Chipped, cracked or broken teeth are among the most common dental injuries, with summertime serving as a peak season for their occurrence. While not generally considered a dental emergency, if you chip or break a tooth, it should be treated by a dentist as soon as possible. Left untreated, even a minor chip can compromise the tooth enamel, which can spur tooth decay, infection, and lead to further breakage. Over time it can also lead to temperature sensitivity.
Everyone grinds and clenches their teeth on occasion, but people who start clenching and grinding their teeth on a regular basis significantly increase the risk of tooth damage and other oral health complications. Along with wearing down the teeth, chronic teeth grinding can erode the enamel, loosen teeth, and even crack, chip or fracture them. Teeth surfaces that have been compromised by grinding are more susceptible to bacteria infusion that can lead to tooth decay. Chronic grinding and clenching can also lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), a painful condition that impedes the proper movement of your jaw.
Along with serving the crucial role of maintaining dental and oral health, dental professionals provide a cosmetic service by keeping our smiles bright and our teeth healthy and aligned. Much of dentistry’s cosmetic function is inherent because clean, healthy teeth just look better than flawed, stained teeth. Thus, many dental procedures undertaken for health reasons, also prove cosmetic.
Most Americans have heard of fluoride and know that it is added to toothpaste and public drinking water systems to enhance dental health, but have you ever wondered exactly what fluoride is and how it benefits dental health?
Simply put, fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral derived from fluorine, the 13th most abundant element in the earth’s crust and widely dispersed throughout nature, primarily as a fluoride compound. Naturally present in low concentrations in most water sources, as well as in most plant life, fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and helps make it more resistant to the natural acids responsible for tooth decay. In short, fluoride is nature’s cavity fighter.