Your teeth perform many functions on a daily basis, which makes them susceptible to a variety of teeth conditions.
Tooth cavities are small holes caused by a buildup of bacteria and acid on the surface of a tooth. Left untreated, they can grow deeper into the tooth, eventually reaching the pulp. Cavities can cause pain, and sensitivity to heat and cold, and may lead to infection or tooth loss.
Pulpitis refers to inflammation of the pulp, often due to an untreated cavity. The main symptoms are extreme pain and sensitivity in the affected tooth. It can eventually lead to an infection, causing an abscess in the root of the tooth.
Periodontal disease is sometimes called gum disease. It’s an infection of the gums. Common symptoms include red, swollen, bleeding, or receding gums. It can also cause bad breath, pain, sensitivity, and loose teeth. Smoking, certain medications, and poor oral health increase your risk of gum disease.
Malocclusion is the misalignment of teeth. This can cause crowding, underbites, or overbites. It’s often hereditary, but thumb-sucking, long-term use of a pacifier or bottles, impacted or missing teeth, and poorly fitting dental appliances can also cause it. Malocclusion can usually be corrected with braces.
Bruxism refers to grinding or clenching your teeth. People with bruxism are often unaware that they have it, and many people only do it when sleeping. Over time, bruxism can wear down tooth enamel, leading to damage and even tooth loss. It can also cause tooth, jaw, and ear pain. Depending on the severity, it can also damage your jaw and prevent it from opening and closing properly.
A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus caused by a bacterial infection. It can cause tooth pain that radiates to your jaw, ear, or neck. Other symptoms of an abscess include tooth sensitivity, fever, swollen or tender lymph nodes, and swelling in your cheeks or face. See a dentist or doctor right away if you think you have a tooth abscess. Left untreated, the infection can spread to your sinuses or brain.
Tooth erosion is the breakdown and loss of enamel caused by acid or friction. Acidic foods and drinks, can cause it. Stomach acid from gastrointestinal conditions, such as acid reflux, can also cause it. In addition, long-term dry mouth can also cause friction, leading to tooth erosion. Common signs of tooth erosion include pain, sensitivity, and discoloration.
Tooth impaction happens when there isn’t enough space for a new tooth to emerge, usually due to overcrowding. It’s common in wisdom teeth, but it can also occur when a baby tooth falls out before the permanent tooth is ready to come in.
Symptoms of Teeth Conditions
Teeth conditions can cause a variety of symptoms, and not all of them are obvious. Make an appointment with your dentist if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Tooth pain
- Jaw pain
- Ear pain
- Sensitivity to heat and cold
- Pain trigged by sweet foods and beverages
- Persistent bad breath
- Tender or swollen gums
- Red gums
- Bleeding gums
- Loose teeth
- Discolored teeth
Tips for Healthy Teeth
You can avoid many tooth conditions by taking care of your teeth. Follow these tips to keep your teeth strong and healthy:
- brush twice daily using a fluoride toothpaste
- floss between your teeth once a day
- replace your toothbrush every three months
- go in for professional dental cleanings every six months
- limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks
- if you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit