Some people are fortunate enough to only require dental check-ups twice a year and never need treatment beyond that. However, it’s typical to experience more dental concerns as you age that need additional attention from your dentist. Here are the five most common oral health conditions and the treatment for them:
- Dry mouth: While most people experience dry mouth occasionally, you should consider seeking treatment if you deal with this condition frequently. The most common causes of a persistent dry mouth are having certain health conditions and taking specific types of medication. Your doctor or dentist will check for underlying reasons for the dry mouth and provide you with solutions for treating it. The risk of having a chronically dry mouth is that the lack of saliva doesn’t provide a continuous cleansing environment. This can increase the risk of cavities.
- Gum disease: Also called gingivitis, gum disease develops when bacteria grows between the teeth or on the gum line. It’s reversible in the earliest stages, but most people don’t realize they have it. That’s why daily brushing and flossing and keeping your scheduled preventive care appointments is so important. Advanced gum disease, called periodontitis, can cause tooth loss and other significant issues. Your dentist will prescribe a course of treatment depending on the number and severity of your symptoms.
- Missing teeth: People lose their teeth for a variety of reasons, including disease, decay, and trauma. Losing one or more of your natural teeth is more than a cosmetic issue. It can also cause problems with the alignment of your other teeth, bone loss, and affect the way you chew your food. Some possible solutions to replace missing teeth include a dental bridge or crown, removable dentures, and fixed dental implants.
- Oral cancer: An oral tumor can develop anywhere in the mouth, including the lips, cheeks, soft palate, hard palate, gum tissue, or tongue. It can even appear in the throat where it would be impossible to see. Since oral tumors typically start out as small white or red sores in the mouth, many people don’t realize that they have developed a form of cancer. Dentists check for signs of oral cancer at each preventive care exam. If you have oral cancer, your specific treatment depends on the size of the tumor and how advanced it has become.
- Tooth sensitivity: Most people have had the experience of drinking a very hot or cold beverage and experiencing tooth pain immediately afterwards. Tooth sensitivity can occur for one of several reasons, including gum disease, fractured teeth, an exposed tooth root, and broken or worn fillings. Switching to a toothpaste made especially for sensitive teeth is a common solution. However, you may also require treatment of the underlying oral health condition.
If you notice pain, unusual bleeding, swelling, or anything else out of the ordinary, be sure to contact your dentist for an evaluation right away. While you might not have one of these problems, it’s important to diagnose and treat your issue as soon as possible.