Chronic dry mouth or xerostomia is a common problem that affects about 25% of all adults.
Do you have chronic dry mouth?
Dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is a condition that can interfere with everyday activities, such as eating, talking or sleeping. Some common symptoms of dry mouth include
- Bad breath
- A sticky, dry feeling in the mouth
- Frequent thirst
- Sores in the mouth
- A burning or tingling sensation in the mouth and especially on the tongue
- A dry, red, raw tongue
- Problems speaking or difficulty tasting, chewing, and swallowing
- Besides causing the aggravating symptoms mentioned above, dry mouth also increases a person's risk of gingivitis (gum disease), tooth decay, and mouth infections, such a thrush
- Dry mouth can also make it difficult to wear dentures.
Steps you can take that may help improve saliva flow include:
- Sucking on sugar-free candy or chewing sugar-free gum
- Drinking plenty of water to help keep your mouth moist
- Protecting your teeth by brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, using a fluoride rinse, and visiting your dentist regularly
- Breathing through your nose, not your mouth, as much as possible
- Using a room vaporizer to add moisture to the bedroom air
- Using an over the counter artificial saliva substitute.
Cracked teeth can cause variety of symptoms, including pain when chewing, or pain when your tooth is exposed to temperature extremes. The pain may come and go, and your dentist may have difficulty locating which tooth is causing the discomfort.
How will my cracked tooth be treated?
There are many different types of cracked teeth. The treatment and outcome for your tooth depends on the type, location, and extent of the crack.
After treatment for a cracked tooth, will my tooth completely heal?
Unlike a broken bone, the fracture in a cracked tooth will not heal. In spite of treatment, some cracks may continue to progress and separate, resulting in loss of the tooth. Placement of a crown on a cracked tooth provides maximum protection but does not guarantee success in all cases.
The treatment you receive for your cracked tooth is important because it will relieve pain and reduce the likelihood that the crack will worsen. Once treated, most cracked teeth continue to function and provide years of comfortable chewing. Talk to your dentist about your particular diagnosis and treatment recommendations.
What can I do to prevent my teeth from cracking?
While cracked teeth are not completely preventable, you can take some steps to make your teeth less susceptible to cracks.
- Don't chew on hard objects such as ice, unpopped popcorn kernels or pens.
- Don't clench or grind your teeth.
- If you clench or grind your teeth while you sleep, talk to your dentist about getting a retainer or other mouthguard to protect your teeth.
- Wear a mouthguard or protective mask when playing contact sports
Most common causes of sensitive teeth
- Fractured teeth
- Cracked teeth
- Worn tooth enamel,
- Exposed tooth root
Treatment for sensitive teeth
There is a variety of regimens to manage tooth hypersensitivity, including both in-office treatments and patient-applied products for home use.
If you are diagnosed with dentin hypersensitivity, your dentist may apply a desensitizing agent or a protective coating. You may be prescribed a stannous fluoride gel or an over-the-counter desensitizing toothpaste containing fluoride and either potassium nitrate or strontium chloride. These ingredients help block the transmission of sensation from the tooth to the nerve. Desensitizing toothpaste usually requires several applications before the sensitivity is reduced.
If the desensitizing toothpaste does not ease your discomfort, your dentist may suggest in-office techniques. If receding gums cause the sensitivity, your dentist may use agents that bond to the tooth root to "seal" the sensitive teeth. The sealer usually is composed of a plastic material.
In cases where hypersensitivity is severe and persistent and cannot be treated by other means, your dentist may recommend endodontic (root canal) treatment to eliminate the problem.