Our teeth and our bones will be the ones that will stand the test of time long after we are gone. They will also be the last man standing. But why and how is it possible for it to last that long? It’s in the ingredients with which it has been formed. Look at all the scientific and archaeological excavations that’s going on all across the World. Without the existence of bone and teeth we would never even have opened the chapter of imagination on the size of dinosaurs nor the Pharaohs of Egypt. There would be no blueprint to work with. Even today we have no clue about the billions of invertebrates that has been lost to extinction just due to the very fact that they were made of soft tissues or plain cartilage. We do not know if any other species even existed. Unlike bones these tissues don’t stand a chance in the balance of evolution. So they are lost to oblivion without them ever having been know to exist in the first place.
Now let’s analyze our teeth. It’s made of dense calcified structures similar to shells and corals which we see popping up along our shore lines. Enamel is made of a number of naturally occurring elements such as copper, cobalt, aluminum, lead, iodine, selenium, manganese, and nickel. Enamel is the outermost hard shell that form the crown of any teeth. Calcium and phosphorus also plays a major part in its composition. The anatomy of layers that exist in any teeth whether it is Human or animal seem to be the same with minor modifications such as a modified venom channel that is seen in reptile fangs. Dentin lies just underneath the outer layer of enamel and is not as hard as enamel. It’s the part of the tooth that surrounds the entire pulp chamber pulp. The enamel encompassing the crown meets the cementum which covers the entire root surface, at the gum level. Only the crown is covered by enamel. The Pulp is the innermost portion of the tooth self contained within a chamber running along the length of the teeth from the crown to the tip of the root. It mainly consists of connective tissue, blood vessels and nerves, which in a way nourishes the tooth. The whole teeth is connected to the supporting bone by many microscopic hammock like structures which absorbs the shock of chewing and grinding. The entire apparatus sits within a socket surrounded by alveolar bone. Now that we know about the anatomy, let’s move on to learn about Adult and Children’s teeth.
We are lucky in a way to have 2 sets of teeth one is called deciduous or baby teeth and the other one is the adult set. But we do not have the luxury of having teeth which keep forming and shedding throughout their lives. We are given a second chance in case we were negligent on the first to keep what we have. Theoretically adults have 32 adult teeth and 20 Baby teeth. Then there’s the mixed dentition period, which is a stage in our lives in which there is a mixture of both adult and baby teeth seen at the same time in our mouth. The eruption patterns and shedding times of each teeth varies and has many factors tied to it. But a range has been set for enabling us to predict the occurrences based on a almost definitive time line.
Doesn’t matter which set of teeth we have they are soaked in saliva throughout our lives. At night, the production of saliva is very low. Certain medications cause dry mouth leading to increased in cavity formation. Saliva acts as a lubricant, helps in the digestion of food, prevents cavity formation, acts as an anti-bacterial and acts in flushing out debris from all corners of the mouth. They are produced from a series of salivary glands present in the vicinity of the mouth. Then we have the sinuses which are in fact empty cavities lined with a soft tissue lining. This is connected to the nose as well. So there is a well defined communication established between the nose, the sinuses and the mouth. So now you are able to relate what happens when you catch a cold in terms of different pathways of mucous flow. Our mouth is also filled with beneficial and harmful bacteria which is completely normal. As long as there is a balance between the two we would not succumb to diseases. If the balance is disrupted we will be facing the consequences. This requires us to understand the progress of the disease in order to plan it’s subsequent treatment. Our teeth helps in giving us our facial structure, Lip support, facial support, helps with our identity, chewing efficiency, and speech just to name a few.
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With the clear understanding of teeth by the patient and the relationship that has been established by the doctor-patient relationship, both in combination with a mutually agreed upon customized treatment plan would help bring about the desired outcome for both the doctor and the patient. An open discussion with full understanding of the treatment plan, it’s benefits and all possible consequences need to be fully talked about and understood by the patient before giving an informed consent in writing to the doctor to proceed with their desired treatment. Abnormal or para functional habits also do affect the structural integrity of your teeth which may include bruxism and clenching. The effects of which may present itself as chipped, fractured or worn out teeth. The communication between the patient and the doctor must be open to enable a well laid out treatment sequence. So everything must be discussed upfront and not after the fact. This may include any and all symptoms, frequency and duration, nature of the symptoms, aggravating and relieving factors, type and character of the pain, and the detailed history. Clinical history is very essential for the diagnosis and the type of treatment that need to be instituted for that particular situation. Doctors don’t read minds. So please do not hide anything that may jeopardize your treatment. They go by what you say and what you present yourself with. So open communication is the key here.
Baby tooth has diverging roots which encompasses the crowns of the developing permanent tooth. The baby tooth is very important because it holds the space for the permanent teeth until it erupts into place where the baby tooth stood its ground. This helps in accommodating the crown of the erupting permanent tooth once it erupts. If the baby tooth falls way ahead of its eruption time, a space maintainer would be needed to hold that space until the permanent teeth crown erupts into place. Nature has planned the sequence so well that it is very fascinating and at the same time mysterious, as though each tooth has ha clock set within them.
Instead of talking about disease, why not we talk about prevention. Why prevent disease? First of all this is much cheaper, pain free and effortless. All you have to do is to take yourself to your dentist. Then he or she takes over from there. Most people wait for something to happen before going to the dentist. That’s when they may have a bad experiences due to various factors including the presence of infection which may make management much more difficult for both the patient and doctor. This can be completely avoided by seeing your dentist every 3 months just for your preventative maintenance. This is much cheaper and your wallet will thank you for it. Your teeth will too. So take care of your teeth and it will take care of you.
You have a choice and it’s your’s.