Common Dental Concerns

Dental problems can be any conditions that affect your oral health and cause some discomfort. Dental problems may include anything from tooth decay and cavities to gum infections and oral cancer. Dental problems can result in pain and discomfort, may impact a person's ability to eat and speak, and may have a negative effect on an individual's self-esteem.

Toothaches are one of the most common dental concerns. Toothaches can be caused by a variety of things, including tooth decay, a toothache from grinding your teeth, gum disease, or a damaged filling. Some of the main causes of toothache include:

  • Cavities or other damage to the tooth that exposes sensitive areas;
  • A cracked or damaged filling;
  • Gum disease;
  • Grinding or clenching the teeth at night; and
  • Bacterial infection in the gums.


Brushing your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush after meals and flossing at least once a day to remove bacteria and plaque from between the teeth and gums can help prevent most dental problems, including toothache. Using an antibacterial mouth rinse may also help kill some of the oral bacteria that contribute to infection and inflammation. Also, never skip your biannual dental visits.


Patients who suspect they have a tooth infection should see their dentist as soon as possible to treat the problem and prevent further complications. In the event of a serious infection, patients may need to undergo surgery to remove the infected tissue to prevent the spread of the infection. The common treatments for toothache include the following:

  • Pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce pain and inflammation; and
  • Dental work such as a root canal or dental fillings to stop the spread of infection and restore health to damaged areas of the tooth.

There are a number of things that can cause tooth discoloration, including food, drinks, medications, tobacco use, poor hygiene, and even genetics. But the most common cause is food. As we eat, food particles mix with bacteria that naturally occur in the mouth to form a sticky film called plaque. The plaque then absorbs the pigments from foods and drinks, which causes the teeth to become discolored.

It is typically normal for your teeth to become slightly yellow or brown as you age, but if you notice that your teeth are consistently more yellow than they used to be, you should speak to your dentist. Yellowing can also be caused by some medical conditions. Certain antibiotics can also cause teeth to discolor. Other causes of discoloration include smoking, chewing tobacco, and recreational drug use. All of these habits stain teeth and can also dry out the mouth.


Protecting your teeth after whitening to prevent future discoloration is important. Avoid beverages like coffee, tea, and wine, as well as tobacco products. You should also stay away from dark-colored foods such as berries, which can stain your teeth if consumed regularly. It is also important to practice good oral hygiene habits to maintain the brightness of your smile.


Whitening products can help remove stains from your teeth and improve your overall smile appearance. You can take over-the-counter whitening products to whiten your teeth at home, but your dentist can prescribe a stronger solution. A dentist can whiten your teeth by several shades in just about an hour using a special bleaching gel and a bright light. Professional teeth whitening solutions contain a higher concentration of ingredients than over-the-counter whitening gels. These stronger products typically work better and tend to result in less tooth sensitivity. Your dentist will be able to recommend the appropriate replacement schedule for you based on your reason for whitening, your level of staining, and the type of product that is used.

Many children have a cavity or two by the time they reach kindergarten. By adulthood, many people have had at least one cavity, and many have several. There are many contributing factors to tooth decay, including diet and lifestyle habits, but the main reason people experience tooth decay is because of bacteria. Bacteria naturally live in the mouth and feed on sugar and starch from food particles left in your mouth after eating or drinking. The bacteria produce acid as the byproduct of this feeding process, which is harmful to tooth enamel, causing tooth decay and cavities.


In regards to preventing cavities, good oral hygiene – including brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day – is essential to keeping decay at bay. Regular visits to your dentist for cleanings and exams are also vital, as they can spot early signs of tooth decay and treat it before it becomes a bigger problem. In addition to practicing good oral hygiene, eating a balanced diet is also important for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. A balanced diet includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products. Limiting your intake of sugars and other sticky/sweet treats is also key to maintaining a healthy smile, as these foods can lead to the formation of plaque, bacteria, and tooth decay.


If you do develop significant decay, you may need a filling or other restoration to stop the damage from worsening.

Chipped or broken teeth are a common problem that affects patients of all ages. Unfortunately, these chips are often caused by trauma to the face, such as sports injuries, falls, or car accidents. However, they can sometimes occur due to biting down on hard objects like candy or ice. Poor oral hygiene is also a common cause of chips and cracks in teeth. If left untreated, this damage can cause additional pain when chewing food. Thankfully, there are many ways to treat chipped or broken teeth and restore oral health.


Chips and small fractures in your teeth can be due to a number of factors, including tooth grinding, biting on hard objects such as fingernails or pencils, and using your teeth to open packages. In order to prevent chips from occurring, avoid chewing on ice and hard foods, don’t bite your fingernails, and don’t open packages with your teeth. Wear a mouthguard while playing sports. Also, take good care of your teeth by following good oral hygiene practices. And ask your dentist for a night guard if you grind your teeth at night.


Your dentist will likely recommend repairing the damaged area with a filling or bonding. This treatment will rebuild the tooth’s structure and restore its appearance to its natural look. Bonding uses a composite material that is applied to a tooth’s surface and then shaped until it matches the rest of your teeth. Fillings are applied directly to the affected tooth to repair and cover any missing or damaged areas in the enamel. Once completed, the treatment is custom-colored to match your surrounding teeth for a seamless and natural appearance.

The term “crooked teeth” typically refers to malocclusion of the anterior teeth. This happens when the upper and lower jaws are misaligned; this misalignment results in an improper bite. When this occurs, your top teeth may sit inside your bottom teeth, or your top and bottom teeth may not align properly. The most common types of malocclusion include overbite, underbite, crossbite, and open bite. Genetics plays a role in your risk of having misaligned jaws, but other factors can include thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, mouth breathing, premature loss of baby teeth and early loss of permanent teeth, airway obstruction due to tonsils or adenoids, and trauma from high-contact sports.


A variety of factors can contribute to your child’s risk of having misaligned teeth. Some children are born with a gap in their teeth or may be born with a thumb-sucking habit right away. Others may have a habit of chewing on objects, such as pencils, or tongue thrust while sleeping. Thumb-sucking and tongue-thrusting can cause the teeth to misalign over time. Another cause of misalignment can be poor nutrition when a child is young. Without enough calcium, the structure of the jaw may become underdeveloped, which in turn may cause malocclusion. Finally, it’s common for children who have larger mouths to have crowded teeth or be more susceptible to cavities due to inadequate oral hygiene.

While there’s no way to prevent all children from being born with a predisposition to misalignment, you can take certain precautions to ensure their oral health stays strong throughout their life. If you’re concerned that your child is developing a bad habit that can harm their teeth alignment, talk to your dentist about ways you can encourage better habits.


Many patients feel self-conscious about a straighter smile. Don’t let your smile hold you back from living your best life! We offer orthodontic treatments for adults and children alike. Invisalign clear aligners are a popular option for adults looking to straighten their teeth without traditional braces. We also offer metal braces and clear ceramic brackets for children. Both treatment options work to move your teeth into their proper positions over time.

Tooth sensitivity is also a common dental problem. Different factors can cause this, such as worn tooth enamel, exposed tooth roots, chipping the tooth, clenching or grinding the teeth, cavities, gum disease, and more.


There are many reasons your teeth can be sensitive, ranging from gum disease to bruxism. However, there are steps you can take to help fight this common problem. First, make sure you are brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush and using the proper technique. Brush in small circles and use gentle pressure to avoid damaging your gums or enamel. If the cause of your sensitivity is food-related, you may want to avoid consuming overly acidic foods or those that are particularly hot or cold in temperature. You may also want to switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush, which will not damage the enamel of your teeth in the same way a hard-bristled brush can. Topical fluoride gel can also help alleviate pain caused by sensitivity because it can help remineralize the enamel. Working with your dentist can help you determine the best method for relieving your tooth sensitivity and how to prevent further damage to your teeth. They can work with you to create a treatment plan to best suit your needs.


If you are experiencing sensitivity, it is important that you visit our office for an exam to diagnose the cause of your sensitivity and find a solution to help eliminate it. Typically, we recommend a soft-bristled toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste, and a mouth rinse to help combat this problem. We may also suggest treatments like dental sealants, fillings that cover exposed roots, mouth guards for teeth grinding, etc. We are happy to discuss your options in greater detail during your visit.

Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding or clenching. Teeth grinding can be caused by stress, an abnormal bite, or crooked teeth. Teeth grinding can damage your teeth by making the enamel thinner. It can also wear down the teeth’s protective layer of cementum.

If your dentist has told you that you grind your teeth at night, you’re not the only one who might be suffering from this disorder. As many as 1 in 10 Americans suffer from bruxism, or chronic teeth grinding and clenching. Aside from creating damage to your teeth, this condition can also result in a number of oral health issues, such as irritation of the soft tissues in your mouth, jaw pain, headaches, and even damaged fillings, crowns, and other restorations.


Tooth grinding or bruxism is a condition that affects many people. In fact, it is estimated that approximately one out of every five people grinds their teeth. However, most patients with this condition are not even aware that they grind their teeth. Many patients only find out when family members complain of hearing the noise at night, or the dentist notices signs of excessive wear on the teeth. If you suffer from the habit, some of the tips to prevent or reduce their occurrence include the following:

  • Reduce stress
  • Avoid stimulating substances in the evening
  • Practice good sleep habits
  • Schedule regular dental exams.


Over time, chronic bruxism can lead to severe damage to the teeth and jaw joints. This is why it is so important to identify and treat early-stage symptoms of the disorder. Once the damage has occurred, it can sometimes be difficult to restore the health and function of the smile. Early detection is key; however, it can be difficult to self-diagnose. This is why it is important to discuss this condition with your dentist during your next checkup. Your dentist can help you determine if you are suffering from bruxism and recommend an appropriate treatment plan, like splints, mouth guards, and dental correction, to help you stop this harmful habit before permanent damage occurs to the smile.

Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gums that starts out in the gum tissue and infects the teeth as well. Over time, the inflammation caused by bacteria can destroy the bones that support your teeth, causing them to fall out or shift out of place. If left untreated, the bacteria can also enter your bloodstream and damage other parts of your body, including your heart and brain.

There are different levels of severity when it comes to gum disease. Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontitis, the earliest stage of the condition. Your gums may appear red and swollen and may bleed when you brush or floss. They may also feel tender when touched. At this point, the condition is reversible with good oral hygiene practices such as brushing twice a day and interdental cleaning between your teeth with dental floss or a water flosser. If you do not practice good oral hygiene habits, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis. Chronic periodontitis is the most common form of this condition. With chronic periodontitis, your gums begin to recede from your teeth, causing pockets to develop between them. These pockets accumulate plaque and are difficult to clean, which encourages further inflammation and infection. This stage of the disease can lead to bone loss and even tooth loss if not treated early.


Gum disease is most common in people over the age of 35 but can affect people of all ages and ethnicities. Genetics may also play a role; if your parents have gum disease, you may have a greater chance of developing it than someone who has no family history of the disease. The condition is also more common in smokers and those who use tobacco. In addition, your chances of developing gum disease increase if you do not practice good oral hygiene, have crooked teeth or have diabetes.


Gum disease can cause your gums to become inflamed, infected, and bleed easily. If left untreated, the disease can become more severe, and you could eventually lose all your teeth because the infection spreads to the roots of your teeth. You can also develop serious health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and more. Your treatment will depend on how advanced your condition is. The dentist will create a treatment plan for you that may include any of the following procedures.

  • Scaling and root planing: This procedure is used when an infection is present, and the gums have pulled away from the teeth. During the procedure, the dentist will remove plaque and tartar buildup on the roots of your teeth and smooth the root surfaces so the gums can reattach to them.
  • Flap surgery: This is used when there is a substantial amount of bone loss and bacteria are present below the gum line. During flap surgery, the gums are lifted back so your dentist can access and clean the bacteria underneath. After the area is cleaned, the gums are secured back into place.
  • Bone graft: This procedure may be performed if you have lost a significant amount of bone tissue because of advanced periodontitis. During this procedure, a synthetic bone graft is secured between the existing bone and a sinus cavity in the upper jaw. Over time, the bone will fuse to the graft material providing enough support for dental implants or other restorative treatment options.
  • Soft tissue grafts: If you have lost gum tissue due to periodontal disease, soft tissue grafting may be used to replace the missing tissue. To do this, a small piece of tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth or another donor source and secured at the recipient site. Once the tissue has healed, it will provide a better foundation for securing the gums to the teeth.

The wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that develop at the back of the mouth, usually between the ages of 17 and 25 years old. Most people do not have enough space in their mouths to accommodate the extra teeth without causing other problems, such as crowding or shifting the teeth. Consequently, most dentists recommend removing wisdom teeth before they grow.

Some of the most common wisdom teeth problems are:

  • Impacted teeth – When there is not enough space in your mouth for your third molars to erupt, they become impacted and do not emerge through the gum line. Impacted teeth are more likely to develop an infection because they are difficult to clean.
  • Tooth decay – The wisdom teeth are harder to clean and floss than the other teeth. They may not be kept as clean or may have trouble reaching certain areas in the back of the mouth, which can lead to tooth decay or cavities on the wisdom teeth.
  • Crowding – When your third molars try to grow in, they can push the other front teeth out of position. This can lead to overcrowding of your teeth and bite issues.
  • Cyst formation – A tooth infection can lead to the formation of a cyst. Cysts are sacs of fluid that can develop around the roots of the tooth and cause pain and swelling. In some cases, cysts may form around the wisdom teeth, too.
  • Damage to the jawbone – When the wisdom teeth attempt to come in, they may cause damage to the jawbone. If the bone is damaged, you may experience pain and discomfort in the jaw area along with the limited movement of the jaw. You may feel numbness or tingling in your cheek as well.


Dental X-rays help detect any problems before they become painful or require surgery. Your dentist may recommend X-rays around age 18, just before they fully erupt. Early detection can help reduce the risk of extraction or other complications. Orthodontic treatment can also protect your teeth from impaction by aligning your bite with the rest of your teeth and preventing crowding in the areas around your molars. Finally, good oral hygiene is an essential part of preventing problems for your wisdom teeth and the rest of your teeth. Brushing twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and flossing every day helps remove plaque buildup that leads to cavities and gum disease. Regular checkups and cleanings at the dentist’s office are also recommended to catch potential problems early.


There are many treatments available to address issues with your third molars, more commonly known as your wisdom teeth. Your dentist will likely recommend removing the tooth if it’s impacted and causing you any discomfort. However, if the teeth are not causing pain and are healthy, your dentist may opt to leave the teeth alone and have them extracted sometime in the future if needed.

If your wisdom teeth have come in straight and are properly aligned in your mouth, they may be able to stay in without issue. If they are causing the same issues as impacted teeth, such as crowding of your teeth, difficulty cleaning them properly, or an abscess forming under your gum line, the wisdom teeth need to be evaluated for the potential need for extraction.

A “gap” is a term often used to describe spaces between teeth where there’s no contact between the teeth. The condition is also called diastema. This space can be the result of the smaller size of the teeth in relation to the jawbone. The other causes of teeth gaps include missing or undersized teeth, oversized labial frenum, gum disease, incorrect swallowing reflex, thumb-sucking and tongue-thrusting habits for a long period of time as a child, etc.


The earlier you act on your child’s gapped smile, the better chance you have of avoiding serious corrections later. Speak with your pediatric dentist about preventive or corrective options that may be recommended for your child. For example, your child may be advised not to keep his or her thumb in their mouth while sleeping, wear a mouth guard while playing sports, or see an orthodontist for early treatment. It is also important to follow good oral care habits.


There are several treatment options available for diastema. First, the dentist may recommend orthodontic therapy to move teeth into the correct position. Orthodontic treatment involves wearing braces or other appliances that slowly move the teeth into their optimal positions. In some cases, the orthodontist may place a fixed space maintainer after the orthodontic treatment is complete to prevent spaces from developing in the future.

Alternatively, some dentists offer porcelain veneers as a simple way to correct small gaps between teeth. Veneers are very thin shells of tooth-shaped porcelain that are bonded to the natural teeth in the front of the mouth. The dentist can use natural-looking composite resin to close gaps between the back teeth when the front teeth are perfectly aligned. Porcelain veneers or composite resin veneers last for several years when properly maintained with regular oral hygiene visits.


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