Good oral health is vital to a person’s total health – not just the way they look or how they feel. Not caring for one’s teeth well can lead to serious health issues like diabetes and respiratory problems to name a few. Brushing and flossing regularly as a part of a good regimen helps people keep their teeth from getting cavities and gum problems. Good nutrition helps in building strong teeth and gums which will heal and resist disease well.
Brushing and flossing prevent the buildup of plaque – a thin film of bacteria – which collects and hardens between spaces in the teeth. It turns in tartar and causes gum infections, eventually leading to tooth loss. It can also contribute to bacteria traveling into the lungs and causing serious health issues. There is also a proven link between gum disease and diabetes – any problems with the gums should be examined right away to rule out diabetes.
Technology has changed the way dentistry is practiced, around the world. There are several dental treatment options available which can be used to stem, treat and even prevent diseases from affecting a person’s health and general wellness. Technology has changed the face of dentistry with new tools and materials – not just for general but cosmetic dentistry as well. Here’s a breakdown of some of the treatment/procedures that one can expect at the dentist.
Learning the basics of caring for one’s teeth means a lifetime of good eating habits and not to mention health. Besides maintaining a daily regimen of brushing and flossing, it is a good idea to avoid foods and drinks that are likely to damage teeth. Getting regular checks will help in keeping teeth and gums healthy as well as aiding in the early detection of issues like cavities, gum inflammation or even cancer. Here are a few reasons to see the dentist on a regular basis:
Cleaning: A regular check up and cleaning is recommended for adults and children alike. People with underlying medical conditions ought to see a dentist more often. These visits help in picking up signs of trouble and can be addressed early.
Cavities and Fillings: When a tooth starts to decay, a hole is formed in the tooth. This requires immediate attention and fillings as it can cause a lot of pain if food gets stuck. There is also a danger of chipping and breakage.
Root Canals: Root canals have to be done if the teeth decay completely. This can lead to bone damage too. The tooth is removed completely and then a cap is put in place to protect the nerve.
Extraction: Extraction is usually done on teeth which cause pain and discomfort to people. This is done a lot for wisdom teeth or even to make space in the mouth for braces or new teeth in young children.
Halitosis: Otherwise known as bad breath, it is usually caused due to an accumulation of bacteria in the oral cavity. The causes could be many – gum problems, poor digestion or even plaque. The person with the problem is always the last to find out - that is why getting a regular check up, flossing and brushing are so important. Regular dental checkups can help to arrest and alleviate this issue in a timely manner.
Cosmetic dentistry is a slightly more specialized area of dentistry – Doctors deal with issues like correcting bite patterns, making bridges, dentures and procedures like whitening. Some of the processes are intended to help people get more confidence – for instance teeth whitening, addressing halitosis, veneers etc. Procedures like dentures and implants perform a real service for people by allowing them to live normal lives by giving them back the ability to eat properly and stay healthy.
Braces: Even though braces come under the heading of cosmetic dentistry, they perform a vital service for young children and adults. In children, they help to correct overcrowding and also help to give them a great smile. A good bite pattern helps to ward off issues like TMJ, which prevents people from being able to eat. There are many different kinds of braces to choose from – price is usually the deciding factor.
Veneers: These are made from porcelain and they are usually glued onto teeth for an even appearance. They are usually pretty sturdy and will need to be replaced every few years as they will stain.
Teeth Whitening: Teeth whitening is a procedure which is offered at the dentist’s office to help remove stains from tooth enamel. This can be done at the dentist’s office under supervision, with good results. There are several products on the market which are available for home use as well and not as expensive.
TMJ Disorders: The full form is temporo mandibular joint disorder - this affects the jaw joint and the surrounding muscles. These muscles help to control and move the jaw for chewing and other activities. This joint can cause problems by freezing in place – thereby not permitting a person to eat or drink. It can be quite painful as it is close to the ear. It can flare due to stress and there is no known treatment. In most cases, patients are asked to practice relaxation techniques to ward off the problem.
Implants: These are by far the most important and advanced procedures available – and the closest thing to natural teeth. Metal screws are implanted into the jaw and then crowns attached so that patients can eat normally. Implants help in keeping the shape of the mouth, prevent gum and even bone shrinkage, as is evident in older people. There are several types of implants to choose from too – depending on individual need.
There is no doubt that new and better technologies being brought to the market every year – the only issue is the question of affordability. Regular dental visits and necessary procedures like fillings and root canals are usually covered by insurance. Not so in the case of cosmetic procedures – all of the expenses have to be borne out of pocket by patients.
Dental Care Guide is a must for everyone as treatment can be very expensive. Most people get health and Dental Care Guide through their employers, which is a boon. There are many people who really need help and don’t make enough to get coverage. In such cases, there are provisions in the laws (depending on the state of residence) to get treatment. It is not mandatory for states to offer Dental Care Guide or procedures to those on minimum wage. New laws are being enacted to ensure medical and dental coverage for everyone – it remains to be seen how many people are able to get access. Not getting help for dental issues in a timely manner results in visits to the emergency room – eventually burdening the system.