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Tooth issues can occur no matter what age you are. From the littlest child to the oldest adult, having good education when tooth issues arise is paramount. Have you ever wondered what parts make up your teeth? Why they are so strong?

Anatomy Of A Tooth

The anatomy of a tooth is actually quite simple. A tooth is made up of various layers that work together to give us our beautiful smiles. Every tooth is made up of multiple parts. These parts are as follows:

-Crown. This is the part of the tooth that you see when smiling. The crown is covered in a white colored material called enamel. Enamel is the hardest substance found in the human body. Even though enamel is very strong, it can easily be broken down by the acids produced by oral bacteria and the acids found is many popular drinks like soda.

-Dentin. Dentin is the layer right beneath the enamel.  Although not as hard as enamel, it’s hardness rating is comparable to that of bone.  Another great quality of dentin is it’s flexibility.  For example, if you bite down on a very hard food, the dentin is able to flex a little bit and can keep your tooth from cracking like it might if teeth were just made of enamel.

-Pulp. This is the inner most layer of the tooth.  The pulp provides bloodflow and nutrition to the tooth. The pulp also allows for the nerves to enter the tooth. Without proper bloodflow and innervation of the nerves a tooth will die. The pulp of a tooth is removed during root canal therapy. This procedure allows your dentist to save the tooth for form and function. Once the pulp is removed from a tooth it becomes more brittle with an increased risk of breaking. This is why dentists often recommend placing a dental crown over a tooth that has received root canal therapy.

-Root. This part of the tooth is hidden under the gum tissues. This can be visible when the gums recede as can happen during periodontal disease. The root is what anchors the tooth inside the bone allowing for support during chewing of food. One other portion of the root is called cementum. The cementum is a thin layer that anchors the tooth to the bone thru the periodontal ligament.

-Periodontal Ligament (PDL). The main function of the periodontal ligament is to attach the teeth to the bone.  The peridontal ligament also sends sensory information to the brain.  For example, if you are eating some popcorn and bite down hard on a popcorn kernel, your jaw suddenly opens to alleviate the pressure.  The periodontal ligament sends that pressure signal to your brain, causing that reflex. The tooth doesn’t feel the pressure since the tooth is only capable of sending pain messages to your brain.

-Gingiva (GumTissue). The gums form a collar or sheath around the teeth that protects the underlying bone.  When you stop brushing your teeth for an extended period of time, the gingiva become red and puffy as the body begins the inflammatory process. This is the body’s way of defending against the plaque that has built up.  If you completely stop brushing, the gingiva will eventually start to lose the war against plaque and recede from around the teeth resulting in periodontal disease that can eventually loosen your teeth.

-Bone. The bone holds the whole tooth in its place.  The bone is constantly remodeling itself. This is in response to various forces it experiences in the mouth.  For example, if you have braces on, there are forces pushing on the teeth.  The bone remodels itself to help the tooth move to the position in which it is being pushed.

Different Types Of Teeth

Every tooth in the mouth has a specific function. The teeth in your mouth are as follows:

-Incisors. These are the sharp, chisel-shaped front teeth (four upper, four lower). They are used for cutting foods.

-Canines. These are sometimes called cuspids, these teeth are shaped like points and are used for tearing foods.

-Premolars. These teeth have two pointed cusps on their biting surface and are sometimes also called bicuspids. The premolars are used for crushing and tearing.

-Molars. These teeth are used for grinding, these teeth have several cusps on the biting surface.

Conclusion

An educated patient is an informed patient who can make smart decisions regarding their dental and health care. Our teeth are quite strong but they are under constant bombardment from outside forces at all times. If you are experiencing any tooth issues see your dentist immediately to put your mind and dental health at ease.

Tooth decay (also called dental cavities or dental caries) –  The destruction of the surfaces (dentin and/or enamel) of a tooth and infiltration of bacteria into tooth structure. Tooth decay results from the action of bacteria that live in plaque. Plaque is a sticky, whitish film formed by bacteria and food debris which adheres to the pellicle (a protein layer on the tooth surface). The plaque bacteria sticking to tooth enamel breakdown the sugar and starch from food particles in the mouth to produce acid.

Only Cake, Candy, and  Sugary Drinks Cause Tooth Decay.

Myth, but it’s almost a fact.

Guess what sugar is? You guessed it a carbohydrate. White rice, french fries, bagels, chips and fruits are all carbohydrates. The stickier the carb, like white rice, caramel, or fruit gummies, the longer they stay lodged between teeth and stuck in grooves. The truth is that the acid produced by the bacteria while breaking down carbohydrates is what causes tooth decay. The bacteria makes the acid when you eat anything with carbohydrates that stick and stay on your teeth. The resulting acid melts through the strong outer enamel and allows bacteria to enter into the inner layer (dentin). The bacteria are not visible to the eye, and the breakdown is slow and steady forming a hole, better known as a cavity.

An important fact to know: It is not the amount of carbohydrates you consume that end up causing tooth decay, but the length of time your teeth are exposed. If you eat a high amount of carbohydrates for lunch, that’s one big exposure. But if you spend the day sipping sugary drinks, chewing on gummy bears, sucking on tic tacs, that continuous exposure is far more unhealthy for your teeth. Dentists have a saying, “sip all day and get tooth decay“.

All Dental Restorations Need to be Replaced Every Few Years.

Myth.

An amalgam or composite filling needs to be replaced only if it breaks down or a cavity forms around it, or if the tooth breaks or fractures. If none of those problems occur, you can keep the same filling for quite a long time. Most dental restorations do have a life expectancy but it depends on each individual. Tooth wear due to clenching or grinding, diet, and dental hygiene habits,  play a huge role in how long these restorations last, some last more than 50 years! Maintaining proper oral hygiene and maintenance  will help your dental restorations last longer.

Once You Get a Tooth Capped, the Tooth Can’t Decay.

Myth.

A Cap or a crown covers and protects underlying tooth structure. However, the area where the crown edge ends and tooth is not covered ( the margin), is where bacteria like to stick. It is the least smooth part of the tooth, and where bacteria can break the seal between the tooth and crown. Once the seal breaks, bacteria can move up and under the crown to slowly breakdown tooth and root structure. A dentist always checks margins around teeth to try to find breaks in margins, however, when breakdown occurs in between teeth it is harder to detect and  usually decays much further before it can be detected on an x-ray.

When You get a Root Canal, the Roots are Removed and the Tooth Can’t Decay.

Myth.

A root canal treatment does not remove roots, what is removed are the nerves, blood vessels, bacteria, and debris from inside of the roots. The dentist then fills and seals the roots with a rubbery filling and sealing paste. This prevents bacteria from re-entering a tooth. Once the root canal is completed, the tooth should heal, and usually be covered and protected with a crown to help prevent cracking. Tooth decay can happen, just as in any tooth.

Children are more prone to Tooth Decay than Adults.

Myth.

Advances in pediatric dentistry have allowed us to cut childhood tooth decay in half over the last 20 years. These advances include sealants, fluoridated water, dietary consultations, and preventive care. As we see advances in pediatric dentistry, and decreases in tooth decay a different population has had increases in tooth decay. Seniors have an increase in cavities due to an increase in advances in pharmacology, limited dexterity, insufficient professional cleanings, and dry mouth. Many medications have a side effect of causing dry mouth which increases the risk of tooth decay.

If You Have Tooth Decay, You Can Feel it.

Myth.

Tooth decay may or may not cause any symptoms. Everyone and each individual tooth varies in it’s pain threshold. The pain associated with tooth decay may be detected very early in some and when it is in a more advanced stage and is actually causing damage to the nerve in others. Allowing tooth decay to progress untreated can and will lead to much more expensive and extensive dental procedures, like root canals and oral surgery. That’s why regular dental examinations are so important.

Teeth can only repair themselves when initial enamel breakdown is occurring, and the bacteria have not entered the dentin. Some enamel can repair with natural calcium remineralization and some can harden and repair with fluoride . Persistent bacteria will cause a cavity to forms which will continue to grow and progress into the tooth, eventually working its way into the dentin and then the nerve of the tooth.

Cavities Are More Likely Between Teeth.

Fact.

Any place in the mouth where you cannot reach and bacteria can hide is a place for tooth decay to form. That is why brushing, flossing, and using an antibacterial and fluoride rinse (such as Purple Listerine) are so important. They allow you to reach areas brushing alone cannot. Flossing is one of the few ways to get in between teeth and properly avoid tooth decay between teeth.

Chips and Cracks in Teeth Lead to Decay.

Fact.

Cracks and chips in teeth can create a hiding place for bacteria and make those areas more prone to tooth decay. Using a fluoride rinse can reduce the risk of tooth decay.

Sensitive Teeth Means You Have Decay.

Myth.

Tooth sensitivity could just mean you have hypersensitive teeth, or gum recession has exposed some root.

You could also have a cracked or broken tooth or could need a root canal. There are many things, including tooth decay, that could lead to sensitive teeth. If your teeth are sensitive you should schedule a dental examination to make sure it is not something serious.

Cavities Are the Only Reason for Root Canals.

Myth.

Root Canal treatment is caused by a variety of things including tooth decay. Root canal treatment is needed if the nerve inside a tooth is damaged which can be a result of decay or trauma.  Trauma can result from accidents, grinding, clenching, biting into a very hard object (piercings, hard candy, etc.), ice chewing, etc.

You Don’t Need to Worry About Cavities in Baby Teeth.

Myth. 

Baby teeth are needed to hold the space for permanent teeth. Also, tooth decay in baby teeth can develop into serious pain, dental abscess and serious infection. On occasion the infection can spread to other parts of the body and has even caused death if left untreated.

Brushing, Flossing, and Rinsing and a Healthy Diet Is the Best Way to Prevent Cavities.

Fact. 

Definitely. Preventive dentistry is the key to staying cavity free. The bacteria must be removed from the teeth.

Brush twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste, and floss and rinse daily. Antimicrobial rinses target bacteria, reducing plaque, bad breath, and the severity of gingivitis. Rinses with fluoride make teeth more resistant to tooth decay. If bacteria are removed daily from every area of your tooth. Eat healthy foods, and limit exposure to carbohydrates.

Tooth Decay Conclusion

There are many misconceptions about what causes tooth decay and what doesn’t. The facts remain, A healthy diet, and proper oral hygiene will not only help you prevent tooth decay, but keep your whole body healthier.

Why do teeth change color? Our teeth can stain and darken over time for many reasons. In many instances, yellowing of the teeth comes with age,  staining of the enamel,  and the accumulation of plaque on the teeth due to poor dental hygiene. Whatever the cause, most people prefer whiter teeth as they as a sign of health and youth.

What Causes Yellowing Of Teeth?

Yellowing of teeth is due to many factors. It is different for each individual. For some, it might start with one or two teeth while, for others, it might be more pronounced. The entire tooth may not discolor in the traditional sense, either. Some teeth may exhibit spotting, pitting, or streaks of white or yellow.

Luckily, the initial yellowing of teeth does not generally cause pain or discomfort. What it can cause is a person being self conscious and trying to hide their smile. There are certain factors involved with the changes in tooth color.

-Staining. Also referred to as yellowing. The enamel of the teeth yellow or darken due to staining from coffee, red wine, soda, tobacco, and other foods and drink.

- Thin and discolored enamel.  Sometimes, thin enamel is genetic, or discolored because of issues during tooth development. Over exposure to high amounts of minerals in water or tetracycline use during tooth development as a child can cause gray or mottled looking teeth. Fevers during tooth development can also cause malformed enamel. For others with stronger enamel, wear can happen over time,  from trauma and use. This wear can be caused by aggressive brushing, physical trauma such as grinding and clenching, high exposure to acids from foods or health issues. As the enamel thins out over time, the dentin on the inside of the tooth will begin to show through. This thinner enamel will also allow more uptake of stain deeper into the teeth. The yellow color will be more prominent due to the thin enamel layer on the outside.

-Age. As we get older yellowing of teeth is quite normal. From wear and use our enamel layer will become thinner thus allowing more of the underlying tooth structure to show thru.

How To Treat Yellowing Teeth?

-Teeth WhiteningTeeth whitening products and treatments are able to whiten our teeth by removing stains and discolorations. Across the globe, teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedure. It works best when teeth are stained from foods, beverages, and smoking. The results for malformed enamel can vary in effectiveness, and sometimes look worse.

There are two main types of teeth whitening: in office treatment and at home treatment. In office whitening involves application of whitening products to the teeth while in the dental office. Results up to several shades lighter are achieved the same day. The process is fast, and easy. At home procedures involve application of whitening products to the teeth by the patient daily, for approximately 1 week to 1 month. The at home process is slower to achieve results, generally less expensive, and usually easy. Both cosmetic dentistry whitening procedures are very effective, and can help you to achieve the whiter smile you have been dreaming of. Any type of whitening can cause sensitivity, which is usually short term.

-Porcelain VeneersPorcelain veneers are a great option for teeth that will not whiten the way you would like.  Mottled enamel, and tetracycline stained teeth do not evenly whiten, some of us have see through or translucent which do not whiten well either. Porcelain veneers give the cosmetic dentist the ability to change the color of teeth, keeping them natural looking and have low incidence of staining when taken care of properly.  Porcelain veneers are custom made ultra thin porcelain restorations that are bonded to the front surfaces of the teeth. Modern porcelain veneers offer a natural looking, beautiful smile. Porcelain veneers generally last between 8 to 12 years, but if cared for properly can last for much longer . The lifespan of porcelain veneers (and any dental restoration) depends upon your oral hygiene maintenance, the forces on the teeth(hard use, grinding), tooth decay, and maintaining regular dental visits.

-Porcelain CrownsPorcelain crowns give the cosmetic dentist the ability to restore a tooth to its natural look without the use of metal. This allows the dental laboratory to fabricate a tooth that reflects light just like our own natural teeth.  Porcelain crowns can be used on teeth that either already have crowns or need more extensive work. Teeth with large, deep, silver fillings, root canals, or extensive tooth decay generally have deep staining which needs to be covered with a crown to restore strength and beauty.

-Dental BondingDental bonding is the process in which tooth colored dental materials are bonded to a tooth. This might be one of the easiest cosmetic dentistry procedures to change our look. Using dental bonding we can change color, shape, size, and close any spaces that might be present. Dental bonding is generally completed in the dentist office in as little as an hour. This is especially useful when treating damaged, thin, or malformed enamel.

Conclusion

Yellowing teeth does not have to be an issue. Protect your smile by limiting acidic and highly staining foods. See your dentist to help you stop grinding and clenching habits. See your hygienist to have your cleaned teeth regularly. Maintain good oral hygiene, without being overly aggressive. If you already have deep staining or damaged enamel, see your dentist to see which options will work best for you.You can achieve the bright white smile you desire with a little help from your dentist!

Tooth sensitivity is tooth discomfort in one or more teeth that is triggered by hot, cold, sweet, or sour foods and drinks, or even by breathing cold air. The pain can be sharp, sudden, and shoot deep into the nerve endings of your teeth.

Sensitive teeth is a very common issue for many adults in America. Sensitive teeth occur when the layer under the enamel (the dentin), or cementum (root area) of your teeth becomes exposed as a result of receding gum tissue. These unprotected surfaces, which are not covered by hard protective enamel, contain thousands of tiny tubules leading to the tooth’s nerve center (also called the pulp). These dentinal tubules allow the hot, cold, or sweet food to reach the nerve in your tooth, which results in the pain you feel.

Sensitive Teeth Home Remedies

If you develop tooth sensitivity in one or more teeth, first see your dentist for an examination to determine the cause. Then, if your sensitivity is caused by simple enamel abrasion or by gum recession, try the following home remedies for relief:

-Desensitizing Toothpaste. Unfortunately, tooth sensitivity over a wide area due to enamel abrasion or recession at the gum line usually cannot always be treated with dental fillings. Instead, it may be recommended that you try brushing with a desensitizing toothpaste. These toothpastes are available at your local drug store. These toothpastes contain ingredients that reduce tooth sensitivity by filling in the tubules in the dentin. Another good tip is to put some of the toothpaste on your finger and spread it over the sensitive spots in your mouth before you go to bed. You can spit out excess but do not rinse otherwise you will wash it off. The tooth sensitivity should be reduced over the course of a few weeks. A good toothpaste for sensitivity is Colgate sensitive Pro-relief.

-Fluoride Rinse. Stannous Fluoride rinses can help decrease sensitivity, especially for people plagued with decay issues. There are certain instances where patients need a stronger fluoride rinse than available at the local drugstore. During some periodontal disease treatment, teeth can become more sensitive than usual until the gum tissue heals. Dentists will then prescribe a higher concentration fluoride rinse to use.

-Maintain Good Dental Hygiene. Keep your teeth clean through brushing, flossing, and rinsing. Plaque, the white substance that forms on and around teeth, produces an acid that irritates teeth, especially if your teeth are naturally sensitive. It is recommended that you brush your teeth at least twice a day (preferably after eating and definitely before bed) and flossing at least once per day.

-Use a Soft Bristled Toothbrush or a Mechanical Toothbrush. Using a tooth brush that is too hard or being too aggressive while brushing can actually damage your teeth’s enamel. When the gum line recedes, the exposed dentin along the root becomes even more vulnerable to abrasion. Using a brush with soft bristles along with a gentle touch works far better in the long run. A good option is the Rotadent electric toothbrush. The Rotadent has very soft bristles and the action of the brush does all work effectively cleaning your teeth without doing any unnecessary harm.

-Decrease Acids in Your Diet. Carbonated beverages, citrus fruits, and vinegar can increase sensitivity. If you combine acids with sugar as in sour gummies, you can cause yourself hours of aching teeth.

-Be Careful of Temperature. Extreme hot or cold should be limited. If cold, use a straw. If too hot, let it cool down a bit before consumption. Never follow one temperature extreme with the other. Drinking hot coffee after ice cream is sure to increase your sensitivity dramatically.

Sensitive Teeth Conclusion

These at home remedies are to be utilized after seeing your dentist to get a full evaluation as to why your teeth are sensitive. Figuring that out should always be the first step to ensure the sensitivity is not from a tooth fracture or tooth decay. The remedies above will help resolve limited tooth sensitivity so it is not as big an issue for you and you can resume eating and drinking your favorite items.