Caries can be hard to diagnose, even for dentists, without x-rays or diagnostic technology like the Diagnodent Laser Cavity Detector. The Diagnodent finds caries at an early stage, enabling a minimally invasive dentistry approach using air abrasion and preventive resin fillings. Caries left untreated will infect the dental pulp (nerve), which leads to tooth abscess and potentially serious infection, which may significantly compromise overall health.
A beautiful smile has always been known to open doors, and we all like to have good-looking teeth. This desire, coupled with advances in dental technology, has made cosmetic dentistry very popular. However, toxic materials and undetected, infectious, bacterial accumulation may lurk beneath that beautiful smile, waiting for the opportunity to compromise health.
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry has done a study showing that 96 percent of adults feel that a healthy smile attracts members of the opposite sex. Behind the smile is a complex system that needs to be healthy to support a smile that lasts for years. The most beautiful cosmetic dentistry that is not built on a strong foundation can quickly deteriorate.
There are many conditions hidden behind that smile that can lead to more serious problems both in the mouth and in the body. Many of these conditions are not symptomatic and the patient can be totally unaware. They include periodontal disease, dental caries and bite problems, among others.
Periodontal disease (PD) affects the supporting structures of the teeth, which comprise the bone, the periodontal ligament and the gums. The tooth-gum-bone interface is important to prevent bacteria from being able to enter the body. Bacteria are present in everyone’s mouth and colonize on the teeth and under the gums. Early gum disease is painless and rarely has symptoms except occasional bleeding. PD is a chronic low-grade infection, which, if left untreated, leads to more serious infection and loss of the supporting bone and eventually tooth loss. Recent research links dental infections, especially periodontal disease, with heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and pre term low birth weight babies.
Dental Caries is another bacterial disease of the mouth. It is a complex disease that involves genetics, the amount and kind of bacteria in the saliva, personal dental hygiene and plaque control, immune status and the diet, in particular the frequency of refined carbohydrates (sugar) intake. Frequently caries are not visible to the patient and can be hard to diagnose, even for dentists, without x-rays or diagnostic technology like the Diagnodent Laser Cavity Detector. The Diagnodent finds caries at an early stage, enabling a minimally invasive dentistry approach using air abrasion and preventive resin fillings.
Caries left untreated will infect the dental pulp (nerve), which leads to tooth abscess and potentially serious infection, which may significantly compromise overall health. Untreated caries may ultimately result in root canal or extraction.
The bite is another complex system consisting of the teeth, the muscles and ligaments, the jaw joint and the brain that controls the system. People are frequently unaware of the condition of their bite and may not recognize that they are clenching or grinding their teeth both during the day and at night while asleep. The teeth may look straight, but the bite may not be correct or stable, leading to problems like fracturing of teeth or receding gums and bone loss. Teeth under stress from the bite can also become loose and move.
What strategies can a patient use to protect a beautiful smile?
A thorough dental exam coupled with periodic evaluations with dental X-rays is extremely important. Regular professional cleaning of the teeth is necessary for plaque control and management and to maintain health of the gums.
Equally important is the diet and daily home care routine of the individual. Thorough brushing including the exposed tooth under the gum and daily flossing are needed.
While a beautiful smile is certainly esthetically pleasing and uplifting to self-confidence, attention to oral health is crucial to overall health and a long lasting smile.
Born in Russia, Dr. Julia Bunker has been practicing dentistry in the USA since 2003. Dedicated to excellence in comprehensive dental care, Dr. Bunker is trained in implantology, cosmetic techniques and utilizing different types of lasers in dental treatment and surgery. She pursues the latest and most advanced techniques in order to implement the most effective dental treatment for her patients. Before becoming a dentist, Dr. Bunker earned a Medical Degree in Stomatology from the State University of Bashkiria. She earned her D.D.S. from New York University College of Dentistry and was awarded a fellowship in implantology by the International Congress of Oral Implantology. For information call 321-751-7775 or log on to sdicfl.com