Periodontal (gum) disease is one of the most common oral health problems for American adults (and the most common oral health problem in women). The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that half of adults over the age of 30 suffer from some form of gum disease, ranging from gingivitis (mild) to periodontitis (severe), which can lead to tooth loss and other oral and general health problems. Dr. Bennett and Lynette Smith, dentists at Blue Ridge Dental in Mount Airy, NC, recommend visiting the dentist every six months for a dental exam and professional cleaning to help prevent the onset of periodontal disease, and to treat symptoms before they have a chance to progress.
Periodontal Disease Diagnosis and Treatment in Mount Airy, NC
There are a number of treatment options for periodontal disease depending on the severity and stage. The best way to prevent gum disease is to brush your teeth thoroughly two to three times per day, and floss every day. A healthy diet is also an important part of maintaining good oral health. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of gum disease is also important. The most common symptoms include:
- Gum inflammation (tender, red, swollen, and bleeding gums)
- Chronic bad breath
- Receding gums
- Signs of infection (pus/discharge) around the teeth and gums
- Loose teeth
- Bite and alignment changes
Treatment Options for Gum Disease
For mild to moderate cases of gum disease, the dentist may recommend a procedure known as scaling and root planing, a deep cleaning treatment that removes plaque and tartar buildup between the teeth and gums. If a pocket has formed between the teeth and gums, you may need a pocket reduction procedure (also known as flap surgery) to secure the gum tissue to the tooth and prevent bacteria from forming. Gum recession that exposes the root or bone loss are treated with grafts to restore lost bone and gum tissue.
Find a Dentist in Mount Airy, NC
For more information about gum disease prevention and treatment, contact Blue Ridge Dental by calling (336) 789-5306 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ben or Dr. Lyn today.
Tooth decay--it's common in children, teens, and adults. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control states that 91 percent of Americans between 20 and 64 years of age have had at least one cavity. If you needed a filling, would you know the signs? At Blue Ridge Dental in Mount Airy, NC, your dentists prevent, diagnose and treat tooth decay. Here's what Dr. Lynette Smith and Dr. G. Bennett Smith say are telltale signs of decay.
What is a dental cavity?
It's a pit or hole in your tooth enamel caused by the acids oral bacteria secrete. As that hole grows, it spreads across and downward in the tooth surface. Ignored, this cavity may invade the yellow dentin and soft pulp interior to your tooth enamel, resulting in infection and tooth failure. In addition, areas of decay weaken and undermine healthy tooth structure and the integrity of existing restorations, such as crowns, veneers, and fillings.
How to protect your teeth
Of course, your daily flossing and twice daily brushing with a fluoride toothpaste does much to protect your teeth from decay. Preventive services such as fluoride treatments and plastic sealants guard teeth from acidity and bacterial invasion. Plus, the American Dental Association recommends semi-annual cleanings, to remove plaque and tartar, and examinations with your dentist in Mount Airy to inspect for decay and other kinds of dental breakdown. These practices, combined with a low-sugar/carb diet, do much to keep gums and teeth strong.
Moreover, knowledge is indeed power. You should know and recognize the signs that you may need a filling so you get treatment right away. These signs include:
- Dental sensitivity to heat, cold, or sugary foods and drinks
- A throbbing toothache
- Sharp pain when biting and chewing
- Tooth discoloration
- A chip, crack, or area of roughness
- Lost filling or crown
- Drainage from the tooth or redness along the gums
If you exhibit any of these signs, contact Blue Ridge Dental right away. In the meantime, you can take over-the-counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain, and apply ice if your jaw is tender or swollen. Cover rough areas or obvious holes with orthodontic wax, and if you lose a filling or crown, bring it with you to the office if possible.
Avoid complex care and dental extractions
Be aware of what's happening with your teeth and gums, and if it's time for your six-month visit to Blue Ridge Dental, please contact us. Keep ahead of tooth decay so you continue to have a beautiful, long-lasting smile. Call (336) 789-5306.
Chances are pretty good that you’ve heard of root canal treatment before, but do you actually know why it’s sometimes necessary? Whether our Mount Airy, NC, dentists Dr. Lynette Smith and Dr. G. Bennett Smith have recommended that you need this procedure or you are experiencing changes in your oral health that have you concerned, we are here to tell you more about the common warning signs that could be trying to tell you that you could benefit from this endodontic treatment.
Why is a root canal necessary?
Unfortunately, this simple procedure gets a pretty bad rap. There are jokes and horror stories made about how painful root canal treatment is, but you’ll be relieved to hear that this is a myth. Most people equate root canals with pain because they are already experiencing significant pain before getting the procedure; however, the goal of this endodontic procedure is to remove the source of the pain (not cause pain). By removing the infected or inflamed dental pulp we not only preserve the tooth but also remove the source of the toothache.
Do you need a root canal?
It’s impossible to know for sure that you need a root canal without our Mount Airy, NC, general dentists examining your teeth and running X-rays; however, there are some changes to your oral health that should not be ignored. It’s time to give us a call if you are experiencing any of these symptoms:
- A toothache
- Tooth sensitivity
- Tooth darkening
- Tender, swollen gums around the tooth
- A pimple-like growth on the gums (known as an abscess)
The classic symptom is a toothache. This toothache occurs because bacteria have been able to penetrate the outer layers of the tooth to infect the dental pulp inside. Once the pulp has been infected the only option is to remove it through root canal therapy and to clean out the inside of the tooth to prevent the bacteria from spreading.
Blue Ridge Dental offers comprehensive and compassionate dentistry in the Mount Airy, NC, area. If you need a toothache assessed or you just need to sit down and talk to us about your cosmetic dentistry options, we are happy to provide you with the care you and your smile deserves.
Your dentists in Mount Airy, NC, Dr. Lynette Smith and Dr. G. Bennett Smith, encourage you and your family to keep good oral hygiene habits. In short, they benefit your teeth, gums and your overall health, too. These habits begin at home and practiced routinely, help families have their best looking and functioning smiles. At Blue Ridge Dental, good oral hygiene forms the heart of great preventive care.
Why practice good oral hygiene
Without routine brushing and flossing at home and a tooth-friendly diet, expect two serious dental conditions to develop:
- Dental decay
- Periodontal (gum) disease
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research says that gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among American adults, followed by cavities and dental abscess. Tooth loss impacts smile appearance, bone structure and oral function. Additionally, research from several sources indicate links between periodontitis and health issues such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease and dementia.
At the heart of poor oral health is accumulation of sticky plaque and hard tartar, biofilms formed from food residues which collect on and between teeth and at the gum line. When not removed by flossing, brushing and professional cleanings by your dentists in Mount Airy, bacteria in the plaque and tartar secrete corrosive acids, causing decay and gum disease.
Guidelines for oral hygiene
Expect bright, long-lasting smiles when you and your loved ones:
- Brush twice a day for two minutes with a soft brush and fluoride toothpaste (as advised by the American Dental Association).
- Floss once a day using the product of your choice.
- Get six-month cleanings and check-ups with Dr. Smith
- Eat a diet low in sugar and high in fiber, calcium and low-fat protein.
- Drink several glasses of water a day to rinse tooth surfaces and to increase saliva which has antibacterial qualities.
- Change your toothbrush when it looks worn out, after a cold or the flu or within three months.
- Use mouthwash to freshen breath, reduce plaque and whiten teeth, depending on the ingredients.
If you have questions about oral hygiene, ask your dentist or hygienist at Blue Ridge Dental. He or she is happy to recommend floss, toothbrushes and specialty tools (especially for patients with restorations, tooth replacements or braces) suited to your unique needs and preferences.
Please contact Blue Ridge Dental in Mount Airy, NC if it's time for your routine cleaning and exam. The dentists and their staff wish to partner with your in maintaining your healthy smile. Call today: (336) 789-5306.
Both dentists and their patients work hard to preserve oral health and function. This comprises the heart of preventive dentistry. However, certain conditions require tooth extraction, unfortunate as that is. Mount Airy, NC dentists, Dr. Lynette Smith and Dr. G. Bennett Smith, perform extractions at Blue Ridge Dental. Read here about what conditions require this dental procedure.
Kinds of extraction
Dentists extract both primary and adult teeth. Sometimes an extraction is what professionals call simple--that is, the doctor grasps the tooth with a forceps and pulls it out of the socket. Other times, the extraction is surgical, requiring an incision of the gums and sometimes the surrounding bone, too, as in the case of impacted wisdom teeth.
Either way, your Mount Airy dentist will examine your tooth and surrounding tissues carefully and also take digital X-rays before recommending any type of extraction. He or she also will ensure that you are completely comfortable during the treatment. Usually, locally injected anesthetic is sufficient to numb the area and keep you pain-free.
Reasons for dental extraction
Your Mount Airy dentist cites several reasons for pulling a tooth. They include:
- Wisdom tooth impaction, when a third molar is encased in gum or bone, is at risk for infection and intrudes on neighboring teeth
- Serious tooth fracture above or below the gum line
- Deep decay and infection that travels into the jaw bone
- Retention of baby teeth into teen years and adulthood, impeding eruption of permanent teeth
- Tooth blocking cancer radiation treatment
- Blockage of orthodontic treatment
- Teeth are too large for the size of the jaw bone, resulting in overcrowding
Remember, that Dr. Smith considers extraction a last resort. If performed, the dentist will recommend replacing that tooth--in the case of decay or fracture, for instance--with a dental implant, partial denture or fixed bridge according to your individual needs.
Post extraction care
Most people recover quickly from extractions. The team at Blue Ridge Dental advises the following home care of your extraction site:
- Bite on sterile gauze for 30 minutes after the dentist sutures the site closed.
- Take analgesics for pain and antibiotics as prescribed.
- Consume a liquid diet on day one--clear soups and juices, popsicles, jello.
- Advance to a soft diet the next day--macaroni and cheese, yogurt, mashed potatoes.
- Apply ice if your jaw is swollen--10 minutes on and 10 minutes off.
- Do not smoke or drink from a straw for 48 hours as the suction can dislodge the newly formed blood clot.
- Return to Blue Ridge Dental for suture removal or for any unexplained pain or bleeding.
It's very important to preserve the blood clot at the extraction site. If it becomes dislodged, a condition called "dry socket" can happen. The American Dental Association says that while dry socket is relatively uncommon, if it does happen pain, impeded healing and infection may result.
Find out more
If you're facing dental extraction, don't worry. You're in the hands of a capable and compassionate team of professionals at Blue Ridge Dental. Call us with your questions: (336) 789-5306.
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