Teeth, Diseases of
Teeth, Diseases of
diseases of the hard and soft tissues of the teeth. They may be caused by unfavorable external influences on the teeth, such as mechanical trauma, chemical substances, or physical factors, including penetrating radiation, or they may arise as a result of diseases of internal organs and systems of the body, especially of the gastrointestinal tract, and in metabolic disturbances. They may also occur when there is excessive or insufficient fluoride in the drinking water.
The most common diseases of the teeth are dental caries, fluorosis, pulpitis, and periodontitis, a disease caused by inflammation of the tissues surrounding the teeth. Complications of caries may take the form of periostitis and osteomyelitis of the jaws and of phlegmon of the submaxillary region and face. Defects of the hard tissues include hypoplasia (underdevelopment) of the enamel, hyperesthesia (increased sensitivity) of the teeth, the sphenoid defect, and necrosis of the tooth tissues. Anomalies of the teeth arise if tooth tissues have been improperly formed. Supernumerary teeth may form, or there may be an absence of one, several, or all the teeth (edentia), a condition that manifests itself after the teeth have erupted (20–22 years). Often teeth are damaged by unfavorable occupational factors, for example, the injury to the enamel caused by acids, the changes brought about in the enamel by mercury, and necroses. Also classified as a disease of teeth is the pathological process that arises when there is difficult eruption, most often of the wisdom teeth (pericoronitis).
In many countries, including the USSR, extensive measures are being taken against diseases of the teeth, among which the more effective ones are the establishment of a network of public institutions providing free dental care, fluoridation of water in localities with low fluorine content of the water supply, and a dispensary (preventive medicine) system for certain categories of the population. The structure of the teeth, as well as diseases of the teeth and their prevention, are studied in stomatology.
A. I. RYBAKOV