While you might have a basic understanding of tooth decay, there’s likely much about the topic you don’t yet know. A deeper understanding of your oral health allows you to know when you have a problem that is likely to take care of itself and when you have one that requires a professional treatment from a dentist. Learn more about tooth decay and how to take the best care of your pearly whites.
Age Makes a Difference in Tooth Decay
One of the first things to know about tooth decay is that it’s more common now than ever in children and babies. A child’s teeth aren’t as developed or strong as an adult’s, so acids, plaque and bacteria will eat away at their teeth. Eating and drinking habits for small children also impact oral health, with many parents not realizing the harmful effects of giving a child a bottle or sippy cup filled with milk or juice when they go to sleep, or to drink throughout the day. Snacking on things like fruit snacks, starchy crackers, or sugary treats throughout the day—called “grazing”—is also harmful to a child’s teeth.
Recognizing the Signs of Tooth Decay
Knowing what tooth decay looks like is another essential component of treating it. Indications of tooth decay include:
- Discolored teeth
- Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
- Inflammation of the gums around a sore tooth, which is also a sign of an abscessed tooth
- An ongoing or recurring toothache
Properly Diagnosing Tooth Decay
To rule out an abscess and anything else that might be going on with your teeth, your dentist will make sure you actually have tooth decay in order to prescribe proper treatment. You’ll likely be asked questions about your medical and dental history before the dentist uses a small mirror to examine your teeth. You might also have X-rays taken of your mouth and teeth to better pinpoint which of your teeth may be decayed. Common treatments for tooth decay that has worked through tooth enamel include fillings, crowns, tooth extraction and root canals.
Oral health is a large component of your overall health. By taking good care of your teeth, you’re taking equally good care of the rest of your body as well.
Unless something particularly funny or enjoyable is going on, you may not be inclined to smile that often. Plenty of research has been done in the area, and it turns out there are numerous benefits to smiling more frequently. If you find that you frown or have a neutral expression fairly often, then you may want to think about showing off your pearly whites on a regular basis.
Smiling Reduces Anxiety and Stress
If you are feeling stressed out, you may not feel like smiling so much. However, studies have found that individuals who smile when they are going through troublesome times had lower heart rates. The smile may be fake, but it comes with real results.
Smiling Helps You be Seen as More Trustworthy and Personable
Anyone looking to make strides in their careers should consider smiling at the office. People are more likely to engage with individuals who are smiling compared to people who always look stern. Additionally, smiling enhances your credibility so if you need people to trust and like you, smiling could be the ticket.
Smiling Releases Endorphins
Endorphins are chemicals released within your brain that make you happy. They are released when you engage in an activity you enjoy, and it has been found that smiling releases the same chemicals. You can boost your mood simply by exercising those facial muscles.
Smiling is Contagious
You probably already know that yawning is contagious. When you see someone else yawn, you are likely to do it yourself. The same principle applies to smiling. When you smile, other people around you are more inclined to smile. Everyone enjoys a release of endorphins, and everyone feels a little less stressed out.
You do not have to watch your favorite sitcom to crack a smile. Try doing it when you are sitting at your desk or driving in traffic. If you train yourself to smile more, then you will do it without even being conscious of the effort.
Do you actually go to the dentist twice as year, as many dental professional recommend? If not, you should really be scheduling routine dental exams often. There are numerous benefits, and you are putting your oral health at risk by not having a professional regularly examine your teeth and gums. Here are just a few reasons why you should schedule dental appointments twice a year.
Check for Oral Health Problems
Unless something is really hurting you, then it is likely that you will remain unaware if a problem is developing within your teeth or gums. Gum disease can sometimes start off as asymptomatic, but become far more serious if it’s not treated. A professional dentist will be able to detect any problems, big or small, and recommend the most appropriate treatment. X-rays may also be taken to see if any issues are growing out of the dentist’s sight.
Thorough Teeth Cleaning
You should be brushing twice a day and flossing once daily, but even that is not always enough to stop the spread of plaque. Dentists have higher-quality tools to remove plaque and tartar. In addition to eliminating tartar, your dentist will also polish the teeth to help eliminate surface stains. You cannot get this level of cleaning at home, and it is a huge benefit if you get a professional cleaning twice yearly.
Recommendations in Your Oral Healthcare Routine
After examining and cleaning your teeth, your dentist will tell you if there is anything you need to change in your oral healthcare routine, such as brushing more often or adding flossing to your routine. A dentist may also see that you are brushing every day, but you are doing it incorrectly and can show you how to brush properly.
The combination of daily dental cleaning and professional check-ups every so often will increase your chances of healthy teeth throughout your life. If it has been a while since your last visit to the dentist, then schedule one at your earliest convenience.
The recommendation that you visit your dentist at least twice a year certainly isn’t anything new, but when you get to your dental office you might notice that there are several things that are changing about the way you receive care and interact with the staff and the dentist. Today’s dentists are increasingly embracing technology as a way to offer a higher level of care and a more streamlined visit. Here are just a few of the trends you might see next time you visit your dentist.
Minimally Invasive Treatments
You might not believe it, but dentists don’t like drilling your teeth any more than you like having them drilled. Fortunately with advances in dental technology and treatment methods, more and more procedures can be performed in a way that is “minimally invasive”. The goal with these treatments is to conserve as much of your healthy tooth structure as possible, removing the least amount of natural tooth to achieve a long-lasting positive result. Fixing crooked teeth and other malocclusions has also become easier and less invasive with products like Invisalign®, while advances in treating cavities and other oral health-related problems have led to better and longer-lasting outcomes.
Another improvement to dental treatment in recent years is the more widespread use of dental implants to improve the appearance and function of your teeth without damaging or impacting the teeth that surround it. Dental implants or implant-supported dentures have quickly become a popular option for many people who have damaged or missing teeth, although they are not an option in every case. Visit The Dental Clinic at Roseman University to find out more about dental implants if you think you might be a candidate.
Technology in the Dental Office
Rapid advances in technology have impacted the way we do business, the way we communicate, and our overall health and wellness—including dental health. Today many dentists are using digital CAD/CAM technology (computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing); with a small wand about the size and shape of an electric toothbrush, your dentist can create a digital image of your mouth and the shape of oral structures inside.
“Traditional impressions that record the shape and configuration of teeth and mouth can often be replaced with scans from laser or LED light cameras. The digital file is sent to a 3D printer or milling machine to create a model made of lightweight, durable resin,” said Dr. Doug Ashman, a professor at Roseman University College of Dental Medicine. “The advantage of this approach, beyond the obvious improvement in the patient’s comfort, is the increased accuracy of the digital impression and the ability to store and retrieve the image at a later time, as needed.”
Similar technology can be used to create crowns and fixed bridges, and with the help of sophisticated software, the dentist can create a uniquely designed and perfectly shaped crown ready for implant, often in just a matter of minutes while the patient waits in the dental chair.
Other technology you might start to see at your dental office includes software and apps that allow you to schedule appointments with ease, fill in your health history prior to arriving at the dentist’s office, and get things like text and voicemail reminders when it’s time for your appointment.
While the trends in dental medicine are improving the way patients receive treatment and interact with their dental office, there is one trend that is never going away: having a healthy smile and a healthy mouth will always be in style.