Posts

Most parts of the body are formed at birth. We get one set of bones, organs, eyes and hands that all develop and age with us as we grow older. However, the same cannot be said for our teeth. Our teeth go through an interesting and dramatically different lifecycle, from the first signs of teething, to permanent teeth developing, the pain of wisdom teeth and eventually tooth decay. Here’s a brief summary of what to expect at each stage.

A tooth is born

While newborns do not have any teeth, their front teeth are already fully formed. Teeth start forming just 6 weeks after conception, when they begin to grow down into the developing jaw. These teeth start to come through when a baby reaches around 2-3 months old, and most children have a full set of 20 milk teeth by the time they are 3. As teeth develop, they take on many shades. Tooth colour has a lot to do with genetics, so don’t worry if they appear discoloured initially.

Permanent teeth develop

When kids reach around 5 or 6, their jaws are strong enough to support permanent teeth, and so baby teeth start to fall out and visits from the Tooth Fairy begin. Developing permanent teeth eventually put enough pressure on the roots of the baby teeth, which causes them to break. By the time to tooth falls out, most of the root has already been reabsorbed into the gums. Their new adult tooth could appear in as soon as a week, or as long as six months.

The pain of wisdom teeth

Though our first incisors make an appearance at around age 6, our third set of molars often don’t come in until late teens. Believed to have been necessary for our ancestors’ diet, many people today are born with a jawbone that simply doesn’t have space for another set of molars. This overcrowding can cause wisdom teeth to be impacted – or stuck – between the jawbone and the other set of molars. Some can even get stuck and get infected while erupting, meaning they need to be taken out.

The aging tooth

Like all parts of the body, as people age, our teeth age with us. Cavities in the dentin become more common, and the risk of periodontal disease also increases. While many people do eventually need to have teeth removed, if you practice proper dental care from an early age and continue to do so at every stage of your tooth’s lifecycle, your teeth may well last a lifetime!

Whistler Dental would love to give you the reliable, affordable and exceptional dental care you need to maintain a beautiful and healthy smile for life. We offer a family-friendly environment and have plenty of experience with children of all ages, so please get in contact.

Cavities are very common in both adults and children. In fact, tooth decay is the world’s second most prevalent disease, after the common cold. We hope that none of our patients ever have to experience the pain and inconvenience of a cavity. However, if you do get a cavity in your lifetime, it’s important to know what to expect. Cavities give many warning signs before progressing to the next stage. We’ve outlined the life cycle of a cavity, so that you can spot one developing, and prevent it from causing serious damage.

#1 The early signs of decay

Tooth decay is caused when enamel is worn down by acid in the mouth. Smoking, regularly consuming acidic drinks and sugary foods, and irregular dental check-ups all increase the likeliness of dental decay. When you don’t practice good oral hygiene, the sugars on your teeth build up, and bacteria begins to feed off them and produce acid. These bacteria, food particles and saliva combine to form plaque and dull spots on the surface of the tooth.

At this stage, so long as you practice regular cleaning and good oral hygiene, it’s fairly easy to get rid of this plaque and stop these dull spots from forming into a cavity.

#2 The damage of a tooth

The plaque starts to thin as the enamel wears away. Eventually this hole will go deep enough to break the enamel surface and expose the dentin underneath. This is when the hole officially becomes a cavity. From here, the tooth will decay more rapidly, and the cavity will get larger and deeper. Cavities at this stage usually aren’t painful. This is why regular check-ups are essential, as often you won’t know if a cavity is developing.

#3 The beginning of pain

After the tooth erodes the enamel, it starts to erode the dentin. This will bring the nerve of the tooth closer to the surface, and will make your tooth extremely sensitive. As soon as you feel discomfort you should visit your dentist. As long as the decay hasn’t gotten past all of the dentin, you can still repair the tooth with a filling.

#4 The start of infection

If food and bacteria get caught in a cavity, it can be difficult to get them out. If these food particles stay in the tooth for too long, it can lead to infection – of both the tooth and of the surrounding bone. As you can imagine, this is incredibly painful! If this happens you should visit your dentist immediately to clear up the infection. A root canal – or even tooth extraction – might have to be performed as a last resort.

#5 The final treatment

As you can see, it’s far better to get treated for a cavity early on. While small cavities can be easily dealt with, large ones require much more extensive treatment, and end up being more painful and expensive for you. The best way to prevent cavities is by sticking to a good oral hygiene routine, and by visiting your dentist regularly. If you are experiencing any pain, or if it’s about time for a checkup, book your appointment with Whistler Dental today.