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What to do if your tooth cracks

While our teeth are normally very strong, they can crack for a number of reasons. Reasons could include tooth decay, trauma/injury, grinding of the teeth or a stress fracture. Sometimes, our jaw may be stronger than our teeth and the teeth can fracture when we bite heavily on food. We can protect our teeth in some circumstances – for example it may be advisable to wear a mouthguard during sports. Taking proper care of the teeth and regular visits to the dentist will help keep your teeth in good shape. If a tooth cracks, it may become painful if the nerve is exposed and the area can become tender. If this happens, rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. Then call your dentist immediately. Treatment will depend on where the tooth has fractured, how close it is to the nerve and the overall condition of the tooth. A cracked tooth may be repaired with silver alloy, gold, porcelain or plastic. Or it may require a crown or overlay or …

The difference between canker sores and cold sores

Although canker sores are often confused with cold sores, there is a difference. Canker sores occur inside the mouth, and cold sores usually occur outside the mouth. Canker sores are small ulcers with a white or gray base and a red border. There can be one or more sores in the mouth. They are very common and often recur. They usually heal in a week or two and rinsing with antimicrobial mouthrinses may help reduce the irritation. Cold sores – also called fever blisters – are composed of groups of painful, fluid-filled blisters that often erupt around the lips and sometimes under the nose or chin. Cold sores are usually caused by herpes virus type I and are very contagious. They usually heal in about a week. Over-the-counter topical anesthetics can provide temporary relief and prescription antiviral drugs may reduce these kinds of viral infections.

Why it’s not inevitable that you’ll lose your teeth as you get older

Advancements in dental techniques and the increased focus on preventive dentistry means older adults are keeping their natural teeth longer than ever before. A survey by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research showed that the rate of toothlessness in the 55 to 64 age group has dropped 60 percent since 1960. Whatever your age, it’s important to practice good oral hygiene at home and to visit your dentist regularly. A few simple steps can help you maintain good oral health throughout your life. Plaque, the sticky, colorless layer of bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease, can build up quickly on the teeth of older adults, particularly when they neglect oral hygiene. This can increase the risk for tooth decay and periodontal disease. So it’s important to brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaners. Regular dental checkups are also an important part of caring for your teeth. This…

How removable partial dentures can help you

Removable partial dentures usually involve replacement teeth attached to plastic bases, connected by metal framework.
They attach to your natural teeth with metal clasps or precision attachments’. Precision attachments generally look better than metal clasps and are nearly invisible. Crowns may be required on your natural teeth to improve the fit of a removable partial denture. When you first get a partial denture, it may feel awkward or bulky. But you will gradually get used to wearing it. It will also take a bit of practice to get used to inserting and removing the denture. It should fit into place easily and you should never force it. Your dentist may suggest that you wear your partial denture all the time at first. While it will be uncomfortable for a while, it will help you identify if any parts of the denture need adjustment. After making adjustments, your dentist will probably recommend that you take the denture out of your mouth before going to bed and replace it in the mornin…

How medication and anesthesia can help make your visit to the dentist easier

Your dentist will do everything possible to make your visit as relaxed and comfortable as possible. Depending on the treatment you are receiving, there are several medications available to help. Some drugs control pain, some help you relax and others put you into a deep sleep during dental treatment. The best approach will depend on the type of procedure being undertaken, your overall health – including any history of allergies – and the degree of anxiety you feel. Some of the options your dentist might discuss include: Analgesics: These are the most commonly used drugs for relief of toothache or pain following dental treatment. They includes aspirin, acetaminophen and anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen. There is a separate category of ‘narcotic analgesics’ – such as those containing codeine – which are used for more severe pain. Local anesthesia: Topical anesthetics are applied to mouth tissues with a swab to prevent pain on the surface level. They may also be used to soothe …

Dry mouth is a common problem that can harm your teeth

If your saliva flow is reduced, this can cause dry mouth which often leads to increased tooth and gum problems. Dry mouth – known as xerostomia – is a common problem especially among older adults. It’s caused by certain medical disorders and is often a side effect of medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers and diuretics. The common problems associated with dry mouth include: – Constant sore throat
– Burning sensation
– Problems speaking
– Difficulty swallowing
– Hoarseness or dry nasal passages When there is not enough saliva to lubricate your mouth, wash away food and neutralize the acids produced by plaque, there is a risk of extensive tooth decay. If you are at risk from this condition, your dentist can recommend various methods to restore moisture. For example, sugar-free candy or gum stimulates saliva flow, and moisture can be replaced by using artificial saliva and oral rinses. As dry mouth is a potential side effect of many prescribed and over-the-counter m…

Making living with dentures easy and comfortable

Your dentures were made to fit you precisely and, if they are cared for properly, they do not change shape. But you may sometimes find that they can become loose due to natural changes in the gums and bone supporting them. As the jawbone begins to shrink, so do the gums. If you find your dentures no longer fit properly, see your dentist as soon as possible so adjustments can be made. Trying to change the fit of your dentures yourself can damage them and make them unrepairable so this would be a costly experiment! Ill-fitting dentures repaired at home can also irritate the gums, tongue and cheeks. In an emergency, you could use denture adhesives to keep the dentures stable until you are able to see the dentist. Even if you no longer have your natural teeth, it’s still important to see your dentist regularly for an oral examination. The dentist will examine your mouth to check for any problem with the gum ridges, the tongue and the joints of the jaw, as well as screen for oral cancer. …