Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Ultimate Guide to Mouth Ulcers & Canker Sores

Earlier in part 2 and part 1 of our A-Z Guide of common dental problems and conditions, we covered problems associated with a condition called mouth ulcers. To quickly summarize, mouth ulcers are small (or large) white spots that appear inside your mouth. In most cases, they only cause a bit of irritation whenever you eat or talk loudly. They also heal naturally so you just need to be careful about your habits while you are affected by mouth ulcers. In this article, we do a comprehensive analysis on mouth ulcers. What are they? How do they form? What are the main symptoms? What's the best way to treat and prevent mouth ulcers? All of this is covered in our ultimate guide to mouth ulcers & canker sores.

What are mouth ulcers?
In basic terms, mouth ulcers are white spots that appear on your gum. Usually, everyone gets a mouth ulcer at least once in their lifetime. The white spot appears due to an open sore in your mouth and there are several ways that open sore could have appeared. Mouth ulcers are also known by other terms such as apthous ulcers and canker sores. Mouth ulcers can be generalized into three main categories: minor, major, and herpetiform. I will briefly explain what the differences are between each of these ulcers.

As the name implies, a minor ulcer is very small in size. It is usually less than 8mm in diameter so it is barely visible. Since they are so small, you will not really notice any pain or irritation that results from the minor ulcer. The major ulcer is slightly bigger than the minor ulcer. They are also a lot deeper than the minor ones so you will definitely feel a lot of pain whenever you consume something hot or cold. Unlike the minor one, the major ulcer takes more than a week to heal. It may even result in scars so every care needs to be taken in order to treat major ulcers. The last type on the list is the herpetiform ulcer. This type can be seen as a mix of minor and major ulcers. At the beginning, herpetiform ulcers can appear in their tens or hundreds. These tiny spots eventually merge together to form weirdly-shaped ulcers. Since their shape is irregular and very large, they tend to cause a lot of pain to the patient. Luckily, herpetiform ulcers only affect a very small percentage of medical patients.

So how do these ulcers exactly form? The main cause is usually the lack of dental hygiene. For example, if you don't clear all the bacteria in your mouth by not brushing and flossing your teeth on a daily basis, your chances of contracting ulcers and other dental diseases increase by a significant margin. Mouth ulcers can also also be triggered by other causes such as the lack of vitamin & nutrients, smoking, eating certain types of food in large portions such as chocolate and coffee, stress, and hormonal changes. As you can see, unless you know how bad your dental hygiene is, it's not that easy to identify the main cause of your mouth ulcer condition. The best you can do is to avoid any bad habits while you are having the condition treated.

What are the main symptoms?
As highlighted earlier, the main symptom is the white spot. If you see a white spot, big or small, in your mouth, you are most likely dealing with an ulcer. Other symptoms include pain whenever you consume hot or cold food and beverages. You may also feel slight irritation whenever you shout or scream.

What are the best ways of treating mouth ulcers?
Unless you are dealing with a severe case, mouth ulcers will naturally heal on their own. It's not about treating the mouth ulcer, it's about knowing how to not aggravate the condition even further. For example, you should stop any habits that are detrimental to your dental health such as smoking and drinking a lot of coffee. You should also pay extra attention when you brush and floss your teeth. You should temporarily stop using any teeth whitening products that may cause your teeth or gums to become a lot more sensitive as well.

What are the best ways of preventing it?
I pretty much covered this already. Stop any bad habits like smoking and make sure you maintain your dental health. As I said before, you are likely to have at least one ulcer in your lifetime but if you treat your mouth well, you will only be affected by minor ulcers, not ones that consist of the major or herpetiform types.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A-Z Guide of Common Dental Problems & Diseases Part 2

Just got here? Check out part 1 of our A-Z Guide of Common Dental problems if you haven't done so already! It's always good to be prepared in advance for any dental problems that may come your way. The best teeth whitening method and the best way to avoid these problems is to simply keep up with your teeth brushing and flossing efforts. In part 1, we examine common problems like bad breath and wisdom teeth extraction. In part 2, we look into other common conditions like teeth cavities. Are you ready?

#6 Tooth Decay
One of the worst dental problems to deal with is tooth decay. As you could probably guess, tooth decay is a result of not maintaining good dental hygiene. You are letting bacteria attack from all sides by not cleaning your teeth on a regular basis with strengthening chemicals like fluoride. For tooth decay to occur, a cavity needs to first form on your teeth. The bacteria in the cavity start to slowly eat away at your teeth structure by synthesizing acid. So how is tooth decay treated? If you are dealing with a pretty severe situation, your dentist may offer to do several professional treatments to get rid of the cavity. For example, your dentist will do a deep cleaning process to get rid of the bacteria in your cavity, then fill the cavity with fillings. For really severe situations, you may have to do expensive treatments like crowning or root canals. It's simple. Keep brushing your teeth on a regular basis if you don't want to be forking out money away for these unnecessary treatments.

#7 Sensitive Teeth
Oh sensitive teeth. Why thou you exist? The first sign that indicates that you have sensitive teeth is when your mouth starts to hurt whenever you consume something hot or cold. It's almost like a piercing pain that gradually disappears. You may also feel uncomfortable when you brush or floss your teeth due to teeth sensitivity. So what causes this condition to occur? Well, one of the main causes is the problem I just highlight previously, tooth decay. Your teeth may also become sensitivity after you have a teeth extracted. While you are treating to treat your sensitive teeth, a dentist may recommend you use a special desensitized toothpaste. These toothpastes ensure that you won't feel any discomfort while you brush your teeth. If this medicated toothpaste does not do you any good, a dentist may do an in-office treatment such as using fluoride gel to strengthen your teeth protection layer. The solution really depends on what is causing your teeth to become sensitive. For example, if tooth decay is the main cause, then teeth sensitivity will disappear once you have the cavity treated and filled.

#8 Burned Tongues
One of the weirdest feelings you will ever get is when you have a burned tongue. The pain isn't necessarily painful. There is just this weird uncomfortable feeling you get whenever your burned tongue gets in contact with a substance. The moment you have a burned tongue, reach out for something cold like ice cubes and maintain contact for at least a minute. This will help your tongue cool down quickly. Unless you are dealing with a third-degree burn, the tongue will naturally itself. During the healing process, it is ever so important that you avoid acidic food such as oranges, soft drinks, and vinegar.

#9 Chipped Teeth
One of the most unfortunate conditions you have to deal with in the dental world is when you have a chipped tooth. This can happen for all kinds of reasons. Whether you slammed your mouth into something incredibly hard or you've been grinding your teeth all day long, a chipped tooth is something you want to treat as soon as it appears. If you don't, you may lose the whole teeth altogether. The common method of treating chipped teeth is to either use a filling or bonding treatment. Using a special substance, the dentist will recreate the shape of the chipped tooth using molding material. Once the mold is bonded to the original tooth, the dentist will utilize UV rays to strengthen the bondage and make sure the replacement never falls off.

#10 Lost Tooth
Once you reach the age of no return, the last thing you want to deal with is to lose an adult tooth. For this kind of situation, you can't expect your body to simply replace it with another tooth. You will need to go for expensive treatments and replace the lost tooth with a synthetic one instead. One way of treating a lost tooth is by using dental implants. The dentist will basically drill a synthetic dental root into the empty gum hole and use that to secure an artificial tooth. Unlike other treatments, there will be repercussions on the adjacent teeth. You can also floss and brush your artificial teeth as if it was natural.

So there you have it. Ten of the most common dental problems people have to deal with at some point in their lifetime. If you feel there are other dental problems worth mentioning (we know there are a lot more), please comment using the form below. We appreciate your opinions and comments!

A-Z Guide of Common Dental Problems & Diseases Part 1

Be prepared in advance for any dental problems that may come your way. If you maintain great dental hygiene (e.g. brush and floss your teeth everyday), you are probably going to do just fine. By reading about these conditions in advanced, you will be in a better position to handle and alleviate the problem as soon as it appears. Without further ado, here is part 1 of our A to Z guide of common Dental problems & diseases.

#1 Bad Breath
No one likes to be in the close proximity of someone with bad breath. Unfortunately, there are a whole lot of factors that could inflict bad breath. The common causes include poor dental habits, smoking, and sinus infections. Other than the obvious reason I just stated previously, there are many other reasons as to why you would want to take care of bad breath as soon as possible. First, the persistent presence of bad breath could indicate that you are affected by some sort of gum disease (as we will discuss later). Bad breath may also indicate that your quality of saliva is very low. By this, your saliva isn't doing its job of getting rid of bacteria in your mouth. There are several ways to tackle bad breath. If you aren't doing so already, start getting into the habit of brushing, flossing, and rinsing your teeth with mouthwash every day. This will usually take care of your entire bad breaths problem. If you are a chain smoker, you should also try and break this bad habit as soon as possible, not just for your teeth but also for your overall health. If dental hygiene isn't the problem, you should visit a dentist to identify any secondary causes that may create bad mouth odor. For example, people affected by sinus infections will need special medication to get rid of bad breath. Take action now before more people start to cringe over your bad breath.

#2 Gingivitis
Gingivitis is the most common gum disease among dental patients. If gingivitis isn't treated quickly, it will eventually move on to becoming periodontal disease, a more serious form of gum disease. Gingivitis patients are affected by inflammation in the gum. People affected by gingivitis usually won't notice at first but the pain will gradually become worse as the condition is left untreated. So what causes gingivitis? Like most dental problems, the main cause is usually poor dental hygiene. Gingivitis can also occur after a dental surgery (e.g. wisdom teeth extraction). The best way to tackle gingivitis is to see a dentist who will then prescribe the appropriate medications. So what exactly happens if you let this disease prosper? After it turns into a more severe condition (also known as Periodontal disease), you are likely to be affected by things such as tooth loss due to the reclining of the gum.

#3 Periodontal Disease
As mentioned previously, periodontal disease is the more sever state of gum disease. Instead of having inflammation around the gum, a lot of the inflammation will be focused around the teeth. During this stage, your teeth won't feel as firm as usual. The gums basically pull away from the teeth and the open pocket between the teeth and gum starts to get infected by bacteria or viruses. Not only would this affect the teeth, it would also affect the underlying bone structure that holds your jaw together. One of the most effective way of treating these kinds of gum diseases is to do a deep cleaning treatment. Through techniques like scaling, the dentist will get rid of any plaque that is allowing the bacteria to spread across the gum. For more severe cases, a laser might be required in order to get rid of the tartar or plaque. Once the plaque has been removed, you will then have to consistently take medication in order to reduce the inflammation that is affecting the gum. During this healing period, it is highly recommended that you avoid consuming food or drinks that have acidic properties.

#4 Mouth Ulcers
Regardless of whether you have a clean or dirty dental habit, mouth ulcers usually affect everyone at least once in a lifetime. Of course, mouth ulcers vary in shape and sizes. Mouth ulcers can be classified into three general categories: minor, major, and herpetiform. Minor mouth ulcers are the most common out of the three. They are extremely small in size and will only cause slight irritation whenever you move your mouth. Major ulcers are a lot more severe. They tend to be bigger than 10 mm in diameter so they can definitely do some harm while you try and eat or talk. The last type, the herpetiform, is a mix of both minor and major. In summary, a group of small ulcers merge together to form one large, irregular ulcer. So how are mouth ulcers treated? Usually, they naturally heal on their own so you just have to take precautions during the process. For example, you should avoid any food or drinks that could cause further irritations such as soft drinks and candies. You should also maintain good dental habits to get rid of any bacteria that may cause further problems on your gum.

#5 Wisdom Teeth
Last on the list is the good old wisdom teeth. The majority of us poor souls will have to go through a certain phase when we'll need all our wisdom teeth extracted. A few lucky souls won't have to experience it at all because they have no wisdom teeth to begin with! So why do we have to take our wisdom teeth out? The main reason is the impact. Wisdom teeth tend to grow towards the back molar tooth. Once it does, you will start to experience a lot of irritation and pain as the wisdom teeth pushes against the molar teeth. If you let it grow, the wisdom teeth might even form a hole in the molar teeth which is why it is ever so important that you have those teeth extracted whenever it is required. Wisdom teeth extraction isn't exactly all that painful due to the magic of local anesthetic but it will take a while for the wisdom teeth hole to recover, especially if you are dealing with an impacted wisdom teeth.

We hope you enjoyed part one of our A-Z Guide of common dental problems. Click here to read part 2 of our common dental problems guide!