Put sparkle into your teeth
What is pyorrhoea? How do you keep your teeth sparkling white? What do you do to repair a chipped tooth? Dr. Vijailakshmi Acharya and her team of specialists answer queries...
THE FOLLOWING are some queries on dental care:
I have a query regarding pyorrhoea. Dentists who examined me a year ago said that I have mild symptoms of pyorrhoea and gave medicines for a month. I feel the disease was not cured completely. Is there a permanent remedy? T. K. Varadarajan.
The word `pyorrhoea' literally means pus in the gums, which means there is infection in the gums. Usually, one has bad breath and bleeding from the gums at the slightest touch. Your condition can be cured completely with a professional therapy, medication and maintenance.
A sticky layer of plaque, which is a combination of food particles, bacteria and saliva, if allowed to settle long enough on your teeth and gums, can lead to inflammation and infection. Your dentist will have to clean the teeth and gums in detail (depending on the severity of the problem) and then educate you on oral hygiene. A few short term medications and astringent gum lotions are prescribed during the treatment.
The most important secret to successfully getting rid of your pyorrhoea lies in home-care, maintenance and regular check-ups.
I am a 20-year-old doing my graduation. My teeth are yellowish and look ugly when I smile. Being a student, I cannot afford to spend too much on treatment. Is there an affordable option or home remedy? Sam.
I understand your embarrassment in having to smile with yellowish teeth. At your age, most of the discolouration is probably caused by lack of proper care, habits and lifestyle. Here are a few tips, which are inexpensive, yet useful to follow to ensure that you have a whiter, brighter smile:
Brush your teeth twice daily - as soon as you wake up and last thing before going to bed.
Develop a habit of rinsing your mouth after you eat anything, so that food does not stick to the teeth.
Drink plenty of water.
Avoid excessive tea/coffee/beverages, as they tend to stain the teeth.
Do not chew betel leaf, betel nut or tobacco.
Smoking tends to discolour the teeth to an unpleasant grey.
Do not use instant tooth whiteners or scrape the surface of teeth with any sharp instrument as these will roughen the teeth and make them even more yellow.
Chewing sugar-free gum for half an hour a day helps clean the teeth.
Professional dental check-ups, scaling and polishing to remove stains in hard to reach areas especially between teeth help maintain the natural colour of the teeth.
Over the counter tooth whitening pastes containing carbamide peroxide helps in lightening tooth colour.
Yellow teeth can sometimes be intrinsic in nature that is, the colour is coming from within the tooth. The causes can be genetic or developmental disturbances. These have to be assessed by your dentist because a home remedy does not usually help.
Cosmetic dentistry offers good solutions to hide or mask teeth with internal problems.
Regarding the costs of cosmetic dentistry, your dentist will have to design your smile according to your needs and expectations. He will be the person to give you a treatment plan and a costing.
How long will one experience pain and discomfort after root canal treatment? Is there any restriction on chewing or biting hard food items on that side after treatment? Rajeswari.
Mild discomfort associated with root canal treatment is very common. After all, your tooth has been subjected to a mini surgical procedure and your body needs time to heal! This discomfort could last even up to a month. It is absolutely necessary to protect the tooth following root canal treatment because most of the tooth structure becomes brittle. This protection is in the form of a crown or a cap, as it is commonly called, which actually fits like a sleeve over the treated tooth and protects it from all sides. Once the crown is fixed on the tooth, you can use it for any kind of food, hard or soft.
I am 33 years old. My lower teeth are improperly arranged and are yellow. In spite of proper brushing, the colour does not disappear. The upper teeth are okay and sparkling white. Now, what could be the cure for this problem? My children laugh at me when I tell them to brush their teeth properly. Sindu Thapar.
That's the fun part of being a mother. Children always have a way of pointing out things, which you would not have noticed otherwise. The reason why your lower teeth are yellow in spite of proper brushing is because of their irregular arrangement. It would be a good idea to consider wearing orthodontic braces to correct them. Yes, it's not too late at 33! Once the teeth are straightened out, watch their natural colour sparkle throiugh! And a special message to your kids - Brushing properly does help your mom is right.
I have a broken upper tooth. It is not fully broken but sort of sliced through to some extent. Why does this happen? How to prevent this? (I didn't have any accident or disease). Is it possible to fill the gap? Suresh. You say that your tooth has got "sliced through" and there has been no accident. If you are sure of this, there are three main reasons why this could happen:
You have a faulty bite, i.e your teeth do not meet correctly.
You have a clenching or grinding habit.
The quality of your teeth is naturally soft because of some internal problem.
The process of wearing down is very slow and your tooth may not be fully worn down for years to come but it is a good idea to protect the tooth from wearing down any further. This can be done by bonding (adding a composite resin) or by capping, depending on the clinical situation.
Ask your dentist for the most suitable option to restore that smile!
For queries on dental care, write to The Hindu, 859/860, Kasturi Buildings, Anna Salai, Chennai, or e-mail to email@example.com
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