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Common Problems

Tooth Decay

Caries, or tooth decay, is a preventable disease that may negatively impact your quality of life.

Page Photo - Common Problems

When your teeth and gums are consistently exposed to large amounts of starches and sugars, acids may form that begin to eat away at tooth enamel. Carbohydrate-rich foods such as candy, cookies, soft drinks, and even fruit juices leave deposits on your teeth. Those deposits bond with the bacteria that normally survive in your mouth and form plaque. The combination of deposits and plaque forms acids that can damage the mineral structure of teeth, resulting in tooth decay.

Sensitive Teeth

Your teeth expand and contract in reaction to changes in temperature. Hot and cold food and beverages can cause pain or irritation to people with sensitive teeth. Over time, tooth enamel can be worn down, gums may recede, or teeth may develop microscopic cracks, exposing the interior of the tooth and irritating nerve endings. Just breathing cold air can be painful for those with extremely sensitive teeth.

Gum Disease

Gum, or periodontal, disease can cause inflammation around the tooth, tooth loss, and bone damage. Gum disease begins with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. Gums in the early stage of disease, or gingivitis, can bleed easily and become red and swollen.

Over time, plaque calcifies and leads to the formation of calculus (also known as tartar). Left untreated, the chronic irritation caused by plaque and calculus leads to the degradation of the surrounding tissue and bone, causing pockets in the gums. The bacteria present in the pockets create byproducts that break down the bone and connective tissue that support the teeth. Periodontal disease can progress to the point where the teeth are no longer anchored in the bone, thereby leading to tooth loss.

Recent studies have shown that tooth loss is not the only concern when it comes to advanced periodontal disease. Researchers have discovered links between periodontal disease and other serious health conditions such as stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. As a result, early intervention to prevent and control periodontal disease is critical to help minimize greater health risks.

Gum disease is highly preventable and can usually be avoided by daily brushing and flossing. One indicator of gum disease is consistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth.

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Daily brushing and flossing helps to prevent the build-up of food particles, plaque, and bacteria in your mouth. Food particles left in the mouth deteriorate and cause bad breath. While certain foods, such as garlic or anchovies, may create temporary bad breath, consistent bad breath may be a sign of gum disease or another dental problem.

Canker Sores

Canker sores (aphthous ulcers) are small sores inside the mouth that often recur. Generally lasting one or two weeks, the duration of canker sores can be reduced by the use of antimicrobial mouthwashes or topical agents. The canker sore has a white or gray base surrounded by a red border. Dr. Brown can prescribe medications to alleviate the discomfort caused by this condition.

Orthodontic Problems

A bite that does not meet properly (a malocclusion) can be inherited, or some types may be acquired. Some causes of malocclusion include missing or extra teeth, crowded teeth or misaligned jaws. Accidents or developmental issues, such as finger or thumb sucking over an extended period of time, may cause malocclusions.