Family Dentistry


Family DentistryPlaque is caused by bacteria in your mouth. We all have bacteria, some is beneficial and some is not. Bacteria attach to the tooth structures and consume the foods that we eat. These bacteria will produce a soft acid waste product known as plaque.

Plaque has a milky white color and looks similar to cottage cheese. Plaque destroys the gum attachment, and the result is periodontal pockets. As the bacteria continues to multiply and produce more and more plaque is produced which causes the gums to become inflamed. Your bodies’ response will be to send white blood cells to the area to fight the infection.

The white blood cells release enzymes whose job it is to destroy bacterial cell, unfortunately the enzymes are not selective in the cells they destroy.

The enzymes will also end up destroying the bone that supports the teeth. When plaque stays on the teeth for even a few days, it starts to pick up the minerals in the saliva, which calcifies and becomes known as tartar, or calculus (meaning little stones).

The calculus is very rough and becomes firmly attached to the teeth which become bacteria traps.

The bacteria will hide in the nooks and crannies of the calculus causing more plaque.

What can you do?

  • See your dentist on a regular basis for cleaning and exams
  • Make sure to brush and floss your teeth 3 times a day and after each meal
  • Use a soft tooth brush to avoid recessions of the gums.
  • As always if you have any question speak with your Dentist

Cavities and Tooth Decay

What Causes a Cavity?

Your mouth is a busy place with lots going on. Bacteria, germs and small colonies of living organisms are constantly on the move on your teeth, gums, lips and tongue. It’s normal to have bacteria in your mouth however, some of the bacteria can be and is helpful, however there are some types of bacteria that can be harmful.

Certain types of bacteria attach to the enamel which surrounds the teeth. If the bacteria is not removed they multiply and grow in numbers growing a colony of bacteria. Different types of bacteria attach themselves to the colony which is already growing on the tooth enamel. Proteins that are present in your saliva also mix with the bacteria colony and forms a whitish film on the tooth. The whitish film is called plaque and it’s the plaque that causes cavities.

I Thought Only Kids got Cavities!

A cavity is a very small hole that forms on the tooth. It is caused when sugars in foods you eat mix with bacteria in the mouth which produces a mild acid which eats away the outer layer of a tooth, the outer layer is called enamel.

Cavities are more common during childhood but adults can get cavities, too. Adults tend to get two kinds of cavities:

  1. Recurrent cavities
    Fillings that fracture, leak, or are not bonded to the tooth cause separation from the filling and tooth. This allows bacteria to enter between the filling and the tooth structure and can cause re-decay.  With root cavities gum disease can occur which causes recession and allows bacteria to attach to the root surface which will cause decay.  Our Doctors always advocate that it be replaced with whatever restoration will be appropriate because we do not want to see the decay worsen. If decay is between teeth it can lead to decay on the adjoining tooth as well.
  2. Root Cavities
    Root cavities are caused when your gums recede leaving the root of a tooth exposed and at risk of cavities. Years of brushing too hard can make your gums recede or pull away from the teeth. Aging can also make the gums recede. Roots do not have the hard outer layer (enamel) to protect them, so it is very easy to get a root cavity if you have exposed roots.

The Doctors will check for loose or broken fillings on every visit and may suggest replacing some. The Doctors will also always check for signs of decay, such as brown or black spots and check to make sure your gums are healthy.

Both Doctors may want to take an X-ray to take a closer look at the problem area.  Leaving cavities untreated causes pain and the tooth may have to be removed and replaced with an artificial tooth.

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