Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is swelling or soreness of the gums (the soft tissue) around your teeth. It is caused by the bacteria in plaque, a sticky, colorless film that forms on your teeth.
The plaque bacteria produce toxins that can lead to inflammation of the gums that result in swelling and bleeding. The initial stage of gum disease is called gingivitis and it is reversible with good oral hygiene.
If you do not remove plaque by brushing and flossing your teeth, it can build up into a hard tartar that you will not be able to clean off at home. Tartar buildup can cause damage to the bone that supports your teeth. This stage is called periodontitis and is irreversible. Once bone is lost, it is very difficult and sometimes not possible to bring it back.
If periodontitis is not treated by a dentist, you can lose all the bone that support your teeth.
The signs of gum disease are not always easy to see and can be painless. The earlier gum disease is caught, the easier it is to treat. Our office emphasizes early detection and prevention of Gum Disease and we are very diligent in making sure each patient comes in for their regular check-ups to maintain a healthy smile.
Tooth decay often begins on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. These surfaces have pits and grooves that trap plaque, bacteria, and bits of food. The pits and grooves are hard to keep clean, because toothbrush bristles cannot reach into them.
That is how decay starts in the pits and grooves and cavities form. To keep decay from starting here, the dentist may recommend dental sealants.
How do sealants work?
A dental sealant is a plastic material (resin) applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant material flows into the pits and grooves in the teeth to cover them. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel by blocking out plaque, bacteria, and food.
How are sealants applied?
Sealants are easy to apply; It takes only a few minutes to seal each tooth. First, the tooth is cleaned and the chewing surfaces are prepared to help the sealant stick to the tooth. Then the sealant is painted onto the chewing surface where it bonds to the tooth and hardens. A special light may be used to help the sealant harden. Sealants are generally clear or white and cannot be seen when you smile or talk.
How long do sealants last?
Sealants usually last several years before they need to be replaced. Over time, sealants can become loose or worn. Then they may not protect the teeth as well. Chewing on ice or hard foods can also break down sealants. During regular dental visits, your dentist will check your sealants and may reapply them if needed.
Before Sealant: Deep grooves are seen prior to application of sealant.
After Sealant: Deep groves are sealed.
Topical Fluoride Varnish
Our teeth are constantly going under reminerlization and demineralization. However,too much demineralization without enough remineralization to repair the enamel layer leads to tooth decay. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth. It can also reverse early decay.
DuraShield fluoride varnish, which contains 5% sodium Fluoride, has several advantages over traditional fluoride treatments with speed, ease of use and range of application. With DuraShield there is no need for a prophy before application. It sets on contact with saliva and releases fluoride for 6-8 hours. There is very little ingestion of fluoride. DuraShield fluoride varnish can be safely applied to small children (infants/toddlers), disabled patients, and patients with active gag reflex with minimal effort. In order for best results, do not brush teeth or eat anything extremely sticky/crunchy for four hours after application of fluoride.