What kind of diseases pose the biggest threat to your smile? By far, the most common forms of dental disease are dental decay and gum disease; about 92% of adults over the age of 20 have suffered from dental decay at some point in their lives, and it has been estimated that nearly half of Americans have some form of periodontitis (the most severe form of gum disease). If you want to keep your pearly whites safe, read on to learn more about these dental diseases and how they can be treated.
“Dental decay” is another way to describe cavities. The decay occurs when bacteria in your mouth turn the sugar and carbohydrates you consume into acid, which can dissolve the enamel protecting your teeth. Anyone can get a cavity, but the good news is with the right oral health habits, regular checkups and cleanings, and guidance from your dentist, it’s possible to avoid dental decay altogether.
If a cavity does form, it’s important to realize the tooth won’t repair itself; enamel doesn’t contain living cells like bone tissue does, so it can’t heal. Fillings can be used to repair the damage, although if a cavity is severe enough, a crown might be necessary to stop the tooth from falling apart. If the decay has reached the tooth’s pulp, root canal therapy might be the only way to save it.
Gum disease is what happens when bacteria enter and inflame the gums. Almost every person has some level of gum inflammation, but some cases are more serious than others. The earliest form, gingivitis, needs to be watched closely, but if it was caught early enough you might be able to reverse it with good oral hygiene. Advanced periodontitis, on the other hand, puts you at a high risk for tooth loss; you’ll typically need to see your dentist much more often in order to control it (usually about 3 or 4 times every year).
If gum disease is beyond the point where more frequent cleanings and better oral care at home can stop it, your dentist will likely recommend scaling and root planing. Scaling is the process of getting rid of all the plaque and tartar that has accumulated around or under the gums, while root planing protects the tooth roots from similar buildup in the future. Another option is antibiotic therapy to decrease the level of harmful bacteria in the mouth.
Protecting Yourself from Cavities and Gum Disease
As common as cavities and gum disease are, simply brushing twice a day, flossing on a daily basis and remembering to see your dentist every six months go a long way towards stopping them before they ever get started. Take the right precautions, and you’ll keep your grin clean, bright and beautiful!
About the Practice
At Pelican Landing Dental in Bonita Springs, our team of gentle, expert dentists will help you feel at home while we give you the personalized attention you deserve. Whether you need a routine checkup or cleaning, a filling for a cavity, or gum disease treatment, we’ll make sure you feel comfortable while receiving high-quality care. To schedule an appointment, visit our website or call (239) 948-2111.