Facts You Need To Know
The goal of modern dentistry is to prevent disease and conserve natural tooth structure.
The American Dental Association recommends that you have a dental check up and your teeth cleaned every six months.
Most insurance policies will pay the total cost for dental checkups and cleanings at six month intervals.
The more damage done to your teeth, the less your insurance will pay. For instance fillings are considered basic care and usually insurance will pay 80% of the cost. Crowns are considered major care and insurance will usually only pay 50% of the cost.
Most insurance policies require that you pay a deductible before they will pay for basic or major care.
Most insurance policies will not pay for cosmetic procedures nor implants, however this is slowly changing.
Dentistry Is Not Just About Your Teeth
With the information obtained from adequate x-rays and a complete, comprehensive dental exam, dentists are able to detect over 2,000 diseases that affect human beings.
Initial exams in our office begin with a review of your health history and medications. This is important to detect:
1. Allergies to medications.
2. Medicines that interact with dental anesthesia.
3. Medical conditions such heart murmurs or prosthetic knees and hips that might require antibiotic prophylaxis before treatment.
4. Medicines that cause dry mouth and promote tooth decay.
5. Chemotherapies that reduce the bodies ability to fight infection
At least 80% of Americans have gum disease around at least one tooth.
Research has shown that there are over 400 different types of microorganisms in the mouth. No matter how clean you get your teeth and gums, the rest of your mouth still contains around two billion bacteria.
Plaque found on your teeth and gums is not just a sticky mass of food residue. It contains millions of bacteria.
Certain plaque bacteria produce toxins or poisons that the gums do not like. The gums try to protect themselves by the process of inflammation. This is called gingivitis.
For some people inflammation of the gums proceeds to inflammation and destruction of the bone and supporting tissues around the teeth. This is called periodontitis or periodontal disease and can result in the loss teeth.
Smokers are four times as likely to suffer from periodontal disease.
People with diabetes, or illnesses affecting the immune system are more likely to have periodontal disease.
There is a genetic predisposition for periodontal disease. If your parents had it you might be at risk.
People with periodontal disease are at greater risk of suffering heart attacks, strokes, lung diseases, uncontrollable diabetes, and pancreatic cancer.
Gingivitis and periodontal disease can be controlled by the efficient, daily removal of plaque bacteria. If plaque is not present on the gums and teeth then gingivitis and periodontitis can not occur.
Your scalp does not bleed when you comb your hair and your gums should not bleed when you brush and floss.
There are two way to tell if you have been flossing enough. #1. Healthy gums do not bleed. It takes a week of daily flossing to gets gums to stop bleeding. #2. If your floss stinks when you remove it from in between your teeth, then you’re not flossing enough! Stinky bacterial products are what cause bad breath.
People with gum disease often have bad breath.
Sticky plaque turns into tartar if it is not removed daily. Because the saliva contains minerals to protect the teeth, these minerals get deposited into the plaque.
Tartar has a rough surface and harbors bacteria. These are the bacteria that cause gingivitis and gum disease or periodontitis.
You can not brush away tartar. It has to be removed by a dentist or dental hygienst.
Tooth decay is an infectious disease.
Tooth decay is the single most common chronic disease of childhood.
30% of adults have untreated tooth decay.
Tooth decay is contagious. It spreads throughout the mouth via the saliva and can be transmitted from person to person.
Tooth decay or caries is caused by certain bacteria in dental plaque that produce acid from digested sugar. The acid dissolves away enamel and causes a cavity within the tooth.
Tooth decay bacteria are just like weeds in a garden. Decay bacteria are some of the fastest dividing bacteria in the mouth and overgrow the normal protective flora.
The more teeth with decay, the faster the decay process or demineralization occurs in the mouth. This is called rampant caries.
A little bit of sugar many times throughout the day is worse than a lot of sugar at one time. This is because the saliva does not have time to neutralize the acid before the next ingestion of sugar.
Besides neutralizing acid, saliva has the important job of re-mineralizing the teeth. If you have dry mouth you are more prone to tooth decay!
Tooth decay can be prevented by brushing and flossing to remove decay causing bacteria and limiting the frequency of sugar ingestion.