The best way to reduce decay and gum disease, and to maintain the health or your mouth, is to attend regular dental appointments. This is called preventive dentistry, and ensures we catch any potential problems before they develop, and so the amount of treatment required is reduced. This means you can avoid having so many extractions and fillings, and are more likely to keep your own teeth for life.
Your dentist will work to create a recommended course of treatment, or maintenance plan, to keep your teeth in the best condition possible. Your dentist will assess your mouth and discuss any necessary treatment with you, to try to prevent any recurring problems. Any fillings you have will also be checked, making sure they are in good repair.
Your dentist or hygienist will perform a thorough scale and polish, and will teach you how to properly clean your teeth of bacterial plaque. Plaque is an invisible layer of bacteria, which when mixed with sugar, turns into acid. This can then cause tooth decay, or infect the gums if it is not removed regularly. Your dentist will also discuss dietary and lifestyle habits that might affect your teeth, and advise you on which oral care products are best suited to you.
Gum disease is caused by a build up of plaque, but can be avoided if you brush and floss your teeth twice a day. There are various symptoms of gum disease, including swelling, redness, soreness and bleeding during brushing, but there are only two main forms of it – gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums, causing the symptoms described above. If you have gingivitis for a long time, it can turn into periodontal disease, which affects the tissues supporting the teeth. Over time this can lead to the deterioration of the bone that teeth are anchored to in the jaw, eventually causing teeth to become loose or even fall out completely. Periodontal disease causes more tooth loss than tooth decay, and so you should ensure you maintain your daily routine of brushing and flossing to prevent the build up of plaque.
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I have been with the practice for seven years. I have found them welcoming, pleasant and reassuring, as a visit to the dentist is not high on my list of pleasurable activities. Through their care and advice I have managed to keep my teeth for longer than expected, due to gum disease. I do not live locally but am happy to travel to receive such excellent care.