Caries, or tooth decay, is a preventable disease. While caries might not endanger your life, they will negatively impact your quality of life.
When your teeth and gums are consistently exposed to large amounts of starches and sugars, acids are formed by cavity-causing bacteria, these acids begin to eat away at tooth enamel. Carbohydrate-rich foods such as candy, cookies, soft drinks and even fruit juices leave deposits on your teeth. Those deposits bond with the bacteria that normally survive in your mouth and form plaque. The combination of deposits and plaque forms acids that can damage the mineral structure of teeth, with tooth decay resulting. We search for signs of cavities at each of your dental exam appointments. Tooth decay is best treated when it is smaller, regular visits to the dentist for exams and bitewing x-rays make a huge difference in spotting these lesions early.
Your teeth expand and contract in reaction to changes in temperature. Hot and cold food and beverages can cause pain or irritation to people with sensitive teeth. Over time, tooth enamel can be worn down, gums may recede or teeth may develop microscopic cracks, exposing the interior of the tooth and irritating nerve endings. Just breathing cold air can be painful for those with extremely sensitive teeth. There are numerous treatments for sensitive teeth, please let us know at your next appointment if this is a concern for you so that we may help you to get some relief from sensitivity.
Gum, or periodontal, disease can cause chronic inflammation around your teeth, bone damage, and even tooth loss. Gum disease begins with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. Gums in the early stage of disease, or gingivitis, can bleed easily and become red and swollen. At this stage, treatment and careful home care routines can easily cure the disease. As the disease progresses to periodontitis, bone loss occurs which may cause teeth to fall out or make removal by a dentist necessary.
Gum disease can be highly preventable and can usually be avoided by daily brushing and flossing. One indicator of gum disease is consistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth. At your exam appointments we monitor the gums for signs of gum disease. Based on each patient's situation, we make recommendations for frequency of professional cleanings, and types of professional cleanings. The health of these tissues that support and hold your teeth in place is very important.
Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Daily brushing and flossing helps to prevent the build-up of food particles, plaque and bacteria in your mouth. Be sure when you are brushing that you include brushing your tongue – especially towards the back, and in the center. Food particles left in the mouth deteriorate and cause bad breath. While certain foods, such as garlic or anchovies, may create temporary bad breath, consistent bad breath may be a sign of gum disease or another dental problem. If this is a concern for you please let us know at your next appointment so that we can help you to determine the cause, and help you to improve the quality of your breath.
Canker sores (aphthous ulcers) are small sores inside the mouth that often recur. Generally lasting one or two weeks, the duration of canker sores can be reduced by the use of antimicrobial mouthwashes or topical agents. The canker sore has a white or gray base surrounded by a red border. These are very uncomfortable. If you are having frequent problems with canker sores, or have any other concerns, please come visit us so that we may help you to be more comfortable.
A bite that does not meet properly (a malocclusion) can be inherited, or some types may be acquired. Some causes of malocclusion include missing or extra teeth, crowded teeth or misaligned jaws. Accidents or developmental issues, such as finger or thumb sucking over an extended period of time, may cause malocclusions. If you are concerned with the way your teeth are aligned, or the way they come together when you bite, let us know so that we may assess your situation and help you to plan accordingly for improvements.