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A lot of focus on dentists, teeth, braces, brushing and more happens in the first two decades of our lives. But after we leave home and settle into jobs and homes and adult life, many of the same issues and risks still apply.
There is no period in our lives when we are not at risk of tooth decay, gum disease and other infections. So we shouldn’t relax our commitment to regular dental check-ups and a twice-daily routine of brushing and flossing just because we’re “all grown up now”.
Read more about maintaining good Oral Health and Hygiene.
There are also some conditions that are more common in adulthood.
Teeth grinding (bruxism) can cause serious damage to your teeth and jaw, but most often occurs while you sleep. This means we are often unaware that we are grinding our teeth, but acutely aware of the painful symptoms that follow when we wake up.
Stress is an obvious cause of teeth grinding and is unsurprisingly common in our modern lives of financial pressures, long work hours, family commitments and constant busyness.
However, an alternative and equally common cause can be sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea.
If you suffer symptoms such as too-regular headaches, painful jaw aches or a difficulty eating or opening the mouth, see your doctor or your dentist. Depending on the correct identification of the cause, there are various highly successful treatments available.
The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the joints of the jaw and are very complex. Unfortunately, any issue with the TMJ can be extremely painful and cause significant discomfort or difficulty with eating and speaking.
Arthritis, injury, dislocation and damage or misalignment caused by stress and teeth clenching are all potential causes of TMJ disorders, but sometimes a cause isn’t easy to diagnose.
A TMJ disorder can be indicated by tenderness of the jaw, headaches, clicking noises when opening and closing the mouth, or pain in the ear.
Various treatments are available for TMJ disorders, including Arthrocentesis.
Read more about TMJ Treatment
If the soft pulp at the heart of a tooth becomes diseased or damaged and becomes unviable (dies), root canal therapy may be necessary to remove the pulp to be replaced with an inert material. If the infected pulp were left inside the tooth, it can lead to further infection and tooth loss.
Once removed and replaced, a crown may be placed over the tooth for additional strength and protection.
As the dental pulp also contains the blood supply and nerve structure of the tooth, this is a highly skilled operation.
Read more about Root Canal Therapy
Sensitive teeth are more common in adulthood, triggering sharp pain when the teeth come into contact with hot or cold foods. Many common dental problems can also have the symptom of sensitive teeth, including cavities, gum disease and an exposed tooth root. However, worn tooth enamel is a common cause, exposing microscopic tubules to the surface. As tooth enamel erodes gradually over time, this is why many people report more sensitive teeth as they grow older.
However, there are treatments available, from desensitising toothpaste to grafting surgery, depending on the cause.
Read more about Sensitive Teeth
It’s when we’re a little bit older that we notice the toll our bad habits have taken on the appearance of our teeth. Stained from years of coffee, wine and (in some cases) smoking, our smile might no longer be as bright and white as we would like. There are a number of cosmetic treatments to restore your white smile, and some only take a couple of painless hours in the chair.
Read more about Whitening
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