If someone were to ask you what the most common dental disease in Alamo Ranch is, you’d probably say cavities because that’s typically what first comes to mind. However, you might be surprised to learn that there are actually a few different oral-related health problems that rank at the top alongside cavities. These include periodontitis and gingivitis. To learn more about these common diseases, read on and find out how you can keep your oral health on track.
What is Gingivitis?
Are your gums red, puffy, or even bleeding when your brush or floss? If you think it’s nothing to be concerned about, you might want to rethink your assessment. When these symptoms occur, it could be that you are experiencing gingivitis, which is a mild stage of gum disease, also referred to as periodontal disease. Gum disease is an extremely common oral health problem experienced by millions of adults in the United States each year. If caught as gingivitis, you and your dentist can work together to eliminate and actually reverse the problem.
When bacteria and plaque begin to build around the gum line, this can lead to inflammation and tenderness in your gums. By addressing periodontal disease in Alamo Ranch at this stage, your dental hygienist can perform a thorough cleaning to remove any plaque buildup. Along with this process, you’ll need to practice good oral hygiene habits at home to ensure the gingivitis does not return.
What is Periodontitis?
While gingivitis may be the mild form of gum disease, if left untreated, it can advance to periodontitis, which is much more aggressive. When visiting your dentist office, the hygienist will chart your gum pockets to check their depth. If the pockets are too deep, bacteria and food particles can become trapped, leading to plaque and tartar buildup underneath the gum line, and eventually, bone and tooth loss.
Should your dentist believe you have periodontitis, they will want to perform a deep cleaning procedure, also known as scaling and root planing. This not only removes the plaque from underneath the gum line, but it also smooths out the root to prevent reinfection.
How Do Cavities Form?
Apart from gum disease and its many forms, there’s also the problem of cavities. Since you were a child, you probably heard your dentist talk about the dangers of tooth decay and cavity development. You heard the dreaded words, “Don’t let them eat too much sugar,” so that chocolate candy bar waiting at home was traded for a piece of fruit.
Unfortunately, those words don’t just ring true for children. They’re applied to adults, too. Bacteria loves to feed off sugar the sugar that is left behind from the foods and drinks you consume. When you don’t brush or floss your teeth, the bacteria feed off the sugar and eventually, it burrows holes into your teeth creating cavities.
Should your dentist see that you have a cavity, it can easily be addressed with a tooth-colored filling. This natural-colored composite resin fills in the decayed portion of your tooth (once it is thoroughly cleaned) and seals the tooth to protect it from future decay.
If you’re concerned about the possibility of developing cavities, gingivitis, or periodontitis, you can always talk to your dentist about additional prevention methods. Practicing good oral hygiene at home and visiting your dentist every six months can help to keep your teeth clean and your gums healthy for years to come.
About the Author
Dr. Michele Moreno, DDS, earned a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from Angelo State University in 2001, graduating magna cum laude. She then went on to earn her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at Helotes’s University of Texas Health Science Center. Spending seven years as a staff dentist in a community health clinic, she is now a dentist at Alamo Springs Dental and enjoys helping her patients achieve better oral health. For questions or to learn more about our services, contact us at (210) 463-9339.