Why is oral hygiene so important? Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases (periodontal disease) than from cavities. There is evidence to suggest a link between the bacteria in periodontal disease and various heart conditions. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is through good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily. Remember that bleeding gums may be a sign of periodontal disease.
Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental calculus (teeth tartar) to a minimum, but a professional cleaning will remove calculus in places your toothbrush and floss have missed. Because we evaluate and monitor your periodontal condition at each hygiene appointment, your visit to our office is an important part of your program to prevent gum disease. The frequency of your hygiene visits will depend on your individual periodontal condition. Remember, we want to help you keep your teeth for a lifetime.
Fillings are done to remove decay and replace the affected tooth structure. It is called a filling because new material fills holes that decay left. These days, most teeth are treated with bonded, tooth-colored, composite resin fillings. Caught early enough, cavities can be treated easily and painlessly. If not treated, decay can lead to tooth pain and/or infection, and the tooth would need root canal treatment or extraction.
Bonding involves adhering composite resin material that is matched to the color of the tooth to the front of the tooth. This is done to repair damage done to the tooth by decay, to alter the alignment of the tooth, close gaps between the teeth, or for cosmetic purposes. First the surface of the tooth is roughened in order to accept the bonding and hold it. A gel is applied to microetch the tooth surface, and a primer/bond agent is applied so the material adheres to the surface. Then the material itself is placed on the tooth and hardened with intense light. The composite resin material is shaped and polished to get a lustrous finish as a last step.
This is used to fill in narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. In some cases, the tooth structure has fine grooves or pits which accumulate plaque, not because the person doesn't brush, but because they're too narrow to allow even one bristle into them. These will develop cavities over time, and you don't want that. So the dentist will brush on a coating that seals the grooves and pits, making it possible to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthy.
Non-Surgical Gum Treatment
The gums, ligaments, and bone around the teeth form the foundation for one's teeth. All structures are also referred to as the periodontium. When the periodontium is not healthy, it jeopardizes the teeth just as a bad foundation would threaten the stability of a house. Signs of unhealthy periodontium (gum disease) may be as follows: gums that are red and bleed easily, persistent bad breath, gums that are pulled away from the tooth, loose teeth, and changes in the position or bite of the teeth. Any of these signs may mean something is wrong. With the proper care, however, it may be possible to return them to a healthy state. This is where appropriate gum treatments come in. If you're having a problem, come in and see us so we can take care of it right away. The treatment usually involves a deep cleaning or root planing done under a local anesthetic, along with local antibiotic agents. If the gum disease gets too severe it may need to be treated through surgery or extraction. This is why it is important to get it treated at the first sign of a problem.
This is a focused beam of X-ray particles through bone which produces an image on a special film, showing the structure through which it passed. This gives the familiar black and white images that doctors and dentists use to diagnose problems. X-rays are a necessary part of the diagnostic process, and not to use them could lead to undiagnosed disease. Without an X-ray of the whole tooth, and supporting bone and gum tissues, there is no real way to detect infection or pathology that requires attention.
In our office we use digital radiography which allows us to take X-rays using 50-70% less radiation versus conventional X-rays. Coupled with computer monitoring, digital x-ray technology allows us to enhance the images for better diagnosis of any dental concerns.