Articles for June 2017

Tooth Decay


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.

You can help prevent tooth decay by following these tips:

  • Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaner.
  • Eat nutritious and balanced meals and limit snacking.
  • Check with your dentist about the use of supplemental fluoride, which strengthens your teeth, and about use of dental sealants (a plastic protective coating) applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (where decay often starts) to protect them from decay.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral examination.

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Endodontics



Endodontics is the branch of dentistry concerning dental pulp and tissues surrounding the roots of a tooth. “Endo” is the Greek word for “inside” and “odont” is Greek for “tooth.” Endodontic treatment, or root canal treatment, treats the soft pulp tissue inside the tooth. An endodontist is a dentist who specializes in saving teeth.

Endodontists become specialists by completing two or more years of advanced training in endodontics following dental school. They perform routine as well as difficult and very complex endodontic procedures, including root canal treatment, endodontic surgery and special procedures to save teeth after traumatic dental injuries. By focusing their practice on specific procedures such a root canal treatment, surgery and trauma, endodontists are experts at managing a wide array of complex endodontic problems efficiently. Advanced technologies and specialized techniques used by endodontists give them a very accurate view of the inside of the tooth and allow them to treat the tooth quickly and comfortably.

By saving your tooth, an endodontist can help you keep your natural smile, so you can continue to eat your favorite foods and maintain your overall health. Nothing looks, feels or functions like your natural tooth!

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