Stages of Gum Disease Diagnosis

Dentists know if gums are healthy or not. Diagnosing gum disease is the first step toward treatment. Learn about the different stages that lead to a diagnosis.

Many DIY guides exist to assist people with health problems. For dental patients, there is information to help them diagnose and treat gum disease. Dentists also have methods of looking for diseases that affect the teeth and gums. Most guides include the different stages of gum disease diagnosis.

Detection

Dentists use X-rays to detect gum disease. Without this technology, they cannot find the hidden symptoms, such as bone loss. Then, they cannot determine the cause of the disease or find the right solution.

Using medical images, dentists look for abnormalities in the bones that support your gums. They can look inside of teeth and find infections. A tooth infection may spread to the gums and become the primary cause of gum disease.

Physical Examination

A physical exam is the second step to diagnose periodontal disease. Dentists look for the more obvious signs on the gums, such as redness, swelling, and sensitivity to touch. Additional symptoms are cavities, serious tooth infections, and bad breath.

In advanced stages of disease, the gums look distorted and form large pockets. These pockets allow bacteria to set in and increase the infection risks. The teeth loosen and become weaker, increasing the risks of tooth decay.

Classification

Next, dentists classify the correct stage of the periodontal disease. The levels of classification vary from minor damage that is barely noticeable to severe damage that is irreversible and needs surgery. Gingivitis is the most common classification that is reversible and cured after a few weeks or months. Aggressive periodontitis is less common and diagnosed using probes that measure pocket depth along with X rays and a review of the patient’s family history.

Treatment

In the final stage of diagnosis, the dentist recommends the correct treatment based on the level of classification. For example, scaling and root planing is recommended for patients with gingivitis. The dentist mechanically removes the plaque and tartar that cause gum inflammation.

Diagnosing gum disease is a task that anyone can do at home. You look for bleeding, swelling, and other visible signs. It’s easy to know a toothache because the pain sets in quickly. At Fairfield Dental Arts, we are experts on gum disease and will dig further than the visible signs. If you think you might have gum disease, contact us today to schedule an appointment!

4 Complications That Can Arise If You Ignore A Cavity

A cavity is considered a significant dental problem, and ignoring it is not recommended, no matter how harmless it looks. A cavity is not always easy to notice. Some are invisible to the naked eye, some have zero side effects or symptoms, and some are a combination of the two. If you have the misconception that the cavity is harmless and will not get any worse, here are four problems that can occur if you ignore a cavity.

1. More Tooth Decay

A cavity is the result of tooth decay. If you ignore this decay, the cavity grows larger. The decaying tooth may turn brown or black; pain can increase and makes it more difficult to eat or function normally.

2. Tooth Infection

Tooth decay eventually leads to an infection. The bacteria reaches the pulp of the tooth and kills off the living cells. If enough damage is caused and it’s caught in time, your dentist will most likely recommend a root canal procedure. Dentists use a root canal treatment to fix severe tooth decay. Minimal pain and swelling are two common symptoms after the procedure.

3. Tooth Extraction

If a root canal is not advised, the tooth may be dead. The only solution left is an extraction. Extracting the tooth leaves a gap in the teeth that may show if the mouth opens. If you’re self-conscious about the visible gap, the next step is to get a dental implant.

4. Gum Disease

An infected tooth may infect the gums and lead to gum disease. The gums become sensitive and can swell up or even bleed when you brush. A dentist has to assist with cleaning the teeth and gums. In the worst infections, the dentist has to perform invasive periodontal surgery.

A cavity in your tooth is not the same as a dent in a car. A cavity can worsen after a few weeks or days of poor dental care. It can get bigger and hold more bacteria that eventually leads to a serious tooth infection. Do not ignore a cavity by forgetting that it’s linked to good dental health. Contact our office at Fairfield Dental Arts when it’s time for a dental cleaning or filling! We can help keep your mouth in it’s best shape.

How Does Diabetes Affect Teeth?

Diabetes affects approximately 29.1 million people in the United States, and it’s estimated that around 8 million don’t even know they have this serious health problem. Both Type I and Type II diabetes results in high blood sugar levels. This, in turn, causes problems in several parts of your body including the kidneys, heart, eyes, and even your teeth.

Gum Disease and Diabetes

Since diabetes interferes with your resistance to infection, this puts you at a greater risk of developing gum disease. Gingivitis is an inflammation caused by plaque, that sticky substance that accumulates on teeth and gums. Without regular checkups and cleanings, gingivitis can destroy the tissue and bone that surround and support the teeth. They will become loose and wobbly. Eventually, the affected teeth will fall out. Additionally, gum disease can cause the blood sugar to become even more elevated.

If left untreated, diabetes can cause a variety of other oral problems such as the following:

  • Burning mouth syndrome
  • Dry mouth, leaving teeth more susceptible to decay
  • Fungal infections such as thrush and oral candidiasis
  • Bacterial infections in the mouth
  • Problems tasting food
  • Delayed healing of wounds in the mouth
  • Early teeth eruption in children with diabetes

What You Can Do

Diet and exercise are the two most important defenses to help keep diabetes under control. Make sure to use any diabetic related medications your doctor has prescribed as directed. Schedule doctor’s appointments to have your cholesterol, triglyceride, and blood sugar levels monitored frequently. Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft toothbrush. Floss between your teeth. Avoid using any tobacco products.

What Your Dentist Can Do

Make sure your dentist is aware of your medical history. Your doctor and dentist can work together as a team. Regular professional deep cleanings will reduce plaque and help avoid gum disease. Bacterial infections in the mouth can be treated with antibiotics that the dentist prescribes. The dentist can also prescribe medications for dry mouth problems.

Your dentist will make dental checkups and procedures as short and stress-free as possible. Schedule morning appointments since this is when blood glucose levels are more stable. With collaboration between your doctor and dentist, along with your healthy practices, the outlook is optimistic for good dental health and a long-lasting smile.

The Truth About Flossing

The American Dental Association and most dentists have been touting the benefits of dental flossing for decades. Studies show that flossing helps to promote good dental and oral health. However, some people do not floss their teeth consistently, or ever. They claim it is tedious, inconvenient, or time-consuming. But flossing only needs a minute or two of your time to make a huge contribution to your overall health.

Breath Control

By removing food particles stuck between your teeth and under the gum line, you can get rid of decaying organisms. If these are left in place, they will begin to produce bad breath as they break down.

Reduced Gum Inflammation

Not flossing your teeth allows oral debris to build up below the gum line. This can lead to swollen, painful gums that bleed during brushing or subsequent flossing. Regular flossing can help to keep this from happening.

Fewer Cavities And Tooth Loss Prevention

Teeth and gums that are impacted by food, tobacco, or other substances can cause dental decay and gum inflammation, which often leads to tooth decay or eventual tooth loss. Flossing removes the irritants, thus keeping gums a healthy environment for teeth to remain free of decay and cavities.

Healthier Organs

Saliva is an effective pre-digestive treatment for food and other substances that enter the body through the mouth. However, it also facilitates the circulation of these substances that are left in the mouth through saliva’s natural flow that can carry oral debris through your circulatory system to body organs. There they can build up over time and cause inflammation or problems in other areas of the body.

Convenience

Flossing is inexpensive and can be done privately at home or in a public restroom. It takes just a minute or so, and the results make most people feel better about themselves.

Few personal grooming habits are as easy, fast, and effective as dental flossing. Ask your dentist for recommended products or flossing tips to make the most of this important hygiene aid.

Reasons Why Your Gums Are Bleeding

Bleeding gums can be alarming, and either quickly resolved without inconvenience or an indication of serious medical issues. Discovering the cause and pursuing remedies is crucial to halting its progression and the development of other gum line complications.

Common Causes

The primary cause of bleeding gums is plaque buildup at the gum line. Plaque, a sticky biofilm of bacteria, accumulates and irritates the gums. The body reacts to the irritation by inflaming the tissue, causing gingivitis. As the inflammation persists, the risk for other systemic illnesses increase. If not removed, plaque hardens into tartar and can lead to increased bleeding and a more severe form of dental disease called periodontitis. Eight out of ten Americans have periodontal disease in various stages, but only one out of ten know it because symptoms such as bleeding gums don’t generally appear until the disease has advanced considerably.

Other factors that may cause gums to bleed include:

  • Improper or inadequate oral hygiene
  • Irritating dentures or dental appliances
  • Pregnancy-induced hormonal fluctuations
  • Side of effect of medication
  • Tooth or gum infection
  • Bleeding disorder
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Unbalanced bite
  • Stress
  • Small cuts or sores

Prevention and Treatment

Research has shown that gum disease can set in within 24 to 36 hours of not properly caring for oral tissues. Regular checkups with Fairfield Dental Arts and home care can make a huge difference between preserving or losing teeth to gum disease. Here are a few tips to stave off or stop bleeding gums:

  • Commit to professional cleanings and examinations. Fairfield Dental Arts offers expert care and advice on at-home oral care techniques and treatments.
  • Use a soft toothbrush to clean teeth gently and floss teeth twice daily. Be sure to reach spaces between teeth.
  • Massage gums with an oral irrigation tool on low setting.
  • Avoid mouth rinses that contain alcohol.-Avoid tobacco products.
  • Follow a nutrient-rich diet. Limit between-meal snacking and empty carbohydrates.
  • If a medicine is causing bleeding gums, consult with a physician about changing medication. Avoid aspirin unless recommended by a physician.
  • Consult a dentist if dentures or dental appliances are causing soreness on the gums.

Call us at Fairfield Dental Arts immediately if:

  • Bleeding is chronic or profuse
  • Gums continue bleeding after treatment
  • Other unusual symptoms accompany the bleeding

At Fairfield Dental Arts, we are here to help you find the culprit behind your dental troubles and decrease the risk and progress of gum bleeding. Make an appointment today!

How to Help Sensitive Teeth at Home

Many people have experienced sensitive teeth at one point in their lifetime. Common causes include gum recession, teeth grinding, damaged enamel, tooth erosion and some dental procedures such as crowns, fillings, and bleaching. No matter what the cause, Fairfield Dental Arts is here to help you find a solution. Try some of these at-home remedies to help aid your tooth sensitivity, and let us know what works for you!

Coconut Oil Pulling

There are many benefits of oil pulling and coconut oil. Both can be used to remove bacteria, promote healthy teeth and gums, get whiter teeth and help sensitive teeth.

What To Do:

First, you’ll need to melt a small amount of coconut oil and put it in your mouth. Swish it around in your mouth for about 20 seconds. Once you’re done, spit it out and rinse your mouth with warm water. Repeat the process daily.

Rinse With Salt Water

Rinsing your mouth with salt water will kill bacteria and reduce plaque.

What To Do:

Add a tablespoon of sea salt to a glass of warm water and mix it until the salt dissolves. Put a small amount in your mouth and swish vigorously. You can repeat the process twice a day.

Avoid Grinding

You may have a habit of grinding your teeth, or you may do it and not notice. Grinding your teeth damages your enamel and causes sensitive teeth by wearing down the tooth. Changing your sleeping position may help reduce teeth grinding as well as wearing a mouthguard to bed.

What To Do:

You can find cheap, over-the-counter mouthguards at any pharmacy store or sporting goods shop. If you prefer something more custom, we are happy to make you one at your next visit.

Change Brushing Habits

If you aggressively brush your teeth, learn to brush your teeth gently. Aggressively brushing your teeth doesn’t help clean your teeth. In fact, it wears them down quicker and exposes the nerve.

What To Do:19

Buy a brush with gentle bristles and brush in a circular motion around each tooth,

Contact Us

Fairfield Dental Arts will help you with your sensitive teeth if none of these home remedies worked for you. You can make an appointment by calling us or on our website.

How To Care For Your Gums

It’s all too easy to forget to take good care of your gums until you start to experience gum problems. Red, painful gums are no fun and gum disease can be irreversible. Fortunately, taking care of your gums is simple, and it’s easy to add good gum care habits to your daily routine. Here’s how you can keep your gums healthy for the long haul.

Brush your teeth twice a day

You already know that you should be brushing your teeth at minimum twice a day to prevent cavities and keep a clean mouth, but your gums are another reason to take brushing more seriously. In addition to protecting your teeth, brushing your teeth removes layers of plaque from the gumline and stimulates the area to prevent disease.

Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and apply gentle pressure

You might feel like your teeth get cleaner the harder you scrub them. However, you don’t need to exert much pressure to get your teeth and gums squeaky clean. A toothbrush with hard bristles can wear down and irritate your gums causing them to recede. Once your gums start to withdrawal, there’s no way to move them back. A good rule of thumb: if you’re scrubbing hard enough to bend the bristles of your toothbrush, you’re brushing too hard.

Floss on a daily basis

There’s a lot of gum surface that your toothbrush can’t reach. If food gets stuck between your teeth, it can irritate your gums and begin the initial stages of gum disease (in addition to tooth decay and cavities). Floss every day to prevent this from happening.

Avoid smoking

Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your gums, as well as your oral health in general. If you smoke, work on quitting as soon as possible. If you don’t smoke, stay away from the habit.

Visit your dentist for regular cleanings

Even if your teeth and gums seem healthy, it’s essential that you visit your dentist once every six months for a professional cleaning. A dentist or hygienist can take care of the tartar that you can’t remove at home, and they can spot the signs of gum disease to help -reverse the problem before it reaches an advanced stage.

Contact Fairfield Dental Arts today for your appointment. We are happy to take a look at your gums and give recommendations for easy care!

5 Foods That Can Whiten Your Teeth

When you are trying to brighten your smile, it’s time to think about the different foods and drinks that come in contact with your teeth. While there are plenty of things that can cause your teeth to be discolored, such as coffee, tobacco or wine, there are certain foods and drinks that can help improve your smile. At Fairfield Dental Arts, we want you to have a smile that makes you proud.

Strawberries Contain Malic Acid

Despite being a red berry that many may think will stain your teeth, strawberries are a great food to eat when you are trying to whiten your teeth naturally. Strawberries contain malic acid, which works as a natural astringent on your teeth and removes stains.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds have abrasive qualities when chewing that help clean your teeth in between brushing. Most nuts or seeds will gently exfoliate your teeth, giving you a brighter smile.

Apples and Other Crunchy Fruit

When you crunch into an apple, you are helping to make your gums healthier. Also, there is a significant amount of water found in apples and other crunchy fruit, which helps wash away bacteria that can discolor your teeth.

Carrots and Celery

Carrots and celery do more than provide your body with vitamins and minerals. When you eat celery or carrots raw, you will be cleaning your teeth naturally. Both work as a mild abrasive and promote saliva production which will help prevent your teeth from staining.

Cheese Promotes Tooth and Gum Health

Dairy provides calcium to strengthen your teeth and reduce the occurrence of enamel loss. Hard cheeses have an abundance of calcium, which is going to help the bones throughout your body stay healthy.

When you want to take care of your teeth with the foods you eat, it’s time to do more than avoid sugary snacks and drinks. Pay attention to what you are eating and look for foods in their natural state for their mild abrasive properties.

To learn more about taking good care of your oral health, come and see us. Give us a call today at 203-254-3780 schedule an exam.

Veneers Vs. Lumineers

Beautiful, white, flawless teeth are rarely natural these days with the many options offered for cosmetic dentistry.

Of course, we think all smiles are beautiful, but we understand many issues can make you feel self-conscious about your smile; Issues including spaces and gaps between teeth, uneven teeth, crooked and crowded teeth, chipped, worn or stained teeth, and more.

At Fairfield Dental Arts, we offer the most modern techniques for cosmetic dentistry, including Porcelain Veneers and Lumineers. These options might sound similar, but they are very different in a variety of ways.

What Are Porcelain Veneers?

Porcelain veneers are custom porcelain shells that bond to your teeth to create a lasting, durable, and stain-resistant smile. They can change the current size, shape, color, and position of your teeth.

What Are Lumineers?

Lumineers are sometimes referred to as an “Instant Smile Makeover.” They are an ultra-thin porcelain veneer that is bonded to the natural teeth. No shots or drilling is necessary.

How Are They Similar?

Both options were created to improve your smile and share a lot of the same characteristics including:

  • Improving dental appearance to rid misaligned teeth
  • Enhancing the color of the smile, making it brighter and whiter
  • Covering gaps and cracks between the teeth
  • Easy to maintain
  • Stain-resistant
  • Custom-made to fit your mouth
  • Made out of porcelain
  • Similar in price

How Are They Different?

They may seem alike in many ways, but they also have some big differentiators you need to keep in mind. These include:

Porcelain Veneers

  • Require reshaping and some removal of current teeth
  • Permanent removal of enamel under the veneer
  • Thicker porcelain

Lumineers

  • Mildly invasive
  • No reshaping or tooth removal is required
  • Enamel is left undamaged
  • Thinner porcelain

Cosmetic dentistry is all about personal preference. When it comes to your mouth, your smile, and what’s best for you, Fairfield Dental Arts is here to help weigh the options. Contact us today for more information or to schedule your appointment!

The Difference Between Crowns, Fillings, Inlays, & Onlays

Whether you have a cavity, a tooth that’s cracked, a toothache, missing teeth, dentures, or are in need of a root canal or filling, Fairfield Dental Arts is happy to serve you with one of our restorative dental care services.

When it comes to crowns, fillings, inlays, and onlays, theses are the differences:

Crowns

A dental crown covers the tooth to restore its strength, shape, size, and in some cases, appearance. There are a few reasons someone might need a crown, but the most common include cracked or decayed teeth.

There are different types of crowns that you can choose from depending on the tooth’s condition, the money you are willing to spend, and the look you are going for.

A Partial Crown

A partial crown is made to cover only a portion of the tooth. This is necessary when only part of the tooth is decaying, infected, broken, or cracked.

A Full Crown

A full crown is made to cover the entirety of the tooth. When the tooth is no longer salvageable, a full crown can cover what is left to essentially replace the tooth without removing the root.

Fillings

Fillings restore a damaged tooth closing off any space where bacteria could enter to help prevent further tooth decay. These are the most common for smaller cavities and decayed areas.

Inlays

A dental inlay is a type of restoration that covers a specific part of the tooth. This process fills in the space between cusps, the rounded edges at the center of the surface of your tooth.

Onlays

Dental onlays cover a more extensive area and usually last longer than fillings. It restores more than a filling but less than a crown in large cavities.

If you are wondering which is right for your tooth, come and see us! We will take a look at your mouth and provide professional advice while keeping your budget in mind. Contact us today!