No matter your age, your oral health is important! Regular dental visits are needed because they can help spot dental health problems early on when treatment is likely to be simpler and more affordable. They also help prevent many problems from developing in the first place. Visiting your dentist regularly is also important because some diseases or medical conditions have symptoms that can appear in the mouth. A healthy mouth contributes to a healthy body!
Dentistry has come a long way when it comes to restoring and replacing teeth. There are now numerous options available to ensure that your smile is looking at its best. For teeth that are decayed beyond simple cavity repair, crowns, root canal therapy, dental implants, bridges, and dentures are available. Because of Dr. Gardner’s vast experience, he can do the majority of these procedures in the office. For those situations where another dental professional would be best, you can be assured Dr. Gardner will consult with the one that is best for your situation and set you up with the appropriate paperwork and/or x-rays.
During your dental cleaning, our dental hygienist will ask about your recent medical history, examine your mouth and decide whether or not you need x-rays. Depending on your treatment plan, the hygienist may use a special dental instruments to check your gums for gum disease. A gentle and thorough cleaning of your teeth then occurs, including flossing.
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth allowing you to reach all areas easily.
- Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth.
When a cavity (decay) is discovered by our dental hygienist and confirmed by Dr. Gardner, a treatment plan is formed with the patient’s input. Another appointment is scheduled so the cavity(cavities) can be addressed.
Tooth decay is the destruction of your tooth enamel, the hard, outer layer of your teeth. It can be a problem for children, teens and adults. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, constantly forms on your teeth. When you eat or drink foods containing sugars, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack tooth enamel. The stickiness of the plaque keeps these acids in contact with your teeth and over time the enamel can break down. This is when cavities can form.
Cavities are more common among children, but changes that occur with aging make cavities an adult problem, too. Recession of the gums away from the teeth, combined with an increased incidence of gum disease, can expose tooth roots to plaque. Tooth roots are covered with cementum, a softer tissue than enamel. They are susceptible to decay and are more sensitive to touch and to hot and cold. It’s common for people over age 50 to have tooth-root decay.
Decay around the edges, or a margin, of fillings is also common for older adults. Because many older adults lacked benefits of fluoride and modern preventive dental care when they were growing up, they often have a number of dental fillings. Over the years, these fillings may weaken and tend to fracture and leak around the edges. Bacteria accumulate in these tiny crevices causing acid to build up which leads to decay.
Fluoride is a natural cavity fighter. It is present in varying amounts in rivers, lakes and the ocean to some degree. It helps protect teeth against decay in two ways. It is bacteriacidal, meaning it kills bacteria. It also helps in the mineralization of tooth enamel to make it harder and stronger and more resistant to the breakdown caused by bacteria. Over 70 years of scientific research has proven that fluoride in the optimum levels helps reduce tooth decay by as much as 60% in children and 25% in adults.
Silver Diamine Fluoride is a special type of fluoride that is effective in many cases to reduce tooth sensitivity and can also be used to stop dental decay. Unlike other fluoride rinses or varnishes, this product is brushed onto each individual tooth that is being treated. The product has shown much success in treating sensitive areas caused by tooth-brush abrasion or receding gums. It can also be very helpful in managing tooth decay, especially if there are multiple areas of decay. This product is a very helpful adjunct and in some cases, an alternative, to traditional treatment methods such as fillings and crowns.
If you suffer with extreme cold sensitivity or have several decayed areas, please call our office.
Composite dental filling material is a synthetic resin used to restore teeth that have been damaged by tooth decay. It is a mixture of finely ground glass and plastic material which is chemically bonded to tooth structure. It comes in a variety of shades to give the most tooth-like appearance. It is the most common way to fill teeth and can also be used as a covering (veneer) for teeth just to change the color or the shape of teeth or both.
If you have tooth decay, discolored teeth or want to fill spaces between your teeth, please call our office.
Oral Health Concerns
Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of both the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth. The disease involves inflammation as a response to certain types of bacteria. There are more bacteria living in the human mouth than there are people living on the entire earth! Some of that bacteria is good, but some of it is bad.
The treatment for periodontal disease involves controlling the bacteria in your mouth. Treatment is important not only for saving your teeth but also in treatment of other diseases such as HEART DISEASE, STROKE and DIABETES.
Our office offers the most up-to-date treatment methods for treating periodontal disease including SALIVA TESTING to determine the types of bacteria that are present in your mouth. Once we have that information we know which antibiotics, if any, to use in your treatment.
If you have noticed sensitive teeth, gum recession, loose teeth, or bleeding gums when you brush or floss, please contact our office.
It is so easy and so helpful in the treatment of periodontal disease. Research has identified eleven types of bacteria that are the primary cause of periodontal (gum) disease. Many of these same bacteria are linked to other systemic diseases such as heart and lung disease, as well as diabetes.
The test is simple. We provide a saline solution, which is swished, gargled and then expectorated into the provided container. The saliva sample is then shipped to the laboratory for analysis. A report is sent to our office in 5-7 days. Once we receive this report we can then add oral antibiotics to the treatment regimen. Our office was one of the first in this area to treat periodontal disease this way. The results have been overwhelmingly positive.
The Temporomandibular Joint is the joint formed by the lower jaw and the base of the skull. Disorders of those joints are collectively referred to as temporomandibular joint dysfunction or TMD for short. The joint itself is referred to as the TMJ. The primary thing to know about this joint is that the Teeth, Muscles and Joints must work in harmony. If they do not, symptoms can range from mildly annoying to completely debilitating.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, please call our office:
- Popping / clicking or grating sound upon opening or closing of the jaw
- Clenching or grinding of your teeth
- Pain in the jaw joints or muscles
- Toothaches, headaches
- A sudden change in your bite
- Locking of the jaw
- Limited opening of the jaw
- Jaw deviated to one side of the other upon opening/closing
There are eight structures within the Temporomandibular Joint that can sustain damage. Diagnosis and treatment requires determining which of those structures is not healthy and therefore functioning improperly. However, 80% of Temporomandibular Dysfunctions (TMD) involve the disc. The disc is dense connective tissue that should sit on top of the jaw bone and its purpose is to allow easy fluid movement of the jaw bone within the socket. Most TMD’s involve the disc being out of place and in some state of disrepair. Treatment may be as simple as over the counter medication, but it can become quite complex. Early intervention is key. Quite often, a splint is necessary to provide comfort.
There are three basic categories of SPLINTS. Within each category there are dozens of configurations. If a splint becomes necessary, it is vital to have the right type for you. The wrong splint can make symptoms worse. In this social media age there is a lot of medical/dental advice and DIY treatment readily available. I can’t urge strongly enough that if you think you have TMD seek the advice of a health professional.