We all know brushing and flossing make our mouth feel great. But, brushing and flossing do more than freshen breath – they physically disrupt the complex network of bacteria called a biofilm. It’s important to disrupt and remove the sticky film so diseases like cavities and gum disease are less likely to happen. There are a lot of products on the market that claim they are the best. Make sure to talk about the options with your hygienist to get the best recommendation.
And as you know, it is important to brush twice a day for at least two minutes, and floss once. If you have a hard time remembering to floss, connect it with a daily activity you always do. You can floss in the shower or while driving to work!
Gum disease sometimes called Periodontitis is a common and often, preventable disease. It affects the soft tissues around the teeth causing inflammation. Once the soft tissues are damaged the bone deteriorates, leading to tooth loss.
There are three usual causes of gum disease. The first and most common is chronic periodontitis. This occurs when oral hygiene is neglected and bacteria accumulate beneath the gum line, eventually turning into a hard substance called tartar. Tartar is not easily removed by brushing and flossing and requires a professional cleaning. If left untreated the gums become inflamed and damaged and bone loss occurs. The second cause is aggressive periodontitis, this is believed to have a genetic component as it shows up in a small number of families. It moves quickly and can even be seen in children. The last, and most rare cause is necrotizing periodontal disease. This can occur in people with immune issues and or chronic disease. The soft tissues and bone are compromised due to lack of blood flow to the area.
You should talk to the dentist if you notice any of the following:
The dental team can help determine how serious your issue is and what level of treatment you need.
For mild cases, sometimes called gingivitis, improving your oral hygiene will be enough to get your gums healthy again. In more severe cases you will need a deep cleaning called scaling and root planing.
If you have chronic periodontal issues, we may recommend scaling and root planing. Scaling refers to a procedure where we scrape the build-up of tartar from above and below the gumline. Then, planing is where the tooth roots are smoothed out so the gum tissue can successfully reattach to the bone. Depending on your case, the procedure can happen in one appointment or several.
Your case may benefit from laser assisted treatment. If so, a small laser is used to remove damaged gum tissue to make it easier to remove build up. Lasers are precise and is less invasive than other surgical options.
Receding gums affect about half of Americans over the age of 50. But, young people can experience gum recession too. You may be genetically predisposed to gum recession. Some people are born with thin gums. Other times the environment might contribute to recession. Things like aggressive brushing, trauma, surgery or ill-fitting partials can cause recession.
If you notice a tooth looks long or you experience sensitivity or pain when brushing and flossing, you could have gum recession. Be sure to come in and have one of the doctor’s take a look. If you have recession we can typically graft a small amount of skin from your palate and patch it over the receding area. The treatment helps protect the tooth from further damage. It is a minor procedure that can be done for a single tooth or multiple teeth depending on your need.
54,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. A staggering statistic. Early detection of oral cancer can improve chances of effective treatment. That’s why we provide oral cancer screenings at your appointments.
A special light is used to detect abnormal tissue. It is fast and painless. If you have questions about oral cancer screening, don’t hesitate to ask.
If you are part of the 10-15% of people that suffer from bruxism you may benefit from a nightguard. Clenching and grinding your teeth while you sleep can lead to damage to your teeth and any restorative dental work you may have. It can also contribute to headaches and jaw pain. If this sounds like you, come in for a consult. A nightguard will protect your teeth during the night.
Kids in sports are prone to injury. If your child plays sports they should wear a protective mouthguard. We can create a custom mouthguard for your child that will keep their teeth protected. It is easier and cheaper to protect teeth, rather than fix them. If you want more information about mouthguards ask any of our skilled team members!