About Teeth

female1.jpgIn order to properly care for your teeth, it’s essential to understand how your teeth grow, what problems they can develop, and what role they play as a key part of your body. 

Throughout your life, you will have two sets of teeth: primary (baby) teeth and secondary (permanent) teeth. After about 6-8 months, the primary teeth begin to appear, and are completely developed by around age 3.  It is recommended that a child’s first visit to the dentist is when they get their first tooth, or before they turn 1 year old.  This will allow the dentist to check for any oral health issues with the teeth, gums, and jaw so they can be fixed if necessary. 

Permanent teeth will begin to grow around age 6 and are usually completely developed sometime between ages 12 and 14, not including Wisdom teeth. It’s not until about age 17 and on that Wisdom teeth typically start coming in. Once the Wisdom teeth are completely developed, the total number of permanent teeth is brought to 32.  Unfortunately, few people have room for all 32 teeth, which is why wisdom teeth are usually removed.

Your permanent teeth are meant to last a lifetime, so it is critical that they are brushed and flossed routinely and stopping by Smile Sarasota to meet with our friendly and experienced dentists to make sure that you are in good oral health.

Your Teeth & The Rest Of Your Body

Maintaining good oral health is crucial, because the health of your mouth has a strong connection with the health of your entire body. While harmless bacteria naturally forms in your from daily actions like eating, this bacteria needs to be managed with a proper oral hygiene routine.  Without daily brushing and flossing, these bacteria can grow and become harmful, potentially causing tooth decay or gum disease.

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Your oral health may affect, be affected by or contribute to various diseases and conditions, including:

  • Endocarditis - For those with a weak immune system or a damaged heart valve, maintaining good oral health can help prevent the development of harmful bacteria that escape into your bloodstream and cause an infection somewhere else in your body, including the lining of your heart. 
  • Cardiovascular disease - Periodontitis is an advanced form of gum disease and can involve severe, chronic inflammation.  While stemming from oral health, periodontitis has shown links to increases in the risk of heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke. 
  • Pregnancy and birth - Suffering from gum disease while pregnant could possibly affect the health of the baby, since the harmful bacteria in your mouth could spread through the body.  Some cases of premature birth and low birth weight have been linked to bacteria related to gum disease.
  • Diabetes - Those with diabetes need to take special care when it comes to their oral health.  Diabetes reduces your body’s resistance to infection, meaning that oral infections will be more common if consistent oral hygiene efforts.  
  • HIV/AIDS. Those who have HIV/AIDS commonly experience oral problems such as painful mucosal legions. 
  • Osteoporosis - Those with osteoporosis are at an increased risk of experiencing periodontal bone loss and tooth loss. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Still to see determine what the best course of action would be for you to maintain good oral health.
  • Alzheimer's disease - Good oral health has been connected to improved memory function, but the opposite is also true. Oral disease can actually be a contributing factor to early on setting Alzheimer’s. 
  • Other conditions - Other conditions that may be linked to oral health include Sjogren's syndrome — an immune system disorder — and eating disorders.

Be sure to tell Dr. Still if you're taking any medications or have had any changes in your overall health — especially if you've had any recent illnesses or you have a chronic condition. We will ask you to fill out a Health History Update form yearly so we can be certain we are up-to-date on any health issue that may affect your dental care.

Be sure to view this video for more information!

Common Problems

Tooth Decay

Caries, or tooth decay, is a preventable disease. While caries might not endanger your life, they may negatively impact your quality of life.

When your teeth and gums are consistently exposed to large amounts of starches and sugars, acids may form that begin to eat away at tooth enamel. Carbohydrate-rich foods such as candy, cookies, soft drinks and even fruit juices leave deposits on your teeth. Those deposits bond with the bacteria that normally survive in your mouth and form plaque. The combination of deposits and plaque forms acids that can damage the mineral structure of teeth, with tooth decay resulting.

Sensitive Teeth

Your teeth expand and contract in reaction to changes in temperature. Hot and cold food and beverages can cause pain or irritation to people with sensitive teeth. Over time, tooth enamel can be worn down, gums may recede or teeth may develop microscopic cracks, exposing the interior of the tooth and irritating nerve endings. Just breathing cold air can be painful for those with extremely sensitive teeth.

Gum Disease

Gum, or periodontal, disease can cause inflammation, tooth loss and bone damage. Gum disease begins with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. Gums in the early stage of disease, or gingivitis, can bleed easily and become red and swollen. As the disease progresses to periodontitis, teeth may fall out or need to be removed by a dentist. Gum disease is highly preventable and can usually be avoided by daily brushing and flossing. One indicator of gum disease is consistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth.

Canker Sores

Canker sores (aphthous ulcers) are small sores inside the mouth that often recur. Generally lasting one or two weeks, the duration of canker sores can be reduced by the use of antimicrobial mouthwashes or topical agents. The canker sore has a white or gray base surrounded by a red border.

Orthodontic Problems

A bite that does not meet properly (a malocclusion) can be inherited, or some types may be acquired. Some causes of malocclusion include missing or extra teeth, crowded teeth or misaligned jaws. Accidents or developmental issues, such as finger or thumb sucking over an extended period of time, may cause malocclusions.