Let’s face it: there’s nothing more beautiful than a healthy and attractive smile. But for many of us, pearly whites seem like a distant fantasy.
It’s not that you haven’t tried to take care of your teeth; it’s just that there are some common cosmetic dental problems—like crowded teeth or stained and discolored enamel—that get in the way.
Like any other part of your body, your teeth can develop health issues if not properly taken care of. Certain types of periodontal disease can become increasingly difficult to cure over time, requiring a trip to the dentist’s chair.
Fortunately, many of these cosmetic dental problems are easily fixable, especially if spotted early. If you notice anything strange about your smile, schedule a visit to your dentist as soon as you can.
Nonetheless, here are four of the most common dental problems that you should be aware of:
1) Crowded Teeth
If your teeth aren’t properly aligned, you may have a condition known as malocclusion of the teeth or jaws—or simply dental crowding. This is a fairly common occurrence, with 30 to 60% of people suffering from this problem globally.
In a normal set of teeth, there should be adequate spacing between each tooth so that the upper teeth can fit neatly on top of the lower set of teeth. Likewise, the lower jaw should be large enough to house all teeth comfortably.
However, if your teeth are crowded, it means that the upper and lower jaws have insufficient space to fit all adult teeth correctly. This will force the teeth to shift into odd positions in your mouth.
Aside from being a cosmetic issue, certain health implications can stem from overcrowding. For instance, when teeth aren’t properly aligned, they become harder to clean and become more susceptible to cavities and decay.
Fortunately, this is a common dental problem that can be easily corrected. Putney Dental Care recommends braces and veneers to alleviate the problem.
Retainers are also recommended to maintain the position of the teeth once the braces have been removed.
Though the procedure may require a few trips to the dentist’s chair, you can enjoy results and straighter teeth after a year or two of proper care and maintenance.
2) Chipped Teeth
A chipped tooth is considered one of the more common clinical findings among dentists, but it is also easily fixed.
A chipped tooth occurs when the outer layer of enamel has been worn away due to things like biting into something hard or brushing against a sharp object. Teeth may be strong enough to chew and rip food without breaking down, but they don’t exactly make the best tools.
If you’ve ever bit off some hard food, fallen and hit your teeth on concrete pavement or tiles, or opened bottles with your teeth, you might already be familiar with this condition.
Fortunately, it’s possible to repair small cracks or missing teeth with dental fillings, cosmetic bonding, and crowns. However, when the damage is severe enough, you may need to consult an oral surgeon for corrective surgery.
The most important thing to do if you chip your tooth is to contact your dentist as soon as possible. If possible, try not to use the chipped tooth too much to avoid further damage, and visit a dentist urgently for care.
3) Gapped Teeth
A gap in your teeth—also known as diastema—is another one of the most common dental problems that many people have.
It’s a nuisance, but it’s not dangerous. It can be especially unsightly if it crops up between two of your front teeth.
Gapped teeth may occur naturally, but it also happens if you fail to wear your retainers regularly.
Your dentist can perform simple cosmetic bonding to fix this problem, but it may require more extensive treatment if you have a significant gap between your teeth.
4) Discolored Enamel
There’s nothing wrong with showing your unique smile, but if your tooth enamel is discolored or stained, it might be a source of embarrassment and anxiety instead.
Discolored enamel happens when the protective enamel covering your teeth is worn down, exposing the dentin underneath.
There are three major types of staining:
- Extrinsic: The stains only affect the outer layer of the tooth, usually caused by food, drinks, or tobacco.
- Intrinsic: The stains are located inside the tooth, making it tougher to get rid of stains using OTC products.
- Age-related: The enamel in your teeth may fade over time, causing it to look yellowish. This may occur due to a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic factors.
Fortunately, there are ways to get rid of enamel discoloration.
If your discoloration is extrinsic, dental products like whitening toothpaste and whitening strips may be sufficient. You can also ask your dentist for more effective treatments.
If the stains are located deep in the tooth due to age, you may need restorative dentistry to correct them. Talk to your dentist about possible solutions.
Typically, your dentist can also whiten your teeth with special bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide to get rid of the discoloration.
If your teeth’s current condition is a source of worry for you, know that there is still hope on the other side.
By visiting your dentist at least once every six months, you may be able to curb the development of the dental problems listed above before they get worse.
On top of dental appointments, you should strive to practice positive oral hygiene at home as well.
- Brushing your teeth at least twice a day
- Avoiding chewing tobacco
- Flossing regularly
- Using a water flosser
With the combination of proper oral hygiene and regular dental checkups, you’ll be able to show off your pearly whites with confidence in no time!