We all know that simple actions such as brushing and flossing are important to maintain good oral health. Flossing the wrong way or not getting your teeth cleaned professionally can affect your oral health in the long term. At Saad Dentistry, we ensure that all our patients are always informed about different dental diseases. The right knowledge can help you to be prepared and take care of your oral health. Read the information provided below for your convenience. If you have any doubts or questions about dental procedures, please don’t hesitate to
Importance of Regular Exams
Because of our commitment to preventative dental care, we recommend a checkup every three months. Most dental problems start small but then they go through a rapid growth phase. Regular checkups enable us to identify these problems before they turn into serious conditions:
Serious Conditions Begin as Treatable Problems
Plaque, which is a sticky film of food and bacteria that forms constantly on your teeth, can harden in as little as 24 hours to become tartar. Even with proper brushing and flossing, most people aren’t able to remove all the plaque every day. The result is tartar buildup.
Plaque and tartar buildup are the main causes of gingivitis which is an inflammation that makes gums swell and bleed. Gingivitis is reversible, but if it’s not treated, it can lead to periodontal disease. This is an infection that causes receding gums, bone loss and sometimes, tooth loss.
The bacteria in plaque also cause tooth decay. A small cavity can easily be fixed but if it grows into the softer inner dentin layer of the tooth, it can reach the pulp chamber very quickly. This causes pain and further infection.
Failed fillings can also lead to more decay. Unless it’s treated early, decay will most likely lead to a need for root canal treatment and crowns.
Misaligned or missing teeth can contribute to problems with the jaw joint, such as pain and soreness, difficulty in opening and closing you mouth and earaches.
Regular Checkups Allow Us to Treat Problems Early
To keep these dental problems from becoming serious, we recommend checkups twice a year. Regular cleanings enable us to keep tartar from accumulating on your teeth. During your regular visits, we will also perform a thorough exam to check your gums, measure the bone levels around your teeth, look for cavities, check your restorations and examine your bite.
Regular exams are the best way to eliminate the growth phase of dental problems and minimize the time and money you spend in the dental chair.
Why Is Flossing so Important?
You should be brushing your teeth twice a day. This is a good way to prevent cavities. But flossing is just as important. Most cavities start between your teeth where the bristles of your toothbrush simply can't reach. To keep your gums and teeth healthy, you must use dental floss to remove the plaque between your teeth at least once a day.
How to Use Dental Floss
First, take about eighteen inches of floss and wind the two ends of it around your middle fingers, leaving about five inches between your hands. Pinch the floss between your thumbs and index fingers, and leave about one inch in between to work with. Gently guide the floss between the first two teeth using a side-to-side motion.
Pull the floss tightly in a "C" shape around the side of one tooth and slide it under the gum line. Clean the surface of the tooth by using an up-and-down motion but not the side-to-side motion you used to guide the floss between the teeth. Repeat on the side of the adjacent tooth. Then remove the floss, wind it to a fresh section, and repeat the process to clean both sides of every tooth.
What to Expect
If you are just beginning to floss, your gums will probably bleed a bit. After about a week of daily flossing, the bleeding should stop. If your teeth are too tight to floss, or if the floss catches or tears, let us know. This may indicate a problem that needs to be corrected.
Flossing can be time consuming and a little awkward at first; so make sure to give yourself enough time to get used to the proper flossing technique. It will soon become an automatic part of your dental hygiene routine, and your teeth and gums will be healthier because of flossing.
What Are Cavities?
Plaque, a sticky film of food and bacteria that is constantly forming on your teeth, is the culprit when it comes to tooth decay. Bacteria that naturally exist in plaque break down the starches and sugars in the food you eat. A chemical reaction occurs, and as a result, an acid is produced. Like all acids, the acid produced in your mouth is corrosive which means that it dissolves other materials. Your teeth are the victims of this corrosive action. The acid dissolves their protective outer enamel layer, eventually creating holes in your teeth, also known as cavities.
Regular Checkups Are a Must
Cavities first form in the hard, protective enamel layer of your teeth. Beneath the enamel is a softer layer called dentin. If a cavity wears through the enamel and reaches the dentin, it can grow much more quickly and threaten the inner layer of the tooth, containing its nerves and blood vessels. This part of your tooth is called the pulp chamber.
If the decay is allowed to penetrate the enamel and dentin, and gets into the pulp chamber, it's likely that we'll need to perform root canal treatment. That's why regular checkups and professional cleanings are so important. They allow us to restore your tooth while the cavity is still small and confined to the outer enamel layer.
Sometimes, we can detect cavities just by looking at your teeth, but radiographs (x-rays) are an important tool to detect cavities. At times, x-rays are more important than visual inspections.
Repairing and Preventing Cavities
To repair a tooth with a cavity, we usually remove the decayed portion of the tooth and replace it with a filling. This is possible provided the damage is not too extensive and there is still plenty of healthy tooth structure remaining. However, preventing a decay in the first place is the preferred solution. We’ll be happy to work with you and help you to keep your teeth free of plaque and decay.
What Is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis, which is a swelling and inflammation of the gums, is the first stage of periodontal disease.
What Causes Gingivitis?
The main cause of gingivitis is the accumulation of plaque, the sticky film of food and bacteria that forms constantly on your teeth. If plaque isn't removed each day, the bacteria in plaque invade the space between the teeth and gums, and begin producing toxins. These toxins irritate and inflame the gums, causing them to swell and bleed.
Gingivitis is easily reversed, but if it's not caught in time, it can lead to periodontal disease, a more serious infection of the teeth, gums and jawbone that can lead to tooth loss.
The Warning Signs
Some of the warning signs of gingivitis are redness where the gums and tooth meet, swollen gums, bleeding when brushing and flossing, and bad breath. There is usually no pain associated with gingivitis. It's the mildest form of gum disease and many people aren't aware they have the condition.
To determine whether you have gingivitis, we'll perform a thorough examination. We'll look for any changes in the shape, colour, and contour of the gums and bleeding in the gums upon probing.
If we determine that you do have gingivitis, the treatment always includes a professional cleaning which removes plaque buildup on the teeth. Sometimes, additional steps are required. These could include using a disclosing solution regularly to determine where the plaque is, reviewing the most effective techniques for brushing and flossing, and using an antibacterial rinse to help kill destructive bacteria. We may also need to set up more frequent office visits to monitor the health of your gums.
It's important to catch and treat gingivitis early before it progresses and results in bone and tooth loss.
Diagnosing Periodontal Disease
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is an infection of the teeth, gums and the bone that surrounds the teeth. It’s the leading cause of adult tooth loss. Stopping this condition begins with a thorough diagnosis.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
The main cause of periodontal disease is the accumulation of plaque, the sticky film of food and bacteria that forms constantly on your teeth.
If plaque isn’t removed each day, the bacteria in plaque invade the spaces between the teeth and gums, and begin producing toxins. These toxins, combined with your body’s reaction to them, destroy the bone around your teeth. And once the bone has been lost, it never grows back on its own. When too much bone is lost, there is so little support for the teeth. They get loose and have to be removed.
The Warning Signs
If you have periodontal disease, you may be experiencing persistent bad breath, bleeding of the gums when brushing or flossing, soft, swollen or tender gums, gums pulling away from the teeth, or loose teeth. You may also notice inflammation of the gums between the teeth. This is where periodontal disease usually starts. It is also possible to have no noticeable symptoms. In fact, most people who have periodontal disease aren’t even aware of it.
Root Canal Diagnosis
The visible exterior layer of a tooth is called the enamel. Beneath the enamel is another hard layer called the dentin. The dentin surrounds a small chamber at the center of the tooth that contains the pulp. Tooth pulp is a soft tissue made up of nerves, arteries and veins. The pulp extends from the pulp chamber down through narrow channels, called the root canals, to the tips of the roots.
How Did My Tooth Become Infected?
The two most common causes of infection in the pulp are deep cavities and fractured or broken teeth. Both expose the pulp to bacteria that live in saliva. These bacteria, which are always present in your mouth, can cause an infection that can kill the pulp. Without treatment, the pus from the infection can eventually gather down at the root tip and pass into the jaw bone causing an abscess (a puss pocket). The abscess can then damage the bone that surrounds the tooth. The resulting pressure inside the bone and ligaments surrounding the tooth can cause excruciating pain, and left untreated, can even be life threatening.
You may have realized that you had an infected tooth because it was sensitive to hot and cold, was swollen and painful, or had given you a bad taste in your mouth. On the other hand, you may have been completely unaware that you had an infection because you experienced no symptoms at all.
Root Canal Treatment
An infected tooth will never heal on its own, and as it gets worse, it will continue to be a source of infection that depletes your immune system. This can affect your entire body. Years ago, your only option would be for us to extract the tooth. But today, we can remove the infection with root canal treatment and save your tooth.