In order to take good care of our teeth, we need to understand the different diseases and conditions that can affect them. One of our goals at Brar Family Dentistry is to help our patients understand the potential issues that our dental care addresses. That includes breaking down scientific terms like tooth pathology, which refers to all conditions involving our teeth that can be present at birth (congenital diseases) or acquired throughout life. Continue reading below to learn more.
Congenital vs. Acquired Diseases
Tooth pathology consists of dental conditions that fall in both the congenital and acquired categories.
Some congenital conditions for teeth, both common and rare, include:
- Malocclusion: Misalignment of teeth, which can affect your bite, face shape, tooth health, and speech. Most malocclusions can be corrected through orthodontic treatment.
- Hyperdontia (Also called supernumerary teeth): having too many teeth beyond the normal amount of both primary (20) and adult (32) teeth. Interestingly, this condition is twice as common in men as it is in women.
- Hypodontia: A condition where you are missing some teeth (six or more = oligodontia) or even missing all of your teeth (anodontia).
- Enamel defects: Two common enamel defects that affect children are hypoplasia and hypocalcification, both of which affect the strength and health of a tooth’s enamel. Patients dealing with these conditions often complain about tooth sensitivity because the enamel is thin or worn down quickly.
Unlike congenital diseases, acquired diseases develop after birth. Cavities (also called tooth decay) and caries are the most common acquired diseases, and two of the most common health problems in general. They are caused by several factors: plaque formation, bacteria in the mouth, sugary foods and drinks, and ineffective oral hygiene. Once plaque forms on a tooth, if it is not cleaned off properly it will create an acid that eats through the enamel and causes a cavity. Other medical conditions associated with tooth decay include diabetes, eating disorders, oral cancer, and TMD (temporomandibular disorder).
Anyone can get cavities, including infants, but cavities are more common among children, teenagers, and older adults. Cavity symptoms can vary, but they commonly include toothaches, increased sensitivity, visible holes or pits in the tooth, and dark stains. If left untreated, cavities can grow in size and depth, affecting deeper layers of your teeth and increasing the chances of infection and tooth loss.
Being proactive rather than reactive works in almost any circumstance, and that applies to your oral and dental health as well. Seeing a dentist now, then scheduling regular follow-up cleanings and exams, will help prevent problems and also allow your dentist to spot any potential issues early on, thus letting you get the jump on treating them.
Your dentist can suggest treatments and practices to improve and maintain good oral hygiene and dental health at home too. Some general tips for best oral hygiene and preventing tooth decay and cavities are:
- Floss once a day, brush at least twice a day, and rinse with mouthwash once a day. This is the trinity of good oral hygiene.
- Watch what you eat and drink. Cut back on the sugary drinks, as well as sugary and starchy foods. Instead, drink more water and eat more fruits, vegetables, and non-processed foods.
Find Your Path to Healthy Teeth
The staff at Brar Family Dentistry is dedicated to providing the best dental care, whether it’s for a simple cleaning and exam or for a more serious tooth pathology issue. Please feel free to contact us to schedule an appointment at our Nashua, NH office. We will gladly answer any questions you may have about your teeth and oral health. We hope to hear from you soon!