Dental Problems for Adults: Common Types & Helpful Solutions

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Dental Problems for Adults: Common Types & Helpful Solutions

A lot of people do not like going to the dentist. However, you need to continue your biannual checkups even in adulthood. In many cases, great oral hygiene can be effective in preventing many dental problems. Still, some issues develop.

A person might face cavities or crooked teeth. Luckily, there are ways to help people have a healthy and beautiful smile. Here is what you need to know about common dental problems and their solutions.


One of the dental problems a person may face as an adult is a cavity. According to the Center for Disease Control, around 90% of adults have cavities. Also called tooth decay, it is a small hole that forms in the tooth. It can potentially grow bigger, and people need to get them detected early.

Cavities may cause teeth to feel sensitive and painful. Areas of plaque often cause the dental problem, which forms from:

  • Saliva
  • Food particles
  • Bacteria

A condition known as dry mouth can lead to cavities as well. A person can prevent the issue by flossing at least once a day. People also need to brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.

Cavity Solutions

If you have a cavity, the best solution is to get a filling. The dentist will drill into the area of the decay and remove the material. Then, the hole gets filled in with a type of resin. Another effective treatment is a crown.

A crown is a cap that covers the tooth, and the dentist may choose this option for more severe cavities. A 2018 study found that dental crowns had decent success and longevity. However, a heavily restored tooth can lead to a higher chance of crown failure.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is an inflammation in the gums. The American Association of Orthodontists reports that 50% of adults in the United States have mild to severe gum disease. The mild form is called gingivitis, but it can progress to periodontitis if someone leaves gum disease untreated.

There is a small space between the gums and teeth, and food or plaque can get stuck in the pockets. As a result, an infection can occur. The CDC lists a weak immune system, tobacco use, and poor oral hygiene as risk factors. Diabetes and pregnancy also can increase the chances of gum disease.

Symptoms include:

  • Red or swollen gums
  • The gums bleeding when you brush or floss.
  • Painful chewing

Gum Disease Solutions

For many people, deep cleaning can treat gum disease with ease. One technique a dentist might use will involve the removal of tartar, or hardened plaque, from above and below the gumline. In some cases, a dentist will use lasers to remove tartar.

If you have gum disease, another solution is medication. You could use an antiseptic mouthwash to disinfect your mouth. You may also take oral antibiotics for persistent gum disease.

Oral Cancer

Another adult dental problem is oral cancer. Oral cancer will form in the tissues of the mouth or throat, and it often develops in the mouth, tongue, or lips. Sometimes, dentists will spot oral cancer in the gums and floor of the mouth.

The NIDCR found that there are roughly 53,000 new cases every year. Adults over 40 years of age are more likely to have oral cancer. Other risk factors include alcohol and tobacco use. Sun exposure can lead to cancer forming on the lips.

A person with oral cancer may notice:

  • A sore in the mouth or throat
  • Ear pain
  • Difficulty chewing and swallowing
  • A white or red patch in the mouth

Oral Cancer Solutions

If detected early, you can treat oral cancer with surgery. The procedure will remove the tumor as well as other tissue around the area. Another solution is radiation therapy, which aims radiation at the tumor once or twice a day. Treatment occurs five days a week for two to eight weeks.

Usually, a dentist will refer you to a specialist. A specialist may be another dentist that handles oral cancer cases or a head and neck doctor. If the cancer is further along, the solution may involve a combination of treatments. You might undergo chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Crooked Teeth

Crooked or misaligned teeth are common among adults. As the name suggests, it is when the rows of teeth grow and move into a crooked placement. One cause is that there is not enough room for the teeth when they come out during childhood. It often persists to adulthood.

Thumb sucking and mouth breathing also can contribute to misaligned teeth. Other dental problems, like gum disease, can lead to crooked teeth, and the misalignment can increase wear and tear damage. Some people have had speech difficulties and chewing issues. Plenty of people have felt less confident because of crooked teeth.

Crooked Teeth Solutions

Fortunately, there are teeth straightening treatments available. One of the most common options is braces. You might be familiar with metal braces, which consist of brackets, bands, and flexible wire. Another solution involves the use of aligners.

Aligners are clear braces made of plastic, and they are custom-fit to your teeth. The appearance resembles a mouthguard. Aligners can be the better option since they do the same job as metal braces without being noticeable. One of the benefits is that they are easily removable.

Research done by Turk J. Orthod reveals that clear aligners improved oral hygiene and decreased plaque levels. Patients did not have to spend as much time with the dentist compared to fixed braces. Aligners help with mild to moderate crowding and arches.

Dental Problems for Adults: Common Types & Helpful Solutions

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Cavities. (n.d.). CDC. Retrieved August 3, 2021, from Collares K, Correa MB, Bronkhorst EM, Laske M, Huysmans MDNJM, Opdam NJ. A practice based longevity study on single-unit crowns. J Dent. 2018 Jul;74:43-48. doi: 10.1016/j.jdent.2018.05.013. Epub 2018 May 22. PMID: 29800638. Oral Cancer. (n.d.). National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Retrieved August 3, 2021, from Tamer, İ., Öztaş, E., & Marşan, G. (2019). Orthodontic Treatment with Clear Aligners and The Scientific Reality Behind Their Marketing: A Literature Review. Turkish journal of orthodontics, 32(4), 241–246.

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