It’s never too late to improve the health of your mouth or a confident smile. Adults are still at risk for dental issues like gum disease and tooth decay; therefore, they should continue to schedule routine dental cleanings and examinations to maintain a healthy mouth.
How Often Should I See the Dentist
The exact frequency of dental visits varies based on each individual’s mouth, but typically our team recommends cleanings every 4 to 6 months. At your next appointment, Dr. Williams can discuss how often he would like to see you.
Common Dental Concerns Among Adults
There are several dental concerns that affect adults today. The most common diseases to monitor for include:
Of the common oral health concerns among adults today, gum disease is one of the most prevalent. Gum disease is defined as inflammation of the gum tissues surrounding the teeth and holding them in place. Gum disease is typically caused by plaque, a sticky layer of bacteria that forms on the teeth and under the gum line.
Adults with gum disease can experience red, swollen, bleeding, and painful gums or may show no signs at all. The earliest stage of gum disease is referred to as gingivitis. Gingivitis can be reversed if caught quickly; however, it will progress into periodontitis if left untreated. Periodontitis can cause discomfort, bad breath, and even loose teeth or tooth loss.
With regular brushing and flossing, most plaque can be removed at home; however, it can commonly remain under the gumline or in hard-to-reach places. Thorough cleanings performed by our team of experienced dental professionals can ensure that all bacteria are removed, reducing your risk of gum disease.
Teeth grinding, also referred to as bruxism, affects a significant number of adults. It typically occurs during sleep while patients are unconscious. Many individuals experience teeth grinding as a result of stress; however, it can sometimes have no known cause. Grinding of teeth can lead to serious tooth and jaw damage, including cracked teeth, tooth erosion, headaches, jaw discomfort, and sleep disorders.
Fortunately, Dr. Williams can help address and prevent teeth grinding with a number of innovative methods. Let Dr. Williams know that you’re a teeth grinder and discuss the best option for you.
The temporomandibular joint, most commonly known as TMJ, is a complex joint located within the jaw. Pain and discomfort associated with this joint are common among adults and are often referred to as TMJ disorder or TMD (temporomandibular disorder). The cause of TMJ disorder is challenging to identify, yet possible causes may include injury, dislocation, arthritis, alignment problems, or teeth grinding from stress.
If cold or hot beverages or food cause tooth pain, you may suffer from a common dental problem known as sensitive teeth. Teeth sensitivity can occur for several reasons, including:
- Worn tooth enamel
- Gum disease
- Worn or loose fillings
- Fractured teeth
- Tooth decay or cavities
- Exposed tooth roots
Fortunately, teeth sensitivity can be treated. Dr. Williams may recommend toothpaste with special ingredients designed to desensitize or an alternative treatment depending on the true cause of your teeth sensitivity. The best way to prevent sensitive teeth is to maintain proper oral hygiene.
Adult teeth can become discolored after indulging in coffee, tea, red wine, and other staining food and beverages for years. At some point, you may consider teeth whitening to regain a bright smile. Before you use any type of over-the-counter teeth whitening products, it’s important to speak with Dr. Williams to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for you. With professional advice, you can not only brighten your smile but also ensure that your teeth and gums remain healthy through the process. This is especially important if you have dental crowns, fillings, or very dark stains.
Popular methods of teeth whitening include:
- In-office bleaching: Through this in-office method, Dr. Williams applies a bleaching agent to your teeth and may use light to enhance the agent. The products our professional team uses in-office typically contain a higher concentration of peroxide than at-home formulations, leaving you with more dramatic results.
- Whitening toothpaste: Although all toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance aid in removing stains, some may contain special whitening or polishing agents. These can provide stronger stain removal abilities but do not necessarily change the color of one’s teeth like bleaching agents.
- At-home whitening: Whiteners that contain peroxide bleach the tooth enamel. These treatment kits often come with a bleaching tray that is designed to be worn for a short period over several days to gradually whiten the teeth. If you elect to go this route, be sure to consult with Dr. Williams before trying your kit and always ensure it has the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Poor Oral Health Can Lead to Poor Overall Health
Many adults are unaware that poor dental health can lead to a multitude of problems affecting other areas of the body. Failing to care for your gums and teeth can potentially lead to:
- Diabetes. Patients with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing gum diseases such as gingivitis or periodontal disease. This is because if one’s diabetes is not well controlled, sugar easily accumulates in the system and in the oral cavity. This sugar feeds the bacteria on teeth and gums, resulting in exacerbated gum disease.
- Endocarditis. Bacteria accumulation associated with tooth decay or gingivitis can travel through the bloodstream directly to the heart. These microscopic bacteria then stick to the heart lining and heart valves, causing inflammation, known as endocarditis. Patients with existing heart disease are at an increased risk for developing endocarditis as a result of poor oral health.
- Cognitive dysfunction. New research signals that specific bacteria that cause gum disease may also contribute to dementia or Alzheimer’s. Studies indicate that this bacteria may travel through the blood to one’s brain and can be linked to cognitive disorders.
- Pregnancy complications. Pregnant patients are at an increased risk for developing gum disease- up to 75% of pregnant women experience inflamed gums sometimes during pregnancy. The hormones which fluctuate during this time contribute to oral health.
Schedule Your Routine Adult Dental Exam Today
Fortunately, routine exams and dental cleanings performed by our professional team help halt and potentially reverse poor oral health. Schedule your next dental exam with the Ascent Family Dental team.