Cavities always start small and are undetectable to the naked eye. However, if left unchecked and untreated, the decay will eventually progress and bypass the protective layers of the tooth. Once the cavity reaches the inner chamber, an infection is imminent and will cause serious damage to the tooth.
The onset of tooth decay happens when acids in your mouth attack the hard outer layer or the enamel of your tooth through a process called demineralization. This happens on a small portion of the surface of the tooth first. This early stage of tooth decay comes in the form of a white spot (also called lesion) on the enamel. If the decay is detected at this point, steps can be taken to remineralize the enamel and stop the cavity from progressing.
Stage Two: Enamel Erosion or Decay
If the initial lesion isn’t treated immediately, the tooth will break down further and cause the decay of the tooth enamel. The damage has now officially become tooth decay. The cavity can now be seen using a dental x-ray and the underlying dentin layer of the tooth is exposed. The cavity can cause patients to suffer from tooth sensitivity when eating or drinking too hot and extremely cold foods and beverages.
The decay at this stage can be still be treated by removing the decayed material and the placement of dental filling, inlay, onlay, or crown.
Stage Three: Dentin Erosion or Decay
The cavity will further spread to the dentin of the tooth if the enamel decay was not treated immediately. Dentin is a porous substance which is not as durable as enamel. When the cavity reaches the dentin, treatment becomes a far more crucial matter because the pace of the decay will go faster.
Stage Four: Dental Pulp Infection
The dental pulp is made up of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues and it is found in the innermost part of a tooth. This pulp plays an important role in the maturation and overall health of a tooth. If the bacteria reach the dentin layer of the tooth, it means that the dental pulp has also been breached. This causes a root canal infection which can be highly painful and uncomfortable.
At this stage, root canal therapy and tooth extraction are the only treatment options.
Stage Five: Abscess Formation
If root canal therapy or tooth extraction has still not been performed, the infection will spread beyond the dental pulp. The surrounding tissues, including the gum tissues and jawbone, will be affected and inflammation and swelling are imminent. Abscesses or the accumulation of pus will also appear as a response to the infection. The presence of an abscess can be a serious health problem which can result in a major general infection and other health issues, especially if it bursts. At this point, the infection has to be treated with antibiotics before the severely decayed tooth will be removed.
The longer you wait to have your cavities treated, the worse it will be for your tooth. If you suspect you have some dental caries or if your dentist has already ascertained this, get the recommended treatment quickly so that you can still preserve your natural tooth.
Although dentists recommend flossing for enhanced oral hygiene, at least a third of Americans don’t floss at all. Studies indicate that this may be due to lack of education or not stressing the importance of flossing enough to make it a habit. By not flossing, you increase your chances of developing gum disease.
Here is a more detailed explanation of the consequences of not flossing your teeth from a trusted Prescott, AZ dentist.
When you eat, food particles get lodged in your teeth and beneath your gums. It is in these types of environments where bacteria thrive and multiply. Brushing your teeth is not enough as the bristles cannot get into these hard-to-reach places. Dental floss works as a supplementary tool, cleaning the areas that your brush can’t reach. Making flossing a daily routine ensures that no substances or organisms can make your mouth their home.
Buildup of plaque and tartar
Not flossing causes a variety of dental issues. If you skip flossing for even just a few days, you run the risk of developing a buildup of plaque. Solidified plaque is known as tartar. Once a layer of tartar has formed and hardened on your teeth, it becomes more difficult to remove. You will need to visit a dentist to have all of the tartar removed.
Over time, if you don’t make flossing a daily habit, you could potentially develop gum disease. Gum disease occurs when your gums become inflamed due to the bacteria inside your mouth. The inflammation makes your gums sensitive to pressure and makes it more prone to bleeding. Even eating becomes uncomfortable at some point.
In extreme cases, you could potentially lose your teeth because of gum disease or cavities. This happens when the disease has affected your gums to the point that it can no longer provide support for your teeth. In another study, it was found that approximately 10 percent of Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 no longer had any teeth left.
Compared to men, women are more likely to develop gum disease. The probability of developing gum disease rises during pregnancy. Having gum disease while pregnant can lead to giving birth to premature babies or babies with low birth weights.
With poor oral hygiene habits, your mouth becomes the ideal breeding ground for bacteria and pathogens. By not brushing and flossing, your body will reabsorb these microscopic organisms. Some of these pathogens may end up in your lungs where it could cause a host of respiratory issues. One review established a connection between poor dental hygiene and developing pneumonia. By simply brushing and flossing, patients lowered their chances of developing pneumonia by as much as 40 percent. Schedule your appointment with one of our dentists today!
After brushing, you check your teeth and gums in the mirror and you notice something unusual. It’s either your teeth have become longer or your gums have become smaller.
What’s happening here? The answer: gum recession.
Gum recession is a condition wherein the area where the teeth and gums meet pulls back. When this happens, more of the tooth becomes exposed. This also creates what a Prescott, AZ dentist calls pockets which can leave your teeth and gums vulnerable to the build-up of bacteria. Left unchecked, gum recession can lead to damage to the supporting tissues and bones, and eventually, tooth loss.
Gum recession is fairly common and most people do not know they have receding gums until the condition has progressed to a more advanced stage.
There are, however, a few signs that indicate that a person has receding gums. These include increased tooth sensitivity and longer-looking teeth.
What causes gum recession?
There are several possible causes of gum recession.
Periodontal or gum disease is the leading cause of gum recession.
This bacterial infection destroys both the gum tissues and the supporting bones of the teeth.
Another common cause of this condition is poor oral hygiene.
If you fail to properly and regularly brush and floss your teeth, plaque can easily build up in your mouth and eventually form into tartar.
But sometimes, too much of a good thing can be bad. Take brushing, for example. If you brush your teeth too hard or if you do not brush your teeth properly, you risk wearing away the enamel on your teeth and cause your gums to recede.
Some people have receding gums simply because they are genetically predisposed to suffer from this condition.
According to some estimates, about 30 percent of people will get receding gums even if they take great care of their teeth and gums.
Pregnant, menopausal, and young girls undergoing puberty are also vulnerable to gum recession as changes in their hormones adversely affect their gum tissues.
Cigarette smokers and people who use tobacco products are also highly likely to have receding gums. This is because these people have more plaque on their teeth which can cause gum recession.
If you have bite problems or crooked teeth, you are leaving yourself vulnerable to gum recession if you do not seek the appropriate treatment. Your condition places too much force on the gums and bones which may cause recession. The same thing can happen to people who clench and grind their teeth.
Gum recession may also be caused by piercings on the lip or tongue. When your body piercing jewelry rubs against your gums, this can cause irritation and eventually gum recession.
Gum recession is a serious concern and you should immediately see your dentist for the appropriate treatment.
Written by Horizon DDS, March 09th, 2017 | Comments Off on What Causes Gum Recession?
A person’s teeth are often the first things that will be noticed as he or she interacts with other people. It’s a prominent facial feature that most people try hard to maintain and protect.
However, not everyone is born with perfect teeth. Sometimes the teeth in the upper jaw (maxillary) protrude and overlap the teeth in the lower jaw (mandible), creating an unpleasant overbite appearance.
In cases like these, people seek out the available options for overbite correction by asking experts such as a Prescott, AZ dentist to help them with their dental problem. Contrary to what some believe, an overbite can still be treated using a wide range of dental correction techniques, including the following:
Much like traditional retainers, Invisalign is a type of dental correction tool that reconfigures one’s teeth. Although it is often confused with a retainer, Invisalign is significantly different from its more old-fashioned counterpart.
As its name suggests, Invisalign is hard to detect when worn. Unless one carefully and critically observes the wearer’s teeth, it is nearly invisible to the naked eye. It’s clear and translucent material is what does the trick. As much as it is aesthetic, Invisalign has also been clinically proven to be effective not just in treating overbites but other dental misalignments as well.
One of the oldest teeth realignment techniques is dental braces installation. It involves attaching metal brackets to the teeth, guiding each tooth to their appropriate positions. Sometimes, the need for screws, headgear, and rubber bands arises, which can make it a less appealing option for overbite correction. It is, however, one of the most affordable and effective choices available.
Surgery or realignment of the jaw
When one’s overbite is too severe to fix with Invisalign and other non-invasive methods, it is time to consider more serious solutions. Surgery is often the last resort for those who suffer from an overbite; it is a medical procedure wherein a person’s jaw is realigned. In some cases, the lower jaw is too large to be in the same position as the maxillary, which creates the possibility of restructuring it to the right proportions.
Aside from the abovementioned options, there are many other overbite correction alternatives available on the market today. Thanks to modern technology, dental experts can now use advanced dental correction procedures to help patients achieve dental perfection without having to experience pain and discomfort.
But how do you get gingivitis? Gum infections arise when the microorganisms in your mouth enter an area that is susceptible to infection and begin multiplying. Typically, these microorganisms hide in the space between the teeth and gums. And when these microorganisms are not removed, they can cause serious dental problems like tissue breakdown, periodontal pockets and infections.
According to studies, about half of adult Americans have a mild case of gum disease known as gingivitis. Furthermore, it is estimated that somewhere between five and 15 percent of adult Americans have an advanced form of gum diseases known as periodontitis. The main reason behind this relatively small number is because patients who regularly visit their dentists are made aware of their condition and their dental care professionals are able to contain the problem before it worsens.
If you have periodontitis, the area between the teeth and gums become affected as the nearby tissue begin to break down. In turn, when the tissue becomes damaged, the area between the teeth and gums develops pockets where bacteria are stored, which eventually leads to gum infection.
Don’t Hesitate To Visit Your Prescott Valley Dentist
At the first sign of gum infection, it is highly recommended that you visit the dentist as soon as possible. Symptoms include swollen, tender or bleeding gums, pus coming out of the gums, bad breath, loose teeth and receding gums. If you notice anything different with your bite, that may also be one sign of gum infection.
How is gum infection treated?
There are a few options when it comes to treating gum infections. Which treatment will be used for you will depend heavily on the severity of your infection. Among these, the most common ways to treat gum infections are antibiotics, root planing and scaling, and surgery.
In an antibiotic treatment, your dentist can either prescribe an antibiotic pill or administer an antibiotic injection on the affected area. Root planing and scaling is often used for more advanced cases of gum infection. Here, the areas between the gums and teeth are thoroughly cleaned. Finally, surgery is recommended as a last resort. Under surgery, there are a few additional options including flap procedure and gingivectomy.
If you want to avoid gum infection, your best defense is practicing good oral hygiene habits including regular brushing and flossing and visits to your Prescott Valley Dentist.
Written by Horizon DDS, May 26th, 2016 | Comments Off on How Gingivitis is Treated
After brushing your teeth, you gargle and rinse your mouth and then you notice a tinge of blood on the sink.
You might think that this is normal and nothing to worry about. However, bleeding gums are often a sign of a few dental problems, including gum disease. Gum disease, in particular, can be hard to detect because it is not painful for people who suffer from it. Most people realize that they are suffering from it during the advanced stages. Taking note of gum bleeding and seeking professional help at once can help prevent gum disease from worsening. Let’s take a look at a few ways that you can prevent bleeding gums.
What causes bleeding gums?
Bleeding gums usually indicate dental problems. Rarely do these indicate a problem with other body parts. Apart from gum disease, there are other causes of bleeding gums.
These include brushing too hard, a vitamin deficiency, some types of medications, bleeding/clotting disorders, hormonal changes due to pregnancy, ill-fitting dentures, and mouth sores. Patients who suffer from leukemia, diabetes, heart disease and scurvy may also experience bleeding gums.
Treating bleeding gums
Dentists treat bleeding gums by removing the build-up of plaque which leads to gum disease. Over time, plaque can turn into tartar which adheres to the teeth. And the more that tartar adheres to your teeth, the more likely it will be for plaque to get below the gum line and lead to infections.
If you notice that you have bleeding gums, book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to treat your gingivitis and prevent gum disease.
Dentists may also use techniques like scaling and root planing for patients who suffer from advanced periodontal disease.
If you want to know how to prevent bleeding gums, your dentist can offer a few invaluable tips for your unique condition. But broadly speaking, there are a few simple things that you can do to prevent bleeding gums.
For starters, learn and master good oral hygiene habits, including proper brushing and flossing. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and use these gently on your teeth and gums. When flossing, make sure you reach beyond the gum line.
If you are a smoker, consider quitting your vice. Try to eat a balanced diet and avoid or limit your intake of foods with too much sugar and carbohydrates. If you have a new set of dentures, make sure that these fit you well.
If you cannot prevent bleeding gums, you can use a cold compress to control it. Avoid using mouthwashes which contain alcohol. Use a saline mix or hydrogen peroxide instead.
Gum bleeding can be a sign of a bigger health concern. If you have tried all the at home remedies and you are still in pain or your still concerned about your bleeding gums, contact your Prescott Valley dentist at Horizon Dental Care.
Plaque build-up, gingivitis gum inflammation – the most common reasons
Periodontal disease, tooth or gum infection
Improper dental hygiene practices. You may be brushing too vigorously or applying too much force when flossing
Reasons that may not be directly related to your dental health. You may have a bleeding disorder, or you may be pregnant undergoing hormonal change
Ill-fitting dentures or braces
Existing medical conditions. Bleeding gums are also associated with leukemia, Vitamin K deficiency and scurvy
The use of medication that may thin out your blood
Bleeding gums can lead to serious complications, so it’s important to address the problem as soon as you notice it. The best way to know how to prevent bleeding gums is to visit your dentist. Only your dentist will be able to determine the root cause of the bleeding and therefore provide you with the specific treatment you need.
In the meantime, you can embark on the following changes in your lifestyle, health and hygiene routines to alleviate the condition:
Investigate your dental care routine
Choose your toothbrush well – perhaps a soft-bristled brush will be more suitable for you. Switching to a toothpaste for sensitive teeth and gums can also be a good option. Know the right strokes and movements for brushing teeth so you can get at as much food particles and bacteria from your mouth without putting too much trauma on the gums.
Lead a healthier lifestyle
Change your diet — say no to sugary treats that cause tooth decay and eat more fruits and vegetables that are rich in dental health-boosting vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium and calcium. Also, make sure to enjoy a deep sleep every night. Studies show that high stress levels lower your immune system and make you prone to inflammation, which leads to gum bleeding.
Ditch the bad habits
Avoid smoking and alcohol, as these substances can make inflammation and bleeding more aggressive. As much as possible, don’t take any drugs and over-the-counter medication unless recommended by your doctor. Don’t share anything that touches your mouth — toothbrush, drinking glass, utensils, etc. — because this is a way for bacteria to transfer from one person to another.
Consult your dentist
Avoid the guesswork and seek help from your trusted dentist, especially if the bleeding has been happening for some time now and despite your at-home remedies. Most likely, you will be asked to undergo a periodontal examination, so your dentist can accurately diagnose your condition.
What Causes Bleeding Gums & What Can You Do About It?
Dental health is crucial to your overall health. It’s not just about maintaining an appealing look, with straight, unstained teeth. It’s also about not having to deal with pain or discomfort when you eat. This is why you might find it troubling when you experience bleeding gums.
Am I Brushing Too Hard?
One of the first things that comes to mind when we see a little bit of blood on a toothbrush, is brushing too hard. Your gums could bleed when you brush too vigorously. You brush too hard because you think this is the right technique to remove plaque. But as your dentist will tell you, the right way to brush is to use gentle movements; harsh brushing might not only make your gums bleed but also damage the surface of your teeth.
Aside from harsh brushing, using a hard-bristled brush could also contribute to bleeding gums. Hopefully this will solve your problem but,there are other reasons why your gums might bleed. Let’s take a look.
It could be a sign of gum disease.
When your gum is swollen and when it bleeds, you may have gingivitis. This first stage of gum disease happens when you have plaque at the gum line and around your teeth. So when you brush and even floss, the plaque infects the gum, creating symptoms of gingivitis.
The good news is that you can remedy this by having a regular dental check up. Your dentist will tell you which kind of toothbrush you need to use and how to floss properly. You may even be given toothpaste formulated for gingivitis.
I am taking blood thinning medication.
Blood thinning medication is one of the possible reasons why your gums bleed. This kind of medicine reduces blood clotting, which may make you susceptible to bleeding. Talk this over with your general physician and dentist so you can get proper advice on how to prevent or reduce the symptoms.
I am expecting a baby.
You may be pregnant. Some women are prone to bleeding and swollen gums, which is called pregnancy gingivitis. The American Pregnancy Association reassures women though that this symptom should clear up after pregnancy. If not, check with your dentist immediately. Other hormonal changes in a Woman’s body could lead to bleeding gums but it is always better to air on the side of caution. Set up a dental check up with your dentist to be sure that’s all it is.
I am a smoker smoking.
Thanks to the toxins in a single cigarette, smoking can lead to inflammation, reducing your body’s immune response. Chronic smoking can lead to enlarged and fibrous gums. When your gums start to bleed, do not ignore it. If using softer bristles and changing the way you brush your teeth do not work to stop the bleeding, then arrange an appointment with your dentist immediately. The earlier you resolve this problem, the sooner you can restore good dental health.
If you live in Northern Arizona and are concerned about bleeding gums, don’t hesitate to make an appointment in our Prescott Valley or Chino Valley office, we would be happy to give you a thorough dental exam.