Dental care: Most common dental diseases
If you have experienced tooth sensitivity to sweets or bleeding gums, those may be signs of cavities or gum disease. Dental caries (cavities) and periodontal disease (gum disease) are the two most common dental diseases. Roughly 40% of adults in the US have periodontitis, and over 90% of adults in the US have had a cavity. Luckily, both diseases are very preventable and treatable!
Dental caries refers to both tooth decay and the process of developing decayed lesions. Although the process is driven by sugar, there are many causes and factors. It is a dynamic disease that occurs in phases of demineralizing and demineralizing enamel and dentin. Tooth structure is attacked by acid from bacteria, which demineralizes the enamel and eventually can progress into a hole or cavity.
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, develops from bacteria in the gums and bone surrounding your teeth. Gum disease can range from mild to severe. Mild changes are characterized as gingivitis—inflammation of the soft tissue without affecting the bone. If the disease is left untreated, gingivitis progresses into periodontal disease—inflammation that leads to soft tissue and underlying bone changes. Bacteria in plaque and in your gums can cause a chronic infection and inflammatory process, and over time the bone recedes. Although periodontal disease does not cause these other diseases, it is often associated with heart disease, diabetes, and other inflammatory diseases.
Fortunately, there are many preventative methods and treatments available for both cavities and gum disease. Avoiding high sugar foods and drinks and having good brushing and flossing habits will lower your risk for cavities and gum disease. If a cavity does occur, a filling can take out the decayed part of the tooth and replace it with a resin. Regular six-month cleanings are preventative for gum disease. However, if periodontitis occurs, then a “deep cleaning” may be needed.
If you haven’t been to the dentist in a couple of years or even a couple of decades, a comprehensive exam is the first step to getting your oral health back on track. Our team specializes in assessing your current state to build a treatment plan that achieves your dental goals going forward. Draver Dental’s team can work with you to improve your oral health with many preventative methods and treatments!