Common Problems

Tooth Decay

Caries, or tooth decay, is a preventable disease. While caries might not endanger your life, they may negatively impact your quality of life.

When your teeth and gums are consistently exposed to large amounts of starches and sugars, acids may form that begin to eat away at tooth enamel. Carbohydrate-rich foods such as candy, cookies, soft drinks and even fruit juices leave deposits on your teeth. Those deposits bond with the bacteria that normally survive in your mouth and form plaque. The combination of deposits and plaque forms acids that can accumulate and damage the structure of teeth and the bone supporting the teeth and gums.

Loss of Natural Teeth

Missing teeth can lead to more serious problems including tooth decay, an uneven bite, and stress on adjacent teeth. A bridge is used to replace a missing tooth or teeth when there is a tooth on either side of the missing tooth. A false tooth is joined to the natural teeth with cement, forming a bridge that cannot be removed by the patient. When a patient is missing all of his/her natural teeth, complete dentures are used to restore function and appearance. For patients who experience lack of stability and poor chewing function with dentures, dental implants may be used. Replacing missing teeth not only improves the appearance of your smile, but it can also improve your overall oral health.

Teeth Grinding

Because of the forces exerted on the teeth and Temporomandibular Joint, teeth grinding can cause extensive damage to your teeth. It is a habit that most patients are not aware of since it occurs during sleep. Stress is one reason why many people grind their teeth at night; however, there are several other reasons for this condition. Problems with jaw alignment and the way teeth come together are often factors for teeth grinders. Using a custom-made night guard can not only protect the teeth, but relieve pressure on the TMJ as well.

Congenital and Developmental Mouth Defects

Congenital and developmental mouth defects can include cleft lip and palate, birth defects of the jaws, lips and palate as well as growth disturbances of the jaws. Patients with developmental defects have missing and misshapen teeth because their teeth never developed properly or at all. Others have teeth with a poorly developed tooth structure throughout the mouth. Prosthodontists are well trained in the replacement and restoration of teeth as well as facial reconstruction.

Cleft Palate

A Cleft lip and palate is one of the most common major birth defects, affecting approximately 1 in every 1000 births. This condition occurs when the tissues that usually form the lip and roof of the mouth fail to grow together, leaving a gap or hole. While most clefts can be closed with reconstructive surgery, there are some patients who require an obturator. An obturator is a prosthetic device used to close a cleft, improving the patient’s speech and swallowing. Cleft patients generally require long term follow up care to ensure proper dental and speech development.

TMJ

TMJ refers to the painful symptoms related to Temporomandibular Joint dysfunction, or your complex jaw joint. Some symptoms may include a clicking, popping or pain in the front of the ear, headaches, pain in the joint itself, teeth that no longer touch when you bite and limited movement of the lower jaw. Also, if it is hard to use your front teeth to bite or tear food and if your teeth seem sensitive, loose, broken, or worn, you may have the symptoms of TMJ.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a disorder in which people stop breathing for at least 10 seconds at a time while they are sleeping. These short stops in breathing can happen up to 400 times every night. The periods of not breathing may cause disruption from deep sleep and lead to restlessness and fatigue. One solution is the use of a night guard which improves airflow by repositioning the lower jaw.