Staring at yourself in the mirror every time you brush your teeth and floss can be a great way to practise your observational skills.
- You notice the stray nostril hair peeking out inquisitively.
- You spot the angry zit you squeezed out last week (now it’s back with a vengeance).
- And marvel at how much shade your dark circles are throwing.
In other words, you barely pay attention to what’s going on with your teeth even if you have a regular brushing routine.
With dentists, it’s different.
Qualified dentists and orthodontists may be the first to notice something’s amiss in your mouth – without even forcing you into a dentist’s chair. All they need is a picture of your teeth.
You see, they’re trained to notice teeth problems at a glance ( the stuff you don’t want to think about). They also recommend additional tests or treatments you may need ( things that are good for you but leave a bad taste in your mouth – kind of like broccoli ).
Here are some things a dentist can tell just from your teeth pictures.
1. Your level of oral hygiene
Okay, this may not qualify as earth-shattering news, but we’re including it anyway because good oral hygiene is so important.
Cleaning your teeth thoroughly after every meal helps you to stave off dental disease and bad breath. It’s so basic, yet has a huge impact on how your teeth appear in pictures. That’s why dentists can look at pictures of your teeth and immediately put you into one of two categories:
Those who go through the motions of brushing their teeth
Those who take their time to brush every tooth carefully, and floss.
Yes, you read that right.
It’s time to get comfortable with the F-word in your mouth (we mean flossing, of course).
Cleaning between the teeth is just as important as tooth brushing. Why? Because a toothbrush cannot reach between the teeth. Brushing only removes about half of the plaque from the surface of the teeth.
Plaque contains bacteria. So if you don’t remove the bacteria through regular brushing and flossing, you could be setting yourself up for more serious dental conditions such as tooth decay, gum disease, and tartar buildup.
2. You have gum issues
No, we’re not talking about your chewing gum habit.
This is about your gingiva (the part of your gum around the base of your teeth). Not surprisingly, it’s quite easy for a dentist to tell from a picture if you’re taking care of your gums. Gingivitis is a common form of gum disease that causes irritation, redness and swelling of your gingiva (all highly visible symptoms to the trained eye).
The most common cause of gingivitis?
Poor oral hygiene. Thankfully, gingivitis is preventable and reversible. Brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily and getting regular dental checkups, goes a long way.
Just because your gums are easy to take care of though, doesn’t mean you should take gum issues lightly. If not treated promptly, gingivitis can lead to a much more serious gum disease called periodontitis and tooth loss.
3. You have dental caries
Tooth decay, also known as dental caries or cavities, is a breakdown of your teeth due to acids made by bacteria. Because cavities come in a number of different colors from yellow to black, these should be easy to spot just from looking at pictures of your teeth.
What causes dental caries?
When bacteria break down unremoved food debris or sugar on the tooth surface, they produce acid. That acid dissolves the hard tissues of your teeth. If left unchecked the decay can progress and devour the pulp in the center of your tooth, resulting in a throbbing toothache.
Do yourself a favour and skip the aching and agony. Give your teeth a once-over by a dentist regularly.
4. You've got crooked or misaligned teeth
Diagnosing and treating crooked or misaligned teeth should be left to the pros – like dentists and orthodontists. This is because you could have one of multiple underlying issues including teeth overcrowding, gaps in teeth, crooked teeth, or protruding teeth.
When there’s a lack of space for all of your teeth to properly fit in your mouth, that’s when teeth overcrowding occurs. But why does this happen?
Simply put, there’s a mismatch between your teeth and jaw size. For example, if your teeth are bigger than the size of your jaw allows, they will not be able to fit in the space available.
Why are crowded teeth a problem?
- Having your teeth trying to upstage each other as they vye for prime real estate in your mouth, does not look pretty. This is why crowded teeth make people feel self-conscious about their appearance.
- Cleaning your teeth properly becomes more difficult, making it harder to eliminate all the plaque on and between your teeth. This raises the risk of dental diseases.
Gaps in teeth
A gap or space between your teeth (also known as a diastema) is sometimes noticeable between the two upper front teeth.
While some gaps are barely noticeable, others are larger and more difficult to hide. This condition is related to the size of your teeth and that of your jaw bone. Gaps may form when a person’s teeth are too small for the jaw bone. As a result, teeth end up spaced too far apart.
Like teeth overcrowding, gaps in teeth can often result in lower self-esteem in the individual, especially if the gap is prominent.
Minor crooked teeth
What causes misaligned teeth? If you have one or two crooked teeth, likely it’s because of overcrowding or a narrow palate. Because the teeth do not have enough room, nearby teeth tend to push them to the front or back of your smile.
Although minor crooked teeth do not affect your oral health adversely, they can damage one’s self-esteem, and make one more reluctant to smile openly.
Protruding teeth, also known as buck teeth is a malocclusion that can have varying degrees of severity. In some cases, protruding teeth lead to complications such as damage to other teeth, gums, or the tongue from accidental biting.
While some may prefer to treat protruding teeth for aesthetic reasons, many – like Freddie Mercury – opt not to treat it and just live with it.
Get a professional Smile Assessment
Alright it’s real talk time.
Admit it: There’s a lot more going on in your mouth than you ever thought.
Now that you’re more aware of them, what’s your next step?
Self-diagnose your mouth every morning while playing doctor on Google?
That’s not going to work out…
If you’re not sure you have a problem with your teeth (or you know you have a problem –you just don’t know what it is ), a FREE online Professional Smile Assessment is just what you need.
Sending in pictures of your teeth to a trusted dental professional can cut through the confusion faster than a drill through the enamel.
Where to start? Take our FREE online pre-assessment below. It’s never too late to join the smile revolution!
Free Your Smile Today
The straightest, widest, most uninhibited smile ever is waiting to be unleashed on an unsuspecting public (Trust us. They’ll never know what hit them).
Will it be YOUR smile?