Posts for tag: tooth decay

By TLC Dentistry
July 18, 2019
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth decay  
IfYoureOlderbeontheLookoutforRootCavities

Tooth decay is a destructive oral disease, which along with periodontal (gum) disease is most responsible for tooth loss. And as you age, your disease risk goes up.

One form of decay older people often experience is root cavities. Unlike those occurring in the visible crown, root cavities often occur below the gum line and are especially destructive to tooth structure.

That's because, unlike the crown protected by ultra-hard enamel, the roots are covered by a thin, mineralized material called cementum. Although cementum offers some protection, it can't compare with the decay-resistant capacity of enamel.

The roots also depend on gum coverage for protection. But unfortunately, the gums can shrink back or recede, usually due to gum disease or over-aggressive brushing, and expose some of the root surface. With only the cementum to protect them, the roots can become highly susceptible to decay. If a cavity forms here, it can rapidly advance into the tooth's interior, the pulp, weakening the tooth and increasing its risk of loss.

To stop the decay, we must treat root cavities much like we do with crown cavities: by removing any decayed structure and then filling the cavity. But root cavities are often more difficult to access depending on how far below the gum line they extend. We may need to perform minor gum surgery to expose the cavity to treat it.

But as with any form of tooth decay, the best strategy is to prevent root cavities in the first place. Your first line of defense is a daily hygiene habit of brushing and flossing to remove dental plaque, the main cause for tooth decay. You should also visit your dentist at least twice a year (or more, if recommended) for more thorough cleanings and checkups. Your dentist can also recommend or prescribe preventive rinses, or apply fluoride to at-risk tooth surfaces to strengthen them.

You should also be on the lookout for any signs of gum disease. If you see swollen, reddened or bleeding gums, see your dentist as soon as possible. Stopping possible gum recession will further reduce your risk of root cavities.

If you would like more information on the prevention and treatment of tooth decay, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Root Cavities: Tooth Decay Near the Gum Line Affects Many Older Adults.”

By Thompson Lee & Chalothorn
May 04, 2017

Keeping your smile healthy and clean is imperative to avoiding dental conditions like tooth decay and gum disease. However, many people often overlook or only half complete this important step in their daily routine. Learn how a strong at-home oral care routine can benefit you and your smile with Dr. William Lee and Dr. Pada Chalothorn at TLC Dentistry in Lexington, KY.

How should I care for my teeth properly at home? 
According to the American Dental Association, people of all ages should brush their teeth at least twice a day using a soft-bristled brush. You should replace your toothbrush every three to four months or when it begins showing signs of wear like frayed bristles. Each brushing session should last for at least two minutes to provide the best effects on your smile. In addition to brushing, floss between every tooth at least once a day between every tooth. The ADA also recommends seeing your dentist at least twice a year for regular examinations and cleanings.

Preventing Tooth Decay and Gum Disease 
Preventing conditions like tooth decay and gum disease begins at home with the proper dental hygiene routine. However, there are also steps you can take to further protect your teeth against decay. If you have deep, natural grooves in the biting surface of your molars, your dentist can apply dental sealants, a thin, plastic coating, to them to help fill them in and prevent bacteria and food particles from becoming trapped.

Regular Dental Examinations and Cleanings in Lexington, KY
Seeing your dentist regularly for exams and cleanings is key in keeping decay and gum disease at bay. Coupled with your daily oral care routine, these examinations will help your dentist find and treat problems early, preventing cavities before they have the chance to damage the tooth. By preventing decay, you also prevent gum disease, which comes from decay buildup underneath the gumline. Together, you and your dentist can keep your mouth healthy for years to come.

For more information on keeping your smile in top shape, please contact Dr. William Lee and Dr. Pada Chalothorn at TLC Dentistry in Lexington, KY. Call (859) 223-8987 to schedule your appointment with your dentist today!

By Thompson Lee & Chalothorn
May 13, 2016
Category: Oral Health
ActorDavidRamseyDiscussesBabyBottleToothDecay

Cavities can happen even before a baby has his first piece of candy. This was the difficult lesson actor David Ramsey of the TV shows Arrow and Dexter learned when his son DJ’s teeth were first emerging.

“His first teeth came in weak,” Ramsey recalled in a recent interview. “They had brown spots on them and they were brittle.” Those brown spots, he said, quickly turned into cavi­ties. How did this happen?

Ramsey said DJ’s dentist suspected it had to do with the child’s feedings — not what he was being fed but how. DJ was often nursed to sleep, “so there were pools of breast milk that he could go to sleep with in his mouth,” Ramsey explained.

While breastfeeding offers an infant many health benefits, problems can occur when the natural sugars in breast milk are left in contact with teeth for long periods.  Sugar feeds decay-causing oral bacteria, and these bacteria in turn release tooth-eroding acids. The softer teeth of a young child are particularly vulnerable to these acids; the end result can be tooth decay.

This condition, technically known as “early child caries,” is referred to in laymen’s terms as “baby bottle tooth decay.” However, it can result from nighttime feedings by bottle or breast. The best way to prevent this problem is to avoid nursing babies to sleep at night once they reach the teething stage; a bottle-fed baby should not be allowed to fall asleep with anything but water in their bottle or “sippy cup.”

Here are some other basics of infant dental care that every parent should know:

  • Wipe your baby’s newly emerging teeth with a clean, moist washcloth after feedings.
  • Brush teeth that have completely grown in with a soft-bristled, child-size toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice.
  • Start regular dental checkups by the first birthday.

Fortunately, Ramsey reports that his son is doing very well after an extended period of professional dental treatments and parental vigilance.

“It took a number of months, but his teeth are much, much better,” he said. “Right now we’re still helping him and we’re still really on top of the teeth situation.”

If you would like more information on dental care for babies and toddlers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Age One Dental Visit” and “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”



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