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Common Dental Problems and Their Management

Dr. Beena Thomas

Know your teeth and gums to keep the dentist away. The primary function of your teeth is to cut and chew up food. This in turn affects not only your dental health but also the functioning of your body system and over all well being. Your teeth and gums are vulnerable. The food you eat, or the way you clean your teeth could lead to a variety of dental problems.


How often do you visit your dentist? Majority would say ‘Never’. The main reason apart from the cost being the fear of sitting with your mouth open and being subjected to the agony of drilling, digging, scraping and cementing by the dentist.

So know your teeth and gums to keep the dentist away. The primary function of your teeth is to cut and chew up food. This in turn affects not only your dental health but also the functioning of your body system and over all well being.

Different Parts of the Teeth
Dentine: This makes up the bulk of your tooth. The dentine is highly resilient and absorbs all the pressure you exert on your teeth while chewing.

Enamel: This is the hardest tissue in the body. The enamel protects the upper end of the dentine, which projects into your mouth, and gives your teeth the strength to bite.

Pulp: This is the central portion of your tooth, composed of blood vessels and nerves.

Root: This is the lower part of your dentine, set under your gum line.

Gum: Your teeth are set into your jaw, and supported by the gums. Gums are essentially a tough fibrous tissue.

The outer layer of your gums fit snugly around the enamel. The Inner layer protects the roots of your teeth.

Dental Problems
Your teeth and gums are vulnerable. The food you eat, or the way you clean your teeth could lead to a variety of dental problems.

Bacterial Plaque: This is the root cause of most dental problems. Plaque is a filmy substance made up of millions of germs which collect around your gum line and between your teeth. The furry coating you feel on your teeth when you run your tongue over them, means that plaque is present.

It characteristically forms on the tooth surface which are not constantly cleansed and appears to be tenacious, thin film which may accumulate to a perceptible degree in 24-48 hours. An important component of dental plaque is acquired pellicle, which forms just prior to or concomitantly with bacterial colonization and may facilitate plaque formation.

The pellicle is a glycoprotein that is derived from the saliva and is absorbed on tooth surfaces. It is not dependent on bacteria but may serve as a nutrient for plaque microorganisms. Plaque is readily removed by brushing.

Dental Caries: It is a microbial disease of the calcified tissue of the teeth characterized by demineralization of the inorganic portion and the destruction of organic substances of the tooth. Dental research shows that dental caries may be considered a disease of modern civilization since prehistoric man rarely suffered from this form of tooth destruction. This is due to increased carbohydrates in the diet. Sticky, solid carbohydrates are more caries producing than those consumed as liquid. Children are the most susceptible to dental caries in the age group between 5-17 years.

Various factors like composition of tooth and saliva, diet like quality of food, content of carbohydrates, vitam ins and fluorine content influence development of dental caries.

Dental caries results into tooth cavities when the enamel is attacked and later eats into the dentine. Filling can save the tooth, but once the decay has reached the dental pulp, the problem requires more complicated treatment called the root canal treatment.

Gingivitis: Is the inflammation of the gingival tissue of gums. The severity of the gingivitis depends upon the severity, duration and frequency of local irritants, and the resistance of the oral tissues.

Various factors like local factors of microorganisms, food impaction, faulty or irritating restoration or appliances, mouth breathing, chemicals and systemic factors like nutritional disturbances, drug action, diabetes, allergy, heredity etc. can lead to gingivitis.

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