Dental care is one of the few areas of healthcare that has not been tampered with by the government and insurance companies. But that could change in the future.
Dentists are exposed to a variety of diseases each day. They also spend a lot of time focused in a small area with their eyes through loupes and are therefore susceptible to eye strain.
1. Dental Hygiene
Brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing once a day is an important part of dental hygiene, along with visiting your dentist for an exam and cleaning every six months. These behaviors reduce your risk of tooth decay and gum disease, which can have serious implications for overall health.
Tooth decay and gum disease are caused by excess bacteria on or around the teeth. Regular dental hygiene practices control the bacteria in your mouth, which can help prevent these problems. If left unaddressed, both issues can lead to painful or aesthetically unsightly oral health concerns, and more severe cases can lead to tooth loss, bone degeneration, and other serious medical conditions.
In addition to brushing and flossing, it is also helpful to use an interdental cleaner like dental water floss to remove food particles from the parts of your teeth that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush. This can help to reduce plaque buildup, prevent gum diseases, and stimulate blood flow in the gums.
Finally, it is important to use dental products that are approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). This will ensure that you are using products that have been thoroughly tested and found to be safe and effective.
Dental hygienists are licensed professionals who perform various educational, preventive, and therapeutic dental services under the supervision and direction of dentists. They are trained in the assessment of patients and provide comprehensive oral care, including periodontal examinations and radiographs. Some hygienists are also trained in the administration of local anesthesia, the application of crowns and bridges, and the sterilization of instruments. In the US, the dental hygiene profession is regulated at the state level by dental boards, and hygienists are typically required to complete up to two years of post-secondary education before becoming licensed.
2. Tooth Pain
A dentist’s job is to diagnose and treat oral health problems. This includes identifying issues such as tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancer. It also involves developing treatment plans and performing procedures such as fillings, root canals, extractions and implants.
If you have a toothache that won’t go away, it’s important to see a dentist as soon as possible. They will be able to identify the cause of the pain and prescribe medication or suggest a treatment plan. If the problem is serious, they will refer you to a specialist or arrange for further investigation.
While it’s tempting to ignore your dental health, regular visits are essential to ensuring good oral hygiene and healthy teeth. A visit to your dentist will include a thorough oral exam and dental X-rays, as well as professional cleaning to remove stubborn deposits. They will also be able to spot any potential problems early and provide preventative care, such as mouthguards or fluoride treatments.
You should never try to self-diagnose any dental or oral health problems, as this could lead to unnecessary pain and expense. If you have a persistently sore or bleeding gum, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. If you have a severe toothache, it’s also important to see your dentist straight away as it could be a sign of a serious issue, such as gum disease or an infected or cracked tooth. For this reason, it’s important to see your dentist regularly, at least twice a year. This will ensure any problems are caught and treated as quickly as possible to reduce the risk of long-term damage. It will also help to maintain a healthy oral environment and improve overall wellbeing.
3. Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is a serious health problem affecting people of all ages. It starts when bacteria in food eat away at tooth enamel forming plaque. Plaque contains sugars which give the bacteria fuel to produce acids that erode teeth. If these acids get into the dentine beneath a tooth’s enamel it can cause a hole in the tooth (dental cavity). If left untreated tooth decay may lead to pain, swelling and a build-up of pus in the gum (dental abscesses).
Tooth Decay treatment depends on how severe the damage is. If a tooth has a small cavity the dental team can often remove the bacteria and fill the affected area. If a cavity gets bigger it may need to be removed.
Regular brushing and flossing and a healthy diet are the best ways to prevent tooth decay. People should also see a dentist for regular checkups and cleaning to catch any problems early.
Early signs of tooth decay include a white spot on the teeth, which is softer than surrounding enamel. If the cavity is caught in the earliest stages it can be reversed with fluoride treatments.
If a cavity is not treated it will progress to a deeper part of the tooth known as the pulp. The bacteria in the pulp will attack and break down the tooth, leading to a painful hole in the tooth (dental cavity). In the worst cases a person may need root canal treatment or the affected tooth may need to be removed (extraction).
Children should be taught good oral hygiene at an early age so that they can avoid tooth decay. As soon as their adult molars come in they should be protected with ‘pit and fissure sealants’, which cover the chewing surfaces of the teeth to make them easier to clean.
4. Teeth Whitening
A bright, white smile is a common desire for many people. Not only does it look beautiful, but studies have shown that people who are confident in their smiles are perceived as more successful and attractive.
The whitening process uses peroxide-based bleaching products to break down discoloration on the surface of your teeth, giving them a more even and brighter appearance. In-office and at-home whitening treatments are both safe and effective, but they may not work on all types of tooth discoloration.
Your dental team will determine whether or not you are a candidate for whitening and supervise any treatment that is used. They will apply a rubber shield or a gel to your gums to protect them and then apply the whitening product, which contains a hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. During in-office whitening, your dentist may use LED, UV or halogen light with the whitening product to speed up the bleaching process.
After the whitening procedure, your dental team will check to see if you have achieved your desired shade of whiteness and advise you on how to maintain your new shade. They will recommend avoiding tobacco and stain-causing foods and drinks, especially red wine and coffee. Your teeth will also be more susceptible to staining immediately after whitening due to dehydration and demineralization of the enamel.
A professional whitening typically requires two visits. During the first visit, impressions (molds) of your teeth will be made to fabricate custom-fitted, clear plastic trays. During the second visit, you will wear the trays for a certain amount of time each day over the course of up to a month, which is how long it takes to achieve your desired shade.
5. Dental Implants
Dental implants are a permanent replacement for missing teeth that offer many benefits. They can restore your natural bite, reduce bone resorption, help you chew and speak more easily, and improve the appearance of your smile. They also have a high success rate and are more comfortable than other teeth replacement options.
A dental implant is a small post, usually made of titanium, that acts as an artificial tooth root. It is surgically placed into the jaw bone to anchor a dental prosthetic, such as a crown, bridge or denture. The titanium material fuses to the jawbone through a process called osseointegration, which makes the replacement tooth feel and function like your natural teeth.
During the planning process, you may work with several specialists, including doctors who specialize in conditions of the mouth, jaw and face (oral and maxillofacial surgeon), dentists who focus on structures that support the teeth and gums (periodontist) or a specialist in the design and fit of artificial teeth (prosthodontist). A prosthodontist is a dentist who has completed advanced training to create replacement teeth.
There are two main types of dental implants: endosteal and subperiosteal. Endosteal implants are the most common. They are affixed to the jawbone through a titanium metal screw. The top of the implant has a small hole, known as a pilot hole, that is drilled into edentulous (toothless) sites in the jaw bone. The pilot hole must be carefully sized to avoid damaging the inferior alveolar nerve in the jaw or sinuses.
Once the dental implant has healed, you will need to care for it as you would your natural teeth. Brushing, flossing and regular rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash will keep the area clean. You should also schedule routine dental exams to monitor the condition of the replacement tooth and the supporting implants. If you experience pain or discomfort, over-the-counter or prescription pain medications can be used to relieve it.