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10 Common Oral Cavity Issues

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Do you have an idea about the most common oral cavity issues and how it can be treated or prevented? Then read the article to know more about the common oral cavity problems.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Chithranjali Ravichandran

Published At September 29, 2021
Reviewed AtAugust 7, 2023

Introduction:

There is a link between declining oral health and the underlying health conditions as there are some most common dental conditions that can affect the oral cavity and health of an individual, so everyone should be aware about these common issues. Below are some common dental problems, their symptoms, and potential treatment options to prevent further complications.

1) Cavities or Caries:

These are also called black spots in lay terms. These are either progressive or arrested in nature. The reason for caries is the accumulation of food particles for a long duration of time that may cause bacterial colonization in it and lead to the production of acid that causes decay of tooth structure. Progressive caries, when involving the nerve of the tooth, pains a lot and may lead to reversible or irreversible pulpitis.

To prevent caries, one has to brush twice, use dental floss, use fluoridated toothpaste, use chlorhexidine mouthwash, and have strict control on sugary and sticky food. Caries can be treated by restoration or root canal, or extraction, depending on the spread of caries. Visit your dentist regularly to check your dental condition and caries status.

2) Fever Blisters Or Cold Sores:

These are fluid-filled blisters. They grow on lips, under your nose or chin. They are highly contagious, and they are caused by a virus such as Herpes Simplex. They appear to be gray red and take up to 1 to 2 weeks to heal. Your dentist will prescribe antiviral drugs for such viral fever blisters.

3) Chipped Tooth:

The most common causes for chipped or fractured teeth are-

- Teeth grinding or bruxism.

- Trauma to the tooth because of a car accident or falls.

- Contact sports without a mouthguard.

- Biting on a hard substance.

These are the things that increase the risk of chipping of tooth or tooth fracture. If there is a minor fracture of the tooth substance, it will not be painful as there will be an enamel fracture. There will be pain in the tooth structure when a fracture involves dentine or pulp of the tooth.

Symptoms:

- Tooth fracture gives a feeling of rough surface to tongue, irritation, sensitivity, or pain.

Treatment of chipped teeth:

Treatment depends on severity and symptoms. Treatment options available for chipped teeth are-

- Tooth reattachment:

For this, you have to keep a broken piece of tooth in milk or normal saline so that it will not lose its vitality, and then visit a dentist. The dentist will see whether it is possible or not to reattach a fractured tooth.

- Tooth-colored filling or restoration.

- Bonding.

- Porcelain veneers.

- Dental onlays, etc.

4) Bruxism:

It is called tooth grinding. It is night grinding when the individual is sleeping, but it may occur during the daytime also if the individual is stressed. It may be because of stress or anxiety or deep psychological trauma or altered occlusion, or abnormal bite because of a new crown or prosthesis in the mouth. It causes wearing of tooth structure and deep continuous pain that may lead to TMJ pain, headache, or ear pain.

Treatment may involve the removal of the cause. If stress is the cause, then stress relaxation, counseling, meditation, and exercise. The dentist will give a mouth guard or a bite covering the occlusion to prevent the wear and tear of teeth.

5) Gingivitis:

Gingiva is a gum that covers a tooth. Gingivitis is the infection or inflammation of gum tissues. It is most commonly caused by the accumulation of food particles in the gingiva, which leads to the production of plaque accumulation leading to bacterial accumulation in gums and causes infection to that site.

Signs and symptoms of gingivitis are redness of the gingival, swelling of the gingival, bleeding from gingival tissue while brushing or while eating or biting on fruits or hard food substances. In the initial stages, gingivitis is reversible and painless. It gives bad breath. During pregnancy and in other systemic diseases such as diabetes, gingivitis will be there. To prevent gingivitis, one has to brush twice daily, floss your teeth, and use chlorhexidine mouthwash. A routine dental checkup, professional dental scaling are a must for the maintenance of gingival health.

6) Periodontitis:

It is inflammation and infection of the periodontal ligament. It is the reason for tooth loss in adults. Periodontitis may be juvenile periodontitis or adult periodontitis.

Signs of periodontitis are swollen gums, bleeding from gums, bad breath, tooth loss, and alteration in bite or occlusion. Diabetes is the sixth complication of periodontitis. Treatment for periodontitis is professional deep cleaning and root planing. So you need to see a dentist or a periodontist for treatment of periodontitis.

7) Oral Thrush Or Candidiasis:

It is a fungal infection. It is white cottony or cheese-like growth that grows in the oral cavity or throat. It mainly occurs in immunocompromised individuals or diabetic patients, or individuals who are on steroids, or long-standing denture-wearing patients. Candidiasis growth is scrapable, and after scrapping the sample and after confirmation from that sample that it is candidiasis, then your dentist will prescribe medicines for it.

8) Tooth Discoloration Or Dark Tooth:

It is a change in your tooth color. It appears dark, unlike the original bright color of the tooth. Most common is trauma to the tooth or infection of the pulp tissue. Dark color might be due to dyeing the nerve or an act of protection of the nerve from dying.

There may be other reasons for staining, such as food colors, dental materials cause alteration in tooth color, disease, aging, genetics, etc. Root canal and crown is the treatment for tooth discoloration because of trauma. For extrinsic stains, professional scaling is useful.

9) Canker Sores:

These are sores having red borders that appear on your lips, underneath the tongue and throat. It may be due to immuno-compromised status, vitamin deficiency, or immune system or bacteria or virus. It is not contagious. These can be treated with topical ointment or multivitamin therapy. Till complete recovery, one should avoid hot, spicy, acidic food and drink plenty of water.

10) Cancer:

These are conditions that appear on the tongue, throat, or cheeks. It may appear as red or white patches or growth in the oral cavity. The causative factor may be continuous irritation, use of tobacco, alcohol, genetics, etc. Regular dental checkups are necessary for screening, prevention, and early treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

Can a Tooth Turn Black?

Poor oral hygiene is the common cause of black teeth. Due to poor oral hygiene, an individual’s mouth is more prone to tooth decay. Regular tooth brushing and visiting a dentist for scaling (professional cleaning) can help to maintain good oral hygiene.

2.

Can a Tooth Heal on Its Own?

A tooth can remineralize to a certain extent; however, like other body tissues, it cannot grow completely. An individual may have to undergo dental procedures like filling or root canal treatment to restore the tooth. A tooth, once damaged, cannot heal naturally on its own.

3.

Is It Possible to Save a Discolored Tooth?

If the tooth discoloration is to a limited portion of the crown, it is possible to save the tooth. In severely damaged cases, the tooth may have to be extracted and replaced to restore function. Also, adequate bone support is important while restoring a discolored tooth.

4.

How Does a Dentist Treat Discolored Tooth?

The dentist removes the caries portion of the tooth. After the caries are removed, if it extends to the pulp chamber, a root canal procedure may be performed and replaced with a crown. If the caries are superficial, dental fillings like amalgam and composite may be used to replace the carious portion of the tooth.

5.

What Is the Duration of Tooth Discoloration?

Tooth discoloration can be a slow or quick process, depending on the cause and factors influencing it. If an individual has a sudden fall due to the impact, the tooth may get avulsed (dislocated), and there is a lack of blood supply resulting in a black tooth. In other cases, due to poor oral hygiene, there are recurrent caries that cause tooth discoloration.

6.

Does a Discolored Tooth Mean Emergency?

Not all discolored teeth mean an emergency. If the discoloration is due to any form of trauma, it has to be treated immediately to save the tooth. If it is due to smoking or drinking colored beverages, it can be removed by scaling and is not an emergency.

7.

How Is Oral Thrush Diagnosed?

A portion of the oral thrush is scraped and viewed under a microscope to identify the causative agent. Usually, it is a fungal infection caused by candida. The tongue appears creamy white in color, and there is a cottage cheese-like appearance.

8.

How to Treat Oral Candidiasis?

Antifungal medications are the primary choice of treatment in candida patients. Examples of antifungal drugs include Clotrimazole and Nystatin. These drugs limit the growth of candida and are available in the form of gel or liquid. Serious forms can be treated with Fluconazole.

9.

How Long Does Candida Take To Heal?

A mild form of candida can take up to three days to heal. In most severe cases, the healing process may take a longer time, depending on an individual's health. Also, other oral conditions influence the duration of the healing process.

10.

Is a White Tongue Related to Thrush?

The most common cause of white tongue is oral thrush. Other causes of white tongue include prolonged use of antibiotics and oral yeast infections. Medical conditions like tongue cancer, oral lichen planus, and leukoplakia may also result in a white tongue.
Dr. Kandi Disha Yermal
Dr. Kandi Disha Yermal

Dentistry

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gingivitisbruxismdental carieschipped tooth
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