The importance of dental check-ups
Many patients don’t realise just how important a regular clean and oral examination can be. Good oral hygiene is not only important for your oral health but your overall health as well.
Here at Michelle Enmark, DDS in Sacramento, we place great emphasis on educating patients about good oral health and its implications to your oral and overall health. We understand what can happen when patients fail to follow a regular dental check-up schedule. In this article we explain how cavities develop and the stages in which they can worsen the longer they are left untreated.
Cavities and dental decay
A cavity is caused by the bacteria found in plaque and develops when a tooth decays and breaks down, causing a hole that can grow bigger and deeper over time. When plaque is not removed, it can cling to your teeth forming tartar that, causing the process of tooth decay. Tartar can only be removed during your dental clean with professional dental tools and equipment.
What’s more alarming about cavities, is that the damage you see on the outside is often intensified on the inside of the tooth (the dentine): what looks like a little black dot the size of a pinhead on the surface of your tooth could easily be the size of half your tooth underneath. This is because a cavity can enter the dentine through a microscopic hole in the enamel and can then spread out widely in the softer dentin. A regular dental examination can detect dental decay before it worsens and before it develops into an expensive exercise for the patient.
When a filling is required
Once a hole (cavity) has formed in the tooth, brushing, flossing, or fluoride will not stop this process. The only way to prevent and protect your decay is by removing the decay and then covering the hole with a protective material in the form of a filling.
Here at Michelle Enmark, DDS, we provide Tooth colored bonded fillings which are color matched to blend with the shade of your tooth enamel and creating seamless results. These tooth colored fillings are 100% free from mercury and unlike silver fillings, bonded fillings require less drilling, result in less leakage and do not contribute to tooth fractures. If you have existing mercury laden fillings, our dentists can remove these using high volume suction and water spray to ensure that all residual amalgam is evacuated away from you. These can then be replaced with healthy, durable and environmentally friendly tooth colored fillings.
When root canal is required
The longer you leave your infected tooth untreated, the longer the bacteria has to work its way through the layers of your teeth, through the enamel and then the dentine, until it reaches the sensitivity soft tissues in the middle of your tooth, known as the dental pulp. Once the dental pulp is infected, over time the bacteria kill the pulp which is an extremely painful process for patients. When the pulp is finally dead the pain will subside but then the patient is left with rotting tissue on the inside of their tooth. Bacteria from this rotting tissue can also leak out and into the bone, causing an infected abscess in the bone. The only way to fix it is to remove the dead, rotten tissue and clean out the infected tooth through root canal therapy.
When an extraction is required
There are times when a tooth is damaged, to the point it cannot be restored, which in these circumstances, we may need to remove your tooth and replace it with a prosthetic tooth, known as dental implants. That is why it’s imperative to visit us every 6 months for a dental examination. We can detect dental decay and stop it in its tracks to prevent it from worsening and spreading to other nearby teeth.
At Michelle Enmark, DDS in Sacramento we place great importance on preventive dentistry to help you keep your natural teeth for life. If you haven’t been in to visit us within the last 6 months for your check up please contact us today to make an appointment.