Peter Spennato, DDS offers general dentistry, tooth implants, and tooth whitening services. He built his dental practice in San Pedro, California. He knows the importance of being able to spot the signs of underlying dental conditions. We have to think of our teeth as living things. Our mouths are a breeding ground for bacteria, both bad and good. They are thoroughly active and are under a lot of strain; what with biting, chewing, grinding, talking, and aging every single day of our lives. To stay strong and healthy, our teeth really do need a little tender love and care. It means attending routine exams and check-ups at your local clinic. Here are some of the most common dental problems:
Tooth decay.Tooth decay is also referred to as dental cavities. It occurs when the bacteria in plaque is given the chance to settle on teeth. It produces an acid that slowly eats away at the tooth enamel and forms holes. This kind of bacteria is particularly prevalent after eating sugars and starches, so limit exposure by eating a healthy diet. Anyone can get a cavity, but children and older people are the most prone. Don’t give plaque a chance: Brush with a fluoride toothpaste and floss every day. Children can also benefit from sealants (plastic coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of their back teeth) as soon as their adult molars come in.
Gum disease.Gum disease is an infection brought about by accumulations of plaque in the mouth. The bacteria eat away the gum tissue and the ligaments that hold the teeth in place. The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, which is the only stage that is reversible. If not treated, gingivitis may lead to a more serious, destructive form of gum/periodontal disease called periodontitis. It is possible to have gum disease and have no warning signs. That is one reason why regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are so important. Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed.
Tooth infection.This happens when the root (the bottom part) of a tooth becomes infected and fills up with bacteria. It damages the nerves and the pulp tissue inside the tooth itself. The most severe root infections cause patients to develop painful abscesses. These appear in the form of very sore facial swellings. However, abscesses usually only occur once a root infection has progressed to a more serious state.