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As Untreated Gum Disease Progresses, Its Dangers Increase

Even though gum disease is both easily preventable and reversible, it quickly progresses when left untreated. As the disease worsens, so do its dangers on your health. Not only is your mouth affected by gum disease, but the rest of your body is at risk. Research has proven that serious health conditions, such as heart disease and certain cancers, are associated with different types and stages of gum disease, according to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP). At West Meade Dental, we look for signs of gum disease during every regular checkup and cleaning. When discovered in its early stages, gum disease can be successfully treated to stop it from worsening its health risks and dangers. Our staff will create a treatment plan for you that considers the type, stage, and severity of gum disease found during your checkup. We would like to tell you more about how this disease develops and its dangers progress when left untreated.

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The Development of Gum Disease

Gingivitis, the earliest and mildest stage of gum disease, is not painful. However, as plaque builds up on the gums, they become inflamed, swollen, and bleed easily when you brush your teeth. Discovering the presence of gingivitis is one of the many reasons why visiting your dentist on a regular basis is so important. With proper treatment and healthy dental hygiene, gingivitis can be reversed before it worsens. If this condition is left untreated, it will most likely develop into periodontitis, or gum disease.

The Progression of Periodontitis

Untreated gingivitis can quickly advance into serious gum disease as plaque continues to spread and grow under the gum line. The bacteria in plaque produces toxins which further inflame and infect gum tissue. One of the biggest dangers of gum disease is the effect of these toxins on your body’s immune system. Although your body will attempt to fight the toxins, your immune system eventually becomes overwhelmed by the chronic inflammation caused by these toxins. The bones and tissues surrounding the gums begin to break down and separate from the teeth. Pockets between the gums and teeth are formed, and these pockets easily become infected and deepen if left untreated. Infected pockets cause more destruction of bones and tissues, and this leads to the danger of losing teeth.

Serious Repercussions of Periodontitis

Losing teeth is not the only danger of gum disease. The toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque enter your bloodstream and have been linked to serious health problems including strokes and heart disease. Additionally, diabetes is not only a risk factor of the advancement of periodontitis, but this illness can be worsened by the toxins associated with gum disease.

If you have noticed your gums bleed when you brush your teeth, contact West Meade Dental as soon as possible to schedule an appointment for a dental exam. The earlier gum disease is found and treated, the less likely you will experience the dangers of periodontitis.

By Shelley Sigur | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment

The Importance of Detecting and Correcting Cavities

No one wants to hear he or she has a cavity during a routine visit to the dentist. However, detecting and correcting cavities early on can save your teeth from pain, infection, and more decay. This is why regular dental visits are so important. Of course, you can look for signs and symptoms of tooth decay and cavities at home, but you do need to turn to a professional dentist to correctly diagnose and fill the cavity to prevent further tooth deterioration. We at West Meade Dental would like to tell you more about cavities so you can understand the importance of finding and treating cavities.

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WHAT CAUSES CAVITIES?

Cavities begin their lives as tooth decay. According to WebMD, tooth decay is caused by sugary and starchy food residue remaining on the teeth after you eat. Common food culprits include: soda, fruits, cake, candy, cereals, and even breads and milk. If you don’t brush your teeth immediately after eating these kinds of carbohydrates, your likelihood of developing tooth decay goes up greatly, which leads to plaque. Plaque causes the holes in your teeth, otherwise known as cavities.

ARE YOU SAFE FROM CAVITIES AS AN ADULT?

Of course not! Anyone who eats sugary and starchy foods on a regular basis is at risk for developing a cavity, no matter his or her age. Older adults can even develop cavities around old fillings, due to the lack of technology present when they received their fillings.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE A CAVITY?

If you experience soreness in a tooth, especially after eating or drinking something sweet, hot, or cold, or if you notice a hole or discoloration on a tooth, you may have a cavity. However, in the early stages of a cavity, there usually are not any signs or symptoms at all. A reason why you should never miss a regular dental exam, only your dentist can conclusively diagnose a cavity. Your dentist will check each tooth by probing for soft tissue, a sure sign of a cavity. X-rays give the best diagnosis of a cavity as they show cavities not visible to the eye, which means they have been found in the early stages.

WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO FIND CAVITIES EARLY?

If left untreated, a cavity will go on to cause pain and further damage to the tooth. You may even have to undergo a root canal to treat a painful, untreated cavity. Early detection of cavities helps to better preserve your teeth.

HOW ARE CAVITIES TREATED?

The cavity treatment depends on the extent of the damage to your tooth, which is another reason early cavity detection is essential for good oral health. If caught early enough so there is not extensive damage to the tooth, the dentist removes the decayed part of the tooth by drilling it away and then replaces the area with a filling. Fillings today are made with safe materials such as gold, porcelain, silver alloy, and composite resin. If your tooth has suffered more damage, you may need a crown, along with a root canal if the decay has caused the pulp or nerve of the tooth to die. New developments are occurring in cavity treatment everyday. Further stressing the importance of detecting cavities early, tooth decay can even now be stopped or reversed if the cavity is found soon enough.

Do you have any questions about the early detection and correction of cavities? Contact West Meade Dental to get those questions answered as well as to schedule your next dental visit.

By Shelley Sigur | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Leave a Comment

The Importance of Flossing

Every time you go to the dentist they ask the same questions, and one always seems to be about how often you floss. Most people cannot answer this with the number that they are looking for, which is only once a day. What they do not understand is flossing is the only way the spaces between your teeth will get clean since your brush and mouthwash cannot reach. The dentists on staff at West Meade Dental will be able to answer any questions you may have at your next appointment.

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Tartar

Not only is your dentist or hygienist going to brush and floss your teeth for you while in office, they are going to take a little tool and scrape off any tartar that they find. Tartar is a buildup of plaque that starts forming around the gum line. While this process does not actually hurt, it is not especially comfortable. Since tartar starts off as a soft substance, brushing and flossing can remove it at home. However, once it has hardened it can only be removed by the professionals.

Gum Disease

Since the teeth are positioned right against the gums, flossing is the only way to get anything that might be trapped there out. When this happens, the food will harden and begin to form tartar. This is how gingivitis, the first step of gum disease where your gums turn red and swell, is started. If this is left for a long enough period of time a more severe type of gum disease known as periodontitis.

Other Diseases

While your teeth are only located in your mouth, the diseases that can start there are capable of spreading to your entire body. Studies have shown that once a disease is in the blood stream it can start to harm your organs and body’s systems. Periodontal disease has also been known to lead to heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory illnesses.

Economically Friendly

That’s right! Flossing can overtime save you money. Since it is what helps prevent many diseases and oral health problems, it will save you from having to have these things fixed. There are many effective, inexpensive floss options available at your local supermarket from standard floss to disposable picks.

By Shelley Sigur | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment
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