection will still need medical care to prevent complications. In addition, if you experience fever, swelling, sudden onset of symptoms, persistent symptoms, or severe symptoms, it’s important that you find medical care as soon as you can. If you are unable to get in touch with your dentist, you may need emergency care–especially if you are experiencing difficulty swallowing or breathing.
To treat a periapical tooth abscess can be treated by a dentist, who can drain the tooth and remove the infection. In some cases, your dentist will be able to save the tooth by performing a root canal and other restorative treatments. Be sure to visit your dentist if you notice signs or symptoms of a tooth infection right away.
Tooth abscesses will not go away on their own, so it’s important to reach out to your dentist right away if you experience symptoms of a tooth infection. While awaiting treatment from a dentist, you may be able to alleviate some of the pain associated with an abscessed tooth using the following tooth infection pain relievers:
The length of time it takes for a tooth abscess to heal depends on the severity of the infection. If the tooth abscess is small, a root canal is typically performed to save the tooth and get rid of the infection. This heals in the normal time frame for a root canal procedure to heal.
On the other hand, if a tooth abscess is more severe, it may need to be drained prior to the tooth repair. In very severe cases, the tooth may be too damaged to save and the tooth is pulled. Talk to your dentist to learn about the specific timeline you can expect for your tooth abscess healing.
When tooth infections go untreated, the infection can continue to spread to other areas of the body, including the jaw, head, or neck. If you know you have a tooth abscess, it’s important to seek help from a medical professional as soon as possible to avoid complications.
A tooth abscess may require visiting the emergency room if you are experiencing tooth abscess symptoms and are not able to get in touch with your dentist.
Gingivitis is a common oral health problem that is a type of periodontal disease (gum disease). It is most commonly associated with irritation, swelling, and redness in the gum area, especially where your gums meet your teeth. This mild form of gum disease can quickly escalate to more serious oral issues, including tooth decay, periodontitis, and loss of teeth. Because of these risks, gingivitis is taken very seriously and should be evaluated by your dentist right away.
This is an important question to answer, since catching gingivitis early on can prevent further damage. During your regular teeth cleaning dental appointments, your dentist will look for early signs of gingivitis. However, it’s important that you know the signs of gingivitis too. Between dental visits, evaluate your teeth and gum health, and contact your dentist if you show any of these signs of gingivitis:
While gingivitis is considered a mild form of gum disease, it can also lead to significant oral health issues if it is left untreated. Some of the problems that could stem from untreated gingivitis include:
In addition, some studies have suggested that gum disease could be linked with more serious health complications, such as:
Gingivitis that has progressed will usually require treatment from a certified dentist who can provide treatment options and ensure the disease is completely resolved. While gingivitis requires attention from your dental professional, there are some good dental habits that could help you prevent gingivitis from occurring to begin with. These include:
To help fight gum disease, the ADA recommends brushing for two minutes twice every day. You should also floss once daily to help keep your gums clean and free of plaque. In addition, it’s important to have regular professional dental cleanings at your dentist’s office. These cleanings can be scheduled with your dentist and are usually done twice a year (every six months). Staff at your dental office will help you schedule these appointments on a regular six-month cycle.
You will be able to tell if your gingivitis is going away if you see that symptoms are improving. You may notice:
You may have trouble figuring out whether your gingivitis is completely resolved without the help of an experienced dentist. Make sure you return to your dentist at your regularly-scheduled appointment times to know for sure if your gum disease is resolved.
Gum disease that returns over and over again may be a sign of poor dental hygiene or genetic predisposition to gum disease. If you notice recurring gingivitis, it’s important to talk to your dentist about how to improve your oral hygiene at home as well as to learn about products or rinses that may help you fight gingivitis and keep your mouth healthy long-term.
The first step in treating gingivitis is to speak with your dentist about the symptoms you are experiencing. Your dentist will perform a full evaluation to determine the severity of your gum disease and to make a treatment recommendation. Some of the gum disease treatment options that may be right for you include:
We spend a lot of time caring for our teeth. Because our teeth are what we see when we speak and smile, we want them to look good. That desire prompts us to brush daily. However important our teeth are to appearance, there is also a necessity to ensure they and the gums that surround them stay as healthy as possible.
The gums are part of the foundation of functional teeth. Studies have also confirmed that gum health is directly related to our general health. At our office, we prioritize gum health by providing general and extended exams and cleanings.
Healthy gums sit firmly around teeth. When plaque, a sticky biofilm, accumulates on teeth, it tends to sit along the gum line. Plaque is acidic and weakens the gum tissue around teeth over time. Weakness in the gums causes this tissue to loosen and pull away from the tooth. This is gingival (or gum) recession.
Gum recession is one of the most common dental problems affecting adults today. It can take years to develop and it may progress so gradually that one doesn’t even realize they are losing tissue that cannot be replaced. It may not be until a tooth or teeth start to look longer that the problem of gum recession is recognized.
Gums can recede to the extent at which the uppermost portion of the root becomes visible. Damage can also extend to the ligament and the bone, where it cannot be seen. Prompt care for receding gums is important to avoid significant consequences.
Gum tissue does not regenerate the way that other tissue does. Once gums have started to recede, they cannot naturally grow back. At the first sight of gum recession, it is necessary to schedule a dental appointment. Early treatment for gum recession can slow or possibly even halt the progression of breakdown in the gums.
Statistics indicate that the majority of adult tooth loss stems from gum recession and periodontal disease. This is because the loss of gum tissue destabilizes teeth. The advancement of bacterial infection in the gums then affects the ligament and bone that also stabilize teeth.
At some point in this advancement, there is not enough tissue to hold teeth in place. The teeth are vulnerable to falling out but, in many cases, are extracted by the dentist before this happens.
Yes. The earlier that treatment is sought for receding gums, the better. When gum recession is mild, your dentist may recommend a deep cleaning of the affected area. Gum recession can be generalized or localized and further classified into chronic or acute appearances. Deep cleaning focuses on the teeth affected. This treatment is also called scaling and root planing. It removes the plaque and tartar that have built up on the tooth and also smoothes the root surface so bacteria have a difficult time attaching. Depending on the extent of gum disease at the time of treatment, an antibiotic may also be applied to the space between the teeth and gums.
When gum recession is more severe, a deep cleaning may not be enough to resolve the problem. Extensive gum recession may indicate exceedingly deep pockets around affected teeth. Here, there is also a chance that some of the bone that supports the tooth has been lost. For severe gum recession, a dentist may advise treatment with a gum and bone surgeon called a periodontist where the gums can be repositioned. Your periodontists will discuss all of the available options to treat receding gums, and will recommend the most effective option for you.
Gum grafting is performed with a local anesthetic that numbs the area of the mouth being treated. Some dentists use the patient’s tissue as a graft, while others use tissue from a tissue bank, which then limits the procedure to only one surgical site. Local anesthetic makes the gum grafting procedure virtually painless. The only discomfort a patient may feel is the slight poke of the anesthesia needle. When tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth, this area may feel sore for a few days. The teeth that have been treated, as well, may also be sore if the gums are lifted to access roots.
Recovery from gum graft surgery is relatively quick. Patients may be able to return to work as soon as the day after their procedure. However, tenderness or tooth sensitivity may be experienced for several days.
Comfort can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers and with toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Full healing is expected in 1 to 2 weeks.
When you are a child, your first loose tooth can be cause for celebration; when you are an adult, it definitely is not. Biting and chewing with a tooth that is not securely attached in its socket can be difficult or even painful — and any tooth that becomes loose is at risk of needing to be removed or, at worst, falling out. It’s often possible to prevent that from happening, but quick action is required.
The most common reason for tooth looseness is periodontal disease — a bacterial infection of the gum and/or bone tissues that surround and support your teeth. The infection results from bacterial plaque that sits on your teeth in the absence of effective oral hygiene. Over time, periodontal disease will cause gum tissue to detach from the teeth as plaque and tartar formation increases and tooth-supporting bone is lost. As more bone is lost, teeth gradually become loose and are unable to withstand normal biting forces. If severe periodontal disease remains untreated, loose teeth will eventually fall out.
Another common contributor to the loosening of teeth is a clenching or grinding habit that generates too much biting force. This force can stretch the periodontal ligaments that join the teeth to the supporting bone, making your teeth looser. These habits can accelerate bone loss and also cause jaw pain and excessive tooth wear.
Just as the causes of loose teeth can be biological (disease) or mechanical (too much force) — or both — so, too, are the treatments. Let’s first take a look at the biological approach.
To control gum disease, a dental professional must thoroughly clean the teeth of plaque and harder deposits (tartar or calculus) in which bacteria thrive; this includes the tooth-root surfaces beneath the gum line. At the same visit, you will be instructed on effective oral hygiene techniques and products to use at home. Often this type of deep cleaning, combined with improved oral hygiene, will reduce inflammation and heal the gums enough to cause some tightening of the teeth.
The mechanical approach involves modifying the forces that are applied to the teeth. This can be achieved in a number of ways. For example, an occlusal (bite) adjustment can be performed by carefully reshaping minute amounts of tooth surface enamel. This changes the way upper and lower teeth contact each other, redirecting and lessening the force. Replacing broken fillings and restoring worn teeth is also sometimes needed to create a more balanced bite, even when teeth are not loose.
It is also possible to reduce stresses on teeth by temporarily or permanently splinting them together like fence pickets so that any biting force is distributed among groups of teeth rather than individual loosened teeth. The splint is a very small metal bracket bonded to the backs of or tops of the teeth.
If clenching or grinding habits are a problem, a custom-made bite guard (also called an occlusal splint) can be worn when needed. Placed in the mouth at night or in times of stress, it can protect the teeth from the consequences of too much biting force. This can also be helpful in preventing excessive tooth wear, and sometimes in relieving jaw pain.
Loose teeth can be successfully treated with both biological and mechanical techniques. A thorough examination will be needed to determine the best approach. So if you are experiencing tooth looseness, don’t wait — the sooner this problem is addressed, the more likely you are to keep your natural teeth.
Studies point out that a smile is one of the first things that is noticed about a person’s appearance. When looking at the smile, study participants reportedly noticed two common characteristics: how bright the teeth were and how straight the teeth were.
A smile that showcases straight teeth indicates general health. It makes a person appear friendly, trustworthy, and motivated, according to research. Most importantly, having straight teeth can make you feel better about your appearance. We enjoy helping teens and adults of all ages correct mild to severe misalignment with proven orthodontic principles.
Teeth may become misaligned, overlapped, or crooked for several reasons. In some cases, the problem occurs during the developmental years when larger permanent teeth are growing into a mouth that can’t quite accommodate them yet. This can cause crowding, turning, and overlapping. Sometimes, there is a discrepancy in the size or shape of the upper and lower jaws, which can result in an overbite or underbite.
Studies indicate that misalignment may also be affected by our genetic makeup, that we can inherit crooked teeth much like we inherit eye color from one of our parents. Additional causes include the early loss of baby teeth, poorly fitting restorations, injury to the jaw, bruxism (grinding and clenching), and gingivitis. Some evidence suggests that childhood habits such as tongue thrusting or thumb-sucking may also contribute to misalignment.
It isn’t possible to change the way your teeth naturally grew. If your teeth are crooked, you can benefit from orthodontic treatment. This may be braces or it may be Clear Aligner Therapy. The treatment that is right for you depends on the severity of misalignment and malocclusion (your bite).
If your teeth are generally straight and you want to keep them that way, there are only a few steps you need to take:
Age itself does not have a strong influence over the alignment of teeth. Our teeth naturally move over time due to life influences. However, as we age, the risk of gingivitis and gum disease increases. If teeth are misaligned and difficult to cleanse, periodontal disease can occur as a complication. The gums are the soft tissue that we see around teeth. Beneath the gums are ligament and bone that hold teeth firmly in place. When gum disease occurs, it first weakens the gingiva, the uppermost layer of soft tissue. As the infection continues, it spreads deeper beneath the gingiva. The more soft tissue involvement that occurs with gum disease, the weaker the hold on teeth becomes. In advanced stages of gum disease (periodontitis), the ligament and bone degrade. This can lead to loose, shifting teeth and even tooth loss.
Bite and teeth realignment is achieved through orthodontic treatment. It is important to note, however, that no realignment or orthodontic treatment can be initiated until the periodontal clearance is obtained, and all active disease in the mouth is taken care of. Implants should also be put on hold due to the fact that they can actually impede the ideal outcome of orthodontic tooth movement.
Conventional braces straighten teeth through a series of movements made by tightening wires that span across the upper and lower arches of teeth. Clear aligner therapy straightens teeth by placing pressure on them via clear plastic trays called aligners.
The mechanism behind each method is gentle, consistent force. This force on teeth slightly loosens them from bone and the periodontal ligament. As teeth are moved by pressure, the bone gradually morphs around their new position.
Teeth straightening is not a process that we try to rush. To do so would present a risk of damaging teeth, the jawbone, or the periodontal ligament. Years of research have gone into developing the teeth-straightening methods we have today, and those that are available tend to work similarly. Working similarly means they will work in approximately the same timing. The average duration of orthodontic treatment is 6 to 24 months. How long a person has to wear braces or Clear Aligners is largely dictated by the severity of their misalignment. In terms of Clear Aligner Therapy, the duration of treatment can also be affected by the consistency with which the patient wears aligners. This system requires daily wear with removal only for meals and oral care.
The only way to straighten teeth is to move them gradually. This can be achieved with conventional braces or with Clear Aligner Therapy. The Clear Aligner Therapy system is not considered braces. The use of clear, plastic aligners is preferable to many people because aligners are nearly invisible. Patients also like having the ability to remove aligners for meals and oral hygiene.
While not intended for teeth straightening, there may also be a cosmetic option for addressing certain alignment issues. Porcelain veneers may be affixed to visible teeth to make them appear straighter or closer together if there are gaps in the smile. Veneers may be a suitable alternative for some people but should be carefully considered after a thorough consultation and conversation with an experienced dentist.
Retainers are meant to keep or retain teeth in their current position. A dentist or orthodontist will advise the use of a retainer after braces or Clear Aligner Therapy as a way of maintaining results. Retainers may be fixed or they may be removable. Your dentist will decide what type of retaining appliance makes the most sense for you and the duration and frequency of how you need to wear it.
During adolescence, we naturally grow in 32 permanent teeth. Aside from the 4 wisdom teeth, we need all other teeth to help us bite and chew. Tooth loss can have a significantly negative impact on the smile as well as on oral health. At Vogue Smiles Melbourne, we provide preventive care that is needed to decrease the risk of tooth loss. Additionally, we provide restorative and replacement services to address tooth loss should this problem occur unexpectedly.
Tooth loss has a few common treatment options. These include:
When a tooth is lost or needs to be extracted, it isn’t only the tooth itself that is lost. The root also dies or comes out with the tooth. Teeth roots are important to long-term anatomical strength because this part of the tooth transfers force into the jawbone. Without a tooth and its root, problems may occur right away or years later.
Several problems can occur as a result of tooth loss. Because teeth sit adjacent to one another, part of what they do is keep the row of teeth in line. A missing tooth leaves a gap between teeth. A gap does not provide any force against adjacent teeth, so shifting may occur. Depending on where the gap is or how large it is, several teeth could shift, causing noticeable misalignment.
We mentioned that a lost tooth also means the loss of a tooth root. The roots of teeth send friction into the jawbone when we chew. This friction is needed for the bone to be stimulated into regeneration mode. Without a tooth root, the bone beneath the tooth does not regrow as it should. It decreases over time. At some point, this could affect the bite.
The space that is created when a tooth is lost can also become a haven for bacteria. We all have bacteria in our mouth. Some are beneficial and some can degrade teeth and the gums. Bacteria can linger in any tight or loose space, including along the gums where a tooth has been lost. The acid that is deposited by bacteria weakens gum tissue and can lead to gum disease.
It is necessary to have a tooth replaced to prevent unhealthy changes in dentition and oral health. The sooner that a missing tooth is replaced, the greater the chances of avoiding unpleasant tooth shifting, tooth decay, gum disease, or bone deterioration.
Missing teeth can be replaced with relative ease and convenience. We discuss the treatment options in-depth with our patients. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each tooth replacement option, a patient can make an informed, confident decision about what they deem best for their needs.
If missing teeth are not replaced, surrounding teeth may shift over time, creating spaces in which bacteria and debris can accumulate. This can lead to tooth decay in surrounding teeth as well as gum disease.
By adolescence, a person’s baby teeth have fallen out and been replaced with permanent teeth. Tooth loss that occurs during adolescence or beyond most likely involves a permanent tooth.
A tooth may become loose after an injury or as a result of gum disease or tooth grinding and clenching (called bruxism). If a tooth feels loose, it is wise to schedule a dental exam right away. Depending on the cause of looseness, treatment may be as conservative as deep cleaning to remove bacteria and infection in the gums. A tooth that has loosened due to an injury might recover on its own.
Passing on hot or cold foods and drinks. Using lukewarm water to brush teeth. These are signs that you may be suffering from tooth sensitivity. Many of us learned that, if a tooth hurts, it could mean that a cavity has developed. While this could be the case, tooth sensitivity is often something different entirely. Sensitivity can affect all teeth and make the whole mouth unnecessarily uncomfortable. We are proud to offer treatments or recommendations that alleviate this problem.
Tooth sensitivity is a common problem that affects at least million of people, according to statistics. This condition is characterized by discomfort or pain when teeth are exposed to certain temperatures and substances. Sensitivity is often temporary and can feel like a dull ache or a sharp, sudden pain. Sometimes, pain radiates into the tooth’s nerve.
A few remedies may decrease the discomfort of sensitive teeth. These include:
Several factors may contribute to tooth sensitivity. These include:
Having sensitive teeth does not always mean that there is a dental problem. However, through an examination by the dentists, we can diagnose and treat or make recommendations to resolve the uncomfortable experience of sensitive teeth.
Dentists may suggest a few proven treatments to alleviate tooth sensitivity. The best treatment can be determined by identifying the cause of tooth pain. Common treatment options include:
Tooth sensitivity may not go away on its own or with home remedies. However, the symptoms of sensitive teeth may be managed with strategies like avoiding certain foods. With appropriate diagnosis and treatment, it may be possible to correct the underlying cause of sensitivity. In these cases, the problem may be resolved. The first step in getting sensitivity under control is to consult with your dentist to find what is causing pain.
There are no natural cures for tooth sensitivity, only strategies such as avoiding certain foods and using a desensitizing toothpaste. To manage tooth sensitivity well, it is necessary to first identify the cause of discomfort. Your dentist can help you do this.
Many companies make mouthwash and toothpaste products formulated for sensitive teeth. These products are typically alcohol-free, which naturally decreases sensitivity. There may also be active ingredients that work on enamel to fortify strength and protection for the dentin and the nerve. Fluoride may also be present in mouthwash for sensitive teeth, as this substance is said to strengthen enamel.