Common Dental Problems
- Tooth Decay - Decay, or dental caries is the destruction of tooth structure by plaque bacteria. Plaque bacteria is the sticky substance that forms on teeth and combines with the sugars and/or starches in the foods that we eat. This produces an acid that attacks the tooth surface and creates a “cavity” or hole. Symptoms of tooth decay may include sensitivity to sweets, cold, hot, pressure or no symptoms at all. Diagnosis and treatment of decay in the early stages can prevent further progression of decay. If decay reaches the pulp or nerve of the tooth, a root canal may be necessary to save the tooth.
- Gum Disease - Gum disease, or Periodontal disease is an infection that affects the gums (gingiva) and bone that support the teeth. Healthy gum tissue fits tightly around the tooth. Unhealthy gum tissue pulls away from the tooth. As the disease worsens, the tissue and bone that support the tooth are destroyed. Over time, teeth may fall out or need to be removed. Symptoms of Gum disease include bleeding when you brush or floss consistently; red, swollen, tender gums; bad breath that will not go away; loose or separating teeth. Diagnosis and treatment in the early stages can help prevent tooth loss.
- Bad Breath - Bad Breath, or halitosis can be caused by layers of bacteria embedded on the tongue. Other causes include sinus drainage, certain foods, and dry mouth caused by medications, mouth breathing, and Sjogren's Disease. Understanding why you have bad breath will determine your course of treatment. Drinking water after meals and daily brushing that includes cleaning the tongue will help to reduce this aggravating problem.
- Mouth Sores - Mouth sores can be classified as Canker sores (Ulcers) or Herpes (HSVI). Canker sores are non-virus based sores that are primarily located inside the mouth that last for 7-12 days. Treatments include antimicrobial rinses, topical agents and laser. Herpes blisters are contagious virus based sores that are contracted through direct contact with the virus. They are generally located outside the mouth, but can also be found inside the mouth. Treatments include anti-viral creams and pills.
- Tooth Sensitivity - There can be multiple causes of tooth sensitivity. The chief cause is exposed root surfaces due to receded gums. The tooth has microscopic pores that allow fluid movement indirectly to the nerve in the center of the tooth. Those microscopic pores increase at the root surface. The increased porosity, combined with increased exposure (receded gums) creates the perfect environment for tooth sensitivity. Other causes include cracked teeth, tooth erosion, tooth abrasion. Treatments include sensitivity toothpaste, topical fluoride and desensitizing medicaments applied in the office.