the right smile

Educating Patients on their Oral Health Options


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Tooth Decay and Cavities | Dentist Sandy Springs

Mature woman smiling

Regular Check ups can preserve that youthful smile.

Tooth decay can happen to anyone.  Left untreated, cavities can become infected and eventually, result in tooth loss.  Don’t wait for a toothache to start taking care of your teeth.  By practicing good oral hygiene and getting regular dental checkups, you can protect yourself from tooth decay.

Perhaps there’s a need to have a better understanding of tooth decay. It begins with the normal bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria feed on food particles in your mouth and produce acid as a byproduct. The combination of bacteria, food debris, acid, and saliva in your mouth forms a filmy substance on your teeth called plaque.  If the plaque isn’t removed promptly, tooth decay will begin. Eventually, the plaque hardens into a mineral-like substance known as tartar, which without professional care is much harder to remove. Both tartar and plaque can eventually lead to the gum diseases known as gingivitis and periodontitis.

In addition to gum disease, plaque build-up also affects the protective enamel surface on your teeth, leading to cavities.  Without treatment, cavities grow larger and eventually compromise the nerves and blood vessels within the tooth.  If an abscess or other infection develops in the tooth it more than likely will result in the destruction, and probably the loss of your tooth.

The culprits in this scenario are starches and sugars we eat. In addition, sticky foods also promote cavities as they adhere to the surface of the teeth and facilitate bacterial activity.  Generally, if you snack a lot, you’re at higher risk of developing cavities from the plaque formed from poor eating and oral habits.

Although cavities are more common in younger people, adults aren’t immune.  Older fillings often deteriorate and allow bacteria to accumulate, resulting in additional tooth decay.

Most cavities are found early during regular dental checkups, but you have to show up for those checkups.  Sensitivity when eating hot or cold foods and drinks may also alert you to a possible cavity.  If you notice tooth sensitivity or pain, it’s morel than likely time to visit your dentist for an oral exam.

Once a cavity is found, treatment options include either a filling, crown or root canal therapy, depending on the degree of decay. If caught early enough the most common cavity treatment is a filling.  If you waited until you had pain, and your cavity is severe, a crown may be necessary to restore the tooth.  If decay has spread to the tooth’s root, a root canal may be required. In this procedure, the nerve tissue is removed and sealed.  Then either a permanent filling is placed or a crown may be necessary as well.

So what should you do?  The best way to prevent decay and other dental issues associated with tooth decay is to practice good oral hygiene and see your dentist regularly. If you experience tooth sensitivity, make an appointment to see your dentist sooner than later.  With proper dental examinations we can eliminate problems before they start. Don’t let your dental hygiene disrupt your lifestyle, contact us now.

ZoAnna Scheinfeld, MS, DMD

Hanna Orland, DMD

290 Carpenter Drive, 200B

Atlanta, GA 30328

404-256-3620

www.rightsmilecenter.com

info@rightsmilecenter.com


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Dentist Buckhead: The Importance of Oral Hygiene

ToothbrushGood oral hygiene is important towards maintaining one’s overall health.   It is generally appreciated within the dental and medical community that poor oral health can be linked to heart and lung disease, diabetes, stroke, extremely high-birth weight, and premature births. The presence of oral problems is usually the first warning sign of some of these general health issues.  This consensus among the various healthcare providers has risen to level that the U.S. Surgeon General has issued policy statements on oral health as a strong indicator of overall health and well-being (CDC, 2006).

Brushing and flossing have risen in importance as your key ‘between visits’ maintenance tools.  In addition, the use of the proper products for home care, such as an electric toothbrush, ADA approved toothpastes and washes are equally important.  Without consistent care, several general as well as oral health problems may result or be exacerbated.  For all ages, if your water is not fluoridated or the majority of your water consumption is through bottled water you should consult with your dental care provider about using supplemental fluoride.  In areas without fluoride in the water the rate of tooth decay and other health issues is much higher.

While practicing good oral hygiene is vital to your health, there is only so much that brushing and flossing can do.  Your average patient can easily overlook conditions that could greatly complicate or even end one’s life.  So, visiting your dentist for regular checkups is a vital part of your overall health care.  “Routine dental exams uncover problems that can be easily treated in the early stages, when damage is minimal” (American Dental Association [ADA], 2008).  Since gum disease is acknowledged as a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and certain forms of cancer, regular visits to your dentist can help prevent and treat these potential diseases.  By treating conditions early and learning from your dentist how to prevent oral health issues, you can achieve better overall health and ultimately better the quality of your life.

Your dental care is so important to your general health care; you need to make sure you find a dentist that is right for you and your family.  This can be a difficult process.  Look for someone who’s competent and you feel comfortable with, one you can have a collaborative relationship with. This is important because there are conditions and problems that were not discussed in this article that the dentist will need to pay attention to during your regular checkups. Hopefully after reading this article, you will have a heightened understanding of the basic need for good oral health.  If you have additional questions or concerns feel free to contact us.

Dr. Scheinfeld is an Emory University School of Dentistry trained prosthodontist treating patients in the Sandy Springs, East Cobb, Dunwoody, Roswell, Johns Creek, Alpharetta, Vinings and Buckhead areas of Metro Atlanta.  Of the 170,000 dentists in the U.S., less than 2% are prosthodontist.

Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC

290 Carpenter Drive, 200A

Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328

404-256-3620

info@rightsmilecenter.com

www.rightsmilecenter.com

 

Resource information provided by:

The American Dental Association http://www.ada.org/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2006, December). Oral Health for Adults. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Division of Oral Health. Retrieved February 6, 2009 from http://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/publications/factsheets/adult.htm

Oral health in America: Summary of the surgeon general’s report. (2006, April 16). Retrieved February 7, 2009, from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/Oralhealth/publications/factsheets/sgr2000_05.htm

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