What is a tooth decay?

Tooth decay, which is also called dental cavities or dental caries, is the destruction of the surfaces of a tooth (enamel, dentin) . Decay results from the action of bacteria that live in plaque, which is a sticky, whitish film formed by a protein in saliva (mucin) and sugary substances in the mouth. The plaque bacteria sticking to tooth enamel use the sugar and starch from food particles in the mouth to produce acid. This acid plaque dematerializes the tooth which leads to the destruction of the enamel.

What are the different layers of the teeth?

The white outside layer of the tooth is made of enamel, a lifeless matrix of calcium and phosphorus that is the hardest substance in the body. Inside the enamel is a layer of dentin, a bone-like but porous substance. The dentin is nourished by the inmost layer, called the pulp, a lacy network of nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels. Our teeth are set into the jawbone with prong-like roots and held there by tiny bands of fibers called the periodontal ligaments.

Children lose their first teeth anyway, so why is it important to look after them?

Children should be educated to look after their teeth right from childhood, it is far easier to maintain good oral health care habits learned in childhood than try to change bad habits when the permanent teeth begin to come through .If young children may need to have decayed teeth extracted, the teeth tend to drift and close up the space . This can cause a problem in some cases as there may not be enough room for the permanent teeth to come through.

How are we supposed to brush our teeth?

  • Select a medium or soft textured brush with a short head
  • Follow a routine for brushing, starting in the same place and working around the mouth to ensure that all tooth surfaces are cleaned
  • Don’t leave inside surfaces of lower back teeth until last
  • Don’t forget the biting surfaces of back teeth
  • Ask your dentist or the water supplier about the level of fluoride in your water and use a toothpaste containing fluoride if recommended

How to choose a tooth brush?

There are two types of tooth brushes manual and powered. To select a good manual brush observe the following : A brush with a short head and multiple tufts of soft or medium textured nylon bristles , the short head makes it easier to access the difficult areas. The handle of the brush must be thick and comfortable to hold.

Powered brushes – most powered brushes have a small round head that oscillates. Here too choose the bristles that are medium to soft. You can select either of these brushes . But please check with your dentist as to which would suit you better. It is also important to change your tooth brush or tooth brush head before the bristles wear off, old tooth brushes are ineffective and can harbor harmful bacteria . Approximately once every 90 days would be a good interval to get a new tooth brush.

What is a Root Canal Treatment?

Root canal is the hollow spaces within a tooth that are naturally occupied by nerves and blood vessels that keep the tooth healthy. When the decay reaches the pulp chamber (which contains the blood vessels and nerves) after breaking down the enamel and dentin of the tooth, these blood vessels and nerves get infected and cause pain especially when lying down or sleeping. Root canal therapy involves the removal of these infected structures. The root canal specialist will also shape, clean, and disinfect the space with tiny instruments, medicated solutions. When the root canal is clean he will proceed to fill and seal the canals with a inert rubberized filling material such as gutta-percha. In simple words, root canal Treatment, is a sequence of procedures for the pulp of a tooth which results in the elimination of infection and protection of the decontaminated tooth from future microbial invasion. This set of procedures is commonly referred to as a "root canal therapy". Since the tooth has been made devoid of its blood supply and nerve supply the tooth will have to be crowned or capped after assessing the remaining healthy portion of the tooth.

What is a Crown or Tooth Capping?

A crown is a type of dental restoration which completely caps or encircles a tooth or dental implant. Crowns are often needed when a large cavity threatens the ongoing health of a tooth. They are typically bonded to the tooth using dental cement. Crowns can be made from many materials, which are usually fabricated using indirect methods. Crowns are often used to improve the strength or appearance of teeth, While inarguably being beneficial to dental health.

What is a Dental Implant?

A Dental Implant is designed of Titanium material that is anchored in to the jaw which is then covered with a crown or which is used as a part of the support for a bridge .In short a dental implant is a substitute for the missing or extracted tooth root. The process of inserting implants is done in two stages
A) A surgical treatment to place the implant in the mouth
B) A dental treatment to make the final restoration that is fixed over the implant.

What is a “Wisdom” tooth? Why should we extract wisdom teeth?

A wisdom tooth, in humans, is any of the usual four third molars. Wisdom teeth generally appear between the ages of 17 and 25. Most adults have four wisdom teeth, but it is possible to have fewer or more, in which case the extras are called supernumerary teeth. .Problems arise when there is not enough room in the mouth for the teeth to grow into a normal position .Wisdom teeth commonly affect other teeth as they develop, becoming impacted or "coming in sideways." They are often extracted when this occurs.

Why do mouth ulcers appear and how long do they last?

Mouth ulcers are small painful sores that can occur anywhere in the mouth, but most commonly on the inside of the cheek . They usually appear suddenly and last from 4 to10 days. They may be caused due to stress, Faulty dental treatment, GIT problems, vitamin deficiency etc.

Why do we experience dry mouth?

When we experience stress the body responds by decreasing blood flow to areas that are less important for basic survival, including the mouth. This affects the salivary production and leads to dryness of mouth .Chronic stress can cause a permanently dry mouth .This can be extremely uncomfortable and lead to serious health problems. There are some medical conditions and medications that may cause dry mouth. If you feel that you are experiencing dry mouth please consult your physician or visit MSR Dental Surgery to know more.

How to avoid bad breadth?

Bad breath is a symptom in which a noticeably unpleasant odor is present on the exhaled breath. Concern about halitosis is estimated to be the third most frequent reason for people to seek dental care, following tooth decay and periodontal disease (gum disease) Often the odor is caused by bacteria present below the gum line and on the back of the tongue. Other factors include disorders in the nasal cavity, sinuses, throat, lungs, esophagus, stomach or elsewhere.

Why do Gums bleed?

Gingivitis ("inflammation of the gum tissue ") is a non-destructive periodontal disease. The most common form of gingivitis, in response to bacterial bio films (plaque) adherent to tooth surfaces, is termed as plaque induced gingivitis.

In the absence of treatment, gingivitis may progress to periodontitis, which is a destructive form of periodontal disease.

What is a denture?

A denture is a removable/fixed replacement for missing teeth and the tissues connected to those teeth. It is made of acrylic plastic and sometimes porcelain and metal. A denture closely resembles natural gum tissue and teeth. Complete dentures replace all of the teeth, while partial dentures fill in the spaces created by missing teeth thereby preventing other teeth from shifting position.

How do I care for my dentures?

Dentures are very delicate and may break if dropped even from a few inches. The dentures should be handled over a folded towel or a basin of water. When they are not worn, dentures should be placed in water preferably in a strong, tightly lidded container, away from children and pets. Never place dentures in hot water, which could cause them to warp.

Like natural teeth, dentures must be brushed daily to remove food deposits and plaque. Some denture wearers use hand soap or mild dishwashing liquid, but these are “slippery” and may make the denture difficult to hold. Look for denture cleansers with the ADA (American Dental Association) or the Indian Drug Administration seal of acceptance. Soak the denture in a bubbly denture cleaner for 15 or 20 minutes,then gently brush with a soft brush and denture tooth paste. Even if you wear full dentures, you still must take good care of your mouth. Brush your gums, tongue every morning with a soft-bristled brush before you insert your dentures, these stimulate circulation in your tissues and help remove plaque.