Over 90% of Australians have experienced a dental problem like tooth decay at some point in their lives – in other words, it’s a really common issue. But what causes “bad” teeth, and how can you fix them? Let’s take a look.
Common dental problems
The most typical dental problem in Australia is tooth decay. Here’s why it happens.
- Plaque builds up in your mouth.
- Bacteria in this plaque attack your tooth enamel.
- The breakdown of enamel causes sensitivity, pain, and eventually, tooth decay.
So, if you notice any sharp pains when you eat or drinking something cold, or if you have sensitive teeth, you should book a checkup.
Other common oral issues include:
- Gum disease
- Crooked teeth
- Jaw pain
- Stained teeth
- Tooth infections caused by more advanced decay
The good news? There are many ways to fix your smile and keep your teeth healthy nowadays.
Your options for fixing bad teeth
The option you choose depends on what’s bothering you and any clinical needs you might have. Let’s take a look.
Fillings are used to repair the tooth structure, whether you’ve got a chipped tooth or a cavity. They can last up to 10 years, or even longer if you look after them properly.
Think of a crown as a little tooth-shaped “cap” that covers your real tooth. They’re often recommended if you have a:
- Heavily decayed tooth
- Cracked, broken or discoloured tooth
Crowns can last up to 15 years. It’s important you brush them properly and avoid grinding your teeth to get the most from your crowns.
Usually, a bridge is made up of two crowns with a false tooth in the middle. In other words, a bridge literally “bridges the gap” between teeth. They’re a great option if you have a missing tooth or two, and they look pretty natural.
Bridges usually last around 5 – 7 years.
If you have discoloured teeth, it’s possible to brighten them up again. The best part is that there’s no erosion of the tooth surface – it’s minimally invasive. Your dentist can talk you through the options.
Got crooked teeth or a crowded mouth? Braces are an option whether you’re an adult or child. They work by applying even pressure across all your teeth to help them move in the right direction. The result is a straighter, more comfortable smile.
Why you need a dental checkup
- There’s no right answer to how often you need a checkup, but once every 6 months is a good place to start.
- Ideally, your child should have their first checkup before they’re 2 years old.
Managing dental anxiety
Do you tense up at the thought of visiting the dentist? Don’t worry. It’s a really common problem. That said, you shouldn’t let dental anxiety stand in the way of a healthy, happy smile. So, here are some tips to make your next dental appointment a little easier.
- Tell your dentist about your concerns. They’ll help you identify what’s causing your anxiety, and they’ll work with you to make your appointments easier. For example, it might help if they talk you through exactly how a procedure works and what to expect.
- Take a book or a magazine to read in the waiting room. Distractions can really help.
- If you’re really anxious, your dentist can offer sedation or anaesthesia before they treat you.